All Collections > Collection Guide
See all Images | Search Collection:

Theatre Productions and Players, 1920s-1957: Vandamm Studio Photographs

The thousands of items in this digital presentation are a sampling of an archive of more than 75,000 images of theatrical personalities and productions. Images in the current presentation represent glass plate and acetate negatives primarily.

Collection Contents  |  Related Subjects

Clifton Webb and Tamara Geva. Digital ID: 1148371 Clifton Webb and Tamara Geva. Digital ID: 1148371

Collection History

The Vandamm archive documents almost comprehensively three decades of theatrical history in New York. Florence and Tommy Vandamm, married in 1918, moved to New York from London in the 1920s when their portrait studio business declined after the war. They began to establish dominance in the field in 1928 when they undertook a contract with the Theatre Guild to photograph all of their productions. Tommy concentrated on documenting the stage work while Florence took responsibility for the portraits. Hallmarks of the Vandamms' collective work are the beautiful compositions they achieved and the flattering images they created. Their accomplishment came with enormous labor and attention to detail. A painter's eye is apparent and spontaneity is absent in their stage shots and portraits alike, which they carefully planned, composed, and lit. The Billy Rose Theatre Collection purchased the archive of negatives and prints in 1961 when Florence closed the studio.

Related Resources

Henderson, Mary C. Broadway Ballyhoo (1989)

Thomas, Robert S. Vandamm, N.Y., a pictorial record of the modern American Theater (1945?)

Library Division(s)

NYPL Digital Gallery provides free and open access to over 800,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the vast collections of The New York Public Library, including drawings, illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more.