The following archival collections are owned by the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research and are open to researchers. All of the collections contain documentation about the blacklist era.
Alvah Bessie Papers, 1929-1991. Finding aid can be accessed at:
Papers, 1929–1991, of Alvah Bessie, a novelist, screenwriter, literary and film critic, and member of the Hollywood Ten who was blacklisted for his refusal to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. The collection primarily documents Bessie's writing career; the impact of the blacklist; his ongoing relationship with other Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (VALB), a unit of the Republican Army during the Spanish Civil War; and his continuing interest in similar issues and causes. Included is the Bruce Rubenstein Collection of the Alvah Bessie Archive, circa 1929-1990.
Herbert Biberman and Gale Sondergaard papers, 1908-1991. Finding aid can be accessed at:
Papers of stage and screen producer, director, and writer Herbert Biberman and his wife, Academy Award-winning actress Gale Sondergaard. The collection concerns their professional careers, as well as the case Independent Production Company v. Loews et al., the anti-trust litigation that resulted from Biberman's attempt to mitigate the blacklisting he experienced as one of the Hollywood Ten. Documentation about the Hollywood Ten is limited, although there are autobiographical references to this period, some records of the Committee to Free the Hollywood Ten, the film The Hollywood Ten, and personal letters written by Biberman while he was imprisoned for contempt of Congress. Scripts for plays and motion pictures produced, directed, or written by Biberman or acted in by Sondergaard comprise fifteen boxes. Thirty-three boxes contain legal papers presented by the attorneys for the unsuccessful suit against the production companies, distributors, and the theatrical union that blocked American release of Salt of the Earth, the film about the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers Biberman directed with Paul Jarrico and Simon Lazarus. Along with correspondence, depositions, transcribed proceedings (available only on microfilm), research material, and exhibits, there are files on other blacklisting suits brought by Dalton Trumbo, Michael Wilson, Nedrick Young, the Screen Writers Guild, and others. Other individuals represented within the legal material gathered here are Oscar Hammerstein II, Edgar Y. Harburg, Kim Hunter, Richard Rodgers, and Dore Schary, as well as Roy Brewer and Richard Walsh of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and representatives of the American Legion, the Motion Picture Industry Council, and the Association of Motion Pictures Producers. Research material gathered for the suit includes scripts and financial and production records for Salt of the Earth information on Howard Hughes; autobiographical statements of blacklisted individuals in the motion picture industry; and correspondence of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee, the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, the National Federation for Constitutional Liberties, and other organizations investigated by the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
Hollywood Democratic Committee Records, 1942-1950. Finding aid can be accessed at:
Papers of the Hollywood Democratic Committee (HDC), a group organized in 1943 to support the programs and reelection of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1945 it re-formed as the Hollywood Independent Citizens of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions; in 1946 it became the Arts, Sciences, and Professions Council of the Progressive Citizens of Southern California; and finally, in 1948, the group withdrew from PCA and organized as the non-partisan National Council of Arts, Sciences, and Professions. Throughout its brief existence the group worked on behalf of liberal causes including civil liberties, racial justice, and peace, and it actively supported the Hollywood community against the Dies Committee and the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). It was placed on the HUAC list of subversive organizations. Much of the collection consists of subject files related to wide-ranging political action including such topics as control of atomic weapons, the Bretton Woods agreement, the Hollywood Ten, the film strike of 1945, world peace, opposition to the Zoot Suit Riots, and relations with political leaders such as Henry Wallace and Harold Ickes and scientists such as Albert Einstein, Linus Pauling, and Harlow Shapley.
Kirk Douglas Papers, 1945-1978. Finding aid can be accessed at:
Papers of Kirk Douglas, a highly successful actor and producer who worked in motion pictures, television, theater, and radio. While the collection illustrates some aspects of Douglas's personal life, the primary emphasis is on his career as an actor, as well as his work as a producer and founder of Bryna Productions and other production companies. The papers document the collaborative effort of filmmaking; the work of writers, directors, producers, and actors; and the details of technical production, financing, promotion, and distribution of films. Included are correspondence, financial records, technical production files, promotion and publicity files, distribution planning papers and records of gross receipts, scripts and screenplays, and newsclippings. Documentation is most extensive for those motion pictures produced by Bryna Productions in which Douglas starred: Indian Fighter (1955), Spring Reunion (1957), The Vikings (1958), Spartacus (1960), Scalawag (1973), and Posse (1975). There is also a series concerning television appearances by Kirk Douglas, and three television specials or series produced or planned by Bryna Productions: Tales of the Vikings, Indian Fighter, and Spartacus. For the latter three items there are correspondence, financial records, production and promotional files, and scripts for specific episodes. Regarding Douglas's personal appearances there is correspondence and a script. Of interest in the theater files are the records of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, produced as a Broadway play starring Kirk Douglas in 1963–1964, and later produced as a motion picture by his son, Michael Douglas.
