Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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A Tonic to the Imagination: Costume Designs for Stage and Screen by B. J. Simmons & Co., 1889-1959
Home Costume Designs Introduction Index of Designers
Costume Designs
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.
Actors & Managers
Early Opera at
Covent Garden

Early Shakespeare
Musicals & Revues
Noted Designers
Pageants & Pantomimes
Premieres & Revivals
Two Complete Portfolios