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Melbourne Spurr photographs

 Collection — Box: 1, Folder: 1
Identifier: RITDSA-0011

Scope and Contents

The Melbourne Spurr photographs contains five 8 x 10 inch black-and-white portraits, each with the photographer's stamp. Hand-written on the back of each photograph is the subject's name.

Also contained in this collection are three postcards featuring reproductions of portraits by Melbourne Spurr.


  1. Edna Murphy
  2. Marian Nixon
  3. Helene Chadwick
  4. Mary McAlister
  5. Wanda Wiley
  6. Melbourne Spurr studio


  • Creation: circa 1920


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

Melbourne Spurr arrived in Hollywood around 1917 and worked for the noted photographer Fred Hartsook, taking portraits of the early stars. Spurr photographed Mary Pickford while working at the Hartsook studio and so impressed her that she personally helped launch his career as a Hollywood portrait photographer. By the mid 1920s he was one of the premier celebrity portraitists in the world.

By this time, though, the major movie studios were mandating that their stars could only be photographed by their own photographers. Spurr chose to keep his own studio, and was eventually shut out in favor of men like George Hurrell, Clarence Sinclair Bull, Eugene Robert Richee and others who worked for the big motion picture studios. Spurr worked in Hollywood for one decade, then moved on to photographing other notables like US presidents, artists, authors, and dancers.


5 Photographic Prints (1 folder)




The Melbourne Spurr photographs contains five black-and-white portraits taken by deaf photographer Melbourne Spurr in the 1920's. The subjects are five American silent film actresses from that time period. The collection also includes three postcards featuring Melbourne Spurr's portraits used to advertise an exhibition of his works held in Rochester, NY in 2009.


The collection is arranged by material type.

Physical Location

C.S. North, Shelf 231

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number(s): 2011:007; 2011:097

5 photographs purchased by Joan Naturale, NTID Librarian in 2011. 2011:097 was donated by Kenneth Kelbaugh in 2011.

Physical Description

"Melbourne Spurr" is embossed on the lower right corner of each photoprint. Stamped in ink on back of photoprint: CREDIT Melbourne Spurr, photographer, Los Angeles, CAL.

This collection consists of one folder. It is housed in a box with another collection.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jody Sidlauskas in August 2011.

Melbourne Spurr photograph collection
RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Archive
Jody Sidlauskas
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA