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MS 442

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MS 442


Glen Byam Shaw: letters to Angela Baddeley



Administrative / Biographical history

Glen Byam Shaw, 1904-1986, English actor and theatre director, married Angela Baddeley, 1904-1976, English actress in July 1929. Angela's first husband was Stephen Thomas; they had one daughter, Jane. Glen and Angela had two children, George and Juliet. Glen moved from acting to directing in the 1930s, served in the Royal Scots in World War II and went to India and Burma with them in 1942, was wounded in 1943, after which he worked making War Department films before returning home in 1945. From 1947 -1951 Glen was director of the Old Vic Theatre School, from 1952-1959 director of the Shakespeare Memorial Trust.



Extent & medium

4 boxes

Content description

Over 360 letters, airgrams, postcards and telegrams written by Glen Byam Shaw to Angela Baddeley, with a small group of accompanying material consisting of over 30 letters by others to Angela Baddeley, printed material, photographs and documents. The early letters are primarily love letters; the letters from the 1930s contain many more references to their work in the theatre and news of their friends, particularly Siegfried Sassoon, John Gielgud, Lawrence Olivier, Emlyn Williams, and Binkie Beaumont; and the letters during World War II were written while Byam Shaw was an officer in the Royal Scots Guards, though these are still full of theatre news as Angela continued to perform. The letters in the late 40s and early 50s contain more references to work in the theatre. Some of the letters carry Glen's sketches, and enclose photographs and letters from their children and friends. June 1928 - February 1929: 78 ALS, primarily love letters, written before Angela was free to marry Glen, with theatre news, occasional critiques of her acting, references to Glen's friend Siegfried Sassoon, including one undated letter in which he states he will not see Sassoon anymore if she demands this. The letters are occasionally illustrated with Glen's sketches, and two enclose photographs. 1932 - 1939: 45 ALS, 9 pcs, 8 telegrams written while Glen or Angela was on tour, full of theatre news, including references to friends John Gielgud, Siegfried Sassoon, Emlyn Williams, and Lawrence Olivier, one telegram announcing the birth of Siegfried Sassoon's son, some letters written while Glen was in New York directing Dodie Smith's play 'Dear Octopus'. Some of the letters are illustrated, and several enclose letters from their children Juliet and George. 1940-1945: 173 ALS, 26 airgrams, 5 telegrams, written while Glen served in the Royal Scots, in Scotland and locations in England, and from 1942 in India via airgraphs at first, and then air mail letters. The early letters are about adjusting to military life and settling personal business affairs, the later letters discuss theatre news he has heard from friends and from Angela, with many references to John Gielgud, Lawrence Olivier, Hugh Beaumont (known to them as Binkie Beaumont), Emlyn Williams, and George Devine. He writes from the hospital after being wounded in 1943, contracts malaria in 1944, and also writes of his work after being wounded making War Department films. The letters carry many of Glen's sketches, and enclose letters from the children and others including his brother James Byam Shaw (known as Jim or 'Ting'), Binkie Beaumont, Billy Armstrong, and John Simpson. There is a gap in the letters from March to October 1944. 1949-1952, n.d.: 19 ALS, 1 telegram written while Glen or Angela was on tour, full of theatre news, and enclosing an ALS from Binkie Beaumont. Accompanied by material that was likely originally enclosures to the above described letters. There are nearly 40 letters from others, including an ALS from Anthony Eden, writing about the General Election in 1945. There are five ALS from Siegfried Sassoon to Angela dated 1936-1944, four of them written during World War II while Glen was away, including one reacting to news that Glen had been wounded, and another describing his life at Heytesbury House after the end of his marriage to Hester. Other correspondents include Lady Diana Cooper, George [Devine?], Dame Edith Evans, Michael T. Florinsky, Sam Harris, 'Jane' (Byam Shaw's nurse in India), John [Perry?], Denis Matthews, Capt J. W. Norton, Sir Hugh Walpole, Emlyn Williams, her children Jane, George and Juliet, and her brother-in-law James Byam Shaw. With seven photographs, clippings of reviews, a printed poem by Rex F. Hopes, and some documents, including Glen Byam Shaw's Actors' Equity card, and clothing ration books for 1942-1943.


Acquired by purchase.

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