Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Steve Conti collection of Sascha Brastoff
Dates: ca. 1940-ca.
Collection number: Coll2006-008
Collection Size: 15 photographs.
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.
Los Angeles, California 90007
Abstract: 15 photographs of artist and designer Sascha
Brastoff, primarily in drag, from circa 1940 to circa 1965.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection:
The collection is open to researchers. There are no access
Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in
writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner.
Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in
the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant
copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for
all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).
Sheet #, Steve Conti Collection of Sascha Brastoff Photographs, ONE
National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.
Gift of Steve Conti, February 2004.
Collection processed by Michael P. Palmer,
October 1, 2006.
Processing this collection has been funded
by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records
Sascha Brastoff, potter, metal sculptor, and jewelry designer, was
born Samuel Brostofsky in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 23, 1918. He attended
Glenville High School in Cleveland, and took drama classes under the future
Hollywood producer Ross Hunter. At age 17, he began studying dance with Edward
Caton, and later danced for several seasons with the Cleveland Ballet.
Impressed with his artistic abilities, his art teachers formed a small private
scholarship to enable him to attend the Western Reserve University School of
Art in Cleveland. In 1940, Brastoff moved to New York where he designed window
displays for Macy's and joined the Clay Club, where in 1941 he held a one-man
show of his terra cotta "whimsies". In 1942, he joined the U.S. Army Air Force,
where he designed costumes and scenery for Special Services events to entertain
the troops; he also appeared on stage, and became well known for his comic
interpretation of Carmen Miranda. In 1944, Brastoff moved to California, where
he signed a seven-year contract with 20th Century Fox as a designer and
entertainer. In 1947, he opened his first ceramic plant in Los Angeles, selling
hand-painted earthenware. In 1952, with backing from Winthrop Rockefeller,
Brastoff opened a new factory in Los Angeles. It was destroyed by fire six
months later, and in 1953, Brastoff opened a new 35,000-square foot factory and
showroom that eventually employed more than 100 people. In 1960, the business
began to decline, and in 1962 Brastoff suffered a nervous collapse and left the
company, which continued to sell wares under his name until it finally closed
in 1973. After several years away from business, Brastoff returned in 1966 with
a one-man show of metal sculpture at the Dalzell Hatfield Galleries in Los
Angeles. He thereafter designed and produced lines for ceramic, jewelry, and
decorative arts companies. As his health declined after 1985, he increasingly
curtailed his artistic activities. He died after a long battle with prostate
cancer on February 4, 1993.
Conti, Steve; Bethany, A. DeWayne; Seay, Bill.
Collector's Encyclopedia of Sascha Brastoff
KY: Collector Books, c1995.
Sascha Brastoff-Wisconsin Pottery Association
, accessed on
September 30, 2006.
Steve Conti (donor)
Steve Conti is the co-author, together with A DeWayne Bethany and Bill
Collector's Encyclopedia of Sascha
(Paducah, KY: Collector Books, c1995).
Scope and Content of Collection
The collection consists of one photograph of Sascha Brastoff in the
costume of the title role in
Afternoon of a Faun,
which he danced for the Cleveland Ballet, circa 1940; one photograph taken at a
costume party, circa 1950; three photographs of Brastoff in drag, possibly as
Audrey Hepburn, circa 1955; nine photographs, labeled "A" through "K" ("A",
"B", and "I" are missing), of Brastoff in drag, with processing dates December
1963-March 1964; and one Polaroid photograph of Brastoff in drag, circa
The following terms have been used to index the description of this
collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Brastoff, Sascha, 1918-1993
Gay Artists--United States