Charles Kean letter to Colonel D'Aguliar

Charles Kean letter to Colonel D'Aguliar

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Title: Charles Kean letter to Colonel D'Aguliar
Dates: 1840 January 14
Quantity: 0.1 Linear feet (1 portfolio)
Abstract:The collection consists of an autographed letter signed to Colonel D'Aguilar, Washington, D.C., 14 January 1840. The exceptionally fine letter describes at great length the many disasters that have befallen Charles Kean on his American tour. The last page serves also as the address leaf. It bears a fine impression of Kean's seal and has a "Portsmouth Ship Letter" stamp on the address panel.
Coll. Number: ms2435

Biographical/Historical Note

Charles John Kean was an English actor-manager best known for his revivals of Shakespearean plays. The son of the famed actor Edmund Kean, he was educated at Eton and made his debut as Young Norval in Douglas in London in 1827. He toured the provinces extensively but first won general acceptance during an American tour in 1830. Returning to England, he steadily gained in reputation with well-honed performances, most notably as Sir Giles Overreach in Philip Massinger's A New Way to Pay Old Debts, in Hamlet and Richard III, and as the melancholy Jaques in As You Like It. Although handicapped by poor vocal projection and an unprepossessing physical appearance, Kean compensated by perfecting the details of each performance. As manager of the Princess's Theatre (1850-1859) in London, he staged a series of successful Shakespearean revivals that were notable for their historical accuracy. His 1856 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream was especially well received. His first appearance with his father, who originally had discouraged his theatrical ambition, was in John Howard Payne's Brutus in Glasgow in 1828. He was playing Iago to his father's Othello in 1833 when the elder Kean collapsed on stage in his final performance. Charles frequently appeared opposite Ellen Tree (1805-1880), whom he married in 1842. Their adoptive daughter, the actress Agnes Robertson (1833-1916), made her debut at the Princess's Theatre in 1851. Encyclopedia Britannica Online (Retrived March 14, 2009)


Sir George Charles D'Aguilar was an army officer and the second son of Joseph D'Aguilar, formerly a captain in the 2nd dragoon guards (Queen's Bays), and later of Liverpool. Born at Winchester in January 1874, he joined the army as an ensign in the 86th regiment on 24 September 1799, and joined his regiment in India, where he remained for eight years. In 1896 he served in the siege of Bharatpur by Lord Lake, and was severely wounded in the last unsuccessful assault; in 1808 he was promoted captain into the 81st regiment, which he joined in England in May 1809. In the same month he married Eliza, second daughter of Peter Drinkwater of Irwell House, Manchester. They had several children, including General Sir Charles Lawrence D'Aguilar KCB, and officer distinguished in the Crimean War. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Retrieved March 24, 2009)

Index Terms

D'Aguilar, G. C., Sir, (George Charles), 1784-1855 -- Correspondence
Great Britain. Army. -- Officers--Correspondence
Kean, Charles John, 1811?-1868 -- Correspondence
Seals (artifacts)
Ship letters.
Signatures (names)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Charles Kean letter to Colonel D'Aguliar. MS 2435. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

1Letter, 1840 January 14