[OASIS] Harvard University Library
OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:RAD.SCHL:sch00970View HOLLIS Record   Frames Version
Questions or Comments   Copyright Statement
MC 369; M-101

Willis, Winifred Lockhart, 1902-1982. Papers of Winifred Lockhart Willis, 1917-1982: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass.
August 1985

© 1985 President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MC 369; M-101
Repository: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
Creator: Winifred Lockhart Willis, 1902-1982
Title: Papers Winifred Lockhart Willis, 1917-1982
Quantity: 1.67 linear ft. (4 file boxes) plus 2 folio folders, part of reel of microfilm (M-101)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Journals, correspondence, scrapbooks, etc., of Winifred Lockhart Willis, journalist and creative writer.

Processing Information:

Processed: August 1985
By: Anne Engelhart, Bert Hartry, Sarah E. King

Acquisition Information:

Accession numbers: 83-M270, 84-M88, 84-M139
The papers of Winifred Lockhart Willis were given to the Schlesinger Library by Harriet Sabine, sister of Winifred Willis Speaks, in December 1983 and in May and August 1984.

Preferred citation for publication:

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. Willis 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. Willis 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, Willis' 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, Willis lived for a time in Hollywood with her second husband, John Speaks, who was an executive producer at RKO Studios; during their residence there, Willis was a script writer for Twentieth Century Fox. In 1946 they moved to Westport, Connecticut, where Speaks died in 1965 and Willis in 1982. Throughout much of her life, sometimes following a lapse of decades, Willis 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, Willis 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 Willis and her family; journals; personal and business correspondence; manuscripts of poetry, drama, and fiction by Willis; 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 number 36, the earlier thirty-five having been lost or destroyed; the collection includes both the manuscript originals and typed transcripts by Willis, some with editorial changes.



Additional catalog entries

Bereavement--Psychological aspects
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
Harter, Evelyn
Journals (notebooks)
Manuscripts (for publication)
Mothers and sons
Moving picture authorship
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Waring, Elizabeth Avery
Youth and death