MC 1111

Inventory to the Janet Hobhouse Papers

By Fernanda Perrone

June 1994

Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries.

Finding aid encoded in EAD, version 2002 by Tara Maharjan, November 2019
Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Hobhouse, Janet, 1948-1991
Title: Janet Hobhouse Papers
Dates: 1934-1991
Quantity: 15 cubic feet (15 records center boxes)
Abstract: The Janet Hobhouse Papers includes personal correspondence, editorial correspondence, notes and manuscripts of published works, copies of her essays and reviews, and reviews of her books. In the collection are also a number of photographs, a scrapbook, a taped interview, and personal miscellany. In addition to Ms. Hobhouse's papers, the collection contains the papers of her mother, Frances Hobhouse, who predeceased her. Mrs. Hobhouse's papers included an important set of detailed letters written by Janet to her mother when she was a teenage girl and young woman living in England, as well as Mrs. Hobhouse's diaries, photographs, and personal miscellany. Finally, the collection includes some papers of Janet Hobhouse's husband, Nicholas Fraser, including travel diaries, the manuscript of an unpublished novel, and personal miscellany.
Collection No.: MC 1111
Language: English
Repository: Rutgers University Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives

Biographical Sketch

Janet Hobhouse (1948-1991) was born in New York City, where she attended public and private schools, graduating from the Spence School in 1964. At the age of sixteen, she went to England, her father's home. After attending a school in Somerset, she read English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, receiving her B.A. in 1969. Between 1970 and 1975, she lived in London, New York, and Paris. During this period, Ms. Hobhouse married the journalist Nicholas Fraser, who later wrote biographies of Aristotle Onassis and Eva Peron; the couple eventually separated.

In London, Janet Hobhouse worked as a book editor, and began to write on art for various magazines, including Studio International, Art in America, Art News, Arts Magazine, Connoisseur, and occasionally the New York Times. After 1975, she lived mostly in New York City. She became Contributing Editor of Art News in 1975, and from 1987 to 1988 was art critic for Newsweek.

Janet Hobhouse's first book, Everybody Who Was Anybody: A Biography of Gertrude Stein, was published in 1975, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. According to one critic, she had "powers of sympathy so great that she seems to understand ... Stein's most difficult writing." She subsequently wrote three novels: Nellie Without Hugo (1982), Dancing in the Dark (1983), and November (1986). Dancing in the Dark, set in New York's gay community, was nominated for the Booker Prize, Britain's most prestigious literary award. Her novels have been compared to the work of Jane Austen and Henry James: they are finely-crafted studies in which the characters face moral choices in their attempts to find personal happiness. Ms. Hobhouse was particularly interested in the conflicts between freedom and security embodied in marriage.

Janet Hobhouse also wrote a non-fiction work, The Bride Stripped Bare: The Artist and the Female Nude in the 20th Century, published in 1988, which examines the lives and work ofthirteen male artists who painted or sculpted the female nude. Janet Hobhouse became a Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities in 1986, and was awarded the Pergamon Press Fellowship in Literature in 1988, and residencies at the Millay Colony (1988), the Djerassi Foundation (1988), and Yaddo (1989). She was working on an autobiographical novel at the time of her early death from cancer in 1991. The novel, entitled The Furies, was published posthumously in 1993.

