His life

The Wilkie Collins Society publishes biographical accounts of Wilkie Collins and his family. They range from interviews with Wilkie Collins and recollections by people who knew him to modern studies of his life, family, and finances. Available to download free.


Mary Cunliffe’s Recollections of Wilkie Collins, April 2020.
Edited by Paul Lewis.
Stories of meetings with Wilkie at various times and places, newly transcribed from two typescripts written about 1885 by Mary Cunliffe. It is the original source for some often reported stories Wilkie Collins told.

A Novelist on Novel Writing, Mar 2001.
Edited by Andrew Gasson.
A recently discovered interview with Wilkie Collins in which he says that Armadale was his own favourite among his works. Originally published in Cassell’s Saturday Journal, 5 March 1887.

A visit to Wilkie Collins – Personal recollections by one who knew him, August 2017.
Edited by Paul Lewis.
An account by an unidentified journalist of meeting Wilkie Collins. First published after his death in Pall Mall Gazette, 30 January 1890.

Wilkie Collins by George Makepeace Towle, August 2006.
Edited by Andrew Gasson.
This short biography was originally published in Appleton’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, 3 September 1870. It contains several autobiographical quotes from Collins himself.


A Life in Six scenes – Wilkie Collins in the Census, April 2021.
Paul Lewis.
The complete records of Wilkie Collins, his family, and households as recorded in the censuses from 1831 to 189.

Different Worlds, March 1999.
Graham Law.
A contemporary account of Wilkie’s funeral with details about Wilkie Collins’s lover Martha Rudd which are not found elsewhere. First published in New York World, 29 September 1889.

In Memory of Wilkie Collins, June 1994.
Wilkie’s funeral and obituaries including those in The Daily Telegraph, The Pall Mall Gazette, and Edmund Yates writing in The World.

Wilkie Collins’s Religious Upbringing, January 2017.
Alan Bean.
The religious environment in which Wilkie grew up with details of the pew rented by his father and how things changed when William Collins died.

Poor Miss Finch and the Eyes of Wilkie Collins, April 2019.
Andrew Gasson.
What was wrong with Lucilla’s eyes in Poor Miss Finch (1872)? And what was wrong with Wilkie’s own eyes?

Educating Elizabeth Harriet Graves, May 2010.
Newly revealed information and analysis on where Wilkie Collins’s stepdaughter went to school and what Wilkie paid for her education.

Rambles Around Marylebone, June 1994.
William M. Clarke.
An account of houses Wilkie Collins lived in with a map and route to see them.

The birth of Wilkie Collins, January 2024.
The romance of Wilkie Collins’s parents, his birth and baptism, how he became ;Wilkie, and why he was Marylebone Man.

When was William Collins R.A. born? May 2021.
Paul Lewis.
Wilkie’s father William Collins was born on 19 September 1787, a year earlier than is widely reported and indeed was stated in Wilkie’s biography of him Memoirs of the Life of William Collins R. A. (1848).

A marriage of Convenience? April 2012.
Angela Richardson.
An analysis of the marriage of Wilkie’s brother Charles to Katey Dickens and the evidence about his sexuality.

Wilkie Collins and the Loudons, August 2018. Paul Lewis.
New information about the relations between the Loudon and Collins families.

Wilkie Collins’ “Intimacies”, February 1988.
William Clarke and Laurence Ince.
Discussion of Wilkie’s family and relations.

Attitudes, friends and influence

Wilkie Collins, Sport and Exercise, September 2012.
A compilation of Wilkie’s thoughts on sport and exercise from his letters and fiction.

Analysis of the Handwriting of Wilkie Collins, June 1997.
Andrea Lyttleton
The Graphologist explores Wilkie’s personality through his handwriting.

Wilkie Collins and West Norwood Cemetery, November 1998.
Paul Graham.
Many of Wilkie’s friends and associates are buried in West Norwood Cemetery.

Wilkie in Parliament, August 2014. 
Julien Foster
All the known occasions when Wilkie has been mentioned in House of Commons and House of Lords.


Search of Church Hill Cottage, Aug 2022.
Identifying the cottage in Broadstairs where Wilkie Collins wrote the opening parts of The Woman in White in August 1859.

Lunacy on the Isle of Man, March 2002.
Paul Lewis.
Wilkie’s visit to the Isle of Man in 1863 and did he have a role in speeding up the construction of the lunatic asylum there?

Overture to The Frozen Deep, May 2008.
Andrew Gasson.
An illustrated introduction to the CD of the overture to The Frozen Deep composed in 1857 which was discovered and recorded by the Wilkie Collins Society in 2008.

Overture to The Frozen Deep, May 2008.
Francesco Berger’s composition performed on the piano by Vyvian Bronk. A CD produced in association with the Dickens Fellowship. Until its discovery and performance early in 2008 this overture had not been heard since 1857.

The Visit by Wilkie Collins to Botallack Mine, March 2007.
Pierre Tissot van Patot.
The contemporary context to Wilkie’s visit to Botallack Mine which he wrote up in Chapter XI in Rambles Beyond Railways (1851).

The Wilkie Collins Memorial Library – A Dead Secret, March 2004.
Andrew Gasson
Account of the attempts to commemorate Wilkie Collins in St Paul’s cathedral and then in a library and what subsequently happened to the books.

Wilkie Collins and the Dinner at the Society of Authors, March 2007.
Edited by Andrew Gasson and Paul Lewis.
Reproduces the dinner menu, seating plan and order of proceedings for the Dinner to American Men & Women of Letters on 25 July 1888, with commentary and contextual notes.

Wilkie Walk – itinerary of places and maps, July 2006.
Paul Lewis.
Two maps of homes and places associated with Wilkie Collins and three pages of a guide.