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Breck Girls Collection

Williams, Ralph William  Search this
Breck Company.  Search this
Dial Corporation.  Search this
American Cyanamid Company  Search this
Sheldon, Charles  Search this
Basinger, Kim  Search this
Gray, Erin  Search this
Hamill, Joan  Search this
Shields, Brooke  Search this
Tiegs, Cheryl  Search this
6.5 Cubic feet (16 boxes, 188 pieces of original artwork)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Black-and-white photographic prints
Pastels (visual works)
Business records
circa 1936-1995
The collection documents the development and evolution of the Breck Girl, a highly successful and long-lived advertising campaign whose hallmark was its vision of idealized American womanhood through correspondence, photographs, paintings, and print advertisements.
Scope and Contents:
188 pieces of original advertising art (mostly pastel drawings), and photographs, correspondence, and business records, documenting the development and evolution of the Breck Girls advertising campaign. Original advertising art includes portraits of famous models, such as Cheryl Tiegs, Brooke Shields, Kim Basinger, and Erin Gray. Artists represented include Charles Sheldon and Ralph William Williams. The 2006 addendum consists of approximately one sixth of one cubic foot of papers relating to Cynthia Brown's selection as a Breck Girl, 1988 and her induction into the Breck Hall of Fame.
Collection divided into four series.

Series 1: Company history, 1946-1990

Series 2: Photographs, 1960-1995

Series 3: Print ads, 1946-1980

Series 4: Original artwork, 1936-1994
Biographical / Historical:
Dr. John Breck is credited with developing one of the first liquid shampoos in the United States, in Springfield Massachusetts in 1908; Breck is also credited with introducing the first ph-balanced shampoo, in 1930. During the early years of the business, distribution remained localized in New England, and the product was sold exclusively to beauty salons until 1946. Advertising for the brand began in 1932, but appeared only in trade publications, such as Modern Beauty Shop.

Edward Breck, son of the founder, assumed management of the company in 1936. Breck became acquainted with Charles Sheldon, an illustrator and portrait painter who is believed to have studied in Paris under Alphonse Mucha, an artist noted for his contributions to Art Nouveau style. Sheldon had achieved some measure of fame for his paintings of movie stars for the cover of Photoplay magazine in the 1920s, and had also done idealized pastel portraits for the cover of Parents magazine. He created his first pastel portraits for Breck in 1936, launching what would become one of America's longest running ad campaigns. When the company began national advertising (and mass distribution) in 1946, the campaign featured Sheldon's 1937 painting of seventeen-year old Roma Whitney, a spirited blonde. Ms. Whitney's profile was registered as Breck's trademark in 1951. When he retired in 1957, Sheldon had created 107 oil paintings and pastels for the company. Sheldon was known to favor ordinary women over professional models, and in the early years of the campaign, the Breck Girls were Breck family members, neighbors or residents of the community in which he worked; company lore holds that nineteen Breck Girls were employees of the advertising agency he founded in 1940. A Breck advertising manager later described Sheldon's illustrations as, "illusions, depicting the quality and beauty of true womanhood using real women as models." The paintings and pastels form a coherent, if derivative, body of work which celebrates an idealized vision of American girlhood and womanhood, an ideal in which fair skin, beauty and purity are co-equal.

Ralph William Williams was hired to continue the Breck Girls campaign after Sheldon's retirement. Between 1957 and his death in 1976, Williams modified the Breck Girl look somewhat through the use of brighter colors and a somewhat heightened sense of movement and individuality. The advertising manager during his tenure recalled that at first Williams continued in Sheldon' manner, but in later years, as women became more independent, he would take care to integrate each girl' particular personality; he studied each girl and learned her special qualities. During these years, Breck Girls were identified through the company's sponsorship of America's Junior Miss contests. Williams work includes pastels of celebrities Cybil Shepard (1968 Junior Miss from Tennessee), Cheryl Tiegs (1968), Jaclyn Smith (1971, 1973), Kim Basinger (1972, 1974) and Brooke Shields (1974) very early in their careers.

