Florence Ryerson

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Florence Ryerson
Born Florence Willard
Sept. 20, 1892
Glendale, California
Died June 8, 1965 (aged 72)
Mexico City, Mexico
Nationality United States
Other names Florence Willard
Alma mater University of Michigan
Occupation screenwriter, playwright
Known for film scripts
Spouse(s) Harold Swayne Ryerson (1914–1927, divorced)
Colin Campbell Clements (1927–1948, his death)
Children Harold Swayne Ryerson Jr.

Florence Ryerson (September 20, 1892 – June 8, 1965) was a playwright, screenwriter, and co-author of the script for the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.

Early years[edit]

Florence Ryerson was born in Glendale, California. She was the daughter of Charles Dwight Willard and Mary McGregor.[1] Charles Dwight Willard (1860-1914), journalist and political reformer, was an 1883 graduate of the University of Michigan, worked on the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Herald, and was author of The Fall of Ulysses - An Elephant Story (1912), The Herald's History of Los Angeles City (1901), and other books.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] In 1920 Florence and her husband, Harold Swayne Ryerson, worked in the manufacture of ladies' clothes.[10] Florence was also a stage actress and wrote short stories for magazines.


Florence Ryerson and Colin Clements
(c. 1948).

In 1926, Florence Ryerson joined Paramount Pictures to work on silent film scripts, among them Adam and Evil and Wickedness Preferred. Later sound films she wrote include the Fu Manchu and Philo Vance series.

She was co-author of the screenplay for The Wizard of Oz, along with frequent collaborator Edgar Allan Woolf and British author Noel Langley.[11][12] Both Ryerson and Woolf created the Wizard's Kansas counterpart, Professor Marvel.

Shadow Ranch[edit]

In the 1930s, Florence Ryerson and second husband Colin Campbell Clements acquired the 19th century Workman Ranch in Canoga Park, in the western San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. She renamed the estate Shadow Ranch for the amount of shade provided by the numerous large Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus) eucalyptus trees, originally planted in the 1860s during the Workman era. They restored and expanded the historic adobe and redwood ranch house, and lived there through the 1940s. Ryerson co-wrote The Wizard of Oz screenplay while living there.

Playwright and novelist[edit]

Ryerson wrote plays and mystery novels with husband Colin Clements. For Broadway in the 1940s they wrote Glamour Preferred, Harriet, and Strange Bedfellows.[13] In Harriet, Helen Hayes was Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Later years and death[edit]

Colin Clements died in 1948. Ryerson retired to Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, in 1951, where she continued to write plays, some for the local high school.[14]

Florence Ryerson Clements died in Mexico City of cardiac insufficiency in 1965. Her remains were cremated in Mexico and given to her son, Harold Swayne Ryerson Jr.[15]


  1. ^ California, Biographical Index Cards, 1781-1990 Record for Mrs Florence Ryerson Clements, Jan 1932
  2. ^ Willard genealogy: sequel to Willard memoir. By Joseph Willard, Charles Wilkes Walker, Willard Family Association. Boston 1915 p 597
  3. ^ Charles Dwight Willard. The Herald's History of Los Angeles City. Kingsley, Barnes and Neuner Co. Los Angeles 1901
  4. ^ Willard, Charles Dwight. The Fall of Ulysses - An Elephant Story. George H. Doran, 1912
  5. ^ Willard, Charles Dwight. The Free Harbor Contest At Los Angeles: An Account Of The Long Fight Waged By The People Of Southern California To Secure A Harbor (1899). Kessinger Publishing, LLC (June 2, 2008)
  6. ^ Willard, Charles Dwight. A History of the Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles, California. From Its Foundation, Sept., 1888 to the year 1900. Kingsley-Barnes & Neuner Co. (1899), Los Angeles
  7. ^ Charles Dwight Willard. City Government for Young People. Nabu Press (January 10, 2010)
  8. ^ Donald R. Culton. Charles Dwight Willard: Los Angeles' "Citizen Fixit", City Booster and Progressive Reformer. California History. Vol. 57, No. 2 (Summer, 1978), pp. 158-171
  9. ^ Emily K. Abel. Suffering in the Land of Sunshine. Rutgers University Press November 2006. Willard's letters describe his 30-year struggle with tuberculosis.
  10. ^ 1920 US Federal Census
  11. ^ Florence Ryerson on the Internet Movie Database
  12. ^ US Women of the West, 1928 Record for Florence Ryerson (Mrs. Colin Clements)
  13. ^ COLIN CLEMENTS, PLAYWRIGHT, 53; Husband of Florence Ryerson Dies -- Wrote 'Harriet' and 'Bedfellows' With Wife. New York Times - Jan 30, 1948
  14. ^ Mrs. Florence Clements, Noted Writer, Hampton Falls Resident, Dies In Mexico. Hampton Union June 17, 1965
  15. ^ Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1835-1974 Record for Florence Ryerson Clements

External links[edit]