Finding aid to the Julia Willis papers Coll2011.006

Finding aid prepared by Alison Leonard
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California, 90007
(213) 741-0094
February 1, 2011

Title: Julia Willis papers
Identifier/Call Number: Coll2011.006
Contributing Institution: ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 2.0 linear feet. 2 boxes.
Date (inclusive): 1970-2010
Abstract: This collection documents Julia Willis’ career as a writer of books, plays, poetry, comedic writings, short stories, and newspaper columns. The bulk of the material dates from the 1990s and includes manuscripts, drafts, correspondence, scripts, notes, press material, photocopies of awards and recognitions, reviews, clippings, program and other papers.
creator: Willis, Julia, 1949-


The files are arranged roughly according to the donor’s original order of the collection.


Julia Willis was born August 21, 1949, in Charlotte, North Carolina, daughter of William Clem and Carolyn Willis. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, in 1973. She began her career as an associate editor for Red Clay Books in 1974.
She has written four books including, Reel Time, a comic novel; We Oughta Be in Pictures, for which she was a Lambda Award drama finalist; Who Wears the Tux?, a lesbian quiz book; and Meow-Mories. Her work has also appeared in numerous women’s anthologies.
Julia was a founding member of the women’s comedy troupe, the Ends and Means Committee. She wrote for the lesbian soap opera, Two in Twenty, and her award-winning one-act comedies have been produced by off-off-Broadway and by gay and lesbian theatres around the country. In addition to reviewing for Lambda Book Report and The Lesbian Review of Books, she has written comedy material for the Boston Baked Theater, Terra Infirma on NPR and for Joan Rivers. She has received fellowships and grants from the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation, Massachusetts Artists Foundation, Edward Albee Foundation and MacDowell Colony.
She worked as a freelance writer, poet, producer, comedy writer/performer and a playwright through the 1990s. She has been married since 2006.


The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

Publication Rights

Researchers wishing to publish material must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives as the physical owner of the material. Note that permission to publish does not constitute copyright clearance. ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials from the copyright holder(s).

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by Julia Willis, 2010. Deed of Gift received from Willis, March 9, 2011.

Preferred Citation

Box #, folder #, Julia Willis Papers, Coll2011-006, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California

Processing Information

Collection processed by Alison Leonard, February 1, 2011.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of manuscripts, drafts, correspondence, scripts, notes, press material, photocopies of awards and recognitions, reviews, clippings, program and other papers related to writings by Julia Willis. The bulk of the collection includes drafts and manuscripts related to her books and plays, including Reel Time, Who Wears the Tux? and We Oughta Be in Pictures. The collection also includes material related to shorter works such as plays, poetry and comedy.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Lesbian authors--United States--20th century
Lesbian theater
Lesbian writings



Box 1, Folder 1-2

Meow-Mories 1996-2010

Box 1, Folder 1

Meow-Mories No date

Box 1, Folder 2

Reviews, readings, public relations September 1996-January 2010

Box 1, Folder 3-9

Reel Time 1980-1999

Box 1, Folder 3-8

Notes and drafts June 1980-April 1991

Physical Description: [6 folders]
Box 1, Folder 9-11

Final proofs April 1998-June 1998

Physical Description: [3 folders]
Box 1, Folder 12

Notes, readings, and public relations September 1998-January 1999

Box 1, Folder 13-20

We Oughta Be in Pictures 1988-1994

Box 1, Folder 13-19

Proposal, drafts and galleys March 1988-October 1992

Physical Description: [7 folders]
Box 1, Folder 20

Reviews, readings, and public relations June 1989-June 1994

Box 1, Folder 21-22

Who Wears the Tux? 1990-1992

Box 2, Folder 1-3

Who Wears the Tux? 1990-1992

Box 1, Folder 21-22

Proposal, notes, first draft No date

Physical Description: [1-2 of 4 folders]
Box 2, Folder 1-2

Proposal, notes, first draft No date

Physical Description: [3-4 of 4 folders]
Box 2, Folder 3

Reviews, readings, and public relations January 1990-May 1992


Fiction 1992-2000

Box 2, Folder 4

"Case History of the Warrior Princess" 1998-2000

Box 2, Folder 5

"Lillian" No date

Box 2, Folder 6

"RSVP" 1995

Box 2, Folder 7

"Swing Shift" 1992

Box 2, Folder 8

"There With Bells On" 1993-1997

Box 2, Folder 9

"With Every Beat of My Heart" 1997

Box 2, Folder 10

Four Stories: Just Meet Him, Loving the Sinner, Little Red Wagon, Shining Star. Unpublished or revised 1988-2004


Plays 1985-1998

Box 2, Folder 11

Production and promotion September 1985-October 1998

Box 2, Folder 12

Getting It No date

Box 2, Folder 13

Going Up No date

Box 2, Folder 14

I'd Know You Anywhere No date

Box 2, Folder 15

Souvenirs No date

Box 2, Folder 16

Sunday Afternoon in the Valley of the Moon 1986

Box 2, Folder 17

Sunday Afternoon in the Valley of the Moon original drafts July 1986

Box 2, Folder 18

Radio script: Going Up No date


Television, video and film circa 1990-2000

Box 2, Folder 19

Lesson One No date

Box 2, Folder 20

Murphy Brown "Star Quality" rough draft August 1992

Box 2, Folder 21

Murphy Brown "Star Quality" unsold script August 1992

Box 2, Folder 22

Positively Tasty-Cooking with Chef Tomas July 1995

Box 2, Folder 23

Two in Twenty No date

Box 2, Folder 24

Wherever You Are No date

Box 2, Folder 25

Boston Baked Theatre 1990-1993

Box 2, Folder 26

Clippings and awards May 1979-October 1998

Box 2, Folder 27

Collected book reviews March 1995-September 2003

Box 2, Folder 28

Comedy manuscripts, notes, and public relations 1984-1994

Box 2, Folder 29

Correspondence June 1975-January 2003

Box 2, Folder 30-32

Juvenilia [writings from Willis' youth] August 1970-November 1978

Physical Description: [3 folders]
Box 2, Folder 33

Magazines and booklets 1978-1993

Box 2, Folder 34

Short anthology pieces 1978-1995

Box 2, Folder 35

That Takes Ovaries reviews, readings, and public relations 1993-2003

Box 2, Folder 36

Miscellaneous 1992-1995