Fritz Lang papers, 1909-1973

Overview of the Collection

Lang, Fritz, 1890-1976
Fritz Lang papers
1909-1973 (inclusive)
1931-1973 (bulk)
5.00 cubic ft. (12 boxes)
Collection Number
Collection contains manuscript, galley proof, notes, awards, books, and films of this film director and screenwriter, born in Austria. Fritz Lang received worldwide recognition for his work.
American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming
American Heritage Center
University of Wyoming
1000 E. University Ave.
Dept. 3924
Laramie, WY
Telephone: 3077663756
Access Restrictions
Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on the materials for research purposes, and the collection is open to the public.

The creation of the EAD-version of this finding aid was made possible through a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Fritz Lang (1890-1976) was an Austrian-American film director who began his film career as a scriptwriter. Many of the scripts he wrote in the 1920s were co-written by his wife, Theo Von Harbou. Lang fled Germany in 1933. By 1936 he was in Hollywood, where he directed films for twenty years, until his differences with producers led to his leaving Hollywood. He directed films in India until 1959 when he returned to Germany. In 1963 he portrayed himself in the French film “Mopris” which was directed by Jean-Luc Goddard.

His early films in America, as in “Fury” in 1936 and “You Only Live Once” in 1937, were about social injustice. He then directed westerns and psychological mysteries, including “The Woman at the Window” in 1944 and “Scarlet Street” in 1945. He later returned to the exposure of violence and corruption in “Big Heat” in 1953.

Although he was not honored by the American film establishment until a retrospective of his work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1969, France, Germany, Austria, and Yugoslavia gave him many awards for his contribution to film from the 1950s through the 1970s. He also received an award for his film “M” from the German Motion Picture Arts Association in 1931.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The papers of Fritz Lang contain very little material about his personal or professional life. The general files, 1933-1973, are few, and other than the biographical information, reflect Lang’s interests.

There is a rare Navaho Male Shooting Chant translation from an audio tape made in the 1930s. He was fascinated by the American Indian Culture and often lived on Indian reservations for weeks at a time.

Most of the general files are research material for a film about the Taj Mahal. They contain pamphlets, photographs, and outlines. There is a slim file about San Quentin Prison containing a prison concert program and an issue of the prison newspaper. There is an almost inclusive run of the People’s Songs Bulletin, 1946-1949. This bulletin was founded and administered by Pete Seeger to create, promote, and distribute songs of labor and the American people. The bulletin was sold only to members of the People’s Songs Association and was not in wide distribution. There is one piece of sheet music, “No Surrender,” from the movie “Hangmen Also Die,” directed by Fritz Lang.

There are 16 mm motion-picture reels, 1938-1953, filmed by Fritz Lang as he toured the Southwest. They are films of New Mexico, Arizona, and Indians. There is one reel of Fritz Lang. There are a few incidental books which were inscribed to Fritz Lang, some books upon which he based films, and American Songbooks of special interest.

Awards in 1931 and 1957-1973 were presented to Fritz Lang for excellence in film and contribution to the motion picture art. He was given the Commander Cross, Order of Merit in 1957 and 1966, and the Golden Ribbon of Motion Picture Arts in 1963 by the Federal Republic of Germany. He was awarded the Order of Arts and Letters from France in 1965, made an Honorary Professor of Fine Arts by the University of Vienna, Austria, in 1973, awarded the Order of the Yugoslavia Flag with a Golden Wreath in 1971, and was given a plaque from El Festival Internacional del Cine de San Sebastian in 1970. The Silver Hand was awarded to Fritz Lang in 1931 for his film “M” by the German Motion Picture Arts Association.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Copyright Information

The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Preferred Citation

Preferred Citation

Item Description, Box Number, Folder Number, Fritz Lang papers, circa 1909-1973, Collection Number 07955, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Alternative Forms Available

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of select material from this collection are available at

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Related Materials

Related Materials

To see an additional archival collection created by Fritz Lang, see:

Reminiscences of Fritz Lang : oral history, 1971, Collection Number NXCP88-A1480, Columbia University Libraries, New York, NY 10027 USA

Acquisition Information

Acquisition Information

The Fritz Lang papers, circa 1909-1973, were given to the American Heritage Center by the Fritz Lang Estate (administered by Lily Latte) in three shipments in 1976. The papers were received in good order.

