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The William Franklin Grisham Collection consists of release prints and outtakes of two major films Grisham directed about Chicago film studios in the 1970s: The Very Last Laugh, which documented the history of Ebony Studios; and A Beautiful Lady, a documentary exploring the career of actress Beverly Bayne and the landmark Essanay Studios. In addition, the collection includes 16mm prints of the all known existing works produced by Ebony Studios in the early 1900s (the original 35mm nitrate prints are believed to have disintegrated long ago). There are also numerous commercial films which Grisham either directed or provided copywriting for during his long career as an advertising executive - which ran parallel to his professional life as a film historian and documentarian. Alongside this, the collection consists of audio tapes capturing interviews with Luther J. Pollard, producer (and possibly the sole founder) of Ebony Studios, as well as Charles David who worked as his cameraman, and other notable figures who were instrumental in the shaping of Chicago's early film history. There are also several boxes of paper and ephemera relating to Grisham's work on both of his documentary films, as well as the extensive history conducted on the history of Essanay Studios.