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Frances E. Williams Papers, 1965-1995
MSS 086  
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Collection Contents


Series 1. Personal, 1965-1995

Physical Description: 44 folders

Scope and Content Note

This series contains Williams' personal materials including her passport, weekly calendars and address books, and extensive personal correspondence with friends. It also includes a proposed outline of an biography on Frances Williams which was published in 1999 under the title, Meet it, Greet it, and Defeat it: The biography of Frances E. Williams. The section on Arts and Culture includes assorted flyers, mailings, and invitations from various organizations and local art galleries such as the Brockman Gallery in Leimert Park. The materials on Surinam detail Williams' initial visit in 1981 and the theater tour she led in 1982. There is also an extensive amount of handwritten notes (some illegible) placed in the original order it was collected. The photos are mostly of her friends, many of whom include other famous African-American figures like Paul Robeson, Beah Richards, Sydney Poitier, Marilyn McCoo, and Billy Davis. The 30-minute video is a talk Frances Williams gave at the William Grant Still Gallery in 1982 as part of the "History of Blacks in Film" series. It is a personal and candid talk on Williams' fight against discrimination as a black actress in Hollywood.
Box-folder 1/1

Passport, 1975-1980

Box-folder 1/2

Memorial service, Jan. 1995

Box-folder 1/3

Autobiography proposal, 1993

Box-folder 1/4

Address books, n.d.

Box-folder 1/5

Handwritten names and addresses, n.d.

Box-folder 1/6

Yearly calendar, 1981

Box-folder 1/7

Weekly calendar, 1977

Box-folder 1/8

Weekly calendar, 1978

Box-folder 1/9

Weekly calendar, 1979

Box-folder  2/1-2/6


Box-folder 2/1

Personal, 1974-1976

Box-folder 2/2

Personal, 1977-1979

Box-folder 2/3

Personal, 1980-1984

Box-folder 2/4

Personal, 1985-1989, 1991

Box-folder 2/5

Personal, n.d.

Box-folder 2/6

Organizational, 1977, 1979-1981, 1986, 1988-1989

Box-folder 2/7-2/9


Box-folder 2/7

Bank statements, 1980-1981

Box-folder 2/8

Receipts, 1970, 1978-1980, 1982, n.d.

Box-folder 2/9

Unemployment Insurance Appeals Hearing, 1980

Box-folder 2/10

Business cards, n.d.

Box-folder 2/11

Children's drawings, n.d.

Box-folder  2/12-3/6

Arts and culture

Box-folder 2/12

Conferences and events programs, 1990-1991

Box-folder 3/1-3/3

Museums, galleries

Box-folder 3/1

Invitations, 1978-1979, 1981-1982, 1984

Box-folder 3/2

Brochures, catalogs, 1965, 1979-1981, 1990, n.d.

Box-folder 3/3

Brockman Gallery, 1977-1981, 1984, 1986, 1988, n.d.

Box-folder 3/4

Poems, essays, and songs, n.d.

Box-folder 3/5

Assorted flyers, mailings, invitations, 1963, 1975-1982, 1984-1992, 1994, n.d.

Box-folder 3/6

Publications, 1975-1976, 1978-1979, 1981-1987, 1989, n.d.

Box-folder 4/1-4/6


Box-folder 4/1

Assorted brochures, 1980, 1982, 1990, n.d.

Box-folder 4/2-4/6


Box-folder 4/2

Travel documents, Nov. 1981

Box-folder 4/3

Theater tour, June-July 1982

Box-folder 4/4

Articles about Surinam, n.d.

Box-folder 4/5

Brochures, pamphlets, n.d.

Box-folder 4/6

"Rebirth in Words: Poetry and Prose from Surinam", 1981

Box-folder 4/7

NACHES, 1981-1982, 1986

Box-folder 4/8

Assorted documents, n.d.

Box-folder 4/9

Handwritten notes, n.d.

Box-folder 5/1

Blank cards n.d.

Box-folder 5/2

Video, Frances E. Williams in Dialog, 1982

Box-folder 5/3-5/6

Photos, [1940?-1995?]

