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Susan Hayward collection

Identifier: LH-0034

Scope and Contents note

This collection contains various documents detailing Susan Hayward's life in Carrollton, Georgia. Two notebooks were donated by Dianne Thomas of Decatur, Illinois, who founded the Susan Hayward Collectors' Club in 1985. One contains an index of articles from the Times-Free Press and the Carroll County Georgian during the years Hayward lived in Carrollton (1957-1966). The other contains photographs and articles cut out of various magazines, as well as a couple of issues of the Collectors' Club's newsletter. There is an issue of Modern Screen from 1942, a term paper written by a student of West Georgia College, newspaper articles about Hayward's life in Georgia, and a Susan Hayward jigsaw puzzle. There is a 16mm film titled "Stars over America: Susan Hayward in Georgia," (and copies on DVD) produced by the Georgia Department of Tourism tourism department in 1964 that was donated by Hiram Bray to Ingram Library; however, the mailing information on the packaging shows Dianne Thomas having sent the film to Glenn Novak in the Mass Communications Department. The film also exists in the Georgia State archives as of 2008.


  • 1942 - 2001

Conditions Governing Access note

Open to all users; no restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use note

As stipulated by the U.S. copyright laws.

Biographical/Historical note

Born on June 30, 1918, as Edythe Marrenner, Susan Hayward grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents were Ellen Pearson and Walter Marrenner. Her maternal grandparents emigrated from Sweden. Hayward graduated high school intending to become a secretary but soon began modeling in New York City. In 1937, she went to Hollywood to audition for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind," a part she lost to Vivien Leigh. According to her management, the name Susan Hayward was chosen because it was "as close to Rita Hayworth as we can get away with."

For two years, Hayward landed bit parts in various films until her big break in 1939's "Beau Geste." She soon became one of Hollywood's biggest stars of the 1940s and 1950s, earning five Academy Award nominations. Her only win was in 1959 for "I Want to Live!" which was based on the true story of the murderer Barbara Graham. After her marriage to Eaton Chalkley and her subsequent move from Hollywood to Carrollton, Georgia, she continued to act through the 1960s. Her last role was in the 1972 made-for-TV movie "Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole."

On July 24, 1944, she married actor Jess Barker, and they had twin sons (Timothy and Gregory) before their divorce ten years later. In December 1955, she met Eaton Chalkley at the Christmas party of a mutual friend, Vincent X. Flaherty. They began seeing each other soon after, and on February 8, 1957, they eloped and moved to his home in Carrollton, Georgia. When he died on January 9, 1966, Hayward decided she did not want to live in their house without him and moved to Florida. The last few years of her life were spent in Hollywood battling brain cancer, supposedly a result of exposure to radiation while filming "The Conqueror" in Utah in 1955. She died on March 14, 1975. Susan Hayward is buried beside Eaton Chalkley at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the Catholic Church they founded in Carrollton.


3.0 Linear feet (1 box, 1 film reel, 1 OV folder)




A collection of materials related to the life and career of Susan Hayward, an Academy Award-winning actress of the mid-twentieth century. Her career spanned several decades, from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Arrangement note

Arranged by record type.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Items primarily donated by Dianne Thomas in 1987 with additional item donated by Hiram Bray, Ed Charles, and the DeKalb Historical Society.

Processing Information note

Processed by Sarah Warren in 2008 and Catherine Hendricks in 2019.
Guide to the Susan Hayward collection LH-0034
Finding aid by Sarah Warren and Catherine Hendricks
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of West Georgia Special Collections Repository

Special Collections, Ingram Library
University of West Georgia
1601 Maple Street
Carrollton GA 30118-2000 United States