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Harry Carey papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 1585

Scope and Contents note

Harry Carey papers consists of newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and the writings of Harry Carey. The papers concern Carey's career as an actor, screenwriter, and director in both New York and Hollywood. The majority of the newspaper clippings are from the 1930s and 1940s, and also concern Carey's wife, the actress Olive Carey. Writings include screenplays, scripts, and notes written by Harry Carey. Included are various obituaries and condolences collected in the year after Carey's death. The collection dates from circa 1900-1975.


  • approximately 1900-1975


Conditions Governing Access note

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use note

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Harry Carey papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Harry Carey Sr. (1878-1947) was an actor recognized for his roles in Western films in the 1920s and 1930s.

Harry Carey was born January 16, 1878 in the Bronx, New York. He studied law at New York University before his studies were interrupted by a severe case of pneumonia that resulted from a boating accident in 1899. For three years, Carey made quite a bit of money touring the provinces with "Montana," a play he wrote in 1906 about the Western frontier. Carey was wiped out financially when his second play wasn't successful, but he did marry the play's female lead, Fern Foster. Carey continued his involvement with acting and began appearing in films for director D. W. Griffith, most memorably in "The Musketeers of Pig Alley" in 1913. Carey would eventually appear in almost 250 motion pictures and become a big star in silent Westerns. It was at Universal that Harry Carey became a silent film cowboy star in a series of two-reel Westerns. In 1920 Carey married Olive Fuller Golden, his co-star. In 1921 they had a son, Harry Carey Jr., who would also become an actor in John Ford's company. In 1924 they had a daughter, Ella Carey. Throughout the 1920s, Carey was a Western superstar who occasionally assumed screenwriting, producing and directing assignments, as he had in the early days at Universal. Carey played the lead role in M.G.M.'s epic "Trader Horn" in 1931, which would become Carey’s most financially successful and most well-known role. Carey appeared in Motion Picture Herald's ranking of the top 10 of cowboy box office stars of 1937 and 1938. Carey received an Academy Award nomination for his performance as the Vice President in the Frank Capra classic "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" in 1939. Along with his close relationship with John Ford, Carey also developed a strong friendship with the young John Wayne, who he co-stared with on "Red River" in 1946. Harry Carey died on September 21, 1947 of emphysema, lung cancer and coronary thrombosis. Carey also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame posthumously.


1 half box (0.25 linear ft.)

1 oversize folder (0.3 linear ft.)

2 boxes (1 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Harry Carey papers consist of newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and the writings of Harry Carey concerning his career and legacy. The collection dates from circa 1900-1975.

Custodial History note

Donated in 1980.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Donated; 1980.

Appraisal note

Arts and Communications

Processing Information note

Processed; Mary Downs; 2009.

Register of Harry Carey papers
Mary Downs, student processor, and John Murphy, curator
15 June 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States