Fonds NewmanL - Papers of Lyn Newman

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GB 275 NewmanL


Papers of Lyn Newman


  • 1900–1978 (Circa) (Creation)

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34 boxes paper

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Lilian Lloyd Irvine was the daughter of John A. Irvine, a Presbyterian minister, first in Berwick-upon-Tweed and then in Aberdeen. She attended the Albyn Place School for Girls, and then studied at the University of Aberdeen. In 1924, Lyn joined Girton College, Cambridge, where she was supervised by Arthur Quiller-Couch. Lyn left Cambridge in 1927 with a letter of introduction to Leonard Woolf, who got her a job reviewing fiction for the 'New Statesman', and later, commissioned and published her first book, 'Ten Letter Writers'. Through the Woolfs, she met and started corresponding with other members of the Bloomsbury group, in particular Lady Antoinette Esher. During this period she also edited her own literary journal, 'The Monologue'. This early career as a journalist was curtailed in 1934 by marriage to Max Newman, Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. For the next twenty years Lyn's gift for writing found an outlet in her correspondence to friends and family, as she tried to make a home for Max and their two sons, Edward and William, wherever she found herself. In 1937, she followed Max to Princeton, where he was invited to spend six months. She was back in America in 1940, as an evacuee, with her two young boys. There she campaigned for British mothers to be given financial support in order to return home. In 1943, she lived near Bletchley Park, where Max was employed during the War. The Newmans returned to Cross Farm, Comberton, in 1944, and Lyn hoped finally to settle, but in 1945 Max's career took the family to Manchester. Only in the 1950's did Lyn return to her literary career, which was still regularly interrupted by the demands of her family. In 1957, Faber published her second book, a memoir of her early years in Berwick-upon-Tweed and Aberdeen, entitled 'So much love, so little money'. Her third book, published by Hamish Hamilton in 1960, was inspired by the geese that she kept at Cross Farm. Lyn wrote from a converted Dove House on the farm, which later became the base for her publishing label 'Monologue Books', set up in order to publish her fourth and final book 'Alison Cairns and her family'. Lyn's published works do not represent the total sum of her researches and writing. She wrote, among other things, poetry, an unpublished novel (no longer extant), and children's stories, and carried out research for a life of Fanny Kemble. Her papers include a large and varied correspondence, notes, writings (published and unpublished), diaries, and photographs.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Given by William Newman, and others, 2004-8.

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Scope and content

Correspondence with Bloomsbury Group, family and friends; journal and diaries; miscellaneous family papers; original work; papers relating to 'The Monologue' and Monologue Books.

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Preferred citation: St John's College Library, Papers of Lyn Newman

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Dates of creation revision deletion

2 Apr 2013




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