Source Material Related to

Edith Emily Coulson James (1860-1936)

Edith Emily Coulson James was my maternal grandfather's elder sister. My mother and her siblings knew her as "Aunt Edie".

The items listed below include publications by and about her, as well as some family letters, which were discovered in the summer of 2010, at "Challonsleigh", Whitchurch, Tavistock, Devon, the former home of Edith's nephew Eric Trevenen James, which is still owned by his stepson Geoffrey Fox. 

John Barnard
Updated 28 November 2022

& Link
Description Location
EECJ-1 Letter to her brother Henry Rosher James.  Dated 3 Nov 1892, from 85 Durnford Street, Stonehouse, Devon. 8pp. References to mother's improving strength, Auntie Cassie [presumably Catherine Coulson Leah, née James], Uncle Dick [Augustus Frederick James], Uncle Tom [Leah]; walks with  uncles; plans for new water supply for Stonehouse; visit of Capt. & Mrs Edward Leah [Uncle Tom's brother]; letter from Mary [Mrs Henry Rosher James] at Naples en route to join her husband in India on Golconda [presumably SS Golconda (1887)]; reference to brother Leo [Lionel James] having been busy prior to performance of a play the preceding Tuesday [25 Oct 1892] [possibly an ancient Greek play performed at Bradfield College, a performing tradition in which Leo is supposed by his family to have actively participated, though 1892 was the year in which he took up a post at Classics master at Radley School] From Challonsleigh; held by John Barnard
EECJ-2-1 Letter to her brother Henry Rosher James. Dated 5 Jan 1893, from 17 Randolph Crescent, London W. 4pp. Reference to his accomodation problems in India; brother Leo's complex train travels to Bude with a pupil, via his aunt in Plymouth; formal invitation for Leo and Edith to dine with "Mr & Mrs Atkins" [unidentified] on Jan 18th; letter from Miss Dunn [unidentified] From Challonsleigh; held by John Barnard
EECJ-2-2 Letter to her brother Henry Rosher James. dated 28 May 1897, from 59 London Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent. 4pp. Moving from London to Tunbridge Wells with mother. From Challonsleigh; held by John Barnard
EECJ-3 Letter to her brother Henry Rosher James. Dated 18 May 1905, on Grand Hotel Brun, Bologna notepaper, but superscribed Hotel Mayer, Desenzano, Lake Benacus [Roman name for Lake Garda]. 6pp. Reference to meeting Countess Martinengo-Cesaresco "who wrote that interesting book The Liberation of Italy and also Lombard Studies". Description of visit to Palazzo Martinengo-Cesaresco [Brescia] and conversations with count and countess about their recent travels. Countess told Emily that Thomas Hodgkin (author of Italy and her Invaders) had been pleased to hear of Emily's work on Bologna. Visits to Salo and Palace of Catullus at Sirmione, where she took photographs. Plans to take Mary [H R James's wife] and children to "nice clean hotel" at Sirmione, and visit Brescia to see original of "your Boethius" [H R James made translation of the Consolations of Boethius]. Plans to travel home via Innsbruck. From Challonsleigh; held by John Barnard
EECJ-4 Letter to her brother Henry Rosher James. Dated 3 Oct 1913, on Lyceum Club notepaper, but superscibed The Flat House, Tunbridge Wells. 12pp. Reference to planning carpets etc for her "haven" at Tunbridge Wells. Sympathy with Henry's "burden" [presumably his being passed over for the directorship of the Indian Educational Service], and references to her efforts on his behalf with "Amy and Arthur" [unidentified] at Stoke Poges (Arthur having "talked to any MP's he has met"), writing to Lord Carmichael [Governor of Bengal], and meeting the Private Secretary of Lord Crewe [Secretary of State for India]. Notes that the India Office's official view is that it is a matter for the Government of Bengal, but encourages Henry to "hold on and defy the enemy". From Challonsleigh; held by John Barnard
