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Frederika MacDonald Letters

A description of the item at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 28 Jun 2010

Biographical History

Frederika Macdonald was a literary biographer and the author of several works on the French Enlightenment, as well as biographies of Charlotte Bronte and Jean Jacques Rousseau and at least one novel. In 1859 Macdonald had been a pupil at the Pensionnat Heger, where Charlotte Bronte had been first a student and then a teacher, which gave Macdonald a personal acquaintance with both Madame and Monsieur Heger and inspired her with a particular interest in Charlotte. When Charlotte's love letters to Monsieur Heger, previously believed to have been destroyed, were published in 1913, Macdonald was the first biographer to use excerpts from them, in her The Secret of Charlotte Bronte.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Frederika Macdonald Letters consists of two letters from MacDonald to Mr. Marion H. Spielmann, Victorian art critic and scholar, on the subject of the then-recently published Charlotte Bronte / Constantin Heger letters. Spielmann had written the translation and accompanying text for the letters' publication in The Times, 29 Jul 1913. One of Macdonald's letters reads, in part, "[O]ne recognizes in Charlotte a "Romantic" -- whose purpose is to paint her own emotions & by expressing them to alleviate & tranquillise them..."

Arrangement of the Collection



Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

The general (circulating) collection has a copy of Macdonald's The Secret of Charlotte Bronte. Please refer to the Classic Catalog to locate this item.

Subject Headings


Brontë, Charlotte, 1816-1855 -- Correspondence.
Macdonald, Frederika.
Spielmann, M. H. (Marion Harry), 1858-1948.


Novelists, English -- 18th century -- Correspondence.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Frederika Macdonald Letters,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Unspecified, 1970.

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