Guide to the collection

Use of Data

This data may be used for research and educational purposes but not for commercial purposes. Copyright and intellectual property rights in the data in this database are owned by the University of Hull. Professor Katharine Cockin of University of Hull asserts her moral rights as author of this database and should be acknowledged as such when the material is used.


The Ellen Terry and Edith Craig archive comprises some 20,000 items, donated by Edith Craig (1869-1947) to the National Trust in 1939 and consisting of correspondence, manuscripts, press cuttings, programmes, publicity material, photographs, artwork, journals and books. Most of the items are now held at the British Library (Manuscripts Dept), London, UK. The others are held at the National Trust's Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK.

Accessing the documents

If you wish to access any of the documents described in this database, please make a note of the location of the relevant items. This will either be recorded as SMA (Smallhythe Place) or BL (British Library). See the contact details for these organisations in the Links pages (right hand tab on the Home Page).

System of arrangement

The Ellen Terry and Edith Craig fonds (1847-1960s) of 110 boxes has been divided into two sub-fonds: The Ellen Terry papers (prefixed ET-) of 86 boxes and the Edith Craig papers (prefixed EC-) of 22 boxes.

A third sub-fonds should be identified within the Ellen Terry papers, the Edward Gordon Craig collection of 4 boxes (c. 200 items) consisting of correspondence, bookplates, press cuttings, programmes and journals, including The Mask with some annotated issues. Correspondence includes that from Edward Gordon Craig, his wife Elena Meo and their children Edward Craig (Teddie) and Nellie Craig; from May Craig (nee Gibson) to Ellen Terry in a personal capacity and in relation to her costume business Mary Grey & Co; and correspondence from Edward Gordon Craig to Ellen Terry, Boo, James Carew and others.

Correspondence out

Written by Ellen Terry, Edith Craig, family member or representative and including:

  • ELLEN TERRY (comprising letters donated to the Ellen Terry Memorial Museum, c. 450 items including three sub-series, 27 letters to Albert Fleming, 28 December 1885 to 23 March 1923 and undated; 63 letters to Edith Craig, 1885-1914 but mostly 1908-1913; 5 letters relating to Ellen Terry's Jubilee on 12 June 1906 to Acton Bond, A. W. Pinero and Kate Terry; 3 menus and recipes, 1895 and undated; letters to a small series of letters to Lady Jeune, 1888-1893, to Dr Alexander Mackenize, c. 1890, and to May Whitty (Mrs Ben Webster), c. 1897-1912; letters in the Queen Palmer Collection (1 box), the Polling Collection (2 boxes), the Methven Collection (1 box), the Ladd Collection.
  • POLLING Collection (two boxes, comprising correspondence to Mrs Elizabeth Rumball (known as Boo and nee Elizabeth Bocking) from Ellen Terry, Henry irving, James Carew, Edith Craig, Edward Gordon Craig, Edward (Teddie) Craig and other members of the extended Craig family and relatives of Mrs Rumball; also press cuttings.
  • LESLIE STAPLES (7 items from Nellie Craig and 2 items from Edward (Teddie) Craig, 1953-70.

Correspondence in

Written to Ellen Terry, Edith Craig, family member or representative and including:

  • ELLEN TERRY (2 files) comprising correspondence c. 1843-1943, including the following sub-series: 25 items from Pearl Craigie (John Oliver Hobbes) 1864-1905; 99 items from Elena Meo and family, 1906-1921; 127 items from Edward Craig (Teddie) and Nellie Craig to 1924 with drawings; 23 items from May Craig 1894-1924, 2 items from Rosie Craig and children, 1917, 2 items from Philip Craig, 1923-24; 1 item from Robin Craig, 1919; 66 items on Ellen Terry's Jubilee mostly from Acton Bond; 87 items of autographs; 10 items from Charles Reade; 12 items from Royalty, including Queen Alexandra, D. W. Probyn, Princess Mary of Cambridge, the Duchess of Teck, 1892; 31 items from Christopher St John, 1899-1915 and undated; 23 items from Tom Taylor, 1864-1879 and undated; 26 items from G. F. Watts, 1882-1886 and undated.
  • EDITH CRAIG (c. 1100 items, 1 file, with two sub-series: 36 items from Joe Evans, 1888-1896 including some artwork; 20 items from Dame Ethel Smyth, 1911-32 and undated.
  • EDITH CRAIG CONDOLENCES (282 items, expressing condolences on the death of Dame Ellen Terry in 1928)
  • FAMILY (as listed above): 99 items from Elena Meo and family, 1906-1921; 127 items from Edward Craig (Teddie) and Nellie Craig to 1924 with drawings; 23 items from May Craig 1894-1924, 2 items from Rosie Craig and children, 1917, 2 items from Philip Craig, 1923-24; 1 item from Robin Craig, 1919;
  • JUBILEE (as listed above): 66 items on Ellen Terry's Jubilee mostly from Acton Bond.
  • COLE (74 items from Ellen Terry, Edith Craig, Christopher St John to Mr Cole (gardener) and Mrs Clara Cole (servant), 1905-06 with photographs.
  • BANKART (4 items and 2 photographs) to Lady Alice Bankart (nee Sally Gillett) of New Zealand, married to Sir Alfred Bankart.