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March 27, 1948 Janet Hobhouse is born Jean Konradin Hobhouse
Attends Rose Haven School
Attends public school, New York City
1962 Janet's grandmother dies of cancer.
- 1964 Attends Spence School, New York City.
Summer 1966 Goes to England to visit father
1964-1966 Attends Bruton School for Girls, Sunny Hill, Somerset, England
1966-1969 Attends Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford; honors degree, English 1969
1968 Meets Nicholas Fraser (b. 1948) in Oxford
1969-1975 Lives in London
1972 Starts doing free lance writing about art.
1972-1973 Works as an editor at Barrie & Jenkins, publishers.
January 18, 1974 Marries Nicholas Fraser, journalist and author.
1974 Works at Seeker & Warbmg; gets seven months leave to write book about Gertrude Stein.
1975 Publishes Everybody Who Was Anybody. London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, New York: Putnam
1976-1980 Lives in New York.
June 1979 Frances Hobhouse (b. 1925) commits suicide.
September 1980 Olga Lee commits suicide.
May 1981 Pam Hobhouse dies of cancer.
1981 Janet and Nick separate.
February 19, 1982 Janet's house in London is destroyed by fire.
1982 Nellie Without Hugo is published in London by Jonathan Cape and in New York by Viking.
October 1982 Possessions are stolen from Long Island City warehouse.
1983 Janet and Nick are divorced.
October 1983 Janet moves to New York City.
1983 Dancing in the Dark published in U.K. by Jonathan Cape; U.S. by Random House.
1984 Dancing in the Dark published in paperback by Random House as part of its "Vintage Contemporaries" series as well as in U.K. by Penguin.
1984-1985 Janet is ill with ovarian cancer.
1985 Publishes introduction to Gertrude Stein's Everybody's Autobiography (Virago)
1986 November. New York: Vintage. Everybody Who Was Anybody published in paperback by Arena (London).
1987 November published in London by Jonathan Cape.
1988 Publishes The Bride Stripped Bare. London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson.
1989 Everybody Who Was Anybody published in paperback by Doubleday's Anchor Books.
January 1990 Janet's illness returns.
January 1991 Janet Hobhouse dies in New York City.
1992 The Furies is published in London by Bloomsbury.
1993 The Furiesis published in New York by Doubleday; London by Touchstone.

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Boxes 1 and 2 are not open to researchers until the year 2040.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Janet Hobhouse Papers. MC 1111. Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries.

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Detailed Description of the Collection/Container List

This section provides descriptions of the materials found within each series. Each series description is followed by a container list, which gives the titles of the "containers" (for example, folders, volumes, or cassettes) and their locations in the numbered boxes that comprise the collection. The availability of any digital items from a container is indicated with a hyperlink.