Box-folder 5/3

Personal, friends

Box-folder 5/4


Box-folder 5/5


Box-folder 5/6



Series 2. Acting and theater career, 1977-1994

Physical Description: 55 folders

Scope and Content Note

This series contains materials directly relating to Williams' acting career in Hollywood during the late 1970s and 1980s, including her most well-known role in the sitcom Frank's Place. It also includes materials documenting Williams' membership in several professional organizations, the Actors' Equity Association being one of which she helped to establish and served on as a board member for 20 years. The section on the Frances E. Williams Corner Theater documents her extraordinary vision and efforts to form a community of actors and writers to come together and nurture their talents. It includes flyers, programs, and newspaper clippings of plays performed at the Corner Theater. The series includes over twenty play scripts (some of which were performed at the Corner Theater) submitted to Williams for her review. Williams' comments on the play scripts are also included.
Box-folder 5/7

Headshot photos n.d.

Box-folder 5/8

Resume, n.d.

Box-folder 5/9

Award nominations, 1982, 1985, 1989

Box-folder 5/10-5/14


Box-folder 5/10

Actors' Equity Association, 1977, 1979-1980, 1989

Box-folder 5/11

Screen Actors Guild, 1987-1989

Box-folder 5/12

Black Women in Theater West, 1987, n.d.

Box-folder 5/13

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, 1988-1989

Box-folder 5/14

Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, 1988, n.d.

Box-folder 5/15-5/18

Television appearances

Box-folder 5/15

Call sheets, 1982, 1990

Box-folder 5/16

Cast & crew lists, 1982, 1990

Box-folder 5/17-5/18

Frank's Place

Box-folder 5/17

Photo of cast, n.d.

Box-folder 5/18

General, 1988

Box-folder 5/19-5/22

Frances E. Williams' Group

Box-folder 5/19

Mailing list, n.d.

Box-folder 5/20

Minutes, Aug. 1981

Box-folder 5/21

Essays, 1981, n.d.

Box-folder 5/22

Resumes n.d.

Box-folder 6/1-6/9

Frances E. Williams Corner Theater

Box-folder 6/1

Mailings, 1983-1984, n.d.

Box-folder  6/2

Mailing list n.d.

Box-folder  6/3

Invoices, 1994

Box-folder  6/4

Quarterly reports, 1993-1994

Box-folder  6/5

SEED scholarship, 1990

Box-folder  6/6

Announcements, 1984, n.d.

Box-folder  6/7

Calendar of events, 1983-1984, 1993, n.d.

Box-folder  6/8

Flyers, programs, n.d.

Box-folder  6/9

Clipping, press releases, 1981, 1984, 1991, 1993, n.d.

Box-folder  6/10

Interview with Luisah Teish, 1985

Box-folder  6/11-9/1

Play scripts

Box-folder  6/11

Comments of review, n.d.

Box-folder  6/12

Miscellaneous, n.d.

Box-folder  6/13

Alexander, Fran, E.A. Krumschimdt, and Lisa Osten. The Gentle Folks, n.d.

Box-folder  6/14

Angelou, Maya. And I Still Rise, 1977

Box-folder  6/15

Benjamin, Paul. Carrier, n.d.

Box-folder  6/16

Brooks, Joan Halimah. The Reunion, 1984

Box-folder  6/17

Burgess, Granville. Dusky Sally, 1985

Box-folder  6/18

Campbell, Clifford. 21 Jump Street: Cory and Dean Get Married, 1988

Box-folder  7/1

Christian, Anna. The Big Table, n.d.

Box-folder 7/2

Davis, Gail and Clyde Santana. The Phantom of the 87th St. Playground, 1980

Box-folder  7/3

Finney, Sara V., Kathleen McGhee, and Joan Halimah Brooks. Olivia: A Trilogy, 1986

Box-folder  7/4

Freeman, Vincent Patrick. Leona, 1982

Box-folder  7/5

Galloway, Stephen. A Little Night Magic, 1982

Box-folder  7/6

Greenwood, Frank. Please Call Me Langston, [1985]

Box-folder  7/7

Gibson, William. Handy Dandy: A Comedy But, 1984

Box-folder  7/8

Harrison-Devore, Frances. Ring around the Rosie, 1981

Box-folder  7/9

Hodges, J.J. Never Enough, n.d.

Box-folder  7/10

Los Angeles Playwrights. Coming Home to the NAACP and Black Theatre, [1989]

Box-folder 8/1

McGhee-Anderson, Kathleen. Memphis September: A Play in Two Acts, 1986

Box-folder  8/2

McGhee-Anderson, Kathleen. Oak and Ivy, 1985

Box-folder  8/3

Moreland, J.B. To Woodrow Wilson: A Stage Play, n.d.

