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MS Thr 1034

Terriss, William, -1897. William Terriss theatrical papers, 1889-1897: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Thr 1034
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Terriss, William, -1897.
Title: William Terriss theatrical papers,
Date(s): 1889-1897.
Quantity: 1 collection (.25 linear feet (1 box)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Correspondence and contracts of English actor-manager, William Terriss.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

2013MT-43. Purchase with the Mary P. and Donald M. Oenslager Theatre Collection Fund; received: 2014 June 17.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

William Terriss Theatrical Papers, 1889-1897 (MS Thr 1034). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

William Terriss (1847-1897) was a Victorian actor-manager. He was born in London as William Charles James Lewin, the youngest of three sons of George Herbert Lewin and Mary Friend Lewin. He married Isabel Lewis (stage name Amy Fellowes) in 1870 and they had two children, musical comedy star Ellaline Terriss and the film director Tom Terriss. In 1871 he began his acting career at Drury Lane, establishing himself as one of Britain's most popular actors. In 1880 he joined Sir Henry Irving's company at the Lyceum Theatre and in 1885 he joined the Adelphi Theatre and he met and began his acting association with Jessie Millward, who also became his lover. The pair established themselves as a theatrical romantic lead couple. On December 16, 1897 he entered the Adelphi Theatre and was stabbed to death by a disgruntled actor, Richard Archer Prince. Legend has it that his ghost haunts the Covent Garden tube station and the Adelphi Theatre in London.


Arranged into the following series:

Scope and Contents

Theatrical contracts and correspondence documenting Terriss's career as an actor and theater manager associated with the Adelphi Theatre and Sir Henry Irving's Lyceum company. Includes topics of Terriss's purchase and optioning of plays to perform while he was at the Lyceum and Adelphi. Contracts include agreements with playwrights C. Haddon Chambers, Mark Melford, Louis Napoleon Parker, and others. One contract is with Jessie Millward. Letters discuss plays to option or purchase and also include other theatrical matters; are to and from Terriss's close friend and attorney Jocelyn Brandon (of Brandon & Nicholson), and many others.

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