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COLLECTION Identifier: A-94

Papers of Josephine Hull, 1871-1957


Correspondence, diaries, photographs, etc., of Josephine (Sherwood) Hull, stage and screen actress.


  • Creation: 1871-1957

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Josephine Hull as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


3.34 linear feet ((8 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder, 1 folio folder, 21 photograph folders)

This collection consists of personal and professional papers and photographs documenting Josephine Hull's long and successful career.

Series I, Family and biographical, contains some family papers, diaries of both Hull and of her mother, Mary Tewksbury Sherwood, and Hull's correspondence with friends and family. The diaries contain short entries, recording visitors, trips, and daily activities. The correspondence contains some letters from Hull, but is made up primarily of letters to her from friends and associates; many speak of the pleasure that her performances have brought them. This series also includes the transcript of a radio interview with Hull and programs of events at which Hull was guest of honor or was given an award.

Series II, Professional papers, consists of scripts, programs, publicity, and contracts spanning the years of Hull's acting career. There are also a few records of two organizations with which she was affiliated, and scrapbooks of reviews and programs of plays in which either she or Shelley Hull appeared. The Cambridge productions in which she appeared before and after her graduation from Radcliffe College are represented by scripts and programs dating from 1897 through 1901.

Series III, Photographs, includes family pictures, portraits of Hull, and photographs tracing her professional career and other activities.


Josephine Sherwood Hull, stage and screen actress, was born Mary Josephine Sherwood in Newtonville, Massachusetts. Although she never divulged the exact date of her birth, on the basis of Radcliffe College entrance examination records it seems likely that she was born on January 3, 1877. In 1910 she married Shelley Hull, a young actor who died nine years later from influenza. Hull died on March 12, 1957, in New York City. For detailed accounts of her life, see Dictionary of American Biography, 1956-1960, and Dear Josephine, the Theatrical Career of Josephine Hull (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963) by William Glasgow Bruce Carson.


The collection is arranged in three series:

  1. I. Family and biographical
  2. II. Professional papers
  3. III. Photographs

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 368, 614, 79-M290, 87-M147

The papers of Josephine Sherwood Hull were given to the Schlesinger Library in November 1960, July 1963, December 1979, and September 1987 by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Turner. Charles Turner, Josphine Hull's nephew and attorney-in-fact, had donated some of Hull's possessions and papers to the Radcliffe Alumnae Association in 1957. Costumes and other material were given to the "Dramatic Association" and to the Harvard Theatre Collection; the remaining papers came to the Schlesinger Library in 1960. A separate collection of letters was transferred to the library in 1979 from the Radcliffe College Archives.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Papers of Josephine Hull, 1899-1960 (MC 371) and Papers of Josephine Hull, 1898-1954 (MC 372.).


  1. Box 1: Folders 1-19v
  2. Box 2: Folders 20v-26a
  3. Box 3: Folders 27-35
  4. Box 4: Folders 36-48
  5. Box 5: Folders 49-60
  6. Box 6: Folders 61-73v
  7. Box 7: Folders 74-86v
  8. Box 8: Folders 87-114+

Processing Information

Reprocessed: April 1984

By: Anne Engelhart

Hull, Josephine, 1877-1957. Papers of Josephine Hull, 1871-1957: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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