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Papers of Hedli MacNeice, 1931-1989; n.d.

Correspondence of Hedli MacNeice, including letters from and about, Louis MacNeice (1930s to the 1980s), papers relating to her career as a singer (1930s to the 1950s), memorabilia about her life and businesses in Ireland and France (1960s-1980s) and some (autobiographical) notes and diaries.


  • 1931-1989; n.d.

Language of Materials

  • English

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. 10641/68-75

Biographical / Historical

Antoinette Millicent Hedley MacNeice, née Anderson, was born in Claygate, Surrey, 25 May 1907. Her father was Captain in the Canadian Military, whose family had emigrated to Canada from Northumberland. Hedli, as everyone called her, mainly grew up in Canada and in Switzerland, and studied singing in England and Germany. In 1934, she moved to London, where she joined the Group Theatre, and late the Players Theatre. She performed in cabaret programmes, and in the initial productions of plays by W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood ( The Dance of the Death, The Dog Beneath The Skin, The Ascent of F6), and by Louis MacNeice. In 1938, Auden and Benjamin Britten the collaborated on a series of cabaret song especially for her, of which ‘Funeral Blues’ and ‘Tell me the truth about love’ are the best known. Hedli Anderson started a relationship with Louis MacNeice at the end of 1941, and married him in July 1942. Their daughter, Brigid Corinna (‘Bimba’) was born in July 1943. The new Mrs. MacNeice kept her maiden name as her stage name, and as Hedli Anderson she performed jointly with her husband in recitals of songs and poetry in the 1940s and 1950s, including tours of the USA in 1953 and 1954. The couple separated in the autumn of 1960, and in 1961 Hedli MacNeice moved to Ireland, where she owned, and cooked in, the ‘The Spinnaker’ restaurant in Scilly, Kinsale, County Cork. Later, she moved to France, where in 1981 she opened the shop 'Direct d'Irlande’ in Moncourt in the Île-de-France region. She died in France in 1990.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom