Theatre Collection: Heron-Allen Album of Playbills

Scope and Content

Programmes and playbills of Ianthe Theodora Heron-Allen, actress. Many of the programmes have been annotated with the date on which she attended the performances. The volume has been inscribed as follows: "Ianthe Theodora Heron-Allen. Programmes and Playbills. Her first pantomime was Blue Bell in Fairy land at Manchester. The Programme is in her Book of Events". On the spine it bears the text "I.T.H.A. Play Bills Vol. 1"

Administrative / Biographical History

Ianthe Theodora Heron-Allen (fl 1904-1943) was born in 1904, the elder daughter of Edward Heron-Allen (1861-1943), solicitor, zoologist, writer and Persian scholar. Edward Heron-Allen was noted for translating the works of Omar Khayyam (1048-1131). Edward had married twice, first in Westminster on 1 July 1891 to Marianna, otherwise known as Henrietta, daughter of the artist Rudolf Lehmann (1819-1905) and sister of the English soprano and composer Liza Lehmann (1862-1918). Marianna died in 1902 and in November 1903 Heron-Allen married Edith Emily Pepler (1872-1943) in Knaresborough. Edith was the daughter of William Brown Pepler MD. The couple had two daughters: Ianthe (b 1904) and Armorel (b 1908). The births of Ianthe and Armorel were both registered in the Marylebone district of London. Following the death of his own father in 1911, Edward retired from practising law and the family moved to Large Acres, the house he had built at Selsey Bill, Sussex.

Relatively little is know about the life of Ianthe. In 1921 both Ianthe and her father are listed as fellows of the Zoological Society of London. Their address is given as 33 Hamilton Terrace, St John's Wood, London. Internal evidence from the volume of playbills suggests that Ianthe was possibly an actress at some stage of her life. She is known to have survived her father who died on 28 March 1943 at Large Acres. Her younger sister, Armorel, had died tragically in a car crash in 1930. Armorel had graduated from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford with a first class degree in zoology only two weeks earlier.

Sources: Heron-Allen album of playbills; Dictionary of National Biography available at: viewed 28 June 2011; list of fellows of the Zoological Society of London available at: viewed 28 June 2011; Free Births, Marriages and Deaths available at: viewed 28 June 2011.


The programmes are arranged chronologically; each item has been catalogued at item level.

Access Information

Access Conditions

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Other Finding Aids

Please see the full catalogue for further details

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections (email: Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Custodial History

Custodial History

The contents of this volume were formerly numbered 5362-5428 and incorporated into a collection called the Theatre Collection. It has now been identified as an unconnected acquisition and catalogued as a discrete collection.

Related Material

The Special Collections Department holds other personal and artificial collections of theatre playbills, programmes, newscuttings and associated materials. The largest collection is the Theatre Collection, MS38. Smaller collections include the Colyer-Fergusson albums, MS108; the Williams Theatre collection, MS109; a volume of play bills, MS110; an album of programmes, MS111; the Louis Cohen Collection, MS112; the Kemp album, MS113; and a volume of Shakespearian souvenirs and programmes, MS114.