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From the University Libraries

A little ‘Downton’ in Binghamton The late Tilly Losch, an Austrian dancer and artist who briefly lived in the real-world castle that now serves as a backdrop for Downton Abbey, donated her personal memorabilia to the Binghamton University Libraries’ Special Collections. Losch was married to the sixth earl of Carnarvon, whose family seat is Highclere Castle. The collection includes letters and telegrams from Hollywood legends Fred Astaire, Joan Crawford and Orson Welles. Other photographs and correspondence are receiving fresh scrutiny in light of the popularity of Downton Abbey, now in its fourth season on PBS. British fashion photographer Cecil Beaton, who went on to a career as an Academy Award-winning costume designer, captured the countess on several occasions.

Binghamton University • BINGHAMTON RESEARCH • Winter 2014

Tilly Losch and Lord Porchester, the sixth earl of Carnarvon, were married from 1939 to 1947 and endured long periods of separation during World War II. In this letter from “Porchey” to his “Beloved Pink Pearl,” the earl writes: “Marcus and I have been trudging round for miles in a freezing north east wind and have shot about 100 head of game. We talked a lot about you and as always I think of you the whole time. I doubt if you are out of my mind for more than 5 mins: in any of the hours I’m awake, I mean.”

Highclere Castle, which is still home to the Carnarvon family, serves as the setting for the British TV drama Downton Abbey. This photograph appeared in the family’s 1963 Christmas card.

Beth Kilmarx, curator of rare books, describes some of the treasures of Binghamton’s Tilly Losch Collection in this brief video. To watch, visit


Binghamton University / Research Magazine / Winter 2014  

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