collecta-belle the oliviers

Collections Cataloguing: Box 7


I hope you’ve all had a lovely summer and are enjoying the final few weeks of warm weather before autumn officially starts (although I did see yesterday that Starbucks has already rolled out the pumpkin spice latte, so maybe autumn has already “started” and I’m the one who’s clinging on to the last vestiges of my favorite season).

Things here in the North of England have been pretty busy. When not working at my day job or picketing for better wages, Robbie and I have been exploring our surroundings. Back in June, my dear friend and Ava Gardner co-author, Anthony Uzarowski, came up for a visit. We went for a nice long walk along the river and through the woods at Bolton Abbey, which has become a favorite spot of mine and Robbie’s. There have been day trips to Blackpool and Chester, Malham and Fountains Abbey. And last month, for Robbie’s birthday, I got us two first class tickets on the Dalesman steam train for a trip on the Settle and Carlisle Railway. Gorgeous scenery but we could have done without the coal dust blowing in through the windows. Still, great to tick “steam train ride” off the bucket list.

In between all of that I’ve been working away on cataloguing and digitising the Richard Mangan Laurence Olivier Collection (now part of the Kendra Bean Collection). Thanks to the Viv and Larry Patrons, much of the collection has been repackaged. And in terms of cataloguing and scanning, I’m on Box 11 – *nearly* half way through. To date I have catalogued over 1200 individual pieces of memorabilia! I’ve been at it for a year and feel like I’ve made good progress, considering I usually only have time to work on it at weekends.

At this point, I am considering what to do once I’ve repackaged and scanned everything. Richard Mangan was so generous in making this collection available to researchers and authors. I want to continue this tradition, so I’m looking into open source cataloguing databases. The goal is to incorporate a free, fully searchable catalogue here at The software I’m looking at is called Collective Access. It’s used by several museums and archives and seems to be fairly compatible to my vision for this collection. I look forward to sharing the next phase of this project with all of you in the future.

For now, here are some highlights from Box 7 of the RMLO (covering 1946 in Laurence Olivier’s stage career).

The Old Vic in NYC

Laurence Olivier and Vivien leigh fly to new York
Daily Herald photograph of the Oliviers at London Airport, en route to New York, 1946. RMLO_670 / Kendra Bean Collection
Full program for the 1946 Old Vic season at the Century Theatre, New York.
RMLO_679 / Kendra Bean Collection

King Lear

“The Masque: A Theatre Notebook”, issue No. 1, November 1946.
RMLO_782 / Kendra Bean Collection
Everybody’s Weekly magazine, December 14, 1946. Featuring Laurence Olivier and Joyce Redman in “King Lear”.
RMLO_769 / Kendra Bean Collection
original photograph by John Vickers, featuring Laurence Olivier as King Lear. Photographer’s stamp on verso.
RMLO_717 / Kendra Bean Collection

The Vic Wells Costume Ball

Program for The Vic Wells Costume Ball, Lyceum Theatre, London, January 22, 1948. Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh presented the prizes.
RMLO_857 / Kendra Bean

Vivien Leigh autographs

Scrapbook page including tearsheet from The Tatler, with a photograph of the Oliviers, 1946. Autographed by Vivien Leigh in blue ink.
RMLO_804 / Kendra Bean
1940 postcard with photograph of Vivien Leigh by Laszlo Willinger pasted into scrapbook page. Signed by Vivien in blue ink at later date.
RMLO_805 / Kendra Bean Collection
Cutting from Caesar and Cleopatra (1945) pasted onto scrapbook page. Signed by Vivien Leigh in blue ink.
RMLO_816 / Kendra Bean Collection

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Kendra has been the weblady at since 2007. She lives in Yorkshire and is the author of Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait, and co-author of Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies (Running Press). Follow her on Twitter @kendrajbean, Instagram at @vivandlarrygram, or at her official website.

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