Story: Lesbian lives

Dorothy Richmond

Dorothy (Dolla) Richmond was a New Zealand artist active in the late 19th and early 20th century. She is believed to have had lesbian relationships and never married. In 1901 her sister Alla Atkinson expressed concern about Dolla's relationship with Constance Astley (who suffered from tuberculosis) in a letter marked 'special extra private'. She wrote: '[I]t would be horrible for [Constance] to think she had passed this deadly thing on to you, whom she loves. I love you to have such a friend, yet I feel infinitely happier for you when you are away with Miss Hodgkins [artist Frances Hodgkins] – it seems a healthier, saner more manly life.'

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: MS-Papers-4863-09

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Alison J. Laurie, 'Lesbian lives - Describing and controlling lesbianism', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 April 2024)

Story by Alison J. Laurie, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 15 Aug 2018