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3 A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of CINEMA HISTORY MICROFILM SERIES Series Editor: Ann Martin THE WILL HAYS PAPERS Parti: December 1921-March 1929 Part II: April 1929-September 1945 Edited by Douglas Gomery A microfilm project of UNIVERSITY PUBLICATIONS OF AMERICA 44 North Market Street Frederick, MD 21701

4 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Hays, Will H. (Will Harrison), The Will Hays Papers [microform]. (Cinema history microfilm series) Held by Indiana State Library. Includes index. Contents: pt. 1. December 1921-March pt. 2. April 1929-September Hays, Will H. (Will Harrison), Archives. 2. Motion pictures-censorship-.-united States. 3. Motion pictures-united States-Distribution. 4. Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America-History-Sources. 5. Motion picture industry- United States-History-Sources. I. Gomery, Douglas. II. Hydrick, Blair. III. Indiana State Library. IV. Title. V. Series. [PN ] 384'.8' ISBN (microfilm : pt. 1) ISBN (microfilm : pt. 2) Copyright 1986 by Indiana State Library. All rights reserved. ISBN

5 TABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgments iv Introduction v Scope and Content Note xv Editorial Note xvii Source Note xviii Initialisms xix Reel Index Part I: December 1921-March Part II: April 1929-September Subject Index 65 Appendix 75

6 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS University Publications of America (UPA) wishes to express thanks to all those whose efforts made this microfilm edition of The Will Hays Papers possible: Charles Ray Ewick, director, Indiana State Library; Byron Swanson, head, Indiana Division, and Marybelle Burch, manuscript librarian, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library; and renewed thanks to Will H. Hays, Jr., for his generosity. IV

7 INTRODUCTION Hàys, William Harrison, 5 November March 1954 Will Hays was one of the most famous public figures of his day. In 1920 he was widely heralded as a member of the "Ohio Gang," which elected Warren G. Harding president of the United States in the greatest landslide to that point in American political history. As his reward, Hays served for the first year of the hugely popular Harding administration as one of the more visible and respected postmaster generals. But far more people on the street knew Will Hays after he left the Harding administration and became the first "Czar of the Movies." Movie fans throughout the world knew Hays held the last word on movie content in his position as president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, Inc. henceforth MPPDA, and known to all as the Hays Office. The MPPDA functioned as an association representing the major Hollywood studios in matters of censorship, international trade, and relations with the U.S. government. Hays himself made no films, but informally in the 1920s and formally from 1934 to the day of his resignation in 1945, Will Hays could prevent a Hollywood movie from being released until it met with the approval of the MPPDA. Few Americans of the era between the two world wars did not have an opinion about the "Movie Czar." Intellectuals hated him for "censoring" creative talents in Hollywood who tried to make movies into an art form. Moral reformers and religious leaders applauded Hays for standing between moviegoers and the sex and violence that Hollywood tried to unleash on an unsuspecting world. And most Americans cynically saw Hays as a small man with very large ears who was a bit of a prude but basically harmless. Who could take seriously somebody who thought hearing words such as fanny or louse in a movie would damage anyone's sensibilities? Will Hays clearly understood his tasks. He strove to be seen as an important public servant, be he postmaster general or president of the MPPDA. Hays sought to be remembered as a man who used his energies to promote the public welfare. And that welfare was best defined as classic, midwestern, conservative republicanism. Whenever he was asked why he took the movie job, Hays invariably told the following story: as he was considering the offer, he saw his son and nephews pretending to be the actor William S. Hart not Buffalo Bill or some other traditional storybook figure. Hays recognized through their game the power of this new medium. (At this point he also might have told how his effective use of movie newsreels had helped elect Harding president. ) Hays saw his work with the movies as a simple extension of a career that had begun with the Indiana Republican party upon graduation from college. William Harrison Hays was born 5 November 1879 in Sullivan, Indiana, the son of John Tennyson and Mary (Cain) Hays. His family was among the many new settlers of Indiana in that era. His father, John T. Hays, was born in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, on 11 November 1846, and moved to Ohio at age twelve. He graduated from Mount Union

