"Selznick" file

Scope and Content

Papers relating to an alleged debt owed by RD and his estate to the estate of Hollywood film agent Myron B. Selznick, for expenses incurred by Selznick on behalf of RD's wife and children during their wartime stay in America. A claim was made against RD during his lifetime, and the matter was taken up after his death by John Donat, and by the Trust created under Selznick's will. The sum involved was $21,886.36. It was ultimately decided that Selznick had not put the family under any obligation to repay the sums provided, something which would have been impossible under the defence finance regulations of the time.

The material consists of: letters sent to RD by his wife Ella while she was resident in America; correspondence between RD and his solicitors Walter, Burgis and Co., relating to the Selznick money, the claim against RD, and enclosing correspondence with the Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association; correspondence between John Donat and Walter, Burgis and Co. in 1958; a 1941 statement from Myron Selznick and Co; a copy letter from RD to Rosalind [Russell] (13 August 1940), informing her of his family's imminent arrival, referring to Selznick's offer to look after them financially and asking her to look into possible schools for the children; and original and copy correspondence between RD and Selznick.


one or two of the items were generated by John Donat shortly after his father's death, but he did not store this file with the other executorship papers; the majority of the material was created during RD's lifetime, so it has been listed with his other original files.