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Guide to the Katja B. Goldman and Michael Sonnenfeldt Collection of Photographs
1900-2002
 PR 305

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Brynn White, June, 2014. Revised by Marybeth Kavanagh, 2019.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 11, 2019 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Series I: New York Theatre, 1900-1937

Historical note

The New York Theatre Series documents a vibrant period in the development of New York theater. The earliest materials date to 1900, four years before Longacre Square was officially renamed Times Square and a new subway station facilitated the development of the neighborhood into the world famous "Great White Way" -- a heavily trafficked, electric light and advertisement strewn plaza stretching from 42nd to 47th Street. Over the first fifteen years of the century, new venues were constructed uptown to meet the high demand and output of the growing theatre industry. Productions from many of these theaters, such as the Empire, Princess, Criterion, George M. Cohan, Astor, Ritz, Fulton, Longacre, Belasco, and The Playhouse, appear in this series.

While New York's theater district was being physically transformed, American theatrical production was also evolving. At the beginning of the 20th century, American theatrical output was comprised of light entertainment and genre fare, with familiar forms, escapism, and taboo content more guaranteed to fill the seats. A few early works such as Vaughn Moody's The Great Divide (1906) and Langdon Mitchell's  The New York Idea (1915) -- both depicted in this series -- attempted to break from the perfunctory and trivial, inspiring innovators Florence Ziegfeld, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, P.G. Wodehouse, and other notable performers to both refine existing traditions and create new ones.

The interval between the wars, heavily represented in the series, is regarded as one of the most dynamic and creatively rich periods in American theatre history, as works took more vital, political, and realistic themes while musical productions evolved past the revue format definitively abandoned by the milestone Kern and Oscar Hammerstein production Show Boat (1927). That season, Broadway reached an all-time peak of 246 productions.

Scope and Contents

This series is comprised of a diverse range of early 20th-century publicity, production, and portrait photography. Images document Broadway stage works, set design, costumes, and stars canonical and obscure. Early genres such as musical comedy, revivals, operetta, melodrama, farce, and the much imitated revue shows and spectaculars pioneered by Florence Ziegfeld are depicted, as well as their more mature evolutions following World War I. A majority of the series photographs are attributed to White Studios, Broadway's foremost photography agency in the early twentieth century. Other credited artists include Jean de Mirjian, notorious for risque and visually striking imagery, and Vandamm Studios, the most notable successor to White Studios.

The images in this series have been organized into three subseries: 1) Theatrical Productions (alphabetical by production) 2) Theatrical Portraits (alphabetical by sitter) 3) Theatrical Stage Sets (alphabetical by production) and 4) Musical Revues and Vaudeville.

Subseries I.1, Theatrical productions, includes publicity and other photographs from comedies, dramas and musicals. Prominent producers featured in the subseries include George M. Cohan, with Nearly Married (1913),  It Pays to Advertise (1914),  The Miracle Man (1914),  The Intruder (1916),  Going Up (1917),  The Acquittal (1920); and the Shubert brothers, with  The Inner Man (1917),  The Masquerader (1917),  Little Simplicity (1918),  The Dancer (1919). Also included are works by members of the prestigious Playwrights Company: Sidney Howard's  Dodsworth (1934), Elmer Rice's  Counsellor-at-Law (1932) and  The Left Bank (1932), and Maxwell Anderson's  High Tor (1937). Additional highlights include first theatrical Pulitzer Prize recipient  Why Marry? (1918), Broadway's "longest-running flop"  The Ladder (1927), Yiddish productions, and several stagings of Gilbert & Sullivan's  Mikado.

Female stars often proved the most lucrative box office attractions during this era, and are well-represented in the subseries. Notable examples include: Ina Claire, witty star of fast-paced high comedies, includingPolly With a Past (1917),  The Gold Diggers (1919),  Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1921),  The Awful Truth (1922), and  Ground for Divorce (1924); Helen Hayes, the "First Lady of the American Theatre," in  Bab (1920),  We Moderns (1924), and  Coquette (1927); Billie Burke, in  The Amazons (1913),  The Happy Husband (1928), and  The Rescuing Angel (1917); Katharine Cornell, in  The Age of Innocence (1928),  Barretts of Wimpole Street (1931),  Casanova (1923), and  The Outsider (1924); and Eva LeGallienne, in  Lilliom (1921) and  La Locannderia. Later Hollywood stars John Barrymore, Edward G. Robinson, Paul Muni, and Fredric March also appear.

Subseries I.2, Theatrical Stage Sets, encompasses tableau photography of production sets including Naughty Cinderella (1925), featuring the costume and scenic design of preeminent fashion designer Paul Poiret.

Subseries I.3, Theatrical Portraits, consists of individual studio portraits and production photographs labelled by performer. Worldwide star Maude Adams joins recurrently depicted performers Dorothy Gish, Minna Gombell, Edna Hibbard, Mary Howard, Francine Larrimore, Margaret Lawrence, Margaret Lee, Bruce McRae, and others.

