The Celluloid Void Project: A Compendium of Female Screenwriters, 1900–1950

May 12, 2019

 

When I started The Celluloid Void, I didn't really know exactly what I wanted it to be… I wanted to focus on women working in the film industry, but at first, I primarily used it as a place to house reviews and lists related to more modern films. As I found myself doing more research for pieces on early cinema, however, I began to realize how little had been written on many of the oldest women cinematographers, editors, directors, and—the subject of today's post—screenwriters.

 

Inspired by Columbia's Women Film Pioneers Project, I began keeping a list of women who didn't have Wikipedia entries of their own, and I started my research. Before I knew it, I had dug into the fascinating lives of hundreds of inspiring, independent, free-spirited women who pursued a career in a young medium full of possibility. The women you'll see on this ongoing list were true risk takers in every sense of the word… In their free time, they were into racing cars, flying planes, breaking social taboos, and helping define the language of film as we know it today. 

 

The list is ordered by birth year, starting with the oldest women of the bunch and working its way up to women working in the industry today. I've included a brief sentence for each woman, but you can click through each link to see her full Wikipedia entry. Of course, all research is ongoing, and I'm always looking for new things to add. Psst: If you're interested in contributing to the project you can find my ongoing list of women without Wikipedia pages here. Happy to answer any questions you might have about getting started!

 

⭐ = TCV-created Wiki

^ = Wikipedia page was not started by me

* = No Wikipedia page exists (yet!)

[W] = Link to WFFP page

 

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1860–

 

Alicia Ramsey (1864–1933) ^ 🇬🇧

Elinor Glyn (1865–1943) ^ 🇬🇧

Emilie Johnson (1867–1941) ^ 🇺🇸

Julia Crawford Ivers (1869–1930) ^ [W] 🇺🇸

Concha Espina (1869–1955) ^ 🇪🇸

 

1870–

 

Constance Crawley (1870–1919) ^ 🇬🇧

Leonora Ainsworth (1871–1939) ^ 🇺🇸

B.M. Bower (1871–1940) ^ 🇺🇸

Luise del Zopp (1871–??) ^ 🇩🇪

Agnes Gavin (1871–1947) ^ 🇦🇺

Maibelle Heikes Justice (1871–1926) ^ 🇺🇸

Gertrud David (1872–1935) ^ 🇩🇪

Karin Michaëlis (1872–1950) ^ 🇩🇰

Mary H. O'Connor (1872–1959) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Margaret Turnbull (1872–1942) ^ 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Luise Fleck (1873–1950) ^ 🇦🇹

Eugenie Magnus Ingleton (1873–1936) ^ 🇬🇧

Evelyn Campbell (1874–1961) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Emma Bell Clifton (1874–1922) ^ 🇺🇸

Luise Heilborn-Korbitz (1874–1961) ^ 🇩🇪

Katharine Kavanaugh (1874–1942) 🇺🇸 ⭐

G. Marion Burton (1875–??) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Marion Fairfax (1875–1970) ^ 🇺🇸

Fanny Hatton (1875–1939) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Ida May Park (1875–1954) ^ [W] 🇺🇸

Beta Breuil (1876–??) ^ [W] 🇺🇸

Lillian Case Russell (1876–1947) ^ [W] 🇺🇸

Beulah Marie Dix (1876–1970) ^ 🇺🇸

Josephine Lovett (1877–1958) ^ [W] 🇺🇸

Elsa Bassermann (1878–1961) ^ 🇩🇪

Berta Ruck (1878–1978) ^ 🇵🇰

Alice Eyton (1879–1929) 🇳🇿 ⭐

Eve Unsell (1879–1937) ^ [W] 🇺🇸

 

1880–

 

Catherine Carr (1880–1941) ^ 🇺🇸

Julie Herne (1880–1955) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Edith Kennedy (1880–??) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Louella Parsons (1881–1972) ^ 🇺🇸

Iva Raffay (1881–??)* 🇨🇿

Katherine S. Reed (1881–1922) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Sada Cowan (1882–1943) ^ [W] 🇺🇸

