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MS 685

Reference code

MS 685


Ellen Terry, Edward Gordon Craig and Edward A. Craig (EAC) collection



Administrative / Biographical history

Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966):
Edward Gordon Craig was an actor, artist, wood-graver, writer, stage designer and puppeteer.
Born in Stevenage on 16 January 1872, he was the illegitimate son of Ellen Terry and the architect Edward William Godwin. He was known as Edward Godwin, until the age of 21, when he took the name Craig after the Scottish island Ailsa Craig.

Having grown up in the theatre, he began his career as an actor, joining Henry Irving and his mother at the Lyceum theatre; however, he was drawn more to art and began creating woodcuts, before moving into theatrical design. With the help of friend Martin Shaw, he produced several plays in London including Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Handel's Acis and Galatea, and Ibsen's The Vikings at Helgeland.

In 1904, he moved to Germany and then Italy, where he began to turn his theatrical theories into writings, starting the magazine ‘The Page’.

One of his greatest successes was his involvement with the Moscow Arts Theatre on a revolutionary production of Hamlet, which opened in 1911.

After relocating to Italy, he began publishing the international theatre magazine, ‘The Mask’, as well as establishing a School for the Art of the Theatre at the Arena Goldoni in Florence, and venturing into writing puppet (or marionette) plays. He continued to develop innovatory ideas surrounding the theatre, particularly involving the use of ‘Black Figures’, screens and movements and stage lighting.
Throughout his life, he published numerous works on the theatre, expressing these ideas.

His later life was lived in straitened circumstances in France and was interned by German occupation forces in 1942.

Craig personal life was eventful. In 1893, Craig married Helen Mary (May) Gibson, with whom he had five children: Rosemary Nell (born 1894), Robin or Bobby as he was often known (born 1895), Philip (born 1896?) and Peter (born 1897). The marriage became increasingly strained, with Craig starting an affair with Jess Dorynne, before eloping with violinist Elena Meo in 1902.

Elena was to be a constant support to Craig until her death in 1957 and together they had three children: Ellen Gordon (1903–1904), Ellen Gordon ("Nelly"; 1904–1975) and Edward Anthony Carrick (1905–1998) an art director of British films.

However, he continued to take various lovers, including the dancer Isadora Duncan, with whom he had a daughter, Deirdre Beatrice (1906–1913); and the poet Dorothy Nevile Lees, with whom he had a son, Davidino Lees (1916–2004) a noted Italian photojournalist.

He received an OBE and in 1958, he was made a Companion of Honour. He died at Vence, France, in 1966, aged 94.

Further biographical details about his life and his work are given throughout the catalogue to explain the material held.

For more detailed biographical information on Edward Gordon Craig’s see:
Craig, Edward, Gordon Craig, New York: Alfred K. Knopf, 1968

Edward Anthony Craig/ Edward Carrick (1905-1998):
Edward Anthony Craig was the son of Edward Gordon Craig and Elena Meo. Often known as ‘Teddy’, he became a notable film and stage designer and artist.

With Edward Gordon Craig absent for much of his childhood, he travelled around with his mother and sister, including a period living in Kent, where they stayed with his grandmother Ellen Terry. He then settled in Rapallo with Gordon Craig, and Teddy became his father’s assistant, becoming an expert model-maker, wood-engraver, printer, and photographer.

In 1923, in order to gain some independence from his father, he adopting a pseudonym, ‘E. Carrick’, for his wood-engravings (‘Carrick’ being the Irish equivalent of the Scottish ‘Craig’) and a name he was also to use throughout his film career.

After being sent to London in 1927, he began working with filmmaker George Pearson and the following year married Helen Ruskin Godfrey, settling in England with her – much to his father’s annoyance – and they had two children, John (b. 1931) and Helen (b. 1934).

Throughout the 1930s he was worked on designing London stage productions, including Macbeth at the Old Vic (1932), Emlyn Williams's psychological thriller Night must Fall (1935), and J. B. Priestley's allegory Johnson over Jordan (1939). In 1937, he founded the first film school in England, the AAT (Associated Artist Technicians') School, as well a writing extensively about design.

He would continue to work on various film designs, working for Criterion Film, the Crown Film Unit, and Pinewood Studios as well as working as a freelance designer and illustrator.

In 1956, he married Patricia Craig, née Marchant, but this marriage collapsed in 1957. He married (Evelyn) Mary Timewell (b. 1922), a film production secretary, in 1960 and they settled Cutler’s Orchard, Bledlow, and then at Southcourt Cottage in Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire.

In 1965, he retired from design to concentrate on writing and research, with his main project, the biography of his father ‘Gordon Craig’, published in 1968.

He died, on 21 January 1998.

Further biographical details are given at the appropriate level.

For more detailed biographical information on Edward A. Craig see:
Surowiec, Catherine A., Craig, Edward Anthony [Teddy] [pseud. Edward Carrick], Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Ellen Terry (1847–1928):

Born on 27 February 1847, the daughter of actors Benjamin Terry (1818–1896) and his wife Sarah Ballard (1819–1892) she grew up surrounded by the theatre and was acting from an early age.

Terry married her first husband, artist George Fredrick Watts, R.A in February 1864 at the age of 16 and gave up acting. By 1865, they were separated and after returning to the theatre, she eloped with the architect Edward Godwin, whom she had first met as a child outside the theatre. They had two children, Edith Craig and Edward Gordon Craig and Terry once again gave up acting.

However, financial constraints eventually forced her to return to the stage. Godwin left her in 1875.
In 1877, she married Charles (Kelly) Wardell; however, the marriage lasted less than three years.

In 1878, she became the leading lady for Henry Irving at the Lyceum Theatre. She would remain with Irving for twenty-four years, undertaking frequent provincial tours and seven tours to America with the Lyceum Company, playing thirty-six parts, and becoming one of the most notable Shakespearian actors of the day. During this time, she was also engaged in a lengthy correspondence with George Bernard Shaw.

On 22 March 1907 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ellen Terry married her third husband, the American actor James Carew, but it broke up amicably in 1910.

In 1925, she was made a dame.
On 21 July 1928, she died at Smallhythe Kent.

Further biographical detail is given at the appropriate level

For more detailed biographical information on Ellen Terry see:
E. Terry, The story of my life (1908)
E. G. Craig, Ellen Terry and her secret self (1932)

The nature of the archive means that it contains papers relating to various individuals who featured prominently in Gordon Craig’s life. Further biographical and administrative information can be found at a lower level throughout the catalogue.



Extent & medium

2 sub-sub-fonds

Content description

Note on the names used throughout the catalogue:

For easy of reference and consistency, Edward Anthony Craig/Teddy Craig/ Edward Carrick, is referred to as Edward A. Craig (or E.A. Craig) throughout this catalogue. Additionally Nelly Craig is sometimes spelt Nellie, but is spelt Nelly throughout the catalogue.

The collection represents the professional and personal lives of Edward Gordon Craig, Edward A. Craig and Ellen Terry. The majority of the collection is made up of papers relating to Edward Gordon Craig and his work on the theatre, and reflects the collection that was retained by his son Edward A. Craig.

As a significant amount of original material was sold outside the family at various stages, the second part of the collection, the separately acquired material, reflects the attempts made by Eton College to expand the archive, beyond the initial deposit of family papers.

Further details about the contents of the archive is given at a lower level.

Associated material

Eton College Library also holds a significant collection of published material by Edward Gordon Craig, Edward A. Craig and Ellen Terry, as well as reference material and books each of them owned.

These have been catalogued separately and are searchable via the Eton College Collections catalogue.

Material held outside of Eton:

