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Summa Corporation records, 1946 to 1989, 1970 to 1978

Level of Description




Scope and Contents

The Summa Corporation records (1946-1989) include administrative, film-related, legal, and financial records primarily pertaining to the management of Howard Hughes' various corporations and assets. Administrative records contain correspondence and agreements to create The Amazing Howard Hughes documentary, research into Hughes' corporate history, and correspondence describing the management of Hughes' corporations. Film-related records include research into the copyrights of Hughes' films, contracts, agreements, and correspondence regarding film distribution and reel inventories. Legal materials relate to film piracy research and Hughes' legal battles with the Classic Film Museum.


1946 to 1989
bulk 1970 to 1978


14.30 Cubic Feet (21 boxes and 1 oversized box)
12.67 Linear Feet
To request this item in person:
Collection Number: MS-01036
Collection Name: Howard Hughes Film Production Records
Box/Folder: N/A

Biographical / Historical Note

Summa Corporation is a holding company created in 1972 by Howard Hughes after selling Hughes Tool Company through a public stock offering. Hughes used Summa to hold his aeronautic divisions, television broadcasting stations, and real estate properties including hotels and casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada. In forming Summa, some key people in Hughes' corporations went with Hughes Tool Company, while others remained with Summa. Hughes died intestate on April 5, 1976, resulting in a prolonged legal battle over his estate between his associates and relatives. William R. Lummis, a cousin of Hughes, along with a long-time Hughes corporation employee William E. Rankin, managed Summa after Hughes' death.

Summa's assets were liquidated by the end of 1976, and the company later transitioned into developing and managing mines and real estate throughout Nevada. This includes the master-planned community of Summerlin, named after Hughes' paternal grandmother. Hughes had purchased twenty-five thousand acres of land west of Las Vegas in 1952, and after Summa’s announcement of its development in 1988, the first residents moved into Summerlin in 1991. Summa renamed itself as The Howard Hughes Corporation in 1994, was sold to the Rouse Company in 1996, and was acquired by General Growth Properties (GGP) in 2004. GGP filed for bankruptcy in 2009, resulting in The Howard Hughes Corporation reforming as a spin-off company. The company currently continues developing real estate throughout the United States.


"History." Summerlin. December 2020. Accessed March 3, 2022.

Manning, Mary. "Howard Hughes: A revolutionary recluse." The Las Vegas Sun. May 15, 2008. Accessed March 3, 2022.

"Our Company." The Howard Hughes Corporation. 2020. Accessed March 3, 2022.

Tran, Mark. "Rouse pays $500m for last assets of Howard Hughes." The Guardian. February 24, 1996. Accessed March 3, 2022.

Weinmann, Kay. "General Growth Properties Completes Spinoff of The Howard Hughes Corporation." General Growth Properties, Inc. November 9, 2010. Accessed March 3, 2022.


Materials are arranged chronologically. Film-related records are arranged alphabetically.