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University of Texas at Austin

Joseph Abeles:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Studio Collection in the Performing Arts Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Creator: Abeles, Joseph, circa 1908-1991
Title: Joseph Abeles Studio Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1935-1975
Bulk Dates: bulk 1950-1970
Extent: 80 document boxes (33.6 linear feet)
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. Please contact the Center before requesting this material:

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Purchase, 1978 (R8022)
Processed by: Jennifer Hecker, 2001; Martha Estrada and Steven Reyna, 2008; Daniela Lozano, 2012

Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

Joseph Abeles (circa 1908-1991), New York theater photographer, established his Talbot Studio in 1935 and formed the Friedman-Abeles Studio with Leo and Sy Friedman in 1957. They were photographers of stage productions and personalities, as well as magazine photo stories about theatrical subjects. This collection of photographic files from Abeles' studio consists predominantly of publicity photographs (some with manuscript notes) for individuals in the performing arts, 1935-1975 (bulk 1950-1970). The collection is arranged in two series, I. Prints (subdivided into A. Portraits and B. Publicity), and II. Negatives (arranged and subdivided to parallel the prints). Approximately 1800 subjects are represented. There are about 11,850 photographic prints (including 8 x 10's, 5 x 7's, proofs, and contact sheets) and 18,500 negatives.
The prints in the Portraits subseries are arranged alphabetically. The individuals represented in the portraits are mainly actors and actresses, but agents, artists, athletes, authors, beauty contestants, cartoonists, choreographers, comedians, composers, conductors, critics, dancers, designers, directors, librettists, lyricists, musicians, playwrights, politicians, producers, singers, television hosts, and many other personalities are also included. The files are generally identified as to the year or years in which the photographs were taken. Many celebrated performers of today were captured early in their careers, e.g., Jane Fonda (1960), Dustin Hoffman (1957), Bette Midler (1967), Paul Newman (1953), and Christopher Walken (1968). The portraits are usually publicity shots, but occasionally there are photographs that show actors in character, rehearsal, or performance.
The Publicity subseries contains prints representing other commercial work done by Abeles and are arranged in these categories: Airlines, Art Shows, Awards, Buildings and Restaurants, Business, Fashion, Film Reviews, Health, Miscellany, Music, New York City Life, Parties, Stage Shows, Sylvania, Television Shows, and Theater Related. Some of these photo sessions were done for Time or for the New York Times.

Joseph Abeles Studio Collection--Box List 17 matching container list entries