||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)
Quinton McPherson (1871-1940); Quinton’s daughter Esther McPherson (1897-1965)
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
series: I. John Mayes; II. Esther McPherson; III. Quinton McPherson; IV. Frank
Milray; V. Herbert Pearson, and VI. The Spotlight Casting
||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
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
||The final series contains The Spotlight casting
directories for 1939, 1950 and 1956. Photographic portraits of Quinton McPherson
Esther McPherson are found in the Summer 1939 issue. The second volume of Autumn
1956 also contains images of Esther McPherson.