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Finding Aid for the Russell Birdwell papers, 1915-1951, bulk 1936-1946
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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: Russell Birdwell papers
    Date (bulk): 1915-1951, bulk 1936-1946
    Collection number: 114
    Creator: Birdwell, Russell
    Extent: 59 boxes (29.5 linear ft.) 1 oversize box.
    Abstract: Russell Juarez Birdwell was a reporter for Hearst Newspapers and subsequently the head of publicity for David O. Selznick (ca. 1936-193), for whom he directed the publicity campaign for Gone with the Wind. Thereafter he worked independently as publicity agent for actors and other celebrities and for American businesses. The collection pertains both to individual clients and to Birdwell's personal and professional interests, and includes extensive correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and press releases.
    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.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition


    Processing Note

    Processed by Nina Scholtz 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], Russell Birdwell papers (Collection 114). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4230381 


    Russell Juarez Birdwell was born on October 17, 1903. He worked for Hearst newspapers in Los Angeles and New York, and covered Charles Lindbergh's takeoff for Paris. He directed two silent movies in 1929 and a short in 1933. Subsequently he became the head of publicity for David O. Selznick. In February 1939 he opened his own office, Russell Birdwell and Associates, in Beverly Hills and New York, with occasional offices in London and Chicago. Among the many he publicized were actresses Carole Lombard, Marlene Dietrich, Janet Gaynor, Joan Blondell, and Jane Russell; companies Celotex and Associated Filmmakers; businessman Howard Hughes; King Carol II of Romania; and major films including Gone with the Wind and The Outlaw. In 1939 he published the autobiographical novel I Ring Doorbells. In 1941 he traveled to England and wrote the book Women in Battle Dress (1942) based on his observations. In later years he published a volume of poetry (1969) and the novel Mount Horeb (1972). He died on December 15, 1977 in Oxnard, California.

    Scope and Content

    These papers date almost entirely from the years 1936-1946. In this period Birdwell was employed by David O. Selznick (1936-1939) and operated his own publicity agency (1939-1946). Items include extensive correspondence and memoranda, newspaper and magazine clippings, press releases, and photographs. Materials pertain to both Birdwell's clients and to his personal and professional interests.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Client files.
    2. Correspondence.
    3. Personal.
    4. Photographs.
    5. Office.
    6. Miscellaneous.

    Indexing Terms

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


    Birdwell, Russell--Archives.
    Press agents--United States--Archival resources.
    Motion picture industry--Public relations.