Menu

Guide to the Ann Preston Bridgers Papers, 1871-1967 and undated

Collection Overview

The papers of Ann Preston Bridgers span the years 1871-1967, although the bulk of the material covers the period 1925-1963. Included in the collection are correspondence, manuscript drafts and notes, business items and programs related to the Raleigh Little Theatre, contracts, wills, newsclippings, and photographs.

Miss Bridgers' life is best documented in the correspondence. It is chiefly of a personal nature, between Miss Bridgers and her family, including her sisters Elizabeth (Bab) and Emily and to a lesser extent her brother Robert. Elizabeth was the wife of Jonathan Daniels, son of Josephus Daniels, and there are several letters from Jonathan to the Bridgers and references made to his parents. Later correspondence includes letters from Bab's daughter, Elizabeth and her husband Charles (Chick) B. Squire, in which they often critiqued each other's writings.

Elizabeth Lawrence, horticulturist and author of gardening works, is also represented extensively in the correspondence from the mid 1930's until about 1948. Other correspondents include George Abbott, whose correspondence dates primarily from 1962 to 1964, and various literary agents.

The Writings series comprises the bulk of the collection, and includes works by Miss Bridgers and other members of her family and friends. Coquette, the work for which she is best known is not represented in this series. There is, however, information regarding this play, which opened on Broadway in 1927, in the Correspondence, Legal and Financial Papers, Raleigh Little Theater, and Clippings series. Also included in this series are several drafts of "Those Without Freedom," an unpublished novel about the South after the Civil War.

The National Union Catalog Pre-1956 Imprints lists two published works by Miss Bridgers: Coquette, where she is listed as the joint author, and an article in the Saturday Review of Literature in 1935 about Thomas Wolfe. Drafts and background material for this article are located in the Writings series. Other persons represented in the Writings series include: Emily and Robert R. Bridgers; Elizabeth (Daniels) Squire; and Elizabeth Lawrence.

The efforts of Miss Bridgers and others involved with the founding of the Raleigh Little Theater are reflected in the Correspondence and Raleigh Little Theater series.

In addition to legal papers relating to the play Coquette, the Legal and Financial Papers series also includes documents concerning the will and estate of Miss Bridgers' aunt, Emily Bridgers, receipts, and other miscellaneous financial data. Financial concerns of the family are also found in the Correspondence series.

The Clippings series contains reviews of the Broadway production of Coquette, as well as book reviews and newspaper columns by Miss Bridgers. The series also provides information about Miss Bridgers, other family members, and miscellany items.

Genealogical information about the Bridgers family, an engagement book Miss Bridgers kept while traveling in Europe (1961), and other items comprise the Miscellany series.

The Photographs series contains three albums of photographs. Some appear to be of theatrical productions; many are of unidentified persons. Loose photographs include those of Ann Preston Bridgers, George Abbott, Mr. and Mrs. Josephus Daniels, and Miss Bridgers' grandfather, Robert Rufus Bridgers.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Ann Preston Bridgers papers 1871-1967 and undated
Creator
Bridgers, Ann Preston, 1891-1967
Extent
8.8 Linear Feet, 3,100 Items
Repository
Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Language
English.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The status of the copyright interests in the papers is unknown. For further information, see the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Chiefly personal correspondence between Bridgers family members and friends. Includes letters from agents, who were attempting to get Miss Bridgers' plays produced and her writings published. Arranged chronologically.

1887-1929
(7 folders)
Box 1
1930-1939
(8 folders)
Box 2
1940-1945
(6 folders)
Box 3
1946-1957
(8 folders)
Box 4
1958-1966 and undated
(8 folders)
Box 5

Divided into two subseries, those by Miss Bridgers and those by others. Those by Miss Bridgers are subarranged alphabetically by title, while those by others are subarranged alphabetically by author. Also includes miscellaneous notes, writings, and drafts of unidentified manuscripts.

Alice and the Duchess-Swing It or Pig and Peppers Misc. Notes and Mss.
Box 6
Carrie Was a Lady, Misc. Notes and Mss. of Version entitled Once A Virgin
Box 6
Carrie Was a Lady Mss. of Play, Version 1
Box 6
Carrie Was a Lady Mss. of Play, Version 2
Box 6
Carrie Was a Lady Mss. of Play, Version 3
Box 6
David and King Saul Misc. Notes and Mss. of Play
(4 folders)
Box 6
David and King Saul Mss. of Play
Box 6
Henrietta Opera, Mss. and Pages Which were cut
Box 7
Henrietta Opera, Mss.
Box 7
Henrietta Opera, Mss. First Copy
Box 7
It's Not Always Easy Play, Mss. of Version entitled It Isn't Always Easy
Box 7
It's Not Always Easy Mss. of Play
Box 7
Lindsay Harper Notes and Mss. of Play
Box 7
Lindsay Harper Mss. of Play
Box 7
Mark of Murder Misc. Notes and Mss.
Box 7
Mrs. John Emerson Version Entitled Quicksand
Box 7
Mrs. John Emerson Version Entitled Mrs. John Latimer
Box 7
Mrs. John Emerson Mss. of Play, Version 1
Box 8
Mrs. John Emerson Mss. of Play, Version 2
Box 8
New York 1918 Mss. of Play, Version 1
Box 8
New York 1918 Mss. of Play, Version 2
Box 8
New York 1918 Mss. of Play, Version 3
Box 8
November 8, 1942 Misc. Notes and Radio Script, 1943
Box 8
A Play About America Today, the Particular Scene Being the South Version Entitled Break This Heavy Chain
Box 8
A Play About America Today, the Particular Scene Being the South Mss. With Notes 1940
Box 8
A Play About America Today, the Particular Scene Being the South Mss. 1940
Box 8
Possess These Shores Mss. of Play, Version 1
Box 8
Possess These Shores Mss. of Play, Version 2
Box 8
Possess These Shores Mss. of Play, Version 3
Box 8
The Same House
Box 9
Shanty Boat, The Theatre Background Material, Drawings and Notes
Box 9
The Theatre Incl. Dance This Beautiful Structure Version Entitled Calhoun
Box 9
This Beautiful Structure Long Version This Beautiful Structure Short Version
(2 folders)
Box 9
This Beautiful Structure Edited Version
(2 folders)
Box 9
This Throne of Kings Working Notes
Box 10
This Throne of Kings Misc. Notes and Mss.
(5 folders)
Box 10
This Throne of Kings Mss. of Play
Box 10
Those Without Freedom Misc. Notes and Mss., Version 1,
(5 folders)
Box 11
Those Without Freedom Misc. Notes and Mss., Version 2,
(4 folders)
Box 11
Those Without Freedom Misc. Notes and Mss., Version 2,
(3 folders)
Box 12
Those Without Freedom Version 1, Chapters 1-17
(5 folders)
Box 12
Those Without Freedom Version 1, Edited Pages
Box 12
Those Without Freedom Version 2, Chapters 1-17
(5 folders)
Box 13
Those Without Freedom Version 3, Chapters 1-17
(4 folders)
Box 13
Those Without Freedom Notes
Box 13
Those Without Freedom Mss. of Play
Box 13
Those Without Freedom Omitted Last Chapters
Box 13
Tine Mss. of Play, Edited Version 1
(3 folders)
Box 14
Tine Mss. of Play, Edited Version 2
Box 14
Tine Mss. of Play
Box 14
When I Love Thee Not Mss. and Notes, Version 1
Box 14
When I Love Thee Not Mss., Version 2
Box 14
When I Love Thee Not Mss. and Notes, Version 3
Box 14
Who Help Themselves Mss. Fragment
Box 14
Who Treads the Boards
Box 14
Wolfe, Thomas - Background Material for Published Magazine Article Thomas Wolfe and the Article
Box 15
Misc. Mss.
(2 folders)
Box 15
Misc. Notes and Mss.
(2 folders)
Box 15
Unidentified
(2 folders)
Box 15
Misc.
Box 16
Driftwood
Box 16
"Easter"
Box 16
The Golden Rods Misc. Notes and Mss. Version 1
Box 16
The Golden Rods Mss. Version 2
Box 16
Ogeechee Swamp Notes and Mss. Version 1
(3 folders)
Box 16
Ogeechee Swamp Mss. Version 2
(3 folders)
Box 17
Ogeechee Swamp Mss. of Play by Katherine Simons from the Story by Robert R. Bridgers
Box 17
Old Man Gooch Misc. Notes and Mss.
Box 17
Yellow Gal Mss.
Box 17
Untitled Mss., 1938
Box 17
Articles on Gardening
Box 17
Misc.
Box 17
Carolina--Two Families The Feud; The Castle
Box 17
Rhoda
Box 17
A Touch of Meanness Misc. Notes and Mss.
Box 18
A Touch of Meanness Mss.
Box 18
Mss. Title Unidentified
(3 folders)
Box 18
Unidentified Notes and Mss.
(2 folders)
Box 18
Unidentified Notes and Mss.
(2 folders)
Box 19
Misc. Notes and Mss.
(3 folders)
Box 19
Byron
Box 19
Unidentified Authors
Box 19

Divided into three subseries: General, 1936-1966; Programs, 1936-1966; and Clippings, 1936-1965. Includes information about different artists, plays, and people responsible for its theatrical productions, board minutes, a list of its patrons, a draft of its history, and other miscellany items. Arranged chronologically within each subseries.

General, 1936-1966 and undated
(2 folders)
Box 20
Programs, 1936-1966
(2 folders)
Box 20
Clippings, 1936-1965 and undated
Box 20

Divided into three subseries: Coquette, 1926-1933; Emily Bridgers Estate, 1924-1944; and Miscellany, 1913-1959, and undated. Includes legal matters relating to the play Coquette; the will and estate of Miss Bridgers' aunt, Emily Bridgers; receipts and furniture inventories; and other miscellaneous items. Arranged chronologically within each subseries.

Coquette, 1926-1933
Box 20
Emily Bridgers Estate, 1924-1944
Box 20
Miscellany, 1913-1959 and undated Clippings
Box 20

Divided into five subseries: Book reviews; Coquette; "Impressions Along Broadway;" "The Theatre;" and Miscellany. The book reviews and columns "Impressions Along Broadway" and "The Theatre" were written by Miss Bridgers. The Coquette clippings include reviews of the Broadway production of the play (1927) from various newspapers and of its star Helen Hayes. Includes miscellaneous clippings relating to Miss Bridgers, her family, and other topics. Arranged chronologically within each subseries.

Book Reviews, 1925-1937
Box 20
Coquette, 1927-1965 and undated
(3 folders)
Box 20
Impressions Along Broadway, 1923-1930 and undated
(4 folders)
Box 21
The Theatre, 1936-1937 and undated
Box 21
Miscellany, 1925-1966 and undated
Box 21

Includes Miss Bridgers' passport, engagement book, genealogical information about the Bridgers family, and other miscellaneous items. Arranged chronologically.

Miscellany
Box 21

Includes three photograph albums and a few loose photographs primarily of the Bridgers family.

Albums
Box 21
Albums
(2 folders)
Box 22
Miscellany
Box 22

Historical Note

DateEvent(s)
1891, May 1Born Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina
ca. 1908Attended Mary Baldwin Seminary, Staunton, Va.
1915A.B., Smith College, Northampton, Mass.
1919Member of the Smith College Unit of the YMCA that served overseas with the Rolling Canteen
1923-1930Wrote weekly column, Impressions Along Broadway for the Raleigh News and Observer
ca. 1923Served as understudy to Lynn Fontaine in the play Dulcy while it was on tour
1925Wrote first draft of play Coquette
1926Acted in play on Broadway called Broadway
1926Enrolled in English class at Columbia University
1927Collaborated with George Abbott to bring Coquette starring Helen Hayes to Broadway
1935-1936Instrumental in founding the Raleigh Little Theater under the auspices of the Federal Theatre Project of the Work Projects Administration
1936Her play Quicksand was presented by the Raleigh Little Theater
1936-1937Wrote column The Theatre for the Raleigh Times
1937Her play Coquette was performed by the Raleigh Little Theater
1938Her play Carrie Was a Lady was performed by the Raleigh Little Theatre
1965-1966Member of the Raleigh Little Theater Board of Directors
1967, May 3Died

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], The Papers of Ann Preston Bridgers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The papers of Ann Preston Bridgers (1891-1967) actress, playwright, and patron of the arts were acquired by the Rubenstein Library through purchase in 1974, and gift in 2012.

Processing Information

Processed by: Janie C. Morris

Completed February 12, 1988

Collection updated to reflect accession 2012-0086 by Alice Poffinberger, February 2014

Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.