The Michael Blankfort collection consists of manuscripts, research material, journal and diaries, subject files, correspondence, photographs, and scrapbooks.
Manuscripts for books by Blankfort in the collection include early notes and story ideas for A Time to Live (Harcourt, 1943); drafts of The Big Yankee (Little, Brown, 1947), along with extensive research material (see below); drafts and notes of Exit from a Green Maze (unpublished novel, 1948, 1963, 1967); drafts of The Juggler (Little, Brown, 1952); drafts, notes, and research for The Strong Hand (1945-1955); drafts and notes for Goodbye, I Guess (Simon and Schuster, 1962); several drafts of Behold the Fire (New American Library, 1965), along with research notes, page proofs, notes towards a screenplay, and other items; drafts of I Didn't Know I Would Live So Long (Scribner, 1973), along with some research material; draft pages for The Roman (unfinished novel, ca. 1975); several drafts of Take the A Train (Dutton, 1978); several drafts of An Exceptional Man (Atheneum, 1980); drafts of The Seed (unpublished); and material for Cry from a Red Field (unpublished novel, ca. 1981-1982). Also present is a photostat copy of Blankfort's book The Business (Dodd-Mead, 1939), published under the pseudonym "Bryant Ford."
Manuscripts for screenplays and teleplays in the collection include a screen story titled Foreign Correspondent, written with Henry Chaplin (1932); a treatment for The Boys are No Angels, written with Sidney Harmon (unproduced, 1937); Day of Rejoicing, written with Sheridan Gibney (unproduced, 1939); Sabotage (1942); Alarum and Excursion (unproduced, 1944); preliminary treatments for Afterwards (unproduced, 1950); Broken Arrow (Twentieth Century Fox, 1950); Halls of Montezuma (Twentieth Century Fox, 1950); Our Lives Have Just Begun (unproduced, 1950); Lydia Bailey (Twentieth Century Fox, 1952); The Juggler (Columbia, 1953); River of the Sun (unproduced, 1953); Widow Makers (unproduced,1954); Untamed (Twentieth Century Fox, 1955); Edna St. Vincent Millay Story (unproduced, 1959), with extensive research material (see below); "A Pelican in the Wilderness," episode of Breaking Point (1963); The Plainsman (Universal, 1966); Warhawks (unproduced, 1966-1968); "An Absence of Loneliness," season 2, episode 7 of The Bold Ones: The New Doctors (1971); a teleplay adaptation of I Met a Man; Plus Smith (unproduced, ca. 1969); A Time to Stay (Universal, 1969); The Other Man, a television feature (NBC, 1970); a screenplay titled Victor, Victor and Victor Victorious, written with Kate Archer (unproduced, 1976); and several other treatments, proposals, and miscellaneous drafts. Also present is a draft of The Brave and the Innocent by Dallas Gaultois, a screenplay adaptation of Blankfort's novel I Met a Man; and a teleplay adaptation of I Met a Man by Mames Edmiston.
Manuscripts for stage plays by Blankfort include Flying World (1939, 1945-1946); Madeleine Webb (1947-1951); To a Known Soldier (1951); The Spaniard (1953-1954); Goodbye, I Guess (1968); I Play the Devil, written with Ernest Pascal; Karl and Arthur (1975); Tolstoy, Blankfort's translation of the original play by Max Zweig (1979); and other miscellaneous notes and drafts.
Other manuscripts by Blankfort include several articles (1930s-1978); notes; poetry (1924-1980); numerous short stories (1930s-1951); reviews (1968-1978); speeches (1950s-1960s); published letters and letters submitted for publication (1966-1978); and various fragments and other miscellaneous writings.
Research material in the collection includes material (notes, clippings, correspondence, documents, interviews, and photographs) regarding China, the Makin Raid, Evans Carlson, Carlson's Raiders, the U.S. Marine Corps, and related subjects, for The Big Yankee (1947); notes and clippings regarding the Children's Crusade, for a film treatment titled The Magnificent Innocents (1955-1957); notes, letters, and clippings regarding Edna St. Vincent Millay, for a possible film (1957-1959); several documents regarding Palestine in the 1910s and 1920s, including notes, letters, reports, draft pages, photographs, and other items, for Behold the Fire (1965); notes, clippings, letters, and other documents regarding Israel, their army, and the Six-Day War, for Warhawks (1966-1968); notes and clippings for An Exceptional Man (1980); and research for various articles.
Journals and diaries in the collection include datebooks (1961-1981); diaries (1929-1980, not inclusive), including Blankfort's diary of his trip to the Soviet Union in 1929, which "changed his life"; a journal (1937); and miscellaneous notebooks and an address book. Also present are many pages of autobiographical writings, dated ca. 1980 and including some research and notes.