While narrative musical productions are included in the first subseries, images of vaudeville, comedy, and music performers, acts, ensembles, and dance numbers have been separately filed in Subseries I.4, Musical Revues, Dance and Vaudeville. Subjects include landmark productions Floradora and  Roberta; revue shows presented by leading impresarios George M. Cohan, George White, Billy Rose, Earl Carroll, and Irving Berlin; Florence Ziegfeld's Follies and other productions at the Winter Garden and New Amsterdam Theatre;  Happy Days,  The Wars of the World, and other large-scale productions at the New York Hippodrome; and an unidentified 1911 image labelled "First Tango on American Stage." Individual portraits feature sitters billed as vaudevillians, dancers, singers, and other novely acts including many Ziegfeld and Earl Carroll "Follies Girls" such as Lulu McConnell, film and gossip column star Geneva Mitchell, and Princess White Deer.

Images throughout this series are often stamped with photographer's credit and variously include subject name, date, and other information. Some photographs also feature publicity captions on the verso. A small selection of photographs have been laminated, and are housed separately, as depicted in the container list.

Arrangement

Within each series, images are arranged alphabetically by the name of the production or performer depicted. Productions or people represented by a single image have been grouped together and filed alphabetically in "Miscellaneous" files; productions or people depicted in multiple images have been foldered separately and specifically identified in the container list.

Additional Theatrical Production shots and Theatrical Portraits are included in Series IV and Series VI.

Subseries I.1: Theatrical Productions, 1900-1937

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1-6 "A" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 1 Folder : 7 The Acquittal
1920
Box: 1 Folder : 8 The Awful Truth
1922
Box: 1 Folder : 9-12 "B" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 1 Folder : 13-17 "C" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Casanova
1923
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Cloudy With Showers
1931
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Coquette
1927
Box: 2 Folder : 1-2 Counsellor at Law
1931
Box: 30 Folder : 4 Countess Martiza
1928
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Cousin Billy
1905
Box: 2 Folder : 4-5 "D" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 2 Folder : 7 The Dancer
1919
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Dancing Partners
1930
Box: 2 Folder : 6 The Dove
1925
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Dodsworth
1934
Box: 2 Folder : 9 "E" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 2 Folder : 9-10 "F" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 2 Folder : 11-22 "G" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Gamblers All
1917
Box: 3 Folder : 1 The Girl from Montmarte
1912
Box: 3 Folder : 2 The Girl Who Smiles
1915
Box: 3 Folder : 2 The Gold Diggers
1919
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Good Boy
1928
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Good Bad Woman
1925
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Go To It
1916
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Going Up
1917
Box: 3 Folder : 5 The Great Divide
1906
Box: 3 Folder : 5 The Great Power
1928
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Grounds for Divorce
1924
Box: 3 Folder : 7 The Guilty Man
1916
Box: 3 Folder : 7 The Guilty One
1923
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Gypsy
1929
Box: 3 Folder : 9-17 "H" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 3 Folder : 18 Half an Hour
1926
Box: 4 Folder : 1-4 Happy Husbands
1928
Box: 3 Folder : 18 Harvest Moon
1909
Box: 4 Folder : 5-6 Heavy Traffic
1928
Box: 4 Folder : 7 Held by the Enemy
1910
Box: 4 Folder : 7 Hello Alexander
1919
Box: 4 Folder : 8 Her Master's Voice
1933
Box: 4 Folder : 9 Here Comes the Bride
1917
Box: 4 Folder : 10 Here Today
1932
Box: 4 Folder : 10 High Cost of Living
1916
Box: 4 Folder : 11 The High Road
1928
Box: 4 Folder : 11 High Tor
1937
Box: 4 Folder : 12 Hobson's Choice
1915
Box: 4 Folder : 12 Honey Girl
1920
Box: 4 Folder : 13-17 "I" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 4 Folder : 18 In His Arms
1924
Box: 4 Folder : 18 Inside the Lines
1915
Box: 4 Folder : 19 Indian Summer
1913
Box: 4 Folder : 20 Innocent
1914
Box: 5 Folder : 1 Interference
1927
Box: 5 Folder : 2 The Intruder
1916
Box: 5 Folder : 2 Iole
1913
Box: 5 Folder : 3 Isobel
1925
Box: 5 Folder : 4-6 "J" - Miscellaenous
1900-1937
Box: 5 Folder : 7 Janice Meredith
1900
Box: 5 Folder : 8 Josephine
1918
Box: 5 Folder : 9 Johnny Get Your Gun
1917
Box: 5 Folder : 9 June Moon
1929
Box: 5 Folder : 10 Just A Woman
1916
Box: 5 Folder : 10 Just A Minute
1928
Box: 5 Folder : 11-12 "K" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 5 Folder : 13 The Kiss Burglar
1918
Box: 5 Folder : 13 Kissing Time
1918
Box: 5 Folder : 14 Kitty Mackay
1914
Box: 6 Folder : 1-7 "L" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 6 Folder : 8 The Left Bank
1931
Box: 6 Folder : 9 Little Accident
1928
Box: 6 Folder : 9 Little Simplicity
1918
Box: 6 Folder : 10 Little Lady Blue
1916
Box: 6 Folder : 11 The Little Teacher
1918
Box: 6 Folder : 11 Little Women
1931
Box: 6 Folder : 12 Loose Ends
1926
Box: 6 Folder : 13 Loyalties
1922
Box: 6 Folder : 14 The Lure
1913
Box: 7 Folder : 1-10 "M" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 7 Folder : 11 Main Street
1921
Box: 7 Folder : 12 The Marriage of Columbine
1914
Box: 7 Folder : 13 Mary
1920
Box: 7 Folder : 14 The Masquerader
1917
Box: 7 Folder : 14 The Master
1916
Box: 7 Folder : 15 The Melody of Youth
1916
Box: 7 Folder : 16-18 A Message from Mars
1901
Box: 7 Folder : 18 Mile-A-Minute Kendall
1916
Box: 7 Folder : 19 Minick
1924
Box: 7 Folder : 20 The Miracle Man
1914
Box: 8 Folder : 1 Misalliance
1917
Box: 8 Folder : 1 Misleading Lady
1913
Box: 8 Folder : 2 The Moon-Flower
1924
Box: 8 Folder : 3-7 "N" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 8 Folder : 8 Nearly Married
1913
Box: 8 Folder : 8 The New York Idea
1915
Box: 8 Folder : 9 The Ninety and Nine
1902
Box: 8 Folder : 9 No. 13 Washington Square
1915
Box: 8 Folder : 10 Nothing But the Truth
1916
Box: 8 Folder : 11 "O" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 8 Folder : 12-13 "P" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 8 Folder : 14 Polly With A Past
1917
Box: 8 Folder : 15-16 "R" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 8 Folder : 17-20 "S" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 9 Folder : 1-2 The Saving Grace
1918
Box: 9 Folder : 3-4 Spring Song
1934
Box: 9 Folder : 5-6 "T" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 9 Folder : 7 "U" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 9 Folder : 7 "V" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 9 Folder : 8-11 "W" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 9 Folder : 10 Why Marry
1917
Box: 9 Folder : 10 Whispering Wires
1923
Box: 9 Folder : 13 "Y" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 9 Folder : 14-15 Unidentified
1900-1935
Box: 30 Folder : 1 "A-H" - Miscellaneous - Laminated
1900-1937
Box: 30 Folder : 2 "J-M" - Miscellaneous - Laminated
Box: 30 Folder : 3 "M-W" - Miscellaneous - Laminated