8 College of Alliance, Ohio, in 1869, and then moved to Indiana to teach school. He eventually became head of the public schools in Sullivan. Next, he turned to the study of law, and in the 1870s established the law firm which his son would later join. Will Hays's mother Mary, the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Henry Cain of Sullivan, Indiana, was born on 10 June Her father had journeyed from the East to Sullivan, to accept a teaching position. Mary Cain, after a limited formal education, also took a job teaching in the local public schools. She married John T. Hays on 9 December It was her first marriage and his second (Will Hays had two stepsisters from his father's first marriage). After her marriage, Mary stayed home in the traditional mother/ housekeeper role; like her husband and later her son, she was active in the social life of this Indiana community of some two thousand persons, especially in the affairs of the Presbyterian church. Will Hays's childhood led him almost inevitably into a career in politics. He learned his staunch Indiana republicanism at his father's knee. To understand Will Hays, one must remember that although he spent his famous years in New York and Washington, he was raised in Indiana, and he constantly boasted the virtues of this heritage. This was the Indiana fresh from the era of pioneer adventure when the Wabash River served as the gateway to the West and wagon trails had just turned into railroad links. To its sons and daughters, Indiana represented the time and country of the nostalgic memory of James Whitcomb Riley. It was best captured in the romantic novels of Booth Tarkington, and especially in the refrains of Paul Dresser, oft cited by Hays: "The candlelight's agleaming on the banks of the Wabash, far away." Will Hays's father was an active participant in the Republican party politics of Benjamin Harrison, the twenty-third president of the United States ( ). William Harrison Hays was named after Benjamin Harrison's father, William Henry Harrison. It has been reported that Benjamin Harrison offered John T. Hays a post in his cabinet, but Hays refused, explaining that "Sullivan is good enough for me." Will Hays entered the Wabash College of Crawfordsville, Indiana, in September of 1896, two months before his seventeenth birthday. At this college of less than 500 students, Hays was by his own admission an average student, but he did win a number of oratorial honors and graduated in June During his college years he also studied law under the direction of his father, and five months after his graduation on his twenty-first birthday, he was admitted to the Indiana bar. He then entered into partnership with his father, creating the firm Hays and Hays. The work of the firm concentrated on commercial clients, most notably local railroads and mines. In 1902 Will Hays married Helen Louise Thomas, daughter of a prominent Crawfordsville, Indiana, family. They had one son, Will H. Hays, Junior, in But the marriage did not last Mrs. Hays never saw the need to venture beyond the borders of Indiana. They were divorced on 20 June 1929, after having lived apart for many years. Will H. Hays, in a rare event for his day, kept custody of his son. The matter was handled with much discretion and remarkably little press coverage. On 27 November 1930 Will Hays married Jessie Herron Stutesman, the widow of James F. Stutesman, former United States representative to Bolivia and an important player in the Republican party. In addition, Hays had known the then Jessie Herron in college, since she was a native of Crawfordsville, Indiana. The second Mrs. Hays lived in New York City with her husband and actively assisted him in many functions related to his work with the movies. The Hayses also maintained a ranch in Hidden Valley, California, near Los Angeles. Once' Will Hays reached his majority he commenced his career in politics. He swiftly climbed the ranks of the Indiana Republican party, becoming a Republican precinct VI

9 committeeman for Sullivan County the year he graduated from college. From that base he went on to become head of the county committee, and then on to the chairmanships of the Republican Congressional District Committee, the Republican Speakers Bureau, the Indiana Republican State Committee, the Republican State Central Committee, and, during the First World War, the Indiana Council of Defense. Hays was a strong believer in supporting and joining as many organizations as possible to help him acquire contacts for his work in the Republican party. He served on the Wabash College Board of Trustees from 1919 to the date of his death (the college granted him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1940). He was active in the Presbyterian church, and also held a 33d degree in the Scottish Rite Masons and regularly participated as a Shriner, Elk, and Moose. The list of other clubs to which he belonged covers a complete single-spaced typed page. The decisive moment in Hays's career in the Republican party came with the 1916 elections. (Prior to that year Democrats, under Boss Taggart's rule, had held all the important elected offices in Indiana.) With the efforts of Hays and others, Republicans swept the Indiana elections. In a year that saw a Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, win his second consecutive term as president of the United States, a formerly split Republican party captured both Indiana positions for United States senators, and nine of the thirteen congressmen. National party regulars took notice of the Indiana results and subsequently made Hays the new Republican national chairman. He had united the forces of republicanism in Indiana, and party regulars hoped he could do the same on the national level. Before the decisive 1920 campaign that took him forever from his native Indiana, both Will Hays's parents died within seven weeks of each other, in April and May of Perhaps this freed him to seek his fame and fortune elsewhere, for from then on he would spend little time in Indiana, despite maintaining his official residency there for voting purposes. Hays has long been credited with organizing and financing Warren G. Harding's landslide election of Yet Hays also fancied himself a viable candidate for the 1920 Republican nomination. He was well known for the splendid job he had done as head of the Republican National Committee and to many an insider, Hays was the true dark horse. Hays was a brilliant election manager, surely the first to truly understand modern campaigning. He prepared for more than a year and raised some eight million dollars, four times more than the Democrats had. Hays kept Harding's travel to a minimum and let his candidate's image reach the public through Republican-owned newspapers and the omnipresent newsreels. It was Harding's image in the media which "unelected" Woodrow Wilson. Harding made Hays postmaster general, and although Hays secretly had hoped for the post of secretary of commerce, for the duration of Harding's tenure as president, Hays remained close to the presidency. Despite his strait-laced reputation, Hays was a regular at the Hardings' poker games in the White House. Many have speculated that Hays sensed the upcoming Teapot Dome scandals, and "cashed in his chips" to go with the safer movie business. Hays took up the office of postmaster general on 21 March 1921 and had by all accounts an immediate effect on the U.S. Postal Service. He established a merit system, extended civil service, and encouraged efficiency and technical improvement, especially by building up the then-shaky airmail service. Using his media connections, he campaigned for educational reforms which stressed using the correct address and legible writing. As a result, the mountains of letters that were constantly piling up in the dead letter office disappeared.

