Papers of Dorothy Johnson

Scope and Content

This collection contains the following items relating to theatre history:

1. Oversized portfolio containing:

Playbills [originals, most with facsimile copies], mainly featuring the actor Edwards Edwards or directed or produced by him, 1840s:

Othello and The Lion of Mysore, Royal Victoria Theatre, London [Old Vic], 11 Aug 1845, original

The King’s Fool and The Cherokee Chief, Royal Victoria Theatre, London [Old Vic], 28 Jul 1845, original

Othello and Valentine and Orson, Royal Garrick Theatre, 9 Mar 1841, original

Gala, Ball and Procession, Royal Albert Saloon, Standard Tavern, Pleasure Ground, Shepherdess Walk, City Road, [London], 17 Aug 1842, original

Ankle Jack, Standard Theatre, Shoreditch, 16 Jun 18[4-], original

Marie! and Virginius the Rum’un!, Garrick Theatre, Leman Street, Goodman’s Fields, 11 May 1840, original

Also facsimile playbills for performances at the Royal Albert Saloon, likewise with some connection to the actor and director Edward Edwards, 1840s:

Timour the Tartar, Goblin of the Hartz Mountains, Joan of Arc, Ruth!, Black Sentinel, The Taming of the Shrew, Old Death, Forty Thieves, The Fire Raiser, One O’Clock, Harlequin and the Fairy of the Dog Star, Blue Beard, Life Raft, Dutch Lovers, Henry IV, El Hyder!, Adelaide, Afloat and Ashore, Maiden-Lane Murder, Yew-Tree Ruins, Leontine!, Will Watch, Zulema and the Robbers of Mount Caucasus!, Ocean of Life.

Also facsmilie of playbill for farewell benefit performance of Mr. Edward Edwards, Strandard [Theatre], Shoreditch, 20 Aug [1840s]

Also file of miscellaneous other facsimile prints or original engravings of various actors, 19th-20th c.

2. One portfolio containing mounted letters and telegrams relating to performances, tours etc., from JLT to Edmund Routledge 1870-1891 (many relating to 1890 tour of New Zealand and Australia, as well as UK tour 1889), as well as some newscuttings relating to performances; pictures, caricatures and engravings (some signed) including some taken from magazines and newspapers, with a pencil portrait of JLT by P. Klein, 1890; tickets, menus, table plan and programmes for farewell banquet at Hotel Metropole Feb 1980 as well as for other social occasions; printed undated speech for 300th performance of Walker, London; playbill for 1880 performance of JLT and the Folly Company at the Theatre Royal, Brighton; b/w photographs of JLT and Miss Furtado in Belle Helene, n.d.; Souvenir of Mr. J.L. Toole, London: Charles Yates and Co, 1890, including useful biographical details. This portfolio was possibly compiled by Edmund Routledge.

3. One box containing: album of mounted engravings of various actors and actresses (mainly Victorian), 19th c., also containing certificate from the Girls Friendly Society, presented to Lilt Hartnup on her marriage, 19 Nov 1887 [unfit for production] and Victorian Christmas/New Year cards; two notebooks of Johnson containing biographies and indexes of various actors, managers and London theatres, 1950s-early 1960s; three notebooks by Johnson containing portions of original playscripts, poems and short stories, 1950s-early 1960s; file containing letters from JLT to Edmund Routledge during Australian and New Zealand tour, 1890, including playbill for performance at the Choral Hall, Auckland, New Zealand, Dec 10 1890; two glass plate negatives of magazine engravings of the actress Miss [Blanche] Vincent, n.d.; menu for banquet of J.L. Toole, Waterloo Hotel, n.d. [1880s-1890s].

Administrative / Biographical History

Dorothy Louise Hartnup (1909-1966) was born on 14 Aug 1909 and was later adopted. She knew nothing of her natural parents. She was brought up in Battersea by her adopted parents John Bishop and Dorothy Louise Hartnup (ne Wood). Her adopted father was a barber and master wig-maker, running his own hairdressing shop in the Queenstown Road. She was educated at a convent school in Clapham, and married twice. Her second marriage was to George James Johnson, artist and civil servant, in 1936. They had one son, born in 1940.

She was actively involved in amateur dramatics and singing, with much of her activities centring on the Parents’ Association attached to local scout groups to which her son belonged. She had a keen interest in theatre history, particularly in the actor managers Edward Edwards and John Lawrence Toole. Her most productive period of research was from c 1953-c 1957. She died in Thornton Heath on 5 Oct 1966.

John Lawrence Toole (1830-1906), actor and theatrical manager, was born in St. Mary Axe, London as the son of James Toole, City Toast Master and employee of the East India Company. Toole was educated at the City of London School and worked briefly in a wine merchant’s counting house. He then joined the City Histrionic Club and made his first public appearance at the Haymarket Theatre. He made his professional debut at the Queen’s Theatre, Dublin, 1852, under Charles Dillon, moving onto the St. James’s Theatre, London, the Lyceum, and the New Adelphi Theatre. After a successful acting career, he opened the Globe Theatre, London, in 1877. In 1895 he then opened the Folly Theatre on King William Street, Strand, in 1879 (renamed Toole’s Theatre, 1882) which he ran until 1895. He died in Brighton in 1906.

Conditions Governing Access

Usual EUL arrangements apply.

Other Finding Aids

Not currently listed.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, 11 November 2004, and encoded into EAD 2 June 2005.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply.

Custodial History

The collection was given to the University of Exeter Library in 2001 by Dorothy Johnson’s son. Some books relating to dramatists of the period were also given, and have been catalogued as part of the Reserve Collection.

Related Material

Other papers of James Lawrence Toole are held at the University of Rochester (River Campus), USA.


It is not known whether this collection has been used as the basis for publication.