Friday 5 February 2010

Letters from the Lindsay Anderson Archive

The file of letters I'm cataloguing today is in the A-Z correspondence series, on the letter 'M'. The last three letters have been from Arthur Miller, Helen Mirren and Jessica Mitford - what an amazing run of interesting letters!

Unfortunately the Arthur Miller letter is very short - just a few lines about a play he is working on, but the play isn't specified and I haven't yet come across any other references to any proposed collaborations between Anderson and Miller in the 1970s (the date of the letter is 1976). So, if anyone has heard anything about possible film or stage projects they might have discussed then please, let me know.

Helen Mirren discusses the differences working with the Royal Shakespeare Company as opposed to working with Anderson, and talks about the play she is starring in with Graham Crowden, both of whom worked with Lindsay Anderson.

Jessica Mitford discusses a possible film project she is involved in - once again, if anyone has any idea what this film project could have been I'd love to hear from you! There's also an entertaining discussion of the travel arrangements for her next visit to England - she's travelling first class on a cruise ship where her passage is paid for by lectures she will give to holidaymakers on the cruise.

Of course, not all the letters are from famous people, not all the letters from famous people are interesting, and there's plenty of interesting letters from non-famous people, but I just thought this was an exceptional run of letters and wanted to share my excitement - sometimes working in an office on your own can be a bit lonely!


  1. I found your blog posting because I have a google alert for Jessica Mitford. I may (or may not) be able to answer your question. Please tell me the date of the letter in question and I'll check my files when I get time to see if I can determine what the film project was. You can email me at

    Peter Sussman
    Editor, "Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford"

  2. Thanks for your wonderful comments of yesterday. I have to say that I continue to find what you unearth very compelling and interesting. That you clearly love what you are doing makes it even better.

  3. Hi Peter,

    Yes, I should have put the dates of all the letters in. Jessica Mitford wrote the letter to Lindsay Anderson on 14/07/1979.

    That would be great if you could check your files as I'd be very interested to know if it was a film which Anderson was involved in.

    Thanks! Kathryn

  4. The Arthur Miller letter is dated 22/01/1976.

    There is no date given on the Helen Mirren letter so I'll need to try some google searches to see which plays Helen Mirren and Graham Crowden starred in at Stratford - though I have a feeling there may be more than one which will make dating it even harder.

  5. Thanks Kevin,

    I just need to watch I don't become smug about how much I love my job as it's only a fixed-term post unfortunately. Although, there are so many other interesting jobs out there in the field of film archives that I'll just need to hope another one comes up in time for my contract here ending!

  6. Dear Kathryn,

    this is so exciting to hear! Yes, Jan Olszewski is still writing for "Kino" film monthly. He's a bit of a recluse, though -- he doesn't have an e-mail account. I have his phone number, if you wish to contact him. If you'd like, I can send you a brief note about him from the Polish encyclopedia of media -- it may come in handy.

    Let me know, my e-mail is:

    Can you tell me in general terms what the letters were about? If that's asking too much, just ignore the request.

    So good to hear from you!


  7. Dear Michal,

    Thank you, I'll drop you an e-mail with details of the content of the letters (I've still got a few to do so I'll wait till I've finished them before e-mailing you)

    If you could send me a note from the Polish encyclopedia of media that would be very useful - thanks!

    best wishes,