Gertrude Thanhauser (1882–1951) ^ 🇺🇸

Ada van der Roon (1882–??)* 🇩🇪

Leah Baird (1883–1971) ^ [W] 🇺🇸

Pearl Doles Bell (1883–1968) ^ 🇺🇸

Cleo Madison (1883–1964) ^ 🇺🇸

Florence Wagner (1883–1971) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Hanna Henning (1884–1925) ^ 🇩🇪

Jane Murfin (1884–1955) ^ [W] 🇺🇸

Olga Petrova (1884–1977) ^ [W] 🇬🇧

Rosa Porten (1884–1972) ^ [W] 🇩🇪

Ester Julin (1885–1931)* 🇸🇪

Gene Gauntier (1885–1966) ^ [W] 🇺🇸

Mary O'Hara (1885–1980) ^ 🇺🇸

Josephine Rector (1885–1958) ^ [W] 🇺🇸

Rita Weiman (1885–1954) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Zoe Akins (1886–1958) ^ 🇺🇸

Ruth Ann Baldwin (1886–??) ^ [W] 🇺🇸

Clara Beranger (1886–1956) ^ [W] 🇺🇸

Ouida Bergère (1886–1974) ^ [W] 🇪🇸

Becky Gardiner (1886–??) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Ruth Goetz (1886–1965) [W] ⭐

Louise Long (1886–1966) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Lorna Moon (1886–1930) ^ [W] 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Hedda Vernon (1886–1925) ^ 🇩🇪

Mildred Considine (1887–1933) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Enid Lorimer (1887–1982) ^ [W] 🇬🇧

June Mathis (1887–1927) ^ [W] 🇺🇸

Anne Merwin (1887–1962) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Anna Sedlácková (1887–1967)* 🇨🇿

Christa Winsloe (1887–1944) ^ 🇩🇪

Stina Bergman (1888–1976) ^ 🇸🇪

Sonya Levien (1888–1960) ^ [W] 🇷🇺

Frances Marion (1888–1973) ^ [W] 🇺🇸

Mary Murillo (1888–1944) ^ [W] 🇬🇧

Thea van Harbou (1888–1954) ^ [W] 🇩🇪

Donna Barrell (1889–1941) ⭐ 🇺🇸

Marguerite Bertsch (1889–1967) ^ 🇺🇸

Ethel Doherty (1889–1974) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Edith Fitzgerald (1889–1968) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Enid Hibbard (1889–1960) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Anita Loos (1889–1981) ^ [W] 🇺🇸

Madeline Matzen (1889–1947) 🇩🇪 ⭐

Jeanne Rocques (1889–1957) ^ [W] 🇫🇷

 

1890–

 

Viola Brothers Shore (1890–1970) ^

Marie Luise Droop (1890–1959) ^

Frances Guihan (1890–1951) ⭐

Rosina Henley (1890–1978) ⭐

Bess Meredyth (1890–1969) ^ [W]

Elsie Van Name (1890–1934) ⭐

Frances Agnew (1891–1967) ⭐

Evanne Blasdale (1891–1971)* 🇺🇸

Gertrude Orr (1891–1971) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Olga Printzlau (1891–1962) ^

Fatma Begum (1892–1983) ^

Olive Cooper (1892–1987) ⭐

Anne Morrison Chapin (1892–1967) ⭐

Adelaide Heilbron (1892–1974) ⭐

Margarete-Maria Langen (1892–??)* 🇩🇪

Fern Andra (1893–1974) ^

Agnes Brand Leahy (1893–1934) ⭐

Mimi Derba (1893–1953) ^

Mabel Normand (1892–1930) ^ [W]

Madeleine Ruthven (1893–1978)

Jane Bess (1892–??) ^

Hope Loring (1894–1959) ^

Alice D. G. Miller (1894–1985) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Margarita Robles (1894–1989) ⭐

Jane Storm (1894–1982) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Nan Blair (1895–1944) ⭐