10 In 1921, while Hays was in the process of reforming the postal service, the American film industry was entering a crucial phase of its growth. It had expanded from a limited presence at the turn of the century into America's most popular mass-entertainment form. The newly founded Hollywood was regularly producing more than 500 films a year, and after the First World War, many of them appeared on screens throughout the world. Movie houses appeared on every corner of every American city; by 1921 the number topped 20,000.. But with success and growth also came scandal. Consider just two examples which made headlines for months: in 1920, Mary Pickford, America's sweetheart, had secretly divorced one star, Owen Moore, and then immediately married another, Douglas Fairbanks. Movie fan magazines of the day claimed her Nevada divorce was a fraud. And in 1921, an unknown movie extra, Virginia Rappe, died during a wild party given by one of the three highest-paid stars in Hollywood, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. Arbuckle was tried for manslaughter in a series of three sensational trials which lasted more than a year. Aroused by these scandals, the forces of moral conservatism, fresh from their triumph of adding a prohibition against alcohol to the United States Constitution, prepared to challenge the film world; voices began calling for censorship of the movies. The movie industry needed some sort of leader to help them put their house in order, much as major league baseball had enlisted Judge Landis a couple of years earlier, after the Black Sox scandals. Will Hays would be their man, and Charles Pettijohn would provide the necessary connection. In 1921, Pettijohn, as leader of the major movie companies and lawyer for movie mogul Lewis Selznick, father of famed producer David O. Selznick, approached Hays with an offer. (Hays had known Pettijohn from the world of Indiana politics.) On 14 January" 1922, Will Hays accepted a salary of SI 15,000 per annum (about 8600,000 in 1986 dollars), a prepaid life insurance policy, plus an almost unlimited expense account, and on 14 March 1922, he became the first president of the MPPDA, with an office on Fifth Avenue in New York. Hays then hired Pettijohn to be his chief assistant. Hays's first move was to strengthen the finances of the new trade association. He approached New York bankers whom he knew from his days as head of the Republican party and within a week had set up a line of credit which put the MPPDA on stable economic footing. Such quick action impressed his new bosses. Hays then used his political clout to help avert the first crisis facing the new MPPDA pending state legislation in Massachusetts which would have severely censored the movies. In the end, a referendum was held and the voters of that conservative state rejected the legislation by a more than two-to-one margin. Once the tide had been turned in that key northeastern state, Hays was easily able to prevent pending censorship bills in twenty-two other legislatures. He proved that the resources of MPPDA could be effectively used to benefit all member companies. He also demonstrated that with his political connections he was the right man for the job. Hays then moved to create a formal public relations arm of the MPPDA to deal with the religious groups, educational organizations, and other parties so concerned with the presumed negative influence of the movies. Hays himself was the point man in this PR effort: he spoke before countless groups, trying to convince them that the movies could be a positive force. Hays tangled with these reformers in many a public arena and throughout the 1920s more than held his own. Hays proved just as successful in improving relationships within the movie business itself. Following the principles which had worked so well in the post office department, he sought to institute more efficiency and uniformity. Specifically, he pushed for the introduction of standardized exhibition and distribution contracts and arbitration procedures via

