Bundle of correspondence

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 FRD1/1/132
  • Dates of Creation
      29 Dec 1936-27 May 1958
  • Physical Description
      78 pieces; 101 leaves.

Scope and Content

With and relating to Peter Donat, RD's nephew, an actor based in Canada and America. Includes three letters to RD and Ella dating from Peter Donat's childhood, although the bulk of the correspondence dates from 1949 onwards when Peter was establishing his acting career. Topics covered include: advice from RD about acting and a career in the theatre; stage and television work undertaken by Peter Donat; the sale of a television adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma by Peter Donat and his fiancé in 1954; the birth of Peter's son in 1957; RD's ill health; and a reference to a portrait, allegedly of Shakespeare, housed in the John Rylands Library in Manchester (/12). In addition to the correspondence between RD and Peter, this bundle also includes:

  • /1 and /68-69 Three copies of a CV detailing Peter's acting experience up to the age of 25.
  • /7 Letter to RD from Sir Kenneth Barnes, Principal of RADA, relating to the possibility of Peter attending the academy.
  • /10-11 Letter to RD from H.F. Sipprell of Aradia University, Nova Scotia, testifying to Peter's acting abilities; with RD's copy reply in which he expresses concern that Peter's Canadian accent might be a hindrance to him finding work in Britain.
  • /16 Letter to RD from Francis Head of John E. Gibbs and Co., agents of New York, agreeing to see Peter in a performance.
  • /20 Typescript poem by Peter Donat entitled 'Interlude', written in 1951.
  • /23 Letter to RD from Charles Werner Moore of the University of Kansas City Playhouse, describing Peter's strengths and weaknesses as an actor.
  • /43-44 Copy letter from RD's secretary to the BBC Drama Department with their reply, relating to two scripts by Peter Donat.
  • /55-63 Black and white publicity photographs of Peter Donat.
  • /64-67 Black and white photographs of a theatre company and various scenes from plays in which Peter was involved.
  • /70-72 Publicity material and a newspaper relating to the American Shakespeare Festival at Stratford, Connecticut, July 1955.
  • /73-75 Press cuttings relating to Peter Donat.

/49 is dated 24 Feb 1955, but in fact appears to date from 1956.