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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 372

Letters to Mrs. Patrick Campbell from others


Letters from playwrights, stage managers, actors and actresses to the British actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell (official stage name of Beatrice Rose Stella Tanner Campbell).


  • Creation: 1893-1929

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


.5 linear feet (1 box)

Letters to Campbell from participants in the British theatrical community of the late 1800s and early 20th century, including George Alexander, Squire Bancroft, Edith Craig, Rosina Filippi, John Hare, Sir Henry Irving, Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, Dame Ellen Terry, Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, and Sir C. Aubrey Smith. Also includes a letter from Campbell to John Hare. Another letter written on behalf of Campbell by her daughter, Stella, is also included. Some of this correspondence was used in Campbell’s memoir, My life and some letters (1922), and may have been organized for that purpose with cover sheets and transcripts.

Biographical / Historical

Beatrice Rose Stella Tanner Campbell (1865-1940) was a prominent British actress. She was the sixth and final child of John Tanner (1831-1893), a successful contractor with the British East India Company, and Maria Luigia Giovanna Romanini (1835-1940), the daughter of an Italian exile, Count Angelo Romanini. In 1884, pregnant with her first child (Alan Urquhart), she eloped with a neighbor, Patrick Campbell. Following the birth of a second child, a daughter named Stella in 1886, Patrick Campbell went abroad to seek work. The money sent home, however, was insufficient to maintain the family, and, despite disapproval from her family, Campbell made her debut in 1888 to generate income for herself on the stage. She played in a string of minor successes until an 1893 role as Paula in The second Mrs. Tanqueray launched her career and garnered high praise in the press.

The following year, the family flush with his wife’s success, Patrick Campbell returned to England in poor health and poorer fortunes. His condition ensured that Campbell would continue on the stage to support her family in the comfort to which they had become accustomed. She performed in generally well-received plays by François Coppée, Henrik Ibsen, Maurice Maeterlinck, Arthur Wing Pinero, Victorien Sardou, William Shakespeare, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

Campbell continued her stage career, dabbling in Hollywood productions and lecturing on acting and voice until the end of her life in 1940, when she passed away in France. She is particularly remembered for her role as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion, a part written for her by George Bernard Shaw, with whom she also had a significant correspondence.


Organized into the following series:

  1. I. Letters to Mrs. Patrick Campbell
  2. II. Other letters

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

79M-54. Purchased with the F. E. Chase fund, 1943 July 29.

Related Materials

See HOLLIS for additional holdings at Harvard.

Other collections of Campbell’s correspondence are also held by the British Library, the Bodleian Library, the Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Theatre and Performance, and University of Chicago Special Collections.

Processing Information

Processed by: Emilie L. Hardman

Campbell, Patrick, Mrs., 1865-1940, recipient. Letters to Mrs. Patrick Campbell from others, 1893-1929: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
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Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

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