Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Early Life at Croft Rectory

Lewis Carroll's sisters sitting under a large tree.

Old Rectory garden, Croft, ca 1857. All seven of Carroll’s
sisters sat for his photograph of the garden of the family home.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the man known to the world by his pen name Lewis Carroll, was born in Daresbury, Cheshire, England, on 27 January 1832. The Dodgson family moved to the Croft Rectory, Yorkshire in 1843, when Carroll’s father, a clergyman, was given a larger parish. As the first son in a Victorian family of seven girls and four boys, Carroll was the natural leader and instigator of family entertainment and activities ranging from marionette shows to collaborative writings such as "The Rectory Magazine."

Illustrated manuscript pages featuring prose, poetry and a sketch of a grotesque male character.

"The Rectory Magazine. Being a Compendium of the best tales,
poems, essays, pictures etc that the united talents of the
Rectory inhabitants can produce. Edited and printed by CLD.
Fifth Edition, carefully revised, & improved. 1850."

One of four surviving family magazines, "The Rectory Magazine" was edited by Lewis Carroll, who was also the chief contributor. Completely in his hand and illustrated by him as well, the magazine, which exists in a unique copy in the Ransom Center, is an early indication of Carroll's love of wordplay and puns, satire, and parody, as well as his interest in drawing.

Carroll's sisters and brother sitting in the drawing room.

Six of Carroll’s sisters and his brother Edwin posed for him
in the drawing-room of the Old Rectory at Croft, ca 1857.

Sketch of a boy boxing with a cat, resulting in overturned furniture and admonishment from an adult.

Untitled early drawing of a boy boxing with a cat, no date.

Next: Carroll at Oxford

Introductory - Early Life at Croft Rectory - Carroll at Oxford -
- Carroll the Photographer - Photographs of Children -
- Logic, Mathematics, and Puzzles - Alice - In Memoriam -