University of Texas at Austin

Gordon Dickerson:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Collection of Modern British Playwrights at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator Dickerson, Gordon
Title Gordon Dickerson Collection of Modern British Playwrights
Dates: 1957-1995, undated
Extent: 21 boxes, 1 folder, oversize flat file (8.82 linear feet)
Abstract: This collection contains material related to the careers of British playwrights Michael Frayn, David Hare, Tony Harrison, John Osborne, Tom Stoppard, and David Storey, including scripts, programs and playbills, reviews, articles, biographical material, business correspondence, contracts, and posters.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-04796
Language: English
Access Open for research

Administrative Information

Acquisition Purchase, Reg. no. 14075
Processed by Liz Murray, 1998

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

This collection, compiled by literary agent Gordon Dickerson of Fraser & Dunlop Scripts Ltd., contains material related to the careers of modern British playwrights Michael Frayn, David Hare, Tony Harrison, John Osborne, Tom Stoppard, and David Storey. The archive includes scripts, programs and playbills, reviews, articles, biographical material, business correspondence, contracts, and posters. While some original manuscript material is present, especially Stoppard scripts, the bulk of the collection comprises newspaper clippings and magazine articles.
The collection is arranged alphabetically by playwright in six series: I. Michael Frayn (1 box); II. David Hare (1 folder); III. Tony Harrison (2 boxes); IV. John Osborne (3 boxes); V. Tom Stoppard (13 boxes), and VI. David Storey (2 boxes).
Series I, containing material by and about Michael Frayn, is divided into two subseries: Subseries A. Works, and Subseries B. Articles, Correspondence, Playbills, Posters, and Reviews. The works in Subseries A include playscripts for Alphabetical Order, Benefactors, Donkey's Years, and Noises Off. Subseries B contains articles and biographical material on Frayn, as well as articles by and about his wife Claire Tomalin. Minimal correspondence is present, a letter each to Frayn and Dickerson, along with two revisions of Karen Blansfield's entry on Frayn in British Playwrights Since 1956 (Greenwood, 1996). Reviews include his adaptations and translations: La Belle Vivette, Exchange, and works by Chekhov; books: A Landing on the Sun, Now You Know (also for stage), and The Trick of It; plays: Alphabetical Order; Benefactors; Clouds; Donkeys' Years; Look, Look; Make and Break (also for BBC TV); Noises Off; The Sandboy; and The Two of Us; screenplay: Clockwise; and work for television: First and Last.
Programs for two works by David Hare, A Map of the World and Pravda: A Fleet Street Comedy, are present in Series II. Also included is Hare's review of Tony Richardson's memoir Long Distance Runner.
Series III contains articles, programs, and reviews for works of theatrical poet Tony Harrison. The articles and interviews with Harrison date from 1986 to 1993, while a published bibliography by John Kaiser covers the years 1957 to 1987. Also included are programs and reviews for his adaptations: The Bartered Bride, The Misanthrope, and Orestia; book and film: The Gaze of the Gorgon; music-theatre: Bow Down and Phaedra Britannica; works for television: The Big H, The Blasphemers' Banquet, Black Daisies for the Bride, Loving Memory; and theater: Medea: SexWar, Poetry or Bust, Square Rounds, Trackers of Oxyrhynchus, and V.
The works of John Osborne, from the debut of his "angry young man" in Look Back in Anger (1956) to his angry old years and death in 1994, are represented in Series IV. The series is divided into Subseries A. Works; Subseries B. Programs, Playbills, and Reviews; and Subseries C. Articles, Contracts, and Correspondence. Osborne's works in Subseries A include scripts for The World of Paul Slickey and You're Not Watching Me, Mummy. Subseries B contains programs, playbills, and reviews for Osborne's works which are arranged by the title. Included are his memoir Almost a Gentleman; adaptations: The Father (Strindberg) and The Picture of Dorian Gray; collected prose: Damn You, England; and plays: Déjàvu, The Entertainer, Epitaph for George Dillon (with Anthony Creighton), The Hotel in Amsterdam, Inadmissable Evidence, Look Back in Anger (revival), Luther, A Patriot for Me, and The World of Paul Slickey; and screenplay: England, My England. Subseries C consists predominately of newspaper clippings and magazine tearsheets of articles by both John and Helen Osborne, especially items written for The Spectator. Articles written about Osborne from 1973 to 1995, as well as biographical material and obituaries, are also present.
Osborne's contracts date from 1973 to 1983 and represent such titles as The Entertainer, Look Back in Anger (for television), Luther, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Watch It Come Down. The correspondence, 1973-1993, from the Fraser & Dunlop [also Peters, Fraser & Dunlop] agency files on Osborne, comprises letters to and from its associates, Dickerson, Kenneth Ewing, and Robin Dalton. Carbons and photocopies of Osborne's correspondence are also present. Correspondents include producers for stage and television, literary agents, and directors, especially Stuart Burge, Peter Hall, Robert Kidd, Oscar Lewenstein, Michael Rudman, Norman Twain, Margery Vosper, and Audrey Wood. Included in the correspondence are photocopies of letters and notes from Osborne to Laura del Bono and Neale Stainton and theirs to him. Several typescript drafts of articles and reviews Osborne wrote for publication are also present. This material supplements the Osborne Papers previously received at the Ransom Center.
The largest series, Series V, contains the work of Tom Stoppard represented by scripts in Subseries A, followed by Subseries B. Programs, Playbills, and Posters; Subseries C. Reviews; Subseries D. Articles; and Subseries E. Career-related Material.
Stoppard's works in Subseries A include playscripts, radio plays, screenplays, and teleplays, which complement those already received and cataloged at the Ransom Center and provide important new material for researchers. The programs, playbills, and posters in Subseries B are arranged alphabetically by title of the work, as are the reviews in Subseries C. Numerous articles by and about Stoppard, which date from his early years in journalism in the 1950s, comprise Subseries D.
Career-related material in Subseries E includes announcements of Stoppard's 1979 Shakespeare prize and a 1980 commencement program from the University of Sussex listing Stoppard as the recipient of an honorary degree. Of particular interest are original copies of agreements and contracts which date from 1963 to 1972. Included are contracts with Fraser and Dunlop (Scripts) Ltd. for After Magritte (1970), Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon (1972), The Real Inspector Hound (1967), and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1966); with Fraser & Dunlop Ltd. for A Separate Peace (1969); with Faber and Faber Ltd. for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1967); with Oliver Moon Ltd. for The Preservation of George Riley (1968); with Paramount Pictures for Galileo (1972); and with Anthony Blond Ltd. for Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon (1963). Related correspondence is also present. Additional contracts are found in Kenneth Ewing's file on Stoppard, while Ewing served as director and chairman of Fraser & Dunlop (Scripts) Ltd. Dating from 1967 to 1992, the correspondence includes photocopied letters and carbons from Stoppard to Dickerson and others. Carbons of Ewing's outgoing letters, representing Stoppard's interests, form the bulk of the correspondence.
Series VI represents the works of David Storey, primarily through programs and reviews. Included are cuttings and programs for his plays The Changing Room, The Contractor, Cromwell, Early Days, The Farm, Home, In Celebration, Life Class, The March on Russia, Mother's Day, Otthon, Pasmore, Phoenix, Present Times, Sisters, Stages, Storey's Lives, and A Temporary Life. Articles on Storey and biographical material are also present.
The collection was processed according to the compiler's order as received, except for the organization of programs and reviews into folders by title. Original folders and descriptions are retained. The material is in good condition, although deterioration is evident where tape and glue were used to adhere articles and reviews to supporting pages.

Index Terms


Frayn, Michael.
Hare, David, 1947- .
Harrison, Tony, 1937- .
Osborne, John, 1929- .
Stoppard, Tom.
Storey, David, 1933- .

Gordon Dickerson Collection of Modern British Playwrights--Folder List