Biographies: Lewis Carroll (1832-98)

Figure 1.--This 1876 photograph by Lewis Carroll shows Brook and Hugh Kitchin. We do not have any information on the boys. Notice the small Eton collars and detailing such as stipes on the trouser legs.

Lewis Carroll is the pseudonym of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Virtually everyone has heard of Lewis Carroll, but few have ever heard of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. He was born at the parsonage in Daresbury, Cheshire (1832). Charles grew up in a karge famikly. He was the third child, but eldest son, of Frances Jane Lutwidge (1804-1851) and Anglican Archdeacon Charles Dodgson (1800-1868). There were two older sisters, Frances Jane (1828-1903) and Elizabeth Lucy (1830-1916). Eight other siblings followed;: Caroline Hume (1833-1904), Mary Charlotte (1835-1911), Skeffington Hume (1836-1919), Wilfred Longley (1838-1914), Louisa Fletcher (1840-1930), Margaret Anne Ashley (1841-1915), Henrietta Harington (1843-1922), and Edwin Heron (1846-1918). They grew up in a loving, but strict environment. They children were all close. Their parents raised them in the valuea and morals of the High Church. He followed his father's vocation, but in addition to becoming an Anglican clergyman, also sgowed a flare for mathematics. He also liked to write. He was a prolific author (fiction, essays, political pamphlets, short stories, poetry, and mathematical textbooks, but only his children's books have stood the test of time. As Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) was rather an outlandish story, Dodgson didn't want his reputation tarnished. He thus used the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. And it it is for Alice that he his best known. Carroll was a very private person. He and his discendents destroyed many of his personal papers. He kept personal and nine of 13 survive, albedit with some pages cut out. This is of interest because his books are so origibal and imaginative. Literary scholars want to know what kind of person he was. It seems amazing that the same person that wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland also authored respected mathematics textbooks. Carroll was in fact a competent mathematician. He liked to create cipher, word, and logic games. In fact, had he been born a generation later, he probabky woukd have been involved in World War I cryptlogy for the British. Carroll was also a notable early photographer. He was an avid amateur photographer. One of his favorite subjects was children. He has, as a result, left us a wonderful record of late 19th century children's clothing. Most of his photogrph were of girls, but he also left some images of boys showing interesting outfits.


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Created: August 4, 2002
Last updated: 3:05 AM 2/27/2011