Lilly Library Manuscript Collections



The Norman, R.E. mss., 1912-1954, are the papers of film producer and distributor Richard Edward Norman, 1891-1961. He began his career as a cameraman for the Capitol City Film Co. of Des Moines, Iowa, about 1912. He soon went into business for himself and by 1920 had made a number of short films as a travelling film producer. After 1920 Norman established himself and his company in Jacksonville, Florida, and began producing all-black films. He made several of these "race" films in the 1920's and distributed them through the 1930's. Norman continued to be involved with the motion picture industry in one capacity or another until the mid-1950's.

Among the films produced by Norman are Bell Starr (1912), The Man at the Throttle (1915), Sleepy Sam the Sleuth (1915), The Wrecker (1915), The Green-Eyed Monster (1916 and 1920), Pro Patria (1916), The Love Bug (1920), The Crimson Skull (1921), The Bull-Dogger (1921), Regeneration (1923), The Flying Ace (1926), and Black Gold (1928).

The collection is organized into the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Censorship materials; III. Orders, receipts, etc.; IV. Distribution records; V. Publicity, which includes heralds, lobby cards, photographs, posters, press books and miscellaneous publicity; and, VI. Miscellaneous, which includes catalogs, personal materials, photographs, printed materials, a scrapbook, and files on the unproduced Zircon serial.

More information concerning Norman and the films he produced can be found in Richard Alan Nelson's Florida and the American Motion Picture Industry, 1898-1980 (New York: Garland Pub., 1983), Phyllis Rauch Klotman's Frame by Frame; A Black Filmography (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1979), and Henry T. Sampson's Blacks in Black and White (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1977).

Gift. Capt. Richard E. Norman, Jr., Hollywood, Florida 1984.

Collection size: 4,000 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.