Bundle of correspondence

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 FRD1/1/45
  • Former Reference
      GB 133 RDB121-195.
  • Dates of Creation
      14 Jan 1925-17 Sep 1942 & n.d.
  • Physical Description
      77 pieces; 108 leaves.

Scope and Content

Extensive correspondence with and relating to Sir Frank Robert Benson (1858-1939), actor-manager, and to the Benson Memorial. Includes correspondence with various other individuals as well as Benson himself. Contents are as follows:

  • /1-14 Correspondence with Benson (14 Jan 1925-24 Sep 1938 and n.d.) relating to: arrangements for rehearsals of the Benson Company; the possibility of RD returning to the Benson Company for a tour in summer 1929, and RD's negotiations with Harold Neilson about this; RD's wedding [to Ella Voysey] in 1929; RD's efforts to help Edna Carlingford in 1938; and a book sent by Benson to RD's son John Donat in September 1938.
  • /15-17 Correspondence with R. Halford Forster of the Benson company (1929), relating to: the Bensonian's farewell tour; RD's decision to go to the Cambridge Festival Theatre; theatrical news; and RD's marriage.
  • /18 Page of typescript notes relating to a possible memorial for Benson in Stratford and reminiscences about him.
  • /19-38 Correspondence between RD and the Rev. Vincent Howson (1936-1942) with one copy letter from RD to O.B. Clarence (/25) relating to: various Old Bensonians' social activities; a memorial service for Benson held in January 1940; the issue of the disposal of Benson's ashes, and Lady Benson's attitude towards this; other possibilities for a memorial to Benson in Stratford, and a committee set up to discuss them; RD's objections to Howson's activities as a member of this committee; and the possibility of reviving the memorial appeal which was shelved during 1940-42.
  • /39-40 Letter from Barbara Drummond (Frank Benson's niece) and copy reply from RD (Sep 1940), relating to the possibility of making a film of Benson's life.
  • /41 Copy letter from RD to R.G. Eves (30 Mar 1940) relating to the planned Benson memorial.
  • /42-55 Correspondence with Sir Archibald Flower (Jan-Jun 1940) relating to the issue of the Benson ashes and plans for an alternative memorial.
  • /56-57 Copy letter from RD to Alfred Harris and Dorothy Green, with their reply (Mar 1940), relating to committee proposals for the Benson memorial.
  • /58-70 Correspondence with Alice Morton (1938-1940 and n.d.), Benson's landlady who looked after him during his last years, relating to: the settlement of Benson's affairs; her feelings for him; and the issue of his ashes. /62 includes an original snapshot of Benson in old age.
  • /71-75 Correspondence with Laura Smithson, teacher of elocution, voice production and dramatic technique (Feb-May 1940) relating to: her own problems; the financial difficulties of Alice Morton, and the possibility of the Old Bensonians providing some money for her.
  • /76 Copy letter from RD to Arthur Wimperis (screenwriter) at The Arts Club (30 Mar 1940) relating to the Benson appeal fund.
  • /77 Postcard displaying a photograph of Benson and printed details of a Benson company tour in March 1925.

Related Material

A further letter from Benson is included at FRD1/8/1/62 .