The Willard Wiener Papers, 1907-1976, consists of correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, news clippings, scripts, and development
material related to Wiener's personal life and career as a journalist and screenwriter. The bulk of the material consists
of both personal and professional letters that are collected in 18 scrapbooks.
Willard Wiener was born March 27, 1900, in St. Louis, Missouri. His father, Harry Wiener, was a successful small businessman
who was born in Nashville, Tennessee. His mother, Carrie Lowen Wiener, was born in St. Louis, Missouri. On Weiner’s 18th birthday,
he enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve.. He served in the United States and overseas during World War I and was honorably discharged
in the summer of 1919.
From 1920-1934 Wiener worked as a newspaper reporter in New York, including stints with the Evening Post and the Philadelphia
Bulletin. During this time, he also did publicity work for Universal Pictures. Between 1934 and 1939 he worked for the New
York Post, and began writing for radio. Wiener worked for the New York newspaper PM from 1940 until he resigned to become
a freelancer in 1944. In addition to these newspapers Wiener had work published in Vanity Fair, Current History, Esquire,
Tricolor, and The New Republic.
While working as a reporter, Wiener also published novels: Rafferty (1931), Morning in America (1942) and Four Boys and a
Gun (1944). The latter was released as a film in 1957. Wiener wrote a novelized version of the movie A Song to Remember, a
film directed by Charles Vidor and released in 1945. That same year he published a non-fiction book commissioned by the U.S.
Air Force entitled Two Hundred Thousand Flyers, which told the story of the civilian AAF pilot training program and how General
Hap Leonard turned the nation's private flying schools into Air Corps training facilities during World War II.
During the 1940s Wiener started painting and drawing and exhibited some art in local galleries over the decades. In the late
1940s and 1950s, Wiener worked briefly in Hollywood as a screen and television writer and in publicity.
Wiener married Grace Katz on October 3, 1923 in New York. In 1924 the couple had settled in a Los Angeles suburb but by 1927
they had moved to Long Island, New York. The couple had three children: Barbara, Marcia, and Leigh. In 1946 the family returned
to California, and Wiener lived there until his death on January 9, 1982.
Son Leigh Wiener went on to become a prominent photographer, and the collection contains letters representing Leigh’s entry
into the field of photography.