Processing Note

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Loreley Moore in June 2000. The motion picture film series was revised by John R. Waggener in February 2012.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I.:  General Files, 1933-1973Return to Top

(1.5 document boxes)

Arranged alphabetically. Includes biographical information, research for films about the Taj Mahal and the American prison system, Navaho Male Shooting Chant, and People’s Songs bulletins.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
Biographical Information
1 2
Navaho Male Shooting Chant
circa 1939
1 3
People’s Songs Bulletins
1 4-6
Research for a Film about the Taj Mahal
2 1 1956
2 2 1956
2 3
Research on San Quentin Prison
2 4
Sheet Music “No Surrender,”
From the movie “Hangmen Also Die” by Fritz Lang.

Series II.:  Awards, 1931, 1957-1973Return to Top

(1.5 document boxes, 1 F22 Flat box, and 1 SHO box)

Arranged chronologically when possible, depending upon the kind of box needed to house the size of the award. Includes awards from Austria, France, Germany, Yugoslavia, and the Festival of San Sebastian.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
2 5
Commander Cross, Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany
2 6
Golden Ribbon of the Motion Picture Arts from the Federal Republic of Germany
3 1
Order des Arts et Lettres from France
3 2
Commander Cross, Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany
3 3
El Festival Internacional del Cine de San Sebastian
3 4
Honorary Professor of Fine Arts from the University of Vienna, Austria
4 1
Order of the Yugoslav Flag with a Golden Wreath
5 1
Zur-Erinnerung-An-Unsere Erste Zu Samnenarbeit S Nebenzahl
(Silver Hand for the film “M.”)

Series III.:  Books, 1909-1973Return to Top

(3 document boxes, 1 slim document box)

Arranged by Category. Inscribed to Fritz Lang, books upon which he based his films, and American song books.

Container(s) Description Dates
Films by Fritz Lang based upon:
Box Folder
6 1
Grey, Zane, Western Union
6 2
Greene, Graham, The Ministry of Fear
6 3
Household, Geoffrey, Man Hunt
6 4
Household, Geoffrey, Rogue
6 5
Wolfert, Ira, American Guerilla in the Philippines
Inscribed to Fritz Lang:
Box Folder
6 6
Bemelmans, Ludwig, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
6 7
Booth, Ernest, With Sirens Screaming
7 1
Caspury, Vera, The Husband
7 2
Chatterton, Ruth, Homeward Borne
7 3
Harvin, Emily, The Stubborn Wood
7 4
Hollander, Frederick, Those Torn from the Earth
7 5
Kakfa, John, The Apple Orchard
7 6
Mooney, Martin, The Parole Scandal
8 1
Popper, David, The Puzzle of Palestine
8 2
Spies, Walter, and de Zoete, Beryl, Dance and Drama in Bali
8 3
Twain, Mark, extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven
8 4
Velikovsky, Immanuel, Oedipus and Akhnaton: Myth and History
8 5
Weinberg, Herman, Saint Cinema: Writings on the Film 1929-1970, preface by Fritz Lang
Box Folder
9 1
Black, Eleanora, and Robertson, Sidney, “Gold Rush Songbook,”
9 2
Davis, Joe, “Songs of the Roaming Ranger,”
9 3
Gelhert, Lawrence, “Negro Songs of Protest,”
Niles, John, “American Folksong Series”:
Box Folders
9 4-5
“Ballads, Carols, and Tragic Legends,”
1937, 1938
9 6
“More Songs of the Hill Folk,”
9 7
“Songs of the Hill Folk,”
9 8
“Ten Christmas Carols,”
Box Folder
9 9
Palmer, Edgar A., “G.I. Songs Written, Composed and/or Collected by Men in the Service,”
9 10
Spaeth, Sigmund, “Barbershop Ballads and How to Sing Them,”

Additional Container ListsReturn to Top

The American Heritage Center is in the process of converting its older container lists to a more accessible format. This link is to an older version of a container list.

Container(s) Description

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Folk music--Periodicals--United States.
  • Hopi Indians.
  • Navajo Indians--Rites and ceremonies.
  • Taj Mahal (Agra, India).

Geographical Names

  • Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah).
  • Chelly, Canyon de (Ariz.)
  • Death Valley (Calif. and Nev.)
  • India--History--1500-1765.
  • Mogul Empire.
  • Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (Ariz.)
  • Tombstone (Ariz.)
  • White Sands National Monument (N.M.)

Form or Genre Terms

  • Awards.
  • Motion pictures.


  • Motion picture producers and directors.

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Blue Eyes. Male shooting chant.
    • Bogdanovich, Peter, 1939- Fritz Lang in America.
    • Haile, Berard, 1874-1961. Male shooting chant.
    • Reichard, Gladys Amanda, 1893-1955. Male shooting chant.
    Corporate Names
    • People’s Songs (Organization).