Lady Dorothy Mills

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Lady Dorothy Walpole Mills c.1921
Lady Dorothy Walpole Mills c.1921
BornDorothy Rachel Melissa Walpole
(1889-03-11)11 March 1889
Kensington, London, England, UK
Died4 December 1959(1959-12-04) (aged 70)
Brighton, England, UK

Lady Dorothy Rachel Melissa Walpole Mills (11 March 1889 – 4 December 1959) was a British novelist and memoirist.


She was born in Kensington, London, the daughter of Robert Horace Walpole, the 5th and final Earl of Orford, and his American-born wife, Countess Louise Melissa Corbin. Her half-sister is Lady Anne Berry (née Walpole), the Anglo-New Zealand horticulturist who founded Rosemoor Garden, Devon.[1] She was a Soroptimist and a Founder Member of SI Greater London, which was chartered in 1923.

Lady Dorothy married Captain Arthur F. H. Mills of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry after he was wounded in the First World War in 1916, being presented at the ceremony with a wedding ring made from a bullet that had been surgically removed from his ankle after he was wounded in combat at La Bassée, France. Mills was also an author of both fiction and non-fiction titles. They later divorced in 1933 after he was discovered having an adulterous affair.[2]


Her travel adventures took her to places such as Liberia, the Bosphorous, Arabia, and Venezuela. She is believed to be the first "white woman" to visit Timbuktu, as described in her travelogue The Road to Timbuktu [Duckworth & Co.: London, 1924].[3]

After being severely injured in a car accident in 1929, she recovered and resolved to become the first to discover the source of the Orinoco River in 1931, leading to her book, The Country of the Orinoco (Hutchinson & Co.: London, 1931). While planning a trip to Egypt and the Middle East,[4] her father, Lord Walpole, died in Manurewa, Auckland, New Zealand, on 27 September 1931.[citation needed]


Her father's death allowed Lady Dorothy to access a trust fund left to her in 1918 by her American grandfather, Daniel Chase Corbin, of Spokane, Washington, a millionaire railroad and agricultural tycoon who mistrusted the Earl.[5]

After her husband, Arthur, did not contest her filing for a divorce decree in London in 1932, it was finally granted in 1933.[6] Lady Dorothy "retreated to a quiet and private life" at the seaside Steyning Mansions Hotel at Eastern Terrace in Brighton, publishing no more books before her death in 1959.[7]


Title Publisher Date Genre
Card Houses Eveleigh Nash Co.: London 1916 Novel
The Laughter of Fools Duckworth & Co.: London 1920 Novel
The Tent of Blue Duckworth & Co.: London 1922 Novel
The Road Duckworth & Co.: London 1923 Novel
The Arms of the Sun Duckworth & Co.: London 1924 Novel
The Road to Timbuktu Duckworth & Co.: London 1924 Travel
The Dark Gods Duckworth & Co.: London 1925 Novel
Beyond the Bosphorous Duckworth & Co.: London 1926 Travel
Phœnix Hutchinson & Co.: London 1926 Novel
Through Liberia Duckworth & Co.: London 1926 Travel
Master! Hutchinson & Co.: London 1927 Novel
Episodes from the Road to Timbuktu Unknown: London 1927 Travel
Jungle! Hutchinson & Co.: London 1928 Novel
The Golden Land:
A Record of Travel in West Africa
Duckworth & Co.: London 1929 Travel
A Different Drummer:
Chapters in Autobiography
Duckworth & Co.: London 1930 Memoir
The Country of the Orinoco Hutchinson & Co.: London 1931 Travel


  1. ^ "RHS Garden Rosemoor". Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  2. ^ "The Life of B. R. V. Mills, Part 3". Who Is George Mills?. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  3. ^ "Discovering Lady Dorothy Mills". Archived from the original on 23 January 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  4. ^ "File 19/4". The National Archives (UK). Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  5. ^ "Profile: Corbin, Daniel Chase (1832–1918)"., Washington State University. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  6. ^ "LADY DOROTHY MILLS. Decree Granted in Divorce Court". The Straits Times. 12 February 1933. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  7. ^ "The Lady Dorothy Mills". Retrieved 17 April 2010.

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