Howard Koch Papers, 1937-1976. Finding aid can be accessed at:
Papers of Howard Koch, a writer of motion pictures. Included are scripts, revisions, treatments, correspondence, stills, clippings, and explanatory notes for various Warner Brothers releases that Koch wrote including Casablanca (1942), for which he received an Academy Award; In This Our Life (1942); The Letter (1940); Mission to Moscow (1943); Rhapsody in Blue (1945); The Sea Hawk (1941); Sergeant York (1941); and other produced and unproduced motion pictures. Because Mission to Moscow led to Koch's testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947, the notes and correspondence pertaining to the writing of this screenplay are of special interest. Also relating to this subject are a transcript of his testimony to the committee and notes and correspondence relating to his subsequent blacklisting. The collection also includes a file on War of the Worlds, which Koch wrote for Mercury Theatre of the Air (CBS) in 1938 and which was largely responsible for launching his career. Included are several script revisions, a letter from Koch describing the documents, a book, and a made-for-TV movie concerning the famous broadcast. Among Koch's prominent correspondents are Ingrid Bergman, Joseph E. Davies, Margaret Sullivan, Jack Warner, and Edward Bennett Williams.
Robert W. Kenny and Robert S. Morris papers, 1940-1957. Finding aid can be accessed at:
Legal papers of two Los Angeles attorneys who served as counsel for the Hollywood Ten during appearances before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) and during subsequent civil suits against the studios to recover losses from the blacklist. Included are correspondence with numerous attorneys and others involved in the cases including Leonard B. Boudin, Charles Katz, Carey McWilliams, Benjamin Margolis, and Alexander Meiklejohn, as well as with Lester Cole, Ring Lardner, Jr., John Howard Lawson, Adrian Scott, Dalton Trumbo, and other Hollywood Ten clients; transcripts of court proceedings and HUAC testimony; briefs and memoranda concerning points of law; exhibits; depositions from E. J. Mannix, Louis B. Mayer, Dore Schary, Jack Warner, and Darryl F. Zanuck; handwritten notes; and material (some in recorded form) pertaining to the national public relations effort in behalf of the Ten. Also included are legal papers for Michael Wilson, a blacklisted writer who was not a member of the Ten, and miscellaneous research materials concerning the Association of Motion Picture Producers, John E. Rankin, and other topics.
Millard Lampell Papers, 1936-1966. Finding aid can be accessed at:
Papers of a writer for radio, television, motion pictures, and the stage. Non-theatrical writings include articles for The New Republic and correspondence, reviews, and printed copies of his novels The Hero (1949) and Journey to the Cape (1959). Radio files contain scripts for such programs as Green Valley, U.S.A. (CBS), It's the Navy (WMCA), Men, Machines, and Victory (NBC), On the Beam (WBIG), First in the Air (CBS, published as The Long Way Home, 1946), and various United Nations Radio and public service programs. Several of these are present in recorded form also. Lampell's plays, such as The Wall (1960), which he adapted from a John Hersey novel, include progressive script drafts, research correspondence, financial information, clippings, and photographs. Also included are correspondence, music, and production information relating to performances of his folk cantata “The Lonesome Train,” first written for Columbia Presents Corwin (CBS). In the motion picture files are correspondence, scripts, and clippings for Chance Meeting (1960), Escape from East Berlin (1962), Saturday's Hero (1951), and several documentaries and unproduced titles. Award-winning scripts for Eastside, Westside (CBS) and Hallmark Hall of Fame (NBC) are included with a small group of television papers. The remainder of the collection includes general correspondence (some concerning his wartime broadcasting for the Army Air Force) and recordings of performances with Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and the Almanac Singers, and a work by Earl Robinson.
Ring Lardner Papers, 1947-1953. Finding aid can be accessed at:
Papers of a screenwriter who, as one of the Hollywood Ten, was imprisoned for refusing to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Included are articles, clippings, correspondence, legal documents, and publicity concerning Lardner's appearance before HUAC.
