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Guide to the Melanie Tinnelly collection of photographs of or by Bill Cunningham and Toni "Suzette" Cimino
Circa 1970-2015
 PR 329

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on July 07, 2017 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical/Historical Note

Toni “Suzette” Cimino was a floral designer whose clients included the restaurant Le Cirque, which appears in various photographs of this collection. Cimino lived in the studio apartments that existed, until 2010, above Carnegie Hall. Among the other artists living in these apartments was Bill Cunningham, a fashion photographer for the New York Times from 1978 until his death in 2016. Cunningham and Cimino were close friends and she was a frequent subject of his photographs, predominantly so in this collection. Cunningham’s involvement with the fashion world extended back at least to the 1950s and to his career as a fashion designer, particularly of women’s hats. By the early 1960s, his focus had shifted from designing to writing and to photography. Originally from Boston, he arrived to stay in New York City and the Carnegie Hall apartments in the early 1950s. Among the visitors to Cimino’s apartment was her young niece, Melanie Tinnelly, the future donor of this collection to N-YHS, who met Bill Cunningham there and remained close to him and her Aunt Toni for the rest of their lives.

Sources: New York Times obituary of Bill Cunningham on June 25, 2016; Wikipedia entry for Cunningham; Cunningham’s  Times article “Bill on Bill” of October 27, 2002; and a blog entry by Tinnelly reminiscing about Cimino and Cunningham on aleteia.org.