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Victoria Lincoln papers

Identifier: MS-0313

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Scope and Contents

The papers of American writer, Victoria Lincoln, consist largely of drafts of her many articles, stories, poems, and novels. The collection spans 1833-1986, with the bulk of the material from 1925-1985. Along with her writings are business records which include contracts, correspondence with agents and literary editors, and the reviews and fan mail which followed her published material. The collection demonstrates the creative efforts of a writer along with the business aspects of a literary career in America. Included in the papers are examples of Miss Lincoln's many published stories that appeared in popular American journals, 1935-1962. A significant amount of draft material is for Miss Lincoln's last project, Teresa: A Woman. She re-worked the manuscript several times over a period of ten years. The collection contains at least two drafts of typescript with holographic corrections.

The Writings Series is the largest grouping of material. Along with drafts of published and unpublished pieces, there is a selection of popular fiction and essays from American journals which exemplify the "formula writing" for women's magazines of the period. Miss Lincoln was very successful as a novelist, but she found writing poetry to be personally satisfying. She once remarked that [she] "wrote poetry for an audience of one." Drafts of her poems, mostly unpublished, are part of Series 4: Writings.

Victoria Lincoln was born into a prominent New England family. Her ancestors included sea captains and factory managers. Series 1: Personal and Series 2: Cobb-Lincoln Families include substantial information about family history and a few references to Miss Lincoln's high school and college life. Her grandfather, Leontine Lincoln, and father, Jonathan Thayer Lincoln, are well- represented. Of particular interest is a lovely selection of letters, 1920s to 1955, written to Miss Lincoln from her mother, Louise Sears Cobb Lincoln. Also in the Personal Series are letters from distinguished writers of the period: J. D. Salinger, May Sarton, Sinclair Lewis, and William Saroyan. Other correspondence dealing with literary representation or fan mail can be found in Series 3: Business Records and Series 4: Writings.

Other items in the collection include book reviews, publicity releases, articles about Miss Lincoln and her career, and German translations of stories which appeared in Femina in the 1970s.


  • Creation: 1833-1986
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1925-1985


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical Note

Victoria Lincoln was an American writer of fiction and journalistic articles. She was born in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1904, the daughter of Jonathan Thayer Lincoln (1869-1942) and Louise Sears Cobb Lincoln. She was the granddaughter of Leontine Lincoln (1846-1923), a prominent manufacturer of cotton and silk machinery. Miss Lincoln graduated from B.M.C. Durfee High School (Class of 1922) in Fall River and received her B.A. from Radcliffe College in 1926. She lived in Fall River until 1927, and the influences of her native city found expression in some of her writings.

In 1930, Miss Lincoln published The Swan Island Murders, quickly followed by many short stories, novellas, and articles. She published widely in popular American magazines from the 1930s through the 1970s. Her work appeared in Harpers, Colliers, the Atlantic, Vogue, Good Housekeeping, and the New Yorker. Much of her magazine work conformed to the accepted boundaries for women writers of that period. She concentrated on light romantic stories or essays in self-improvement. The subject matter of her novels proved more diverse and thought-provoking. Her writings ranged from cultural explorations in February Hill and Celia Amberly to the human explorations of historical figures such as Charles Dickens, Lizzie Borden, and St. Teresa of Avila.

In 1934, February Hill was published. It portrayed the lives of working men and women in a mill town and was later dramatized for the Broadway stage in 1939 under the title, The Primrose Path. RKO Pictures produced the film version of The Primrose Path starring Ginger Rogers and Joel McCrea in 1940. February Hill enjoyed a second success when it was published by the American Military Government in the 1940s and used for re-education in Germany. Miss Lincoln followed February Hill with collections of short stories and poems including Grandmother and the Comet (1944) and The Wind at My Back (1947). During a period of convalescence, Miss Lincoln re-discovered Charles Dickens, and her pleasure in reading became an inspiration to the writer's habit. Charles, a biographical novel of Dickens was published in 1962.

Miss Lincoln returned to her hometown for a project about the famous 19th-century spinster and alleged murdereress, Lizzie Borden. As a child, Miss Lincoln had lived a few blocks from the Borden home. Her familiarity with the cultural milieu of Fall River gave her an insider's advantage in researching both the facts and the legends surrounding the famous trial in 1892. A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden by Daylight (1967) was a critical success and earned her the "Edgar" from the Mystery Writers Association of America. (The "Edgar" is a ceramic statue which favors Edgar Allan Poe.) Fall River celebrated the town's notoriety and Miss Lincoln's literary reputation by inviting her to speak before the Friends of the Library group in 1974.

Translations of Miss Lincoln's writings were published in Spain, Norway, and Germany. She traveled to Europe several times with her husband, Victor Lowe, who worked for many years on a biography of mathematician and philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead. Lowe acknowledged Miss Lincoln's assistance and support to his research and writing. Miss Lincoln's last major project absorbed her for nearly ten years. She began a study of the Spanish mystic, St. Teresa of Avila. Her manuscript was finished, though unedited, at the time of her death. Her husband, Victor Lowe, assumed the responsibility for seeing the manuscript through publication. The published volume titled Teresa: A Woman appeared in 1984. Victoria Lincoln died in Baltimore, Md. in 1981.

The following titles by Victoria Lincoln are available in the Milton S. Eisenhower Library:

Celia Amberley. New York, Rinehart [1949]. (PQ3523.L585 C4 1949)

Charles, A Novel. [1st ed.] Boston, Little, Brown [1962]. (PQ3523.L585 C45 1962)

February Hill. New York, Farrar & Rinehart, Inc. [c1934]. (PQ3523.L585 F4 1934)

Teresa, A Woman: A Biography of Teresa of Avila./ Victoria Lincoln: Edited with introduction by Elias Rivers and Antonia T. de Nicol s. Albany, N.Y, SUNY Press, c1984. (BX4700.T4 L5 1984) Published volumes of Miss Lincoln's works which were received with her papers will be added to Rare Books, Special Collections.


8.75 Cubic Feet (7 record center cartons)

Language of Materials



Victoria Lincoln was an American writer of fiction and journalistic articles born in 1904. The papers consist largely of drafts of her many articles, stories, poems, and novels. The collection spans 1833-1986, with the bulk of the material from 1925-1985.


The papers have been artificially arranged into 4 series: Series 1, Personal; Series 2, Cobb-Lincoln Families; Series 3, Business Records; Series 4, Writings.


The papers were donated to The Johns Hopkins University by Mrs. Louise Lowe Kittredge, February 1991.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan in June 1991.

After Miss Lincoln's death, her papers were collected and separated by her husband, Victor Lowe. Lowe sorted the items into folders or envelopes and assigned labels to each grouping. Many labels begin with "Vicky" which is how Miss Lincoln was known to her family and friends. In some cases, he added useful annotations and notes. However, much of the draft material was received out-of-sequence and untitled. An attempt has been made to restore some order to the drafts, but the results are limited by the overwhelming volume of pages.

Victoria Lincoln papers
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA