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Senate House Library, University of London

De Morgan family


Reference code(s): GB 0096 MS 913

Held at: Senate House Library, University of London

Title: De Morgan family

Date(s): 1753-1975

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 5 boxes

Name of creator(s): De Morgan | family


Administrative/Biographical history:

Augustus de Morgan was born at Madura, India in 1806. In February 1823 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1827. In 1828 he was appointed Professor of Mathematics at University College London. With a short break from 1831-1836, he retained this post until his retirement in 1861. He was married in 1837 to Sophia Elizabeth Frend. During his lifetime de Morgan wrote thousands of books and articles on mathematics, logic, philosophy and many other subjects, though his outstanding contributions were made in the field of logic. He died in 1877. His son, William Frend de Morgan, was born in London in 1839. He made his name initially in the arts and crafts movement, designing pottery tiles using medieval or art nouveau designs. Later he became a novelist with such success that he eventually abandoned his artistic career. Collections of de Morgan's designs are held in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the William Morris Gallery. He died in 1917.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the De Morgan family, [1756-1928], comprising material relating to the suffragette movement, such as photographs, newpapers, press cuttings and pamphlets; correspondence of Augustus de Morgan, with correspondents including Sir Frederick Richard Pollock, Sir George Biddle Airy, Sir John William Lubbock, John Wrottesley (2nd Baron Wrottesley), John Radford Young, Sir John Frederick William Herschel, John Finlaison, and General Sir John Briggs; correspondence of William Frend de Morgan, mainly with members of his family and Sir Edward Coley Burne Jones; material relating to the de Morgan and Frend families, notably family photographs, drawings, letters, legal documents and memorabilia; letters from Sophia and Mollie de Morgan to Joan Antrobus; manuscript and typescript copies of stories and essays by William and Mary de Morgan; papers relating to Sophia de Morgan's Memoir of her husband Augustus, including letters, reviews and working notes; bundle of letters containing correspondence concerning a petition to the women of America from the women of England about the abolition of slavery; printed material, mainly works by Augustus de Morgan; letters to Francis Baily, [1820-1940]; letters from Thomas Henderson to Thomas Galloway, 1834-1842; 5 watercolours of Scotland by Frances Shakerley, [1920-1930].


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Access to the items in the collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Access to archive collections may be restricted under the Freedom of Information Act. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

This material was acquired at auction from Christies in November 1990. There is no information in the Christies' catalogue entry concerning the provenance of the collection, but there is evidence within the collection that this material was collected together by Joan Antrobus, as a result of her relationship with Molly De Morgan and Wilhemina Stirling.

Immediate source of acquisition:


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Augustus De Morgan: The University of London holds further correspondence and papers of Augustus De Morgan: MS36, MS165, MS238, MS239, MS240, MS241, MS321, MS322, MS775, MS776, MS786. University College London (UCL) holds correspondence and papers of Augustus De Morgan: MSS ADD 2-3, 5-7, 69. UCL also holds the MS of Elements of statics (MS ADD 27). Further family correspondence is held at Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts (reference : Dep Lovelace Byron) 1831-66: corresp and papers Royal Astronomical Society Library Reference : MSS De Morgan see Memoirs of Royal Astronomical Society vol 85 1978 catalogue of mathematical books Royal Observatory, Edinburgh Reference : NRA(S)2657 NRA 9504 Royal Observatory family corresp NRA 21980 Noel misc corresp Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts Reference : MS Autogr d 14 1850-70: corresp with Sir George Airy (205 items) Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives Reference : RGO MSS 942-52 1830-50: corresp with Charles Babbage British Library, Manuscript Collections Reference : Add MSS 37185-200 passim c1842-64: corresp with George Boole (83 items) London University: University College London (UCL) Manuscripts Room Reference : MS ADD 97 NRA 14258 Boole corresp with Lord Brougham London University: University College London (UCL) Manuscripts Room Reference : BROUGHAM BL, HB see HMC MS papers of British scientists 1600-1940, 1982 corresp with Lady Byron Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts Reference : Dep Lovelace Byron NRA 21980 Noel 1856-57: letters (37) to William Hepworth Dixon Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives Reference : Add 9428 see Annual Return 1997 1855-64: letters (19) to Alexander Campbell Fraser National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division Reference : Dep 208 NRA 27273 Fraser 1845-51: letters (12) to James Halliwell-Phillipps Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Reference : LOA 1841-65: letters (252) to Sir William Hamilton Trinity College Dublin Reference : MS 1492 NRA 20076 Hamilton 1852-66: letters to F Hendriks London University: University College London (UCL) Manuscripts Room Reference : MS ADD 147 1831-70: corresp with Sir John Herschel (c384 items) Royal Society Reference : HS NRA 8803 Herschel 1845-49: letters (10) to Lord Kelvin Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives Reference : Add 7342, 7656 NRA 20700 Stokes 1832-60: letters (26) to Sir John Lubbock Royal Society Reference : LUB see HMC MS papers of British scientists 1600-1940, 1982 1831-66: letters to Royal Astronomical Society Royal Astronomical Society Library Reference : RAS letters see Memoirs of Royal Astronomical Society vol 85 1978 1827-44: letters to Society for Diffusion of Useful Knowledge London University: University College London (UCL) Manuscripts Room Reference : SDUK NRA 22241 SDUK c1832-66: letters (69) to William Whewell Cambridge University: Trinity College Library Reference : Whewell MSS NRA 8804 Whewell 1841-66: letters (c30) American Philosophical Society Library see NUC MS 76-902 William De Morgan: papers Yale University Libraries: Beinecke Library Reference: see Hamer, Archives and MSS in USA 1961 MS of Bianca The King's School, Canterbury NRA 15260 Walpole 1892-96: papers rel to his report on possible manufacture of pottery in Egypt British Library, Manuscript Collections Eg MS 3293

