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Basil Dean Book Collection

Date range: 1853-1971

Number of items: 347 items

The printed book collection of Basil Dean (1888-1978) actor, dramatist and theatre impresario, purchased in 1980 from Toronto Public Libraries, who had purchased it from Dean himself in the early 1970s. The majority of the books date from the 20th century, and there is a strong emphasis on theatre and drama. Just over half of the titles are plays/collections of plays, mainly in English, but including works by several European playwrights. There are a number of French’s and Lacy’s acting editions, and several of the plays have been marked-up as ‘producer’s cop[ies]’, some from the Liverpool Repertory Theatre, where Dean worked as Controller from 1911 to 1913.

Of particular interest is a set of plays from the late 19th century, formerly belonging to ‘A. Lucas’, which have been personalised with contemporary reviews, programmes, handbills and dramatis personae relating to productions of the plays. Arthur Lucas (c. 1836-98) appears to have worked as a Property Master (and on occasion as Assistant Stage Manager) on various amateur productions in Croydon (e.g. for the Croydon Histrionic Club, the Croydon Dramatic Club and The Sheridan Dramatic Club) in the 1880s.

Secondary theatrical works include (auto)biographies/memoirs of actors/actresses and playwrights; books on English, Japanese, Chinese, German and Irish theatre, and studies of stagecraft including lighting, costumes and scenery.

Other items of interest include a proof copy of John Galsworthy’s The Eldest Son (London: Ballantyne, [1912?]), a copy of Charles Dickens’s The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (London: Chapman and Hall, 1862) inscribed to Basil Dean by the actor Charles Laughton (1899-1962), and a signed first edition of H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine (London: W. Heinemann, 1895).

See also:

Basil Dean Archive

Further Information:

Recorded in Library Search.

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