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Finding Aid to the William Randolph Hearst Papers, 1874-1951 (bulk 1927-1947)
BANC MSS 77/121 c  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Sketch
  • Scope and Content Note

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: William Randolph Hearst papers
    Date (inclusive): 1874-1951
    Date (bulk): 1927-1947
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 77/121 c
    Creator: Hearst, William Randolph, 1908-1993
    Extent: Number of containers: 14 boxes, 46 cartons, 8 oversize folders, 9 oversize boxes Linear feet: 66 21 digital objects (24 images)
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: Consists of a portion of William Randolph Hearst's business and personal office files primarily for the years 1927-1929, 1937-1938, and 1944-1947. The papers present an overview of of Hearst's newspaper empire and his management and editorial styles; provide a glimpse into his filmmaking; and an incomplete picture of his acquisitions of antiques, art, and property. Also includes a small amount of correspondence with architect Julia Morgan and builder George Loorz about the construction of Hearst Castle. The bulk of the collection concerns the editorial management of his newspapers, magazines, and related companies.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers


    Collection open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the appropriate curator or the Head of Public Services for forwarding. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], William Randolph Hearst papers, BANC MSS 77/121 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

    Alternate Forms Available

    Digital reproductions of selected items are available.

    Related Collections

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    Title: James Rankin & Sons Records,
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    Identifier/Call Number: ARCH 1959-2
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    Identifier/Call Number: Special Collections, California Polytechnic State University
    Title: Reminiscences of John D. Costello,
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS C-D 4031
    Title: Reminiscences of the Hearst family by Edward Hardy Clark,
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 80/73 c
    Title: The San Francisco Examiner,
    Identifier/Call Number: NEWSFILM-1
    Title: San Simeon Guestbook,1931-1932,
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 87/179 c
    Title: Hearst Art Archive,
    Identifier/Call Number: Long Island University, C. W. Post Campus, Special Collections (The William Randolph Hearst archival collection of over one hundred volumes documenting the objets d'art acquired by Hearst)
    Title: Fremont Older Papers,
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS C-B 376

    Material Cataloged Separately

    • Printed materials have been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.
    • Videotapes/sound recordings have been transferred to the Microforms Collection of The Bancroft Library

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The William Randolph Hearst Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by William Randolph Hearst, Jr., Austine Hearst and the Hearst Corporation in 1972.


    Funding for processing provided by The Hearst Corporation.

    Biographical Sketch

    William Randolph Hearst, a flamboyant, highly controversial American journalist, publisher, and politician, was born in San Francisco on April 29, 1893. After a stint at Harvard, his father gave him the newspaper, San Francisco Examiner, to run. He experimented profitably with eye-catching pictures, screaming typography, and earthy, mass-appeal news coverage. His purchase of the New York Morning Journal in 1895, instigated a bitter war with the other New York City journals. Hearst provided aggressive news coverage while increasing the paper's size and slashing prices to a penny. By luring employees from other papers with higher salaries and greater prestige, he built an impressive roster of editors, publishers, and reporters. By the 1930s, he controlled the largest publishing empire in the United States, including twenty-eight newspapers, the Cosmopolitan Picture Studio, radio stations, and nine magazines. His deep personal interest day-by-day in the coverage, layout and competitive quality of his publishing interests kept his editors constantly on their toes.
    Hearst served in the House of Representatives (1903-1907) but was defeated as candidate for mayor of New York City in 1905 and 1909 and for governor of New York in 1906. While a congressman he sought the Democratic party's presidential nomination without success. He was a man of many opinions, some of them ahead of his time. He supported public ownership, antitrust laws, and favorable legislation to labor unions at a time when this was considered radical. Yet later, when Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal brought many of these ideas into being, Hearst opposed FDR vigorously.
    He also found time to finance motion pictures and construct and remodel a number of homes. Hearst's castle at San Simeon, California, begun in 1919 by Julia Morgan but never totally finished, was presented at his death in 1951 to the State of California Park Service as a museum. A prodigious collector of art and antiques, he often bought whole rooms including staircases and fireplaces. His collections overflowed into warehouses on both coasts although much of it was liquidated during financial difficulties during the 1930s. He died in 1951.

    Scope and Content Note

    The William Randolph Hearst Papers, 1874-1951, consist of a portion of Hearst's business and personal office files primarily for the years 1927-29, 1937-38, and 1944-47. The papers present an overview of Hearst's newspaper empire and his management and editorial styles; provide a glimpse into his filmmaking; and provide an incomplete picture of his acquisitions of antiques, art, and property.
    The bulk of the collection concerns Hearst's editorial management of his newspapers, syndicated columns, features, and magazines and includes personal notes, correspondence, and telegrams with his publishers, editors, writers, and staff. Although there are only a few drafts of Hearst's articles, editorials, and statements included in the collection, there is a long run of handwritten notes and edited typescripts for his column "In the News" during the 1940s.
    Newspaper and magazine staff members often doubled as antique and art agents. Alice Head, head of National Magazine Company Ltd. in London was particularly active in this regard and her files are almost exclusively devoted to purchases and shipping of objects. The International Studio Corporation was the official buying and storage agent purportedly for movie sets.
    There is a small amount of material related to the building of the Hearst Castle at San Simeon including correspondence with Julia Morgan, architect, and George Loorz, builder. However, there are no blueprints or drawings and the correspondence deals almost exclusively with the day to day details of construction and workers.