by Jennifer Lee
The RBML has received a very significant addition to its already major holdings of Tennessee Williams material. This addition is particularly important because it relates to Williams’ later work, the strength of Columbia’s holdings.
The new material includes heavily annotated typescripts of Williams’ later plays including Out Cry (1971), Red Devil Battery Sign (1975), Vieux Carré (1977) and A House Not Meant to Stand (1981). Also in the archive are some 200 pages of typescript pages, mostly annotated, of Williams’ early draft of his raucous Memoir, the unpublished precursor to his Memoirs, published in 1975. Correspondence written by Tennessee Williams includes unsent postcards written to his sister Rose; a letter to Craig Anderson regarding his play Creve Coeur and actress Olive Deering; and to his attorney discussing the production of Out Cry.
Tennessee Williams unposted postcard to his sister Rose
Correspondence to Williams includes letters from a large number of people such as Laurence Olivier, Paul Bowles, Cheryl Crawford, Elia Kazan, Lillian Gish, Kate Medina, and various agents including Audrey Wood. Olivier, for example, in a 32 page letter on the subject of Streetcar Named Desire, writes: “You must know that I think ‘Streetcar’ is a really great play.” He continues: “Now about the cuts … I honestly think the play is a little long,” but regarding one of Vivien Leigh’s speeches, he wrote: “Vivien does it quite beautifully and if you cable me to cut it I’ll cut my bloody throat.”