Jean Batters' materials relating to Edith Evans and Dodie Smith

Scope and Content

A collection of items belonging to Jean Batters. It contains a large amount of correspondence mainly from actress Edith Evans and author Dodie Smith as well as letters relating to the 1977 publication of Batters’ book Edith Evans- A personal memoir. It also contains a scrapbook of photographs and cuttings relating to Edith Evans and a photograph of Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edith Evans (1888-1976) was a British Film and Theatre actress. Her career spanned over sixty years. She was twice nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and once nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Some of her notable performances include Millamant in The Way of the World (1924), Rosalind in As You Like It (1926 and 1936), Nurse in Romeo and Juliet (1932, 1934 and 1961) and Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest(1939).

Dodie Smith (1896-1990) was a British novelist and playwright best known for her novel The One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1956) which was adapted into the Disney film One Hundred and One Dalmatians in 1961. She produced eleven plays and nine novels of which her first novel I capture the Castle (1949) is also well known.

Jean Batters worked as secretary to Edith Evans for 25 years having previously acted as secretary to Dodie Smith. She published her memoir Edith Evans- A personal Memoir in 1977.


This collection has been arranged into the following series:

  • THM/315/1 - Letters from Edith Evans
  • THM/315/2 - Letters from Edith Evans from South Africa
  • THM/315/3 - Letters from Dodie Smith and Alec Beesley
  • THM/315/4 - Letters relating to the publication of Edith Evans: A personal memoir
  • THM/315/5 - Typescript copy of letters from Edith Evans to Jean Batters
  • THM/315/6 - Scrapbook of photographs, cuttings and letters relating to Edith Evans
  • THM/315/7 - Photograph of Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies as Queen Katherine by Angus McBean

Access Information

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Jean Batters, 1992

Separated Material

The following items were also part of this collection, but have been integrated into the department's library collections:

  • Batters, Jean: A theatrically - minded secretary: typescript (c.1976)
  • Batters, Jean: Larger than life: a memoir of twenty-five years with Dame Edith Evans: typescript (c. 1976)
  • Batters, Jean: Remembering - Edith Evans: typescript (c. 1976)

For further information, please see the V&A's National Art Library catalogue.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with the collection management policy.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance. Material relating to the lives and careers of Edith Evans and Dodie Smith may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, company and photographs files.

Please ask for details.