Annie Laurie Williams
I was going through some papers today and came across this article from Collier's magazine, from the January 4, 1941 issue written by Ruth Seinfel.
The picture shown is my great-aunt, Annie Laurie Williams. In 1929 Annie Laurie founded her firm in NYC and began her career as a Literary Representative.
I'm still in awe of the tenacious business woman she was and the level of success she achieved in a time when woman weren't common entities in the work force. In the article the writer describes Annie Laurie as "not very tall, pleasingly plump, golden-haired and blue-eyed."
And in regards to her business savvy the author writes, "In a knock-down and drag-out business conference with contracts on the table, she is that thorn in a producer's side, the agent who knows more about the author's rights than the author does." Ruth Seinfel goes on to say, "She has a weakness for the hard ones, and she is the only one who is not surprised when they turn out well, which they do a remarkable number of times."
Annie Laurie sold many classics to the film industry. Some titles were, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath, but her most memorable sale (although not her most lucritive one, as Selznick was the only bidder) was the sale of Gone With the Wind. The story sold for half of the original asking price but is one she believed in and wouldn't take no for an answer. I, for one, am glad she didn't.
But the Annie Laurie Williams I remember, as I was only ten when she passed away, was a very different one. She was my grandmother's fun, crazy sister who read my palm, told my fortune, drank lots of tea, and loved to dance. She was a vegetarian and I enjoyed watching the servers puzzled expression at restaurants when she'd order a cheeseburger without the meat. She was the one who bought the house in Connecticut where my cousins and I spent our summers together. I can still see her at the Stone House in her pink-checked dress, which she always wore when she stayed for the weekends, standing in the doorway dancing to a song someone played on the piano.
So I guess Annie Laurie was a lot of things to a lot of people. She was the big sister who brought her three younger sisters up to New York from Texas. She was the one who introduced my grandparents to one another. She gave her two sisters a job in her firm. But for me, because of her generous spirit and her love for her family, she was the reason our family was as close as we were and still are, because she gave us all the Stone House where we could spend time together.
Posted by Paula