Collection ID: LMC 2067
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Collection context


Weissberger, L. Arnold
The Weissberger mss., 1938-1949, consists primarily of correspondence and legal papers pertaining to the financial affairs of Orson Welles, 1915-1985, and Mercury Theatre, Inc., as handled by Welles' personal attorney, L. Arnold Weissberger, 1907-1981.
9.75 Linear Feet (3 boxes, 3 oversize)
Materials are in English .
Preferred citation:

[Item], Weissberger mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.


Scope and Content:

Correspondence primarily concerns the financial matters of Orson Welles and Mercury Theatre, Inc., including detailed accounts of Welles's tax difficulties with the IRS; as well as correspondence concerning the release of Citizen Kane and the threatened lawsuit by William Randolph Hearst. The Contracts, Agreements, Legal Papers series includes more records concerning Welles's tax problems; copies of contracts and agreements between Welles and RKO; other legal documents pertaining to Mercury Theatre; insurance policies for both Orson and Virginia Welles; and copies of Welles' birth certificate.

Correspondents include: Aaron Copland; Herbert Drake; John Houseman; Carlos L. Israels; Ruth Krauser; Jack Moss; Fleta Preston; George Schaefer; Augusta Weissberger; L. Arnold Weissberger; Orson Welles; and S. P. Williams.

The Photographs series consists primarily of theater productions and performers, as well as stills from the early Welles film Too Much Johnson (1938), which was rediscovered in 2013. The Printed series includes newspaper clippings mainly about Welles. Miscellaneous materials include an oversize folio containing summary film earnings for Citizen Kane, Sept. 1941-Jan. 1942.

Biographical / Historical:

L. Arnold Weissberger, 1907-1981, was personal attorney to Orson Welles. He was born in New York City and educated at the Ethical Culture School. He graduated from Harvard University in 1927 and received an LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1930. He was admitted to the New York State bar that year and went on to become an American theatrical lawyer whose clientele featured numerous celebrities from the stage and screen, including Welles. He was chairman of the board of Friends of the Theater and Music Collection of the Museum of the City of New York, chairman of the New Dramatists Inc., and president of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance before his death in 1981. Orson Welles delivered a eulogy at Weissberger's memorial service.

Acquisition information:
Acquired: 1996
Processing information:

Processed by Staff.

Completed in 2013


This collection is organized into the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Contracts, Agreements, Legal Papers; III. Photographs; IV. Printed; V. Miscellaneous.



This collection is open for research.


Prior arrangements are not necessary before coming to the Library. However, patrons from out of town are encouraged to communicate with the Library in advance of their visits to ascertain availability of materials.

Photocopying permitted only with permission of the curator.


[Item], Weissberger mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Indiana University Bloomington
1200 East Seventh Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-5500, USA
Indiana University Bloomington
(812) 855-2452