Rob Wagner’s Script Archive

Rob Wagner was the editor and publisher of Rob Wagner’s Script, a literary film magazine published in Beverly Hills, Calif., from 1929 to 1947. The magazine was sold by Wagner’s widow, Florence Wagner, in 1947 and continued publishing until 1949. Wagner founded Script on socialist principles. He refused national advertising and did not pay his writers to maintain the artistic integrity of the publication. Wagner’s son, Leicester Wagner, a veteran newspaperman, served as news editor from 1929-1931 and 1942-1947. In addition to film reviews and news and gossip on the film industry, the magazine reported on labor issues, the Soviet Union and advocated an antiwar position prior to America’s entry into World War II. Script maintained a strong progressive position throughout its existence. Among the writers regularly contributing to Script were: Edgar Rice Burroughs, William deMille, William Saroyan, Ray Bradbury, Louis L’Amour, Dalton Trumbo and Upton Sinclair. Actors contributing to Script included Ana May Wong, Gloria Swanson, William S. Hart, Charlie Chaplin, Eddie Cantor and Hobart Bosworth. Artists regularly contributing columns and art reviews included Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Leo Politi and Buckley MacGurrin.

A history of Rob Wagner’s Script can be found in the book, Hollywood Bohemia: The Roots of Progressive Politics in Rob Wagner’s Script (Janaway Publishing, 2016). It’s available on Amazon.com. There is also a history of the magazine on Wikipedia.

Available for viewing below are letters, correspondence, ephemera and photographs of Rob, Leicester and Florence Wagner dating from about 1913 to 1949. All material is available for copying and publishing. All letters, correspondence and ephemera must be credited to: “Rob Wagner Papers, 1925 to 1942, UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.” All photographs must be credited to the “Rob Leicester Wagner Collection.”

A NOTE ABOUT THE COLLECTION: The archive contains a sampling of published articles of Script. Most of the collection consists of letters, correspondence and photographs that provide insight in the magazine’s editorial policies and Rob, Leicester and Florence Wagner’s progressive politics. The material also sheds light on the Wagners’ relationship with Upton Sinclair and individuals in the film industry. There is also an extensive collection of United States Justice Department files focusing on Rob Wagner’s antiwar and alleged pro-German activities in 1918-1919, his appearance before the Los Angeles County Grand Jury on sedition allegations and Justice Department surveillance of Wagner and Charlie Chaplin during the Liberty Bond tour in April 1918. Material also includes the identities of informants who provided information on Wagner to the Justice Department.

Correspondence, documents and photographs include: Charlie Chaplin, Sydney Chaplin, Upton Sinclair, William C. deMille, Rupert Hughes, Frank Lloyd Wright, Frederic March, Jean Harlow, Walter Huston, Carl Laemmle Jr., Harold Lloyd, Gloria Swanson, Fred Niblo, J. Neil Hamilton, Jack London, Lawrence Tibbett, Charles Ashleigh, Frank Capra, Will Rogers, Hal Roach, Aldophe Menjou, Nora Sterry, Ruth Sterry and Elmer Wachtel among others.

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