This exhibition includes 228 costume designs and other materials from 60 theater and film productions
in the B. J. Simmons archive dating from 1889 to 1959. The images are presented in groups corresponding to the major strengths of the
collection. In most cases, several costume designs were chosen from an existing portfolio of preliminary sketches,
final renderings, dress plots, and research materials. With an archive as vast as the Simmons collection—the
costume design portfolios alone hold 34,000 items—it is difficult to get a sense of the size of the archive,
to know what is typical, and to see how designers used source material from several portfolios to dress a new
production. Therefore, we included two complete portfolios in the exhibition, for the 1898 premiere of
Trelawny of the "Wells"
and the 1926 revival.