Dick Dickson Papers
Dates: 1947 – 1948
The papers of Dick Dickson consist of the contents of three scrapbooks. Two scrapbooks mostly contain photographs, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia relating to the Friendship Food Train and the Freedom Train, both of which Dickson helped promote in Los Angeles. The final scrapbook contains photographs from a Presidential Tribute Dinner for President Truman and Vice President Elect Alben Barkley in Los Angeles on December 6, 1948.
Less than one-half of linear foot (approximately 900 pages).
[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]
Born in 1897, Dickson first worked in the movie business in Fort Dodge, Iowa. He took tickets, swept the floors, and rewound films in a silent movie house. He was a machine gunner in France during World War I. When he returned to the United States, he began working for Paramount in Des Moines, Iowa. By 1929, he and a partner owned thirty-three movie houses, which they sold one month prior to the stock market crash.
During the 1930s Dickson was a movie producer. He made many westerns including more than twenty Hopalong Cassidy films. Dickson was hired as executive manger of over 140 southern California movie theaters. In 1947, while serving as an executive with Fox West Coast Theatre Corporation, Dickson was tapped to be Executive Director in Los Angeles for the Friendship Food Train. Later, he was also involved in the promotion of the Freedom Train.
Dickson died on July 14, 1962 in Hollywood, California.
The papers of Dick Dickson consist of the contents of three scrapbooks kept by Dickson and dating from 1947 and 1948. Dickson, a movie theater executive, was Executive Director in Los Angeles of the Friendship Food Train, an effort to provide relief to the hungry in Western Europe after World War II. The first two scrapbooks follow the Friendship Food Train, which began in Los Angeles on November 7, 1947, through the United States and up to the delivery of aid to France and Italy. There are many photographs in the collection, including photographs of movie stars such as Van Johnson, Glenn Ford, Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, Red Skelton, and Errol Flynn. There are other photographs that were taken as the train traveled through California, some of which show Governor Earl Warren and Drew Pearson, the columnist responsible for the creation of the Friendship Food Train.
Also included in the scrapbooks are clippings from a variety of newspapers around the country, including columns written by Pearson. The scrapbooks also include maps of the trip, memoranda, press releases, memorabilia, magazine articles, reports, advertisements, and posters. The newspaper articles chronicle the overwhelming support for the project throughout the country.
The scrapbook concludes its Friendship Food Train section with a confidential report sent to Harry Warner, the Chairman of the Friendship Food Train, discussing the delivery of food to France and Italy, a Friendship Train Report from Pearson, and Letters of Commendation.
The focus of the latter part of the second scrapbook is on the Freedom Train arrival and stay in Los Angeles, February 23-26, 1948. The Freedom Train was a traveling museum of important American historical documents that traveled throughout the United States over the course of one year. The train traveled through all 48 states, visiting approximately 300 cities. Included are programs, newspaper clippings, letters, memos, brochures, and other memorabilia. There are also copies and descriptions of many of the historical documents that traveled on the train.
The final scrapbook consists of photographs taken at a Presidential Tribute Dinner honoring President Harry S. Truman and Vice President Elect Alben Barkley at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California on December 6, 1948. Some of the celebrities photographed include Will Rogers, Jr., George Jessel, Dinah Shore, James Roosevelt, and Edgar Bergen.