Albert Maltz Papers, 1932-1985. Finding aid can be accessed at:
Papers of a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and blacklisted member of the Hollywood Ten. The collection emphasizes his screenwriting and consists of variant drafts for early successes (Destination Tokyo, Pride of the Marines, and This Gun for Hire); later works for which he received no credit (Broken Arrow and The Robe) or from which he was fired (Exodus and The Execution of Private Slovik) because of the Blacklist; and numerous unproduced titles. Work for the Theatre Union during the Depression is documented by script drafts (primarily of unproduced plays) and microfilmed clippings. General writings include microfilmed clippings about his short stories and novels, and speeches and statements, many of which concern the Hollywood Ten and related political issues. Also about the Hollywood Ten are minutes and information pertaining to meetings, legal and public relations materials, and recordings of memorial services for Herbert Biberman and Adrian Scott. Correspondence covers the period 1936–1985 and provides information on development of some films and writings, Maltz's imprisonment for contempt of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) and response to the Blacklist, and his continued relations with other members of the Ten such as Alvah Bessie, Lester Cole, Ring Lardner, Jr., and Dalton Trumbo. Other prominent correspondents include Michael Blankfort, Frank Capra, Raymond Clapper, Howard Fast, Albert Kahn, Robert Kenney, Emmett Lavery, Carey McWilliams, Alexander Meiklejohn, Frank Ross, Frank Sinatra, George Sklar, Philip Van Doren Stern, Shepard Traube, Robert Penn Warren, and Glenway Westcott.
Samuel Ornitz Papers, 1919-1957. Finding aid can be accessed at:
Papers of an author, screenwriter, and member of the Hollywood Ten who was imprisoned in 1950 after refusing to answer questions before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. The collection includes correspondence, writings, and other files. Present are manuscripts for two major novels, Haunch, Paunch, and Jowl (1923) and Bride of the Sabbath (1951), scripts for several stage plays and only a few screenplays and outlines. Also of interest are files that demonstrate his method of character development. Other files relate to Theodore Dreiser's investigation of the labor conditions in Harlan County, Kentucky, in 1931, and to the Hollywood Ten trial. The correspondence contains numerous exchanges with publishers such as Rinehart & Co., some references to Ornitz's experience as a screenwriter during the 1930s, and personal correspondence from the period of his imprisonment. Correspondents of note include Brooks Atkinson, Herbert Biberman, Vera Caspary, Harry Golden, Matthew Josephson, Ring Lardner, Jr., John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Lewis Mumford, and Art Young.
Louis Pollock Papers, 1932-1965. Finding aid can be accessed at:
Papers of Louis Pollock, a motion picture and television writer and publicist, whose work was blacklisted during the 1950s as a result of mistaken identity. Scripts for radio, television, and motion pictures, many written under the name Joe Madison, form the major portion of the collection. Most television programs are represented by single scripts, though there are multiple titles for The Richard Boone Show and a sound recording of one episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Also included are many short stories and articles and a published copy of his book, Stork Bites Man. A small subject file contains clippings, information on the blacklist, financial and legal records, and correspondence. Relating to his work as a publicist for Universal is a 1938 memorandum describing the structure and operation of the studio's promotion department, financial records for a promotional tour for Back Street, and a bound compendium of Hollywood advertising, 1936-1937. Prominent correspondents include Linus Pauling and Clifford Odets.
Abraham Polonsky Papers, 1936-1968. Finding aid can be accessed at:
Papers of Abraham Polonsky, a screenwriter and filmmaker who was blacklisted in Hollywood after his refusal to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Among Polonsky's papers are manuscripts of his novels and stories; scripts for radio, theater, televsion, and motion pictures, including documentation for his highly-acclaimed film, Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (Universal, 1969); and diaries of his personal life, 1951-1967.
Dore Schary Papers, circa 1920-1980. Finding aid can be accessed at:
Papers of Dore Schary, a playwright, motion picture executive, and activist in Jewish and liberal political causes, documenting both his personal and professional life. Included are general correspondence; microfilmed scrapbooks; scripts and production material for plays and motion pictures; records pertaining to MGM; non-dramatic writings, speeches (many in recorded form), and an autobiography and a family memoir; home movies and photographs; correspondence, reports, lists, financial records, and speeches from his tenure as national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League and subject files on other organizations with which he was involved such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Jewish Committee, and the Democratic Party; and personal and biographical information. Documentation in the production files varies but may include correspondence, notes, variant drafts of scripts, clippings, financial records, publicity, stills, designs, and casting information. Records of Schary's years as executive producer, studio head, and vice-president at MGM include reports of executive meetings, correspondence and memoranda, and financial reports. Also present are papers pertaining to the career of Schary's wife Miriam Svet.
