Papers of Robert Donat

Scope and Content

This subgroup essentially represents the archive amassed by RD himself during the course of his life. It contains material relating both to his personal and his professional activities, and spans virtually his entire life, from his baptism in 1907 to his death in 1958. It includes: around 4,000 pieces of correspondence; scripts of plays, films and broadcasts; theatre and film programmes; theatre posters; cuttings books containing reviews of most of RD's stage and film productions as well as numerous other articles; theatre and film magazines featuring RD; legal documents, such as contracts and papers relating to court cases arising from contractual disputes; nearly 2,500 photographs, including personal snapshots, portrait and publicity photographs, and prints relating to most of RD's stage and film parts; recordings of RD's poetry readings and other broadcasts; and architectural plans relating to two of his homes.


Much of this material was sorted and categorised by family members and biographers after RD's death, so it is questionable how far this arrangement reflects RD's own ordering of his papers. There is, however, a series of files which appear to reflect the remnants of an original filing system, and these have been left in their original order (see FRD1/8). The rest of the material has largely been divided into classes based on physical format. These are as follows:

  • FRD1/1 Correspondence
  • FRD1/2 Scripts
  • FRD1/3 Programmes
  • FRD1/4 Theatre posters
  • FRD1/5 Papers relating to The Glass Slipper
  • FRD1/6 Cuttings books
  • FRD1/7 Theatre and film magazines
  • FRD1/8 Robert Donat's original files
  • FRD1/9 Legal documents
  • FRD1/10 Photographs
  • FRD1/11 Sound recordings
  • FRD1/12 Architectural plans
  • FRD1/13 Miscellaneous papers