Research Catalog

Frank Cambria and Sophie T. Cambria collection of Vincente Minnelli costume designs

Frank Cambria and Sophie T. Cambria collection of Vincente Minnelli costume designs, circa 1925-1928 and undated.
Cambria, Frank, 1883-1966

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Vol/DateFormatAccessStatusCall NumberLocation
Box 1TextSupervised useAvailable*T-Vim 2014-180 Box 1Performing Arts Research Collections - Theatre
Box 2TextSupervised useAvailable*T-Vim 2014-180 Box 2Performing Arts Research Collections - Theatre
Box 3TextSupervised useAvailable*T-Vim 2014-180 Box 3Performing Arts Research Collections - Theatre


Additional Authors
1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)
  • Costume design drawings.
  • Correspondence.
  • Photographic prints.
Source (note)
  • NYPL,
Call Number
*T-Vim 2014-180
Cambria, Frank, 1883-1966, collector.
Frank Cambria and Sophie T. Cambria collection of Vincente Minnelli costume designs, circa 1925-1928 and undated.
This collection includes original drawings and renderings for costume designs for various theatrical productions created by Vincente Minnelli for the Balaban & Katz and Paramount-Publix theatre companies, under the art direction of Frank Cambria. All designs are works on paper, in a variety of media. More than half the collection are finished drawings; the remainder are unfinished sketches. Only two productions are clearly identified: Alice in Wonderland (Chicago, 1925) and Oliver Twist. Additionally, there are two portrait photographs taken by Minnelli of Cambria family members and a 1928 letter from Minnelli to Cambria describing his proposed designs for a Paramount-Publix production. This collection was compiled by Cambria and passed down to his daughter, Sophie T. Cambria, who was the aunt of the seller.
In 1916, A.J. and Barney Balaban joined their brother-in-law Sam Katz to create the theatrical management firm Balaban & Katz. With increasing success and larger capitalization, Balaban & Katz began more than a decade of developing new and architecturally significant movie theatres in which they developed innovative connections between motion pictures and elaborately-designed vaudeville and stage performances featuring many of the leading entertainers of the day. By 1924, Balaban & Katz was the most successful chain of movie theatres in the United States. Frank Cambria was the art director for Balaban & Katz in Chicago, later transferring to the New York offices of Paramount-Publix after it acquired Balaban & Katz in 1926.
American film and stage director, Vincente Minnelli began his theatrical career as a costume and set designer in Chicago. Seeking even more dominance in film distribution and exhibition, in 1926 Paramount/Publix, a rival chain of movie theatres connected with Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, acquired Balaban & Katz. As a result, A.J. Balaban moved to New York City in 1929 to serve as vice-president of Paramount/Publix's presentation unit, which maintained creative control over the elaborate stage shows made famous by Balaban & Katz. Between 1929 and 1931, Minnelli split his time between Chicago and New York, but moved to New York to design for Paramount theatres full time in 1931.
Purchase: NYPL, 2014.
Added Author
Cambria, Sophie T., collector.
Minnelli, Vincente, artist.
Balaban & Katz.
Research Call Number
*T-Vim 2014-180
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