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Personal Papers of Meta Muir, 1877 - 1994

Reference Code: GBR/0271/GCPP Muir

Scope and Contents

The collection consists largely of photocopies and transcripts from tape of 48 letters, mostly from and to Meta Muir. They offer contemporary evidence about life at Girton College at an early stage of its history. Meta Muir came up to Girton in 1881, and among her contemporaries were Janet Case, classicist and tutor to Virginia Woolf, Margaret Llewelyn Davies, General Secretary of the Women's Co-operative Guild, Ethel Sargant, botanist and President of the Federation of University Women, Rosalind Shore-Smith (Mrs Nash), writer and journalist, chiefly on labour and suffrage questions, and Helena (Nellie) Sickert (Mrs Swanwick), lecturer in economics and first President of the Women's International League of Nations.
Meta Muir's observations of her contemporaries and of College functions, customs and daily routine offer valuable comment on women's early experiences of university education. Her father's interest in and comments on her course at Girton are, in themselves, valuable commentary on the texts and teaching methods of the period. All but seven of the letters date from Meta's period of residence at Girton College 1881-83.
The collection also includes a small quantity of photographs and details of the Muir family tree.


  • Creation: 1877 - 1994


Biographical / Historical

Margaret Alice Muir (known as Meta) was born in St Petersburg on 4 October 1862, the daughter of Andrew Muir and Alison Philip (nee Bell). She had four younger siblings: Eva and Martin, twins, born 1864 (Martin died in 1918, Eva in 1946), Mary (known as Molly), 1865-1923, and Kenneth, 1867-1922. Martin and Kenneth both worked in the family firm of Muir & Mirrielees until the 1890s. [Muir & Mirrielees was a British owned firm in Russia, best known for its retail shop opposite the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow before the Revolution and still there as Central Universal Stores.] Meta also had 3 half brothers from her mother's first marriage to William Philip, including Walter, who eventually became Managing Director of Muir & Mirrielees. Meta attended the Notting Hill & Bayswater High School. She came up to Girton in Michaelmas 1881 to study history, leaving after two years and a term at the Christmas of 1883. She returned to London where she was to be in charge of running the Muir household at 42 Holland Park for the next six years, though she also spent time travelling with her family, including visits to Russia. On a crossing to New York in 1886 with her father and Eva, she met Stuart Hogg, who had a cattle ranch in Kansas and also worked for the British Land and Mortgage Company of America. They were married on 9 September 1890 at Campden Hill and three weeks later they sailed for America. They returned in 1892 to live in Hambledon, Surrey. Their first daughter, Alison Mary, was born in 1892 and their second, Margaret, in 1895. Meta Muir died in 1943.


1 archive box(es) (1 box) : paper

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The existence of the letters was first brought to the attention of the Archivist in December 1988 by Harvey Pitcher, who was using the Muir family papers for a history of Muir & Mirrielees (see GCPP Muir 11). At his suggestion the family letters which relate to Girton were lent to the College for copying in August 1989. As the photocopies were found to be of poor quality the letters were read onto a tape recorder and transcribed to support the copies. The originals remained at that time in the ownership of John and Patience Bagenal [John Bagenal being Meta Muir's grandson].


Harvey Pitcher, 'Muir & Mirrielees: The Scottish Partnership that became a Household Name in Russia', 1994, Swallow House Books. Copy held in Girton College Library.


Hogg, Margaret Alice (1862-1943) nee Muir, known as Meta

Finding aid date

1998-09-03 13:40:49+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Girton College Archive Repository

The Archivist
Girton College Archive
Huntingdon Road
Cambridge CB3 0JG United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 338897