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
© 1985 President and Fellows of Harvard College
Updated November 2015
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 feet (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.
Processed: August 1985
By: Anne Engelhart, Bert Hartry, Sarah E. King
Accession numbers: 83-M270, 84-M88, 84-M139. Accession number 2015-M185 (folder #48) was added in November 2015.
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. A
partial copy of "New York Child" was given to the Schlesinger Library by Annie Yocum Stanley in November 2015.
Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Winifred Lockhart Willis is held by
the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright
in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
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.
- Box 1: 2v-8v
- Box 2: 9v-17
- Box 3: 18-24, 27-29
- Box 4: 29a-35, 39-44, 46-48
- 1. Photographs: Willis and family, 1923, ca. 1940-1970 (scattered), n.d.
FILED WITH PHOTOGRAPHS.
- 2v.Journals: original journals (manuscript): number 36, July 10, 1923 - December 2,
- 3v.Journals: original journals (manuscript): number 37, December 17, 1924 - September
- 4v.Journals: original journals (manuscript): number 38, October 10, 1925 - May 24, 1929
- 5v.Journals: original journals (manuscript): number 39, August 7, 1929 - February 1934;
- 6v.Journals: original journals (manuscript): number 40, February 1934 - February 20,
- 7v.Journals: original journals (manuscript): number 41, October 4, 1941 - November 20,
- 8v.Journals: original journals (manuscript): numbers 42-43, January 4, 1960 - August
- 9v.Journals: transcripts: numbers 36-38: July 10, 1923 - December 2, 1926; includes
- 10v.Journals: transcripts: numbers 38 (continued) - 40: December 19, 1926 - February
- 11v.Journals: transcripts: numbers 41-42: October 30, 1941 - May 5, 1966
- 12v.Journals: transcripts: number 42 (continued): 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.Correspondence: Willis to family, 1925-1961, n.d.
- 16.Correspondence: to Willis, 1917
- 17.Correspondence: to Adrienne Kennedy, 1964
- 18.Fiction: short stories: A-E, includes lists of short stories.
- 19.Fiction: short stories: F-G
- 20.Fiction: short stories: H-J
- 21.Fiction: short stories: K-O
- 22.Fiction: short stories: R-S
- 23.Fiction: short stories: T-V
- 24.Fiction: short stories: W-Z
- 25f-26f.Fiction: scrapbook pages, 1924-1962, n.d. Mostly published stories, including Willis'
list of contents, notes, correspondence; also unpublished stories.
- 27.Fiction: Sword of the Padre (screenplay), 1935, revised 1951; correspondence re: script, 1935-1938, 1951-1952.
- 28.Fiction: Byron (play): "working copy," 1963-1964
- 29-29a.Fiction: Byron (play): poetic version, 1963-1964
- 30.Fiction: Byron (play): correspondence, 1962-1967
- 31-31a.Fiction: James Wesley (unfinished novel), 1980; includes letter from Evelyn Harter Glick re: James Wesley,
- 48.Fiction: "New York Child" (incomplete), ca.1981; includes transcript of comments on
story by Evelyn Hart
- 39. Unpublished articles, n.d.
- 40.Correspondence re: Willis' publications, 1938, 1951-1964 (scattered), n.d.
- 41.Correspondence re: Willis' publications: Punch, 1960-1962
- 42.Correspondence re: Willis' publications: re: "A Son Dies," Saturday Evening Post, 1962
- 43. Articles about Willis; obituary and condolences to Harriet Sabine, 1982; short biography
of Willis by Evelyn Harter Glick.
- 44.Civil rights: Smith Harvey murder trial: correspondence, 1951, n.d.
- 46.Civil rights: Smith Harvey murder trial: notes and report by Willis on 43rd Annual
NAACP Convention, manuscript and typescript, 1952; background information on civil
rights movement, 1951-1952.
- 47.Civil rights: Smith Harvey murder trial: "Elizabeth Waring of Charlestown," essay
re: civil rights activist by Willis, n.d.
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
Manuscripts (for publication)
Mothers and sons
Moving picture authorship
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Waring, Elizabeth Avery
Youth and death