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University of Texas at Austin

Gerold Frank:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Frank, Gerold, 1907-1998
Title: Gerold Frank Collection
Dates: 1937-1968, undated
Extent: 44 document boxes (18.48 linear feet)
Abstract: The Gerold Frank Collection consists of nearly 19 linear feet of notebooks and draft­notes, manuscripts, original and carbon copies of typescripts, research materials including clippings, brochures, advertisements and other printed materials, transcripts of speeches and interviews, reports, and photographs documenting the bulk of Frank's work in the mid-1960's.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-01468
Language: English and German
Access: Open for research. Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials. Part or all of this collection is housed off-site and may require up to three business days’ notice for access in the Ransom Center’s Reading and Viewing Room. Please contact the Center before requesting this material:
Use Policies: Ransom Center collections may contain material with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in the collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Ransom Center and The University of Texas at Austin assume no responsibility.
Restrictions on Use: Authorization for publication is given on behalf of the University of Texas as the owner of the collection and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder which must be obtained by the researcher. For more information please see the Ransom Center's Open Access and Use Policies.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation: Frank Gerold Collection (Manuscript Collection MS-01468). Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin.
Acquisition: Purchases and gifts, 1964-1969 (64-12-009-P (R2185); 65-10-002-P; 68-02-022-G; 69-01-040-G)
Processed by: Nina Backe, Brent Heustess, Margie Jones, Hua Li, Michael Martinez, Malia Moore, Susan Rosenblatt, and Mary Zawacki, 1993

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Gerold Frank, son of Samuel and Lillian (Frank) Lefkowitz, was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1907. He received a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University in 1929 and a master’s degree from Western Reserve University in 1932. Also in 1932, Frank married Lillian Cogen. They had two children, Amy (Rosenblum) and John Lewis.
A newspaperman since 1935, Frank served in the Middle East as a war correspondent during World War II and as a correspondent for the Overseas News Agency, Europe and Middle East from 1946 to 1950. He was a contributor to Harper's, The Nation, The New Yorker, and other magazines; senior editor at Coronet magazine from 1952 to 1958; and screenwriter for Warner Bros. in 1960. He gained fame by collaborating on biographies of female celebrities: Lillian Roth's I'll Cry Tomorrow (1954), Diana Barrymore's Too Much. Too Soon (1956), Sheilah Graham's Beloved Infidel (1958), and Zsa Zsa Gabor's My Story (1960).
Frank wrote The Deed (1963), an account of Eliahu Bet Zouri and Eliahu Hakim, two youthful members of the terrorist Stern Gang, and their 1944 assassination of Lord Moyne, Winston Churchill's highest ranking representative in Palestine, in the struggle for Israeli independence. He introduced and edited DeLesseps S. Morrison's Latin American Mission: An Adventure in Hemisphere Diplomacy (1965), the story of Morrison's experiences as President Kennedy's Ambassador to the Organization of American States (O.A.S.) and as a roving diplomat in Latin America. Frank wrote The Boston Strangler (1966), a social documentary of the period 1962 to 1964, during which confessed slayer, Albert DeSalvo, apparently raped and murdered 13 women in the Greater Boston Area. 20th Century-Fox subsequently produced a film adaptation of The Boston Strangler (1968).
Among Frank's other works are An American Death: The True Story of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. (1972) and Judy (biography of Judy Garland, 1975). Frank received several awards for his works including the Christopher Award for I'll Cry Tomorrow and the Edgar Allen Poe Award for The Deed and The Boston Strangler. He was a member of the Chancellor's Council of The University of Texas, Author's League, Overseas Press Club, Author's Guild, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Dutch Treat Club, and a trustee of the Carnegie Fund for Authors. Frank died September 17, 1998.