Personal Correspondence, 1960-1991
Restrictions: This subseries is restricted until 2040.
1 Correspondence received, 1960-1984
2 Correspondence received, 1985-1991
Editorial Correspondence, 1974-1990
Arrangement: Grouped chronologically.
Summary: Primarily correspondence with the publishers of Hob house's books, beginning with Weidenfeld and Nicholson, the publishers of Everybody Who Was Anybody. Also includes correspondence with Hobhouse's 1iterary agents and magazine editors. As well as correspondence, document types include work plans, notes, book jackets, contracts and royalty statements.
Types of correspondence include attempts of find commissions, comments from editors, letters from the public, and discussion of production and publicity, reviews, literary rights and financial matters. Important correspondents include Robert Cornfield, her agent until 1987, and editors Amanda Vaill of Viking, Jonathan Galassi and Gary Fisketjon of Random House, and Liz Calder of Jonathan Cape.
10 Editorial correspondence, 1974-1990
Appointment Books and Diaries, 1958 and 1974-1991
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
Summary: Appointment books dating from 1974 to 19'1 and diaries from 1958 and 1978. The appointment books are calendars listing routine appointments; a few bills and letters are interfiled. Appointment books are missing from the years 1975-1977, 1980, and 1988-1990. The 1958 diary is a childhood diary covering a short period. The other diary, dating from early summer 1978, contamrandom jottings about relationships and ideas for stories, some of which were later incorporated into her autobiographical novel The Furies.
9 Appointment Books and Diaries, 1958 and 1974-1991
Manuscripts, 1982-1990
Arrangement: Grouped chronologically.
Summary: Annotated manuscripts, notes, uncorrected proofs and some related correspondence pertaining to Janet Hobhouse's novels Nellie Without Hugo, Dancing in the Dark, November, and the Furies. Also includes manuscripts of her non-fiction book The Bride Stripped Bare, an undated autobiographical fragment, possibly later incorporated into The Furies, and manuscripts of published articles including her introductions to Gertrude Stein's Everybody's Autobiography and Blood on the Dining Room Floor, and articles about travel and art. In addition, series contains notes for a possible television documentary on writer Jean Rhys.
4 Manuscripts of published work Nellie Without Hugo, November
5 Manuscripts and notes - The Furies, November
7-8 Manuscripts - The Bride Stripped Bare
11 Manuscript - November
Publications, 1982-1990
Summary: Copies of magazines and reviews written by Janet Hobhouse, chiefly reviews of art exhibitions and essays about art in Vogue, Connoisseur, and other magazines.
11 Magazine Reviews, 1982-1990
Book Reviews, 1974-1989
Summary: Copies of reviews of Janet's books from the British, American and French press, as well as publishers' lists and other press about her.
10 Editorial correspondence, 1974-1989
Notes for book on abstract expressionists that became Nellie without Hugo, Manuscripts, Dancing in the Dark and miscellaneous article manuscripts.
Photographs, circa 1960-1989
Arrangement: Grouped by type and arranged chronologically within each type.
Summary: Includes portraits of Janet, family members and friends, pets, publicity photographs, holiday photographs, and photographs of art works. Formats include black and white photographs, color photographs, slides and contact sheets. Subjects include Janet's wedding, her husband, in-laws, and friends.
14 Photographs, circa 1960-1989
Personal Miscellany, 1959-1991
Arrangement: Grouped chronologically.
Summary: Miscellaneous documents and personal items which Janet saved. Document types include programs of plays, operas and ballets, bland cards, invitations, catalogs, newspaper and magazine clippings, and miscellaneous notes.
Early material includes juvenilia, school report cards and papers from the 1950s, yearbooks from the Spence School (1962-1964), and Oxford Examination papers (1965-1966). Material from the 1980s includes information about artists colonies where Janet stayed, applications forms and information about foundations to which Janet applied for grants, notes on her illness, health and nutrition. Also includes unpublished manuscripts by Peter Blegvad and Michael Shulan, presumably friends she met at the artists' colonies.
Of particular interest is an oversize scrapbook (circa 1967-1974), chiefly containing photographs of Janet, Nicholas Fraser, and other friends at Oxford, with a few later photographs added at the end. Also of interest is a book in which Janet tried to keep track of her finances (1983-1986) and a tape recording ofa consultation with an astrologer in 1983.
13 Janet Hobhouse
Correspondence, 1955-1979
Arrangement: Grouped chronologically.
