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Letters from Dorothy Hodgkin and associated family correspondence

 Single Item
MS. Eng. c. 8262
Held in our offsite storage facility

  • Request

(fols. 1-3) personal papers of Dorothy Hodgkin, 1926-c.1977, comprising:

  1. (fol. 1) Oxford School Certificates for eight subjects, including chemistry, from Sir J. Leman Secondary School, Beccles, 1926
  2. (fol. 2) Oxford School Certificate for Latin, 1927
  3. (fol. 3) page of recollections by Dorothy Hodgkin relating to the Royal Society, possibly part of a letter, written c.1977

(fols. 4-109) letters to John and Molly Crowfoot (parents), 1927-1956, comprising:

  1. (fols. 4-82) letters from Dorothy Hodgkin, 1927-1956, (including two to her maternal grandmother, Grace Hood), containing news of her studies, her research, family life, particularly relating to Thomas and the children, 1927-1956; one letter (fols. 5-7) contains sketches and watercolour drawings of tile patterns from Jerash, 1928.
  2. (fols. 83-9) letter to John from Molly (wife), from Brindisi, describing a cruise that she was on with the children, n.d. [?1920s]
  3. (fols. 91-2) letter to John from Margery Fry (cousin of Thomas), relating to Dorothy and Thomas's engagement, 13 Aug 1937
  4. (fols. 93-9) letters to John from Robin Hodgkin (father of Thomas), relating to their children's engagement, the wedding arrangements and the marriage settlement, 1937-1947
  5. (fols. 100-1) letter to Molly from Thomas Hodgkin (son-in-law), thanking her for a lovely holiday, and with news of the children and of Dorothy's health, 1948
  6. (fol. 102) letter to Molly from Robin Hodgkin (father of Thomas), 1949
  7. (fols. 103-8) letters to Molly from Luke, Liz and Toby Hodgkin (grand-children), thank-you letters, 1953-1956
  8. (fol. 109) letter to Molly from Dorothy [?Hood] (sister), n.d.

(fols. 110-20) letters to Dorothy Hodgkin, 1928-c.1940, from:

  1. (fol. 110) the chairman of the Archaelogical Committee at Yale University, awarding her a prize for her coloured facsimiles of the mosaics at Jerash, 1928
  2. (fol. 111) postcard from her parents, Heidelberg, Germany, 23 Jul 1931
  3. (fols. 112-13) Robinson, enlisting her help with a wall-painting, after she has finished her exams at Oxford, [?1932]
  4. (fols. 114-16) Betty Murray, friend, sent from Palestine, 1933
  5. (fols. 117-18) Molly Crowfoot, mother, sent from Beirut, 1937
  6. (fols. 119-20) 'Daa', relating to a family visit with baby Luke, 1939 or 1940

(fols. 121-3) letters to Thomas Hodgkin (husband), 1951-1961, from Dorothy:

  1. (fols. 121-2) letter from Stockholm, [28 Jun 1951]
  2. (fol. 123) letter written from Oxford to him in Montreal, 1 Feb 1961

(fols. 124-256) letters to Liz Hodgkin (daughter), 1962-1985, from:

  1. (fols. 124-251) Dorothy and Thomas Hodgkin, mostly written whilst Liz was teaching in a school in Zambia from 1964 onwards; letters cover the period, 1962-1967, and were written weekly; many of them were written jointly; topics include overseas travel to visit laboratories and to attend conferences; Thomas's work in Ghana and Nigeria; Dorothy's colleagues in Oxford; Oxford university; family news and visitors to the family home; with one additional letter from Dorothy to Liz, 21 Jun 1985 [fol. 175 is torn in half]
  2. (fol. 252) Maurice Dodson (friend), York, 10 Nov 1964
  3. (fols. 253-5) Sophy Gairdner (friend), from York [undated], and from Ghana, 16 Nov 1966
  4. (fol. 256) Brigid (friend), Mporokoso, Zambia, [c.1965-7]

(fols. 257-8) letter to Dorothy ?Hood [sister of Molly Crowfoot] from Auntie Elsie, Blencathra, Keswick, 27 Dec 1943


  • Creation: 1926-1985


259 Leaves

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Eng. c. 8262, fols. 1-2].

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MS. Eng. c. 8262

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 9527


Letters from Dorothy Hodgkin and associated family correspondence

Biographical / Historical

Dorothy Mary Crowfoot was born in Cairo in 1910; the eldest of four daughters of John Crowfoot and Molly (née Hood). Her father worked as Director of Education in Cairo and the Sudan, 1901-1926. On his retirement he became Director of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, 1927-1935. His wife often accompanied him on archaeological digs and was herself an authority on flowering plants, weaving and dyeing techniques, pottery and glass-making. Dorothy and her sisters, Joan (born 1912), Betty (born 1914) and Diana 'Dilly' (born 1918) were brought up in East Anglia, at the family home in Geldeston. Dorothy was educated at the Sir John Leman School, Beccles, and at Somerville College, Oxford, where she read chemistry 1928-1932. Apart from two years research at Cambridge University after graduation she remained in Oxford for the rest of her career. Here for twenty-five years she combined teaching chemistry at Somerville, with research at the highest level. She became University lecturer and demonstrator in 1946 and University Reader in X-ray crystallography in 1956. From 1960 to official retirement in 1977 she was Wolfson Research Professor of the Royal Society. She received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1964.

She married Thomas Lionel Hodgkin in 1937. He was the son of Robin Hodgkin, Provost of Queens College, Oxford, and his wife, Dorothy. They had three children Luke Howard born 1938, Prudence Elizabeth (Liz) born 1941 and John Robin Tobias (Toby) born 1946. Their daughter, Liz, was a teacher in Zambia, Sudan and Vietnam, and many of the letters below were written to her at her school in Kasama, Zambia.

Custodial History

Papers were retained by Hodgkin's daughter, Liz Hodgkin.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to the library by Liz Hodgkin through Georgina Ferry, 2014.

Related Materials

The Bodleian holds papers and correspondence of Dorothy Hodgkin, 1828-1993, and additional papers, 1919-2003. The additional papers, in particular, hold a great deal of related family correspondence. See online catalogues for further details.

Letters from Dorothy Hodgkin and associated family correspondence
EAD version 2018
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom