Lillie, Beatrice (1894-1989)

The Beatrice Lillie collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, printed material, photographs, legal material, financial material, and memorabilia.

Manuscripts in the collection include scripts for stage and screen, songs, advertisements and various dramatic sketches. 

There are scripts for 25 stage plays and musicals present; a few of the titles include Magdalen,Cassandra KellyFumed OakHands Across the SeaA Christmas CarolAunt Polly’s Story of MankindHigh SpiritsInnocent as Hell, and others.  The scripts were written by Noël Coward, Frank Hogan, and others.  There are also several outlines for plays and four play proposals. There are three teleplays present: Miss JuliaMaybe It’s Daddy, and New Amsterdam, dating from 1950 and 1964.  We also have several scripts for The Johnny Carson Show and The Bob Hope Show.  Radio plays include 17 scripts for programs on which Lillie appeared between the 1930s and 1972.  Lyrics include nearly 70 songs that Lillie performed at one time or another; most of these pages have holograph notes by Lillie.  Drafts of notable sketches performed by Lillie include “Weary of It All,” by Noël Coward (several drafts and music); “Ouija Board,” by Moss Hart; and “Sand Froid: A Sketch for Revue,” by Harry Wall.  Other items include short acts which featured Lillie as herself; biographical sketches and articles on Lillie (1950s- to 1971); musical scores; speeches; and dramatic sketches.  The latter consist of approximately 80 drafts of various sketches; authors include Maxwell Anderson, Noël Coward, Moss Hart, Howard E. Potter, Harold Simpson, Marilyn Stone, Tennessee Williams, and many others. 

Correspondence in the collection is extensive, and includes both personal and professional letters.  There are numerous letters regarding Lillie’s acting career (many later letters are addressed to John Philip Huck, Lillie’s second husband), dating from 1933 to 1976.  Notable correspondents include Richard Astor, Leslie Bricusse, Katharine Cornell, Theodore Goddard, Richard Guy, John Philip Huck, Ken McCormick, Leo Morrison, Laurence Olivier, Howard E. Reinheimer, Vincent Sardi, Ed Sullivan, Jack Upson, Sadie Walsh (Lillie’s assistant), Arnold Weissburger, and Alexander Woolcott.  Personal correspondence includes several hundred letters received by Lillie dating from 1933 to 1975.  Notable correspondents include Hermione Baddeley, Tallulah Bankhead, Hugh Beaumont, Leslie Bricusse, William Bradford Dickson, Bob Goldstein, Elsie Janis, Johnny Mercer, and Arnold Weissberger.  In addition, there are letters regarding the death of Sir Robert Peel (Lillie’s first husband), the schooling of Robert Peel (Lillie’s son),the upkeep of her residences, and various financial matters.  Also present are several hundred pieces of fan mail to Lillie, dating from 1931 to the 1970s.

Printed material in this collection includes many promotional pieces for Lillie’s performances and appearances.  There are many programs dating from 1920 to 1929, as well as advertisements and newspaper clippings (especially for Thoroughly Modern Millie) dating through the 1960s. 

Photographs in the collection include several dozen photos of Lillie, her family members and friends, and others.  Notable figures include Noël Coward, Gertrude Lawrence, Julie Andrews, John Philip Huck, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Carol Burnett, Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret. Some photographs have captions which appeared along with the accompanying photo printed inEvery Other Inch a Lady, Lillie’s autobiography.

Legal material in the collection includes over 30 contracts and agreements between Lillie and various talent agencies, recording companies, theaters and playhouses and television networks, dating from the 1920s to 1970.  Also present are documents relating to Lillie’s personal matters, such as several drafts of her will.

Financial material in the collection includes box office statements, bills, tax return material, checks, balance sheets, and records of Lillie’s income and expenditures.

Other items in the collection include some medical records of Lillie, her American Heritage Research Association card, the Box Office Blue Ribbon Award, two interviews with Lillie, a number of agendas and itineraries for Lillie’s travel and personal appearances, and several props and souvenirs kept by Lillie as mementos from her performances.

Notable Figures
1. Lillie, Beatrice, 1894-1989
Associated Subjects
1. Women's Studies Collections -- Drama, Film, and Television Subject Guide
2. Theatre and Film Subject Guide
3. Radio Subject Guide
4. Humor, Comedy, and Satire Subject Guide
5. Helen Deutsch Research Section