Collection cataloguing: Box 1

collecta-belle laurence olivier

Collection cataloguing: Box 1

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’d recently purchased a major Laurence Olivier ephemera collection, which I’m currently in the process of repackaging and cataloguing — similar to what I did with the Vivien Leigh private photo albums. I always enjoy seeing other people’s collections, unboxing videos, reveals, etc. so I thought I would share some goodies from each portion of this project as I go along.

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For Vivien on her birthday

vivien leigh

For Vivien on her birthday

105 years ago, in the hill station of Darjeeling, West Bengal, Vivien Leigh came into the world. She’s been gone for over half a century but she continues to inspire people of all ages, from all walks of life. Many are drawn to her work, to her gripping life story, to her valiant battle with mental illness. Through cinematic revivals of classics like Gone With the Wind, and in large part thanks to the Internet, her memory lives on.

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Vivien Leigh’s Friends: A Call for Help

photography the oliviers

Vivien Leigh’s Friends: A Call for Help

*Shouts into the Internet void* HELP!

In my last post I wrote about my efforts to preserve Vivien Leigh’s snapshot albums for posterity. Now I’ve reached the stage where I’m attempting to identify the unrecognisable (to me) people in the images. This is part of the cataloguing process. The goal is to record as much information as possible about the content of the images whilst digitising them. Unfortunately, very few of the images have identifying information written on the back and the handful of people I have shown the albums to have also been unable to supply any names.

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Preserving Vivien Leigh’s Photo Albums

collecta-belle photography vivien leigh

Preserving Vivien Leigh’s Photo Albums

I’ve been collecting original Vivien Leigh (and Laurence Olivier, but mostly Vivien) memorabilia in earnest for about 10 years now. It began with vintage fan magazines and playbills, and gradually morphed into a focus on original photographs. For some reason I’m not really fussed about clothing, trinkets, or other 3D objects. It’s always been paper for me. Through collecting Vivien Leigh photos I’ve gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of photography in the mid-20th century and I’m particularly drawn to candid press photographs and snapshots – images that pull back the curtain on the glamorous public facade and show Vivien and those around her just being.

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