Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hattie McDaniel's Missing Oscar

Unknown-13Hattie McDaniel willed her Oscar to Howard University in 1951 and she passed away in 1952. McDaniel’s Oscar is now missing and Professor Carter of George Washington Law School is trying to find out what happened to it. Professor Carter believes that the Oscar did not come to Howard straight from the estate because McDaniel’s estate was insolvent and the probate court ordered all assets, including the Oscar, to pay off the creditors. Professor Carter argues that the executor must have treated it as a miscellaneous item and it ended up being sold to a private purchaser. Carter speculates that Actor Leigh Whipper brought the Oscar to Howard University in 1960 or 1961 to celebrate the opening of Howard University’s Fine Arts Building. Actor Leigh Whipper was a student at the Law School in 1895. Additionally, Professor Carter rejects the theory that students took the Oscar in the 1960s and threw it in the Potomac River.  Instead she believes that the Howard faculty simply removed the Oscar and that it is still stored somewhere at Howard.

See W. Burlette Carter, Finding the Oscar, 55 How. L. J. 107 (2011).


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