Correspondence (third party)


  • JAMES CAREW collection (1 box, c. 280 items) from and to James Carew and others relating to Ellen Terry's finances and property, august 1895-March1943
  • FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENCE (1 box, 10 items of correspondence and 467 miscellaneous, mostly receipts and invoices) relating to Ellen Terry's finances 1907-1927.
  • CORRESPONDENCE ON THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS (2 folders) correspondence relating to The Vikings, Imperial Theatre, 1903; offers of works and contracts.
  • CORRESPONDENCE ON PUBLICATIONS (2 folders) correspondence between publishers, literary agents, Ellen Terry and Christopher St John and Pamela Colman Smith on the publication of The Russian Ballet, 1913 and various autobiographical writings of Ellen Terry.
  • POWELL Collection (2 boxes, c. 200 items) correspondence from relatives of Mrs Elizabeth Rumball, press cuttings, miscellaneous, production related-material and artwork.
  • D'ARCY HART Collection (1 box) correspondence relating to Ellen Terry and her estate, from her solicitor, Walter D'Arcy Hart.
  • EDWARD LADD Collection (1 folder, 21 items, 1 photograph, 7 postcards) correspondence from Ellen Terry to Edward Ladd, gardener at Smallhythe Place from c. 1917-20.


Programmes for plays, films and other events are found throughout the collection. See also:


  • ET-D1 to ET-D234, 1860-1899
  • ET-D235 to ET-D418, 1900-1912
  • ET-D418-561a and D561a-589, Special Shows and Lecture Tours 1880-1916
  • ET-D590 to ET-D771, American Tours 1883-1915
  • ET-D771 to ET-D1027, Henry Irving programmes and plays attended by Ellen Terry 1864-1909 and later; includes programmes featuring Edward Gordon Craig, James Carew and Ellen Terry Memorial productions.
  • ET-D2000 to ET-D2381, Plays seen by Ellen Terry, 19th century to c. 1923, some in USA, some annotated.


Various programmes for plays (EC PROGS2), films (EC PROGSFILM) and productions in London (EC PROGSLON). Other programmes are to be found throughout the Edith Craig collection.

H. B. IRVING AND LAURENCE IRVING PROGRAMMES (c. 20 items) from 1890-1920, with press cuttings an photographs [in HIP Box].

GAIETY THEATRE, HASTINGS PROGRAMMES (1 box, 211 items) from 1915-32, some related to the Terry family [in SCAB8 box].


Photographs are found throughout the collection. See also:

  • EDITH CRAIG PHOTOGRAPHS (3 boxes), portraits of performers in costume in specific roles, often commercially produced as postcards; film stills relating to a film about Austrian history; personal photographs taken in an informal setting; professional photographers' studio portraits.
  • ELLEN TERRY PHOTOGRAPHS (4 boxes), portraits of performers in costume in specific roles, often commercially produced as postcards; personal photographs taken in an informal setting; professional photographers' studio portraits. Collection belonging to Mrs Elizabeth Rumball including relatives or individuals at Brancaster, Norfolk; images of workers in a blacksmith's works (probably Joseph Powell's forge at Brancaster); some inscribed or annotated. [in ET PHOTOS 1-3; ET HIP].

Press cuttings

Press cuttings (* boxes) include reviews, announcements (or notices) of plays, articles, reproductions of photographs and are found throughout the collection. See also:

  • Henry Irving centenary press cuttings (c. 600) 1938 [in MHF2].
  • Edith Craig press cuttings relating to specific productions such as The Merry Wives of Windsor, Nativity Play, The Great World Theatre [RB1-RB6; REVIEW A2; EC PHOTOS 1-2].
  • Terry Family, including those relating to Marion Terry, Fred Terry, Charles Terry, kate Terry, Florence Terry's children Jack, June and Martha, Dennis Neilson-Terry's death [MHF1 and MHF2].
  • J. L. Toole, c. 1892-1906 [ET M1-17]