Dalton Trumbo Papers, 1905-1962. Finding aid can be accessed at:
Papers of Dalton Trumbo, an author and writer of motion picture scripts who, as one of the Hollywood Ten, was imprisoned following 1947 hearings before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). The collection offers remarkably complete documentation of his work and the blacklisting to which he was subjected until 1960. It includes correspondence, writings, financial records, recordings, and subject files on HUAC and the Hollywood Ten. Correspondence, 1925-1962, includes letters to his wife and family concerning his experiences as a correspondent during World War II, his prison experiences in 1950 and 1951, as well as many letters to and from agents, playwrights, producers, and other members of the Ten. Numerous letters relate to the Congressional hearings, his work as a black-market writer under assumed names during the 1950s, and his attitudes toward blacklisting. Among his correspondents are Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, E.Y. Harburg, John Huston, Gordon Kahn, Garson Kanin, Murray Kempton, Ring Lardner Jr., John Howard Lawson, Carey McWilliams, Albert Maltz, David Merrick, Dore Schary, Herman Shumlin, and Sam Zimbalist. Some correspondence is only in dictated form.
Nedrick Young Papers, 1947-1968. Finding aid can be accessed at:
Papers of Nedrick Young, a screenwriter who refused to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1953 and was blacklisted as a result. Most of the collection documents his career as a screenwriter through biographical material, screenplays for motion pictures and television, and unproduced story ideas for various genres; there is extensive documentation for several unproduced films and for The Defiant Ones (1958) and Inherit the Wind (1960). Some were written under the pseudonym Nathan E. Douglas. In 1961, Young joined others in a lawsuit against the Motion Picture Producers' Association for damages incurred in their blacklisting. Concerning the lawsuit, there are files of correspondence, legal documents, exhibits and research materials, clippings, and public relations items. A recorded 1961 speech by Young at Carnegie Hall on the threat of the blacklist to young writers is also present.
The following is a small selection of additional resources that will be helpful to those researching the blacklist.
Kimball, Danny. "The Hollywood Blacklist Collections." Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research.
Ceplair, Larry and Christopher Trumbo. Dalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2015.
Ceplair, Larry and Steven Englund. The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.
Cook, Bruce. Dalton Trumbo. New York: Scribner, 1977.
Dick, Bernard F. Radical innocence: A Critical Study of the Hollywood Ten. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1988.
Douglas, Kirk. I Am Spartacus!: Making a Film, Breaking the Blacklist. New York: Open Road Media, 2012.
Freedland, Michael. Hollywood on Trial: McCarthyism's War against the Movies. London: Robson Books, 2007.
Hanson, Peter. Dalton Trumbo, Hollywood Rebel: A Critical Survey and Filmography. Jefferson: McFarland, 2001.
Manfull, Helen, ed. Additional Dialogue: Letters of Dalton Trumbo, 1942-1962. New York: M. Evans, 1970.
McGilligan, Patrick, and Paul Buhle. Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997.
Smith, Jeff. Film Criticism, The Cold War, and the Blacklist: Reading the Hollywood Reds. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014.
Winkler, Martin M., ed. Spartacus: Film and History. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2007.
Ceplair, Larry. "Kirk Douglas, 'Spartacus,' and the Blacklist." Cineaste 38, no. 1 (2012): 11-13.
Ceplair, Larry, and Christopher Trumbo. "Battling the Motion Picture Blacklist: Dalton Trumbo's Plan to Exploit the Black Market in Scripts." Cineaste 39, no. 4 (2012): 46-50.
Palmer, Tim. "Side of the Angels: Dalton Trumbo, the Hollywood Trade Press, and the Blacklist." Cinema Journal 44, no. 4 (2005): 57-74.
The WCFTR provides the information contained in this collection for non-commercial, personal, or research use only. Any other use, including but not limited to commercial or scholarly reproductions, redistribution, publication or transmission, whether by electronic means or otherwise, without prior written permission of the copyright holder is strictly prohibited.