A Preliminary Inventory of Her Collection at the Harry Ransom Center
The materials of the Ruth Ford Collection provide a broad view of the career and life of the successful model and stage and film actor.
Close to thirty letters and postcards (1946-1991) from Elaine Steinbeck reveal an intimate and long friendship, with three of the letters written when Elaine was married to Zachary Scott. After Ford married Zachary Scott in 1952, Elaine Steinbeck (who divorced Scott in 1949 and married Steinbeck in 1950) wrote, "We've been friends for so long—but I never knew that one day we'd be related. It's a funny feeling, I have to say that to be honest, but it is one I am beginning to like very much. . . . Of course my first reaction was and is the wish for your and Zack's happiness. I wish it with all my heart. I don't see how it could be otherwise." One letter (1947) is from Zachary Scott to Ford.
Ruth Ford's reading and rehearsal copies of the script for Paul Bowles' No Exit (1946) are annotated in pencil, showing changes as Ford prepared for the role of Estelle. These changes provide evidence that director John Huston made changes against the wishes of Jean-Paul Sartre and Bowles. Related to this Ford performance are telegrams and letters offering congratulations on her opening night performance, including some from contemporary notables such as Gloria Safier, Mel Dinelli, Eustace Seligman, and Claude Dauphin. Also present is an original Biltmore Theatre playbill.
In addition, the collection includes a small amount of material from Fleur Cowles to Ruth Ford consisting of eighteen letters, cards, and telegrams (1968-1990), along with clippings, brochures, and various invitations to events honoring Cowles. Also present are four letters (1944-1969?) from Henry Miller to Ruth Ford, with a flyer for a Miller celebration event.
The Ruth Ford collection is made up of four 2010 acquisitions. Each acquisition contains some correspondence which has been arranged chronologically. Although the telegrams are on acidic and fragile paper, all of the materials are in relatively good condition.
Open for research
Purchases, 2010 (2010-02-05-P; 2010-02-07-P); Gifts, 2010 (2010-03-02-G; 2010-03-07-G)
Stephen Cooper, 2010