A Courtship by Letter: Hilaire Belloc and Elodie Hogan

Elodie Belloc Correspondence Collection, MS2007-005, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Letters from the Elodie Belloc Correspondence Collection, MS.2007.005, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

“….So again good night – if I could follow the night round her long whirl around the bend of the earth – at last I should come to you….”

Hilaire Belloc to Elodie Hogan, August 6, 1890.

Two young sweethearts, at the turn of the nineteenth century, separated by immense distance (and having no internet or telephone to unite them), kindled their romance through love letters and long journeys.

Elodie Agnes Hogan was born in 1868, the daughter of Irish immigrant parents. She was raised in Napa, California by her widowed mother who was the proprietor of a hotel there. As a young woman, Elodie considered joining a religious order, but also aspired to a career in journalism. Photograph from the Hilary A. Belloc Collection, MS1998-004, Box 2,Folder 22, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Elodie Agnes Hogan was born in 1868, the daughter of Irish immigrant parents. She was raised in Napa, California by her widowed mother who was the proprietor of a hotel there. As a young woman, Elodie considered joining a religious order, but also aspired to a career in journalism. Photograph from Box 2,Folder 22, Hiliare Belloc Papers, MS.1998.004, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

American Elodie Hogan (1868 – 1914), age 22, met Hilaire Belloc (1870 – 1953), two years her junior, in London while touring Europe with her mother and elder sister in the summer of 1890. They were introduced there, at the Belloc family home, by mutual friends. By August, though already in love, Elodie was on her way back to her home in California. The couple began exchanging letters, and it was not long before Hilaire began a journey across ocean and continent to be with her again. Short of funds for such a trip, he traveled across the United States by train, paying his way at times by offering sketches in exchange for room and board.  Family objections and practical considerations kept the two from marrying immediately, but although Hilaire returned to Europe, they wrote to one another throughout the intervening years. He returned to California in 1896 and the couple wed in June. The Bellocs had five children – three sons and two daughters. In 1913 Elodie became ill with what was probably cancer, and she died at the family home, King’s Land, in 1914. When she died, Hilaire, heartbroken, closed the door to her room and it was never again opened in his lifetime.

English writer Joseph Hilaire Peter Belloc was born in Celle Saint-Cloud, France in 1870. His mother was an English citizen, and the family moved to England after Belloc’s father died. Belloc attended the Oratory School under John Henry Cardinal Newman from 1880-1887. After Belloc finished school, he returned to France to complete his compulsory military service. He attended Balliol College, Oxford. In 1896 he completed his degree with first class honors in history.  Photograph from the Hilary A. Belloc Collection, MS1998-004 Box 2,Folder 21, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

English writer Joseph Hilaire Peter Belloc was born in Celle Saint-Cloud, France in 1870. His mother was an English citizen, and the family moved to England after Belloc’s father died. Belloc attended the Oratory School under John Henry Cardinal Newman from 1880-1887. After Belloc finished school, he returned to France to complete his compulsory military service. He attended Balliol College, Oxford. In 1896 he completed his degree with first class honors in history. Photograph from Box 2,Folder 21, Hilaire Belloc Papers, MS.2005.003, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

The correspondence of Elodie and Hilaire Belloc is part of the Elodie Belloc Correspondence collection (MS2007-005).  It is one of several Belloc family collections at the Burns Library.

  • Further Resources on the Bellocs include:

Hilaire Belloc’s Library – Belloc’s books from his house, King’s Land, available in the Burns Library Reading Room

Elodie Belloc Correspondence collection– available on the Burns Library’s Flickr photostream and in the Burns Library Reading Room

Works by Hilaire Belloc – available online via Project Gutenburg

Cautionary Tales – an earlier John J. Burns Library blog post highlighting Belloc’s well-known children’s book

About John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections at Boston College

The University’s special collections, including the University’s Archives, are housed in the Honorable John J. Burns Library, located in the Bapst Library Building, north entrance. Burns Library staff work with students and faculty to support learning and teaching at Boston College, offering access to unique primary sources through instruction sessions, exhibits, and programming. The Burns Library also serves the research needs of external scholars, hosting researchers from around the globe interested in using the collections. The Burns Library is home to more than 200,000 volumes and over 700 manuscript collections, including holdings of music, photographic materials, art and artifacts, and ephemera. Though its collections cover virtually the entire spectrum of human knowledge, the Burns Library has achieved international recognition in several specific areas of research, most notably: Irish studies; British Catholic authors; Jesuitica; Fine printing; Catholic liturgy and life in America, 1925-1975; Boston history; the Caribbean, especially Jamaica; Nursing; and Congressional archives.
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3 Responses to A Courtship by Letter: Hilaire Belloc and Elodie Hogan

  1. Pingback: Invention of Copyright, Handselling in Dublin, and Three Rules for Raising Your Teenaged Son | Read React Review: Rethinking romance and other fine fiction

  2. Priscilla says:

    After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are
    added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added
    I get 4 emails with the same comment. There has to be a way you can remove me from that service?
    Thanks!

    • Hello Priscilla,

      That sounds like something you would have to edit in your own settings. We do not have a list that we can remove you from. Sorry!

      After a bit of searching, I think I have found what you need. In the WordPress Dashboard if you click on “Blogs I follow” there should be a setting for “subscription management” and a section for “comments”

      This should allow you to unsubscribe from the comments.

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