University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Ann Savage:

An Inventory of Her Papers at the Harry Ransom Center



Creator: Savage, Ann, 1921-2008
Title: Ann Savage Papers
Dates: 1943-2008, undated
Abstract: The Ann Savage Papers contain film stills, posters, photographs, moving images, lobby cards, screenplays, contracts, and personal papers belonging to film and television actress Ann Savage.
Call Number: Film Collection FI-066
Extent: 12 document boxes, 1 oversize folder (osf) (5 linear feet)
Language: English, printed material in Italian, French, German, Spanish, Czech, and Russian.
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center

Biographical Sketch

Ann Savage was born Bernice Maxine Lyon on February 19, 1921, in Columbia, South Carolina, to Hugh Lyon and Louise Carr Miller Lyon. When Savage was still a child, her family relocated to Los Angeles. Her first film role was as an extra in The Great Waltz (1938); this experience led her to drop out of school and pursue an acting career. Savage honed her craft with Max Reinhardt, an Austrian acting coach best known for his direction of Academy Award-winning A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935).

Savage signed with Columbia Pictures in 1942, and at this time she abandoned her given name in favor of a stage name. As a contract player during the early 1940s, Savage earned major roles in fifteen films, the majority of which were B-movies. These films spanned a variety of genres, including comedy (Dangerous Blondes, 1943), westerns (Saddles and Sagebrush, 1943), and musicals (Two SeƱoritas from Chicago, 1943).

In 1945, Savage appeared opposite Tom Neal in Detour, a low-budget film noir directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. Savage played Vera, an audacious, hard-drinking woman who was darker and less glamorous than Ann's previous femme fatale roles. Detour performed well in theaters, but it was not until almost 40 years later that the film began to receive both critical acclaim and a cult status among viewers. In 1992, the Library of Congress selected Detour for inclusion in the United States National Film Registry; it was the first film noir to be chosen for preservation.

Savage's film career continued until she moved to New York with her husband, Bert D'Armand, in the late 1950s. Though she appeared in several television roles and commercials in the 1950s and 1960s, Savage soon withdrew from the entertainment community almost entirely. She became an avid pilot; after her husband's death in 1969, she took odd jobs to finance her flying lessons. After Detour's critical resurgence in the 1980s, Savage began attending film festivals and events. Her final role was in Guy Maddin's film My Winnipeg (2007). Savage died in Los Angeles on December 25, 2008.


Scope and Contents

The Ann Savage Papers include film stills, posters, photographs, moving images, lobby cards, screenplays, contracts, correspondence, clippings, bound volumes, magazines, printed material, maps, itineraries, guidebooks, and tickets from the life and film career of the actress Ann Savage. Twelve boxes of material are arranged in two series: I. Film and Television, 1943-1955; and II. Career and Personal Papers, 1943-2008, undated.

Series I: Film and Television materials are arranged alphabetically by title. These materials span the most prolific time in Savage's career, from her first major role in a film (One Dangerous Night, 1943) through the television roles she took later in life. The lobby cards, film stills, and posters included in this series provide insight into how B-movies were advertised and illustrate the variety of film genres that Savage encountered during her career. This series contains posters, which were separated to an oversize file folder, as well as moving image materials, which were were moved to the Film Collection.

Series II: Career and Personal Papers makes up the bulk of the collection. It is arranged into five subseries: A. Aviation Materials, 1970-1998, undated; B. Correspondence, 1968-circa 2000s, undated; C. Photographs, 1943-2007, undated; D. Publicity, 1944-2008, undated; and E. Travel, 1962-1966, undated.

Subseries A. Aviation Materials is arranged alphabetically by material type, and documents Savage's interest in flying. Savage's participation in associated organizations, such as the Ninety-Nines International Organization of Women Pilots, is also highlighted. Several VHS tapes on aviation were removed and transferred to the Film Department.

Documentation of Savage's interest in aviation continues in Subseries B: Correspondence. When the Ninety-Nines began a fundraising campaign to construct a museum dedicated to the history of female pilots at their headquarters in Oklahoma City, Savage gave generously and received frequent updates on planning and construction.

The bulk of the correspondence in the papers is mail from Savage's fans, who wrote from the United States and abroad to compliment her work and request signatures, photographs, and other mementos. This material dates from much later in Savage's career, and its bulk can perhaps be attributed to Detour's increased popularity in the 1980s and 1990s. Several items of fan mail include Savage's photocopied responses.

The small amount of personal correspondence included in this subseries gives insight into Savage's personal relationships with friends and family, and documents her life in both New York and Miami.

Subseries C. Photographs is arranged alphabetically by topic and includes work by some of Hollywood's top entertainment photographers, including George Hurrell and A.L. "Whitey" Schafer. These photographs depict an expansive range of characters, from seductive pin-up to polished fashion model. As a contract-player for Columbia, Savage was an avid participant in several War Bonds Tours and this subseries incudes promotional photography documenting her travels across the United States.

Promotional and press materials, arranged alphabetically on an item level, can be found in Subseries D: Publicity. Early publicity materials shed light on the way Columbia marketed its young actresses. Included in the publicity materials are several copies of a 2007 issue of Time magazine that named Vera, Savage's character in Detour, one of the "10 All-Time Best Movie Villains."

Subseries E: Travel documents various international trips that Savage took with her husband, Bert D'Armand, to Europe, Russia, Scandinavia, and Africa from 1962 to 1966. Arranged alphabetically by topic, this subseries includes hotel bills, itineraries, guidebooks, maps, magazines, postcards, and tickets in a variety of languages from around the world.


