Finding aid for the Harry Horner papers 6107

Emily Hodgkins, Marje Schuetze-Coburn and Sue Luftschein
USC Libraries Special Collections
2017 March
Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, California 90089-0189

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: USC Libraries Special Collections
Title: Harry Horner papers
creator: Horner, Harry
Identifier/Call Number: 6107
Physical Description: 1.5 Linear Feet 5 boxes
Date (inclusive): 1924-2000
Abstract: The Harry Horner papers consist of correspondence, notebooks, sketchbooks, programs, clippings, scripts, and scrapbooks, 1924-2000, created and collected by director and production designer Harry Horner. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence, both professional and personal. It also includes two of Horner's personal sketchbooks; clippings and related ephemera pertaining to Max Reinhardt; film scripts; and biographical statements written by Horner. Harry Horner was born in Czechoslovakia in 1910, and after graduating from the University of Vienna with a degree in architecture, he joined Max Reinhardt's repertory company in Vienna. He came to New York with Reinhardt in 1935 and became a US citizen in 1940. Horner became a noted production designer and director in Hollywood, on Broadway, for operatic productions and large pageants. He won 2 Academy Awards and was nominated for an additional six. He died in Los Angeles in 1994.

Biographical / Historical

Harry Horner, two-time Academy Award-winning production designer, director and producer, was born in Czechoslovakia in 1910 and raised in Vienna. After graduating from the University of Vienna with a degree in architecture, he worked as an architect for a year, then turned to acting under the guidance of Max Reinhardt. For two years (1933-1935) he appeared in a number of Reinhardt productions in Vienna and Salzburg, and then in 1935 he traveled to New York with "The Eternal Road" as Reinhardt's assistant, and in 1937 took over as designer of the show (succeeding Norman Bel Geddes). From this success, he went on to design a number of Broadway productions.
Horner served in the US military during World War II (he became a citizen in 1940), during which time he designed a production of "Winged Victory" for both stage and film and wrote, designed and directed the Air Force training show "You Bet Your Life".
After leaving the military, Horner moved to Los Angeles and continued his career as a production designer and director. He was nominated for several Academy Awards (production design for "Our Town", "The Little Foxes", "Separate Tables", "Double Life", "Born Yesterday" and "They Shoot Horses, Don't They") and won for "The Heiress" (1951) and "The Hustler" (1962). Horner very often worked as both production designer and director on films. His first effort in this dual role was "Beware, My Lovely" starring Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan. He also directed for television, continued to work on Broadway productions, and for the Metropolitan and San Francisco Operas. Horner also worked in Canada and England, where he produced Francois Truffaut's "Farenheit 451".
Horner died in Los Angeles in 1994.

Scope and Contents

The Harry Horner papers consist of correspondence, notebooks, sketchbooks, programs, clippings, scripts, and scrapbooks, 1924-2000, created and collected by Harry Horner. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence, related to both Horner's work as a production designer and director for Broadway, Hollywood, and operas, and personal correspondence. Also included are two of Horner's personal sketchbooks, depicting nudes and some studies for set designs; clippings and related ephemera pertaining to Max Reinhardt; a number of film scripts, some of which include notes and letters by and from Horner regarding work on those scripts; and biographical statements written by Horner.

Conditions Governing Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections 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.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder no. or item name], Harry Horner papers, Collection no. 6107, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Joan Horner, February 6, 2015.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Motion picture producers and directors -- Archival resources
Set designers -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
Set designers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Archival resources
Scripts (documents)
Horner, Harry -- Archives
Feuchtwanger, Lion -- Correspondence
Reinhardt, Max -- Archives


