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Bob Golby:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Golby, Bob, b. 1901
Title: Bob Golby Collection
Dates: 1931-1977
Extent: 44 document boxes, 20 oversize boxes, 560 oversize folders (osf) (77.84 linear feet)
Abstract: This collection documents Golby's work as a New York theater photographer, including Broadway stagings of plays, theater personalities, as well as dance and opera performances. The theater photographs document some 350 plays staged mainly in New York City, including premiere productions, revivals, and classics. The collection also includes a few letters and notes by Golby and a small collection of programs, tearsheets and clippings.
Call Number: Performing Arts Collection PA-00039
Language: English
Note: This brief collection description is a preliminary inventory. The collection is not fully processed or cataloged; no biographical sketch, descriptions of series, or indexes are available.
Access:

Open for research. An advance appointment is required to view photographic negatives in the Reading Room.




Acquisition:

Purchase, 1980 (R8870)

Processed by:

Sue Gertson and Jennifer Hecker, 2000; Performing Arts staff, 2008; Daniela Lozano, 2012

Repository:

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center


The collection of Bob Golby (b. 1901) documents the work of the New York theater photographer, 1931-1977, capturing Broadway stagings of plays, theater personalities, and, to a lesser extent, dance and opera performances. The collection is arranged in two series: I. Photographs, 1931-1977 (64 boxes, 560 oversize folders), and II. Papers, 1936-1966 (2 boxes).

The Photographs series is arranged in four subseries: A. Theater Productions, 1931-1972, undated; B. Personalities and Places, 1936-1969, undated; C. Dance and Opera, 1934-1967, undated, and D. Other, 1953-1977. The theater photographs in Subseries A form the largest group, documenting some 350 plays staged mainly in New York, including premiere productions, revivals, and classics. A few of these productions were staged at Westport County Playhouse. Performance images and "personality" shots of numerous noted actors are located in Subseries B; Katherine Cornell and the Lunts are particularly well represented. The small Dance and Opera subseries includes photographs of performances by the American Ballet Theatre, the Ballet Russe, and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo during the 1930s and 1940s. The final subseries, Other, contains a small number of photographs, mostly fashion or travel photography, and a box of Golby's empty original print sleeves and containers.

The photographic materials consist mainly of 5x7" prints, along with a small number of 2x3" proof prints, though groups of larger prints (8x10", 11x14", and a group of 12x13" prints mounted to 16x20") are also present. The 5x7" prints are located in boxes 1-41, with larger prints located in boxes 42-47, and 12x13" mounted prints in oversize folders. The only color items, a small number of color transparencies, are located in folders 43.12-13. The Container List collocates all of the prints and transparencies, regardless of size or location, into a single alphabetical listing by show title or name of person.

The very small group of papers in Series II includes a few letters and notes by Golby, a small collection of programs, and tearsheets and clippings either about Golby or that include published versions of his photographs. The scrapbook in this series documents the 1936 production of On Your Toes .

In 2012, previously uncataloged negatives were added to the original inventory. The negatives are located in boxes 50-64. Boxes 50-63 contain rolls of 35mm and 120 negatives. Box 64 contains individual frames or strips of negatives in various formats as well as three glass plate lantern slides. The folder descriptions for the negatives have been integrated into the existing listing. High resolution images of the boxes where the rolls of negatives were originally stored are available in the reading room. Additionally, the labels that contained identifying information were removed from the boxes and are located in folder 43.22. Both provide evidence of the original order of this part of the collection. An advance appointment is required to view photographic negatives in the Reading Room.