Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Harry Segall:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Creator Segall, Harry, 1897-1975
Title Harry Segall Papers
Dates: 1933-1959
Extent 15 boxes, 1 oversize box (8.06 linear feet)
Abstract: This collection contains stage plays, screenplays, and television scripts, as well as photographs of Segall and his family, scrapbooks, and works by others.
Language English.
Access

Open for research




Acquisition

Gift No. 10487

Processed by

Liz Murray, 1996

Repository:

Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin


This collection of works by playwright, screenwriter, and TV scriptwriter Harry Segall spans his writing career from 1933-1959. Segall's plays, including Lost Horizons (1934), appeared on Broadway in the mid-1930s. In 1933, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer brought Segall to Hollywood as a contract writer. In 1936 he moved to RKO Radio Pictures where he wrote screenplays for films such as Outcasts of Poker Flat, based on a story by Bret Harte. During this time, Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios also produced his screenplays. In 1941 Segall won an Academy Award for best original story for the film Here Comes Mr. Jordan, starring Robert Montgomery, based on Segall's play Heaven Can Wait. A 1978 film version of Heaven Can Wait starred Warren Beatty. With the advent of television, Segall turned his writing talents to this medium, writing plots for TV series and "Playhouse 90."

The collection is arranged in three series: I. Works, II. Personal, and III. Works of Others. In the first series, Segall's works are arranged alphabetically in four subseries: Screenplays, Stage Plays, TV Scripts and Plot Ideas, and Script Outlines. Segall's works range in format from rough notes to final typescript copies. Segall wrote his handwritten scripts and revisions on scraps of paper, frequently using the verso of bank deposit forms. These were interspersed with larger pages of varying sizes to form paper clipped bundles. In some cases, works written for the stage became screenplays, with title changes occurring as the project evolved. Often several titles were considered for the same work. Dates have been recorded in the folder list when provided on the script. Some scripts were based on the works of others or were written in collaboration. In general, the script outlines are typescripts ranging from a few pages to forty pages in length. They are sometimes described as a comedy, farce, or satire but not identified as a screenplay, stage play, or TV series. A large amount of untitled holograph notes and typescript fragments exist. These remain in the original order as received.

The second series, Personal, contains photographs of Segall and his family. These photographs were not identified by name or place, except for one bearing the name Mrs. I. Siegell. Four scrapbooks, and associated fragments, contain newspaper clippings of Broadway and Hollywood projects with which Segall was involved. His personal life and activities are not reported in these books, with the exception of a newspaper announcement of his intention to marry Martha Salonen in 1934.

The last series, Works of Others, contains stories and scripts by David Dortort, Martha Salonen, Avery Segall, and Bela Tasek.

Several magazines received with the collection were transferred to the HRHRC book collection.

In general, the collection is in good condition with the exception of the scrapbooks which contain brittle pages and clippings. Some of Segall's paper choices for his notes included newsprint quality paper which is becoming brittle.