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Dronke, Maria - Letter from T.S.Eliot

Identifier: drom-P


  • July 27 1948

Access and use

Access is freely available in the J.C.Beaglehole Room for research and private study. For any use beyond this, please contact the J.C.Beaglehole Room ( in the first instance.

Biographical / Historical

'Minnie Kronfeld, who was to become well known in New Zealand theatrical circles as Maria Dronke, was born on 17 July 1904 in Berlin, Germany. Minnie was educated at the Dorotheen Lyceum in Berlin, where she was the top student, then at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, where she took philosophy and modern literature. She also studied, and for a period taught, elocution and voice production.

Maria Dronke was almost 35 when she started a new life in New Zealand. Opportunities in New Zealand for Dronke to resume her acting career were limited. Instead, she turned to teaching, giving poetry readings and dramatic recitals. Dronke also taught speech craft to a study group formed by Ngaio Marsh in 1948, lectured from time to time for the WEA on drama, and wrote about speech and drama. She also broadcast a series of talks for the New Zealand Broadcasting Service.

Maria's first production and performance in New Zealand was probably The kingdom of God by Gregorio Martínez Sierra in 1940. Perhaps her most successful production was T. S. Eliot's Murder in the cathedral , staged in Wellington's St Paul's Cathedral Church in 1947. It is estimated that she produced 25 plays in New Zealand.'

Taken from: Beaglehole, Ann. 'Dronke, Minnie Maria 1904 - 1987'. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007. Reference URL:


.5 linear_centimeters (MSS E42 C.) : Letter is tipped into a copy of Eliot's 'The Cocktail Party'

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of John and Mary Dronke

Dronke, Maria - Letter from T.S.Eliot
J.C.Beaglehole - archives and manuscripts
Sue Hirst
26 July 2019
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the J C Beaglehole Room, Victoria University of Wellington Library Repository

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Wellington 6140 New Zealand
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