Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding Aid for the Hugo Ballin papers, 1890-1956
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (142.27 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Hugo Ballin papers
    Date (inclusive): 1890-1956
    Collection number: 407
    Creator: Ballin, Hugo, 1879-1956.
    Extent: 27 boxes (13 linear ft.) 6 oversize boxes
    Abstract: Hugo Ballin (1879-1956) was born in New York City. He began his Hollywood career creating motion picture sets for Samuel Goldwyn and later worked as a director and producer. He ultimately gave up his film career to focus on art and writing. The collection consists of original paintings and drawings by Ballin, correspondence, literary manuscripts, books, clippings, and photographs.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Simone Fujita in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Kelley Wolfe Bachli, 2010.
    The processing of this collection was generously supported by Arcadia  funds.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Hugo Ballin papers (Collection 407). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 462281 


    Hugo Ballin was born March 7, 1879 in New York City. He attended the Art Students League in New York, spent several years traveling and studying in Italy, and became a portrait painter. In 1917, he began working as an art director for Goldwyn Pictures and subsequently moved to California in 1921. In the 1920s, he began writing, producing, and directing films, and formed his own production company, Hugo Ballin Productions, Inc. Ballin's wife, actress Mabel Croft Ballin, was featured in his silent film adaptations of literary classics, such as Jane Eyre (1921) and Vanity Fair (1923). With the advent of talking pictures, Ballin retired from film to focus on painting and writing. As a noted muralist, he completed a number of significant commissioned works across the country during the course of his career, including murals at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and at the State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin. He designed a seventeen-foot medallion of Pallas Athena which hung over the entrance to the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. He also published several novels, including The Woman at the Door (1925), Stigma (1928), and Dolce Far Niente (1933). Ballin was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the National Academy of Design. He lived in Pacific Palisades until he died in 1956.

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of correspondence, literary manuscripts, books, scrapbooks, and photographs of Hugo and Mabel Ballin and their family, friends, and residence. Also contains original paintings, sketches, and watercolors by Ballin. Correspondents include Walter Winchell, Louis B. Mayer, Booker T. Washington, Edward G. Robinson, Paul Jordan-Smith, Oscar Straus, Gloria Swanson, Louis Untermeyer, Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Walter Damrosch, Samuel Goldwyn, Helen Keller, David O. Selznick, Darryl F. Zanuck, Erich W. Korngold, Howard Pyle, and Walt Disney.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Literary manuscripts (Boxes 1-13).
    2. Artwork by Hugo Ballin (Boxes 14, 26, 31-33).
    3. Photographs (Boxes 15-20, 26-28, 31).
    4. Ephemera (Boxes 21-23, 25, 29-30).
    5. Correspondence (Boxes 24-25).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Ballin, Hugo, 1879-1956--Archives.
    Motion picture producers and directors--United States--Archival resources.
    American fiction--20th century--Archival resources.
    Motion picture art directors--United States--Archival resources.