Screen Writers' Guild Records

Finding aid created by Writers Guild Foundation Archive staff using RecordEXPRESS
Writers Guild Foundation Archive
7000 West Third Street
Los Angeles, California 90048
(323) 782-4680

Descriptive Summary

Title: Screen Writers' Guild Records
Dates: 1933-1954
Collection Number: WGF-WGA-VII
Creator/Collector: Screen Writers' Guild Writers Guild of America, West
Extent: 16.4 linear feet
Online items available
Repository: Writers Guild Foundation Archive
Los Angeles, California 90048
Abstract: The Screen Writers’ Guild records detail the activities and development of members and the board. The collection contains early guild documents including correspondence, membership records, awards materials, board meeting minutes and other items.
Language of Material: English


Available by appointment only.

Publication Rights

The responsibility to secure copyright and publication permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Screen Writers' Guild Records. Writers Guild Foundation Archive

Acquisition Information

Transferred from the Guild Executive Office Transfiles in storage.

Biography/Administrative History

The Screen Writers’ Guild formed in 1920 as a professional club for film writers working in Hollywood, under the auspices of the Authors' League of America. Membership included induction into the social group The Writers as well as membership in the Authors' League. In 1933, members formalized the Screen Writers’ Guild as a labor union and it blossomed into the central organization representing screenwriters. In 1938, the Guild was officially recognized by the federal government as a labor union with collective bargaining rights. By 1941, writers began working under the first approved contracts and in 1942, the first long term contract was signed by writers and producers. In 1954, the Screen Writers’ Guild merged with the television and radio guilds, and branched into two divisions, Writers Guild of America, West in Los Angeles and Writers Guild of America, East in New York.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Screen Writers' Guild Records contains early guild documents including correspondence, membership records, awards materials, board meeting minutes and other items. Series I is comprised of the WGAW Executive Director Transfiles, documents preserved by the guild's executive offices in Los Angeles from the 1930s to the present. Highlights include member correspondence, materials related to the Hollywood blacklist and code agreements. Members represented include Frances Goodrich, Lillian Hellman, Ring Lardner Jr., Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Albert Maltz, Frances Marion, Dorothy Parker, Preston Sturges, Dalton Trumbo and Billy Wilder. The records also reflect the business of the SWG Board, from meeting minutes to employment reports. Although most of the collection is unprocessed, a selection has been rehoused and inventoried at the folder level. Material continues to be processed and records will be updated when information becomes available. Linear footage measurement reflects processing completed. Early guild publications Screen Guilds Magazine (1934-1936) and The Screen Writer (1945-1948) have been digitized and are available at the Internet Archive.

Indexing Terms

Authors' League of America
Hollywood blacklist
Screen Writers' Guild--Archives
Writers Guild of America--Archives
Screenwriters--United States
Television writers--United States
Radio writers--United States
Labor unions
Wilder, Billy, 1906-2002.
Hellman, Lillian, 1905-1984.
McCall, Mary C., Jr., 1904-1986.
Hughes, Rupert, 1872-1956.
Lawson, John Howard, 1894-1977.
Mankiewicz, Joseph L., 1909-1993
Parker, Dorothy, 1893-1967.
Maltz, Albert, 1908-1985.
Marion, Frances, 1888-1973.
Lardner, Ring, 1885-1933.
Trumbo, Dalton, 1905-1976.