Box-folder  8/4

Prince, Paul. The Mark of a Man, n.d.

Box-folder  8/5

Rosenthal, Mark I. and Edgar Stroke. Brer Rabbit: Estimate, 1988

Box-folder  8/6

Sain, L.C. What Is to Be Done? 1985

Box-folder  8/7

S.n. Over Fried Chicken, n.d.

Box-folder  8/8

Wadsworth, Pat. Child Development as Applied at Nursery School, n.d.

Box-folder  8/9

Zweibel, Alan. The Boys: Gene's Problem, 1989

Box-folder  9/1

Partial play scripts, n.d.

Box-folder  9/2

Speeches, n.d.


Series 3. Community activities, 1979-1992

Physical Description: 14 folders

Scope and Content Note

This series document Williams' activism as a community organizer in various issues concerning the Los Angeles community, especially in the area of arts education and school desegregation. The series contains mailings, meeting notes, and proposals relating to the activities of the Arts Advisory Board, LA African American Arts Council, and the California Arts Council. It also documents Williams' involvement in public works efforts to improve the local neighborhood in areas of sanitation, road safety, and childcare.
Box-folder  9/3-9/5

Arts Advisory Board

Box-folder  9/3

Correspondence, 1990

Box-folder  9/4

Meeting notes, 1990

Box-folder 9/5

Los Angeles Cultural Master Plan, 1990

Box-folder  9/6

Los Angeles African American Arts Council, 1990

Box-folder 9/7

California Arts Council, 1988, n.d.

Box-folder  9/8-9/9

Education in Los Angeles

Box-folder  9/8

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. scholarship, 1990-1991

Box-folder  9/9

Flyers, brochures, n.d.

Box-folder  9/10

Childcare legislation, 1980

Box-folder  9/11

Los Angeles bicentennial celebration, 1979, 1981

Box-folder  9/12

Committee to save Sunset Hall, 1990

Box-folder  9/13-9/16 1981-1982, n.d.

Public works

Box-folder  9/13

Neighborhood watch signs, n.d.

Box-folder  9/14

Ordinance on Public Works Improvement, n.d.

Box-folder  9/15

Yard sanitation complaint, 1981-1982

Box-folder  9/16

Miscellaneous, 1979-1981, 1990, 1992, n.d.


Series 4. Religious activities, 1978-1982

Physical Description: 7 folders

Scope and Content Note

This is a small collection of materials relating to Williams' involvement in various religious organizations and churches in the greater Los Angeles area. The most extensive material is from the Diocese of Los Angeles, which includes copies of the nomination forms for the 1981 election of church officials.
Box-folder  9/17-9/19

The Church in the Diocese of Los Angeles

Box-folder  9/17

General, 1980-81

Box-folder  9/18

Nominations for elected officials, 1979, 1981

Box-folder  9/19

Newsletter, 1981

Box-folder  9/20

The Union of Black Episcopalians, 1980-1981

Box-folder  9/21

Christ the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 1981, 1988-1989, n.d.

Box-folder  9/22

Miscellaneous, 1978, 1980, 1988, n.d.

Box-folder  9/23

Publications, 1981-1982


Series 5. Paul Robeson, 1976-1991

Physical Description: 7 folders

Scope and Content Note

As a personal friend and supporter of the famous actor and activist Paul Robeson, Williams was actively involved in establishing the Paul Robeson Community Center that was devoted to serving the ethnic community of South Los Angles. The materials relate to organizing events and rallies in fighting against discrimination, oppression, and imperialism in conjunction with the Paul Robeson Community Center. The series also includes original or copies of nomination forms for the Paul Robeson Citation Award and selected entries of the Paul Robeson 21st Century World Citizen Essay Contest. The clippings relate to the work and events of the Paul Robeson Community Center.
Box-folder  10/1

General, 1976, 1979, 1982, n.d.

Box-folder  10/2

Paul Robeson Community Center, 1986, 1988, 1994, n.d.

Box-folder  10/3

Paul Robeson Archives, Inc., 1976, 1979, n.d.

Box-folder  10/4

Tribute to Paul Robeson, 1991

Box-folder  10/5

Paul Robeson Citation Award nominations, 1979, 1981, n.d.

Box-folder  10/6

Paul Robeson 21st Century World Citizen Contest, entries, 1991

Box-folder  10/7

Clippings, news releases, 1976-1977, 1991, n.d.


Series 6. William (Bill) Taylor, [1975-1980

Physical Description: 8 folders

Scope and Content Note

This series documents Williams' involvement in the Tribute to Bill Taylor Committee as its chairperson. The committee was committed to raising fund for Bill Taylor, an active union leader and a chairperson of the Communist Party USA. The series includes mailings, invitations, and programs of events held in tribute to Bill Taylor. It also includes names and addresses of supporters of Bill Taylor.
Box-folder  10/8

Correspondence, 1975

Box-folder  10/9

Sponsors and patrons, n.d.

Box-folder  10/10

Receipt book, 1975

Box-folder  10/11-10/13

Tribute to Bill Taylor, event

Box-folder  10/11

Committee name list, n.d.

Box-folder  10/12

Invitations, program, 1975, n.d.

Box-folder  10/13

Program notes, n.d.

Box-folder  10/14

William C. Taylor Memorial committee, 1980

Box-folder  10/15

Clippings, 1980


Series 7. The William L. Patterson Foundation, 1976-1989

Physical Description: 3 folders

Scope and Content Note

This is a small collection of materials on Williams' involvement in the William L. Patterson Foundation as a personal friend of William and Louise Patterson and as a board member. The series consist mostly of correspondence relating to the activities of the foundation.
Box-folder  10/16

General, 1977, 1980, n.d.

Box-folder  10/17

Correspondence, 1976-1977, 1979-1980, n.d.

Box-folder  10/18

Louise Patterson, 1989, n.d.


Series 8. Political activism, 1955-1990

Physical Description: 19 folders

Scope and Content Note

This series is divided according to the different political organizations that Williams was involved in, including her participation in the Women's Congress in 1980, correspondence in regards to upcoming activities sponsored by WREE and the World Peace Council, and support of the various labor unions active in the Los Angeles area. It also includes materials (clippings, flyers, mailings) relating to the Wilmington Ten Case, which was a well-known civil rights case of the time. The assorted flyers, mailings, and invitations primarily consist of announcements of political rallies, protests, and updates of events. The publication section includes informational pamphlets on various issues like nuclear arms, Zionism and racism, and the Black Panther movement.
Box-folder  10/19-10/20

The Women's Congress

Box-folder  10/19

Annual Conference, Oct. 3-5, 1980

Box-folder  10/20

Handwritten notes, n.d.

Box-folder  10/21-10/24

Women for Racial and Economic Equality (WREE)

Box-folder  10/21

Mailings, memos, 1977-1978, n.d.

Box-folder  10/22

Proposed bylaws, n.d.

Box-folder  10/23

Speech transcripts, n.d.

Box-folder  10/24

Bulletin, May-Aug. 1977

Box-folder  10/25-10/28

World Peace Council

Box-folder  10/25

Information sheets, n.d.

Box-folder  10/26

Mailings, flyers, 1976-1978

Box-folder  10/27

Report of World Conference, Aug. 14-16, 1975

Box-folder  10/28

Publications, 1977, n.d.

Box-folder  10/29

The Black Caucus, name list, n.d.

Box-folder  10/30-10/33

Labor unions

Box-folder  10/30

The Coalition of Black Trade Unionist, n.d.

Box-folder  10/31

Coalition of Labor Union Women, 1981, n.d.

Box-folder 10/32

Los Angeles Area Committee for Trade Union Action and Democracy (TUAD), 1976-1977, 1979, n.d.

Box-folder  10/33

Miscellaneous, 1977, 1982, 1990, n.d.

Box-folder  11/1

Wilmington Ten Case, 1981, n.d.

Box-folder  11/2

Assorted flyers, mailings, invitations, 1976-1979, 1981, n.d.

Box-folder  11/3

Publications, 1955, 1971, 1974-1981, 1986-1987, 1989, n.d.

Box-folder  11/4

Posters, n.d.