Plays and other works

Plays and other works are found throughout the collection. See also:

  • Typescripts and prompt copies of various plays performed by Ellen Terry (9 boxes).
  • Typescripts and prompt copies of plays produced by Edith Craig [various].
  • Manuscripts of autobiographical material by C. Ellicombe and Gladys Bowen [in SC12].
  • Drafts and various versions of Ellen Terry's lectures on Shakespeare [SC10; SC12].
  • Poems (1 box) written by various authors on the occasion of Ellen Terry's jubilee 1906 and her death in 1928 [SC11]

Production-related material

A wide range of material relating to specific productions (programmes, press cuttings, photographs, flyers, posters; lists relating to casting, costume, props and prompt copies of plays) is found throughout the collection. Some highlights include:

  • A model of proposed designs by Charles Kean for A Midsummer Night's Dream [SC2].
  • Lighting plot for Nance Oldfield [SC12].
  • Scene plot for Mistress of the Robes and Much Ado About Nothing [SC12].
  • Itineraries for lecture tours [SC12]
  • Various items relating to Leeds Art Theatre, Leeds Civic Playhouse, Women's Institute Drama Festivals, Elocution Festival for the British Empire Shakespeare Societey, Mount Grace Pageant, English Folk Dance Society, performances of Robinetta Craig [EC PAG].
  • Various items relating to Singing Jailbirds for the Masses' Stage and Film Guild; Wuthering Heights fo rthe New Shop Window Players; St Christopher Theatre, Letchworth; The Shoe devised by Edith Craig 1922-43; Pygmalion and Galatea; Through the Crack, The Liars, Ambush, The Bend in the Road, Pageant of the Stage, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Beggar Prince [MERRY].


In the Edith Craig collection there are 18 boxes of periodicals: Drama [SCB20]; McClure's [SCB17]; Play Pictorial, incomplete set 1902-22 [SCB19]; Le Theatre, La Comedia Illustre, The Shakespeare Pictorial [SCB34]; Theatre Arts Monthly [SCB22].


Artwork, both original and reproduced include bookplates designed by Edward Gordon Craig for Ellen Terry at Winchelsea, Oliver Bath, Edith Craig, J. D., and C. M. [Christabel Marshall] [SCB3]; notebookl listing his bookplates.

Various sketches and cartoons are found throughout the collection.

Finding aids

Ellen Terry and Edith Craig Database, see

Catalogue of the Working Library of Ellen Terry at Smallhythe Place, National Trust, 1977; with foreword by F. T. Bowyer.

Partial card index of correspondence consisting of card index for:

a) Ellen Terry incoming correspondence

b) Ellen Terry outgoing correspondence

c) Edith Craig incoming correspondence

d) Edith Craig incoming condolence correspondence

e) Edward Gordon Craig correspondence

f) Polling collection

Document descriptions

Each document has been classified according to the following system. In many cases the principal code for the document is visible, used within the unique identification number. For example, EC-G567 will be a cutting (G), from the Edith Craig (EC-) collection. Some documents are hybrids, having more than one code. eg. a photograph which has a letter written on the reverse would be coded as K (photograph) and A (letter from) or B (letter to). See the list below for detailed examples of each category:

