Margaret Herrick

Margaret Florence Herrick (September 27, 1902 – June 21, 1976),[1][2] also known professionally as Margaret Gledhill, was an American librarian and the Executive Director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 1971, the Academy's library was named the Margaret Herrick Library in her honor.[3]

Margaret Herrick
Margaret Florence Buck

(1902-09-27)September 27, 1902
DiedJune 21, 1976(1976-06-21) (aged 73)
Other namesMargaret Gledhill
EducationUniversity of Washington
Years active1929–1971
Known for
  • Academy Librarian
  • Executive Director, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (1945–1971)
Donald Gledhill
(m. 1931⁠–⁠1945)
Philip A. Herrick
(m. 1946⁠–⁠1951)

Early lifeEdit

She was born Margaret Buck in Spokane, Washington, to Nathan K. Buck, an attorney, and Adda M. Buck (née Morie).[4][5]

In 1929, Herrick graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in library science.


In 1929, Herrick became head librarian at the Yakima Public Library in Yakima, Washington. She moved to Hollywood, California, with her husband and became the Academy's first librarian. She served in that capacity until 1943, during the war, when she became the interim executive director of the Academy, replacing her husband.[6] In 1945, she was offered the Executive Director position permanently and held that position until her retirement in January 1971.[7]

In the mid-1960s, Herrick went on international tours to promote the tenth anniversary of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.[8] Between 1963 and 1968, she visited many international film institutions.[3]

The Academy's extensive library in Beverly Hills, California, of material on films is named in her honor.[9]

Oscar monikerEdit

Herrick is generally credited with naming the Academy Award an "Oscar", declaring the statuettes "looked just like my Uncle Oscar".[10] However, others, including Academy President Bette Davis and Hollywood gossip columnist Sidney Skolsky, have claimed they invented the name.[11][12][13]

Bette Davis said that the statue reminded her of her husband Harmon Nelson's derrière. Nelson's middle name was Oscar.[14] Though Davis ended up revoking this honor.[15]

Columnist Sidney Skolsky, who had a syndicated column called "Tintypes" for over 50 years,[16] referred to the nickname, "Oscar," in his March 16, 1934, column, which might have been the first time the award was called the Oscar in print.

Personal lifeEdit

In 1931, Herrick married Donald Gledhill, an assistant to the executive secretary of the Academy.[17] She and Gledhill divorced in 1945. She married Philip A. Herrick in 1946, and continued to use his name professionally following their divorce in 1951.[7]

Herrick died at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, in 1976.[1][2]

See alsoEdit

Works and publicationsEdit

  • Gledhill, Margaret Buck; Christeson, Frances Mary (1941). Classification Scheme for Motion Picture Collections. Hollywood, Calif: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Library. hdl:2027/uc1.b3926458. OCLC 613712320.
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; University of California, Los Angeles; Gledhill, Margaret (1944). A Series of Papers on University Training for Motion Picture Work. A Project of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Collaboration with the University of California at Los Angeles. Hollywood, Calif: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles. OCLC 7851448. University training for motion picture work; assembled by Margaret Gledhill


  1. ^ a b "Margaret Herrick – United States Social Security Death Index". FamilySearch. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Margaret Herrick – California Death Index". FamilySearch. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Margaret Herrick, Film History Trailblazer". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. September 22, 2015. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  4. ^ "Florence M Buck – United States Census, 1910". FamilySearch. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  5. ^ "Margaret F Buck – United States Census, 1920". FamilySearch. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  6. ^ "Academy Gets Femme Boss As Gledhill Joins Army". Variety. Vol. 38, no. 31. January 20, 1943. pp. 1, 4. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Waterman, Nichole Maiman. "Alumni: Margaret Herrick ('29) and the Academy of Motion Pictures". University of Washington Information School. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  8. ^ Nepomuceno, Luis (1966). "People:AMPAS Executive Feted". FAME Newsreel. Archived from the original on December 22, 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  9. ^ "About: Margaret Herrick". Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. July 30, 2014.
  10. ^ "Oscar Statuette". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. July 26, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  11. ^ Dodd, Philip (2007). "Chapter 7: When Oscar met Tony". What's in a Name?: From Joseph P. Frisbie to Roy Jacuzzi: How Everyday Items Were Named for Extraordinary People. New York: Gotham Books. ISBN 978-1-59240-432-2. OCLC 233549283.
  12. ^ Lewis, Hilary (February 18, 2015). "Oscars: Who Came Up With the Name 'Oscar' and More About the Statuette's History (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  13. ^ Osborne, Robert (February 17, 2015). "The Origin of Oscar" (video). Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on December 22, 2021. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  14. ^ Sikov, Ed (2007). "Chapter 5: The First Oscar". Dark Victory: the Life of Bette Davis (1st ed.). New York: Holt. pp. 68–84. ISBN 978-0-8050-7548-9. OCLC 76961180. Bette later claimed to have christened Oscar Oscar
  15. ^ Stine, Whitney; Davis, Bette (1982). Mother Goddam: The Story of the Career of Bette Davis. London: W.H. Allen. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-352-31142-9. OCLC 16600617. I relinquish once and for all any claim that I was the one...
  16. ^ "Sidney Skolsky is Dead at 78; Hollywood Reporter 50 Years". The New York Times. May 5, 1983. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  17. ^ "Margaret Gledhill – United States Census, 1940". FamilySearch. Retrieved February 3, 2016.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit