DC's Folger Library Acquires Lynn Redgrave Archive

News   DC's Folger Library Acquires Lynn Redgrave Archive
Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, has acquired the theatrical archive of actress and playwright Lynn Redgrave (1943-2010). The collection of professional and family papers documents Redgrave's career on stage and screen, including a life-long interest in Shakespeare, Folger announced on April 23.

The archive includes "materials representing every stage of her career," from her theatrical debut in A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1962 through her successful Hollywood career and her own writing for the theatre in "four deeply personal family plays" — Shakespeare for My Father, The Mandrake Root, Nightingale and Rachel and Juliet.

Redgrave's three children, Ben, Pema and Annabel Clark, said in a joint statement, "Our mother would be so happy to know that her archive is being housed at the Folger. Her long association with the organization began with an invitation to present an evening of Shakespeare and family anecdotes, which inspired her to write her first play, Shakespeare for My Father. This marked the beginning of a new life and career as a playwright. We are deeply grateful to the Folger for keeping her legacy alive for future generations."

The papers include scrapbooks documenting her early stage success as well as promptbooks and other production materials for her many plays, films and work for television. The archive also contains materials related to her father, Sir Michael Redgrave, and an extensive correspondence with her mother, actress Rachel Kempson.

"The collection will be of particular interest for students of theatre and film history, and especially those interested in the Redgrave family's deep engagement with the work of William Shakespeare," said Stephen Enniss, the Eric Weinmann Librarian of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

In addition to her career in the theatre, Redgrave also served on the board of governors of the Folger Shakespeare Library. During her long association with the institution, she appeared on its stage many times. Her Tony-nominated 1991 play, Shakespeare for My Father, was first developed on the Folger stage, and her 2009 play about her mother, Rachel and Juliet, premiered at the Folger. For more information, visit folger.edu.


The Folger Shakespeare Library's collection includes extensive theatrical records, promptbooks, playbills, and manuscripts of leading directors and actors of the 18th-21st centuries. Particularly well represented are such stage figures as David Garrick, Sarah Siddons, Henry Irving and Ellen Terry, as well as materials documenting the theatrical families the Keans, the Kembles, and the Booths. The library holds extensive records of London's Drury Lane and Covent Garden theatres, while its theatrical holdings from the 20th century to the present document the enduring interest in Shakespeare's works in our own time. A gift to the American people from industrialist Henry Clay Folger, the Folger Shakespeare Library — located one block east of the U.S. Capitol — opened in 1932.

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