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Robert Shaw Papers, 1941-1971
MSS 037  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Seperated Material
  • Related Material at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
  • Bibliography

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Robert Shaw Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1941-1971
    Collection number: MSS 037
    Creator: Shaw, Robert, 1916?-1996
    Extent: 2 boxes

    1 linear foot
    Repository: Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
    Los Angeles, CA 90044
    Abstract: This collection consist primarily of scripts written by members of the Hollywood Writers Mobilization during World War II, and political speeches and spots written for the California Democratic Party in 1946 and for Henry Wallace's 1948 Progressive Party presidential campaign.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    The Robert Shaw Papers were donated to the Library by Ellenore Hittelman on September 27, 1990.


    The collection is available for research only at the Library's facility in Los Angeles. The Library is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Researchers are encouraged to call or email the Library indicating the nature of their research query prior to making a visit.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. Researchers may make single copies of any portion of the collection, but publication from the collection will be allowed only with the express written permission of the Library's director. It is not necessary to obtain written permission to quote from a collection. When the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research gives permission for publication, it is as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Robert Shaw Papers, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles, California.


    Robert Shaw was active in the Screenwriters Guild in Hollywood during the 1940s and 1950s. He was on the edges, if not the center, of the political turmoil in Hollywood during that period. He was associated with the Hollywood Writers Mobilization (HWM) during World War II, serving on the editorial board of the HWM's publication, Communiqué. He also wrote speeches and television spots for James Roosevelt and the State Democratic Committee during the 1946 election period. He may also have been a speechwriter for Henry Wallace's 1948 campaign. A progressive, Shaw, was also concerned about conviction and execution of the Rosenbergs and the treatment of the Hollywood Ten.

    The Hollwood Writers Mobilization

    The Hollywood Writers Mobilization (HWM) was an organization that sprang up in the week after the Pearl Harbor bombing. Founded by Francis Faragoh and Pauline Lauber Finn, amongst others, the HWM was a loosely organized group that was to act as a pool of writers for the Hollywood Victory Committee and the government. They worked closely with the Office of War Information (OWI) and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM). They wrote camp shows, radio dramas, and political speeches. Ring Lardner, Jr., Fred Rinaldo, Vic Parch, Robert Ardrey, Phil Dunne and others, created and wrote for Communiqué. The HWM was later accused of being Communist run or dominated and ended up on the U.S. Attorney General's list of subversive organizations during the McCarthy period. In 1943, Jack Tenney, chair of the State Un-American Activities Committee, attempted to prevent the HWM's first writers' conference at UCLA. His attempt failed when the conference was able to show the support of President Roosevelt, Wendell Willkie and the OWI. In 1944, members of the HWM were called before a Tenney Committee hearing. Membership in the HWM was also used to support charges of communism against the Hollywood Ten.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains correspondence, scripts, speeches, pamphlets, clippings and periodicals. The materials cover World War II through the early 1950s and illustrate the work of the Hollywood Writer's Mobilization, and Shaw's work or interest in various progressive issues and political campaigns. The majority of the collection consists of 19 radio and film scripts written by various screenwriters (none by Shaw) as a part of the Hollywood Writers Mobilization. Many of the scripts deal with issues concerning the reintegration of returning soldiers into society and at least one deals directly with racism. Political campaign materials include a series of radio scripts written by Shaw for James Roosevelt and other California Democratic Party officials and candidates during the 1946 campaign, and a series of speeches for Henry Wallace during his bid for the presidency on the Progressive Party ticket in 1948. The Wallace scripts are not attributed but handwritten notes on two of them imply that Shaw may have been involved as a scriptwriter for the campaign.
    The remaining material concerns other progressive causes. The material on the Hollywood Ten includes drafts of protest pamphlets that Shaw may have been involved in producing. Also included are materials on the Ethel and Julius Rosenberg Trial and execution, a FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Hearing and the status of Radio Station KFI, other miscellaneous documents, and a few publications (including a pamphlet -- The Truth About Hollywood: The record of action taken by approximately 1000 delegates of seventeen guilds and unions, June 28, 1944, to combat anti-democratic and anti-labor activities in the motion picture industry during the war ), the March 13, 1944 Daily Variety: News of the Show World, and the March 13, 1944 The Hollywood Reporter: Today's Film News Today.

    Seperated Material

    A run of I.F. Stone's Weekly was removed from this collection and added to the Library's existing run of the publication. An unpublished booklet/pamphlet on a 1948 Los Angeles Police Department brutality case, Justice for Salcido by Guy Endore, was also added to the Library's pamphlet collection.

    Related Material at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

    Title: Hollywood Studio Strike Collection,
    Date: 1930s - 1940s
    Physical Description: 2 boxes
    Title: Civil Rights Congress, Los Angeles,
    Date: Late 1940's -1950's
    Physical Description: 23 boxes - (See Mobilization for Democracy Series)
    Title: Pamphlet Collection


    Ceplair, Larry and Steven Englund. The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-1960. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983
    Horne, Gerald. Class Struggle in Hollywood, 1930-1950: Moguls, Mobsters, Stars, Reds, & Trade Unionists. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001.
    Schwartz, Nancy Lynn and Sheila Schwartz The Hollywood Writers' Wars. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982.