  • A. CORRESPONDENCE FROM Ellen Terry, Edith Craig, their family or their representatives, including correspondence in any format, eg. letter, postcard, greetings card, telegram.
  • B. CORRESPONDENCE TO Ellen Terry, Edith Craig, their family or their representatives, including correspondence in any format, eg. letter, postcard, greetings card, telegram.
  • C. LEAFLETS printed, often folded, stapled or bound; eg. booklet, leaflet, pamphlet, prospectus, catalogue including those advertising theatre societies, organisations and businesses.
  • D. PROGRAMMES for a particular performance or event including lists of performers, participants and patrons, often with advertisements; eg. programme for play, concert, film.
  • E. MANUSCRIPT authored by Ellen Terry, Edith Craig or Henry Irving; eg. drafts and scripts of lectures, notes or other narrative.
  • G. CUTTINGS any material removed from a publication, including pages taken from books; usualy press cuttings consisting of announcements about or reviews of performances, articles and images.
  • H. WORKS published and unpublished, text from single sheet to a book, for performance; eg. scripts for performance, including lectures, monologues and speeches; play, pageant, opera, libretto, prompt copy.
  • J. JOURNALS published in a series or parts, including a special issue of a newspaper.
  • K. PHOTOGRAPHS including studio portraits by professional photographs; photographs of actors or other individuals, printed on to postcards; photographs taken by amateurs.
  • L. ARTWORK of any kind which appears to be original, rather than reproduced; eg. sketch, greetings card, calligraphy, cartoon, map, doodle, diagram, bookplate.
  • M. MISCELLANEOUS eg. accounts, address book, annual report, autograph, bill, bookmark, calendar, cigarette card, compliments slip, contract, deeds, despatch note, envelope (in isolation), exam certificate, form, inventory, invitation, legal document, list, menu, note, proof, subscription form, table plan, ticket, timetable, visitor's card .
  • N. PRODUCTION-RELATED material, including any item relating to a specific theatricalproduction or event; eg. accounts, cast list, dress list, estimate, expenses, floor plan, lighting plot, notes, props list, receipts, rehearsals list, salary list, ticket.
  • O. ARTWORK of any kind which is reproduced; eg. postcard which is decorative or depicting a place, reproduction of a painting or a sketch.
  • P. PUBLICITY material used to advertise a theatrical production or event, eg. flyer, handbill, poster.
  • Q. MUSIC published or unpublished, including musical scores and hymn books.
  • R. ALBUM including collection of photographs or quotations.
  • (S is not used)
  • T. BOOKS including volumes of poetry but excluding plays or other works for performance (coded as H above).
  • V. AUTOBIOGRAPHY including manuscript of autobiography or reminiscences.
  • W. POEM including manuscript and published poetry from press cuttings or quoted at length in correspondence (but excluding poetry published in book form).

Database field descriptions

In the database the following fields have been used:

ARCHIVE LOCATION 1 This refers to the storage of the item.


DOCUMENT ID Unique identifier asigned to each document recorded in the database.

DOCUMENT DESCRIPTION Brief description of document, referring to its physical status or its content. eg. letter, telegram, calendar, sketch, photograph, book, poster

DOCUMENT FORM A letter code (as described above) is assigned to each document; a document may have more than one document form. eg. a photograph which has a letter written on the reverse would be coded as K (photograph) and A (letter from) or B (letter to).

NO OF LEAVES The number of sheets which comprise the document. Where a letter has an envelope, the envelope is included.

DATE/NO DATE The date inscribed on the document is entered as it appears on the document. If only a partial date is given but no year, it is recorded as 'NO DATE'.

DAY/MONTH/YEAR In this numerical, searchable field, the date for the document is recorded whether it is available as inscribed on the document or is inferred.

ANNOTATED A box is ticked to indicate when a document is annotated. Annotations may range from a number or scribble to marginalia or systematic notation, eg. on a play programme. Where a document is heavily annotated, this is recorded in the General Notes field (see below).

CONDITION A brief note about the condition has been recorded here in relatively subjective terminology but with a view to flagging up those documents which may need attention in the future.

LANGUAGE Most documents are in English but where other languages are presented, it will be recorded here.

The following fields relate specifically to the recording of letters:

ADDRESSEE AS IS The name as inscribed on the letter.

ADDRESSEE FIRST NAME Includes inferred information.

ADDRESSEE SECOND NAME Includes inferred information.

CORRESPONDENT AS IS The name as inscribed on the letter.

CORRESPONDENT FIRST NAME Includes inferred information.

CORRESPONDENT SECOND NAME Includes inferred information.




The following fields refer to various aspects of the letter:

HEADED NOTEPAPER Yes/No: Some useful information may be gleaned from some headed notepaper, including the names of committee members or patrons of charities or other organisations.







These fields relate specifically to cuttings:

CUTTING AUTHOR For instance, where the name of a reviewer is given, it will be entered here.

CUTTING TITLE Reviews or articles often have a title; where a picture taken from a newspaper has a caption, it will be entered here.

CUTTING PUBLICATION The publication from which the cutting is taken.

These fields relate specifically to published material:






DATE OF PUBLICATION A single date of publication (that of the edition) was captured for books. Dates of reprints are not recorded.


These fields relate to photographs:



These fields relate to corporate bodies (organisations, theatre companies, charities)



These fields relate to production-related material:

PRODUCER Recorded as is on the document.

DIRECTOR As above.






ORCHESTRA This includes orchestra, choir, opera company, groups of music-makers for concerts as well as that made in accompanying performances.



PRODUCTION START DATE Where a single performance was given, the date will be given here and no date will be entered in 'Production End Date' below.



These fields relate to works, including plays, books, opera, works of art, which are cited in the document:






ADAPTOR Included here is the name of the individual who arranged a dance or dramatised a text.


GENERAL NOTES This is the field in which a brief description of the contents of the document has been recorded. This includes inferred information which is entered in [square brackets] thus.