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MS Thr 722

Loos, Anita, 1893-1981. Anita Loos papers, 1917-1979: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Harvard Depository
Call No.: MS Thr 722
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Loos, Anita, 1893-1981.
Title: Anita Loos papers,
Date(s): 1917-1979.
Quantity: 1 collection (.3 linear feet (1 box)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Scripts, film review, theater program, Christmas card, and letters to Anita Loos as well as photographs of Anita Loos, the Talmadge family, and others.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

2006MT-178r. Gift of Frederick R. Koch, received: 1984 July 17.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Jessica Green.
The curatorial file includes the relevant auction catalog and a list of missing and unreceived items.

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.
This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Anita Loos Papers, 1917-1979 (MS Thr 722). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Related Materials

Several scripts by and based on the works of Anita Loos can be found in Miscellaneous screen, stage, and radio scripts MS Thr 480; autograph letters from Vachel Lindsay to John Emerson and Anita Loos can be found in Autograph File, L.

Biographical / Historical

Screenwriter, playwright, novelist, and child actress Corinne Anita Loos was born in Sissons (now Mount Shasta), California on April 26, 1893. In 1912, she began her career as a screenwriter at D.W. Griffith's Biograph Company, where she wrote over 100 scenarios. She married and divorced her first husband, Frank Pallma, Jr. in 1915 and was remarried to director, producer and writer John Emerson in 1920 until his death in 1956. Between 1916 and 1917, Loos formed a unit within the Biograph Company, with Emerson and actor Douglas Fairbanks, collaborating on ten films. She continued to collaborate with Emerson as a co-writer from 1916 to 1934 and as a co-producer beginning in 1919. Between 1916 and 1925, Loos worked extensively with silent film stars Norma and Constance "Dutch" Talmadge, and became close friends with their family, including their sister, Natalie Talmadge (wife of Buster Keaton), and their mother, Margaret "Peg" Talmadge. In 1919, Loos left the Griffith studio to go to New York with Emerson and work for the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation. It was during this time that she wrote the bestselling novel, Gentlemen prefer blondes: the illuminating diary of a professional lady (1925). Loos returned to Hollywood in 1932 to work as a screenwriter for MGM, before returning to New York in 1943 to write and adapt scripts for the stage. In 1949, she adapted Gentlemen prefer blondes: the illuminating diary of a professional lady with playwright Joseph Fields, and it was later popularized in the film version of the stage musical starring Marilyn Monroe (1953). Loos died in New York City on August 18, 1981.


Major books consulted while cataloging this collection: Carey, Gary. Anita Loos: a biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988.Loos, Anita. A girl like I: an autobiography. New York: The Viking Press, 1966.Loos, Anita. Kiss Hollywood good-by. New York: The Viking Press, 1974.Loos, Anita. The Talmadge girls: a memoir. New York: The Viking Press, 1978.


Arranged into the following series:

Scope and Contents

The collection, consisting mainly of personal photographs of Anita Loos and the Talmadge family, covers the time period 1917 to 1979. The bulk of the collection is a series of photographs made up of photographs of Anita Loos, including pages from her personal photo album, photographs of the Talmadge family, and photographs collected by Anita Loos. The majority of the photographs were used in her memoirs: A girl like I: an autobiography, Kiss Hollywood good-by, and The Talmadge girls: a memoir. Some prominent persons depicted in photographs include: John Emerson, Douglas Fairbanks, Buster Keaton, Constance Talmadge, Margaret L. Talmadge, Natalie Talmadge, and Norma Talmadge. Also includes three typescript copies of Anita Loos's scripts, The duel and The king's mare; film review by poet and contributor to the New Republic, Vachel Lindsay; letter from Ralph L. Schroeder to Anita Loos regarding his Lindsay biography; letters from Jule Styne to Anita Loos regarding Anita Loos and Joseph A. Field's adaptation of her novel into the Broadway musical, Gentlemen prefer blondes; letter from Robert D. Loomis to Anita Loos concerning Jule Styne's 1978 biography and a typed synopsis of the book; program of The constant wife and a Christmas card from actress Elsa Maxwell.


This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.

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