Ramon Novarro was not the only Hollywood star to visit the Clark Library and sign the guest book — Mr. Clark’s guest book provides some interesting corroborating evidence about his friendship with actress Marie Dressler. There are two very friendly letters from Dressler to Mr. Clark in our institutional archive – one a condolence letter on the death of Clark’s wife Alice in 1918 and the other to thank Clark for sending flowers on her birthday in 1933. Now we know that Dressler also visited the Clark Library in 1927 and brought along her friend, the screenwriter Frances Marion.
The screenwriter of many of Mary Pickford’s biggest hits (and her best friend), Marion was also responsible for helping to rebuild Dressler’s Hollywood career in the late 1920s. She was a powerful and intelligent force in Hollywood throughout the silent period and beyond and would likely have found much to admire and appreciate about Mr. Clark’s library building and its contents.
These ladies’ names jumped out at me right away because of my academic background in film history (especially because I know and once worked for Marion’s biographer Cari Beauchamp), and I am sure that those with other areas of expertise are likely to react the same way to other names in the guest book.
If you have any insights or information about the other folks that visited the Clark in late 1927, please leave a comment below or let us know on Facebook or Twitter! We recognize a couple of names (Mrs. Mars F. Baumgardt, near the bottom, was the wife of Mr. Clark’s astronomer), but if there is anyone here that you know (or feel like researching), we would love your help.
(and by the way, just in case you are interested, Without Lying Down, the feature-length documentary on Frances Marion based on Cari Beauchamp’s biography of the same name will be will be airing tomorrow April 25th on Turner Classic Movies, alongside several films written by Frances)