The Beinecke Library, Yale University, has papers; King's School, Canterbury, Kent, holds a manuscript of Bianca; the British Library holds papers relating to a report on the possible manufacture of pottery in Egypt, 1892-1896 (Ref: Eg MS 3293).

Publication note:



Augustus De Morgan was born in Madras, India, but his family travelled to England in 1807, a few months after his birth. He was the son of John De Morgan, a colonel in the Indian Army, and Elizabeth Dodson, the daughter of the mathematician Dodson. Augustus went up to Trinity in February 1823, and received his BA degree in 1827. De Morgan contributed over 700 articles to the 'Penny Cyclopoedia'. He was appointed the first professor of mathematics at the institution which went on to become University College London, and was heavily involved in the arrangement for the establishment of the College. Augustus De Morgan died in 1871. Sophia De Morgan and Augustus De Morgan had seven children: Elizabeth Alice who was born in 1838, and who died of consumption in 1853; William Frend who was born in 1839; George Campbell who was born in 1841 and who died of consumption in 1867; Edward Lindsey who was born in 1843 and who died in 1877 in South Africa following a fall from his horse; Anne Isabella who was born in 1845, married R. E. Thompson, and died in 1885; Helen Christina, who was born in 1847 and who died in 1870 of consumption; Mary Augusta, who was born in 1850. Sophia De Morgan was born in 1809 in Blackfriars, London. She played a part in the foundation of Bedford College, and an advocate of women's suffrage. She was interested in spiritualism and wrote a book(?) on the subject called 'From Matter to Spirit'. She also wrote a book of reminiscenses called "Three Score Years and Ten". Her mother was a member of the Blackburne family. Augustus De Morgan's youngest daughter Mary was a published and acclaimed writer who specialised in fairy stories. Her book 'The Necklace of Fiorimonde', illustrated by Walter Crane was published in 1880. She died in Cairo in 1906. William Frend De Morgan married Evelyn Pickering in 1887 - they had no children. Augustus' brother Edward Lindsey and his family moved to South Africa. He was killed in a riding accident in South Africa, his widow Ada, and their children Mary (known as Molly or Minda), Augustus, Millicent and Campbell moved back to London and lived close to William and Evelyn in Chelsea. Mary Beatrice De Morgan, invariably known as Minda or Molly was born in ?, and made a career as a professional singer. She died in July 1953. She was involved in the movement for women's suffrage, and was also interested in spiritualism. Joan Antrobus was the daughter of Millicent De Morgan, who married into the Antrobus family in South Africa. Wilhemina Stirling was the sister of Evelyn De Morgan, and after her sister's death in 1919 maintained a collection of De Morgan paintings, ceramics and archival material at Old Battersea House in London.

Date(s) of descriptions: 2000-03-13 Joseph Gelfer, 2000-05-22 Sarah Smith

Biographies | Prose | Literary forms and genres | Literature
Ceramic art | Plastic arts
Drawings | Visual materials
Slavery | Social structure
Womens suffrage | Electoral systems | Internal politics

Personal names
Airy | Sir | George Biddell | 1801-1892 | Knight | astronomer and mathematician
Antrobus | Joan | fl 1830-1882
Baily | Francis | 1774-1844 | astronomer
Briggs | Sir | John | 1781-1865 | Knight | accountant and General of the Navy
Finlaison | John | 1783-1860 | statistician and actuary
Frend | family
Galloway | Thomas | 1796-1851 | mathematician
Henderson | Thomas | 1798-1844 | astronomer
Herschel | Sir | John Frederick William | 1792-1871 | 1st Baronet | astronomer
Jones | Sir | Edward Coley | Burne | 1833-1898 | Knight | painter x Burne Jones | Sir | Edward Coley
Lubbock | Sir | John William | 1803-1865 | 3rd Baronet | astronomer and mathematician
Morgan | Augustus De | 1806-1871 | mathematician and historian x De Morgan | Augustus
Morgan | Mary Beatrice De | fl 1830-1882 x De Morgan | Mary Beatrice x Morgan | Molly De x De Morgan | Molly
Morgan | Sophia Elizabeth De | 1809-1902 | née Frend | wife of Augustus De Morgan x De Morgan | Sophia Elizabeth x Frend | Sophia Elizabeth
Morgan | William Frend De | 1839-1917 | potter and novelist x De Morgan | William Frend
Pollock | Sir | Frederick Richard | 1827-1899 | Knight | Major General
Shakerley | Frances | ? 1825- ? 1930 | painter
Wrottesley | John | 1798-1867 | 2nd Baron Wrottesley x Wrottesley | 2nd Baron
Young | John Radford | 1799-1885 | mathematician

Corporate names

USA | North America