Agnes Moorehead. Photo on cover of I Love the Illusion, by Charles Tranberg.
While researching materials for the Halloween display from the Mass Media and Culture collections, one name kept popping up: Agnes Moorehead (1900 – 1974). Her repertoire extends from the golden years of radio to popular television, from movies to the stage. She also had a special flair for horror, suspense, and the supernatural. Her work in radio drama included participation in Mercury Theater on the Air and a role as Margo Lane on The Shadow, co-starring with Orson Welles. In the CBS show Suspense, Moorehead’s greatest success was her incredible performance as Mrs. Stevenson in the quintessential horror, Lucille Fletcher’s “Sorry, Wrong Number.”
Spooky Special Collections Display, containing a feature of Agnes Moorehead’s work in the realm of suspense and supernatural.
Her role as Mrs. Stevenson later inspired director Douglas Heyes to cast Moorehead in an episode of The Twilight Zone, where she played an old woman attacked by miniature aliens. On stage, Moorehead played Donna Ana in Don Juan in Hell. Later, Moorehead was recruited to play Endora on the television comedy Bewitched. A versatile and respected actress, Moorehead succeeded across genres and performing-arts mediums, and especially made her mark on the world of the strange and supernatural.
Moorehead is just one of the many actresses and actors featured in the Mass Media and Culture collections. There are a lot of resources pertaining to spooky and otherworldly subjects; if you ever feel like researching terror in radio, television, or movies, or if you just want to revisit the history of your favorite shows, this is a great place to start!
What is your favorite horror or fantasy movie, radio program, or television show? Leave us a comment below!
The Special Collections staff have been hard at work creating new ways for you to discover our unique archival and manuscript collections. To see the latest additions to our database of archival finding aids, visit ArchivesUM. You can search for the finding aids in two ways.
Use the drop down list under “Subject” to select guides related to particular topics. Our new categories include:
There were also a number of Mass Media collections added to the Women’s History subject category.
To see all new Mass Media guides, select “Mass Media and Culture” from the drop down list under “Collection Area”.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are a few photos of the rare books featured in our latest Spooky Special Collections display. Visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library to see these incredible works up close.
Miniature book: Kriminal-geschichten, a German translation of short stories by Edgar Allen Poe. How could something so tiny be so terrifying?!?
Praxis criminis persequendi, elegantibus aliquot figuris illustrata, by Jean Milles de Souvigny. So glad I’m not these guys.
The Vampyre, by John William Polidori. Before Team Edward and Team Jacob ever existed, this was “Twilight” in 1819.
Rare books displayed in the Maryland Room. Visit the Spooky Special Collections display through 11/2/12.
You can read some of our books online! Visit The Vampyre and Edgar Allen Poe’s The Bells in WorldCat UMD.
Also see our growing list of haunted reads throughout the centuries.
Morris’ first home with wife Jane, Red House
William Morris began designing furniture when he and bff, Edward Burne-Jones, moved into their first flat together in London (1856). They disliked the furnishings that they found so they painted them, not a solid color but with scenes from their favorite medieval tales. When Morris and his bride Jane Burden (1859) moved into their new home, Red House, Morris was once again faced with finding suitable furnishings. He called on his friends and fellow pre-Raphaelites to help him design and decorate the home. This undertaking is considered the impetus for Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, & Co. (eventually Morris & Co.).
Edward Burne-Jones cartoon of Morris demonstrating weaving
Morris & Co. produced stained glass windows, tiles, fabric, wallpapers, carpets, and embroidery among their many wares. Morris would teach himself as much as he could find about each of the goods created by Morris & Co. prior to beginning production of the item. In the case of embroidery, fabric dying, and carpet tying Morris even undertook several sample projects prior to teaching his staff the techniques necessary.
Morris & Co Embroidered Coverlet
The act of creating an object was important to Morris and a significant principle of the Arts and Crafts movement. Yes a person should live surrounded by beautiful objects! But those objects should be of the highest affordable quality and created by a skilled worker rather than a factory drone. Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement did not mean to belittle the factory worker by their ideology but instead wanted to provide more meaningful labor for the majority of people living in industrialized society.
Learn more about Morris & Co. and the Arts and Crafts movement by checking out How We Might Live: The Vision of William Morris exhibit and William Morris Guide created by Special Collections Staff.