Subseries I.2: Theatrical Stage Sets, 1900-1937

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 9 Folder : 16-17 "A-Z" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 9 Folder : 18 The Girl from Montmarte
1912
Box: 9 Folder : 18 Indian Summer
1913
Box: 9 Folder : 19 Naughty Cinderella
1925

Subseries I.3: Theatrical Portraits (Individual), 1904-1938, undated

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 10 Folder : 1 "A" - Miscellaneous
Box: 10 Folder : 12 Maude Adams
1904-1911
Box: 10 Folder : 2 "B-F " - Miscellaneous
Box: 10 Folder : 12 Billie Burke
Undated
Box: 10 Folder : 13 Ina Claire
Undated
Box: 10 Folder : 13 Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne
1935-1938
Box: 10 Folder : 2-3 "G" - Miscellaneous
Box: 10 Folder : 3-4 "H" - Miscellaneous
Box: 10 Folder : 4 "I-J" - Miscellaneous
Box: 10 Folder : 4-5 "K" - Miscellaneous
Box: 10 Folder : 5-7 "L" - Miscellaneous
Box: 10 Folder : 7-9 "M" - Miscellaneous
Box: 10 Folder : 9 "N-R" - Miscellaneous
Box: 10 Folder : 10 "S-V" - Miscellaneous
Box: 10 Folder : 10-11 "W" - Miscellaneous
Box: 31 Folder : 1 "B-F" - Miscellaneous - Laminated
Box: 30 Folder : 2 "G-L" - Miscellaneous - Laminated
Box: 31 Folder : 3 "L-M" - Miscellaneous - Laminated
Box: 31 Folder : 4 "M-W" - Miscellaneous - Laminated

Subseries I.4: Musical Revues, Dance and Vaudeville, 1900-1937

Arrangement

This subseries is further arranged into two subseries: A) Group Portraits and Production Stills (alphabetical by production or theatre) and B) Individual Portraits (alphabetical by sitter).

Subseries I.4. A: Group Portraits and Production Stills

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 10 Folder : 14-16 "A-Z" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 10 Folder : 16 Unknown
1900-1937; Undated
Box: 10 Folder : 17 New York Hippodrome
1900-1937
Box: 10 Folder : 18 Winter Garden
1900-1937
Box: 10 Folder : 18 Ziegfeld Follies
1900-1937

Subseries I.4. B: Individual Portraits

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 10 Folder : 19 "A-C" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 10 Folder : 20 "D-G" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 10 Folder : 21 "H-L" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 10 Folder : 21-23 "M" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 10 Folder : 23 "N-P" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937
Box: 10 Folder : 24 "R-Z" - Miscellaneous
1900-1937

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