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John Dixon Hunt material on Gordon Bottomley


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Gordon Bottomley was an English poet born on February 20, 1874 in Keighley, West Riding of Yorkshire, England to Maria and Alfred Bottomley.

At 18, he contracted tuberculosis and struggled with his health for the remainder of his life. As a result, he spent the majority of his life living in near-seclusion in the English Lake District. In the early 1890s, Bottomley moved to Grange and then Cartmel, Lancashire, to what he called "this faery country that is evoked by Schubert's music." (Dewhirst) There he met Emily Burton, whom he married in 1905. Together they lived in a home called "The Sheiling" in nearby Silverdale until their deaths.

Bottomley started writing poetry in the 1890s and was influenced by Romantic poets, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and Japanese Noh theater. His plays explored "human consciousness, often grounded in stark realism…he often set his plays in smaller spaces with minimal scenery." (Poetry Foundation) Much of his work was performed in amateur and experimental theaters.

Despite his rural lifestyle, he was active in the literary and artist circles and often hosted noted figures at his Lake District home, including artist Paul Nash and poet Edward Thomas.

In the 1920s, Bottomley was president of the Village Drama Society, an organization founded by Mary Kelly to promote the art of theatre and playwriting in rural areas. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Leeds in 1944.

Bottomley died in Silverdale on August 25, 1948, less than a year after his wife's passing.

John Dixon Hunt is a professor of landscape architecture and design who has served successively as faculty, department chair, and professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania since 1994.

Hunt was born in Gloucester, England in 1936. He received his BA (1957) and MA (1961) from King's College, Cambridge, and PhD from Bristol University (1964).

He has authored numerous articles and books on landscape history, including Garden and Grove, Gardens and the Picturesque, The Picturesque Garden in Europe (2002), The Afterlife of Gardens (2004), and A World of Gardens (2012). He edited Word & Image from 1985-2010 and as of 2024, edits Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.

Before joining the University of Pennsylvania, he held positions at Vassar College, Bedford College of the University of London, Exeter University, the University of York, Johns Hopkins University, and Dumbarton Oaks.

He was named Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture in 2000 was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Bristol in 2006.


Dewhirst, Ian. "Gordon Bottomley." Cumbria Lake District Life Vol. 36, No. 5. August 1986.

"Gordon Bottomley." The Poetry Foundation.

"John Dixon Hunt." Dumbarton Oaks Archives. June 15, 2017.

"John Dixon Hunt." Weitzman School of Design.

The John Dixon Hunt material on Gordon Bottomley measures .2 linear feet, dates from 1894-1986, and is composed of articles about Bottomley, correspondence from Bottomley and to Hunt, and writings by Bottomley and Hunt.

Series 1, Articles about Gordon Bottomley, consists of one folder of articles about Bottomley by Ian Dewhurst.

Series 2, Correspondence, consists of seven folders, six of which contain both photocopied and original correspondence from Bottomley to various recipients, described as "cousins." These recipients include Hilda Fowldes, Frank and Alice, Helen and Philip Lamb, and Sidney and Marjorie. The letters are long and in them, Bottomley elaborates both on his work and thoughts as well as family and personal updates.

Series 3, Writings by Gordon Bottomley, consists of three folders, including a photocopy of a handwritten draft of "Alfred Bottomley, 1848-1931," a printed version and notes of a "A Stage for Poetry," and various published poems.

Series 4, writings by John Dixon Hunt about Gordon Bottomley, consists of a typescript of "Gordon Bottomley: the poet and man," a typescript and annotated drafts of "A Handful of Dreams," and various notes and incomplete drafts.

Gift of John Dixon Hunt, 2018.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Kelin Baldridge Smallwood
Finding Aid Date
2024 January 18
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Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

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"Gordon Bottomley" and "Private glimpse into a writer's world" by Ian Dewhirst, 1986.
Box 1 Folder 1

Fowldes, Hilda [from Gordon Bottomley], 1917, 1919-1920, 1922-1923, 1926, 1929-1931.
Box 1 Folder 2-3
Frank and Alice [from Gordon Bottomley].
Box 1 Folder 4-5
Lamb, Helen and Philip [from Gordon Bottomley], 1921, 1925, 1927, 1931-1932, 1943-1945, 1948.
Box 1 Folder 6
Sidney and Marjorie [from Gordon Bottomley], 1918, 1947.
Box 1 Folder 7
Hunt, John Dixon [from Jean Anornlh[?], Neville Rogers, and Edwin Neuer], 1956, 1958, 1960.
Box 1 Folder 8

"Alfred Bottomley, 1848-1931," photocopy of a handwritten draft, 1931.
Box 1 Folder 9
"A Stage for Poetry," printed version and notes, 1943-1944.
Box 1 Folder 10
Published poems ["Before Daybreak," I.M. Lascelles Abercrombie," A Prologue for Robert Bain's Tragedy James the First of Scotland," and "To Clinton Balmer…"], 1922, 1926, 1941-1942.
Box 1 Folder 11

"Gordon Bottomley: the poet and man," typescript, 1953.
Box 1 Folder 12
"A Handful of Dreams," typescript and annotated drafts, circa 1955-1957.
Box 1 Folder 13
Notes and incomplete drafts, undated.
Box 1 Folder 14

Print, Suggest