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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 416

Alix Jeffry photographs

Overview

Contains circa 60,000 negatives (35mm, 2x2"), contact sheets, and glossy 8x10" prints, and circa 400 color slides covering productions of Off-Broadway theaters of New York, and celebrities and performers photographed by Alix Jeffry.

Dates

  • 1952-1974

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.

This collection is shelved offsite. Retrieval requires advance notice. Check with Houghton Public Services staff.

Extent

11.25 linear feet (12 boxes)

Collection contains ca. 60,000 negatives (35mm, 2x2"), contact sheets, and glossy 8x10" prints, and about 400 color slides. It covers productions of Off-Broadway and Broadway theaters of New York, events and museum opening and galleries, and celebrities and performers photographed on assignment for the New York Times.

Biographical / Historical

Alix Jeffry was born in July 1929 in DuQuoin, Illinois. After moving to Chicago she joined an organization of young celebrity hunters whose purpose was to photograph celebrities. She met Lena Horne, who encouraged her to enter the field of photography professionally. Although her name since birth was Evelyn Fish, she opened a studio for theatrical photography in Chicago in November, 1950, under the name Alix Jeffry.

Jeffry moved to New York in 1952 and began documenting off-Broadway theater and performers. Beginning with the Originals Only group, she worked for Artists Theatre and then for companies such as Living Theatre, Terry Hayden's DeLys Theatre, and the New York City Center. Much of her work in the 1950s and 1960s documents the work of Edward Albee, beginning with his off-Broadway career. During her career in New York she shot an estimated 40,000 photographs of off-Broadway plays, and starting in 1968, 20,000 celebrity portraits for the New York Times Arts and Leisure section.

Jeffry was the author of a children's play, "The inside out adventure," which was produced originally in New York City in 1961 by the American Theater for Children. Her photographs were featured in several publications, including Stephen E. Rubin's The new Met in profile (1974), Mary Henderson's Broadway ballyhoo: the American theater seen in posters, photographs, magazines, caricatures, and programs (1989), and Rogers and Hammerstein, by Ethan Mordden (1992).

In 1988 Jeffry moved with her partner, Mary Alice Morris, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she continued her work as a photographer of people involved in the performing arts. She died there in 1993.

Arrangement

Arranged in 2022 into two series: Theatrical productions and figures and New York Times assignments, with an index following. Alix Jeffry's arrangement was retained as much as possible; some sections arranged alphabetically, while others have no discernible order. The New York Times assignments are arranged chronologically, also per Jeffry's organization. There were some negatives and additional materials located at the back of storage drawers at the time of reprocessing; it's not clear what the original order of these is. They appear in separate sub-series in the Theatrical productions and figures series for this reason.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased in 1981.

Related Materials

Parke-Bernet Galleries, sale catalog, November 1967 (Harvard Theatre Collection, call no. TS 239.542).

Additional papers were received in 2000 (MS Thr 416.1).

Processing Information

This collection was re-processed in 2022 by Betts Coup, after initial processing by Bonnie Salt in 2004. Jeffry's original order was maintained as much as possible; some loose folders of negatives and other materials were intellectually integrated into the rest of the order.

Not all materials were located at the time of re-processing in 2022. If materials, particularly negatives, do not have box or folder information, search the title or name to see if it may appear elsewhere in the collection. Additionaly, additional unnumbered and unidentified negatives can be located in Box 11.

Title
Jeffry, Alix, 1929-1993. Alix Jeffry photographs, 1952-1977: Finding Aid
Status
completed
Author
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
eng
EAD ID
hou01233

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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