||The bulk of the W. H. Crain Costume and Scenic Design Collection, ca.
1650-1993, consists of original renderings of costume and scenic designs for
plays, operas, ballets, revues, and films, augmented by works of art on paper,
costumes, prints, and other material. The collection is arranged in four
series: I. Artists, ca. 1650-1993 (33.5 boxes, 280 oversize folders), II.
French Music-Hall, ca. 1920-55 (0.5 box, 16 oversize folders), III. Toy Theater
Prints, ca. 1830-50, nd (1.5 boxes, 4 oversize folders), and IV. Sources,
1851-ca. 1960 (0.5 box, 1 oversize folder). Within each series, material is
arranged alphabetically by name of artist or production title, or
chronologically as appropriate. In addition to providing a description of the
contents and the location of each folder in the collection, the Item List
includes supplemental information for all of the renderings and other works of
art in Series I and II, viz. the artist's name, the number of items, and an
indication of the media used. Series I can be accessed by title of work via the
Index of Production Titles following the Item List.
||Represented in the Artists series are over eighty costume and scenic
designers ranging from the Bibienas in the seventeenth century to Jo Mielziner.
Though the work of French, British, and Russian artists is present, the
emphasis is firmly on twentieth-century American designers. The series is
divided into two subseries: A. Renderings, ca. 1650-1993, and B. Other
Materials, 1819-1979. Both subseries are arranged alphabetically by name of
artist, then chronologically, with unidentified artists placed at the end.
Subseries A contains over 850 study sketches and preliminary and final
renderings executed in a variety of media for productions staged in the United
States and Europe. Included are woodcuts by Edward Gordon Craig; renderings by
Léon Bakst and Alexandre Benois for Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russe;
Mielziner sketches covering nearly his entire career, including work done while
an apprentice to Robert Edmond Jones; a large group of Luigi Bartezago
renderings, presumably for productions staged at La Scala; several sketches by
the Constructivists Aleksandra Exter and Boris Aronson; and a number of costume
designs for the
Ziegfeld Follies by James Reynolds. Also
included are a small number of original sketches attributed to the seventeenth-
and eighteenth-century artists Jean Bérain, Fabrizio Galliari, Pietro
Gottardo Gonzaga, and members of the Bibiena family. Though many artists are
represented by a few items, the series includes at least ten sketches for Percy
Anderson, Lemuel Ayers, Cecil Beaton, Attilio Comelli, Archie Gunn, James
Henderson, Houghton, Robert Edmond Jones, Charles Karl, William Henry Mathews,
Sidney H. Sime, Ernest Stern, and Dolly Tree. Item-level descriptions of Ernest
Stern's renderings for
White Horse Inn are available in an
earlier finding aid in the Reading Room.
||Subseries B contains materials that relate to specific artists but
which are not renderings. Included here are ephemera, reproductions of
renderings, works of art on paper, such as Edward Gordon Craig's non-theatrical
woodcuts, and other formats. Notable items are costumes by Bakst and Nicholas
Roerich for Ballet Russe productions of
Le sacre du printemps; an Edward Gordon
Craig set model; nearly seventy slides of Arch Lauterer designs; a portfolio of
material pertaining to Edward Gorey's sets and costumes for
Dracula; scrapbooks containing small
renderings by R. Bööcke, Jo Mielziner, and Georgii A. Pozhedaev;
a small number of letters by Benois and his daughter Anna Tcherkessof to
Elizabeth Hudson and Antonina Fedorovna; and prints showing the work of the
eighteenth- and nineteenth-century artists Giuseppe Bibiena, Alfonso Parigi, and
||The French Music-Hall series, ca. 1920-55, contains souvenir programs
and original costume and scenic designs. Although many of the renderings are
probably from the Folies-Bergère, it is likely that other Parisian
venues are represented. The bulk of the series comprises renderings for
showgirls' costumes by Ranson, Alec Shanks, and Zig, and scenic designs by
Dany. The material in this series was purchased from a single source.
||The Toy Theater Prints series, ca. 1830-50, nd, contains colorful
plates intended for children that show the characters and settings for plays.
The bulk of the series consists of prints for over twenty plays that were
popular enough in London for British publishers to issue sets of plates as
children's versions; however, the prints in this series do not constitute
complete sets. The plates, most of which were published by Benjamin Pollock, I.
J. Dyer and Co., or John Redington, are arranged alphabetically by title;
unidentified plays and a few non-alphabetical groupings are placed at the end.
Completing the series are four folders of undated French and German toy theater
prints published by Imagerie Pellerin and Verlag J. F. Schreiber. Item-level
descriptions of most of the toy theater prints are available in an earlier
finding aid in the Reading Room.
||The Sources series, 1851-ca. 1960, contains photographs, promotional
materials, sheet music, and clippings which illustrate popular styles of dress.
Also included is a reproduction of a modern artist's rendering of dancers in an
||Researchers will find related material in the Costume and Scenic
Design Collection and the Robert Downing Papers. The Theater Arts Collection
includes the papers of the theatrical designers Boris Aronson, Norman Bel
Geddes, Eldon Elder, Gordon Conway, and James B. Newton, and the records of the
costume firm of B. J. Simmons and Co.
Abbreviations in the List
- ALS=autograph letter signed
- ff=flat file
- ob=oversize box