Additions to Orson Welles collection at University of Michigan open to scholars
By RAY KELLY
Welles scholars now have access to the exciting additions to the Special Collections Library at the University of Michigan.
The first collection, “The Orson Welles – Chris Welles Feder Collection,” is a gift from Welles’ eldest daughter, Chris Welles Feder. It includes photographs of the family and letters from Welles to his first wife, Virginia Nicolson Welles. Among the letters is a series written by Welles when he made the transition from New York to Hollywood in the summer of 1939, which documents his activities and thoughts during his introduction to movie making.
The second collection, “The Alessandro Tasca di Cutò – Orson Welles Collection,” is from the personal papers of Alessandro Tasca and was purchased at auction in London. Tasca was a producer and friend of Welles from the 1950s until the latter’s death in 1985. The archive is rich in materials related to two films especially close to the great director’s heart – The Chimes at Midnight (1965, also known as Falstaff), and Don Quixote (1955-73, unfinished) and illuminates Welles’ day-to-day concerns as a filmmaker in its many letters, notes, and memos.
These collections join two other Welles archives, “The Orson Welles – Oja Kodar Collection” and “The Richard Wilson – Orson Welles Collection,” both acquired in 2004 and 2005 and currently available to researchers.
Kept in protective boxes, the Welles collection totals nearly 100 linear feet, including thousands of documents, letters, telegrams, scripts, production and financial statements, photographs, illustrations and audiovisual materials.
"The different versions of scripts with his handwritten notes and sketches in the margins show different stages of his creative process," Peggy Daub, curator and outreach librarian at the Special Collections Library, said in a press release.
Former University of Michigan professor Catherine Benamou, author of "It's All True: Orson Welles' Pan-American Odyssey," was a driving force behind the extensive Welles' collection at U-M. She now teaches at the University of California at Irvine.
The U-M Special Collections Library is open to the public. Collections do not circulate; material is retrieved upon request for use in a reading room. A listing of holdings in the Welles collection can be accessed at http://www.lib.umich.edu/special-collections-library
Discuss the U-M collection at http://wellesnet.com/phpbb2/viewforum.php?f=34