EECJ-5 Letter to her brother Henry Rosher James. Dated 27 Nov 1913, on Lyceum Club notepaper. 8pp. Reports she is staying with Isabel Roget [unidentified] and has attended Council meetings at the Club. Reports meeting to discuss Henry's problems with Sir Alfred Croft. Suggests she can "put the screw on to Montagu privately now that ... there is clear evidence incriminating him" [possibly Edwin Montagu, Under-Secretary of State for India]. Also mentions contact with Lord Ampthill, Mr Neville [unidentified] and Sir Henry Craik, but says it is better that she continue the fight independently of Henry. Mentions a plan to visit Queen Anne Street to "talk with Mrs Walter" [Anne Louisa (née Hartland), 1840-1926, widow of Edith's cousin Walter John Coulson (1834-1889)]. Asks her brother to be kind to "Mr Humphrey Carter", the fiancé of a friend of a friend who will be at the Botanical Museum in Calcutta [presumably Humphrey Gilbert-Carter, later Director of Botanic Garden in Cambridge]. From Challonsleigh; held by John Barnard
EECJ-6 Letter to her brother Henry Rosher James. Dated 16 Feb 1916 on letterhead from Eastcourt, 62 Wodbury Park Road, Tunbridge Wells, with continuation dated 17 Feb 1916 on Lyceum Club letterhead. 6pp and 2pp enclosure (copy of part of letter dated 10 Feb from Contessa Martinengo). Glad to hear College trouble definitely settled, written to Lord Ampthill and to Sir Henry Craik to try to get him to achieve something, though ths will depend on his relations with Mr Chamberlain [Austen Chamberlain, Secretary of State for India May 1915 - Jul 1917]. Thinks Henry has "string claim for the appointment"; had "already begun to try to direct A.C.'s thoughts in the way they should go" [? Austen Chamberlain]. Henry right to think of striking a path for himself if effort to secure reparation should fail. Nice letter from Contessa Martinengo [the historian Evelyn Carrington, Contessa Martinengo-Cesaresco (1852-1931)]; had sent her copies of Harold's writings [Henry's son Harold Hindle James]. Sent copy of Henry's address [presumably a speech] to Sir Henry Craik, and will sent one to Lord Ampthill. Lunched with Mrs Walter [Anne Louisa (née Hartland), 1840-1926, widow of Edith's cousin Walter John Coulson (1834-1889)] and Mrs Banks [unidentified] and come on [to Lyceum Club] for Italian Circle meeting; Mrs Walter working hard at hospital depot. Expecting Nellie [Edith's cousin Ellen James, née Leah], Mrs Taylor and Miss Bousfield [both unidentified] as guests. Heard from Mrs Walter that Cassie [Edith's cousin Katherine Louisa Mullins, née Leah] got her berth from Marseilles to Malta to see something of Herbert [Mullins, her husband, a Colonel in the Royal Marines Light Infantry]. Enclosure thanks Edith for copy of Harold's letters, and comments that Edith's letter gives interesting account of her "investigations into the question of the picture ... I do not think C.P. infallible. I hope you will be favoured by fortune in getting new proofs, but I think your case very strong already". From Challonsleigh; held by John Barnard
EECJ-7 Obituary for "Miss E.E.C. James" in The Times, Wed 3 June 1936, p. 16, col 3. PDF from Times Digital Archive forwarded to John Barnard by Maria Alambritis, 27 Nov 2018
EECJ-8 Obituary for "Death of Miss Edith Coulson James" in Kent and Sussex Courier, 5 June 1926, p. 13, col 6. Includes substantial information on her Rosher, Gladdish, Nunn and Lauder ancestry. PDF from British Library forwarded to John Barnard by Maria Alambritis, 27 Nov 2018
EECJ-9 Photographs of Edith James
  1. Sitting in a garden (identified on reverse in hand of Pascha Barnard)
  2. Standing in doorway of Monmouth School house, with Ethel de Pearsall James (identified on reverse in hand of Pascha Barnard)
Original print held by John Barnard
EECJ-10 Maria Alambritis, Modern Mistresses on the Old Masters:  women and the writing of art history, 1865 - 1915, PhD Thesis, Birkbeck University of London, 2020. [Contains discussion of the work of EECJ]
EECJ-11 Edith E. Coulson James, Bologna: Its History, Antiquities, and Art. London: Henry Frowde, OUP, 1909 Copy purchased from Amazon, Jan 2010 and held by John Barnard
EECJ-12 Will of Edith Emily Coulson James, dated 21 Mar 1912, with codicil dated 6 Jun 1932, and list of bequests dated 4 Aug 1932. (Edith James died 2 Jun 1936; probate 27 Jul 1936, London to Lionel James and Ethel de Pearsall James, Executors; effects £16,685 5s 10d) Original typescript copies 
EECJ-13Maria Alambritis, "Edith Coulson James, Francesco Francia and ‘The Burlington Magazine’, 1911–17", Burlington Magazine Vol. 164, No. 1426, pp. 41-49 (January 2022). Available online at