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Arrival of Dame Edith Evans papers

By Eric Colleary

The Harry Ransom Center has recently acquired a large collection of papers from the late actress Dame Edith Evans (1888-1976) from the estate of Bryan Forbes, who was Evans’s biographer and directed in her in a number of projects

Dame Edith Evans, from the Brian Forbes Collection of Edith Evans at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin. Unknown photographer, undated.
Dame Edith Evans, from the Brian Forbes Collection of Edith Evans at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin. Unknown photographer, undated.

Dame Edith is considered one of the greatest actresses on the English stage during the twentieth century, and originated roles in the plays of George Bernard Shaw and Noël Coward. The collection includes journals, scrapbooks, correspondence, photographs, books from her library, and several awards including her BAFTA for the 1967 film The Whisperers. This is the third major collection of Edith Evans materials at the Ransom Center, making it one of the best collections of her life and work anywhere in the world.

 

Ransom Center staff unload a recently arrived box of materials of the Dame Edith Evans collection. Photo by Eric Colleary.
Ransom Center staff unload a recently arrived box of materials of the Dame Edith Evans collection. Photo by Eric Colleary.

 

In the recently arrived box were letters between Evans and George Bernard Shaw, her BAFTA and Silver Bear (Berlin International Film Festival) awards for her performance of Mrs. Ross in the film The Whisperers, and a little statuette of Evans as Mrs. Sullen in George Farquhar’s classic The Beaux Stratagem.

Statuette of Dame Edith Evans as Mrs. Sullen in Farquhar’s classic <em>The Beaux Stratagem</em>. Photo by Eric Colleary.
Statuette of Dame Edith Evans as Mrs. Sullen in Farquhar’s classic The Beaux Stratagem. Photo by Eric Colleary.

 

In other performing arts news, the Ransom Center has recently become a partner institution with the Dance Heritage Coalition, a national non-profit alliance of institutions holding significant collections of materials documenting the history of dance. Partnering with the DHC will help us to raise the profile of our extensive dance-related holdings which include papers, photographs, and film relating to Lincoln Kierstein, the Joffrey Ballet, Martha Graham, Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, George Balanchine, Sergei Diaghilev, James Clouser, Mary Wigman, Richard Buckle, and the Marquis George de Cuevas, as well as historic costumes including original pieces from Vaslav Nijinsky’s famous ballet The Rite of Spring (1913). We have also recently made additions to the papers of playwrights Terrence McNally, George Bernard Shaw, and John Osborne, as well as actresses Stella Adler and Ellen Terry.

 

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