Fonds F2867 - Hurst du Prey family fonds

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Hurst du Prey family fonds

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  • 1922-1955, 1988 (Creation)
    Hurst (family)
  • 1922-1955, 1988 (Creation)
    du Prey (family)
  • 1922-1955, 1988 (Creation)
    du Prey, Deirdre
  • 1922-1955, 1988 (Creation)
    Leonard, Phylis
  • 1922-1953 (Creation)
    Hurst, Edith
  • 1922-1955, 1988 (Creation)
    Lamont, Muriel

Physical description area

Physical description

1.36 m of textual records

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Name of creator


Biographical history

The Hurst family came to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada from Yorkshire, England in 1905-1906.

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Biographical history

No information available on this family.

Name of creator

(Jul. 1906-23 Feb. 2007)

Biographical history

Deirdre Hurst was born in British Columbia in July 1906. She attended the Cornish School, Seattle, in 1932 and attended the School of Dance-Mime at Dartington Hall. Hurst studied under Michael Chekov at Dartington and continued to do so after the move of the Chekov school to Ridgefield, Conneticut in 1938. Deirdre Hurst became the unofficial archivist of the Chekhov Theatre Studio, preserving a significant collection of his lessons and other Chekhoviana. Hurst's shorthand notes of Chekhov's acting lessons dating from 1935 to 1942 were later turned into an 11 volume set entitled "'The Actor is the Theatre'.

Deirdre Hurst married Edgard du Prey and settled in Westbury, New York. In the 1950s, Deirdre began teaching children's theatre at the Garden City Waldorf School. Later she taught drama at the Adelphi University Childrens Centre for the Creative Arts. In September of 1980 the Michael Chekhov Studio was incorporated in New York City. The first lessons were held in November with 40 students enrolled in 4 classes. Deirdre Hurst du Prey was one of the first two teachers at the Studio. The Studio went through a number of changes before closing in or around 1992. Deirdre went on to teach at international conferences, worked on collecting archival material, and edited two books of Chekhov's lessons: 'Lessons for the Professional Actor' (1985); and 'Michael Chekhov: Lessons for Teachers of his Acting Technique' (2000). Deirdre Hurst du Prey died February 23, 2007 at the age of 100.

Name of creator

(May 1905-Oct. 2001)

Biographical history

Phylis Hurst (Leonard) was born in Yorkshire, May of 1905. She spent time in New York, England, India and Connecticut. In 1938 she traveled to India to assist in the organisation of the Uday Shankar India Culture Centre in Almora. Upon returning to North America she joined her sister Deirdre in Ridgefield, Connecticut where she was on the faculty at the Chekov School. She married Frederick Norton Leonard in 1941. Phylis died in October 2001.

Name of creator

(ca. 1880-Dec. 1953)

Biographical history

Edith Beckett Hurst, the mother of the Hurst sisters, lived most of her adult life in Vancouver, British Columbia, but moved to the United States to be closer to her daughters near the end of her life. She passed away on Long Island, New York in December 1953.

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(fl. 1900s)

Biographical history

Muriel (Murra) Hurst Lamont was born in Vancouver and moved to the United States.

Custodial history

This material was gathered together by Pierre du Prey from various family members over time before deposit in Queen's Archives. Much of Deirdre du Prey's documentary material had previously been given to the Dartington Hall archives in its association with Chekov. This material was viewed as the personal record of the Hurst du Prey sisters and therefore not acquired through that archival program.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of both incoming and outgoing family correspondence predominantly between the Hurst sisters, Deirdre, Phyllis and Muriel (Murra), and their mother, Edith a Beckett Hurst. The letters detail both the personal and professional lives of these women early in their lives, focussing on the period before the sisters were married. The material provides rare insight into an artistic and cultural milieu as seen and experienced by independent women in the 1930's. The fonds also contains a number of photographs of Phyllis and Deirdre in particular, as well as a number of subject files pertaining to the Chekov Studio and Dartington School.

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  • English

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Location (use this to request the file)

  • Shelf: 5034.5
  • Shelf: MI 245
  • Shelf: SR1216
  • Shelf: 5138.1
  • Shelf: 2056.5
  • Shelf: 2147.12 SE