Advanced Search

Excerpts from a Life Well-Traveled: The Jan Morris Collection of the University Libraries


George Mason University Libraries recently acquired a collection of rare Jan Morris first editions and pre-release review copies. The collection consists of 135 books and one rare signed poster from the 1940s. 

Born James Morris in 1926 in Somerset England, Morris underwent gender re-assignment surgery in 1972. In her highly personal work Conundrum: From James to Jan - An Extraordinary Personal Narrative of Transsexualism, Morris describes her life and sexual reassignment

Morris began as a newspaper writer, working on the editorial staff of The Guardian from 1957 to 1962 and was the first journalist to report the conquest of Mount Everest. Morris also served in the military, was married, and has 5 children. One of her children is Twm Morris, the musician and poet.

Her most famous work is arguably the Pax Britannica trilogy, a history of the British Empire. She is also widely acclaimed for her travel writing, which includes famous profiles of Oxford, Venice, Wales, Hong Kong, and New York City.

The collection is the generous gift of Philip M. Teigen. Teigen also donated a substantial collection of rare John Richard Green volumes to the Libraries in 2008.

Teigen’s interest in collecting Morris’ works stems from his development of the John Richard Green Collection. He wrote in a letter to the Libraries that he views Morris as Green’s “20th century intellectual heir.”

This exhibit combines images with excerpts from select works. 


Leah Donnelly and Bob Vay


Exhibit Items and Excerpts

This exhibit contains digital objects representing the actual physical exhibit items items and descriptions of and/or excerpts from these items.