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Bill Cunningham’s Personal Effects Donated to New-York Historical Society

The New-York Historical Society announced today that the personal possessions of celebrated New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham have been donated to its permanent collection.

John Kurdewan, Cunningham’s former assistant and staff editor at the New York Times, and Louise Doktor, a longtime friend of the photographer, donated Cunningham’s personal library of more than two hundred books as well as his signature Biria bicycle, Nikon camera, and trademark blue jacket, among other items.

These objects will join “Facades,” a collection of photographs in which Cunningham paired models in period fashion with historic settings, which the artist had previously donated to the historical society. The first exhibition of “Facades” was held in 1976; it went on view again in 2014.

“The New-York Historical Society enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Bill Cunningham, dating back to his first donation of eighty-eight gelatin silver photographs representing his ‘Facades’ series and continuing to the end of his life,” Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, said.

Other items included in the donation are a custom-made bicycle helmet, which was given to Cunningham in 2005 by Bergdorf Goodman in a hatbox covered with colorful images from his New York Times columns, and the Medal of Excellence that was presented to Cunningham in 2012 at Carnegie Hall.

Selected items from Cunningham’s personal effects will be on display at the New-York Historical Society later this spring.