Since Lydia Ringwald graduated from Scripps in 1970, she’s enjoyed successful careers as an artist, arts journalist, college instructor, real estate investor, and art collector. Rooted in her humanities education at Scripps, her lifelong journey to understand women’s social roles and moral behavior patterns is reflected in her interdisciplinary interests—including the depiction of women in film.
With her recent donation of rare film scripts from the “Golden Age” of Hollywood to Denison Library, the Scripps community will soon gain similar insight into the evolving portrayals of women in classic cinema.
“In 1940s film noir, it was the strong, brave, and independent women characters who had the lead roles,” says Ringwald. “As they met and prevailed over challenges, they became role models that empowered women in audiences at the time, and remain an inspiration for women today.”
Ringwald’s neighbor and friend, actor John Lund, entrusted her with the scripts due to her knowledge of film history and expertise in art collection and preservation. A popular romantic lead, Lund regularly starred opposite some of the most famous actresses of the 1940s and ’50s, including Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly, Joan Fontaine, Betty Hutton, and others. The original scripts to To Each His Own starring Olivia de Havilland, No Man of Her Own starring Barbara Stanwyck, and Latin Lovers starring Lund and Lana Turner are also in the collection.
Ringwald says she wanted to donate part of the collection because of its importance for gender studies and media majors. She plans to work with Scripps students to curate the vintage scripts and craft the commentary for an exhibit scheduled to be held at Denison Library in the near future.
Giving inspired by Scripps College and a lifetime love of art
Ringwald’s passion for art found support at Scripps, where she earned a degree in comparative literature. She cites Professor Emerita of German Edith Potter and Professor of Philosophy Philip Merlan serving as indispensable mentors.
“They encouraged me to learn languages,” says Ringwald, “that led to travel and study in Europe, into a career in literature and the arts, and most recently into a position as a lecturer in history and art history on world cruises.”
In 2012, she returned to campus to present her Tuesday Noon lecture “The Goddess from the Paleolithic to the Present,” which explored the transitioning image of women’s roles and social positions through eighty artworks of the goddess image, evolving from the Venus of Willendorf to the film goddesses of our time. Her painting and multimedia artwork in her “Ancient Future” series is also motivated by her quest to comprehend the belief patterns in ancient, multi-deity civilizations that can offer insight for today’s evolving social and moral motifs.
She credits many of these ventures to her time at Scripps.
“The Scripps humanities education was a foundation for the lifelong learning and exploring that continues to inspire my artistic expression and personal evolution. I was empowered by the ability to access research resources and learn; to find and create solutions,” she says.
Now, in giving back to Denison Library, she finds herself becoming a permanent part of the women-centered environment she found so inspiring as a student.
Says Ringwald, “In an often-cacophonous world, Scripps College remains a place of beauty and harmony for me. As I walk through the campus, I appreciate the resonance; the story of the College, and the generations of women who studied there.”
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