[Briarcliff College Photo Album].
[Briarcliff College Photo Album].
[Briarcliff College Photo Album].
[Briarcliff College Photo Album].
[Briarcliff College Photo Album].
[Briarcliff College Photo Album].
[Briarcliff College Photo Album].

[Briarcliff College Photo Album].

Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., [ca 1915]. Oblong 8vo, black cloth. 39 photographs, 4.75” x 6.75” to 6.75” x 9”, on 20 gray paper leaves, additional blank leaves.

An informative and attractive album depicting life—theatrical life in particular—at this now defunct women’s college on the Hudson River in the early twentieth century.

Originally established as Mrs. Dow’s School in 1903 at Briarcliff Lodge, a premier resort hotel in the Hudson Valley, in the late 1910s the institution came under the direction of Wellesley graduate Edith Cooper Hartman and became one of the foremost girls’ preparatory schools in the country. According to A Handbook of Private Schools for American Boys and Girls, the aim of the School was “to develop Power and Character; to implant, in each girl, interests in Modern Thought and Activities that make for intelligent American Citizenship.” Its curriculum emphasized “Art, Music, French, Physical Training and Household Arts, with advanced work in Literature and Art History for Post Graduates.” The curriculum also included courses in the sciences, political economy, philosophy and other fields. Because of Briarcliff’s proximity to New York, students were able to avail themselves of the many cultural opportunities that the city afforded.

Perhaps the theater was especially inspiring, at the very least as a photographic subject, as aside from various group portraits, the album is devoted to a rich assortment of theatrical images depicting elaborately staged student productions. These are often humorous and engaging, taking place in medieval Europe, the Orient, Victorian drawing rooms, the American west, and several other settings. What appears to be a production of “She Stoops to Conquer,” by Oliver Goldsmith, is represented, along with a minstrel show in blackface. The actress Dorothy Burgess, who appeared in Taxi! (1932) and with Clark Gable in Hold Your Man (1933), was a Briarcliff student and benefitted from its artistic curriculum.

All of the photographs are clear, well-taken, and frequently full of engaging details.

CONDITION: Very good.

REFERENCES: Porter E. Sargent, A Handbook of Private Schools for American Boys and Girls 1920–21, p. 743.

Item #3783

Price: $675.00

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