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Gish Film Theater Collection - MS 741

Gish Film Theater Collection:
Maidie Norman Papers

Record Group Six: Maidie Norman Scrapbooks

The Maidie Norman Record Group is comprised of three scrapbooks dating from 1913-1989. These scrapbooks largely document her acting career.

Maidie Norman was born in 1912 in Georgia. She spent most of her childhood and teen years in Lima, Ohio. She graduated from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, with a B.A. in Literature and Theater Arts. She also received a Master of Arts in Theater Arts from Columbia University.

Her film career included The Peanut Man, The Burning Cross, The Well, Torch Song, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Four for Texas, Man With a Gun, Airport 77, and Secrets of a Mother and Daughter. Her stage career included The Cradle Will Rock, Sugar Hill, A Raisin in the Sun, Deep are the Roots, and Andromache. She appeared on such radio shows as the Jack Benny Show, Amos and Andy, Beulah Show, Gildersleeve, Sear Mystery Theater and Dragnet. She also appeared in such television shows as Fireside Theater, Man from U.N.C.L.E., Young Dr. Kildare, Cannon, Mannix, Barnaby Jones, White Shadow, Ironside, Little House on the Prairie, and Hotel.

For Maidie Norman, her most important role was that of educator. When she received the Achievement Award from Bennett College in 1953, she was already well known, not only as an actress, but as a spokesperson at colleges throughout the nation. She had an immense knowledge of Black theater and literature and was very instrumental in developing one of the first Afro-American culture classes at UCLA. She also served as artist-in-residence at Stanford University, where she was the first to direct plays by Black authors. She was awarded several honors and was known for the dignity and artistry she gave to all of her stage, movie and television roles as well as for her promotion of Afro-American arts and education. Maidie Norman died May 2, 1998.

The first scrapbook in her collection, 1947-1988, provides details on her acting career. The motion picture, The Well, for which she received critical acclaim is discussed and critiqued. The rest of the scrapbook follows her career in film, stage and finally into television. The scrapbook was compiled by Lecil D. Wills, from the Archives of the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the A. C. Bilbrew Black Resource Center of the Los Angeles County Library.

The second scrapbook, starts in 1913, when Maidie was only six months old. This scrapbook discusses her overall life through the 1980s, and also documents her acting career. In addition, her time spent teaching at Stanford University and acting in the Stanford Repertory Theater is documented. This scrapbook was compiled by Maidie Norman.

The third scrapbook, 1929-1995, provides a chronological look at the awards Maidie Norman has received during her life. Two which are documented included the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame Award, 1977, and in 1995, she was honored by her home state by receiving an Ohioana Career Award. This scrapbook also depicts Maidie's interest in painting and quilting. This scrapbook was compiled by Maidie Norman.

Although these scrapbooks contain mostly newsclippings, programs and a few photographs, they do provide a look at the difficulties of an African American woman in the acting profession and despite these difficulties, Maidie Norman's many achievements.

Record Group Six: Maidie Norman Scrapbooks--Inventory

Maidie Norman Scrapbooks: Box 1

  1. Scrapbook #1, 1947-1988
  2. Scrapbook #2, 1913-1989
  3. Scrapbook #3, 1929-1995

Manuscripts by Subject | Arts & Entertainment | Miscellaneous Collections | Women's Studies Collections
MS 741: Introduction | Gish Film Theater Papers | Dorothy Gish Papers | Lillian Gish Papers
Jean Arthur Papers | Eva Marie Saint Papers | Maidie Norman Papers