Business records



Box 1, Folder 1

Literary correspondence 1963-1976

Box 1, Folder 2

Production correspondence 1965-1967

Box 1, Folder 3

Correspondence re: "The Castle" 1969

Box 1, Folder 4

Ellis Kohs correspondence 1969-1977

Box 1, Folder 5

General correspondence 1970-2000, undated

Box 1, Folder 6

Notes and correspondence re: "The Strange One" 1972

Box 1, Folder 7

Correspondence with Curt Siodmak and Rodolfo Loewenthal 1973-1974

Box 1, Folder 8

Correspondence with Norman Gambill 1977-1982

Box 1, Folder 9

Viennale Internationale correspondence 1993

Box 1, Folder 10

Letter to Carl/Manuscript notes for "Brotherhood of Fear" undated


Production Design

Box 1, Folder 11

Railroads on Parade/New York World's Fair 1939

Scope and Contents

Horner designed costumes for this attraction.
Box 1, Folder 12

Opera productions 1939-1963

Scope and Contents

1 copy of "Opera News" (January 9, 1939) containing reproductions of Horner's sketches for the San Francisco production of "Elektra"; two programs for Darius Milhaud's "David", premiering at the Hollywood Bowl, September 22, 1956, of which Horner was the stage director; and press reelease for Metropolitan Opera's 1963-1964 season, for which Horne rrevised and restaged his production of "The Magic Flute".
Box 1, Folder 13

"Winged Victory" programs and sketchbook 1943

Scope and Contents

Corporal Harry Horner was the set designer for the Army Air Forces production of Moss Hart's musical.
Box 1, Folder 14

50th Anniversary Program for the Motion Picture and Television Relief Fund 1971

Scope and Contents

Horner designed the visual concept for "The After-Show Gala: The Movies".
Box 2


Scope and Contents

Scripts, primarily used by Horner for productions in which he was involved. The Castle, by Max Brod (includes photocopies of Horner's sketches); The Poison Tree, by Hugh Brooke (accompanied by Horner's notes inserted into the script, and letters to Hugh Brooke regarding the script and the production design; Flight of the Dancing Bear, by Julian More and Charles Kasher; OF Shadows Cast By Men (play) by Eugene Vale; The Man Who Couldnt Sin, by Curt Siodmak; SImone, by Lion Feuchtwanger and Berthold Brecht, accompanied by two letters from Feuchtwanger; Eulenspiegel in Flandern, by Paul Kalbeck; Lily of the Valley, by Ben Hecht (designed by Horner); and Moonbirds, by Marcel Ayme.
Box 3, Folder 1


Scope and Contents

Notebook containing Horner's notes and sketches, addresses, lists, etc.; a handwritten document titled "Notes oN Theater"; notes on newspaper reviews of Horner's production of Joan of Arc.
Box 3, Folder 2

Programs designed by Horner 1972, 1974

Scope and Contents

Programs for the American National Theatre and Academy and the Women's Auxiliary of the A.N.T.A. tribute to Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne's 50th wedding aniversary and Rosalind Russell. Horner designed the covers. The Program for Russell is accompanied by a letter to Horner from Ezra Stone, and a dried leaf.
Box 3, Folder 3

Inventory list of Horner drawings and sketches

Box 2, Box 4, Folder 9


Scope and Contents

"The Stages"--spiral bound book of photographs of ancient and modern stage designs. "The Ideal Theater: Eight Concepts"--exhibition catalog from the American Federation of Arts, 1962-1964. "Festmatinee Zum 125-Jahr-Jubiaum Der 'Presse'" (1973). One copy each of American Cinematographer (July 1969)--cover story on photographing "They Shoot Horses, Don't They"; Film and TV Bi-Weekly (January 19, 1966)--article on Horner and Enterprise Films moving to England; and American Film (February 1977)--Horner interview.
Box 3, Folder 4

Biographical materials and resumes

Box 3, Folder 5

Materials re: forming Canadian film studio 1965-1975

Box 3, Folder 6

Articles on set design and filmmaking by Harry Horner 1941, undated

Box 3, Folder 7

Newspaper clippings about Horner

Box 4, Folder 1

Materials regarding Max Reinhardt


Personal papers

Box 4, Folder 2

Correspondence between Harry and Joan 1967-1975

Box 4, Folder 3

Personal correspondence 1960-1980

Box 4, Folder 4

Diary notes 1943-1978

Box 4, Folder 5

Notebook undated

Box 4, Folder 6

Prayer books 1924, 1941

Box 4, Folder 7

Ephemera 1943, 1957

Box 4, Folder 8

Daily calendar cards 1943 March 13-August29

Box 5

Family scrapbook 1953-1968

Box 5

Sketchbooks undated