Marc Wanamaker's collection of more than 70,000 photographs covering the history of movies and studios has found a home at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "The images document nearly every facet of film production between 1909 and the present day, focusing on the first half of the 20th century," the academy's release says. "Many of these images are the only known photographs of their subjects, including a group of eight behind-the-scenes color images of the filming of the opening sequence of Orson Welles’s 1958 noir classic, “Touch of Evil.”
The photographs from Bison Archives are destined for the academy's Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills, which already has ten million pictures from movie history. The Cecil B. DeMille Foundation helped the academy acquire the Wanamaker collection.
“I felt very strongly that the collection should be with the Academy,” said Cecilia DeMille Presley, who helped the Academy acquire the Bison photographs on behalf of the Cecil B. DeMille Foundation.
Other highlights from the collection include vintage set and location photographs of such legendary directors as D.W. Griffith, John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg, as well as many of their below-the-line contemporaries, including film editor Anne Bauchens, cinematographer Billy Bitzer, art director Ben Carré and costume designer Gwen Wakeling.
Wanamaker began amassing the collection in 1971, as he was researching a book on the history of the American motion picture studios. Over the years, the collection has been used by authors, historians and filmmakers from all over the world for hundreds of books, films, lectures, exhibitions, publications and other scholarly works. “The Herrick is one of the premier archives in the world,” said Wanamaker. “It is appropriate that much of my life’s work will have a permanent home there, including a photo album compiled by Ralph DeLacy, D.W. Griffith’s property master for “Intolerance.”
Says Ric Robertson, the academy's COO: "Marc’s dedication to preserving a historic photographic record of our industry has resulted in an extraordinary collection. We’re honored to add these images to our to our library’s holdings. His photographs, so many of which focus on behind-the-scenes studio activities, combined with the existing Herrick photographs, will provide unequalled coverage on all aspects of Hollywood filmmaking.”
Photo of Jesse L. Lasky FeaturePlay Co. truck and crew: Bison Archives