This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.
|Size||2.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 330 items)|
|Abstract||Correspondence, writings, newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, and other materials of Ann Preston Bridgers (1891-1967), North Carolina actress and writer. Most of the collection consists of drafts and other materials relating to plays, novels, and short stories written by Bridgers. There is a large body of material relating to John C. Calhoun, apparently collected by Bridgers as background for her play, "This Beautiful Structure." The remainder of the collection consists of letters from family members and friends, including letters from George Abbott, with whom Bridgers collaborated on the play "Coquette," and letters from her brother- in-law, Jonathan Daniels; business correspondence and other material relating to a controversy over the rights to "Coquette"; and photographs.|
|Creator||Bridgers, Ann Preston.|
|Curatorial Unit||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.|
Processed by: Gina Overcash, September 1987
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008Back to Top
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.
Ann Preston Bridgers (1 May 1891-3 May 1967), teacher and actress, was born in Raleigh, N.C.. During most of her childhood, she lived in Adrian, Ga., with her parents, Annie Preston Cain of Hillsborough, N.C., and Robert Rufus Bridgers, Jr., of Wilmington, N.C.. She had two sisters, Elizabeth Bridgers Daniels (Mrs. Jonathan) and Emily Norfleet Bridgers; and one brother, Robert Rufus Bridgers, Jr. Bridgers attended Mary Baldwin Seminary in Staunton, Va., and then Smith College in Northampton, Mass., where she received a B.A. degree in 1915.
After her graduation from Smith, she studied with the Henry Jewett Players of Boston, where she played a few minor roles. Returning to Raleigh, she taught in the public schools and served with the Selective Service Bureau. She went overseas in 1919 with the Smith College Unit of the YMcirca Returning to Raleigh, she opened a gift shop and became president of the Raleigh Community Players.
In 1923, she sold her gift shop, moved to New York, and enrolled in drama school. There, according to a New York Times article entitled "And Who is Ann Preston Bridgers?" "she trifled with fencing, costuming, designing, carpentry, diction, dancing and even acting, the latter a purely academic interest inspired by a desire to familiarize herself with the fundamentals of the theatre per se."
For several years after 1923, she enjoyed considerable success in the theater, beginning as understudy for Lynn Fontanne in Dulcy. Her first major role was as Mrs. Bercovitch in Fall Guy; she also portrayed two offstage voices, one Irish and one Jewish. Her next role was as the original Katie, the cigarette girl, in Broadway. By this time she had begun writing a play, Norma, which when submitted to George Abbott impressed him so favorably that he agreed to collaborate with her. Together they produced the hit show Coquette, in which Bridgers played a supporting role to Helen Hayes, the star, both on Broadway and on the road. For Coquette, Ann Bridgers received the Theatre Club's award for "the most pleasing play of 1927-28."
Forsaking Broadway, Bridgers traveled extensively in Europe for a few years and, in 1933, moved permanently to Raleigh, where she became active in the Civic Music Association. She was also a member of the board of the Literary and Historical Association, an editor of the Survey of Federal Records, an occasional contributor to the Raleigh Times and News and Observer, and an early moving spirit in the formation of the Raleigh Little Theatre.
An ardent Christian Scientist, Bridgers died in Raleigh after a long illness and was buried in Oakdale Cemetery, Wilmington.
SOURCE: Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, vol. 1, p. 222.Back to Top
Correspondence, writings, newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, and other materials of Ann Preston Bridgers (1891-1967), North Carolina actress and writer. Most of the collection consists of drafts and other materials relating to plays, novels, and short stories written by Bridgers. There is a large body of material relating to John C. Calhoun, apparently collected by Bridgers as background for her play, "This Beautiful Structure." The remainder of the collection consists of letters from family members and friends, including letters from George Abbott, with whom Bridgers collaborated on the play "Coquette," and letters from her brother- in-law, Jonathan Daniels; business correspondence and other material relating to a controversy over the rights to "Coquette"; and photographs.Back to Top
Arrangement: chronological and two subject folders.
Mostly personal letters to Bridgers from family members and friends, including two letters to her mother from business associates and two letters from Jonathan Daniels (1932 and 1933?). Included are two folders that were separate from other correspondence when the collection was received: letters and telegrams from George Abbott and his wife, and letters and non-correspondence items from the publishers Longmans, Green & Co. and others, concerning a controversy over the rights to Coquette Note that correspondence relating to This Beautiful Structure is in folders 13 and 14.
Arrangement: alphabetical by title.
Drafts of plays, novels, and short stories written by Bridgers, and associated material. The novel Ogeechee Swamp and the short stories are ascribed to Robert Bridgers, perhaps a pseudonym for Ann Preston Bridgers. There are three versions (each a carbon copy typescript) of the novel Three Dollars: the first contains pencilled revisions by Bridgers; for the other two, Bridgers used the pseudonym A.E. Bartlett.
Correspondence about research and possible production, clippings, notes, and lists of books apparently collected by Bridgers as background material relating to the play This Beautiful Structure are included. File titles have generally been maintained.
Black and white photographs and postcards of Bridgers, family members, and friends, as well as photographs of Fort Hill, home of John C. Calhoun. An item list follows.