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National Library of Wales
Stevenson, Frances, family papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 FRASON

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Frances Stevenson Family Papers

Short Title: Stevenson, Frances, family papers

Creation date(s): 1910-1996

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 0.099 cubic metres (11 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Frances Stevenson Family

CONTEXT

Administrative/Biographical history: Frances Stevenson (1888-1972) was the long-term secretary, mistress and eventually (from October 1943) the second wife of the Liberal statesman and war time leader David Lloyd George (1863-1945). Following his acceptance of an earldom in January 1945, she became the Countess Lloyd-George of Dwyfor.Frances Louis Stevenson was born in London in 1888 of mixed parentage. As a child, she displayed a distinct passion for the Greek and Latin classics, a preoccupation which fired her with enthusiasm to secure a scholarship to Newnham or Girton College, Oxford. She did not achieve this ambition, and proceeded from Clapham High School, armed with a London scholarship, to Royal Holloway College. Following graduation, she taught at a Wimbledon girls' boarding school, and was soon recommended as a suitable person to coach Lloyd George's youngest daughter Megan (1902-1966), who had apparently displayed some backwardness in elementary subjects.A subtle, elusively feminine personality (who became known as 'Pussy'), Frances took up her new position in 1911, and then soon began the historic liaison with Lloyd George, then the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Rejecting an offer of marriage from a rising civil servant, she remained at Lloyd George's side during the Marconi crisis which threatened to destroy his career. Throughout the period of the first world war, Frances displayed considerable stamina which complemented Lloyd George's dynamic vitality. She became a considerable power in her own right behind the scenes at home, and accompanied Lloyd George to Italy after the Caporetto disaster.Frances remained intensely loyal and supportive to Lloyd George throughout the rest of his life, and it was she who was responsible for organising the building of their country home called 'Bron-y-de' at Churt in Surrey, with Max Aitken (Lord Beaverbrook) as their close neighbour. She never lost her faith in Lloyd George throughout the 1920s and 1930s, and, when war came at the end of 1939, she attempted to secure governmental office for him in Churchill's administration. In the meantime, in 1929, Frances gave birth to a daughter Jennifer who became Jennifer Longford upon her marriage. During the 1930s, too, she undertook the mammoth task of organising Lloyd George's most extensive archive of personal and political papers required for the drafting of the War Memoirs. Following Lloyd George's death, Frances in 1949 sold this collection of papers to Lord Beaverbrook. She had displayed the same efficiency in organising a filing system of newspaper clippings and quotations from political opponents to provide ammunition for Lloyd George's political speeches. During her long widowhood Frances continued to live at Churt, somewhat estranged from most members of the Lloyd George family, but involved in an array of ambitious projects, broadcasts and writings to perpetuate her late husband's name and memory.Frances was made a CBE in 1918. In 1967 she published a somewhat guarded volume of reminiscences The Years that are past (London, 1967). In 1971 there appeared Lloyd George: a Diary by Frances Steve nson , edited by A. J. P. Taylor. Mr Taylor was also the editor of My Darling Pussy: the Letters of Lloyd George and Frances Stevenson, 1913-1941 (London, 1975).

CONTENT

Scope and content/abstract: The fonds comprises a substantial group of letters and papers, 1911-1972, acquired by Frances as private secretary to Lloyd George, including some business papers, notebooks of reminiscences and printed items. There are letters from a number of prominent politicians and public figures. There is also a small group of letters and papers, 1912-1965, concerning Lloyd George himself, papers, 1933-1946, relating to Jennifer Longford's schooldays, and a few papers relating to other members of the Stevenson family, notably Frances's sister Muriel and brother Paul.

ACCESS AND USE

Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement: The papers were largely arranged in files, either by Frances Stevenson, Jennifer Longford or, most probably, by Ruth Longford before they arrived at NLW. A few miscellaneous items have been incorporated in the appropriate files at NLW. They have been arranged at NLW into four groups: Frances Stevenson Papers, 1911-1985, David Lloyd George Papers, 1912-1965, Jennifer Longford Papers, 1933-1946, and miscellaneous Stevenson-Longford Family Papers, 1910-1996.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.

Finding aids: A hard copy of the finding aid is available at NLW and at the Parliamentary Archive, House of Lords.

ARCHIVAL INFORMATION

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history: Following the death of Frances, Dowager Countess Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, in 1972, the papers were inherited by her daughter Jennifer Longford, who evidently added a few items to the files of papers accumulated by her mother. Subsequently, the papers were transferred to Jennifer's daughter Ruth Longford during the 1990s while she was researching and writing the volume Frances, Countess Lloyd George: more than a mistress (Leominster, 1996). She added a file of her own research notes and papers to the archive.

Immediate source of acquisition: Purchased from Sotheby's, London, on behalf of Ruth Longford, January 2000.

ALLIED MATERIALS

Related material: A substantial group of photographs is in NLW, Special Collections. Frances's diaries, the correspondence between her and Lloyd George, and other related papers, are in the custody of the Parliamentary Archive (the Record Office at the House of Lords) as part of the Lloyd George Papers.

Publication note: Some of the items in the papers were published in Ruth Longford, Frances, Countess Lloyd George: more than a mistress (Leominster, 1996), which makes very extensive use of the papers.

DESCRIPTION NOTES

Archivist's note: Compiled by J. Graham Jones.
The following sources were used in the compilation of the catalogue: Dictionary of National Biography, 1971-1980 (London,1986), pp. 515-16; Who Was Who, 1971-1980 (London, 1981) p. 475; Lloyd George, Frances, The years that are past (London, 1967); Taylor, A.J.P., (ed.), Lloyd George: a Diary by Frances Stevenson (1971); idem. (ed.), My Darling Pussy: the Letters of Lloyd George and Frances Stevenson, 1913-1941 (London, 1975); Longford,Ruth, Frances, Countess Lloyd George: more than a mistress (Leominster, 1996).

Rules or conventions: This description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) Second Edition; AACR2; and LCSH.

Date(s) of descriptions: May 2002.


INDEX ENTRIES
Subjects
Great Britain | Politics and government | 20th century

Personal names
Lloyd George , David , 1863-1945
Lloyd George , Frances , 1888-1972

Corporate names
Liberal Party (Great Britain)

Places

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