MS 9145

Papers of J.C. Williamson Ltd.

Scope and Content Note 

  • Records 1913 - 1960
  • 28 cm (2 boxes)
  • Available for reference

Collection of agreements, contracts and related correspondence between the theatrical company and forty-three artists, dating from 1913 - 1960. The records were purchased at auction in August 1997. They comprise half of a collection sold in two lots, of which only one was purchased by the Library, so explaining the incomplete nature of the archive. The contracts were arranged alphabetically and this order has been retained. The collection also includes Australian and American theatre programs.

A large collection of J.C. Williamson records is held at MS 5783 (79.3 metres). Other related collections are J.C. Williamson [MS 7256]; the Tait family [MS 309]; Nineteenth century manuscripts [MS 1482] and the papers of James Smith [MS 2398].


Biographical note

The theatrical organisation, J.C. Williamson Ltd., began in 1874 when the American actor/manager James Cassius Williamson (1845-1913) decided to remain in Australia after the success of his production, 'Struck Oil', at the Melbourne Theatre Royal. A partnership formed in 1882 lasted nine years and, in 1911, the organisation became known as 'J.C Williamson Ltd'.

For many years, J.C. Williamson Ltd was the dominant theatrical agency in Australia, owning several theatres and bringing out a succession of notable singers, dancers and actors to Australia. The company's theatres were sold and the name was leased in 1976.


Series List






Correspondence, programs and cuttings. Includes three signed letters from Yehudi Menuhin, 1954, two typed and one handwritten. Also included are programs featuring Anna Pavlova and Madame Melba.



'B' contracts and related correspondence:
Joe E. Brown & Company, 1949-50
Dorothy Brunton, 1931-32
Gus Bluett, 1933-35



'C' contracts and related correspondence: for
Sir Lewis Casson, 1957
'Chang' (Juan Jose Pablo), 1938
Alexander, Leo, Jan & Mischel Cherniavsky, 1921, 1924, 1933, 1944
Maurice Chevalier, 1959-60
Chorus for Moncrieff tour, 1946
Fay Compton, 1937-38
Mr & Mrs Conabere, 1946-47
Campbell Copelin, 1936
Mr & Mrs Cornell, 1917



'F-G' contracts and related correspondence: for
Gracie Fields, 1944-45
Gilbert & Sullivan Far East tour, 1922
Neva Carr Glynn, 1944



'K-L' contracts and related correspondence: for
Cecil Kellaway, 1926, 1928
Marie Lavarre, 1920-21
Marjorie Lawrence, 1944
Ernest Lotinga, 1929
Minnie Love, 1913-15



'M' contracts and related correspondence: for
Dame Nellie Melba, 1922, 1926-27
Gladys Moncrieff, 1914-15, 1917, 1919, 1920-21, 1932-33, 1949



'N-O' contracts and related correspondence: for
Don Nichol, 1930-33
Max Oldaker, 1941-43



'P-R' contracts and related correspondence:
Ignace Paderewski, 1926-27
Anna Pavlova, 1925, 1928-29
Roy Rene, 1925



'S' contracts and related correspondence:
Toscha Seidel, 1922
Peggy Shea, 1940-44
Ivy Shilling, 1920-21
D. Sisserman, 1933
Cornelia O. Skinner, 1960
T. Slavinsky, 1944
Jascha Spivakovsky, 1922
Sophie Stewart, 1949-50



'T-W' contracts and related correspondence:
Marie Tempest and Graham Browne, 1920
Michael Wilding, 1937-38
George Willoughby, 1918-20



Bound collection of 24 Americal theatre programs, c.1920.