Guide to the Records of J. C. Williamson


MS 9145

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

J.C. Williamson
Records of J. C. Williamson
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 9145
0.28 metres (2 boxes)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Contents

Collection of agreements, contracts and related correspondence between the theatrical company and forty-three artists, dating from 1913 - 1960. The collection also includes Australian and American theatre programs.

Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Records of J. C. Williamson, National Library of Australia, MS 9145, [box number and series and/or file number]'.


The records were purchased at auction in August 1997. They comprise half of a collection sold in two lots, of which only one was purchased by the Library, so explaining the incomplete nature of the archive.

A large collection of J.C. Williamson records is held at MS 5783 (79.3 metres). Other related collections are J.C. Williamson [MS 7256]; the Tait family [MS 309]; Nineteenth century manuscripts [MS 1482] and the papers of James Smith [MS 2398].


The contracts were arranged alphabetically and this order has been retained.

Administrative History

The theatrical organisation, J.C. Williamson Ltd., began in 1874 when the American actor/manager James Cassius Williamson (1845-1913) decided to remain in Australia after the success of his production, 'Struck Oil', at the Melbourne Theatre Royal. A partnership formed in 1882 lasted nine years and, in 1911, the organisation became known as 'J.C Williamson Ltd'.

For many years, J.C. Williamson Ltd was the dominant theatrical agency in Australia, owning several theatres and bringing out a succession of notable singers, dancers and actors to Australia. The company's theatres were sold and the name was leased in 1976.

Item Descriptions

Correspondence, programs and cuttings (File 1) - Box 1

Includes three signed letters from Yehudi Menuhin, 1954, two typed and one handwritten. Also included are programs featuring Anna Pavlova and Madame Melba.

'B' contracts and related correspondence (File 2) - Box 1

Joe E. Brown & Company, 1949-50

Dorothy Brunton, 1931-32

Gus Bluett, 1933-35

'C' contracts and related correspondence (File 3) - Box 1

Sir Lewis Casson, 1957

'Chang' (Juan Jose Pablo), 1938

Alexander, Leo, Jan & Mischel Cherniavsky, 1921, 1924, 1933, 1944

Maurice Chevalier, 1959-60

Chorus for Moncrieff tour, 1946

Fay Compton, 1937-38

Mr & Mrs Conabere, 1946-47

Campbell Copelin, 1936

Mr & Mrs Cornell, 1917

'F-G' contracts and related correspondence (File 4) - Box 1

Gracie Fields, 1944-45

Gilbert & Sullivan Far East tour, 1922

Neva Carr Glynn, 1944

'K-L' contracts and related correspondence (File 5) - Box 1

Cecil Kellaway, 1926, 1928

Marie Lavarre, 1920-21

Marjorie Lawrence, 1944

Ernest Lotinga, 1929

Minnie Love, 1913-15

'M' contracts and related correspondence (File 6) - Box 1

Dame Nellie Melba, 1922, 1926-27

Gladys Moncrieff, 1914-15, 1917, 1919, 1920-21, 1932-33, 1949

'N-O' contracts and related correspondence (File 7) - Box 1

Don Nichol, 1930-33

Max Oldaker, 1941-43

'P-R' contracts and related correspondence (File 8) - Box 2

Ignace Paderewski, 1926-27

Anna Pavlova, 1925, 1928-29

Roy Rene, 1925

'S' contracts and related correspondence (File 9) - Box 2

Toscha Seidel, 1922

Peggy Shea, 1940-44

Ivy Shilling, 1920-21

D. Sisserman, 1933

Cornelia O. Skinner, 1960

T. Slavinsky, 1944

Jascha Spivakovsky, 1922

Sophie Stewart, 1949-50

'T-W' contracts and related correspondence (File 10) - Box 2

Marie Tempest and Graham Browne, 1920

Michael Wilding, 1937-38

George Willoughby, 1918-20

Bound collection of 24 American theatre programs, c.1920 (File 11) - Box 2