Summary: This series consists ofletters received by Janet Hobhouse's mother Frances Hobhouse (1925-1979) from the 1950s until her death in 1979. Most of the letters are written by Janet Hobhouse herself, although other correspondents such as Frances' sister Jean Liedloff and her aunt Frances Bolton are also represented. Janet's letters to her mother include detailed descriptions of life at an English boarding school and at Oxford University during the 1960s. She also describes her relations with her father, Henry "Tom" Hobhouse, her stepmother Pam and stepbrothers. When she lived in England during the 1970s she wrote to her mother describing her many friends, travels, and the beginnings ofliterary success. Unfortunately Frances Hobhouse suffered from severe depression which made her unable to hold a job and eventually led her to commit suicide. Many of Janet's letters show her concern with her mother's mental state and financial problems.
3 Correspondence Received, 1955-1979
6 Correspondence
Diaries, 1971-1979
Arrangement: Grouped chronologically.
Summary: Diaries, some fragmentary, of Frances Hobhouse, dating from the last ten years of her life. Significant topics are her relationship with her daughter Janet, her sister Jean Liedloff, and her boyfriend John Tokesky. Other important topics are attempts to organize herself and find work, art-making, medication, and concern about her financial situation.
Of particular interest is the diary of her trip to England for Janet's wedding in 1974. In her 1978 and 1979 diaries, her worsening depression is clearly evident. Much ofthe diaries concern her struggle with the business of living.
6 Diaries, 1971-1979
Photographs, circa 1905-1979
Arrangement: Grouped by type and thereunder chronologically.
Summary: Includes photographs of family members, friends, houses, and art work. Includes numerous photographs of Frances, her sister Jean, and other relatives. Also includes m~ny photographs of Janet as a child. Of particular interest are photographs of her grandparents, home in New York City.
14 Photographs, circa 1905-1979
Personal Miscellany, 1958-1976
Arrangement: Grouped chronologically.
Summary: Miscellaneous personal documents including a portfolio, an address book, notes, financial documents, and clippings.
Notes refer to Frances' attempt to formulate an economic theory based on courses she took at the Henry George School. The portfolio (1976) contains photographs of her sculptured heads and medallions. Other documents include dress designs, a birth certificate, notes about medication, and documents pertaining to Frances' service as a counselor at a summer camp in 1958.
6 Frances Hobhouse Material
Correspondence, 1975-1979
Summary: Letters received by Janet's husband Nicholas Fraser, presumably left in their apartment when they separated. Correspondents include his mother Nicole Fraser and various friends. Subjects discussed include politics, Nick's work as a journalist and various personal matters.
3 Correspondence, 1975-1979
Manuscripts, 1976
Summary: Typescript of a 300-page unpublished novel, "Happiness," written by Nicholas Fraser. The subject of the novel, which is dedicated to Janet, is a couple's relationship.
3 Unpublished Manuscript, 1976
Personal Miscellany, 1970-1979
Summary: Miscellaneous documents and personal items belonging to Nicholas Fraser.
Includes identification cards, a diary from his 1978 trip to Buenos Aires, mostly consisting of notes about the country in preparation for his biography of Eva Peron, and a videotape of Nick interviewing Aristotle Onassis in 1977.
3 Personal Miscellany, 1970-1979
Other Correspondents, 1934 (1964)-1983
Summary: Primarily correspondence received by Janet's great-aunt, Frances Bolton. Also includes correspondence received by Nicole Fraser, Olga Lee, John Tokesky and Rosebel Schiff.
The letters received by Frances Bolton include letters written by Janet while living with her father in England (1964-1965) as well as a few written by her stepmother. As well as describing her life in England, these letters discuss her relationship with her mother, Frances. Also include letters from Janet while living in London with her husband (1974-1981) and alone (1981-1983), in which she describes her feelings about Olga Lee's suicide and her and Nick's separation.
Letters received by Olga Lee also describe Janet's life living with her father in England during 1964-1965. Letters received by John Tokesky are from Janet, Nick and Frances while traveling in Europe on various occasions. There is only one letter to Nicole Fraser and one to Rosebel Schiff, Janet's great-grandmother, written by Frances Bolton in 1934.
15 Miscellaneous Documents
Photographs and album, circa 1885
Item not in box.

Key to The Furies

Character Family Member
Elizabeth "Shrimp" Mouse (Frances Bolton, great-aunt)
Emma "Gogi" (Helen Liedloff, grandmother)
Bett Fran Hobhouse, mother
Constance Jean Liedloff, aunt
Sir Edward Hassingham Sir Arthur Hobhouse, grandfather
Helen Janet Hobhouse
Mirrenwood Rose Haven School
Veronica Olga Lee, friend in New York
Bill Bob, grandmother's boyfriend
Wickhurst Spence School, New York
Duncan Gregory Carr, boyfriend
Francis Henry "Tom" Hobhouse, father
Harriet Pam Hobhouse, stepmother
Charles stepbrother
George stepbrother
Edward stepbrother
Northton Sunny Hill School
Sparrow House, Norfo1k Bottom Barn, Somerset
Hal John Tokesky, mother's boyfriend
Hugh Grunwald Michael Caspari, boyfriend
Edward "Ned" Nick Fraser, husband
Simone Nicole Fraser, mother-in-law
Peter Van Strum Michael Hodson (?)
Roger Nick's father
Jack Phillip Roth

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