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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Eng 1869

Calderon family papers

Personal and family papers of author and translator George Calderon and of his wife, artist Katharine Calderon.


  • circa 1870-1945


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.
This collectionn is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.


6 linear feet (9 boxes)

Collection includes family material of George and Katharine Calderon and of Katharine's first marriage to Archibald E. Ripley and the related Percy Lubbock family. Formats present include photographs, original artwork, correspondence, family documents, linens, and a suitcase. There are relatively few papers relating to George Calderon's translation and other professional roles. Further information is available in scope and contents notes for listed items.

Biographical / Historical

George Leslie Calderon was an author, translator, and director. He was the son of the Victorian painter Philip Hermogenes Calderon and Clara Storey, sister of the painter George Adolphus Storey. Following university studies, he decided to learn Russian. He trained as a barrister but failed to find work in the field; he left for Russia in October 1895 where he taught, worked as a journalist, and studied. Returning to England in 1897, he learned several other Slavonic languages and in 1900 became an assistant librarian at the British Museum while pursuing research into Slavonic folklore and publishing many stories, articles and translations. He left the British Museum in 1903 to write full-time. Calderon was the first person to translate into English and successfully direct a full-length play by Anton Chekhov (The Seagull); a posthumous production of his translation of The Cherry Orchard established Chekhov as a force in the English theater. Calderon enlisted in the British Army at the age of 45; he was killed at the battle of Achi Baba on 4 June 1915.
Katharine Calderon (1867-1950), known as "Kittie", was born in Donegal; she was a gifted artist and studied at the A.S. Cope and J.W. Nicol School of Painting. In 1895 she married the barrister Archibald Ripley, who had been at Trinity College Oxford with George Calderon and was an uncle of Percy Lubbock. Ripley died in 1898; in 1900 Katharine married George Calderon and worked as his literary agent. Their Hampstead home became an artistic and intellectual gathering place. During the First World War she volunteered as a Red Cross nurse. When her husband George died in 1919, she threw herself into the publication of his works.


Arranged roughly in nine series: Archibald E. Ripley and Katharine Hamilton Ripley papers; Artwork; Calderon family papers and documents; Clippings; Correspondence; George Calderon compositions and other papers; Linens and objects; Photographs; and Miscellaneous.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2019M-94. Purchased with funds from the Amy Lowell Trust, 2019 April.

Processing Information

Processed by Melanie Wisner, 2019.
Link to catalog
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
2019 July 9
Description rules
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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