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Hettie Gray Baker

Marsha Gordon

Hettie Gray Baker, who is as yet undiscovered by film historians, had a long and exceptional career in motion pictures. She was a writer of motion picture titles and scenarios; of library science, theatre, and fan magazine articles; and, later in life, of highly regarded books about cats. In her heyday she was scenario and film editor and eventually production editor and censorship representative at Fox studios. The range of her work, however, is not so surprising given that she was employed full-time for the motion picture industry from the early teens through the early 1950s. In 1915, Book News Monthly proclaimed that Baker was “among the leaders of the photoplay world” (331). In 1918, Photoplay described her, then working as an editor, as “the supreme authority… responsible only to [William] Fox himself” (83); and in 1922, Filmplay Journal described her career as “pioneerical,” calling her “one of the most influential people in the production of the films” (18). Although she has not figured in accounts of studio film history, Baker was clearly far from being a marginal figure in her day. She also seemed well aware of the advances she made as a woman in the film industry, commenting in 1922, for example, that she believed that her editing credit on Daughter of the Gods (1916) “was the first time that a woman’s name ever appeared on the screen as an editor” (Block 19).

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Film
Libraries
Series
Women Film Pioneers Project
Published Here
October 15, 2019