Date Published: 1910 to 1958
Binding: No binding & hard cover
Nancy Price was an English actress on stage and screen, poet, novelist, editor, essayist, and memoirist. She was one of the leading lights of the British theatre in the twentieth century. She began her stage career in 1899 and played over 440 parts during her long career, notably the grandmother in Whiteoaks (with performances in plays by Pirandello, Ibsen, Zola, etc.). She worked with F.R. Benson, Henry Irving, and Mrs. Patrick Campbell. She also appeared in over twenty films and BBC TV shows. In 1930 she founded the People’s National Theatre in conjunction with the critic J.T. Grein, and launched its first season at the Fortune Theatre. In 1933 she was appointed its Honorary Director and carried on the enterprise at various theatres until 1950. She was awarded the CBE in 1950 and retired from stage and films two years later.
The collection contains material dating from 1910 to 1958, a total of 95 items, specifically, 76 issues of two related magazines, 11 letters, 8 photos, 3 books, 1 album with ephemera, 1 cigarette card and 1 program. Notable in the collection are letters from H.E. Bates and important British actors and theatre impresarios. There is also a Canadian aspect to this collection by way of Price’s granddaughter. Jennifer Phipps (Price’s granddaughter) who studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, came to Canada in 1960, and starred at the Shaw Festival and other theatres across Canada.
6 Autographed Letters Signed (ALS) and 3 Typed Letters Signed (TLS):
• ALS to Elizabeth Maude (Price’s daughter, an actress) from H.E. Bates (English author of The Darling Buds of May, etc.), 1 May 1939, complimenting her on her performance in Carrie and Cleopatra.
• ALS to Miss Maude, 28/12, from I. Acland ?, re thanks for her party.
• ALS from Starr Wood (English cartoonist) to Elizabeth Maude, 1 June 1935, re her performance in Rossetti.
• ALS from W.C. Holes(?), to Betty (Elizabeth Maude), 14 November 1932, re praising her performance, gentleman from the Polish Embassy arranging for a Polish translation of the play.
• 2 TLS and 2 ALS, 4 pp. total, on personal printed directorial letterhead of The People's National Theatre at The Little, John Street, Adelphi, to Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1937), English poet, essayist, critic, and miscellaneous writer. From "Hon. Director" Nancy Price to Sir Henry Newbolt, concerning the performance of his material: "[25 March 1935] Years ago now you gave my husband, Colonel Maude, permission to set some of your poems to music. . . . I remember one great meeting at the Albert Hall where all the navies of the world were represented and four Kings were present, and I gave your 'Messmates' and 'Temeraire' to this . . . setting. . . . We are now giving them again on Sunday next . . . in aid of the Jenny Lind Hospital for Children. . . . As you may have seen . . . Colonel Maude's mother, died about three weeks ago. It is her birthday on the 31st and for every reason one felt it would be a rather lovely thing to do. . . . I cannot tell you what enormous joy it would give us if you could possibly be present. . . ."; "[28 March 1935] I am so delighted. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to know you are there. . . . I struggle on in an avalanche of work. I know nothing will do me so much good as the knowledge that you are able to come. I am sending you a dozen programmes. . . ."; "[2 April] As I did not see you on Sunday I am so afraid you were not well. . . . If you were present I am sure you were pleased at the way your beautiful poems were appreciated. They are a continual joy and inspiration to me. . . ."; and "[6 April] Thank you so much for your beautiful letter you have no idea the pleasure it gave me -- How I wish I had seen you[.] I am so disappointed. . . ." Rust stains from paper clips; folds; minor soiling and wear, but good.
•TLS from Cyril Maude (English actor), 10 June 1910, re production of Hubert Henry Davies’s A Single Man and paying Price £30 for seven performances 1/7 of £30 for each extra matinee.
3 Books (A TSL inserted in each of two books):
• Winged Builders (London: George Ronald, 1959), light blue cloth in jacket, scotch tape residue on front free endpaper, otherwise very good. A book that showed Price in the capacity of an ornithologist and bird love. With a TLS to Mrs. Martin, 7 January 1960, thanking Martin for her comments about her book. Autograph note in green ink in the hope that Martin experiences her pleasure in observing birds: “when we consider a bird’s wing | we see a glimmer of God.”
• Joan Maude, faithfully recorded by Nancy Price. Behind the Night-Light. The By-World of a Child of Three (London: John Murray, 1912). Blue cloth. Price’s first book.
• Shadows on the Hills (London: Gollanz Ltd, 1935), black cloth, inscribed “From John Drinkwater’s Library 1937. Molly Patterson” on front free endpaper. Laid in this book is a TLS on letterhead of the People’s Theatre Magazine from Price to John Drinkwater (English poet and dramatist), 8 May 1935, requesting Drinkwater to read Shadows on the Hills and to “write a word” that she might use.
1 Autograph album:
• Autograph album, black green leather, leather missing at the spine and elsewhere and coming loose from the covers. The album originally belonged to Betty Price (the name at front of the album). It contains pasted letters from the following: ALS addressed Dear Sir from C. [Charles] Kean (English actor, son of Edmund Kean), Saturday morning [prior to 1868], re ten box tickets for Monday 11th; ALS to Miss John from ? Zangaree, Little Theatre, n.d., re a box office at his own theatre; ALS to Miss Betty Price, 23 December 1925?, from [Thomas] Dewar [1st Baron Dewar], re meeting each other. The album was inherited by Jennifer Phipps, an actress and a granddaughter of Nancy Price, who was associated with the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The later pages of the album contain tributes to Phipps and salutations from fellow actors and theatre people, 1990-2002, including Ida Lupino.
• 18 People’s Theatre Magazines (London), edited by Price. 18 issues. Vol. X, nos. 2-4 (summer-winter 1944); vol. XI, no. 4 (winter 1945)’ vol. XIII, nos. 2-4 (summer-winter 1947); vol. XIV, no. 2 (summer 1948); vol. XIV, no. 4 (winter 1948); vol. XIV, no. 7 (autumn 1949); vol. XIV, nos. 9-10 (spring-summer 1950); vol. XVI, nos. 3-4 (autumn 1951-winter 1952); vol. XVII, no. 4 (winter 1953); vol. XVIII, nos. 1-2 (spring-summer 1954); vol. XVIII, no. 4 (winter 1954).
• 58 Pedlar’s Pack (formerly People’s Theatre Magazine), also edited and compiled by Price. 58 issues. Vol. 14 (n.s., spring 1955), no. 1-vol. 17, no. 2 (n.s., summer 1958); vol. 17, no. 4 (n.s., winter 1958)-vol. 18, no. 22 (n.s., summer 1964); vol. 18, nos. 24-34 (n.s., winter 1964-summer 1967); vol. 18, nos. 34-41 (n.s., autumn 1967-summer 1969); vol. 18, no. 43 (winter 1979/70).
• 8 photo postcards of Price, one signed by Price and a signed photo postcard of Yvonne Arnaud (French-born pianist, singer and actress), inscribed to a member of the Price family.
• 1 Little Theatre program, April 1936, by arrangement with José G. Levy, the People’s National Theatre, for Mazo de la Roche’s Whiteoaks, with Price in the role of Adeline, and ads for the People’s National Theatre.
• 1 small Ogden’s cigarette card of Nancy Price
Collection is on consignment with LDRB.