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Dalton Trumbo papers, 1905-1962

Trumbo, Dalton, 1905-1976

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Format Mixed Materials; Microforms; Sound Recordings; Photos, Drawings, Prints
  • Physical Details
    • 17.8 c.f. (45 archives boxes, 1 flat box)
    • 2 reels of microfilm (35 mm)
    • 8 tape recordings
    • 133 dictabelts
    • 13 disc recordings, and
    • photographs; plus
    • additions of 1 award in an archives box
  • OCLC ocn173705190
  • Finding Aids
    • Register to the processed portion


  • Papers of 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. 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 present only in dictated form.
  • Scripts and drafts of his screenplays include many written for the black market. Among the best represented are "The Brave One" (Universal, 1955), for which he won an Academy Award under the pseudonym Robert Rich, "Exodus" (UA, 1960), "Lonely Are the Brave" (1962), "Mister Adam," "The Young Philadelphians" (1959), and "Spartacus" (Universal, 1960).
  • Because of the blacklist Trumbo was careful to keep all of his papers for "Spartacus," making the documentation for that motion picture most noteworthy in its reflection of artistic and political forces. For that film and for "Exodus" there are also recordings of music. Also present are manuscripts of articles, pamphlets, short stories, stage plays, and novels.
  • Supplementing the correspondence and scripts are notes, transcripts, briefs, and sound recordings of the HUAC hearings and the court case against Trumbo; personal and business financial records; research files, clippings, and reviews of his work; photographs; and sound recordings of appearances on radio and television.
  • The processed portion is summarized above and is described in the register. Additional accessions are described below consisting of dictabelts and an award.


  • Some of the original disc recordings are also available on tape.
  • Presented by Dalton Trumbo, Los Angeles, California, 1962.
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