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Collection Number: 04105

Collection Title: Ann Preston Bridgers Papers, 1915-1946

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 FAQ section for more information.


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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.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Ann Preston Bridgers papers #4105, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Elizabeth Daniels Squire (Mrs. C.B.) of Weaverville, N.C., in September 1976 and January 1982.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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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.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

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.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

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.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1915-1946 and undated.

About 100 items.

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.

Folder 1

1915-1935 #04105, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1915-1946 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

1936-1940 #04105, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1915-1946 and undated." Folder 2

Folder 3

1941-1946 #04105, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1915-1946 and undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

George Abbott #04105, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1915-1946 and undated." Folder 4

Folder 5

Longmans, Green & Co. et al. #04105, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1915-1946 and undated." Folder 5

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Writings, Undated.

About 200 items.

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.

Folder 6

Miss Sally (play: typescript) #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 6

Folder 7

Ogeechee Swamp (novel:typescript) #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 7

Folder 8

Short stories ("Old Man Gooch," "Easter," "Ogeechee Swamp," and "Sunday by Ogeechee": typescripts) #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 8

This Beautiful Structure: A Play of John C. Calhoun #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 8

Folder 9

Books #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 9

Folder 10

Calhoun, E.L. #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 10

Folder 11

Capitalist System #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 11

Folder 12

Capitalist Propaganda #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 12

Folder 13

Clay #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 13

Folder 14

Clippings #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 14

Folder 15

Compromise #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 15

Folder 16

Correspondence, 1936-1939, 1944 #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 16

Folder 17

Correspondence, 1946 #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 17

Folder 18

Donelson #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 18

Folder 19

Eaton #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 19

Folder 20

Fragments #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 20

Folder 21

Fort Hill (home of John C. Calhoun) #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 21

Folder 22

Hamilton #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 22

Folder 23

Hayne #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 23

Folder 24

Hayne, Hamilton, and McDuffie #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 24

Folder 25

Jackson #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 25

Folder 26

McDonald's Letters #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 26

Folder 27

McDuffie #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 27

Folder 28

Majority Rule and Minority Rights #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 28

Folder 29

Need #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 29

Folder 30

Notes #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 30

Folder 31

Nullification Controversy #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 31

Folder 32

Party History #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 32

Folder 33

Proportional Representation #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 33

Folder 34

States' Rights #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 34

Folder 35

Supreme Court #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 35

Folder 36

Tariff #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 36

Folder 37

Typescript Version #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 37

Folder 38

Van Buren #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 38

Folder 39

This Throne of Kings (play: typescript) #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 39

Folder 40

Three Dollars (play: typescript) Version 1, pp. 1-70 #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 40

Folder 41

Three Dollars (play: typescript) Version 1, pp. 71-135 #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 41

Folder 42

Three Dollars (play: typescript) Version 1, pp. 136-206 #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 42

Folder 43

Three Dollars (play: typescript) Version 2, pp. 1-106 #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 43

Folder 44

Three Dollars (play: typescript) Version 2, pp. 107-248 #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 44

Folder 45

Three Dollars (play: typescript) Version 2, pp. 249-352 #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 45

Folder 46

Three Dollars (play: typescript) Version 3, pp. 1-106 #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 46

Folder 47

Three Dollars (play: typescript) Version 3, pp. 107-248 #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 47

Folder 48

Three Dollars (play: typescript) Version 3, pp. 249-353 #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 48

Folder 49

Miscellaneous #04105, Series: "2. Writings, Undated." Folder 49

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Pictures, Undated.

30 items

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.

Image P-4105/1

Ann Preston Bridgers. #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/1

Image P-4105/2

Riccardo Martin as Enzo in La Gioconda. Image inscribed: "To Annie Bridgers in remembrance of Riccardo Martin." #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/2

Image P-4105/3

Riccardo Martin as Faust. #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/3

Image P-4105/4

Alexandra Colebrooke, 1916. #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/4

Image P-4105/5

Robert Rufus Bridgers. #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/5

Image P-4105/6-7

P-4105/6

P-4105/7

Robert Rufus Bridgers, Jr. #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/6-7

Image P-4105/8

Three unidentified men and ambulance. #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/8

Image P-4105/9

Unidentified woman. #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/9

Image P-4105/10

Photograph of painting [in oval frame] of unidentified woman. Photographer: Lewis D. Moorhead, c/o Green's Studio, Anderson, S.C. #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/10

Image P-4105/11

Unidentified woman. #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/11

Image P-4105/12-17

P-4105/12

P-4105/13

P-4105/14

P-4105/15

P-4105/16

P-4105/17

Snapshots of the interior of Fort Hill and the surrounding landscape. #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/12-17

Image P-4105/18

Fort Hill, side entrance. #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/18

Image P-4105/19

Fort Hill, front. #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/19

Image P-4105/20

Fort Hill, drawing room. #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/20

Image P-4105/21

Old brick fireplace. Photographer: Green's Studio, Anderson, S.C. #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/21

Image P-4105/22

Calhoun home at Clemson, S.C. #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/22

Image P-4105/23

Caption reads: "Reproduction of draperies hung from the original old gilt cornices in the Drawing Room." #04105, Series: "3. Pictures, Undated." P-4105/23

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Processing Information

Processed by: Gina Overcash, September 1987

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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