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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

Scope and Contents Note

The Melanie Tinnelly collection primarily includes photographs taken by fashion journalist and photographer Bill Cunningham. The photographs principally center on a close friend of Cunningham’s, Toni Cimino, known as Suzette. The photographs feature Suzette on the streets of New York City, by brownstones, in Christmas-themed holiday markets, in the snow, at a flower market, and the like. Cimino commonly appears alone in the photographs, but also with other people. A few of the photographs are captioned as having been taken in the apartments above Carnegie Hall where Cimino, Cunningham, the photographer Editta Sherman, and others lived. Most of the collection includes Cimino in the images and so her presence is not noted at the folder level notes below; to the extent other identified people are found in the folder, that is noted.

In addition to the photographs of Cimino, but also sometimes overlapping, are Cunningham’s photographs of interior spaces at Le Cirque restaurant and elsewhere, often with flowers or floral arrangements as prominent features. Most of the photographs are black and white, but there are many in color also.

Many of the photographs are dated and have identifying locations or identifications of the other people in the image. Several photographs are captioned or inscribed by Cunningham, at times as profound expressions of affection and friendship sent with the photograph to Cimino. There are a small number of greeting cards from Cunningham that hold similar expressions of fondness.

In addition to Cunningham’s photographs, there are several by other photographers, including Tinnelly. Tinnelly’s photographs, printed on oversize paper, are of Cunningham and/or Cimino from late in their lives. A set of three photographs of Cimino are by Antonio Lopez. One notable artwork in the collection is a collage that includes a photograph of Cimino taken by Cunningham with a border drawing by Ruben Toledo. Nonetheless, most of the photographs in the collection not taken by Cunningham are by unidentified photographers. These photographs include snapshots of Cunningham and others at various celebratory events and social settings, ranging from the 1970s to the 2000s.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged by photographer, with Bill Cunningham's first, followed by those of Melanie Tinnelly, and then others. Within Cunningham's photographs, the arrangement is by format of image (black/white, color, etc.) and chronological.