Academic Commons

Essays

Grace Cunard

Bean, Jennifer M.

Known to her fans as a daring jewel thief, an athletic reporter with a nose for news, and a circus tamer of rather ferocious cats, Grace Cunard (Harriet Milfred Jeffries) performed in over one hundred silent-era films, including five of Universal Studio’s most popular adventure serials in the 1910s. She was also known as “The Master Pen,” a thinly veiled pseudonym that graced announcements and title cards for her first serial story and star vehicle, Lucille Love, The Girl of Mystery (1914). Although the exact number of screenplays, stories, and scenarios for which she received credit is unknown, the publicity surrounding her seven-year career at Universal stressed her capacity to “write everything” in which she appeared, and the number likely tallies around fifty films, according to a 1915 biography in Feature Movie Magazine, in what could be seen as a publicity inflation to impress Cunard’s fans (44). Other sources, however, offer alternative calculations. The same year, for instance, reporter Hugh Weir touted Cunard as a “twenty-two year old girl” who is also the “Author of Over Four Hundred Scenarios!” (26).

Files

More About This Work

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