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© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Location: Harvard Depository
Call No.: MS Thr 662
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Campbell, Patrick, Mrs., 1865-1940.
Title: Mrs. Patrick Campbell letters to Bertha von Zastrow and other papers
Date(s): 1902-1939 and undated
Quantity: 1 linear feet (2 boxes)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Letters from British actress Beatrice Stella Campbell to actress Bertha von Zastrow.
Other collections of Mrs. Patrick's correspondence are also held by the British Library, the Bodleian Library, the Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Theatre and Performance, and University of Chicago Special Collections. A letter from Mrs. Patrick, listed under the name Stella West, to Bertha von Zastrow is part of the Katherine S. Dreier/Société Anonyme Papers at Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Beatrice Rose Stella Tanner Campbell (1865-1940) was a prominent British actress. She was the sixth and final child of John Tanner (1831-1893), a successful contractor with the British East India Company, and Maria Luigia Giovanna Romanini (1835-1940), the daughter of the Italian exile, Count Angelo Romanini. Educated haphazardly with a mix of governesses and schools across Europe, Stella, as she called herself, excelled in music. It was a course of study she abandoned, however, upon becoming romantically involved with a neighbor, Patrick Campbell. The two eloped in 1884, Stella pregnant with their first child, Alan Urquhart. In 1886 with the birth of their second child, a daughter named Stella, Patrick's demotions at work and dwindling salary prompted him to go abroad and seek work in Australia and South Africa. The money sent home however was insuffient to maintain the family and Stella had the idea of generating income for herself on the stage. Despite extreme disapproval from her family, she made her debut as Mrs. Patrick Campbell in Liverpool, 1888, and played in a string of minor successes until an 1893 role as Paula in The Second Mrs. Tanqueray launched her career and garnered high praise in the press.The following year, the family flush with Mrs. Patrick's success, Patrick returned to England in poor health and poorer fortunes. His state ensured that Mrs. Patrick would continue on the stage to support her family in the comfort to which they had become accustomed. She performed in generally well-received plays by Henrik Ibsen, William Shakespeare, Victorien Sardou, François Coppée, Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Maurice Maeterlinck. At the end of the century, Mrs. Patrick began her own management company and following the death of her husband in the South African War, she toured with it through Europe and America. Mrs. Patrick continued her stage career, dabbling in Hollywood productions and lecturing on acting and voice until the end of her life in 1940, when she passed away in France. Mrs. Patrick is particularly remembered for her role as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion, a part written for her by George Bernard Shaw, with whom she also had significant correspondence.Bertha von Zastrow was the daughter of Mrs. Bertha von Zastrow, a Hungarian born actress who performed under her maiden name, Bertha Gross, and Mrs. von Zastrow's second husband, Hermann von Zastrow. Miss von Zastrow came as a child of two to the United States from Germany with her mother in 1887 and settled in Warren, Pennsylvania where they lived until 1900. From Warren, the mother and daughter moved to New York City where they lived together until Mrs. von Zastrow's death in 1938.Miss von Zastrow apparently never married. In her letters, Mrs. Patrick inquires after and offers her good wishes to a man named Paul whose assistance was sometimes enlisted through Miss von Zastrow for several tasks on behalf of Mrs. Patrick. Paul may have lived with Miss von Zastrow and her mother for some years.Miss von Zastrow was politically active, particularly in the women's suffrage movement, and had a role on the Executive Committee of the German-American Suffrage Association along with Mrs. Charles Knoblauch, 1875-1950 (Mary Bookstaver) and Katherine Sophie Dreier, 1877-1952, who was the Committee's chairperson. Miss von Zastrow also acted, which is likely how she and Mrs. Patrick met one another. The two played together in some productions. The women were certainly friendly, but Miss von Zastrow also seemed to take on the role of assistant to Mrs. Patrick and was sometimes compensated for it. Money and the "pinch of poverty" felt by both women at different points throughout their correspondence was a common topic. Miss von Zastrow's finances were particularly strained in the years prior to World War II and she suffered ill health during those years as well. Miss von Zastrow lived in New York City until at least 1954.
Arranged into the following series:
- I. Letters from Mrs. Patrick Campbell to Bertha von Zastrow.
- II. Other letters.
- III. Biographical miscellany on Mrs. Patrick Campbell.
Autograph manuscript letters primarily from Mrs. Patrick Campbell to Bertha von Zastrow decribing Mrs. Patrick's theatrical performances, travel, finances and family. Many letters are concerned with Mrs. Patrick's perfomances and society life and include newspaper clippings, several photographs, playbills, fliers and programs. Of particular interest are Mrs. Patrick's letters concerning her early experiences in Hollywood and her thoughts on the social/political situation leading up to World War II.Also includes third party letters concerning both women and a final series of biographical materials on Mrs. Patrick Campbell, including clippings, obituaries, reviews, and photographs.
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