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Edith Somerville (1858-1949) and Violet Martin alias Martin Ross (1862-1915) were known as ‘Somerville and Ross’, one of Ireland's most celebrated literary partnerships.  These two women were cousins and both came from protestant landowning Anglo-Irish ascendancy families, Edith Somerville’s family home was Drishane House at Skibbereen, county Cork and Violet Martin’s home was Ross House, county Galway.  Somerville and Ross also held a shared desire for financial independence for themselves and they were both very supportive of the suffrage movement for women.  Their common social background and beliefs formed central themes in their works and one of their most widely known and enduring is the Irish R.M. tales (1899-1914).  Another critically acclaimed work is The Real Charlotte, (1894).

This is a significant collection of personal and literary papers of Edith Somerville and Violet Martin and it reflects the lives, interests and work of the two authors.  The collection consists largely of diaries, correspondence, working papers and draft manuscripts as well as Somerville’s pen and wash book illustrations and pencil sketches.  A list of the collection can be found here: 

The items in this collection which are digitally available is the correspondence between Edith Somerville and Ethel Smyth dating from 1918-1943 (Somerville Smyth Correspondence).  Ethel Smyth was a celebrated composer and she was an active suffragist.  Due to copyright restrictions access to this correspondence is by application only.  To apply for access click here.