About this page

John Levitt Collection of Correspondence and Theatrical Memorabilia

Archives described on the Archives Hub are held in repositories across the UK

  • this Description
  • View XML | View Text
This material is held at V&A Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446
Dates of Creation 1816-1939
Name of Creator John Levitt
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1 Box

Scope and Content

This collection contains correspondence between Charles James Mathews and Charles Dance and between Charles B. Cochran and Maurice Willson Disher, including rough drafts and typed transcripts.

The theatrical memorabilia comprises paper and silk playbills, black and white photographs including performance photographs, drawings and paintings including costume designs, press clippings, magazines, scripts, scores and lyrics. The memorabilia relates to music hall, pantomime and Sarah Bernhardt. Items of interest include an original cartoon of Charles B. Cochran, a pencil and watercolour cartoon of Stanley Lupino as Idle Jack, a print from Vanity Fair of a portrait of Sarah Bernhardt and a photograph of Vesta Victoria, Maude Lloyd and Lloyd’s second husband Alec Hurley, the music hall coster singer.

Finally it includes John Levitt’s correspondence regarding the collection and a researcher’s notes on impresarios and music hall performers of the 19th century.

Administrative / Biographical History

Charles James Mathews (1803-1878) was born in Liverpool and initially worked as an architect. His acting career began in 1835 and continued until the year of his death, encompassing performances in the United Kingdom, United States of America and France. Between the late 1930s and 1955 he and his wife Lucia Elizabeth Vestris (1797 –1856), known as Madame Vestris, managed venues including the Olympic Theatre, the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden and the Lyceum Theatre.

Charles Dance (1794-1863) combined his work as a dramatist with various legal jobs mainly in the Insolvent Debtors' Court. Dance had a professional friendship with Mathews and Madame Vestris, helping them to negotiate the lease for the Lyceum Theatre and also contributing Olympic Revels as the opening piece of their first season. Many of Dance’s works have been printed in Lacy's ‘Acting Edition of Plays,’ Duncombe's ‘British Theatre,’ Webster's ‘Acting National Drama,’ and Miller's ‘Modern Acting Drama.

Sir Charles Blake Cochran (1872-1951) attended Oxford University, began his career as an actor and later worked as a press representative, agent and author. From 1916 until his death he produced plays, musicals and musical revues including work by Noël Coward and Vivian Ellis. He was knighted in 1948 and elected to the Légion d'honneur in 1950.

Cochran’s friend Maurice Willson Disher (1893-1969) was a theatre historian, author and playwright.

George Leslie Brook (1910-1987) was professor of English Language and Medieval English Literature at Manchester University from 1945 to 1977. George Brook was a collected literature covering subjects including theatrical history and theology. His collections are now distributed at academic institutions including Baylor University, Texas and Manchester University. Brook may have known Charles B. Cochran.

John Henry Levitt (1923-2005) attended Manchester University and was taught by George Leslie Brook. Levitt began his teaching career in 1948 at the Workers' Educational Association and later worked at Keele University, retiring as its Director of Adult Education. He was an English literature scholar and a contributor to the ‘Oxford Companion to English Literature’ and the ‘Dictionary of National Biography.’

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for consultation in the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance's Reading Room, which is located at Blythe House, 23 Blythe Rd, Olympia, London, W14 0QX. The Reading Room is open Tuesday to Friday between 10.15 am and 4.30 pm. Access to it is by appointment only. To request an appointment please email tmenquiries@vam.ac.uk or telephone 020 7942 2698.

Access to some of these files may be restricted. These are identified at file level.

Conditions Governing Use

Archival material may not be photocopied. Arrangements can be made to photograph material in the reading room using non-flash photography.

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with the collection management policy.

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance. Material relating to Charles B. Cochran biographies, as well as the ..... in general may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, company and photographs files.

Please ask for details.

Separated Material

The following materials have been removed from this collection and have been integrated into the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance's core collections.

Periodicals:

  • "The Saturday Programme and Sketch-Book", July 10, 1875
  • "The Courier", Manchester Opera House, No. 5, Vol. 1, Nov. 1932.
  • "The Courier", Manchester Opera House, No. 6, Vol. 1, Dec. 1932.

Programmes:

  • Globe Theatre, The Promise of May
  • Royal Albert Hall, Chaliapine,1927
  • Grosvenor House, Mammoth Cabaret, 1935
  • Palace Theatre, Flashbacks: The Evolution of the Movies, 1938
  • Globe Theatre, International Season, 1930s
  • King's Theatre & Theatre Royal Glasgow, Forthcoming Attractions, 1930

Playbills:

  • Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, School for Scandal, 1816
  • Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, As You Like it, The Gladiator!, The Duchess of Ormond, 1836
  • Theatre Royal, Worcester, The Mother's Secret, Betsey Baker, 1855
  • Prince of Wales's Royal Theatre, Ours!, 1866
  • Prince of Wales's Royal Theatre, A Winning Hazard, School, Intrigue, 1869
  • Prince's Theatre, Henry V, 1872
  • Pullan's Theatre of Varieties, Wises, George & Lily Grey, Harry Phillips, Young & Dean, Pongo, Elva, Cockrill Family, Fred Wilton, Leno, 1878

