ABSTRACT

Ellen Terry’s Memoirs invoke the presence of the American thespian Velona Pilcher in her sphere during her later years. ey recall the same scene on the evening of Christmas day 1925 that Pilcher herself was to capture in the article ‘Dame Ellen Terry’ published in 1926 in Th eatre Arts Monthly, the in uential American arts magazine to which she was a regular and valued contributor.1 e commentary added to the Memoirs for their publication a er Terry’s death by Christopher St John and Edith Craig described Pilcher as a ‘young writer’ and one of those ‘lonely people who wouldn’t otherwise see a turkey or a pudding’ whom Terry had urged her daughter Edith Craig to invite.2 e letter inviting her had come from St John: ‘If you are not otherwise engaged we hope you will come here on Christmas Day about 6.30 to 7, and have some din-din and dindon [turkey]. No-one will be here except Ellen T. Edy, Tony and self.’ e intertwining of experiences of that ‘merry little gathering’ in the upstairs at at 31 Bedford Street within the Memoirs captures one of several known historical points of contact between these two theatrical women.3