Edwina Booth papers

Edwina Booth papers

Dates: 1920-1993

This collection is comprised of 7 cartons, 3 oversized boxes, and 1 ledger box. It includes Edwina Booth's personal correspondence and papers, poetry, fan mail, publicity papers, photographs, and souvenirs from Africa. Also included are publicity papers for the 1931 film Trader Horn.

  • Extent: 1 ledger box (0.5 linear ft.). -- 3 oversize box (8.5 linear ft.). -- 7 cartons (7 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Booth, Edwina, 1904-1991
  • Call Number: MSS 2383
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; Arts & Communications Archives; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602; http://sc.lib.byu.edu/
  • Access Restrictions: No public access except by permission of curator of Arts & Communications Archives.
Languages and Scripts
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Edwina Booth papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
Preferred Citation
Initial Citation: MSS 2383; Edwina Booth (Josephine Constance Woodruff) papers; Arts and Communications Archives; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following Citations: MSS 2383, LTPSC.
Custodial History
Materials gathered by Booth during her lifetime, donated by her brother, Booth Woodruff, nephew James Woodruff and niece, Linda Andrews.
Acquisition Information
Donated; L. Booth Woodruff, James B. Woodruff and Linda Andrews.
Other Finding Aids
A more detailed finding aid is available in print in the repository.
Subject Terms
Advertising and Marketing; Africa; Business, Industry, Labor, and Commerce; Motion picture actors and actresses; Motion pictures--Africa
Genre / Form
Artifacts; Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.); Letters; Photographs; Programs
Processing Information
Processed; James V. D’Arc & John N. Gillespie; 2002.
Appraisal Information
Arts and Communications.
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Booth (Edwina) papers
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by James V. D’Arc & John N. Gillespie
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-11-17T04:30-0700
Finding Aid Language
Finding aid encoded in English.
Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

Edwina Booth (September 13, 1904 – May 18, 1991) was a film actress from Provo, Utah. Booth is best known for her role in the 1931 film Trader Horn, and for the illness she contracted during production. She got her start in show business in 1926, shortly after moving to California with her family. She took small parts in films and starred in theater productions like "Ghosts" and "Sun Up" until she finally landed the lead female role in Trader Horn - the "White Goddess" Nina T. Filming for Trader Horn began in 1929, and as the first non-documentary motion picture filmed in Africa, it received ample publicity in the United States and abroad. Conditions on set were difficult for Booth; she noted that her costume did not provide adequate protection from the sun and disease-carrying insects, and she and other crew members suffered through malaria. After Trader Horn's release in 1931, Booth starred in three serial films in 1931 and 1932: "The Vanishing Legion", "The Last of the Mohicans", "Trapped in Tijuana". However, she had become increasingly ill with an undiagnosed illness since her return, and it effectively ended her movie career. Booth sued Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios for $1,000,000 in 1934, claiming that mistreatment on set had resulted in her illness, and the studio settled out of court for $35,000. She went to Europe seeking a cure, and was diagnosed with sleeping sickness. In total, she spent over five years of her life with her illness, and refused to speak of her time as a movie star for the rest of her life. In the years that followed her recovery, Booth became active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and worked in the Los Angeles California temple. She married three times in her life, lastly to Reinold Fehlberg, whom she married on February 17, 1959. She died of heart failure May 18, 1991, in the Medallion Convalescent Hospital in Long Beach, California, at age 86.

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Ben Harry
Curator - Arts & Communications Archives