Ada Leverson Letters from the Sitwells, circa 1920-1935

Overview of the Collection

Leverson, Ada.
Ada Leverson Letters from the Sitwells
circa 1920-1935 (inclusive)
0.25 Linear feet of shelf space, (2 Boxes)
Collection Number
Cage 4669 (collection)
Postcards and letters from Edith, Osbert and Sacherevell Sitwell chiefly about literary matters and mutual friends. Includes one poem by Osbert Sitwell, "Aux Bords de la Mer." Most salutations are to "Sphinx."
Washington State University Libraries' Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC)
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Terrell Library Suite 12
Pullman, WA
Telephone: 509-335-6691
Access Restrictions

This collection is open and available for research use.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Ada Leverson, 1859-1936, was an English novelist who belonged to London's world of wealth and fashion. Her six novels were published between 1907 and 1916; they belong to Edwardian era.

She married early, becoming Mrs. Ernest Leverson. She had a son who died when a small boy. Her one daughter, Violet, married Guy Windham and has written a biography of her mother, The Sphinx and Her Circle.

She was a friend of the artists and writers of her time from Oscar Wilde to the Sitwells. It was Wilde who gave her the nickname "Sphinx". This is the title of one of Oscar Wilde's poems, "The Sphinx", that Ada parodied. From then on Oscar always called her "Sphinx", and the name stuck.

In her later years, she spent time abroad, particularly in Italy, where she passed the time in the company of the Sitwells. By this time, she had developed significant loss of hearing.

In 1935 while returning to London from Florence, she was struck down by illness. She died in 1936 at the age of 71.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Postcards and letters (some with envelopes) from the Sitwells, primarily Edith and Osbert, about literary matters and mutual friends and enemies. Most of the letters are addressed to "Sphinx", a nickname given to Ada Leverson by Oscar Wilde. Also includes one clipping of a poem by Osbert Sitwell, Aux Bords de la Mar.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Preferred Citation

[Item description]

Ada Leverson Letters from the Sitwells, circa 1920-1935 (Cage 4669)

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The papers are in the order that they came in from the seller. They could not be put into chronological order by date because, for the most part, there were no dates on the letters, and the dates could not be ascertained from the contents of the letters.

Acquisition Information

The letters from the Sitwells to Ada Leverson were purchased by the Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections of Washington State University Libraries in 1987 from George Robert Minkoff, Inc. with a group of Sitwell letters. The Leverson letters were formed into a seperate collection.

Processing Note

In 2022, Gayle O'Hara revised the collection description to bring it into compliance with current professional standards.

Related Materials

Thomas Balston Papers of the Sitwells, 1924-1960 (Cage 9)

Siegfried Sassoon Papers of the Sitwells, 1918-1957 (Cage 165)

Edith, Osbert, and Sacheverell Sitwell Papers, 1917-1972 (Cage 531)

Nina Hamnett Papers, 1914-1953 (Cage 534)

Stephen Tennant Papers, 1929-1977 (Cage 643)

Stephen Tennant Papers, 1945-1953 (Cage 4722)

Edith Sitwell Correspondence, 1922-1964 (Cage 4793)

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Authors, English -- 20th century -- Correspondence

Personal Names

  • Leverson, Ada -- Archives

Family Names

  • Sitwell family

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Sitwell, Edith, 1887-1964 (creator)
    • Sitwell, Osbert, 1892-1969 (creator)
    • Sitwell, Sacheverell, 1897-1988 (creator)