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Alice Delysia Archive

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This material is held at V&A Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95
Dates of Creation ca. 1889-1979
Name of Creator John Devaut
Language of Material English
Physical Description 3 boxes

Scope and Content

This collection contains scrapbooks, gramophone records, photographs, press cuttings and posters relating to John Devaut, Alice Delysia, Harry Fragson and Charles B. Cochran. The material dates between 1889 and 1979.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Devaut (1916-1999) was an actor who starred in a number of productions in London, Glasgow, Kidderminster, Manchester and Edinburgh. His godmother was Alice Delysia.

Actress Alice Delysia, whose real name Alice Henriette Lapize (1889 to 1979), was born on 3 March 1889 in Paris. In 1903, she made her first appearance as a chorus girl at the Théâtre du Moulin Rouge in Paris. In 1909, she left the stage and was living with Harry Fragson, singer and composer. However, the couple parted in 1912 and Alice returned to the Paris stage. Alice was discovered by C. B. Cochran in 1913 and taken to London in 1914 to star in his first revue, Odds and Ends, which was a great success. Alice sang in many charity performances during the First World War. Her success continued throughout the 1920s in revues and musicals staged by Cochran. Her last big London success was at the Gaiety Theatre in 1933, in Mother of Pearl. In May 1941, Delysia supported De Gaulle and joined the Entertainments National Service Association entertaining troops in North Africa, the Middle East, Normandy, Belgium, and the Netherlands until the end of the war. After the war, she retired from the stage. Alice Delysia died from cancer on 10 February 1979 in the French Convalescent Home in Brighton.

Theatrical manager Sir Charles Blake Cochran (1872 to 1951) was born on 25 September 1872 in Sussex. At the age of seven, Charles saw the pantomime Sinbad the Sailor and this unforgettable visit inspired a lifelong passion for the theatre. Having left school and failed as a music-hall performer, Cochran went to America. There, he was the secretary to the actor and manager Richard Mansfield, and gained experience in running a theatrical company. In 1914, at the Ambassador's Theatre, Cochran took up the newly born genre of revue with Odds and Ends, starring his new discovery Alice Delysia. The shows that followed confirmed his reputation as a master of revue. At any given moment, he was juggling a half-dozen new productions and running the same number of theatres. He was knighted in 1948 and elected to the Légion d'honneur in 1950. He died after being trapped in a scalding bath on 31 January 1951.

Harry Fragson (1869 to 1913) was born in London in 1869. His real name was Léon Philippe Pot and he was of French-Belgian parentage. He was a British music hall singer and comedian. While living in Paris, he developed an act involving impressions of French music hall performers. In 1905, he came back to London and became a popular performer in both the U.K. and France. He is well known for the song 'Hello, Hello, Who's Your Lady Friend?'. He was one of the first French singers to have his songs mechanically reproduced on wax recordings. He was arguably the most popular pre-WWI entertainer. In 1913, Fragson was shot dead by his own father who was unstable because he believed that Fragson was going to put him into a home. He is buried at the crematorium at le Pére-Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

Arrangement

The collection is organised into the following series:
  • THM/95/1 - Scrapbooks
  • THM/95/2 - Gramophone Records
  • THM/95/3 - Photograph of Alice Delysia with the troupes
  • THM/95/4 - Press and Marketing

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.

Custodial History

The archive features materials relating to the donor John Devaut, Alice Delysia, Harry Fragson and Charles B. Cochran. John Devaut's godmother was Alice Delysia.

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Archivist's Note

With thanks to Alan Black for his contributions regarding the life of Alice Delysia, John Devaut, Harry Fragson and C.B. Cochran.

Related Material

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

Please ask for details.

Subjects

Musical theater
Revues-Great Britain
Music Halls - Great Britain

Personal Names

Lapize, Alice Henriette . ( 1889-1979)
Delysia, Alice. ( 1889-1979)
Devaut, John
Fragson, Harry. ( 1869-1913)

Cataloguing Info

Title Alice Delysia Archive
Creation Created by intern using the cheshire for archives ead creation tool 2012-01-10

Scrapbooks

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/1
Dates of Creation ca. 1912-1937
Physical Description 2 boxes

Scope and Content

This series contains four scrapbooks containing material relating primarily to Alice Delysia and Charles Blake Cochran’s revues and musicals. Cuttings typically consist of act advertisements, news articles, features, reviews, pictorials, personal profiles, interviews, from magazines as well as clippings from UK newspapers. The scrapbooks also contain programmes of performances and promotional material.

Arrangement

This series has been arranged chronologically.

Scrapbook on Alice Delysia's Charities, Social Events and Writings

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/1/1
Dates of Creation ca. 1912-1929
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Scrapbook labelled on front cover with 'Charities: Feb 1915 to April 1929, Social: March 1925 to April 1929, Her writings Oct 1914 - 1929' as the title. Materials consist of cuttings on Alice Delysia's social appearances and charitable work from various UK newspapers. Cuttings typically consist of news articles, features, reviews, pictorials, personal profiles, interviews, and act advertisements. The scrapbook may have been compiled by John Devaut.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Fragile

Scrapbook on Alice Delysia's Past and Charles B. Cochran’s writings

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/1/2
Dates of Creation ca. 1918-1929

Scope and Content

Scrapbook labelled on front cover with 'Stage continued: "Her Past" Dec 1928-April 1929, Cochran's Writings May 1918-1926' as the title. Materials consist of cuttings on Alice Delysia's performance in Her Past and on Charles B. Cochran from various UK newspapers. Cuttings typically consist of news articles, features, reviews, pictorials, personal profiles and interviews. The scrapbook may have been compiled by John Devaut.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Fragile

Scrapbook on Charles B. Cochran

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/1/3
Dates of Creation ca. 1933-1938
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Scrapbook labelled on front cover with 'News Cuttings.' The scrapbook contains newspaper cuttings concerning Charles B. Cochran and his revues: Nymph Errant (1933), Streamline (1934), Follow the Sun (1936) and “ Transatlantic rhythm”. from various UK newspapers. Cuttings typically consist of news articles, features, reviews, pictorials, personal profiles and interviews.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Fragile

Scrapbook on Alice Delysia

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/1/4
Dates of Creation ca. 1934
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Scrapbook of newspaper cuttings from various newspapers from 1934 for Mother of Pearl and other appearances.

The scrapbook contains newspaper cuttings on Alice Delysia and her performances in Mother of Pearl (1934) from various UK and international newspapers. Cuttings typically consist of news articles, features, reviews, pictorials, personal profiles and interviews. The scrapbook may have been compiled by John Devaut.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Fragile - large amount of pages missing.

Gramophone Records

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/2
Dates of Creation ca. 1869-1934
Physical Description 1 box

Scope and Content

This series contains five gramophone records featuring Alice Delysia and Harry Fragson singing various songs. The gramophone records were collected by John Devaut. The gramophone records are fragile.

Arrangement

This series has been arranged by artist and alphabetically by song title.

Conditions Governing Access

The material in this series is currently unavailable due to it being stored on a format which is not supported in the Reading Room.


Gramophone record of Alice Delysia singing "A Merry Farewell" from Carminetta

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/2/1
Dates of Creation ca. 1917
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Gramophone record of "A Merry Farewell" from Carminetta sung by Alice Delysia at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London. The record was manufactured by His Master’s Choice, The Gramophone Co. Ltd in Hayes, Middlesex, England.

Conditions Governing Access

This material is currently unavailable due to it being stored on a format which is not supported in the Reading Room.


Gramophone record of Alice Delysia singing on Desert Island Discs

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/2/2
Dates of Creation 1889/1979
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

The gramophone record is of Alice Delysia singing on “Desert Island Discs”. The record was manufactured in Great Britain by EMIdisc Recording.

Conditions Governing Access

This material is currently unavailable due to it being stored on a format which is not supported in the Reading Room.


Gramophone record of Alice Delysia singing "Helen of Troy" and "Ninon de l'Enclos"

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/2/3
Dates of Creation ca. 1918 - 1920
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

The gramophone record features Alice Delysia singing "Helen of Troy" and ‘"Ninon de l’Enclos" from the revue As You Were by Arthur Wimperis, with music by Herman Darewski and Edouard Mathe, produced by C.B. Cochran at the London Pavilion on the 3rd of August 1918. Alice Delysia, the star of As You Were, played a series of characters representing the beauties of all time, including Helen of Troy and Ninon de l'Enclos. The gramophone record was manufactured by Colombia Records.

Conditions Governing Access

This material is currently unavailable due to it being stored on a format which is not supported in the Reading Room.


Gramophone record of Harry Fragson singing "Paper Bag Cookery"

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/2/4
Dates of Creation ca. 1912
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This is a gramophone record of Harry Fragson singing "Paper Bag Cookery’". The record was manufactured by His Master’s Choice, The Gramophone Co. Ltd, in Hayes, Middlesex, England.

Conditions Governing Access

This material is currently unavailable due to it being stored on a format which is not supported in the Reading Room.


Gramophone record of Harry Fragson singing "The other department, please!"

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/2/5
Dates of Creation ca. 1912
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

The gramophone record features Harry Fragson singing "The other department please!". The record was manufactured by His Master’s Choice, The Gramophone Co. Ltd in Hayes, Middlesex, England.

Conditions Governing Access

This material is currently unavailable due to it being stored on a format which is not supported in the Reading Room.


Photograph of Alice Delysia with the troupes

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/3
Dates of Creation ca. 1939-1945
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

Black and white photograph of Alice Delysia singing to a uniformed crowd of soldiers.

Press and Marketing

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/4
Dates of Creation ca. 1933-1946

Scope and Content

This series contains press cuttings and theatrical magazines which relate to Charles B Cochran, John Devaut and Alice Delysia. Also contains posters advertising performances by Alice Delysia.

Arrangement

This series has been divided into three sub-series: Press cuttings, magazines and posters. The magazines and posters are arranged in date order.

Press Cuttings and magazines

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/4/1
Dates of Creation ca. 1933
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This folder contains press cuttings from theatrical magazines which relate mainly to Charles B. Cochran's revues.

Arrangement

The press cuttings and magazines are arranged in chronological order.

Press Cutting on John Devaut

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/4/1/1
Dates of Creation ca. 1933
Name of Creator Theatre World
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This item is a press cutting from November 1933 issue of Theatre World. The cutting features black and white photographs, with one image of John Devaut as Hercule.

Press Cutting on Charles B. Cochran's "Streamline"

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/4/1/2
Dates of Creation November 1934
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This press cutting is from the November 1934 issue of Theatre World magazine, Theatre World: Special Supplement "Murder in Mayfair". The press cutting includes black and white photographs from “Streamline” Charles B. Cochran's 21st revue.

Press Cutting on Charles B. Cochran's "Follow the Sun"

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/4/1/3
Dates of Creation March 1936

Scope and Content

This item is a press cutting from the March 1936 issue of Theatre World magazine, Theatre World: Special Souvenir "Home and Beauty", which includes a review of Charles B. Cochran's " Follow The Sun". The press cutting also includes photos.

New Theatre: Volume 3, Number 4

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/4/1/4
Dates of Creation ca. Sept 1946
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This item is the September 1946 issue of New Theatre magazine, Volume 3, Number 4. The magazine features articles by Peter Ustinov, Elizabeth Frank, Robert Mitchell, Geoffrey Whitworth and others.

Posters

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/4/3
Dates of Creation ca. 1942-1943
Name of Creator John Devaut

Scope and Content

Posters advertising performances by Alice Delysia.

Arrangement

The posters have been arranged in chronological order.

Poster for London Varieties on Friday, 12 June 1942

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/4/3/1
Dates of Creation 12 June 1942
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

This item is a poster for the London Varieties performance on Friday 12 June 1942 at 8:30 pm at the Britannia Club in Port Said. The poster announces: "The enormously successful Concert Party : London Varieties with a first class cast including the incomparable Alice Delysia, Harry Robbins (the xylophonist), Harry Tait (the pianist), George Hancock (Carl Rosa Baritone), Doreen Bristol (the singer); Frank Norris and Hilda Ciro (the accordionists), Carl Carlisle and Virginia Carrol (the celebrated BBC mimics), Alf Thomas (Mrs. Thomas's Favourite Husband)". The performance was for the armed forces. The poster is in black ink on regular paper.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Fair condition - small tear.

Poster for Alice Delysia

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/95/4/3/2
Dates of Creation ca. 1943-1944
Language of Material French
Physical Description 1 item

Scope and Content

The item is a propaganda poster written in French about Alice Delysia and her performances for the French army in the Second World War. The text on the poster translates as "Alice Delysia, part of the theatre at the front, followed the Allied troops to Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Persia, Transjordan and the Western Desert to El Alamein from May 19, 1941. On December 23, 1943. Finally, on August 5, 1944, into France, Normandy, Belgium. Alice Delysia is the first woman to set foot on German soil with the Allied troops. This incomparable artist is beloved by all the brave soldiers. She brings them the comforts of her smile and songs. Long live France, Long live Belgium, Long live England"

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The poster is in colour ink and pastels on paper. The item is in fair condition.