11 to settle disputes among producers, distributors, and exhibitors. In 1927, he established the Copyright Protection Bureau to register titles of films and thus head off disputes over duplication. The next year saw the establishment.of a formal committee on labor relations. On the West Coast, under Hays's direct supervision, this interest in labor resulted in the formation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Today the academy is well known for its annual Oscar Awards, but the Hays Office had created the academy to provide a forum for labor disputes, in effect establishing a union supervised by the major companies. In the 1920s, Hays had little direct connection with actual movie production. Of course, he had many friends in the business, probably no one closer than William S. Hart, the noted star of many early westerns and his son's hero. Hays's own screen fame probably came with the use of sound in the movies. In one of the first Vitaphone talkie shorts ever made, and in the group of the first ever shown, Hays presented a short address congratulating the brothers Warner, members of his MPPDA. Hays's tenure as president of the MPPDA can easily be divided into two distinct parts. In the first, from 1922 to 1928, he served his members as the ultimate insider, the Republican with a direct link into the White House. Operations of the MPPDA proceeded smoothly. Hays took on the multitude of problems that had faced his member corporations in 1922 and solved all with relative ease. Historians have labeled the 1920s the era of Republican normalcy this term is also an accurate description for the movie industry under Will Hays during that period. But industry good will was all based on an economy of growth from the prosperity fostered by the Republicans which vanished in The Republican power base went down in flames in the election^ of 1932, although surely the power and influence of Hays's connections to Herbert Hoover's White House were already worth little after the Great Crash began in October Indeed, upon President Franklin D. Roosevelt's landslide election in 1932, there was industry talk that Hays should not be retained as president of the MPPDA, as everyone knew he had lost his valuable though limited political connections. In the end, he was kept on, but the loyalty and support of his member companies were never as strong as they had been in the 1920s. Hays's vaunted organizational skills were sorely tested during the 1930s, indeed up until the end of his MPPDA tenure in During the 1930s the Hays Office had to organize formal self-regulation of movie content through its notorious Production Code Administration (PCA). Although many thought of this as censorship of the movies, it certainly was not. Censorship takes place when an outside force, usually a governmental agency, dictates what may be published or shown. The Hays Office policed the productions of its own member companies: any fines were paid to the Hays Office, owned by and operated for the members themselves. The PCA was created so that federal censorship, most strongly advocated by the Catholic church, would not become the law of the land. Will Hays must indeed be credited with preventing the passage of federal government legislation on censorship. The production code had its genesis in the 1920s with informal rules. To protect member firms from charges of immorality, in 1926 the MPPDA had begun an examination of scripts on an advisory basis. A list of "Don'ts" and "Be Carefuls" was formulated in The actual production code was drafted for the MPPDA in 1930 by Father Daniel E. Lord, a Catholic priest, and was loosely enforced until Following a militant campaign including threats to boycott films by the Catholic church's Legion of Decency, the enforcement mechanism was strengthened in There had just been a spate of violent films most notably the classic gangster movies such as Scarface (1932) IX

12 and Little Caesar (1930) and several films with strong sexual innuendoes such as She Done Him Wrong (1933) and I'm No Angel (1933), both starring Mae West. In 1934, Hays selected a respected Catholic layman, Joseph I. Breen, a former reporter for the movie trade paper Motion Picture Herald, to be the head of the West Coast-based Production Code Administration. Hays himself, based in New York, had little to do with the actual day-to-day operations of the production code; he only handled disputes which Breen could not settle. Usually some compromise was worked out before the movie was shot; few violations ever occurred. So, for example, in the period, more than 5,800 features were approved and only forty turned down. And of those forty, nearly all were reshot. The moral values embodied in the production code were designed to please all groups that protested the movies' purported immorality; that is, the code was written to meet the lowest common denominator of protest. As such, it was a throwback to the Victorian era when sin was punished and virtue rewarded: the studios got around code restrictions by having six reels of sex and violence and a final reel of punishment tied up with a "happy" ending. The PCA was rarely openly challenged. The most famous case took place when David O. Selznick, an independent producer not working for a major studio, wanted Rhett Butler to say: "Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a damn." Damn was expressly forbidden under the code. After a heated public battle, Selznick won his point only because a public outcry ensured that this most popular of novels would not be altered. Selznick was the exception less independent-minded folk working for the major studios simply rewrote their scripts. The Hays Office faced a much more dangerous problem when the U.S. government challenged the monopoly power of the members of the Hays organization. Throughout the 1930s, eight movie companies (Paramount, MGM, Twentieth Century-Fox, RKO, Warner Brothers, Universal, Columbia, and United Artists), controlled the bulk (85 percent) of the revenues from movie showings in the United States. These were the same eight that dominated the MPPDA and the "Big Eight" held their monopoly by owning and operating the key theaters throughout the United States. Consequently, the eight majors made many an enemy refusing to provide their feature films to independent theaters until their own affiliated theaters had exhausted the film's drawing power. Independent theater owners pressed their representatives in Congress to act on their behalf. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration jumped on this antimonopoly bandwagon, and on 20 July 1938 the U.S. Department of Justice, under liberal Attorney General Thurman Arnold, filed an antitrust suit against the eight major companies, charging them with violations of the Sherman and Clayton antitrust laws. Many private antitrust suits followed, occasioning the film industry to spend millions of dollars hiring the best lawyers money could buy, to defend themselves during the following decade. Antitrust actions, in fact, had been filed as early as 1917, but because of Hays's influence in the federal government, they had never presented any real threat at least during the 1920s. Roosevelt changed all that. At the same time, members of the Democraticdominated U.S. Congress, incited by independent theater owners in their home states, began to investigate monopoly practices in the movie business in what became known as the "block booking" problem. (Block booking was the practice of forcing a theater owner to rent a year's worth of films rather than the ones he or she might think would be most attractive to the theater's potential customers.) Several hearings and investigations were held; much unfavorable publicity was generated. Women's groups and religious organizations pushed for legislation banning block booking, thinking that if some control of the structure of the movie business was effected, then

13 better movies would follow. The most famous of the ensuing legislative controversies, complete with well-publicized hearings, centered around a Senate bill sponsored in 1938 and then again in 1939 by Senator Neely of West Virginia. Once again, Will Hays marshalled his contacts and successfully led the fight against this and all other forms of proposed legislation. His connections in Washington, while not as strong as they had been in the 1920s, proved effective enough. However, that success could not be transferred to the U.S. federal judiciary. As President Roosevelt appointed more and more liberal judges, an increasing number of decisions in the federal antitrust suits went against the major movie companies. Early in 1941, through a consent decree, the major companies and their affiliated theater chains actually seemed to effect a stalemate. But eventually the case was reopened and made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Finally, in May 1948, several years after Hays had stepped down as head of the MPPDA, the Supreme Court ruled against the major companies. In a historic decision, the "Big Eight" were ordered to sell their theaters. Although Hays was no longer in office, he had spent day after day in the 1930s and 1940s trying to head off this dreaded result. He did, however, succeed in preserving the MPPDA at no point was the organization cited as a defendant, although few antitrust actions for other industries at that time saw the major trade association omitted from the government's suit. Hays recognized from the beginning that by having no legal connection to its branches (including the famed PCA), the MPPDA could steer clear of antitrust law violations. An equally vexing problem occurred more frequently in the 1930s: challenges by foreign countries to the distributional hegemony of Hollywood. The conflict usually played out as thus: a nation would grow tired of Hollywood films dominating its marketplace (after 1920, this was the case in industrialized countries throughout the world except the Soviet Union); the members of the small indigenous film industry would complain loudly, and the government would institute some sort of legislative measure to counter the power of Hollywood. This legislation invariably took one of three forms: to begin with, the country would restrict the presentation of American movies on local screens, and a specific proportion or number of native-made films had to be shown. A second variation saw a tax instituted on the showing (or importation) of Hollywood films, with the monies used to finance native productions. In the third form, the country established a quota on the number of films from Hollywood that could be imported in any year. These imports could be shown as often as possible, but the quota was usually set far lower than the number of films actually made by Hollywood each year. It was Hays's job to convince foreign governments to do away with such laws, or at least render them ineffective. Consider a precedent-setting case in France: in March 1928, the French instituted a new law, a variation of alternative three above, whose provisions were so restrictive that American movie companies would have had to withdraw from the French market. Less than a month after the issuance of the French Film Decree, the Hays Office appointed Harold L. Smith, who up to that time had been vice-consul at the American Consulate in Paris, as its representative. Hays set sail for France immediately after Smith's appointment and used Smith's contacts (plus his own) to have two-thirds of the restrictions lifted at once. Over the longer haul, Hays was able to render the French law almost totally ineffective. This type of success in increasingly important foreign markets would repeat itself over and over again during the decade before the Second World War. In effect, Will Hays became an ambassador for the movie trade. The Hays Office also utilized contacts in the

