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Francese Hubbard Litchfield Turnbull papers

Identifier: MS-0229

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Scope and Contents

This small collection gives a glimpse of the literary life of Baltimore in the late nineteenth century. Francese Turnbull was an author and patron of the arts. This collection is not her complete papers but deals with two of her interests: the patronage of Sidney Lanier and her membership in the Woman's Literary Club of Baltimore.

The material on Lanier briefly describes the Turnbull's friendship with Sidney and Mary Day Lanier and details some of the activities the Turnbulls undertook to aid Mary and the Laniers' four children after Sidney's death in 1881. For more information on Sidney Lanier, see the Sidney Lanier Papers Ms. 7.

Francese Turnbull was a founding member and early president of the Woman's Literary Club of Baltimore. Included in this collection are papers Turnbull wrote and presented to the Club between 1890 and 1896. Although the official records of the club are housed at the Maryland Historical Society, some information about the club's activities can be found in Turnbull's annual reports for 1892 and 1893.

Related Collections

The papers of Francese's daughters Eleanor and Grace and her son Edwin are all in Special Collections in Ms. 51, Ms. 55, and Ms. 103. There are also related collections of Turnbull papers at the Maryland Historical Society.


  • Creation: 1870-1927


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

Francese Hubbard Litchfield Turnbull, poet and author, was born in Utica, New York in 1845(?). She was the daughter of Edwin C. Litchfield and Grace Hill (Hubbard) Litchfield. She was educated at home and in Europe. In 1871, she married Baltimore attorney, Lawrence Turnbull. The Turnbulls resided in Baltimore, Md. and were the parents of five children: Edwin Litchfield, Eleanor Laurelle, Percy Graeme, Bayard, and Grace Hill. Percy Graeme died in 1887, and his parents established the Percy Turnbull Lectureship on Poetry at The Johns Hopkins University in his memory.

Turnbull's interest in literature inspired her to become one of the founders of the Woman's Literary Club of Baltimore, Md. She served as the first president and was re-elected to that position seven times. She herself wrote several papers on literary topics which she read before the club members. Two of her papers were later published: "Sidney Lanier, A Study" published in Donald Sladen's series, "Younger American Poets" (1891) and "A Study of William Watson, published in Poet Lore (1897).

Francese Turnbull and her husband, Lawrence, were devoted to the interests of the poet, Sidney Lanier. The Turnbull and Lanier families became acquainted in 1870, and their friendship continued after the poet's death in 1881. Lawrence Turnbull had solicited contributions from other admirers in 1880 when Lanier was seriously ill as a result of tuberculosis. Letters of the poet's wife, Mary Day Lanier, indicate the deep feeling shared between the families. In 1890, Francese Turnbull published The Catholic Man, a novel in which the chief character, Paul, is a study of Sidney Lanier. Mrs. Turnbull assisted with arrangements for two tributes to Sidney Lanier held at The Johns Hopkins University, 1888 and 1895.

Francese Turnbull was the author of Val Maria (1893) and The Golden Book of Venice (1900). Francese Hubbard Litchfield Turnbull died in 1927.


0.47 Cubic Feet (1 legal size document box)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The papers were formerly part of the Eleanor H. Turnbull Papers MS.0055.


The papers were given to the University by Grace H. Turnbull.

Related Materials

Related material can be found in the Turnbull Collection Ms. 1101 and the Woman's Literary Club Collections Ms. 1181 and Ms. 988 at the Maryland Historical Society.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan in 1990.

Liz Beckman revised the Biographical note, Collection and Series level Scope and Content notes, and some folder titles in this finding aid in January 2024 to bring them into compliance with Johns Hopkins guidelines for inclusive and conscientious description (2023). The previous version of the finding aid is available upon request.

Francese Hubbard Litchfield Turnbull 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