Ann Preston Bridgers papers, 1871-1967 and undated 8.8 Linear Feet — 3,100 Items
The papers of Ann Preston Bridgers span the years 1871-1967, although the bulk of the material covers the period 1925-1963. Included in the collection are correspondence, manuscript drafts and notes, business items and programs related to the Raleigh Little Theatre, contracts, wills, newsclippings, and photographs.
Miss Bridgers' life is best documented in the correspondence. It is chiefly of a personal nature, between Miss Bridgers and her family, including her sisters Elizabeth (Bab) and Emily and to a lesser extent her brother Robert. Elizabeth was the wife of Jonathan Daniels, son of Josephus Daniels, and there are several letters from Jonathan to the Bridgers and references made to his parents. Later correspondence includes letters from Bab's daughter, Elizabeth and her husband Charles (Chick) B. Squire, in which they often critiqued each other's writings.
Elizabeth Lawrence, horticulturist and author of gardening works, is also represented extensively in the correspondence from the mid 1930's until about 1948. Other correspondents include George Abbott, whose correspondence dates primarily from 1962 to 1964, and various literary agents.
The Writings series comprises the bulk of the collection, and includes works by Miss Bridgers and other members of her family and friends. Coquette, the work for which she is best known is not represented in this series. There is, however, information regarding this play, which opened on Broadway in 1927, in the Correspondence, Legal and Financial Papers, Raleigh Little Theater, and Clippings series. Also included in this series are several drafts of "Those Without Freedom," an unpublished novel about the South after the Civil War.
The National Union Catalog Pre-1956 Imprints lists two published works by Miss Bridgers: Coquette, where she is listed as the joint author, and an article in the Saturday Review of Literature in 1935 about Thomas Wolfe. Drafts and background material for this article are located in the Writings series. Other persons represented in the Writings series include: Emily and Robert R. Bridgers; Elizabeth (Daniels) Squire; and Elizabeth Lawrence.
The efforts of Miss Bridgers and others involved with the founding of the Raleigh Little Theater are reflected in the Correspondence and Raleigh Little Theater series.
In addition to legal papers relating to the play Coquette, the Legal and Financial Papers series also includes documents concerning the will and estate of Miss Bridgers' aunt, Emily Bridgers, receipts, and other miscellaneous financial data. Financial concerns of the family are also found in the Correspondence series.
The Clippings series contains reviews of the Broadway production of Coquette, as well as book reviews and newspaper columns by Miss Bridgers. The series also provides information about Miss Bridgers, other family members, and miscellany items.
Genealogical information about the Bridgers family, an engagement book Miss Bridgers kept while traveling in Europe (1961), and other items comprise the Miscellany series.
The Photographs series contains three albums of photographs. Some appear to be of theatrical productions; many are of unidentified persons. Loose photographs include those of Ann Preston Bridgers, George Abbott, Mr. and Mrs. Josephus Daniels, and Miss Bridgers' grandfather, Robert Rufus Bridgers.