Ira L. Hill Portrait Photonegatives, 1912-1953 (bulk 1925-1931)
Hill, Ira L (Ira Lawrence) 1877-1947
Photographic History, Division of (NMAH, SI)
Roosevelt, Eleanor 1884-1962
Photonegatives: glass plates, 5" x 7" and larger, silver gelatin, with retouching pencil
Photonegatives: film sheets, 5" x 7" and larger, silver gelatin, with retouching pencil
Card files: paper cards, 4" x 6", handwritten in ink and pencil, in individual metal card files
200 cu. ft
300 wooden drawers; 23 metal file drawers
New York (N.Y.)
Hill opened a New York studio ca. 1905; "the Cecil Beaton of his time in New York," he photographed the wealthy and socially prominent in his studio and documented social events around the country. He photographed celebrities such as Helen Hayes and Tallulah Bankhead, and published frequently in magazines. He married a succession of five debutantes. Ray Martin worked for Hill, 1936-1938, purchased the studio and ran it until ca. 1960.
Although some sources give Hill's date of death as 1938, an article in the New York Times, Nov. 21, 1939, describes the arrest of "Society Photographer" Ira L. Hill after a fight at the home of his ex-wife.
Series 1: Primarily glass and film photonegatives, ca. 1920's-1940's, approx. 86,000; most are studio portraits, many heavily retouched. Most portraits are 5" x 7", although some are larger. Also several hundred 8" x 10" negatives which seem non-commercial and depict vacation outings, camping trips, etc. Film negatives all seem to be safety base. Includes portraits of Eleanor Roosevelt.
Series 2: Card files bear sitting information, including subjects' names, sitting dates, fees charged, and catalog numbers which correspond to the photograph numbers.
Ira L. Hill Portrait Photonegatives, 1912-1953, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of Ray Martin