Edward Rose: Correspondence and papers

Scope and Content

1-225: Letters to Edward Rose

There are many letters from actors, actresses and theatre managers about current productions for the London stage and for tours in the provinces. A few letters mention the production of Rose's plays in the U.S.A. There are letters from hopeful authors offering their novels for dramatization, from people agreeing or declining to lecture to the Playgoers' Club, and from friends wanting theatre tickets. Two owners of stately homes, Lord Barnard and Lord Donington, wrote to Rose in connection with his articles in the Illustrated London news. Rose's Fabian interests are reflected by letters from Sidney Webb about the scholarships he was endowing. There are also letters from the African traveller Mary Kingsley, who was evidently a friend of Mrs Rose. Many letters are undated, but the majority of these are probably from the 1890s.

226-237: Biographical and miscellaneous material

Rose family genealogy, a biographical article, obituary notices, an advertising leaflet, a theatre programme, an autograph poem, a letter to The Daily chronicle, an essay on French verse, a list of stately homes, a list of letters sold in 1981, and an article on Edward Rose and George Bernard Shaw.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward Rose (1849-1904), dramatist and critic, was born at Swaffham, Norfolk, on 7 August 1849, the son of a medical doctor, Caleb Rose, and Isabella Morse. He was educated at Islington Proprietary School and Ipswich Grammar School, and also spent time in Scotland and Wales. In 1868 he was articled with the firm of Cobbold and Yarrington, solicitors of Ipswich, but after passing the Intermediate Examination, he left the law for literature, and moved to London in 1872.

Rose had already written comedies and a pantomime for the theatre in Ipswich. His first London work was a one-act comedy called Our farm, produced at the Queen's Theatre in 1871. He went on to write several dozen stage works, ranging from romantic drama to farce, and acted in many of them, specializing in comic roles. His greatest successes, however, were adaptations of other people's stories, notably Vice versa by F. Anstey in 1883, The prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope in January 1896, and Under the red robe by Stanley Weyman in October 1896.

Rose was also a journalist. He wrote for the Illustrated London news for around twenty years, including a series on 'English homes', illustrated by G. Montbard. He was a theatre critic, and a member and Vice-President of the Playgoers' Club. Towards the end of his life he published an educational book, The Rose reader, a new way of teaching to read (London 1902). He was a member of the Fabian Society, and took an active interest in the founding of Letchworth Garden City. Rose had two daughters by his marriage to Elizabeth Ann Gould (b. 1862). He died on 31 December 1904.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Kate M. Field (ne Thornycroft), granddaughter of Edward Rose, 1998.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.

Other Finding Aids

There is a detailed description of the collection in the Additional Manuscripts Catalogue, available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Family Names

Corporate Names