Henry Irving


     The Henry Irving Archive:

Digital Resources for Scholars and Students

Correspondence Project


Link: Henry Irving, 1838-1905: Correspondence, a Henry Irving Foundation centenary project

The Henry Irving Foundation, established by John H.B. Irving (Sir Henry's great-grandson) aims to record the Victorian actor’s correspondence and fully illustrate his life, career, and achievement in raising the reputation and status of the theatre in nineteenth-century Britain and North America.

Irving’s correspondence is widely distributed, with three British archives having major holdings. The Victoria & Albert Museum Theatre Collections hold the largest number of letters, from collections acquired from and given by the actor’s grandson and biographer Laurence Irving. Collections at the Shakespeare Centre Library in Stratford-upon-Avon and Leeds University Library derive from Irving’s acting manager, Bram Stoker. Other British and American libraries and archives hold items containing valuable additional information. The Correspondence project aims to draw these sources together for the use of all those interested in the history of the theatre and its place in Victorian society.

The managers of the Sir Henry Irving Correspondence Project include Frances Hughes, chairman of the Irving Society; Helen Smith, formerly of the Theatre Museum; and John H. B. Irving.

About the site:


Irving’s life is listed in the form of a chronology to facilitate searching, with a guide to earlier published material giving information about his life.


The letters can be fully searched in a Quick Search. An Advanced Search allows for more limited specific searches, for example by Place or Date or by Holding Organisation. A separate Subject Search of 24 terms can be further limited by date if desired.


The list attempts to identify all Irving’s correspondents, with dates and brief biographical details. These details can also be shown on the Letters pages if required, but there is no direct link from the list to the database.


Here are listed related websites, and the websites and email addresses of the organisations holding material listed on the website. This list can also be accessed from the foot of each Letter page. Private owners, if they so wish, may be contacted through the site by use of “Contact” at the foot of the page.


Henry Irving Archive: Home

This site is managed by Kristan Tetens (Michigan State University) in partnership with the Irving Society (UK), which promotes the study of the life of the English actor-manager Henry Irving (1838-1905), his artistic achievement at the Lyceum Theatre with partner Ellen Terry (1847-1928), and his contribution to Victorian culture. For more information on Victorian theatre history, including bibliographies and links to online resources, visit the Victorian Theatre Research Web at www.msu.edu/~tetenskr/index.html.