Scope and arrangement
The papers of Joan Crawford contain correspondence, business and personal papers, personal notes and a few photographs. The collection focuses on Crawford's later years in the 1960s and 1970s, as her acting career waned, and therefore contains no scripts and very little about her time in Hollywood. It is divided into three series: personal correspondence, business papers, and personal papers.
The bulk of the collection is made up of personal correspondence. The letters to Crawford, as well as the notes she made for her secretaries (Florence Walsh and Betty Barker), give insight into her everyday life. Throughout the collection there are items designated by Crawford to be worthy of her "treasure box". "Treasure box" items are generally more personal notes to Crawford that contain particularly kind words or whose authors were particularly dear to her.
Insurance appraisals, especially those by Wilson & Allen, contain interesting information about Crawford's possessions. The listings of her jewelry collections are especially thorough.
The Joan Crawford papers are arranged in three series:
- 1959-19762 boxes
This series contains letters and telegrams from Crawford's friends and relatives, as well as a few letters written by Crawford. It is divided into four sub-series: correspondence from specific individuals, general correspondence, sympathy correspondence following Alfred Steele's death, and telegrams.
- 1932-19761 box
This series contains Joan Crawford's insurance policies and biographical ephemera: photographs, clippings, various awards and honors, documents concerning Crawford's Brandeis fellowship, as well as Crawford's handwritten address book.
- 1959-19761 box
This series contains checkbooks, records of donations, and papers concerning a 1973 cosmetics advertisement that Crawford made with Eva of Rome Cosmetics. There is also a folder of documents highlighting Crawford's relations with Pepsi, including a letter from Crawford declaring her intention to "finish the tour" for her recently deceased husband. A folder containing records of her rented storage spaces, both in New York and Los Angeles, finishes the series.