Subject files in the collection consist of various items arranged by Blankfort around specific topics. The files include, to varying degrees, correspondence, professional material, printed items, legal material, and other documents. Subjects include: Academy of Motion Pictures (1973-1980); Academy Foundation (1980); Admir, Ltd. (1969-1970); Anti-Defamation League (1973); Authors Guild and Authors League (1973); benefit events and charities (1960s); Brandeis-Bardin Institute (1959-1990); California Confederation for the Arts (1978); contracts (1940s-1970s); Federal Theatre Project (interview transcript, 1977); financial records (1960s-1980s); International Writers Conference, Moscow (1969); Los Angeles County Museum (1974-1982); Clifford Odets (six letters); requests from students (1970s-1980s); Jules Stein Award (1969); Universal Studios (memos, 1960); University of Pennsylvania (1926-1931); Raoul Wallenberg Committee (1979-1980); Writers Guild of America (1962-1984); Anzia Yezierska; FBI files on Blankfort (1940s-1960s); House Un-American Activities Committee (1952); and several works by Blankfort, including Battle Hymn (1936), I Met a Man (1937), The Brave and the Blind (1940), The Widow Makers (1946), The Big Yankee (1947), The Juggler (1952), The Spaniard (1954), The Strong Hand (1956), Monique (1957-1964), Goodbye, I Guess (1962), Behold the Fire (1965), I Didn’t Know I Would Live So Long (1973), Take the A Train (1978), and An Exceptional Man (1980).
Printed material in the collection includes published articles by Blankfort (1940s-1950s) and about him (1940s-1980s); scrapbooks of press clippings about his films (1941-1960s); reviews of Blankfort's work; several short stories, including Blankfort's first published short story, "Faithful in My Fashion" (Esquire, 1937); speeches and articles by Blankfort; The Widow Makers, a novel published in The American magazine (1946); a poster for Take the A Train (1978); and other items.
Correspondence in the collection is extensive, consisting of hundreds of personal and professional letters dating from about 1925 to 1991. Most of the correspondence is to or from authors, agents, publishers, studios, or other colleagues. Notable correspondents include Maxwell Anderson, Ed Asner, Chuck Barris, Alonzo Bell, Saul Bellow, Theodore Bikel, Marc Blitzstein, Ray Bradbury, Tom Bradley, Mel Brooks, Paddy Chayefksy, Lee J. Cobb, Don Congdon, Francis Ford Coppola, Norman Corwin, Malcolm Cowley, Alan Cranston, George Cukor, Martin Dibner, John Dos Passos, Edward Dahlberg, Leslie Fiedler, Theodore S. Geisel (“Dr. Seuss”), Clement Greenberg, Armand Hammer, Yip Harburg, Audrey Hepburn, Hans Habe, Pauline Kael, Bronislaw Kaper, Elia Kazan, Theodore Kollek, Jack Lemmon, Meyer Levin, Joshua Logan, John Muste, Anton Myrer, Victor Navasky, Anais Nin, Frank Nugent, Cynthia Ozick, Linus Pauling, Gregory Peck, Eva Marie Saint, Dore Schary, George Bernard Shaw, Upton Sinclair, Curt Siodmak, Jules Stein, Budd Schulberg, I. F. Stone, Paul Tabori, Dalton Trumbo, Richard Tregaskis, Shepard Traube, Elie Wiesel, Herman Wouk, Richard Wright, Anzia Yezierska, Darryl F. Zanuck, and many, many others.
Some groups of letters pertain to a particular manuscript or topic. These include letters regarding Battle Hymn (1969-1980); Behold the Fire (1958-1980); The Big Yankee (1944-1980); The Bold Ones (1971); Boy Did I Get a Wrong Number; The Brave and the Blind (1937-1946), including a letter from Ernest Hemingway; Albert Maltz (1984-1991), including another letter from Hemingway (1940); Broken Arrow (1980), specifically about revealing Albert Maltz’s role in writing the screenplay after 25 years of no credit given; The Caine Mutiny (1953-1955); Cry From a Red Field (1978); film rights to Les Diaboliques (1964-1988); The Edna St. Vincent Millay Story (1957-1969); An Exceptional Man (1974-1981); Exit from a Glass Maze, a novel adapted for film by Blankfort (1948-1985); Father Serra Story (1950-1955); Goodbye, I Guess (1951-1969); Home Again (1955-1963); I Didn’t Know I Would Live So Long (1972-1975); I Met a Man (1937-1939); Juggernaut (1956-1957); The Juggler (1948-1954); Karl and Arthur (1975-1979); Lydia Bailey (1951); Monique (1970-1980); My Six Convicts (1951); The Night Circus (1958); Our Lives Have Just Begun (1969-1960); The Plainsman (1965-1966); The Strong Hand (1954-1965), including letters from Ernest Hemingway and Herman Wouk; Take the A Train (1977-1980); A Time to Live (1942-1954); Tolstoy (1949-1965); The Warhawks (1967-1968); The Widow Makers (1944-1977); and other subjects.
Photographs in the collection consist of images of Blankfort and others, as well as war photos, film industry photos, research photos, and others.
Scrapbooks in the collection include an album assembled by Laurie Springam Blankfort, with clippings and programs regarding Merry Go Round, by Albert Maltz and George Sklar, produced by Blankfort and Walter Hart (1932); and Stevedore, by Paul Peters and George Sklar, stages by Blankfort and Irving Gordon (1934).