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CalArts Special Collections & Institute Archives

Timothy J. Lyons Collection

Biography Timothy James Lyons was a film scholar and historian and a prominent expert on Charlie Chaplin. Lyons was born in Framingham, Mass. on July 6, 1944. He received his B.A. degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1966 and his M.A. degree from the same institution in 1968. He earned a Ph.D. in 1972 from the University of Iowa. Lyons was on the faculty of the Department of Radio, Television and Film at Temple University from 1972 until 1980, serving as the chair of the department from 1976 until 1978. He was chair of the Department of Cinema and Photography at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in the 1980s. Lyons was a professor of Mass Communication at Emerson College in the 1990s.

Abstract The film research collection consists of books, periodicals and articles dealing with Charlie Chaplin, autobiographies and biographies, documentaries, film criticism and theory, film history, film/video production, television and video, and screenwriting and screenplays. 

Timothy J. Lyons Finding Aid

Leigh R. Smith Collection

Biography: Leigh Rex Smith was born in Iowa in 1888 and died in Woodland Hills, California in 1975. His motion picture career of over forty years spanned the silent film era through the late nineteen forties. Active in many aspects of filmmaking, Smith’s credits include art, technical, and production design and direction. As an assistant director, Smith worked with Elmer Clifton, D. W. Griffith, and Cecil B. de Mille. Smith was a production assistant for D. W. Griffith’s film Way Down East (1920) and an assistant director, researcher, and a cast member for Elmer Clifton’s film Down to the Sea in Ships (1922). In the latter part of his career, Smith is credited as a set decorator for over thirty films.

Abstract: The Leigh R. Smith collection contains production stills, location photographs, notes, and research materials for D. W. Griffith’s Way Down East (1920) and. Elmer Clifton’s Down to the Sea in Ships (1922). Professional materials include Smith’s still camera, a signed guestbook, and Smith’s source book of film contacts and resources. There are also materials related to two stock and location photography trips in 1927: one to New England in March and a second Colorado River expedition in November of the same year. The collection also contains a scrapbook and several early photographs of Smith.

Leigh R. Smith Finding Aid

James Tenney Collection

James Tenney was a celebrated composer, performer and computer music pioneer. He held the Roy E. Disney Family Chair in Musical Composition at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) School of Music. The James Tenney Collection consists of books, scores, audio CDs, periodicals and some ephemeral materials. 

James Tenney Finding Aid

Bradbury Thompson Collection

Biography: James Bradbury Thompson, one of the most important graphic designers of the twentieth century, was born in Topeka, Kansas on March 25, 1911. He received his BA in 1934 from Washburn University, Topeka. He served as Art director for Capper Publishers from 1934-38, and for the Rogers-Kellogg-Stilson agency from 1938-42. During World War II he was assigned to the Office of War Information where he designed Victory and USA magazines that were dropped behind enemy lines to combat censorship. He was a freelance graphic designer and art director in New York, from 1945. He was the art director of Mademoiselle, design director of Art News and Art New Annual and designed the formats for some three dozen other magazines, including the Smithsonian. He designed over twenty-four limited edition volumes for the Westvaco Corporation. Each six-by-nine-and-one-half-inch volume in this unique series is slipcased, creating an elegant effect, along with additional touches such as head bands, end sheets, and a colophon. Thompson served as a design consultant to Pitney-Bowes, Famous Artists Schools, Time-Life Books, McGraw-Hill, Field Enterprises, Cornell University, and others. He formulated the design breakthroughs that have been called “the most thorough typographic reassessment of the Bible since Gutenberg,” producing the Washburn Bible. He used a large page and “arranged the text in phrases and separated them where the reader would naturally hesitate or stop”. He also designed over a hundred U.S. postage stamps and served for more than thirty years on the faculty of the Yale School of Art and Architecture. Thompson died on November 1, 1995. 

Abstract: Bradbury Thompson collection contains 24 books that Thompson designed, including 19 of the Westvaco limited editions. In addition, there are periodicals, annual reports, stationary and posters he designed. A few articles about Thompson and his work are also included. 

Bradbury Thompson Finding Aid

John Vinton "Dictionary of Contemporary Music" Editorial Files

The collection comprises the research files of John Vinton, editor of the “Dictionary of 20th Century Music.” Materials include questionnaires, original submissions by the composers described and prominent 20th century theorists, correspondence, and extensive files documenting the structure of the dictionary. Many of the composers also provided original entries, biographical and bibliographic data, and lists of compositions. Additional files include editorial drafts, monographs, newspaper clippings, articles, scores, outlines, reviews, and marketing materials.

John Vinton Editorial Files Finding Aid

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