Series 9. Anti-apartheid activism, 1975-1989

Physical Description: 29 folders

Scope and Content Note

This series well documents Williams' involvement in the South African anti-apartheid movement, especially as it pertains to activities taking place in Los Angeles. The materials document great efforts made to prevent the building of the South African Consulate in Century City/Los Angeles through petitions, rallies, and meetings. As the chairperson of NAIMSAL, Los Angeles Office, Williams was in close correspondence with the American Committee on Africa and the Washington Office on Africa, uniting their efforts to fight against apartheid in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa. Although Williams' attendance at the international conferences cannot be determined, the section on Conferences includes comprehensive reports from the listed conferences. Materials suggest that Williams was peripherally involved in efforts to fight for equality in sports and humanitarian aid for African children. The flyers, mailings, and publications primarily consist of announcements of events, rallies, and protests in support of the anti-apartheid movements taking place in area. The bulk of the newspaper clippings from the late 1970s are on Angola's fight for independence and the clippings from 1980s are mostly on anti-apartheid protests, South Africa, and Nelson Mandela.
Box-folder  11/5

Mailings, 1976-1981

Box-folder  11/6

Handwritten notes, n.d.

Box-folder  11/7

Membership list, n.d.

Box-folder  11/8

Speech transcripts, 1978, 1980

Box-folder  11/9-11/12

South African Consulate, Los Angeles

Box-folder  11/9

Correspondence, petitions, 1980

Box-folder  11/10

Ad Hoc Committee on South African Consulate, 1980

Box-folder  11/11

Declaration against the South African Embassy, n.d.

Box-folder  11/12

Statement to Mayor Tom Bradley, June 16, 1980

Box-folder  11/13

City of Los Angeles on South Africa, 1980-1981

Box-folder  11/14

Los Angeles African Sister Cities Affiliation, n.d.

Box-folder  11/15

Art against Apartheid Los Angeles, n.d.

Box-folder  11/16

American Committee on Africa, 1978-1980, n.d.

Box-folder  11/17

Washington Office on Africa, 1977-1981, 1986, n.d.

Box-folder  11/18-11/22

National Anti-Imperialist Movement in Solidarity with African Liberation (NAIMSAL)

Box-folder  11/18

Information sheets, n.d.

Box-folder  11/19

Minutes, June 3, 1980

Box-folder  11/20

Financial statements, receipts, 1979-1980

Box-folder  11/21

Mailings, 1979, 1981, n.d.

Box-folder  11/22

Newsletters, 1980

Box-folder  12/1-12/4


Box-folder  12/1

World Conference Against Apartheid, Racism, and Colonialism in Southern Africa, June 16-19, 1977

Box-folder  12/2

Conference of Solidarity with the Struggle of the African and Arab Peoples, Sept. 14-17, 1978

Box-folder 12/3

The International Conference in Support of the Liberation Movements in Southern Africa, April 10-12, 1979

Box-folder 12/4

Conference in Solidarity with the Liberation Struggles of the Peoples of Southern Africa, Oct. 9-11, 1981

Box-folder  12/5

The American Coordinating Committee for Equality in Sport and Society (ACCESS), 1976-1981, n.d.

Box-folder  12/6

Feed the Children, South Africa, 1979

Box-folder  12/7

Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), n.d.

Box-folder  12/8

Assorted notes, n.d.

Box-folder  12/9

Flyers, mailings, 1979-1980, n.d.

Box-folder  12/10

Publications, 1975, 1978-1981, 1987-1989, n.d.

Box-folder  12/11

Clippings, 1975-1978, 1980, 1985-1986, n.d.


Series 10. Communist solidarity activism, 1974-1990

Physical Description: 9 folders

Scope and Content Note

This series documents Williams' involvement in various communist solidarity efforts. Williams received mailings from the CPUSA and collected informational brochures and reports generated by the Party. The series include seven full articles from Radio Moscow transcribed and mailed from Russia.
Box-folder  13/1-13/5

Communist Party, USA

Box-folder  13/1

Mailings, 1977, 1979, 1984, 1988, n.d.

Box-folder  13/2

Report to the 22nd Convention, CPUSA, n.d.

Box-folder  13/3

Report on the 1977 People's World Circulation Drive, n.d.

Box-folder  13/4

Miscellaneous, 1990, n.d.

Box-folder  13/5

Publications, 1979, 1985

Box-folder  13/6

Society for Cultural Relations, USA-USSR, 1981, 1986, n.d.

Box-folder  13/7

Radio Moscow, articles, 1985

Box-folder  13/8

Publications, 1974-1975, 1978-1979, n.d.

Box-folder  13/9

Clippings, 1976-1978, n.d.


Series 11. Clippings, 1975-1987

Physical Description: 1 folder

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of newspaper and magazine clippings that Williams collected over the years. The topics range from recipes to travel advertisements, to personality features of other actors and actresses.
Box-folder 13/10

Clippings, 1975-1979, 1981-1982, 1985-1987, n.d.