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Josephine Sherwood Hull (1877–1957)

Portrait of Josephine Hull in Chicago, Illinois. Gelatin silver print, 1910.Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute.

Stage and screen actress Josephine Sherwood Hull graduated from Radcliffe in 1899. She went on to marry actor Shelley Hull, and to star in such Broadway classics as Arsenic and Old Lace and Harvey. She also starred in the 1944 film version of Arsenic and Old Lace with Frank Capra, and, in 1950, the film version of Harvey with James Stewart (playing the sister of a man whose best friend is an invisible rabbit), for which she won an Oscar for best supporting actress.

Hull kept a diary for most of her adult life. The diary below (1920–1924) covers the period in which the widowed Hull lived in New York City and participated in the activities of the Actor's Equity Association. Her diary entries make reference to her work as an acting teacher, her work as an actress, her membership in the Equity Association, and her housekeeping. In the back of the diary she tracked the number of hours she worked both at the theater and as a teacher, along with family members' clothing sizes and lists of gifts received.

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Full Collection Citation

Josephine Hull Papers, 1871–1957; Diary, 1920–1924. A-94, folder 17v. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Electronic Finding Aid

Hull, Josephine, 1877–1957. Papers, 1871–1957: A Finding Aid (A-94). Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Cambridge, MA.

The manuscript and archival materials selected for Women Working can be used for research, for the creation of class projects, or to illustrate secondary works. In some cases the items are drawn from larger collections at Harvard. Most of the digitized selections from collections contain a range of materials providing a broader context for understanding the subject.