Ward Harrison Kentucky Celebrity Collection

Accessions: 2004-059, 2007-127
Extent: 2.5 linear feet
Restrictions: None.
Copyright: Copyright has not been transferred to the University of Louisville.

Biography of Ward Harrison

Warder Harrison was born in Winchester, Kentucky in 1933 but spent his childhood years in Louisville. For some twenty-five years he lived in the Los Angeles, California area where he pursued an interest in stage, movie and other celebrities with Kentucky roots. For a period, he rummaged through the trash of Hollywood stars in search of historical documentation and collectors' items. He returned to the Louisville area in 1981 and some years later began the formal process of pursuing his research interest culminating in his I Didn’t Know That: Kentucky’s Ties to Stage and Screen (1994) and his four volume, loosely-bound Kentucky Ties of the Stage and Screen (ca. 2000). In 2004, Harrison donated photocopies of his bio sketches, related correspondence, other writings, and photographic images, as well as extensive original clippings related to his research to the University Archives. One file of his original clippings focuses on Tom Cruise's career; all the clippings were drawn from both tabloid and main stream publications. Six Million Dollar Man and Tarzan comic books -- the character having been played by Kentuckian Lee Majors -- are also found.

Brief Description of the Collection

The papers date from 1917 to 2002, and include newspaper and magazine clippings, scrapbooks, programs, movie posters, and photographs.

Box Contents List

Box 1

  • Harrison, Warder - Kentucky Ties of the Stage and Screen (ca. 2000): 4 vols., loose-leaf, photocopy (includes bio sketch of and introduction by Harrison)
  • Harrison Research Correspondence (includes letters from fifty-five subjects with Kentucky roots and their families; alphabetical list included)
  • Published images of subjects, mostly alphabetically arranged (Studio photos, a few magazine articles, and a few cameo postcards)
  • Studio Photos of Subjects (Color photocopies; some signed)
  • Harrison articles written for Kentucky Explorer Magazine, 1995-1998 (photocopies)
  • Miscellaneous clippings, 1978, ca. 1998-2002 and undated (no order)
  • Tom Cruise related clippings, ca. 1992-2002, and undated (includes photocopy of 1955 UofL Thoroughbred of Cruise's mother and a 1989 snapshot of a Cruise movie billboard on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles) (no order)
  • Six Million Dollar Man comic book, September, 1976, Vol. 1, no. 2

Box 2

  • Bluegrass Theater
  • History of Renfro Valley, 1962
  • Correspondence Concerning Kentucky actor Rags Ragland
  • Death of Mrs. Robert Worth Bingham news articles, 1917
  • Robert Worth Bingham news articles, 1920s
  • Kentucky Heritage Magazine, 1977
  • Derby Dance at Seelbach Hotel advertisement, 1944
  • The Playhouse program, 1933
  • McCauley’s Theater program, 1924
  • Letters written to theater celebrities by Kentuckians 1950s-1980s (Ann Miller, Johnny Green, Barbara Streisand, James Stewart, Irene Dunne, Rock Hudson, Robert Wagner, Fred MacMurray, Rosemary Clooney)
  • Louisville theater and dance group programs, 1960s - 1970s
  • Louisville Community Concert Association programs, 1938-1951
  • Lilias Courtney School of Dance Programs, 1940, 1945, 1947, 1953
  • Iroquois Amphitheater programs, 1941-1961
  • Miss Louisville Scrapbook from Miss America Pageant 1926
  • George Clooney Memorabilia
  • Victor Mature & Irene Dunne Era Sheet Music
  • 33-1/3 Billy Vaughn record, 1940s
  • Ribbon to Grauman's Premiere of "The Rogue Song" Starring Louisvillian Catherine Dale Owen, 1929
  • TV Guide Diane Sawyer, 1990s
  • Daisy Seelbach to a Mr. Blakey, undated, with article on The Great Gatsby (1987?) and research on Seelbach Family
  • Victor Mature & Hedy Lamarr in Samson & Delilah advertisement, undated
  • The Guignol Theater program, 1942
  • "I Lost my Love in the Ohio Flood" sheet music, 1937
  • Tarzan (3) and Six Million Dollar Man (1) comic books, 1976
  • Clark County School graduation programs and Guide to Lincoln Historical Park, Hodgenville, KY, 1960s-1970s

Box 3

  • WHAS Radio scrapbook (flat box), 1930s-1940s

Box 4

  • Santa Barbara TV soap opera scrapbook (flat box), late 1980s

Oversized items

  • Movie Poster: Coal Miner's Daughter (Loretta Lynn)
  • Movie Poster: Far and Away (Tom Cruise)
  • 1975 Movie Poster: Born to Kill (Warren Oates)
  • 1978 Movie Poster: Harper Valley PTA (Tom T. Hall)