Papers created by Edwards Gordon Craig are divided between various repositories. L.M. Newman listed most of the collections known about; however, additional material might become known. Major collections include:
"Craig Papers" (Harvard University Library, bMS Thr 345). Purchased in 1979.
"Craig, Edward Gordon, 1872-1966. Proofs for the Cranach Press edition of Shakespeare's Hamlet" (Harvard University Library, MS Typ 1122). Purchased in 2002.
"Donald Oenslager Collection of Edward Gordon Craig" (New York Public Library for Performing Arts, Billy Rose Theatre Collection, *T-Mss 1967-007). Donated by Donald Oenslager's family in 1996; complements the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library's Oenslager Collection at Yale University, which was listed by L. M. Newman.
"Edward Gordon Craig Collection" (Toronto Public Library, Toronto Reference Library, Performing Arts Centre, Archival Collections).
"Arnold Rood Collection" (Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury).
"Lees, Dorothy Nevile. Papers relating to Edward Gordon Craig and The Mask." (Harvard University Library, MS Thr 423). Purchased in 1986 from David Lees, son of Edward Gordon Craig and Dorothy Nevile Lees; complements the BnF's Craig Collection for all that pertains to the publication of the serial titled The Mask.
"Edward Gordon Craig Collection" (Gabinetto scientifico letterario Giovan Pietro Vieusseux, Florence, Archivio contemporaneo Alessandro Bonsanti). Complements the archives relating to the serial The Mask in both the BnF's Craig Collection and the Harvard University Library's Dorothy Nevile Lees Collection.
"Edward Gordon Craig Papers relating to Isadora Duncan" (New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, (S) *MGZMD 92). Purchased in 1992 from Tom Craig (grandson to Edward A. Craig).
"Isadora Duncan Collection" (University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Charles E. Young Research Library, Department of Special Collections). Collection built by Howard Holtzmann, and purchased in 2006.
"Rudolph Holzapfel Collection of Edward Gordon Craig material" (University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Charles E. Young Research Library, Department of Special Collections, Collection 1482).
The collections built by Professor Norman Philbrick in California were donated in 1986 to the Pomona College, and are accessible at the Honnold/Mudd Library, Special Collections Department.
Tapuscrits de Drama for Fools (Institut international de la marionnette, Charleville-Mézières, France). Acquired in 2000.
"Edward Craig Collection" (Centre canadien d'architecture à Montréal / Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal) ; Consists of about 75 books and 700 ephemera collected by Craig and his son Edward (Carrick) Craig.
Interview de Craig sur bande magnétique / Audiotapes of an interview of Craig (University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Department of Special Collections and University Archives, MS 344).
Edward Gordon Craig Papers (University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Charles E. Young Research Library, Department of Special Collections, Collection 1006).
Craig Papers (Harvard University, Harvard College Library, Houghton Library, Harvard Theatre Collection, bMS Thr 345).
Edward Gordon Craig Collection (Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, General Collection, GEN MSS 433).
Edward Gordon Craig Collection (Northwestern University Library (Evanston, Illinois), Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections).
Edward Gordon Craig Collection (British Institute of Florence). Printed materials catalogued and retrievable through the OPAC (but no finding aid is available on line for the archival part of the collection). See also: a brief presentation of the collection.
Edward Gordon Craig Collection (University of California, Davis, General Library, Department of Special Collections, D-178).
Edward Gordon Craig Photography Collection Literary File (The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center, Photography Collection PH-00281).
The Craig-Duncan Collection (New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, (S) *MGZMC-Res. 2).
Craig Papers relating to Isadora Duncan (New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, (S) *MGZMD 92).
Dorothy Nevile Lees Papers relating to Edward Gordon Craig and The Mask (Harvard University, Harvard College Library, Houghton Library, Harvard Theatre Collection, MS Thr 423).
Proofs for the Cranach Presse edition of Shakespeare's Hamlet (Harvard University, Harvard College Library, Houghton Library, MS Typ 1122).
Holzapfel (Rudolph) Collection About Edward Gordon Craig (UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections, Manuscripts Division, Collection 1482).
Donald Oenslager Collection of Edward Gordon Craig (Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, General Collection, GEN MSS 424).
Donald Oenslager Collection of Edward Gordon Craig (New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Billy Rose Theatre Collection, *T-Mss 1976-007).
Papers of Ellen Terry and Edith Craig (the National Trust property, Smallhythe Place, Tenterden, Kent, UK).
Eleonora Duse Collection (University of Glasgow, Library, Special Collections, MS Gen 1659).
Craig Letters to Virginia Ashley Clarke (Harvard University, Harvard College Library, Houghton Library, bMS Eng 1172-1172.1).
Craig Letters to Thomas Moult (Harvard University, Harvard College Library, Houghton Library, Harvard Theatre Collection, MS Thr 28).
Edward Gordon Craig portraits (National Portrait Gallery, London).

Publication note

Archival collections containing items produced or collected by Edward Gordon Craig were listed and described by L. M. Newman in Gordon Craig Archives: international survey. London: The Malkin Press, 1976 (updated in 1996).

Further details of published material is noted throughout the catalogue.
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