The Real Alice in Wonderland

Alice Pleasance Liddell

Alice Pleasance Liddell (1852–1934) was the middle daughter of Henry George Liddell, Dean of Christ Church at Oxford and Lorina Hanna Liddell (nee Reeve). Alice, along with her sisters Edith and Lorina, first met Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who wrote under the pen name Lewis Carroll, on April 25, 1856, as he and a friend were setting up to photograph Christ Church Cathedral from the garden of the Dean’s residence.

Over the next few years, Carroll would become a close friend of the Liddell family. Alice and her sisters were frequent models for Carroll’s photography, and he often took the children on outings.

On July 4th, 1862, Carroll and the Rev. Robinson Duckworth took the girls boating up the Isis. Alice later recalled that as the company took tea on a shaded bank, she implored Carroll to “tell us a story.”

According to Carroll, “in a desperate attempt” and “without the least idea what was to happen afterwards,” he sent his heroine “straight down a rabbit-hole.” Upon Alice’s urging, Carroll began writing down his tale. On November 26, 1864, he presented her with an elaborate hand-illustrated manuscript, titled Alice’s Adventures Under Ground.

Mad Hatters Tea Party

When Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published a year later, Alice Liddell became immortalized as the inspiration for Carroll’s much-loved literary character. But unlike the fictional “Alice,” Alice Liddell grew up. By the time Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There was published, she was almost 20 years old, and Carroll’s close friendship with the Liddell family had weakened. His sequel can be seen as a fond farewell to Alice as she enters adulthood.

In 1880, Alice married amateur cricket player Reginald Gervis Hargreaves. She lived the cultured life of a country lady in Lyndhurst, England. She had three sons. Alan and Leopold were killed in World War I and Caryl survived to have a daughter of his own . To help pay taxes after the death of her husband in 1926, Alice put her original Alice’s Adventures Under Ground manuscript up for auction in 1928. It sold for 15,400 pounds, nearly four times the reserve price given it by Sotheby’s Auction House. The book was later purchased by a consortium of Americans and presented to the British people “in recognition of Britain’s courage in facing Hitler before America came into the war”. The manuscript now resides in the British Library.

Reginald Gervis Hargreaves (1832 – 1926)

Alice traveled to the United States in 1932 to receive an honorary doctorate from Columbia University in celebration of the centennial anniversary of Carroll’s birth.

Alice Hargreaves (nee Liddell) at age 80

Alice died two years later at age 82 And her ashes were buried at the church of St Michael and All Angels, Lyndhurst.

Alice’s memorial plaque at Lyndhurst.

Link below to Photos and Article on Alice

Relationship to Blackmores

Alice Liddell (1852 – 1934) was a second cousin to Eleanora Elizabeth Farr (1848 – 1901) who married Edwin Gordon Blackmore (1837 – 1909) and was the mother of John Coleridge Blackmore (1888 – 1961)

Relionship to Blackmores

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