[Joyce Grenfell, comedian.] Two Autograph Letters Signed ('Joyce Grenfell' and 'Joyce') to Sheridan Russell, one regarding the Bermondsey 'settlement' Time and Talent, the other from New York, on the city, her audiences and the reception of her show.

Joyce Grenfell [Joyce Irene Grenfell, née Phipps] (1910-1979), comedian, monologist, actress and singer [Sheridan Russell (1900-1991), husband of social worker Kit Russell [Kit Stewart] (1909-1998)]
Publication details: 
ONE: 149 King's Road, S.W.3. [London] 9 April 1949. TWO: Laurelton Hotel, West 55th St., New York City. 29 November 1955.
SKU: 22104

For information on Russell see the Oxford DNB entry on his wife from 1957, the social worker Kit Russell [Katherine Frances Russell, née Stewart] (1909-1998). Both letters are in fair condition, lightly aged and creased. ONE: Signed 'Joyce Grenfell'. 2pp, 12mo. She begins the letter with a question: 'Dear Sheridan Russell. | What is Time and Talents? It sounds interesting.' (Time and Talents was a 'settlement' in Bermondsey started in 1887 by Christian society ladies, with which Sheridan's wife had been associated since the 1920s.) Grenfell's plans for the coming November are 'uncertain': 'I might be filming at Denham or touring in Cardiff or playing in West Hartlepool and I daren't promise anything so far ahead in case I couldn't fulfil it.' Despite her commitments, she asks for more information about Time and Talents, adding: 'perhaps a bit later on if you still wanted me you'd very kindly ask me again'. TWO: Signed 'Joyce'. 2pp, foolscap 8vo. In light-blue ink. An air mail letter, addressed to 'Sheridan Russell Esq | 179 Gloucester Place | London | N.W.1.' By now on friendly terms, she begins with a report on New York audiences: 'Dear Sheridan - | I loved hearing from you but I mustn't let you be sad for me because contrary to your worry the audiences are absolutely remarkable – wonderful here! At first I felt quite jealous for London because they were so good! Now I'm grateful – feel it brings us all closer. They are so subtle, so warm, so responsive. I remember Myra Hess telling me she'd never had such listening as she got in America & I must say its true for me too.' She continues with her praise of the 'rewarding experience' she has with the audiences, whilst conceding that her show 'draws only one section – the reading, internationally minded, British-film-going public – it is comforting to know they exist!' Her audiences are 'all glorious', but 'You hear very little English spoken in some sections & there are gross audiences – at the musicals for instance – but the ones who come to see the show at the Bijou are glorious!' She accepts that the show is 'not going to run for ever – too “special” - but even if we do close soon its been wonderfully exciting. I suppose we'll tour for a bit in the new year. And then home – hooray!' She finds New York 'such a mixture of enormous beauty and hellish hideosity'. She describes the 'fairy tale stuff' of the skyline, and the lights on Broadway: 'forget the signs themselves it is very exciting too'. She praises the 'wonderfully nice' New Yorkers, adding 'you can find anything here when you look for it. Kindness, generosity and friendliness are available anywhere'. She concludes in optimistic terms: 'So I do want you to know that it is being a lovely time & a great EXPERIENCE. | with love | Joyce'. In a postscript she reports that 'Business dropped last week & we may close, but last night the orchestra and stage crew combined & said theyd take [cuts to ideas?] once the bad weeks pre-Christmas as they love & believe in the show. Very nice. No decision reached yet.' She ends by sending 'Love to Betty J.'