Clara Bow papers

Special Collections
Margaret Herrick Library © 2013

Descriptive Summary

Title: Clara Bow papers
Date (inclusive): 1926-1965
Date (bulk): 1926-1935, 1950-1964
Collection number: 511
Creator: Bow, Clara
Extent: 3.5 linear feet of papers.
Repository: Margaret Herrick Library. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Languages: English

Important Information for Users of the Collection


Available by appointment only.

Publication rights

Property rights to the physical object belong to the Margaret Herrick Library. Researchers are responsible for obtaining all necessary rights, licenses, or permissions from the appropriate companies or individuals before quoting from or publishing materials obtained from the library.

Preferred Citation

Clara Bow papers, Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Rex Bell Jr., 2002


Clara Bow was an American actress active from 1923 to 1933. In 1924, Bow was named a WAMPAS baby star by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers, the highest honor of the day for an aspiring screen actress. She reached the height of her popularity as a shop girl who seduces her employer in IT (1927). Bow was consequently dubbed "the 'It' Girl" - "It" being a euphemism for sex-appeal. Her next film, WINGS (1927) became one of the biggest successes of the silent era, winning the first Academy Award for Best Picture. In addition to being Paramount's first sound film, THE WILD PARTY (1929) marked Bow's sound film debut. Bow's fame waned when she failed to attain the popularity she enjoyed in the silent era. In 1931, Bow took a one year hiatus from acting and married actor Rex Bell. Bow signed a two-picture deal with Fox Film Corporation in 1932 and returned to the screen with two films: CALL HER SAVAGE (1932) and HOOPLA (1933).

Collection Scope and Content Summary

The Clara Bow papers span the years 1926-1965 (bulk 1926-1935 and 1950-1964) and encompass approximately 3.5 linear feet. There are clippings, reviews, and publicity materials for CALL HER SAVAGE (1932), DANGEROUS CURVES (1929), HOOPLA (1933), IT (1927), MANTRAP (1926), THE PLASTIC AGE (1926), RED HAIR (1928), and WINGS (1927). The subject files consists of clippings, correspondence, and fan mail. Of particular interest is Bow's fan mail, ranging in years from 1926 to 1965.


Arranged in the following series: 1. Production files; 2. Subject files; 3. Oversize

Indexing Terms

Bow, Clara , 1905-1965--Archives.