Finding Aid for the William Horsley Papers, 1903-1947

Processed by Esther Leonard; machine-readable finding aid created by Caroline Cubé and edited by Josh Fiala.
UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections
Manuscripts Division
Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
Email: spec-coll@library.ucla.edu
URL: http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/special/scweb/
© 1999
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.


Descriptive Summary

Title: William Horsley Papers
Date (inclusive): 1903-1947
Collection number: 540
Creator: Horsley, Wm. (William), d. 1956
Extent: 1 box (0.5 linear ft.)
Abstract: William Horsley (1870-1956) founded the Centaur Film Company (later, Nestor Motion Picture Company) in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1907. His film company and other independents merged to create Universal Pictures Company in 1912. The collection contains photographs, correspondence, magazines and magazine articles, and ephemera related to William Horsley's career in the motion picture industry.
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

Provenance/Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. William Horsley, 1959.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], William Horsley Papers (Collection 540). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

UCLA Catalog Record ID

UCLA Catalog Record ID: 1720511 

Biography

Horsley was born in 1870; left England for the U.S.; worked as a boiler maker; with his brother David, founded the Centaur Film Company (later, Nestor Motion Picture Company) in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1907; along with his brother and other independents, founded Universal Pictures Company in 1912; designed and supervised the construction of Universal City; in 1916 he set up the Bill Horsley Laboratory (later, Hollywood Film Enterprises, Incorporated), which developed and printed 35mm. films; he died in 1956 in Los Angeles, California.

Biographical Narrative

William and David Horsley were pioneers in the motion-picture industry, starting in Bayonne, New Jersey, in 1907, under the name of Centaur Film Company (later Nestor Motion Picture Company). For the first three years, William was a silent partner, financing the little company which brother David was running. But from 1910 until 1916 he played an active role in the company running the laboratory part of the business. In 1916 he withdrew from the company and set up the Bill Horsley Laboratory, later known as Hollywood Film Enterprises, Inc., devoted exclusively to the developing and printing of 35mm. films.
He and his brother, along with other independents (notably Carl Laemmle and his Independent Motion Picture Company, known as IMPS, Swanson and Ed Porter) founded Universal Picture Company in 1912, and succeeded in defeating the monopolistic hold on the industry of the Patents Company and General Film Company (the famous Latham Loop controversy).

Scope and Content

Collection contains photographs, correspondence, magazines and magazine articles, and ephemera related to William Horsley's career in the motion picture industry. Also contains a one-page holograph autobiography by Horsley. Includes photographs of Horsley, Nestor Motion Picture Company staff, and the opening of Universal Studios. Journals, including Motive Power, feature biographical accounts of Horsley.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

Subjects

Horsley, Wm. (William), d. 1956--Archives.
Universal Pictures Company.
Motion picture industry--United States--Archival resources.

Genres and Forms of Material

Photographs.


Container List

Box 1

56 photographs taken at the opening of Universal Studios, 1915.

Box 1

2 photographs of William Horsley.

Box 1

A biography of David Horsley by William Horsley. In International Photographer, March-April 1934.

Box 1

National Photographic Dealer, August 1943.

Scope and Content Note

Issue features William Horsley on the occasion of his 36th year in business.
Box 1

Motography, vol.13 no.1, January 2, 1915. pp.17-18.

Scope and Content Note

Article describing William Horsley's role in the establishment of Universal City.
Box 1

Bound volume of Motive Power, vol.1-2, 1902-1903, a monthly journal devoted to scientific boiler making.

Scope and Content Note

William Horsley worked as a boiler maker shortly after arriving in this country from England and this publication contains a biographical sketch of him (vol.1, p.82), articles by him (vol.1, pp.90, 131, 136, 145, 150, 166, 177, 228; vol.2, p.10 [under the pseudonym of Nutmeg], 12, 48, 54, 68, 82, 92, 124, 175, 213)].
Box 1

Correspondence.

Box 1

Autobiography.

Physical Description: 1p. holograph manuscript.
Box 1

Ephemera.

Box 2

Panoramic photographic of Nestor Motion Picture Company staff, December 23, 1911. Photo by Ramsey.