Campus Life

University of Michigan gets unpublished Orson Welles scripts

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Orson Welles’ daughter has given the University of Michigan dozens of the renowned filmmaker’s scripts, including many unpublished works from the 1950s and 1960s.

The more than 70 TV, film and stage scripts have been added to the University of Michigan Library’s Screen Arts Mavericks & Makers collection, an archive highlighting visionaries in the independent film genre.

“We have the largest collection of Orson Welles archival papers already, but this is a period we didn’t have as much from,” collection curator Philip Hallman said of the items given by Beatrice Welles. “This is a great puzzle piece that sort of finishes the puzzle.”

Beatrice said the materials she gave will complement the large archive Michigan already has.

“Part of my job is to protect my father’s legacy and to leave this information in good hands,” she said. “I also think it is important to try to keep his things together — since he lived and traveled all over the world, so many of these items were never in one place at any point in his life.”

Along with scripts, the collection given by Beatrice Welles includes scrapbook and news clippings, family photographs, letters and telegrams.

Orson Welles, who died in 1985, is remembered for his radio and film work, including his 1938 broadcast of H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds” and 1941 film “Citizen Kane.”

Beatrice Welles said she wanted to bring to life the idea that students could learn from his work despite her father being anti-establishment.

“My father was very anti-establishment, so I didn’t spend my days in school. I was with my parents 24/7 — we were inseparable, and we really lived our lives around his creative schedule,” she said. “Something that a lot of people don’t know about him is that he was always creating, always curious, always onto a new idea.”

Hallman said it will take several months to process the materials before they become publicly available.
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