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Papers of the novelist Ellen Ross and her son, William McGregor Ross

 Single Item
MS. 12303
Held in our offsite storage facility

  • Request


  1. Diary of Ellen Ross in exercise book, nos. I-III, 2 Jan 1857-7 Aug 1859, while living in Cheltenham. Writes briefly, 1-5 lines per day.
  2. Diary of Ellen Ross in exercise book, nos. IV-V, 14 Aug 1859-6 Oct 1860, while living in Cheltenham. Writing more expansive.
  3. Diary of Ellen Ross for family trip to Patterdale, Lake District, numbered '53a', 8 Aug-29 Aug 1891.
  4. Diary of Ellen Ross for trip to East Africa, Nov 1911-Jun 1912, divided into 4 exercise books numbered I-IV. Bookmarks added later in different hand noting content of some pages.
  5. Annotated manuscript draft by William McGregor Ross of article on travelling in Kenya, with list of illustrations, c.1908-1911.
  6. Printout of article by William McGregor Ross, 'The Snow Fields and Glaciers of Kenia' in The Pall Mall Magazine, Feb 1911, pp.197-208; Mar 1911, pp.463-475.


  • Creation: 1857-1912


1 box

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 12303].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.


MS. 12303

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 12303


Papers of the novelist Ellen Ross (née Brook, b.1840) and her son, William McGregor Ross (1876-1940).

Biographical / Historical

Ellen Ross née Brook (1840-post 1912), novelist, grew up in Cheltenham, near to the setting of her first novel in Bristol. Her teenage diaries reveal a comfortable upbringing with regular church attendance, though the family suffered the death of her brother in 1859. Her early works are written under the name Nelsie Brook, before her marriage and name-change to Ellen Ross.

William McGregor Ross (1876-1940), son of Ellen, also had a successful writing career, largely as a product of his work for the colonial service in the British East Africa Protectorate, where he rose to the position of Director of Public Works. This allowed him to write a detailed assessment of the region after his retirement, published in 1927: Kenya from Within. He married Isabel Abraham in 1915, who would later write an autobiography of the couple.


Ellen Ross's earlier and later diaries are divided across two folders. The second contains diaries with bookmarks indicating the content of a page; these have been wrapped in acid free paper but retain original placement.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased by the Bodleian Library, Dec 2016.

Related Materials

  1. MSS. Afr. s. 2305 - Papers of William McGregor and Isabel Ross (1), [1890-1964].
  2. MSS. Afr. s. 1876 - Papers of William McGregor and Isabel Ross (2), [1894-1952].
  3. MSS. Afr. s. 1178 - Papers of William McGregor and Isabel Ross (3), 1899-1939.
Catalogue of papers of Ellen Ross and William McGregor Ross
Finding aid prepared by Tilly Guthrie
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom