Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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John Mayes:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Family Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Mayes, John, 1921-2012
Title: John Mayes Family Papers
Dates: 1879-2004
Extent: 12 document boxes, 2 oversize folders (5 linear feet)
Abstract: The John Mayes Family Papers, circa 1879-1970s, document the lives and lengthy careers of three generations of British actors, writers, and artists. Among the primary family members were brothers Herbert Pearson (1866-1955, born McPherson) and Quinton McPherson (1871-1940); Quinton’s daughter Esther McPherson (1897-1965) and her husband Frank Milray (1888-1936, born Mayes); and the son of Esther and Frank, John Mayes (1921-2012). John Mayes, who acted with the well-known Shakespearean actor-manager Donald Wolfit, brought together his family’s papers with his own, including his research and notes about the family.
Language: English
Access:

Open for research




Acquisition:

Gift, 2004 (Gift no. 12394)

Processed by:

Antonio Alfau, 2005

Repository:

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center


The John Mayes Family Papers, circa 1879-1970s, document the lives and lengthy careers of three generations of British actors, writers, and artists. Among the primary family members were brothers Herbert Pearson (1866-1955, born McPherson) and Quinton McPherson (1871-1940); Quinton’s daughter Esther McPherson (1897-1965) and her husband Frank Milray (1888-1936, born Mayes); and the son of Esther and Frank, John Mayes (1921-2012). John Mayes, who acted with the well-known Shakespearean actor-manager Donald Wolfit, brought together his family’s papers with his own, including his research and notes about the family. The papers are organized into six series: I. John Mayes; II. Esther McPherson; III. Quinton McPherson; IV. Frank Milray; V. Herbert Pearson, and VI. The Spotlight Casting Directory .

John Mayes’s papers in Series I. contain correspondence and programs concerning his own career, as well as correspondence from Donald Wolfit, programs and clippings about Mayes and Wolfit, writings about Wolfit, and even souvenirs such as moustache and beard pieces used by Wolfit.

The papers of Mayes’ mother, Esther McPherson, in Series II. contain some correspondence and management papers, her review cuttings, photographs, and editions of Shakespeare plays with her parts marked.

Quinton McPherson, the grandfather of John Mayes, is represented by materials in Series III. These comprise mainly correspondence, programs, and his press cuttings book, but also photographs, an address book, and other personal objects.

Series IV. contains the papers of Frank Milray, husband of Esther McPherson and father of John Mayes. Included are manuscripts of his works, original art, clippings of articles, photographs, programs, and a theatrical address book. Also present are Temple editions of fifteen Shakespeare plays, with Milray's parts underlined.

The papers of John Mayes’ great-uncle, Herbert Pearson, contain correspondence, several of Pearson’s works, and photographs, as well as papers relating to his relationship with actress and author Florence Marryat, and with actress and wife Katherine Clark.

The final series contains The Spotlight casting directories for 1939, 1950 and 1956. Photographic portraits of Quinton McPherson and Esther McPherson are found in the Summer 1939 issue. The second volume of Autumn 1956 also contains images of Esther McPherson.