The real girl named Alice

...

Alice Pleasance Liddell

Alice Pleasance Liddell was one of Charles Dodgson’s many childhood’s friends.

Alice liddell was born on 4 May 1852 and was the 4th child and second daughter of the Dean from the Christ Church College in Oxford, Henry George Liddell, and Lorina Liddell. ‘Liddell’ is pronounced to rhyme with ‘fiddle’.

In 1876 her sister Edith died, aged only 22 and just before she was to be married. This was a huge shock for the family.

On 25th February 1856, Henry Liddell, the new Dean, moved into the Deanery at Christ Church. Dodgson came in contact with the Liddell’s via the Dean’s niece, Fredrika Liddell, whom he had sketched. He met the Liddell family in February 1856 during a train trip. Two months later, on 25 April, he met Alice during a photo session with his friend Reginald Southey, on which occasion he was photographing Christ Church Cathedral.By the latter part of 1856 Mrs. Liddell had asked Dodgson not to take any photographs anymore, and he understood that he was intruding too much. But when the Liddell’s went on a vacation and left the children in the care of their governess, Miss Prickett (it was rumoured that Dodgson had an affair with her, but he wrote in his diary that he thought it ‘so groundless a rumour’), she let Dodgson visit the children again, and this continued when their parents returned.

During the period of the publishing of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, Dodgson’s relationship with Alice began to diminish; her mother became concerned about their friendship and limited his access to them. From July until December 1863 he did not see them at all, and after that he rarely saw them.

Marriage

Alice was 20 years old when Prince Leopold (the youngest son of Queen Victoria) arrived at Christ Church, as an undergraduate from 1872 until 1876. It is rumoured that there was a romance, but Alice was a ‘commoner’ and marriage was not allowed.

in 1880 Alice married Reginald Hargreaves. Dodgson was not present at her wedding, but sent her, together with a friend, a present.

She had three sons, of which two died in WWI.

In 1928, Alice sold her manuscript of “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground”, because she needed money to pay death duties.

In 1932, when she was 80, Alice published her memoirs. She also went to New York because of the centenary of Dodgson’s birth and was made a Doctor in Literature by Columbia University.

Alice died on 15 November 1934

Alice Pleasance Liddell