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Bull, Dorothy, 1887-1934



Dorothy Bull (1887-1934) was born in New York City, the daughter of Dr. Charles Stedman Bull and Mary Eunice Kingsbury of Waterbury, Conn. She was educated in a small private school in Morristown, N.J. and in the Brearly School of New York. After graduation in 1906, she pursued social work and had a club of girls at Hartley House, a settlement house on New York's west side that sought social reform through education and charity.

Around 1912, she was active in an exhibition to show the bad effects of overcrowding in cities. Bull was seriously ill in 1917 and 1918 and moved permanently to Litchfield, Conn., where she had been a summer resident since 1908.

During World War I Dorothy, an aspiring writer, maintained an active correspondence with English poet laureate John Masefield. Masefield encouraged Bull to write more poetry and offered candid feedback to Bull regarding her submissions to him. She privately published "Verse," a book of poetry in 1916 and was a contributor to "The Forge," an Anglo-American poetry review Masefield encouraged her to join. The review including poetry from the likes of Robert Frost was edited by Jasper Yeates Brinton (18XX-196X) and published four times during WWI. Her plays and local history writing include "Litchfield: An Historic Masque" and a chapter in Alain White's "History of Litchfield."

In Litchfield, she was instrumental in the formation of the Girl Scouts in 1918, taught dramatics as a volunteer teacher at the high school, was the secretary and a trustee of the Connecticut Junior Republic Association from 1922 to 1926, and was an active member of the Connecticut Society of Colonial Dames. In 1923, she and her brothers purchased the Glebe, also known as the Corner House, from the estate of Edith Howell Perkins Rockhill.

In 1926, Bull and Spinney organized the Spring Hill School acting as co-principals. Bull purchased the former Spring Hill Sanitarium from Dr. John Buel in 1926 to serve as the school’s home. The property was located on an estate of sixty acres, and included six cottages and the house in which Henry Ward Beecher once lived. The school was incorporated in 1930 and Bull was elected president and trustee. Dorothy Bull died in 1934.

Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:

Dorothy Bull collection


Identifier: 1954-26-0
Scope and Contents The Dorothy Bull collection (1954-26-0, .42 linear feet) consists of letters from John Masefield (1878-1967), a poet lauriet of the United Kingdom, containing suggestions and criticisms of Dorothy Bull's writing and other contemporary writers and other topics; other letters written by Masefield; Bull's 1922-1923 letters to her aunt Edith Kingsbury written from England; Masefield's published works and copies of The Forge, a literary magazine he founded; verse...
Dates: Created: 1913-1934; Other: Date acquired: 10/09/1955

Series 1 - Correspondence, 1916-1935

Series 1 - Correspondence Scope & Contents Series 1 - Correspondence (1916-1935) - Thirteen Files contain 103 notes and letters including letters with enclosures.File numbers 1,2,4,6,8,9 11, and 13 contain 94 letters from John Edward Masefield (1878-1976) to Dorothy Bull and (one letter) to her oldest brother, Frederick Kingsbury Bull, after her death in 1934. Nearly all Masefield letters written to Bull before the end of 1920 were dated, written on stationary, and lengthy. However, the collection contains no letters from...
Dates: Created: 1916-1935

Spring Hill School collection


Identifier: 1951-30-0
Scope and Contents The Spring Hill School collection (1951-30-0, .83 linear feet) documents a private school modelled on a philosophy of progressive education. Founded by Dorothy Bull and Mabel Foster Spinney in Litchfield, Conn., the school operated from 1926 to 1939. The collection includes correspondence, financial records, minutes, institutional records, brochures, and published editions of student work. The collection also contains tributes to co-founders Bull from 1934 and Spinney from 1951 and a...
Dates: Created: 1926-1940; Other: Date acquired: 01/01/1951

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Collection 2
Photographs 2
Correspondence 1
Drawings 1
Education -- Philosophy 1
Ephemera 1