14 State Department and the Bureau of Foreign Commerce in the Department of Commerce to maintain Hollywood's control over foreign movie screens. But eventually all these problems exceeded the frustration level of even such a seasoned politician as Will Hays. The Second World War complicated foreign affairs, and in 1943 United States v. Paramount et al. (the major antitrust case instituted by the U.S. Department of Justice) took a turn for the worse. Thus in November 1944, on his sixtyfifth birthday, Will Hays began to seriously consider retiring. He had successfully held his job as "Movie Czar" for more than two decades. One personal matter also intervened: in 1942 the invaluable Charles Pettijohn had resigned for reasons of poor health. It was then not surprising that Hays followed suit three years later. Will Hays formally resigned as president of the MPPDA on 14 September In what would be labeled today a "Golden Parachute," the member companies of the MPPDA voted to hire him a consultant for the next five years. Eric Johnston, former president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, took Hays's place. Hays worked off and on for the MPPDA during the next five years, principally providing advice on matters of foreign distribution. He formally severed all relationships with the MPPDA on 14 September 1950, some twenty-eight-and-one-half years after he helped create the organization. Will Hays then gracefully retired. After 1950, with no official relationship to the movies, he worked as a spokesman for the Republican party and monitored his substantial holdings in several corporations. His principal office and residence remained in New York City he did most of his work from the expansive suite which he and his second wife, Jessie, had maintained for more than two decades in the Waldorf Towers at 50th and Park Avenue. Only occasional visits took him "home" to Sullivan, Indiana. Will Hays died of a heart ailment on Sunday 7 March 1954 in the family home in Sullivan, Indiana. He had contracted pneumonia the previous winter and had never fully recovered. He was 74 years old. A memorial service was held on the following Wednesday, immediately followed by the funeral and burial at the family plot at the Sullivan Cemetery. Commentators throughout the world noted the passing of the man who had played such an important role in the politics of his nation and the affairs of the movie business. Further Reading The Will H. Hays Papers at the Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, Indiana, represent the most comprehensive collection of materials available on the life and career of Will H. Hays. In addition, relevant materials touching on Hays's activities in Republican party politics can be found in the Warren G. Harding Papers held at the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus. There are many collections of documents that reflect on Hays's role as president of the MPPDA. The files of the Production Code Administration are found in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Library in Beverly Hills, California. (As of this writing the papers of the MPPDA, now the Motion Picture Association of America, headed by Jack Valenti and located in Washington, D.C., are not open to scholars.) The papers from the major motion picture companies which sponsored and underwrote the MPPDA include the papers of United Artists Corporation held at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin; the Warner Bros, production records held at the Library of the University of Southern California; and the Warner Bros, administration records held at the Firestone Library at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. Of Will Hays's own writings, the most valuable include The Memoirs of Will H. Hays (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1955); "Supervision from Within," in Joseph P. Kennedy (ed.), The Story of the Films (Chicago: A.W. Shaw Company, 1927), pages 29-54; "The Motion Picture Industry," in Review of Reviews (January 1923), pages 65-80; "Motion Pictures and Their Censors," in American Review of Reviews (April 1927), pages ; "It's Up to Every

15 American," in Liberty Magazine fnovember 9, 1940), pages 8-9; and "The Human Side of the Postal Service," in Review of Reviews (December 1921), pages The best place to read about Hays's career as an executive of the MPPDA remains Raymond Moley, The Hays Office (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1945, reprinted by Jerome S. Ozer, New York City, 1971). This book was written with the help and cooperation of the MPPDA during the last years of Hays's administration. Supplement this with a detailed portrait in the leading business publication of its day: "The Hays Office," in Fortune (December 1938), pages For background on Hays's political career in Warren G. Harding's campaign for president, see Francis Russell, The Shadow of Blooming Grove: Warren G. Harding and His Times (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968). A contemporary study of the political power of the Hays Office can be found in Kenneth G. Crawford, The Pressure Boys (New York: Julian Messner, 1939), pages ; where Crawford details how Hays engineered the defeat of the Neely bill. Most people associate the Hays Office with the Production Code Administration; the role of this MPPDA agency can best be understood by reading Richard S. Randall's Censorship of the Movies (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1968). For a survey of the economic importance of the Hays Office, see Douglas Gomery, The Hollywood Studio System (New York: St. Martin's, 1986). The most useful study which situates the role of the MPPDA in the social history of the movies remains Garth Jowett, Film: The Democratic Art (Boston: Little, Brown, 1976). These final three books all tender extensive documentation and thus offer the best places to begin searching for sources of information on the role of Will H. Hays and the MPPDA in the history of American film. Douglas Gomery Associate Professor of Communication Arts University of Maryland December 1986 xin


