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The Models' Guild of Philadelphia Records

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Repository: Richard and Ronay Menschel Library, George Eastman Museum
Source - col: Sipley, Louis Walton, 1897-1968
Source: 3M Foundation
Creator: The Models' Guild of Philadelphia
Title: Models' Guild of Philadelphia records, Louis Walton Sipley/American Museum of Photography collection
Date [inclusive]: 1941-1968, undated
Physical Description: 3.5 Linear Feet 8 boxes, including 1,400 photographs.
Language of the Material: English

Abstract: This collection consists of the records of the Models' Guild of Philadelphia which served as a central resource of information for commercial photographers, connecting them with professional models for television, fashion, and convention work. The materials date between 1941 and 1968, with the bulk dating between 1946 and 1960. The records comprise correspondence, organizational documents, clippings, notices to members, ephemera, and approximately 1,400 photographs.

Scope & Contents: The collection consists of both photographs and written documentation. Boxes 1 and 2 contain correspondence, invoices, newsletters, memorandums, ephemera, and other advertising material from The Models’ Guild of Philadelphia, and various business affiliations of The American Museum of Photography and the Models’ Guild. Intermingled with the paper documents of these two boxes are photographs taken from functions and various events such as Halloween events, Spring Fling dances, and Miss Philadelphia pageants held by or associated with the Models’ Guild. These photographs had been individually sleeved.

The remaining photographs of men and women modeling and demonstrating various fashions and objects are located together in Boxes 3, 4, and 5. Their subject matter can be described as ‘kitschy’ fashion and modeling shots. The style of photograph is consistent throughout: studio portraiture with the exception of some outdoor editorialized photographs and majority of them have a cheesecake quality to them, which is a form of pin-up that was popular during the 1940s and 1950s. The photographs overall do not contain any information that identify the image, photographer, studio, or fashion shoot. There are two main sizes: 8 x 10 inches and 4 x 5 inches. They are silver gelatin photographs printed on a resin-coated, high gloss, and satin or mat finish paper.

Boxes 6 and 7 contain file folders with no photographs. These folders provide demographic information: The model’s name, an identification number, and other information such as age, weight, hair color, and eye color. The size of each photograph and the types of modeling each person was available for also appears on the file folder. It is safe to presume that the photographs were once organized and filed under the referring model. However, with little information on the actual photographs there is no way to re- establish the original order.

Creation of this finding aid was made possible in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, grant #MA-30-15-0019-15.