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Dorothy Jeakins Costume Design Archive, 1932-1975
124  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Dorothy Jeakins costume design archive
    Date (inclusive): 1932-1975
    Collection number: 124
    Creator: Jeakins, Dorothy
    Extent: 14 boxes (7 linear ft.)
    Abstract: Dorothy Jeakins built an impressive list of credits in theater, film, and television and came to be respected as one of the best costume designers in the entertainment industry. The collection contains costume designs, preparatory sketches, textile swatches, and designer notes related to her career.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Performing Arts Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Performing Arts Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Performing Arts Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Performing Arts Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Dorothy Jeakins, 1990.

    Preferred Citation

    Dorothy Jeakins Costume Design Archive (Collection 124). Performing Arts Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    Biography

    Dorothy Jeakins was born January 11, 1914, in San Diego, California; her father, George Tyndall Jeakins, was a stockbroker, and her mother, Sophia Maria (von Kempf) Jeakins, was a couture dressmaker. After her parents separated, Jeakins was placed into foster care. Following graduation from Fairfax High School, in 1931, Jeakins submitted original drawings to a competition and won a three-year fine arts scholarship to the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, where she studied drawing and painting. Jeakins graduated from Otis in 1934 and joined the Works Progress Administration, Southern California Art Project as its youngest woman artist. In 1936 she accepted a position painting animated cells in the color department at the Walt Disney Studio , then in the late 1930s, she joined the Los Angeles department store I. Magnin, drawing fashion layouts in the advertising department. Her work caught the attention of a Twentieth Century Fox art director, who hired her as an assistant to illustrate costumes for the studio; she was eventually assigned as an assistant to costume designer Ernst Dryden.
    After a short marriage Jeakins resumed her career in the mid-1940s and began sketching the couture creations of Balmain and Dior. In 1948 Jeakins became an assistant to the RKO studio costume designer Madame Karinska and worked on Joan of Arc (1948). She was awarded an Oscar for her work on this film, the first of three Oscars she would receive, out of twelve Academy Award nominations. Joan of Arc also made history as the first film to be recognized by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for excellence in the category of costume design in color. In the years that followed, Jeakins built an impressive list of credits in theater, film, and television and came to be respected as one of the best costume designers. She was affiliated with nearly eighty film productions, including Samson and Delilah (1949), for which she earned her second Academy Award; The Children's Hour (1961); The Night of the Iguana (1964), a solo credit for which she received her third Academy Award; The Way We Were (1973); Young Frankenstein (1975); On Golden Pond (1981); and her last film, The Dead (1987).
    Jeakins's strong ties with the theater brought opportunities on both East and West Coasts to work on productions for the American Shakespeare Festival, Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, UCLA University Theater Group, and Los Angeles Center Theater Group. Among her theater credits are King Lear (1950 and 1964), The World of Suzie Wong (1958), The Winters Tale (1958; 1960-61), Juno and the Paycock (1974), and both the Broadway and film versions of South Pacific and The Sound of Music. In 1962, Jeakins was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship to study traditional Japanese costume in Noh drama and spent a year in Tokyo. In 1969 she was appointed curator of costumes and textiles for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains costume designs, preparatory sketches, textile swatches, and designer notes related to the career of costume designer Dorothy Jeakins. The bulk of the costume designs are original color works documenting precise details of buttons, bows, trim, hair styles, and, occasionally, props. Additionally there are pencil sketches that were probably not intended to function as exact costume drawings; instead, it is likely they were created to capture the characters' collective persona. Many of the renderings include swatches of fabric representing the designer's ideas for color, texture, and/or fabrics, and some contain her handwritten annotations documenting a project title, scene, actor and/or character name, measurements, or other notes about the character. The sampling of projects document numerous motion picture and theater projects in which Jeakins was involved including All's Well That Ends Well (American Shakespeare Theatre), Any Wednesday, Hawaii, Joan of Arc, Juno and the Paycock, The Music Man, and The Winter's Tale, among others.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Jeakins, Dorothy--Archives
    Women costume designers--United States--Archival resources.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Swatches.
    Slides.
    Costume design drawings.