17 SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE The microfilm edition is divided into two parts. Part I: December 1921-March 1929 is especially rich in political materials from the twenties, when Republicans held the White House. Hays was directly connected to the administrations of Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge: he had been Harding's campaign manager and was close to him personally. He was also a supporter of Coolidge, and thus was an insider to that White House as well. His position changed with the election of Herbert Hoover in 1928 and the Great Crash of 1929, which signalled the end of the Republican era. Hays knew Hoover, but did not belong to the inner circle of this new president. Part II: April 1929-September 1945 begins with the arrival of the Hoover administration in April 1929 and focuses on the economic turmoil caused by the Great Depression and the increasing complexity of international distribution of film. Once Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president, Hays became a true outsider, and the focus of the political correspondence and documents shifts to Republican considerations of how to recapture the White House and the Congress. Indiana, Hays's home state, remained one of the few success stories for the Republicans of that era. Hays was active as an Indiana delegate in the nomination of Hoover in 1932, and the nomination of Willkie in The documents chosen for inclusion in The Will Hays Papers provide a near-exhaustive edition of correspondence and files on the movie business of the 1920s and 1930s into the 1940s, as well as the inner workings of the Republican party of the United States. Duplicates were not filmed. Correspondence for which it was impossible to specify the correspondent was excluded. This edition is drawn from forty-nine of the eighty-five Hollinger boxes of the papers of Will H. Hays held in the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis, Indiana. Boxes 1 14, not published here, deal with Hays's formative years, his entry into the Republican party, the election of Warren G. Harding, and Hays's nine-month service as postmaster general of the United States, and end in late 1921, when film moguls approached Hays about the job as head of what would become the MPPDA. Boxes 64-84, with materials dating from October 1945 through Hays's death in 1954, contain very little material dealing with the MPPDA, and thus were not included in this microfilm edition. The Reel Index provides key terms for the papers. Several criteria are used to guide the reader to the appropriate papers. A. Key Organizations Will Hays dealt with many important organizations such as the RNC and the AMPP. When there is significant correspondence or documents concerning one of these organizations, it is noted. B. Speeches as a politician, Will Hays made hundreds of speeches. The Will Hays Papers is rich in copies of these speeches as well as selected handwritten drafts. C. Famous Persons Hays dealt with many of the most influential persons of his age. including presidents of the United States and many movie stars. When this correspon-

18 dence is particularly rich (more than a formal letter of thanks, for example), the name is noted. D. Films when Hays dealt with the matter of a film, or a book to be turned into a film, it is noted by title. E. Personal Travel often it is possible to tell when Hays traveled to the West Coast on movie business or to Wyoming on vacation. These trips are noted. F. Relief and Charity Work throughout his career Hays spent a great deal of time working on European relief and charity work; partly, this was to fulfill a Christian duty, and partly to meet people who might be politically useful to him. G. Special Reports often are included. Reports generated by the Republican party and the MPPDA, if important, are noted by title. H. Special Topics sometimes there is correspondence on certain issues, such as film censorship, foreign film matters, and antitrust matters the three major problems with which Hays dealt in the 1930s and 1940s. As such they are noted by these generic, rather than specific, titles. The sole exception would be for foreign matters, in which the country is specified. Thus, if a country is noted (e.g., Mexico), this means a problem of the MPPDA with the government of Mexico. The correspondence shows the wide connections Hays maintained throughout his life. He never forgot the people who helped him, and he tried to cultivate many to help his party, his church, and the movie companies he represented. By reading his letters one can see how the censorship problem which Hays curtailed in 1922 reappeared later and forced him to implement the notorious Hays Code in One can see how Republican connections helped in the 1920s and hindered in the 1930s. Finally, one can see the growing internationalization of the movie business. Gradually, during the Second World War, Hays became almost an unaffiliated diplomat in trying to deal with such cases as a Mussolini who tried to keep Hollywood films out of Italy, or a Number Ten Downing Street which would not give up Hollywood's earnings in the United Kingdom during a period when that nation desperately needed hard currency to fight Germany. In sum, The Will Hays Papers provides more than a collection of valuable documents of a powerful man who operated at the highest levels of the motion picture industry and Republican party politics. The microfilm edition offers a rare insider look into the highest reaches of power in the United States of America during the first half of the twentieth century. Too often, writers focus only on the president and his most visible advisers. But we must remember that always working behind the scenes was the true "power elite." Will Hays surely was an insider's insider during the crucial period of American history between the two world wars. Douglas Gomery XVI

