Lees, Dorothy Nevile

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Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966) was the son of British actress Ellen Terry and designer and architect Edward William Godwin. His role as champion of all things connected with the advancement of the art of the theatre is well documented in this collection.

Dorothy Nevile Lees (1880-1966) was a British author who lived in Florence, Italy, for most of her life. She served as the managing editor of Craig's journal, The Mask, and had a son with him in 1917 (David Lees).

From the description of Dorothy Nevile Lees papers relating to Edward Gordon Craig and The Mask, 1905-1963. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 612775488

Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966), was the son of British actress Ellen Terry and designer and architect Edward William Godwin (1833-1886). His role as champion of all things connected with the advancement of the art of the theatre is well documented in this collection. Craig was the publisher, editor, designer, and main contributor to a journal called The Mask, which he titled a "journal of the art of the theatre." The Mask was published in Florence, Italy, from 1908 to 1929, with several changes of frequency and long gaps in publication dates, especially during the years of the first world war. In 1918 and 1919 he also published one volume (12 issues) of The Marionnette, which shared offices, staff, and subscription lists with The Mask.

Dorothy Nevile Lees, born in Staffordshire, England, in 1880, moved to Florence in 1903 and stayed there for the rest of her life. In her first years there she published numerous articles about the life and culture of Tuscany, and in 1907 she published two books: Scenes and Shrines in Tuscany (Dent) and Tuscan Feasts and Tuscan Friends (Chatto and Windus). At this time she met Craig, who had moved to Italy for a number of reasons, including a desire to found a school of theatrical art and to start a journal to disseminate his philosophy of the theater and its practical application. Lees devoted herself to Craig, and to his work, serving as a major contributor to The Mask (usually under a pseudonym), and as its main managing editor. She took care of all contacts with paper suppliers, printers, and binders; subscriptions; and the management of its meager funds (most of which came from her).

In September of 1917 Lees gave birth to a son by Craig, David -called Davidino throughout this collection- for whom she carefully saved the records of The Mask. Dorothy Nevile Lees kept as many documents as possible out of the hands of the Nazis when they seized the contents of her office. Lees especially treasured the letters in this collection from Craig which mention their son. ( David Lees became an Italian citizen, served in the Italian military, and had a distinguished career as a photographer.)

After The Mask ceased publication and Craig left Italy Dorothy Nevile Lees continued to publish articles, serving as a correspondent to The Times and to The Christian Science Monitor. She worked for several departments of the British military during and after World War II, and in the 1950s she built a major collection of Craig-related books and publications for the British Institute in Florence. In the last few decades of her life Lees wrote countless letters to the British government, trying to obtain a pension for Craig. (Some of those letters are in this collection.) She continued to collect articles and books about Craig, and she and Craig remained correspondents until 1966, the year in which they both died.

From the guide to the Dorothy Nevile Lees papers relating to Edward Gordon Craig and, The Mask, 1905-1963., (Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

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Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Craig, Edward Gordon, 1872-1966. [Correspondence with Harold Monro, and other items. Newberry Library
referencedIn Dorothy Nevile Lees papers relating to Edward Gordon Craig and, The Mask, 1905-1963. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Lees, Dorothy Nevile. Dorothy Nevile Lees papers relating to Edward Gordon Craig and The Mask, 1905-1963. Houghton Library
creatorOf Dorothy Nevile Lees papers relating to Edward Gordon Craig and, The Mask, 1905-1963. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
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Active 1905

Active 1963

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