Personal and family papers, business records, and film production files of a successful independent motion picture producer most active from 1930-1960, and of Walter Wanger Pictures, Inc., Walter Wanger Productions, Inc., and other corporate ventures. Among the motion pictures for which Wanger was most well-known are "Cleopatra" (which ultimately ended his career), the Academy Award winning film on the death penalty "I Want to Live!," "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers," and "Riot in Cell Block 11."
The collection's personal papers include general correspondence, diaries, speeches against censorship and for realistic as opposed to escapist films, home movies, scrapbooks, and personal financial and legal records of himself, his wife Joan Bennett, and other family members. Business records include minute books, financial records, contracts, correspondence, distribution records, and extensive production files containing scripts, budgets, casting records, clippings, publicity materials, and other papers. Brief files on a production company he tried to establish in Italy in the late 1930s document his difficulties working with the fascist government there. A few records concern work for television and the theater.
Prominent correspondents include Abraham Bienstock, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Allyn Butterfield, Walt Disney, William Dozier, Victor Fleming, Susan Hayward, Fritz Lang, Jesse Lasky, Sol Lesser, Robin Maugham, Max Opuls, Will Rogers, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, David Selznick, Mendel Silberberg, Simone Silva, Harold Stassen, Wendell Willkie, and Frank Lloyd Wright. There is also correspondence between Wanger and several of the many film and theater organizations with which he was active, including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, American National Theatre and Academy (ANTA), Motion Picture Association of America (MPA and MPAA), Motion Picture Industry Council, Producers and Producers Association, Screen Producers Guild, and Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers.
Also of interest are Wanger's files on the Sheraton Closed Circuit television project and on pay television, and on a 1930s effort to set up a film production company in cooperation with the Italian government. During and after World War II, Wanger was involved with a number of relief, charity, and adult education organizations. He was particularly active in the Free World Association. The collection also includes letters, affidavits, legal papers, and photographs compiled by Wanger to aid his Feuchtwanger relatives in escaping from Europe during the late 1930s and after World War II.
The processed portion of this collection is summarized above, dates 1908-1967, and is described in the register. Additional accessions date 1934-1940 and are described below.