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Finding Aid for the Ray Spencer papers, 1937-1984; bulk 1930s-1960s
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Ray Spencer papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1937-1984; bulk 1930s-1960s
    Collection number: 296
    Creator: Spencer, Ray
    Extent: 6 boxes (3 linear ft.) and 1 flat box
    Abstract: Ray Spencer was a screenwriter and produced the West Coast production of the controversial play of, Deep are the Roots, in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA (ca. 1947-1948). The bulk of the collection consists of materials related to the play. Additionally, there is a small amount of script material, correspondence, contractual agreements, and a small number of story synopses and newsletters associated with Paramount Pictures. In addition, there are a small number of letters and reader reports related to his wife, Helen Spencer.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Performing Arts 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, Performing Arts 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, Performing Arts Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Performing Arts 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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Ray Spencer papers (Collection 296). Performing Arts Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.


    There is very little biographical information available about Ray Spencer. Much of the following information was compiled from the collection. Ray Spencer may also be known as R. Edward Spencer and may have written under the pseudonym of Bill Owen or Robert Owen. He was married to Helen Spencer with whom he had one child, Greg. He was a graduate of the 1947 workshop at Yale, executive director of Meet the People, and a theatrical designer and screenwriter. He worked as a member of the reading staff at Paramount Pictures in ca. early-1940s. In 1947, he obtained the West Coast production rights for the play Deep Are the Roots, written by Arnold d'Usseau and James Gow. He produced the play in both Los Angeles and San Francisco in ca. 1947-1948. In the early 1950s, Spencer and his family moved to Mexico where he continued to write. It is uncertain when he returned to the United States. His motion picture credits include Bonnie Lassie, Star Bright, Boogie Woogie, and Crackup.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of materials related to the career of writer and producer Ray Spencer. The bulk of the collection is comprised of files related to the West Coast production of the controversial play, Deep Are the Roots, produced by Spencer, ca. 1947-1948. Also included is small amount of script material and reader reports (not identified with a studio), believed to be written by Spencer; a small collection of correspondence and contracts for projects in which it appears Spencer was involved, and a research file about Plaintiffs Against the Blacklist. There are also a small number of items related to Paramount Studios such as a script for Your Son is My Brother, script synopses, reader reports, and newsletters titled New York Bulletin Stories. In addition, there are a small amount of letters and readers reports written by Ray Spencer's wife, Helen Spencer. Notably absent from the collection are materials related to films Bonnie Lassie, Star Bright, Boogie Woogie, and Crackup, for which Spencer is credited.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Contracts
    2. Correspondence File
    3. Deep Are the Roots
    4. Paramount Pictures
    5. Writings by Ray Spencer
    6. Helen Spencer
    7. Plaintiffs vs. Blacklist
    8. Miscellaneous Files

    Indexing Terms

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


    Spencer, Ray
    Screenwriters--Archival resources.
    Theatrical producers and directors --Archival resources.

    Other Index Terms Related to this Collection

    Spencer, Helen