5 Things You Never Knew About Lewis Carroll

You know Lewis Carroll, who was born on this day in 1832, for ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ but did you know there’s an asteroid named after him?

Book Culture Classics On This Day

Lewis Carroll was born on January 27 in 1832 in Cheshire, England. He is best known for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, but you might be surprised by some of these other five facts about him.

There’s an asteroid named after him

In 1994, Japanese astronomers Takeshi Urata and Hitoshi Shiozawa discovered and named the asteroid 6984 Lewiscarroll. Urata was also involved in the discovery and naming of two more asteroids that share their names with Alice in Wonderland characters — the 17942 Whiterabbit and the 6042 Cheshirecat.


He was also a mathematician

In addition to teaching mathematics at Christ Church College and making contributions to the fields of linear algebra, geometry, and logic, he also published a collection of ten humorous stories based on mathematical problems. The characters in A Tangled Tale present each other with logic problems that readers could try to figure out before reading Carroll’s solutions. 

He was a letter writing activist

Carroll was an avid letter writer. As someone living and working in the 1800s, he was no stranger to writing letters, but he was really more of a letter-writing activist. According to his personal records, nearly 100,000 letters passed through his hands in his lifetime. In 1890, Carroll published an essay titled Eight or Nine Wise Words about Letter-Writing. Letter writing guides were fairly common in the Victorian Era. They outlined rules for writing with courtesy and clarity. He also invented the “Wonderland Postage-Stamp Case,” an Alice in Wonderland-themed stamp keeper. 


He was an accomplished photographer

Carroll had a passion for photography and loved to photograph people, landscapes, skeletons, dogs, and more using the latest techniques of the day. One of his frequent subjects was Alice Liddell, the young girl who inspired the iconic character of Alice. Alice in Wonderland was born from fantastical stories that Carroll would make up to entertain Liddell and her sisters. 


He was a deacon of the Church of England

Finally, Lewis Carroll was an ordained deacon of the Church of England. Carroll was born into a long line of devout conservative Anglicans. His father, Charles Dodgson, was the Archdeacon of Richmond and a theologian, and his brother Edwin Dodgson was a clergyman and missionary. Lewis Carroll himself studied to become a priest but did not end up going through with the ordination process.