Willis, Winifred Lockhart, 1902-1982. Papers, 1917-1982: A Finding AidArthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
© 1985 Radcliffe College
Call No.: MC 369
Repository: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Creator: Winifred Willis, 1902-1982
Title: Papers, 1917-1982
Quantity: 4 file boxes, 2 folio folders, part of reel of microfilm (M-101)
Abstract: Journals, correspondence, scrapbooks, etc., of Winifred Lockhart Willis, journalist
and creative writer.
Processed: August 1985
By: Anne Engelhart, Bert Hartry, Sarah E. King
Accession numbers: 83-M270, 84-M88, 84-M139
This collection was given to the Schlesinger Library by Harriet Sabine, sister of Winifred Willis Speaks, in December 1983 and in May and August 1984.
Winifred Lockhart Willis Papers, 1917-1982; item description, dates. MC 369, folder
#. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute,
Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
Winifred Lockhart Willis, journalist and writer, was born on March 23, 1902, in Brooklyn, New York. WW began her writing career as a poet; her verse was accepted for publication by
Manhattan newspapers and such magazines as Ladies' Home Journal, Leslie's Weekly, and Brief Stories. WW later turned to prose, publishing her first short story in 1923. She subsequently
wrote short stories and articles for Ladies' Home Journal and Collier's, and book reviews for Vogue; in the early 1930s she was on the editorial staff of Judge magazine, to which she also contributed as a freelance writer. In the 1930s and
40s, WW's stories and poetry also appeared in The New Yorker, Saturday Evening Post, Good Housekeeping, and Punch, and she was a frequent contributor to the editorial pages of the Herald Tribune.
Twice married, WW lived for a time in Hollywood with her second husband, John Speaks,
who was an executive producer at RKO Studios; during their residence there, WW was
a script writer for Twentieth Century Fox. In 1946 they moved to Westport, Connecticut,
where JS died in 1965 and WW in 1982. Throughout much of her life, sometimes following
a lapse of decades, WW kept journals and other accounts of her family and personal
life. Her only son, Andy, and the long-lasting effects of his death in a motorcycle
accident, figure prominently in these accounts.
In later years, as a civil rights advocate, WW participated in various nation-wide
activities and served on the executive board of the Bridgeport-Stamford branch of
the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
This collection consists of photographs of WW and her family; journals; personal and
business correspondence; manuscripts of poetry, drama, and fiction by WW; scrapbooks
containing clippings of articles and columns by her; and correspondence and clippings
pertaining to her civil rights work. The journals are largely introspective, dealing
with her family life and her life as a writer, with few references to her public activities.
They begin with no. 36, the earlier thirty-five having been lost or destroyed; the
collection includes both the manuscript originals and typed transcripts by WW, some
with editorial changes.
- Box 1: 2v-9v
- Box 2: 10v-17
- Box 3: 18-24, 27-28
- Box 4: 29-35, 39-47
- 2v-12v: Journals
- 2v-8v: Original journals (ms.)
- 2v. No. 36: July 10, 1923 - Dec. 2, 1924
- 3v. No. 37: Dec. 17, 1924 - Sept. 24, 1925
- 4v. No. 38: Oct. 10, 1925 - May 24, 1929
- 5v. No. 39: Aug. 7, 1929 - Feb. 1934; includes PHOTOGRAPH.
- 6v. No. 40: February 1934 - February 20, 1941
- 7v. No. 41: Oct. 4, 1941 - Nov. 20, 1959.
- 8v. Nos. 42-43: Jan. 4, 1960 - Aug. 2, 1980
- 9v-12v: Transcripts
- 9v. Nos. 36-38: July 10, 1923 - Dec. 2, 1926; includes PHOTOGRAPH.
- 10v. Nos. 38 (con'd) - 40: Dec. 19, 1926 - Feb. 20, 1941
- 11v. Nos. 41-42: Oct. 30, 1941 - May 5, 1966
- 12v. No. 42 (cont'd): summer 1966 - early summer 1970
- 13. "For My Journal" (ideas for future journal entries), ca. 1940-1981, n.d.
- 14. Essays re: death of son, Andy, 1948, n.d.
- 15-17: Correspondence
- 15. WW to family, 1925-1961, n.d.
- 17. To Adrienne Kennedy, 1964
- 18-31: Fiction
- 18-24: Short stories (arranged alphabetically)
- 18. A-E, includes lists of short stories.
- 25f-26f. Scrapbook pages, 1924-1962, n.d. Mostly published stories, including WW's list of
contents, notes, correspondence; also unpublished stories.
- 27. Sword of the Padre (screenplay), 1935, revised 1951; correspondence re: script, 1935-1938, 1951-1952.
- 28-30: Byron (play)
- 28. "Working copy," 1963-1964
- 29. Poetic version, 1963-1964
- 30. Correspondence, 1962-1967
- 31. James Wesley (unfinished novel), 1980; includes letter from Evelyn Harter Glick re: JW, 1980.
- 39. Unpublished articles, n.d.
- 40-42: Correspondence re: WW's publications
- 40. 1938, 1951-1964 (scattered), n.d.
- 42. Re: "A Son Dies," Saturday Evening Post, 1962
- 43. Articles about WW; obituary and condolences to Harriet Sabine, 1982; short biography
of WW by Evelyn Harter Glick.
- 44-47: Civil rights
- 44-45: Smith Harvey murder trial
- 44. Correspondence, 1951, n.d.
- 46. Notes and report by WW on 43rd Annual NAACP Convention, ms. and ts., 1952; background
information on civil rights movement, 1951-1952.
- 47. "Elizabeth Waring of Charlestown," essay re: civil rights activist by WW, n.d.
Glick, Evelyn Harter
Byron, George Gordon Byron, Baron, 1788-1824
Civil rights movement
Connecticut--Social life and customs
Greenwich Village (New York, N.Y.)--Social life and customs
Mothers and sons
Moving picture authorship
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Waring, Elizabeth Avery
Youth and death