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Guide to the Lily Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough Collection
circa 1892-2012
 PR 447

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 27, 2022
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator - com: Svenson, Sally E.
Title: Lily Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough collection
Dates [inclusive]: circa 1892-2012
Abstract: A small collection of images, primarily of Lily, Duchess of Marlborough, compiled by Lily's biographer, Sally E. Svenson. Svenson's book is also in the collection.
Quantity: .21 Linear feet in 1 document box + 1 oversize folder
Location: Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit
Language: The documents in the collection are in English.
Call Phrase: PR 447

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Biographical / Historical

Lily, Duchess of Marlborough, was born Eliza Warren Price on June 10, 1854, in Troy, New York. The name "Lily" developed in childhood as a nickname that she came to be known by throughout her life. Her first husband, Louis Hamersley, was a New Yorker who died when Lily was only twenty-eight. She then married George Charles Spencer-Churchill, the eighth Duke of Marlborough, in 1888. This marriage made her the highest-ranking American peeress in England and the first American duchess in fifty years. The Duke died in 1892. In 1895, Lily married the English lord, William de la Poer Beresford. In 1897, Lily had her first, and only child, William. Her husband William died in 1900 and Lily died in 1909.

(The above note was based on Sally E. Svenson's biography of Lily, which is in this collection.)

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Scope and Contents

A small collection of images, primarily of Lily, Duchess of Marlborough, compiled by Lily's biographer, Sally E. Svenson. The images are in the form of two original cabinet cards, magazine tear sheets, reproductions of photographs, and two digital files on two CDs. Svenson's book is also in the collection.


The collection is arranged by format.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Marlborough, Lily Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of, 1854-1909

Document Type

  • Books.
  • Digital images.
  • Photographs.
  • Tear sheets.

Subject Topics

  • Nobility -- Great Britain.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

For more information on making arrangements to consult the collection, please visit

Use Restrictions

Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff. Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit:

Preferred Citation

The collection should be cited as: Lily Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough collection, PR 447, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, New-York Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Sally E. Svenson, 2022.

Processing Information

The collection was processed by archivist Larry Weimer in August 2022.

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Container List

Container 1     Title Date
Box: 1 Lily, Duchess of Marlborough. Cabinet card
circa 1892
Box: 1 Lady William Beresford, after court presentation in three feather headdress. Cabinet card
Box: 1 Duke and Duchess of Marlborough at Blenheim house party. Photograph

Scope and Contents

Late 20th century print by the American Heritage Publishing Archive of a circa 1890 photograph.

Box: 1 Photographs (4) of Lily

Scope and Contents

4 glossy copies of photographs of Lily from circa 1870s-1890s

Folder: FF-1 Tear sheets. Oversize

Scope and Contents

"Illustrated London News" of Nov. 19, 1892, with photos of the late Duke of Marlborough and of Lily; and "Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News" of Oct. 5, 1895, with drawings of "The Prince of Wales at Deepdene."

1892, 1895
Box: 1 Tear sheet

Scope and Contents

"The Bystander" of January 24, 1906; front page with photo of Lily and her son.

Box: 1 "Country Life Illustrated"

Scope and Contents

Entire issue for May 20, 1899, with photo of Lily on cover.


Scope and Contents

2 CDs, one with a photo of Lily's father, the other with her mother. The digital files have not been extracted from the CDs, but can be done by a processing archivist on request with advance notice.

Box: 1 Book. "Lily, Duchess of Marlborough (1854-1909): A Portrait with Husbands" by Sally E. Svenson

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