The Amazing World of Alice in Wonderland
On the 9th December 1891, Lewis Carroll invited Alice Hargreaves to his rooms at Christ Church, Oxford. It was their last recorded meeting.
On January 14th, 1898, thirteen days before his sixty-sixth birthday, Lewis Carroll died of pneumonia, at Guildford. His funeral, as he instructed, was modest, ‘avoiding all things which are merely done for show…I should prefer a small plain head-stone’
He was buried at the Mount, at the cemetery on a hill, above the town of Guildford. Alice did not attend; four days later, her own father died.
Carroll’s belongings were distributed among the family. Some items were auctioned, burned or carelessly stored, but his reputation soared; he was mourned around the world, he was celebrated as ‘the sweetest soul/That ever looked with human eye.’
The first biography of lewis Carroll was written by his nephew Stuart Dodgson Collingwood, and published in 1898.
Lewis Carroll’s simple grave is open to visitors at The Mount, Guildford. He is buried near his Aunt Lucy Lutwidge. His brother Edwin, and several of his sisters, are buried in the same cemetery.
Alice’s Adventures Under Ground
The facsimile edition of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, originally hand-written by Lewis Carroll for Alice, and revised into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This early version of the story is simpler and shorter than Wonderland – it is half the length, and does not include the Hatter or Hare, the Duchess or the Cheshire Cat – and includes drawings by Carroll himself.
Carroll presented Alice’s Adventures Under Ground to Alice Liddell on 26 November, 1864. In 1885, he approached Alice again to ask if she objected to him professionally publishing the facsimile version; she gave permission, and Macmillan printed 5000 copies for Christmas 1886. All profits were given to Homes and Hospitals for Children.
The original was sold by Alice at auction in 1928 to a New York dealer (Dr. A S W Rosenbach) and subsequently sold to a private collector (Eldridge Johnson). On his death, his widow sold the book back to Rosenbach. He, with others, arranged for the book to be bought by American benefactors who gave the book back to the British nation in appreciation for the British contribution to the Second World War. It is currently held at the British Library, and you can read it here:
This toy croquet set travelled from the family home at Croft to the Chestnuts, where no doubt it was passed on to the Dodgson nephews and nieces. Perhaps it inspired the croquet game in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
It can now be seen, with other original artefacts and treasures from Lewis Carroll’s childhood, and these distinctive tiles in the style of Tenniel’s illustrations, at Guildford Museum.
The Misses Dodgson spent much of their time involved in parish work, and were, like Carroll himself, extremely fond of children. These cut-out paper dolls were made by one of Lewis Carroll’s sisters for a little village girl at Croft, and were treasured by the owner all her life. They are now on display at Guildford Museum.