19 EDITORIAL NOTE The microfilm edition of The Will Hays Papers draws from his correspondence files during his years as head of the MPPDA, 1922 to For five years after that, Hays served as a part-time consultant to the MPPDA, and for that period, only materials relating to his work with the movie industry are included. The collection as it stands contains his business correspondence and most, but not all, of the documents generated by the MPPDA during his tenure. There is little material on Hays's personal life: some letters from his brother on business matters and some from his nephews, but little relating to his son or from his first and second wives. The Will Hays Papers concentrates on two types of material: 1. Letters and documents he generated as first president of the MPPDA for some twenty-three-and-one-half years. The MPPDA functioned as a trade association, representing the major companies of the U.S. film industry in matters of censorship, legislation, foreign trade, antitrust, and other problems the companies had in common. Hays, operating from New York City, dealt more with the distribution of the movies (especially as constrained by foreign governments) and the exhibition of films (especially the increasing number of antitrust suits brought by exhibitors not affiliated with the MPPDA). 2. Letters and documents relating to Republican party politics from 1922 to Will Hays was much more than an administrator of a highly visible trade association. He was a long-time insider in the Republican party. Selections were made by the editor with the goal of completely covering Hays's work in the Republican party and the MPPDA. These were, more often than not, interconnected, since the chiefs of the various major movie companies hired Hays for his strong political connections. Hays judiciously "worked the telephone" and followed up all correspondence. Thus, often he was contacted by someone, or initiated correspondence, or did the person a favor (getting them in for a studio tour or having a son or daughter "auditioned" were favorites), and then used that person's services later on. In every area of his life, Will Hays was a political animal.

20 SOURCE NOTE The Will H. Hays collection was acquired by the Indiana Division of the Indiana State Library through the efforts of Harold F. Brigham, former director of the library, and Mrs. Hazel Hopper, former head of the Indiana division. Upon the death of Will II. Hays in 1954, arrangements were made with Will H. Hays, Jr., to donate the collection of his father's papers to the Indiana State Library. The collection was received in Will H. Hays, Jr., assigned copyright of the papers to the Indiana State Library in 1984, to enable microfilming to proceed. The collection consists of eight-five cubic foot boxes (covering the years 1918 to 1953), 152 scrapbooks and forty-one notebooks. While the papers contain very little information on Hays's personal life, they do cover all his business, political, administrative, and movie-related activities. It should be noted that the different categories of scrapbooks and notebooks listed in the collection were set up by Hays himself. Over the course of the years he changed his approach several times; changes in his staff also resulted in different interpretations of his instructions. His overriding goal was always to collect everything said in the press about him and his work. All material for this microfilmed edition was drawn from the papers contained in boxes dated December 1921 (box 15) to September 1945 (box 63). The remaining unfilmed material can be viewed at the Indiana State Library, by prior arrangement. Reproduction of the filmed material is limited to fifty pages. The condition of the printed material and the "availability of staff determine the limits of photocopying of unfilmed materials. Requests for photocopies should be made to the Manuscript Librarian, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library, 140 North Senate Avenue, Indianapolis, IN Marybelle Burch Manuscript Librarian, Indiana Division Indiana State Library December 1986 Inventory According to the current inventory of the Indiana State Library, the materials are divided into the following categories: Boxes chronologically ordered* Green scrapbooks early clippings files, Clothbound scrapbooks general clippings files, Black binders arbitration case** Miscellaneous notebooks "This inventory should not be considered infallible after Box 70, as, from this point on, the boxes contain some materials which Hays did not incorporate into his regular files, or which became separated from the main collection and were subsequently misfiled. The materials relating to the arbitration case are in the process of being refiled; other materials are being refiled and cross-referenced on an ongoing basis. XVI11

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