Debuting this week in the WGF exhibition cases at the WGAW Headquarters is a look at the life and legacy of screenwriter Mary McCall, Jr., the first woman president of the Screen Writers Guild. The exhibition traces McCall’s story from her college days as editor of the student newspaper at Vassar through to her early success as a novelist and her career as a screenwriter in the 1930s and 1940s on such movies as Craig’s Wife, Maisie, The Sullivans, and Dancing in the Dark.
The exhibition also shines a light on McCall’s commitment to fighting for the rights of Hollywood’s writers. Items on display include a ballot, photos and correspondence from the 1940s, when McCall was twice elected president of the SWG, and material from her controversial third term as president in 1951-52, at the height of the blacklisting era. The exhibition explores how McCall stood up to studio head Howard Hughes when he insisted on denying credit to a writer who had appeared as an unfriendly witness before HUAC, damaging her own career in the process.
Included in the exhibition are rare photographs and personal items on loan from the Mary McCall, Jr. family, as well as materials from the WGF Archives and the Margaret Herrick Library.