Restrictions

Access:

Open for research

The Ann Savage Papers contain documents from which personal information has been redacted to protect an individual's privacy. Examples include Social Security and bank account numbers. The originals were removed and replaced with redacted photocopies.


Index Terms

People
Savage, Ann, 1921-2008
Subjects
Actors -- United States -- 20th Century
Motion Pictures -- American
Document Types
Correspondence
Contracts
Film Scripts
Film Stills
Newsletters
Photographs
Posters

Separated Material

Several types of moving image material are present in the collection. Savage's films, as well as VHS tapes on aviation, have been transferred to the Film Collection.


Administrative Information

Acquisition:

Purchases, 2008-2009 (08-09-009-P, 09-04-005-P)

Processed by:

Shannon Hildenbrand, 2012


Sources:

In addition to material found within the Ann Savage papers, the following sources were used:

Morton, Lisa, and Kent Adamson. Savage Detours: The Life and Work of Ann Savage. Jefferson, N.C.: MacFarland & Co., 2010.


Container List

Series I. Film and Television, 1943-1955

After Midnight with Boston Blackie (1943)
Container
osf Poster, 1943
Container
* Moving images, 1943 (*separated to Film Collection)
Dancing in Manhattan (1944)
Container
1.1 Lobby Cards, stills, 1944
Container
osf Poster, 1944
Dangerous Blondes (1943)
Container
1.2 Lobby Cards, stills, 1943
Container
osf Poster, 1943
The Dark Horse (1946)
Container
1.3 Lobby Cards, stills, 1946
Container
osf Poster, 1946
Detour (1945)
Container
1.4 Script with Savage's annotations, 1945
Container
1.5 Color copy of contract, stills, 1945
Container
* Moving images, 1945 (*separated to Film Collection)
Ever Since Venus (1944)
Container
1.6 Lobby Cards, stills, 1944
Container
osf Poster, 1944
Container
* The Ford Television Theatre (1955), moving images, 1955 (*separated to Film Collection)
Jungle Flight (1946)
Container
1.7 Lobby Cards, stills, 1946
Container
osf Poster, 1946
Klondike Kate (1943)
Container
1.8 Stills, 1943
Container
osf Poster (Argentinian release), 1943
Last Crooked Mile (1946)
Container
1.9 Lobby Cards, stills, 1946
Container
osf Poster, 1946
Container
1.10 One Dangerous Night (1943), lobby card, stills, 1943
Pier 23 (1951)
Container
1.11 Lobby Cards, stills, 1951
Container
osf Poster, 1951
Container
* Moving images, 1951 (*separated to Film Collection)
Container
1.12 Pygmy Island (1950), lobby cards, 1950
Container
* Renegade Girl (1946), moving images, 1946 (*separated to Film Collection)
Saddles and Sagebrush (1943)
Container
1.13 Lobby cards, stills, 1943
Container
* Moving images, 1943 (*separated to Film Collection)
Scared Stiff (1945)
Container
1.14 Lobby cards, stills, 1945
Container
osf Poster, 1945
Container
1.15 The Spider (1945), still, 1945
Container
1.16 Two-Man Submarine (1944), stills, 1944
Container
1.17 The Unwritten Code (1944), stills, 1944



Series II. Career and Personal Papers 1943-2008, undated

Subseries A: Aviation Materials, 1970-2004, undated
Container
2.1-4 Aeronautical charts, 1972-1995, undated
Bound volumes
Container
2.4-4.3 Manuals and pamphlets on flying instruction, 1970-1999
Container
4.4 Spiral bound notebook, undated
Container
* Films on aviation and airspace, 1992-1998 (*moved to Film Collection)
Container
4.5 Instruments, undated
Container
4.6 Medical and insurance information, 1985-1995, undated
Magazines and Newsletters
Container
5.1 International Women Pilots magazine 1995-2004
Container
5.2-4 The Ninety-Nines Membership directory, 1993-1996
Container
5.5 Sporty's Pilot Shop and Woman Pilot, 1994-1996
Container
5.6 Printed material: bill for flying lesson, clippings, membership card, pamphlet, stickers, 1994, 1996, undated
Subseries B: Correspondence, 1968-circa 2000s, undated
Container
5.7 Correspondence related to aviation, 1994-1997
Container
6.1-10.1 Fan mail, circa 1990s-2000s
Container
10.2 Personal correspondence, 1968-2002, undated
Subseries C: Photographs, 1943-2007, undated
Container
10.3 Fashion photographs, undated
Container
10.4 Glamour photographs, undated
Container
10.5 Hurrell Girls postcards and mounted photograph, 1943, undated
Container
10.6 Personal photographs, 1974, 2007, undated
Container
10.7 Pinup photographs, undated
Container
10.8 World War II War Bond Tour photographs, undated
Subseries D: Publicity, 1944-2008, undated
Container
10.9 Esquire, March 1944
Container
10.10 Esquire Datebook, 1945
Container
10.11 Time, two copies, 7 May 2007
Container
10.12 Event programs, funeral programs, drawings, stationary, 1998-2008
Subseries E: Travel, 1962-1966, undated
Container
10.13 Hotel bills, 1965-1966, undated
Container
10.14 Itineraries, undated
Container
10.15 Guidebooks, 1965-1966, undated
Container
11.1-2 Magazines and clippings, 1962-1966, undated
Container
11.3-12.4 Maps, undated
Container
12.5 Postcards, undated
Container
12.6 Tickets, 1964-1966, undated
Container
12.7 Printed material: Savage's international driving permit, pamphlets, ship passenger list, 1962-1966