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents

The Gerold Frank Collection consists of nearly 19 linear feet of notebooks and draft­notes, manuscripts, original and carbon copies of typescripts, research materials including clippings, brochures, advertisements and other printed materials, transcripts of speeches and interviews, reports, and photographs documenting the bulk of Frank's work in the mid-1960's. The materials are arranged in six series: I. The Boston Strangler , 1960-1968, undated (11 linear feet); II. The Deed , 1937-1966, undated (3 linear feet); III. Latin American Mission , 1959-1967, undated (4.25 linear feet); IV. Hippies, 1967, undated (0.15 linear feet); V. The Marlene Dietrich Story, 1965, undated (0.15 linear feet); and VI. "The Tragedy of Chaplin's Children," 1964-1965 (0.35 linear feet).
The bulk of the papers are located in two subseries of The Boston Strangler series: A. Research Materials, 1963-1966, undated (4 linear feet) and B. Drafts, 1965-1966, undated (4 linear feet). Research Materials include four sub-subseries: Working Files (1962-1966, 2 linear feet); DeSalvo Materials, including his several confessions, (1965-1966, 1 linear foot); Notebooks (1964-1966, 0.5 linear feet); and Other Related Materials (1964-1967, 1 linear foot). The papers bulk again, to a lesser extent, in Drafts (1961-1964, 2.25 linear feet) of the Latin American Mission series.
Each series is organized first with a Research Materials subseries followed by a Drafts subseries, except for the Hippies and The Marlene Dietrich Story series (Frank abandoned both projects). one of the series has a Correspondence subseries and one a Printed Materials subseries. Beyond this, they are not consistent either in form or quantity of material, and types of material mingle throughout (e.g., in Latin American Mission, draft notes appear in Research Materials and research materials appear in Drafts) yet, insofar as possible, all series except the first maintain original order. Because of this, the collection is revealing of Frank's working methods as well as of the development of a work through numerous drafts. The large amount of information in the research materials demonstrates areas of popular and topical interest in the mid-1960's: the continuing popularity of Dietrich and Chaplin, a study of an alleged serial-killer in The Boston Strangler series, Zionism, political dissent and assassination in The Deed , as well as the role of the U.S. in Latin America during the percieved threat of the spread of communism by way of Cuba during the Presidency of John F. Kennedy in the early 1960's.
A substantial amount of preservation photocopying was done throughout the six series, primarily of clippings. These materials were largely without order when processed, so the decision was made in most instances to leave the anomalies in place and effort was taken to label these materials clearly as to their content.