Subjects

Musical theater
Theater - History - 19th century
Theater - History - 20th century

Personal Names

Dance, Charles. ( 1794-1863)
Dance, Charles. ( 1794-1863) Archives
Mathews, Charles James. ( 1803-1878)
Mathews, James Charles. ( 1803-1878) Archives
Disher, Maurice Willson. ( 1893-1969)
Disher, Maurice Willson. ( 1893-1969) Archives
Cochran, Charles Blake. Sir, ( 1872-1951)
Cochran, Charles Blake. Sir, ( 1872-1951) Archives

Cataloguing Info

Title John Levitt Collection of Correspondence and Theatrical Memorabilia
Creation Created by intern using the Archives Hub EAD Editor 2014-05-27

Correspondence

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/1
Dates of Creation 1847-1939
Physical Description 2 folders

Scope and Content

This series contains correspondence between Charles B. Cochram and Maurice W. Disher and Charles J. Mathews and Charles Dance, including letters, envelopes, typed copies of the letters and biographies.


Correspondence from Sir Charles Blake Cochram to Maurice Willson Disher Esq.

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/1/1
Dates of Creation 1918-1939
Name of Creator John Levitt
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

It contains letters, envelopes, Christmas cards and typewritten copies of letters.


Correspondence between Charles James Mathews and Charles Dance

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/1/2
Dates of Creation 1847-1850
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

It contains descriptions, biographies, typed copies of the letters and the original letters.


Reviews and discussions of performances and exhibitions

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/2
Dates of Creation 1887-1937
Name of Creator John Levitt
Physical Description 5 folders

Scope and Content

This series contains newspaper cuttings, reviews and articles on performances and exhibitions from a range of well-known newspapers, such as "The Evening News", "Sunday Expres" and "The Strand Magazines".


Theatre section of "The Graphic" (the illustrated London news playhouses)

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/2/1
Dates of Creation 1887-1894
Name of Creator John Levitt
Physical Description 1 folder (6 pages)

Theatre section of "The Evening News"

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/2/2
Dates of Creation 1937
Name of Creator John Levitt
Physical Description 1 folder (1 page)

Theatre section of "Sunday Express"

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/2/3
Dates of Creation 1937
Name of Creator John Levitt
Physical Description 1 folder

Theatre reviews in "The Strand Magazine" (John Hare's Reminiscences)

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/2/4
Dates of Creation Early 20th century
Name of Creator John Levitt
Physical Description 1 folder

Review of Charles B. Cochran as Collector

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/2/5
Dates of Creation c. 1900-1950
Name of Creator John Levitt
Physical Description 1 folder

Obituaries, newspaper cuttings, review and magazines on performers

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/3
Dates of Creation 1891-1939
Name of Creator John Levitt
Physical Description 6 folders

Scope and Content

This series contains newspaper cuttings, obituaries, reviews and magazines on famous early 20th century performers, such as Dan Leno, Sarah Bernhardt and Marie Lloyd.


Illustration and magazines on Sarah Bernhardt

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/3/1
Dates of Creation 1900-1923
Name of Creator John Levitt
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Le Theatre, The Sketch, Illustration


Obituaries, reviews, newspaper articles on Marie Lloyd

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/3/2
Dates of Creation 1893-1935
Name of Creator John Levitt
Physical Description 1 folder

Obituary on Johnny Danvers

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/3/3
Dates of Creation 1939
Name of Creator John Levitt
Physical Description 1 folder

Newspaper articles, letters, programmes, sheet music, reviews, performance advertisements on Dan Leno

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/3/4
Dates of Creation 1891-1939
Name of Creator John Levitt
Physical Description 1 folder

Obituaries, letters and newspaper articles on and script of Little Tich

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/3/5
Dates of Creation 1928-1935
Name of Creator John Levitt
Physical Description 1 folder

Newspaper article on Charles Coborn

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/3/6
Dates of Creation Early 20th century
Name of Creator John Levitt
Physical Description 1 folder

Photographs, illustrations, costume designs of performers and performances, including Edwin Forrest, C. B. Cochran, The Hobby-Horse

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/4
Dates of Creation 1836-1938
Name of Creator John Levitt
Physical Description 1 folder (7 items)

Scope and Content

This series includes photographs, illustrations, costume designs of performers and performances, including Edwin Forrest, C. B. Cochran and The Hobby-Horse.


Miscellaneous including The Questors New Theatre Project proposal, Charles B. Cochran's copybook, "The Circus is Coming"

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/446/5
Dates of Creation 1913-1950
Name of Creator John Levitt
Physical Description 1 folder (3 items)

Scope and Content

This series includes The Questors New Theatre Project proposal, Charles B. Cochran's copybook and "The Circus is Coming".