Melvyn Douglas papers, 1892-1983

Douglas, Melvyn

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Format Mixed Materials
  • Publication
  • Physical Details
    • 8.0 cubic feet (15 archives boxes and 2 flat boxes)
    • 19 disc recordings
    • 3 reels of microfilm (35 mm)
    • memorabilia, and
    • photographs; plus
    • additions of 0.2 cubic feet and
    • 15 photographs
  • OCLC ocn173692507
  • Finding Aids
    • Register to the processed portion


  • Papers of Melvyn Douglas (1901-1981), an Academy award-winning actor, producer, and director which pertain to his long professional career and to his many political and humanitarian concerns. Theatrical files vary in completeness with the most extensive material relating to his performances in "The Best Man" (1960), "First Monday in October" (1975), "Inherit the Wind" (1955), "Juno" (1959), and "Time Out for Ginger" (1952), and to his production of "Call Me Mister" with Herman Levin in 1946. Documentation on these includes photographs, correspondence, contracts, clippings, scripts, and miscellaneous production information. Material on his early motion picture work is scarce, but there are scripts and related materials for "Being There" (1979), "I Never Sang for My Father" (1970), and "Tell Me a Riddle (1980), as well as for his television work on "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" (1967). The collection also includes stills and photographs for many productions in which Douglas appeared.
  • General correspondence, mainly 1938-1950, pertains to Douglas' political activities especially as a member of the Motion Picture Democratic Committee, Americans for Democratic Action, and the American Veterans Committee; work for the White House Conference on Children in a Democracy; and his controversial appointment to the Office of Civil Defense in 1942. There is also material on his military service during World War II. Among the prominent correspondents are Robert W. Anderson, Brooks Atkinson, Ralph Bellamy, Kermit Bloomgarden, Hume Cronyn, Paul H. Douglas, William O. Douglas, Abba Eban, Clark Eichelberger, James T. Farrell, Elmer Gertz, Donald Hyatt, Harold Ickes, Lady Bird Johnson, Loring Mandel, Burgess Meredith, Worthington Miner, Louis Nizer, George Norris, Paul O'Dwyer, Joseph L. Rauh, Robert Redford, Walter Reuther, Eleanor Roosevelt, James Roosevelt, Benjamin Spock, Barrie Stavis, Daniel J. Tobin, Dan Totheroh, and Walter Wanger.
  • Also part of the papers are scripts and recordings for radio broadcasts, speeches and writings, financial records, memorabilia and biographical miscellany, photographs, and research material compiled by Douglas' biographer Tom Arthur.
  • The processed portion of the collection is summarized above, dates 1892-1983, and is described in the register. Additional accessions are described below.


  • Portions of this collection are available only on microfilm.
  • Presented by Melvyn Douglas and his estate via Tom Arthur, New York, New York, 1969-1988.
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