The James Warner Bellah collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, personal memorabilia, printed material, military material, and other material.
Manuscripts for writings by Bellah include articles (fiction and non-fiction), short stories, screenplays, stage plays, teleplays, and other writings.
Drafts of short pieces (articles and stories) in the collection consist of several items of varying length; some are only outlines for full-length pieces. Titles include "Massacre"; (the story Bellah adapted into his film Fort Apache); "The Affair in Cabin Twelve"; "The American Tradition of Violence"; "The Big Snow Job"; "The Case Against France"; "Central America"; "Drums of Jeopardy"; "Organization Wife"; "Tales of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police" (three episodes); and "Thirty Miles to Glory."
Screenplays in the collection include both completed scripts and treatments for over twenty titles. Titles include She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949); Ten Tall Men, written with various others (1952); Target Zero, written with Sam Rolfe (1956); Sergeant Rutledge, written with Willis Goldbeck (originally titled Captain Buffalo, 1959); X-15, written with Tony Lazzarino (1961); The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, written with Willis Goldbeck (1962); and some unproduced screenplays.
Stage plays by Bellah include "Color Blind," "Forty Four," and "Ward Twenty."
Teleplays by Bellah include several scripts, outlines, notes, and research for television programs and treatments, as well as notes for proposed series that were never produced. These date from the late 1950s to about 1966. Titles include The Astounding Adventures of Phileas Fogg; Cavalry Command; Combat; Fifty-Cent Soldiers; Flags in the Dust; High Noon (proposed series); The Philadelphia Case; Line Officer; This is Not a Drill, Repeat (plot outlines); Temple Houston; The Threshold (six story outlines); The Virginian; and seven historical story outlines for John Houseman and CBS.
Book manuscripts include Bellah’s autobiography, Irregular Gentleman (Doubleday, 1948); The Committee, by Bellah and "Charlie Vanilla"; (unpublished); The Journal of Colonel De Lancey (Chilton, 1967); and a family history compiled and edited by Bellah (unpublished).
Other writings include advertising copy (proofs and printed versions) written by Bellah between 1923 and 1925; poetry by Bellah; Bellah's foreword to his book The Valiant Virginians (Ballantine, 1953); subject files pertaining to Bellah’s travels and writings; a copy of Bellah's Master's Thesis, "The American and British Land Actions, 1812-1914"; and various other writing.
Correspondence in the collection includes fan mail received by Bellah between 1922 and 1959. There are many more letters in the military material.
Personal memorabilia in the collection includes college diplomas awarded to Bellah; honorary certificates presented by various civic organizations, the Writers Guild of America, and The Lawyers Club of Los Angeles; and Bellah’s air pilot's license.
Printed material in the collection includes hundreds of tearsheets of short works published in over thirty different magazines, dating between 1917 and the mid-1960s. Publications vary, but by far Bellah’s work is most often found in the Saturday Evening Post, which published more than sixty of his stories. The other publications are both marketed both toward the American public as well as the U.S. military and its veterans. Titles include Aero Digest; Air Force and Space Digest; The American Legion Magazine; College Humor; Collier’s; Esquire; Holiday; Ladies Home Journal; Liberty; Reader’s Digest; This Week(the magazine section of the New York Herald Tribune); and others. Also present are hundreds of printed reviews of his books. In addition, the collection includes a large amount of material regarding Alaska and Hawaii, where Bellah traveled in the late 1950s. These items include several files-worth of papers, magazines, maps, clippings, and photographs.
A large amount of the material in the collection pertains to Bellah's long career in the military. This material includes correspondence, manuscripts, memorabilia, photographs, and other material. Military letters consist of a portfolio of official military correspondence written between July 10, 1916 and Oct. 18, 1957. The letters include items from Lord Louis Mountbatten, Joseph W. Stilwell, and A. C. Wedemeyer. Also present are about forty other letters, including correspondence from Dwight D. Eisenhower (1954) and Rear Admiral Robert F. Hickey (1951) regarding John Ford's movie on the Marines and Navy in Korea. Manuscripts include log books kept by Bellah during World War I, including notes kept at the School of Military Aeronautics and copies of his discharge records; training manuals written by Bellah during World War II; a biography of General John Pershing; and various worksheets, notes, telegrams, and other records and memorabilia related to Bellah’s World War II service (mostly with the South East Asia Command). Personal memorabilia includes notifications for eight medals and honors awarded to Bellah, including the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Imperial Cross of St. Nicholas, and the War Cross; certificates noting Bellah’s various military promotions, and his completion of leadership training courses; his Royal Air Force certificate of service (1918); well over a dozen awards and citations for military service during war and peacetime; and memberships in various societies and service clubs. Photographs include images of Bellah in uniform as a young man; at military organization events in middle age; at aviation training during World War I; and Bellah receiving a certificate from the U.S. Armor Association in the company of director John Ford and actor John Wayne; and a photo of Lord Louis Mountbatten, signed and inscribed to Bellah. Other items include a leather pistol holster; several flags (including the U.S. flag draped over Bellah's coffin); silk aviator maps of China and Burma; a scrapbook regarding World War I, including photos, letters, and other items; and a photo album documenting a sea voyage in 1931.