On October 16, 1923, the original version of The Walt Disney Company was originally founded. On this day, Walt and his brother Roy, officially signed papers that would grow eventually into a company that would include shorts, movies, theme parks, news, games, sports, and so much more over the course of a century. As The Walt Disney Company is celebrating this 100-year legacy, The Walt Disney Family Museum is also celebrating. A new display has been added to the museum that showcases a letter that was written by Walt Disney on July 16, 1923, to Mrs. T.J. Davis, the mother of Alice Davis of the Alice Comedies. This is one of several new artifacts that will be on display as part of the celebration.
The Walt Disney Family Museum released the following information about this new display honoring 100 years of Disney:
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of The Walt Disney Company, The Walt Disney Family Museum will be showcasing rare and unique objects from the museum’s collection, which highlight important milestones in Walt’s career and his Company’s early history. These artifacts, which include recent acquisitions and fragile materials that have never been publicly displayed, will be on view for free in the museum’s Awards Lobby and will rotate periodically from Thursday, October 19 and throughout the next year.
Beginning Thursday, October 19, the first object the museum will place on temporary display is an original letter Walt penned to Mrs. T.J. Davis, dated October 16, 1923—the same day he and Roy signed the distribution contract with Winkler Productions. Davis was the mother of Virginia Davis, the first child actor to portray the titular character in the Alice Comedies series. In negotiating their agreement, Winkler specified that she wanted the same actress to portray Alice in subsequent installments of the Alice Comedies series. As a result, Walt implored Davis to allow her daughter to star in the series, praising Virginia’s talent and vouching for Winkler’s ability to promote the shorts. Virginia’s parents soon agreed to move the family to California, and she became the Studio’s highest-paid employee at the time. While a facsimile of this letter is exhibited in the museum’s main galleries, the original document has previously never been on public view due to its highly fragile nature.
What do you think of how The Walt Disney Family Museum is celebrating Disney’s 100th anniversary? Will you be visiting The Walt Disney Family Museum to check out the artifacts in display in honor of this milestone? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!