Collection Scope and Content Summary
Title: Ursula Roberts, Incoming correspondence ,
Date (inclusive): ca. 1910-1960
Collection number: M0908
.5 linear ft.
Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
Abstract: British poet, writer and political activist. During the Edwardian period, while in her 20s, wife of a pacifist Socialist
clergyman, Roberts first took an active part in the campaign for women's suffrage. Using her pseudonym Susan Miles for most
of her writer's career, she published her first inflammatory pamphlet THE CAUSE OF PURITY AND WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE in 1912. By
the end of the first World War, the date of the earliest letters in this archive, her interest had expanded to such feminist
issues as the admission of women to the clergy. But it was in the 1920s and 1930s while part of the literary circle which
revolved around ADELPHI MAGAZINE, launched by Katherine Mansfield's widower and D.H. Lawrence's closest friend J. Middleton
Murry, that she became an active participant in the anti-war movement which swept British left-wing intellectual circles,
until it became clear to many of her friends that "peace at any price" meant surrender to Nazi and Fascist dictatorship. (quoted
from dealer's description)
Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights
reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To
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Roberts, Ursula, Incoming correspondence. M0908. Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.
The British writer Ursula (Wyllie) Roberts was born in 1887, the daughter of the "ardent conservative" Lt.-Col. R.J.H. Wyllie.
By early adulthood she had rejected many of the beliefs of her upbringing and become an "idealistic agnostic" and pacifist.
She married the socialist, pacifist Reverend William Corbett Roberts in 1909 and began her career as a poet, novelist and
activist, publishing "The Cause of Purity and Women's Suffrage"-"a tough-minded pamphlet on prostitution which confronts low
wages and child abuse"-in 1912. For later publications Ursula Roberts used the pseudonym "Susan Miles." The poems and stories
of "Miss Miles" were published in various journals and volumes. Her major books are Dunch (1918), a book of free verse sketches
about Crick, "an old-style rural parish" in Northants, Blind Men Crossing a Bridge (1934), Rabboni (1942), a memoir of her
late husband in 1955, and the verse novel Lettice Delmer (1958).
Roberts was active in peace and women's movements throughout her career, maintaining her pacifist ideals even into the Cold
War when many British intellectuals had abandoned theirs. In the 1960s, she became a strong supporter of nuclear disarmament.
Collection Scope and Content Summary
This collection, consisting almost entirely of incoming letters to Ursula Roberts, spans half a century, from the 1910s to
the 1960s. It includes correspondence discussing the work of "Susan Miles" and that of friends and literary associates. Also
included are numerous letters from members of the Peace Pledge Union (a major pacifist organization), from other peace activists
(some of them prominent religious figures), and from various women's activists. Suffrage and the ordination of women are key
Letters are filed alphabetically by last name (except when unavailable) of correspondent. Major correspondents include: Phoebe
Hesketh, Yvonne Lubbock, Sylvia O'Malley, Dorothy Plowman, Max Plowman, Canon Guy Rogers, Maude Royden, Gordon Scott, Reverend
A. P. Shephard, Dick Shepperd, Susan Stebbing, and Paula Wikins. The number of letters from each correspondent is noted in
parentheses in the listing. Many of the letters have been annotated by Roberts, often many years later, explaining the context
or significance of the contents.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Cockin, Arthur Smith.
Collins, L. John, (Lewis John)
Collins, Vera H.
Courtney, Kathleen, Dame, 1878-1974.
De la Mare, Walter, 1873-1956.
Driberg, Tom, 1905-1976.
Hamilton King, H.E.
McBride, Mary F.
O'Malley, I.B. (Ida Beatrice), 1873-
Oakley, Hilda D.
Pankhurst, E. Sylvia, (Estelle Sylvia), 1882-1960.
Plowman, Max, 1883-1941.
Raven, Charles E.
Rogers, T. Guy, Canon.
Royden, A. Maude.
Sangster, William E.
Seaman, Owen, Sir.
Shepherd, Arthur P., Archdeacon of Dudley.
Wells, Carlton F.
British literature--20th century.