By the 1960s, at the height of its success, Breck held about a twenty percent share of the shampoo market and enjoyed a reputation for quality and elegance. Ownership of the company changed several times (American Cyanamid in 1963; Dial Corporation in 1990). The corresponding fluctuations in management of the company and in advertising expenditures tended to undermine the coherence of the national advertising campaign. In addition, despite William's modifications, the image had become dated. Attempts to update the image misfired, further limiting the brand's coherence and effectiveness. Finally, increased competition and an absence of brand loyalty among consumers through the 1970s and 1980s helped push Breck from its number one position into the bargain bin. The Breck Girl campaign was discontinued around 1978, although there have been at least two minor revivals, first in 1992 with the Breck Girls Hall of Fame, and again in 1995 when a search was begun to identify three new Breck Women. Scope and Content: The 188 pieces of original advertising art (62 oil paintings on board, 2 pencil sketches on paper, and 124 pastels on paper) and related photographs, correspondence and business files in this collection document the development and evolution of the Breck Girl, a highly successful and long-lived advertising campaign whose hallmark was its vision of idealized American womanhood. The collection is a perfect fit with other 20th century Archives Center collections documenting the efforts of American business to reach the female consumer market. The Estelle Ellis Collection (advertising and promotions for Seventeen, Charm, Glamour and House & Garden and many other clients) the Cover Girl Collection (make-up), the Maidenform Collection (brassieres), and the Tupperware Collections offer a prodigious body of evidence for understanding the role women were expected to play as consumers in the 20th century.

These advertising images also offer fertile ground for research into the evolution of popular images of American girlhood and womanhood. The research uses of the collection derive primarily from its value as an extensive visual catalog of the ideal types of American women and girls, arising and coalescing during a period in which 19th century ideals of womanhood were being revisited (the depression, the war years, the immediate post-war period) and continuing, with slight modifications and revisions, through several decades during which those historical ideals were being challenged and revised.
Related Materials:
Several items of packaging, 1930s-1980s are held in the former Division of Home and Community Life (now Division of Cultural and Community Life); an 18k gold Breck insignia pin is in the former.
The Dial Corporation through Jane Owens, Senior Vice President, Gift, June 1998.
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Shampoos -- advertising  Search this
Hair -- Shampooing  Search this
advertising -- 20th century  Search this
Feminine beauty (Aesthetics)  Search this
Beauty contestants  Search this
Beauty culture  Search this
Black-and-white photographic prints -- Silver gelatin -- 1950-2000
Pastels (visual works)
Advertisements -- 20th century
Business records -- 20th century
Breck Girls Collection, circa 1936-1995, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
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Breck Girls Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Online Media:

Shields, Brooke

Collection Creator:
Takaezu, Toshiko  Search this
Box 5, Folder 40
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
The glaze recipes in the studio practice files are access restricted; written permission is required to view these documents. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Collection Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Toshiko Takaezu papers, circa 1925-circa 2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
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Toshiko Takaezu papers
Toshiko Takaezu papers / Series 2: Correspondence
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art