Series Descriptions

Series I. The Boston Strangler, 1960-1968 (11 linear feet)
Manuscript drafts, corrected typescript, galleys and page proofs, photocopied documents and reports, and printed material, created and assembled by Gerold Frank in the research and production of The Boston Strangler (1966). Arranged in three subseries: A. Research Materials, B. Drafts, and C. Printed Materials, the series bulks in Research Materials, 1960-1966, (4 linear feet) and Drafts, 1965-1967, (4.25 linear feet). The Research Materials subseries begins with Frank's Working Files and retain the folder headings and arrangment as created by Frank. They are neither chronological nor alphabetical in order, and contain a range of materials, from reports and typescript interviews to clippings. Some dates have been supplied in processing and bulk from 1963 to 1965. Notebooks, also with dates supplied, span 1964 to 1966, though many are largely unfilled. There are two substantial files pertaining to F. Lee Bailey, attorney for the accused Boston Strangler, Albert DeSalvo. The remaining materials are typescript source material, legal, medical and psychological evaluations and reports from various branches of law enforcement, DeSalvo's confessions and three boxes of material designated as "disparate leaves." Manuscripts include drafts of the book and of smaller sections, such as the afterword, corrected typescript, printer's copy, page proofs, and galleys. The photocopy printer's copy was returned with a letter from Frank's publisher, New American Library, attached, with additional corrections and editor's and proofreader's marks. The book was published as a condensation in the Ladies Home Journal in 1966 and the subseries includes this photocopied typescript and proofs. Also included are the galleys and Frank's introduction to Casebook of a crime psychologist, by Dr. Bernard Blume, who was involved in the Strangler case. Printed Materials, 1962-1968, (2.5 linear feet) contains press releases, reviews and entire newspapers, with the dates bulking from 1967 to 1968. Clippings make up the bulk of the subseries; Frank subscribed to a clippings service which diligently collected the slightest reference to the strangler crimes, Albert DeSalvo, the book, the film and it's cast, and references to other subjects of interest to Frank, such as Lee Harvey Oswald and the assassination of Martin Luther King. Notable are a small number of clippings from German newspapers, in German. The dates of the series bulk from 1966 to 1967, with the later dates from clippings almost exclusively.
Series II. The Deed 1937-1963 (2.75 linear feet)
Research materials, manuscripts, and correspondence make up the materials created and maintained by Frank as he researched and wrote the nonfiction book, The Deed (1963). The bulk dates occur from 1961 to 1963. Arranged as received at the Ransom Center, the records maintain their original order, including some scattered manuscript leaves, clippings and correspondence. With the exception of photocopied brittle material and clippings, the condition of the material ranges from fair to poor. The bulk lies in manuscripts, which reflect various stages of the writing process. Notable among these as representatives of the writing process are the final draft for Simon & Schuster, several copies of the typescript, and loose leaves of manuscript with notes and suggestions between Frank and his editor, Joseph Barnes.
The embryonic version of The Deed appears in the untitled book project which Frank sent to his literary agent, Helen Strauss, along with a letter. Roughly one-third of the records consists of research materials used by Frank as he wrote The Deed. Among these records is background material on the assassins, such as Bet Zouri records consisting of the family history as told by Bet Zouri's father, transcripts of interviews with Bet Zouri's family and associates, and interviews with Hakim's family and associates. Interviews of Stern Gang members as well as their associates are present among the records. Included are additional materials on Sternist Terrorist Activities, covering 1936 to 1942. The Moyne Correspondence records are not an exchange between Moyne and Frank, but rather exchanges between Frank and those involved with the planning and execution of Moyne's assassination and others associated with them or the assassination. The majority of the research materials, however, are press releases of the trial and the hanging (1945-1947) and largely attributed to Frank as he was a correspondent covering these events.
Series III. The Latin American Mission, 1959-1967 (4.25 linear feet)
Materials documenting Franks work editing and providing the introduction to Latin American Mission: An Adventure in Hemisphere Diplomacy (1965) is arranged in three subseries: Research Materials, 1959-1964 (2.25 linear feet); Drafts, 1961-1967 (2 linear feet); and Correspondence, 1964 (1 folder). The first subseries contains information in many formats including interviews and newspaper clippings. In the second subseries the appearance of multiple drafts shows Frank's rewriting process. The last series contains several letter drafts to Morrison's brother with respect to Gerold Frank's payment. These papers provide an insider's account of President John F. Kennedy's Good Neighbor Policy in Latin America (1961-1963), especially the Alliance for Progress vis-a-vis a perceived threat of the hemispheric spread of communism as is evidenced by Organization of American States (O.A.S.) bulletins, transcripts of O.A.S. Ambassador DeLesseps S. Morrison's speeches, and clippings from newspapers in both the United States and in Latin America (Morrison's aide, Winston Lill, attached many notes signed with a "W" to this material). Such files as those regarding the Trujillo Family and the Dominican Republic, the Punta del Este Conferences, Richard Goodwin (presidential aide for Latin America) in Chile, Kaiser Industries in Argentina, and the Cuban Missile Crisis provide further information on U.S. involvement and Ambassador Morrison's role in Latin America.
Series IV. Hippies, 1967 (0.15 linear feet)
Hippies was a proposed book length study abandoned bu Frank because of legal complications. This series consists of notes and drafts about hippies, among which are several pages referring to the childhood of Lee Harvey Oswald.
Series V. The Marlene Dietrich Story, 1965 (0.15 linear feet)
The series built around The Marlene Dietrich Story, a proposed biography that Frank also abandoned, includes research materials consisting of clippings and notes, and correspondence consisting of letters between friends of Marlene Dietrich and Frank.
Series VI. "The Tragedy of Chaplin's Children," 1964-1965 (0.35 linear feet)
"The Tragedy of Chaplin's Children" contains research materials consisting of correspondence and interview notes and drafts This article appeared in Ladies' Home Journal (May 1965).

Separated Material

One phonograph disc, two audio cassettes, and 136 reel-to-reel audio tapes were transfered to the Ransom Center Sound Recordings holdings and are described in a separate database.
Some print materials were transferred to the Ransom Center's Vertical Files and are described in a separate database.

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