Deutsch, Helen (1906-1992)

The Helen Deutsch Research Section supports not only the archive of manuscripts and letters of screenwriter, journalist and songwriter Helen Deutsch (1906 – 1992), but also the collections of many other prominent American women whose papers are held at the Gotlieb Center.  Ms. Deutsch saw herself as part of a “history of the era,” and wished the preservation of these archives to document the struggles of women in predominantly male dominated fields during that period.


The Helen Deutsch collection includes manuscripts, printed material, awards, financial material, audio recordings, and correspondence.

Manuscripts in the collection mostly relate to Deutsch's work as a screenwriter.  Screenplays and story treatments that achieved final production include a segment of the screenplay for the film The Big Country (1950 MGM); multiple drafts of the screenplay for Carmen (1947 Columbia); various treatments and script drafts for The Chapman Report (1959 20th Century Fox; Deutsch quit and refused screen credit); multiple drafts of the screenplay for The Flame and the Flesh, written in 1953 (produced in 1954 by MGM) and originally titled Nina; multiple drafts of a long-gestating script project and story outline for Mrs. Opdyke's Angel (1944), with subsequent titles As You Want Me; Guardian Angel; and finally, Forever Darling, with a final shooting script dated 1955,  released in 1956; multiple drafts of Deutsch's screenplay for The Glass Slipper (1954 MGM; Deutsch also wrote the lyrics to the music by Bronislaw Kaper);   a unique draft of a screenplay for Golden Earrings (1945 Paramount) with a note from Deutsch: "This version privately typed – This version exists nowhere else"; a screenplay by Deutsch for King Solomon's Mines (1950 MGM); and multiple drafts of the screenplay for Lili, written by Deutsch (1951-1952; the film was released in 1953 by MGM).  Unproduced screenplays written by Deutsch include Anna Christie (1955) as well as a musical screenplay of Anna Christie (1956); But is it Love? (1947); Ethan Frome (1942); How Della Caught Cold (1943); Lamia (1952); The Lovers (1948); My Empty Heart (1946); and Robinson Crusoe (1948); The Castaways (1946); St. Louis Woman (1953); and The Short Career of Dillon Gray (1965).  Short stories include a bound collection titled Happy Endings – Love Stories of the Thirties (1978); and The Notebooks of Hogarth Hagen (1978). Poetry in the collection includes a leather-bound volume of unfinished narrative verse; several leather-bound copies in pamphlet form of "The White Magnolia Tree" (1957); and a leather-bound version of the poem as it appeared in McCall's (1959).Other writings include radio scripts (1940-1941); unfinished stories; ideas for television shows and other possible productions; notes; chapter drafts; clippings for an unrealized autobiography (1975); multiple synopses; story outlines; story ideas submitted to Deutsch for her approval; research material and libretti offered to Deutsch, but declined by her; and daybooks and appointment calendars (1961-1983).

Printed material in the collection includes: leather-bound periodicals containing fiction or poetry by Deutsch (1932-1952); periodicals with writings by Deutsch from school, camp, and college (1930-1931); a Barnard Alumnae publication (1977); the WGAW News (1986); a scrapbook of articles written by Deutsch from a number of publications (1928-1936); articles that mention Deutsch (1929-1936) as well as articles, excerpts and reviews of her history of the Provincetown Players (1930-1934).  Sheet music includes "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo," as used in the motion picture Lili, with lyrics by Helen Deutsch and music by Bronislaw Kaper (1933); "Take My Love" from The Glass Slipper, with lyrics by Helen Deutsch and music by Bronislaw Kaper (1933); and multiple bound copies of the sheet music for each song from Jack and the Beanstalk, with book and lyrics by Helen Deutsch and music by Jerry Livingston (1936).  Also present is publicity material organized by project, consisting of reviews, programs, and pamphlets for Jack and the Beanstalk (1956); King Solomon's Mines (1967); Love On An Island (1934, 1977); The Plymouth Adventure; The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964); Valley of the Dolls (1966, 1967); and The White Magnolia Tree (1959).  There is a scrapbook of newspaper and magazine articles and reviews for Deutsch's television programs Jack and the Beanstalk (1956), The General Motors Fiftieth Anniversary Show (1957), and The Hallmark Christmas Tree (1958). There are also advertisements and publicity for productions on which Deutsch served as press agent (1931-1936); and sets of serials collected by Deutsch (1976-1986).

Awards in the collection include numerous Box Office Blue Ribbon Awards for Best Picture of the Month for her screenplays for The Seventh Cross (1944), National Velvet (1945), King Solomon's Mines (1950), Kim (1951), Lili (1953), and The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964). There is an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Outstanding Achievement Award for the screenplay for Lili (1953), as well as a Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association award for Best Screenplay for Lili (1953).

Financial material in the collection includes registers of checks and cash expenditures; correspondence to and from her financial advisor; and investment account statements. There are also files of copyrights and agreements (1940s-1970s) and royalty statements (1956-1983).

Audio recordings include a number of 45, 33 1/3, and 78 RPM phonograph records in the collection with songs from Jack and the Beanstalk; The Glass Slipper; and many versions of "Hi-Lili-Hi-Lo," performed by various artists. There is also a phonograph record of Helen Hayes reciting "The White Magnolia Tree"; a number of undated cassette tapes and dictaphone recordings with dictation by Deutsch; and cassette tape interviews for the Oral History Project at Columbia University (1981).

Photographs include a number of black and white production stills from the film Lili, bound in red leather (1953); as well as a number of unclassified photographs, some annotated by Deutsch on their verso. There are also Deutsch family photos and formal portraits of Deutsch.

Correspondence in the collection includes personal and professional letters to and from Deutsch.  The letters include family correspondence (1963-1983); professional correspondence, organized by project (1934-1977); and a substantial amount of correspondence to and from talent manager Ruth Hughes Aarons (1957-1974).  Notable correspondents in the collection include Maxwell Anderson; Brooks Atkinson; Jack Cassidy; John Chapman; Alan Cranston; Cheryl Crawford; Joan Crawford; Dino DeLaurentiis; Kirk Douglas; Brendan Gill; Ruth Gordon; Uta Hagen; Armand Hammer; Helen Hayes; Jacob Javits; Joshua Logan; Shirley MacLaine; Arthur B. Mayer; Jo Mielziner; Joe Pasternak; Rex Reed; William Safire; Dore Schary; Richard Schickel; Sidney Sheldon; Ray Stark; Charles Strouse; and David Tibet.
Notable Figures
1. Deutsch, Helen
Associated Subjects
1. Theatre and Film Subject Guide
2. Radio Subject Guide
3. Helen Deutsch Research Section