Marilyn Church Courtroom Drawings

Church, Marilyn  Search this
Black Liberation Army  Search this
FALN.  Search this
WorldCom (Firm).  Search this
Berkowitz, David Richard, 1953-  Search this
Carter, Rubin, 1937-  Search this
Chapman, Mark David  Search this
Combs, Sean John  Search this
Galella, Ron  Search this
Hinckley, John, Jr.  Search this
Kennedy, Caroline, 1957-  Search this
Milken, Michael  Search this
Mitchell, John N. (John Newton), 1913-1988  Search this
Onassis, Jacqueline Kennedy, 1929-1994  Search this
Quinlan, Karen Ann  Search this
Shakur, Tupac, 1971-1996  Search this
Shields, Brooke  Search this
Stans, Maurice H., 1908-1998  Search this
Stewart, Martha  Search this
Vicious, Sid  Search this
Westmoreland, William C. (William Childs), 1914-  Search this
Whitehead, Mary Beth  Search this
Williams, Harrison A.  Search this
1.5 Cubic feet (3 map-folders)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Courtroom illustrations
Scope and Contents note:
Thirty-eight courtroom drawings by artist Marilyn Church. The drawings depict scenes from some of the most famous and notorious cases in the city of New York: Tupac Shakur's 1994 trial for sexual abuse; Sean John Combs's 2001 trial for assault and weapons violations; Sid Vicious's (John Simon Ritchie) pre-trial hearing for murder in 1978; Rubin "Hurricane" Carter's 1976 re-trial for murder; John Hinckley, Jr.'s 1982 trial for attempting to assassinate President Ronald Reagan; Mark David Chapman's 1981 trial for the murder of John Lennon; Kevin King's 1982 trial for harassing Caroline Kennedy; photographer Ron Galella's trial for stalking Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis; Brooke Shields's 1981 case against photographer Gary Gross; David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz's 1978 murder trial; the 1990 trial of five youths charged with assaulting a jogger in Central Park; Bernhard Goetz's 1987 trial for attempted murder and assault; Michael Milken's 1990 trial for securities violations; the 2002 trial of executives of WorldCom; Martha Stewart's 2004 trial for conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges; John Gotti's 1992 trial for racketeering, murder and numerous other charges; Joseph Quinlan's petition to the court to discontinue keeping his daughter, Karen Ann Quinlan, alive by means of a respirator; the 1978 negligence lawsuit of a Florida couple named Del Zio against Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center over one of the first attempts at conceiving a "test tube baby"; the 1987 custody dispute regarding "Baby M", who was born to a surrogate mother, Mary Beth Whitehead; the 1974 trial of John Mitchell and Maurice Stans for their roles in the Watergate conspiracy; New Jersey Senator Harrison A. Williams's 1981 trial for conspiracy and bribery following the FBI's "Abscam" sting operation; General William Westmoreland's 1982 lawsuit against CBS; the FALN's (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional) 1997 hearing on charges of terrorism; the 1983-1984 trial of several members of the Black Liberation Army for robbery of a Brinks armored car (a series of trials that came to be referred to as the "Brinks trials"); the 1993 trial of four defendants in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; and the "Landmarks Terror Trial", in which ten Arab immigrants were tried for a plot to blow up a wide range of New York City landmarks.
1 series.
Biographical/Historical note:
New York-based courtroom artist.
Collection donated by Marilyn Church in 2008.
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Trials (Murder)  Search this
Trials (Sex crimes)  Search this
Trials -- New York (N.Y.)  Search this
World Trade Center Bombing, New York (N.Y.), 1993  Search this
Trials (Assassination)  Search this
Trials (Assault and battery)  Search this
Surrogate mothers  Search this
Terrorism -- United States  Search this
Trials (Conspiracy)  Search this
Trials (Attempted murder)  Search this
Trials (Bribery)  Search this
Central Park Jogger Rape Trial -- 1990 -- New York (N.Y.)  Search this
Courtroom art  Search this
Trials (Malpractice)  Search this
Trials (Custody of children)  Search this
Courts -- New York (N.Y.)  Search this
Fertilization in vitro  Search this
Courtroom artists -- New York (N.Y.)  Search this
Courtroom illustrations
Marilyn Church Courtroom Drawings, 1975-2004, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Marilyn Church Courtroom Drawings
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Online Media:

Brooke Shields

Francesco Scavullo, 16 Jan 1921 - 6 Jan 2004  Search this
Brooke Shields, born 1965  Search this
Chromogenic print
Sheet: 50.8 × 40.6cm (20 × 16")
Interior  Search this
Brooke Shields: Female  Search this
Brooke Shields: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor  Search this
Brooke Shields: Visual Arts\Fashion model  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
© International Center of Photography and Francesco Scavullo Trust Beneficiaries
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery

Brooke Shields invitation to Toshiko Takaezu

Shields, Brooke, 1965-  Search this
Takaezu, Toshiko, 1922-2011  Search this
1986 May
Brooke Shields. Brooke Shields invitation to Toshiko Takaezu, 1986 May. Toshiko Takaezu papers, circa 1925-circa 2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Actors  Search this
Parties  Search this
Record number:
See more items in:
Toshiko Takaezu papers, circa 1925-circa 2010
Data Source:
Archives of American Art

Caught in the act : actors acting / by Howard Schatz ; edited by Beverly J. Ornstein with text by Owen Edwards

Schatz, Howard 1940-  Search this
Editor of compilation:
Ornstein, Beverly J.  Search this
Writer of added text:
Edwards, Owen  Search this
Adams, Patrick J. 1981-  Search this
Allen, Joan 1956-  Search this
Barry, Raymond J. 1939-  Search this
Bartha, Justin  Search this
Bowen, Julie  Search this
Breckenridge, Alex 1982-  Search this
Brosnan, Pierce  Search this
Burrows, Saffron  Search this
Cannavale, Bobby  Search this
Cantone, Mario  Search this
Carradine, Keith 1949-  Search this
Cerveris, Michael  Search this
Charles, Josh 1971-  Search this
Cobbs, Bill  Search this
Cohen, Scott 1961-  Search this
Daly, Tyne  Search this
Daniels, Jeff 1955-  Search this
Davis, Hope 1967-  Search this
Dinklage, Peter  Search this
Douglas, Michael 1944-  Search this
Emerson, Michael 1954-  Search this
Faison, Frankie  Search this
Farina, Dennis 1944-2013  Search this
Firth, Colin 1960-  Search this
Fishburne, Laurence 1961-  Search this
Fraser, Brendan 1968-  Search this
Friedman, Peter 1949-  Search this
Garber, Victor  Search this
Gervais, Ricky  Search this
Goldberg, Whoopi 1955-  Search this
Goldblum, Jeff 1952-  Search this
Goodman, John 1952-  Search this
Church, Thomas Haden  Search this
Hall, Michael C. 1971-  Search this
Hargitay, Mariska 1964-  Search this
Hayes, Sean 1970-  Search this
Henson, Taraji P  Search this
Hermann, Peter 1967-  Search this
Hines, Cheryl  Search this
Howard, Terrence  Search this
Imperioli, Michael 1966-  Search this
Janney, Allison  Search this
Jeong, Ken 1969-  Search this
Kanakaredes, Melina 1967-  Search this
Kingsley, Ben 1943-  Search this
Kinnear, Greg 1963-  Search this
Krakowski, Jane  Search this
Lane, Nathan 1956-  Search this
Laurie, Hugh 1959-  Search this
Leguizamo, John  Search this
Leo, Melissa  Search this
Lynch, Jane 1960-  Search this
Malkovich, John  Search this
Mambo, Kevin  Search this
March, Stephanie  Search this
McKean, Michael  Search this
McShane, Ian 1942-  Search this
Morgan, Tracy 1968-  Search this
Moss, Elisabeth 1983-  Search this
O'Keefe, Jodi Lyn 1978-  Search this
Palminteri, Chazz  Search this
Panjabi, Archie  Search this
Pantoliano, Joe  Search this
Poehler, Amy 1971-  Search this
Remar, James  Search this
Royo, Andre  Search this
Rush, Geoffrey 1951-  Search this
Schirripa, Steven R  Search this
Schwartzman, Jason 1980-  Search this
Schwimmer, David 1966-  Search this
Sevigny, Chloë  Search this
Shields, Brooke 1965-  Search this
Slattery, John 1963-  Search this
Spacek, Sissy  Search this
Strathairn, David  Search this
Tripplehorn, Jeanne 1963-  Search this
Turner, Kathleen 1954-  Search this
Underwood, Blair  Search this
Walker, Eamonn  Search this
Waterson, Sam  Search this
Williams, Michael K  Search this
Wright, Robin 1966-  Search this
Physical description:
301 pages : illustrations ; 32 cm
Pictorial works
Stage photography  Search this
Acting  Search this
Actors  Search this
Actresses  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

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