The collection includes business and personal correspondence, production materials, scripts, photographs, motion picture, and sound recordings related to Richard Wilson and Orson Welles's work in radio, theater, and film from the 1930s to the 1950s. Also included are materials related to each man's later solo careers and personal life.
The Richard Wilson-Orson Welles Papers document many aspects of the two men's creative collaboration in radio, theater, and film for the Mercury Theater and Mercury Productions. Material related to several moments in Welles's post-Mercury Productions solo work and life form part of the collection. Richard Wilson's post-Mercury Productions work is also represented. The collection includes business and personal correspondence, production materials, scripts, photographs, and audio and motion picture recordings.
Materials relating to classic films such as Citizen Kane , The Magnificent Ambersons , The Lady From Shanghai, and Macbeth are included in the collection. The original filming and 1980s-1990s reconstruction, led by Richard Wilson, of the suddenly-terminated Welles film, It's All True (1942) is particularly well-documented.
The Wilson-Welles collection has been divided into seven series: Orson Welles; Richard Wilson; Mercury Theatre/Mercury Productions; Sound; Motion Pictures; Realia; and Bill Krohn: It's All True (1993).
The three primary series: Orson Welles, Richard Wilson, and Mercury Theatre/Mercury Productions have been largely organized by production type (e.g. Theater, Radio, and Film) and then chronologically by project. Completed films, theatrical productions, and radio broadcasts are dated according to their first public showing or general release date. Unfinished or unreleased projects are dated according to the year in which most of the work on the project took place.
Correspondence and business papers for each project are located together under the project name. An important exception to this organizational scheme was necessitated by the fact that Welles frequently worked on several projects simultaneously and a single letter or memo may address several projects. Sets of memos and correspondence are filed with the project to which they are most closely related. Notable examples of overlapping projects and sets of memoranda that address at least two films are Macbeth and Othello (much of the information related to Othello is actually in correspondence in the Macbeth files), and The Magnificent Ambersons and It's All True (much of the information related to The Magnificent Ambersons is contained within the It's All True files).
The Richard Wilson and Orson Welles series also contains material related to both men's families and personal lives.