Nathalie Bucknall (1895–1959) ⭐

Betty Burbridge (1895–1987) ^ 🇺🇸

Dorothy Davenport (1895–1977) ^

Ellen Fechner (1895–1951) ^

Rose Franken (1895–1988) ^

Eva Limiñana (1895–1953) ^

Gertrude M. Purcell (1895–1963) ⭐
Marian Ainslee (1896–1966) ⭐

Zoya Barantsevich (1896–1952)* 🇷🇺

Violet Clark (1896–1974) ⭐

Lenore Coffee (1896–1984) ^ [W]

Agnes Christine Johnston (1896–1978) ^

Charlotte Hagenbruch (1896–1968) ^

Sarah Y. Mason (1896–1980) ^

Hella Moja (1896–1951, Germany) ^

Leota Morgan (1896–??) ⭐

Elizabeth Pickett Chevalier (1896–1984) ^ [W]

Doris Anderson (1897–1971) ⭐

Dorothy Arzner (1897–1979) ^ [W]

Beatrice Banyard (1897–1968) ⭐

Ethel B. Borden (1897–1953) ⭐

Billie Bristow (1897–1981) ⭐

Marion Davies (1897–1961) ^

Isabel Dawn (1897–1966) ⭐

Rose Caylor (1898–1979) ⭐

Winifred Dunn (1898–??) ^
Isabel Johnston (1898–1981) ⭐

Ilse Lotz-Dupont (1898–1968)* 🇩🇪

Gladys Atwater (1899–1988) 🇺🇸 ⭐
Gertrude Berg (1899–1966) ^

Vera Caspary (1899–1987) ^

Dorothy Howell (1899–1971) ⭐

Mary Eunice McCarthy (1899–1969) ⭐

Alice O'Fredericks (1899–1968) ^ 🇸🇪

Marian Spitzer (1899–1983) ⭐

Irma von Cube (1899–1977) ^

 

1900– 

 

Adele Buffington (1900–1973) ^

Peggy O'Day (1900–1964) ⭐

Marion Orth (1900–1984) ⭐

Brenda Weisberg (1900–1996) ⭐

Marian Constance Blackton (1901–1993) [W]

Elizabeth "Betty" Hill (1901–1978) ⭐

Doris Malloy (1901–1955) ⭐
Katherine Albert (1902–1970) ⭐

Bebe Daniels (1901–1971) ^

Laura Kerr (1902–1991) ⭐

Mary Alice Scully (1902–1978) ⭐

Virginia Van Upp (1902–1970) ^

Dorcas Cochran (1903–1991) ^

Vina Delmar (1903–1990) ^

Frances Hyland (1903–??) ⭐

Karen DeWolf (1904–1989) ⭐

Jean Jay (1904–1983)* 🇬🇧

Juliane Kay (1904–1968)*

Ethel La Blanche (1904–1992) ⭐

Peggy Montgomery (1904–1989) ^ 🇺🇸

Marion Dix (1904–1992) ⭐

Lillian Hellman (1905–1984) ^

Marguerite Roberts (1905–1989) ^
Elaine Ryan (1905–1981) ⭐

Tess Schlesinger (1905–1945) ^

Hilda Stone (1905–1992) ⭐

Helen Deutsch (1906–1992) ^

Eve Greene (1906–1997) ⭐

Helen Logan (1906–1989) ⭐

Luci Ward (1907–1969) ⭐

Virginia Kellogg (1907–1981) ⭐

Sylvia Thalberg (1907–1988) ⭐

Ruth Goetz (1908–2001)*

Patricia Harper (1908–??) ⭐

Muriel Roy Bolton (1908–1983) ⭐

Diana Morgan (1908–1996) ^ 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Kay Van Riper (1908–1948) ⭐

Decla Dunning (1909–1984)* 🇺🇸

Elizabeth Reinhardt (1909–1954) ⭐

 

1910–

 

Elizabeth Baron (1910–???) ⭐ 🇦🇺

Gertrude Walker (1910–1994) ⭐

Dorothy Cooper (1911–2004) ⭐

Grete Frische (1911–1962) ^ 🇩🇰

Cecile Kramer (1911–1999) ⭐
Therese Lewis (1911–1984) ⭐

Maria Basaglia (1912–1998) ^ 🇮🇹

Susana C. de Guzman (1912–1992)* 🇵🇭

Ruth Goetz (1912–2001) ^

Martha Sandwall-Bergström (1913–2000)* 🇸🇪

Thelma Robinson (1913–1965) ⭐

Johanna Sibelius (1913–1970) ^ 🇩🇪

Edna Anhalt (1914–1987) ^

Marguerite Duras (1914–1996) ^ 🇫🇷

Doris Gilbert (1914–1993) ⭐

Leigh Brackett (1915–1978) ^

Frances Kavanaugh (1915–2009) ⭐

Vy Russell (1915–1998) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Lois Hire (1916–2006) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Betty Comden (1917–2006) ^

Elena Garro (1917–1998)* 🇲🇽

Edith Sommer (1917–1991) ⭐

Janet Alcoriza (1918–1998) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Cathrine Curtis (1918–1955) ⭐

Connie Lee (1918–??) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Annelise Reenberg (1919–1994) 🇩🇰 ⭐

 

1920–

 

Teddi Sherman (1921–2019) 🇺🇸

Kay Cousins Johnson (1923–??) 🇺🇸

Jan Englund (1926–2018) 🇺🇸

Cecilia A. Mantua (1927–1980) 🇪🇸

 

Unknown

 

Mary Rider (active from 1907–1923) ⭐

Irma Strakosch (active from 1912–1920)*

Adelaide Rene (active from 1913–1922)*

Ada von Gersdorff (active in 1913)*

Alice C. Brown (active from 1914–1917)*

Marguerite Marquis (active in 1914)*

Madge Tyrone (active from 1914–1925) ⭐

Charlotte Walton Ayres (active from 1916–1917)*

Olga Blazhevich (active from 1917–1925)* 🇷🇺

Johanna Lachmann (active from 1917–1919)*

Elizabeth Mahoney (active from 1917–1920)

Martha Orlanda (active from 1917–1922)*

Kathryn Stuart (active from 1917–1922) ⭐

Fanny Carlsen (active from 1918–1932) ^

Claudia Cornelius (active from 1918–1920)*

Rita Barre (active from 1919–1922)*

Irene Dallant (active in 1919)*

Isa Harding (active from 1919–1923)*

Ida Jenbach (active from 1919–1931) ^

Manja Kralowa (active in 1919)*

Margarethe Schmahl (active from 1919–1927)*

Mathilde Wieder (active from 1919–1921)*

Hermanna Barkhausen (active from 1920–1928)*

Maria Ettlinger (active in 1920)*

Agnes Parsons (active from 1920–1927) ⭐

Maria Wagner (active in 1920)*

Faith Green (active from 1921–1924) 🇺🇸 ⭐

Molly Parro (active 1921)*

Kathe Lucie Gunther (active 1922–1925)*

Doris Dorn (active in 1924)*

Lois Hutchinson (active from 1924–1926) ⭐

Helene Lackner (active from 1925–1927)*

Elsie Werner (active from 1925–1927)*

Ada McQuillan (active from 1926–1928) ⭐

Mabel Z. Carroll (active from 1927–1930)*

Thilde Forster (active 1927–1932)*

Helen Gregg (active from 1928–1929) ⭐

Lola Harvey (1931–1934) ^ 🇬🇧

Madeleine Bussy (active in 1932)* 🇫🇷

Dorothy Greenhill (active from 1932–1938)*

Adéla Cervená (active in 1933)*

Kathleen Butler (active from 1934–1949) ^

Mary McCarthy (active from 1935–1947) ⭐ 🇺🇸

Kathleen Connors (active from 1938–1948)*

Claire Parrish (active in 1940)*

Rita Douglas (active from 1941–1942)*

Marjorie Dudley (active in 1944)* 🇺🇸

Margaret Gruen (active from 1944–1948)*

Polly James (active from 1944–1959) ⭐

Kirstine Andersen (active from 1945–1947)* 🇩🇰

 

 

 

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