This appeal has now closed. Thank you for your generous support.

The National Library of Australia is raising funds to stabilise and digitise fragile performing arts scrapbooks containing programs and ephemera from as early as the 1850s. Your generous donation will help us share this rich collection spanning theatre, vaudeville, ballet and opera, so it can be enjoyed by Australians near and far.

Nestled within the brittle pages of two of the scrapbooks are images of British actor and singer Lily Brayton. On the brink of the First World War, Lily met and married Australian actor, producer and director Oscar Asche.  Together they starred in a series of successful shows, including Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and musical comedy Chu Chin Chow, which was written and directed by Asche.

A diligent fan lovingly collected images, programs, tickets and news clippings relating to this theatrical duo. The scrapbooks are now part of the Library's PROMPT performing arts collection.

The ephemera within the aging scrapbooks is an irreplaceable record of social customs, popular culture and major events in our history. Some depict the impact of the First World War, while My Ballet Diary from the 1950s tells a more intimate tale of a young girl and the ballerinas she idolised.

These scrapbooks are extremely fragile, so the beautiful images of Lily, Oscar and many others remain hidden from view. The pages are brittle and torn, the spines are cracked. They are too delicate for researchers to handle.

We need your help to put Lily and Oscar back in the spotlight where they belong. Donate now to assist in stabilising the scrapbooks and digitising them for researchers around the world to discover.

Any donations received after this date will go to the National Library of Australia Fund, which supports conservation and digitisation of the Library's collection.