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Women in Entertainment Resources in Library Special Collections

This guide will lead the user to an assortment of research resources pertaining to women in the entertainment industry.

Toward Ethical and Inclusive Descriptive Practices in UCLA Library Special Collections

LSC is committed to remediating harmful description by creating and implementing an anti-oppressive approach to discovery and access. We aim to:

  • Be clear about what we know, how we know it, and what we don't know
  • Embrace baseline description as a tool to improve the discoverability of all our materials
  • Demonstrate an understanding that description is a continuous and necessarily iterative endeavor

Read more about our past and current approaches to description in Toward Ethical and Inclusive Descriptive Practices in UCLA Library Special Collections.

Research Resources in UCLA Library Special Collections

The UCLA Library Special Collections holds a large number of primary source materials pertaining to women in the entertainment industry. This guide is intended as a starting place to point researchers to these materials and also serves as a basic orientation on using Library Special Collections holdings.

RKO Studios Payroll Cards

The RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) Studios Collection includes payroll cards for all studio employees.

Look at the wages these women made way back then!

Leila Field payroll card


Stella Koris payroll card


Dorothy Kenney payroll card


Louise Kloss payroll card


Peggy King payroll card


G.L. Kinnear payroll card



Here you will find information about archival collections of papers belonging to specific women in the entertainment industry.

Fanny Brice, c. 1938  Rosalind Russell Vanessa Brown Hedy Lamarr Hattie McDaniel
Fanny Brice photograph Rosalind Russell photograph Vanessa Brown photograph Hedy Lamarr photograph Hattie McDaniel photograph



Bette Midler with Phyllis Diller

Bette Midler with Phyllis Diller

Women comedians are represented in individual collections pertaining to a single individual as is seen in the Carol Burnett Papers, or the Phyllis Diller Papers. They can also be represented as parts of larger collections such as the Hal Goodman Papers, or the Jack Benny Papers.  For instances such as these, search the full name of the individual in quotation marks in the Online Archive of California.

Women comedians within other collections include:

Edie Adams, Gracie Allen, Eve Arden, Bea Arthur, Lucille Ball, Roseanne Barr, Nora Bayes, Joh Behar, Sandra Bernhard, Peggy Bernier, Elayne Boosler, Chelsea Brown, Sandra Bullock, Ruth Buzzi, Carol Channing, Charo, Cher, Kate Clinton, Imogene Coca, Cass Daley, Joan Davis, Sandy Duncan, Barbara Eden, Nanette Fabray, Totie Fields, Estelle Getty, Whoopie Goldberg, Valerie Harper, Goldie Hawn, Vicki Lawrence, Cloris Leachman, Mary Livingstone, Moms Mabley, Mary Mack, Shirley MacLaine, Andrea Martin, Elaine May, Hattie McDaniel, Bette Midler, Mary Tyler Moore, Polly Moran, Julie Newmar, LaWanda Page, Minnie Pearl, Zasu Pitts, Gilda Radner, Martha Raye, Joan Rivers, Rita Rudner, Lily Tomlin, Sophie Tucker, Marcia Wallace, Mae West, and Betty White.



Dorothy Jeakins
Dorothy Jeakins

Library Special Collections holds many collections pertaining to women in design. Selections include:


Florence Strauss, head of the story department at First National

         Florence Strauss


Dorothy Arzner


Library Special Collections holds a large amount of archival collections pertaining to women musicians. A selection of collections follow:



                                                 Paul Spitalny and his all-girl orchestra of the "Hour of Charm"




Ethel Hill, writer, circa 1932-1937
Eunice Chapin, screenwriter, circa 1932
Frances Manson, story editor, circa 1931-1937 Gertrude Purcell, screenwriter, circa 1932-1942
Ethel Hill, writer. Eunice Chapin, screenwriter Frances Mason, story editor Gertrude Purcell, screenwriter
Vera Caspary, screenwriter Thyra Samter Winslow, author, 1934 Tess Gilbert, script assistant, circa 1933 Mary C. McCall Jr., screenwriter, circa 1935-1937
Vera Caspary, screenwriter Thyra Samter Winslow, author Tess Gilbert, script asst. Mary C. McCall Jr., screenwriter
Nina Wilcox Putnam, author
Jose Ferrer directing June Allyson as screenwriter Ketty Frings looks on, The Shrike
Verna Fields, film editor
Nina Wilcox Putnam, author; Ketty Frings, screenwriter (on right) Verna Fields, film editor


Image Collections