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Papers of Louise Swanton Belloc, 1654 - 1993

Reference Code: GBR/0271/GCPP Parkes 17a

Scope and Contents

Over a period of fifty years Louise Swanton Belloc amassed a large correspondence which was stored at the family home at La Celle St Cloud. Much of this correspondence was destroyed or damaged when the house was occupied by the Prussian army during the Franco-Prussian war, 1870-1871. In particular, Louise’s correspondence with Stendhal, whom she met in 1823 and with whom she shared an enthusiasm for ‘le culte pour Byron’, is presumed to have perished at this time, along with her correspondence with Charles Dickens.
A quantity of papers survives, however, and is listed here, including the following: some of Louise’s journals; biographical materials and family papers including genealogical material dating from the 1650s; and some correspondence with family and with her wide circle of literary and social acquaintances, including Adelaide de Montgolfier. The correspondence includes letters written to Louise by her daughter Lily Ballot and by Adelaide de Montgolfier during the Siege of Paris, during which both Lily and Adelaide remained in Paris.


  • Creation: 1654 - 1993


Biographical / Historical

Louise Swanton Belloc was born Anne-Louise Chassériau Swanton in La Rochelle, France, in 1796, one of four children of James Swanton and Marguérite-Louise-Joséphine Chassériau. James (known in France as Jacques) Swanton had arrived in France from Ireland as a child under the care of L’Abbé Swanton, a relative. James Swanton and Louise Chassériau married in 1785. The Swanton family moved to the Rue Vaugirard in Paris in 1815. Louise began writing at the age of seventeen and her first published work, a translation of Adelaide O’Keeffe’s ‘Patriarchal Times’, appeared in 1818. In 1821 Louise married Jean-Hilaire Belloc (1786-1866, painter and ultimately a director of the Ecole Spéciale de Dessin et de Mathématiques in Paris), with whom she had two daughters (Louise, later Redelsperger, 1822-1895; and Adelaide, 1828-1897, known as Lily, later Millet, later Ballot) and a son (Louis, 1830-1872). In 1832 they took a house at La Celle St Cloud, not far from Versailles, in order to avoid a cholera epidemic in Paris. They later bought the house. Louise’s large circle of literary and social acquaintances and correspondents included Charles Dickens; Harriet Beecher Stowe, Emile Souvestre, Barthélemy St Hilaire, Stendhal, Lamartine, Victor Hugo, Maria Edgeworth, and Mme Mohl (née Mary Clarke). Some of Louise’s writing and other activities were undertaken in collaboration with Adelaide de Montgolfier (1789-1880, born in Annonay, daughter of Jacques-Etienne de Montgolfier, 1745-1799, co-inventor of the Montgolfière hot air balloon), a close friend whom Louise probably met in Annonay in the 1820s. Louise Swanton Belloc translated many works from English into French, including travel books and works of literature. Her literary translations included: four of the works of Charles Dickens; works of Walter Scott; Harriet Beecher Stowe’s ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’; Oliver Goldsmith’s ‘The Vicar of Wakefield’, Mrs Gaskell’s ‘Cranford’, and many of the works of Maria Edgeworth, with whom she also collaborated on a series of early reading books in French for young children. She also published a biography of Lord Byron and translated his memoirs. In 1867 Louise Swanton Belloc’s son Louis married Bessie Rayner Parkes, English writer, journalist and campaigner for women’s work, education, suffrage and legal rights. Bessie and Louis had a daughter, Marie, later Mrs Lowndes Belloc, a writer (1868-1947) and a son, Hilaire, the poet (1870-1953). Louise Swanton Belloc was a particular friend and mentor of Bessie and they remained closely in touch after Louis’ death in 1872 at the age of 42. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 Louise lived in exile first in the Isle of Wight with her daughter Louise and then in Richmond, Surrey, with Bessie, Louis and their children. Louise Swanton Belloc died in 1881 and was buried with her son Louis and her friend Adelaide de Montgolfier at La Celle St Cloud.


3 archive box(es) (3 boxes) : Paper

Language of Materials



Immediate Source of Acquisition

Papers donated in 2013 by Ana Vicente (great granddaughter and biographer of Bessie Rayner Parkes, writes under the name Emma Lowndes); this section also includes some of the papers formerly catalogued as GCPP Parkes 17 (formerly Parkes Additional C), which were themselves additional to the original 1982 purchase of papers. NB: other items from GCPP Parkes 17 have been recatalogued in other sections of the Parkes catalogue as appropriate.


Belloc, Anne-Louise Swanton, 1796-1881, née Swanton, translator

Finding aid date

2014-04-08 12:55:15+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Girton College Archive Repository

The Archivist
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