Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Peggy Ramsay archive

On the Writers' Guild website Zoë Wilcox (right), cataloguer of modern literary manuscripts at the British Library, presents an insight into the life of one of the great figures of post-war theatre (first published in the Guild's magazine for members, UK Writer.
She must be our best-known playwrights’ agent. Forthright and formidable, Peggy Ramsay has become something of a legend in the theatre world whilst most agents have remained background figures in the careers of their famous clients. She has been played by Vanessa Redgrave and Maureen Lipman, immortalised in print and on the stage, but it is her own archive that best captures Peggy Ramsay in her own words. Acquired by the British Library in 1997, the archive of Margaret Ramsay Ltd is stuffed full of deliciously frank correspondence between Peggy and her clients. It has been my task to turn the fifty boxes of papers, scrapbooks, ledgers and other paraphernalia into a usable resource for researchers. In the process, I have learnt a lot about her and the writers she represented in theatre, film, radio and television.

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