Fontaine, Joan (1917-2013)

NOTE: All or part of this collection is stored off-site. Several days' advance notice is required for retrieval.

The Joan Fontaine Collection consists of video recordings, audio recordings, printed material, professional material, correspondence, legal material, financial material, manuscripts, photographs, memorabilia, artwork, scrapbooks, diaries and journals.

Video recordings in the collection consist of VHS video cassettes of films in which Fontaine appeared. Titles include No More Ladies (1935), The Man Who Found Himself (1937), Music for Madam (1937), Quality Street (1937), A Damsel in Distress (1937), Maid’s Night Out (1938), Sky Giant (1938), The Duke of Westpoint (1938), Gunga Din (1939), The Women (1939), Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), This Above All (1942), The Constant Nymph (1943), Frenchman’s Creek (1944), and Jane Eyre (1944).


Video recordings also include DVDs, VHS, Beta tapes, and U-Matic tapes containing television appearances and interviews, among other materials.

Audio recordings in the collection include CDs; reel-to-reels containing material from various films and productions including Dial M, The Lion in Winter, and Rebecca; and a cassette tape of a 1982 appearance of Fontaine at Boston University for a "Friends of Boston University Libraries" event; among other materials.

Printed material in the collection includes programs for various plays in which Fontaine acted, dating from the 1950s to the 1980s; included is a program for Private Lives from October 1931, and an autographed program for Tea and Sympathy from September 1953. Other printed items include material regarding the genealogy of the De Havilland surname; photocopied book sections regarding Fontaine; clippings of reviews and articles regarding Fontaine (1930s-2010s); posters for various films starring Fontaine; Fontaine’s annotated scripts for the plays The Lion in Winter, by James Goldman, and Relatively Speaking, by Alan Ayckbourn; the 1933 and 1934 editions of The Chochin, the yearbook published by the pupils of the American School in Japan; and various internet printouts, flyers, booklets, scores, pamphlets, proofs, and magazines; among other materials.

Professional material in the collection includes various itineraries and schedules (1954-1980s); items regarding the 1982 production of The Lion in Winter; an address book (1948); and various contact lists, publicity texts, personnel records, genealogical records, and other items. Also present is a pocket appointment book originally belonging to the cartoonist Charles Addams (1962).

Correspondence in the collection consists of numerous personal and professional letters. Included are several letters from Fontaine’s husbands, Brian Aherne, William Dozier, Collier Young, and Alfred Wright, Jr., as well as her mother Lillian Ruse de Havilland (aka Lillian Fontaine), her father Walter A. de Havilland, her stepmother Rosemary de Havilland, her sister Olivia de Havilland, her daughter Deborah Dozier, her adopted daughter Martita Pareja, and various other relatives, including Sir Geoffrey de Havilland.

The letters provide a revealing look into Fontaine’s many (and often complex) familial relationships. Other notable letters include a letter from Fontaine describing her experiences filming Rebecca (1939), and another letter describing her activities during World War II (1945); a letter from William Dozier, describing a visit to the ruins of their burnt-down house (1961); a letter from Charles Addams including a drawing (1962); a letter from Fontaine to Rupert Murdoch correcting a mistake in the New York Post (1978); and several letters regarding Fontaine’s problems during her performance of The Lion in Winter in Vienna (1979). Notable correspondents include Cleveland Amory, George H.W. Bush, Kitty Carlisle, Bill Clinton, Joan Crawford, Daphne du Maurier, Mark Goodson, Princess Elisabeth Hohenlohe, Robert Osborne, Geraldo Rivera, Irene Mayer Selznick, and Elaine (Mrs. John) Steinbeck.

Legal material in the collection includes various items, including: her mother's marriage license to George Fontaine (1925); documents regarding Lillian Fontaine’s estate (1924-1987); an early letter of agreement with RKO, signed as Joan de Havilland (1938); various contracts (1970-1981); documents regarding Fontaine’s legal guardianship of Martita Pareja, and her eventual relinquishing of that status; divorce paperwork between Fontaine and William Dozier (1952); a property settlement between Fontaine and Alfred Wright, Jr. obtained after their divorce; Fontaine’s Social Security card; and several passports (1951-2009); among other materials.

Financial material in the collection consists of various receipts, bills, and invoices, primarily for goods purchased by Fontaine; these date from 1949 to 1983.

Manuscripts in the collection consist of various items, including: introductory remarks made by Fontaine at the opening of an Alfred Hitchcock film series; Fontaine documenting problems with the Vienna production of The Lion in Winter; Private Lives script with Fontaine's notes; draft of her autobiography, No Bed of Roses, with notes; genealogical research on Fontaine’s family; notes for Fontaine's unpublished The Beautiful People Cookbook; and other miscellaneous items.

Photographs in the collection include several publicity shots and film stills, as well as many personal photos of friends and family. These items date from the 1920s to the 2000s, and include prints, Polariods, and negatives. Several images portray Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland during childhood, 2 black and white prints from Fontaine's marriage to Brian Aherne (1939), 1 black and white print of Fontaine with her Academy Award (ca. 1942), and 27 prints of Fontaine's daughter Deborah Dozier. Notables portrayed include Gene Barry, Carry Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, James Stewart, and Orson Welles.

Memorabilia includes various lobby cards for Rebecca and Serenade, a guest book used for dinner parties (1947-1960), genealogical documents related to the de Havilland family, surveillance reports by the Schindler Bureau of Investigation on William Dozier and Deborah Dozier, given to Fontaine (1952-1957); "Legends of Hollywood" collectible card (2009); commemorative plate given to Fontaine by the Film and TV.P.P.U. of Taipei, R.O.C.; certificates for Fontaine’s Academy Awards nominations and wins; a Screen Actors Guild membership card; and various plaques and awards; among other materials.

Artwork in the collection consists of sketches and paintings of Fontaine and a small portrait of Fontaine's father, Walter de Havilland, around the age of 15 years old, among other materials.

Scrapbooks in the collection include an album of newspaper clippings regarding the opening of September Affair (1951); a “paperback scrapbook,” with newspaper clippings dating ca. 1935 to 1945; various scrapbooks regarding films featuring Fontaine; and a scrapbook assembled by a fan including material from the 1920s to 1978.


Diaries and journals in the collection include bound datebooks of Fontaine, ranging from 1978 to 2013, not inclusive.

Notable Figures
1. Fontaine, Joan, 1917-2013
Associated Subjects
1. Women's Studies Collections -- Drama, Film, and Television Subject Guide
2. Theatre and Film Subject Guide
3. Helen Deutsch Research Section
4. Motion picture industry
5. Lecturers – United States
6. Lectures and lecturing
7. Audio cassettes
8. American literature -- Women authors
9. Actresses -- United States
10. Videotapes
11. Women authors, American
12. American literature--20th century
13. Scrapbooks
14. Theater
15. Photographs
16. Motion pictures