• Marilyn Monroe's Naked Attempt to Outshine Elizabeth Taylor In 1962, during the filming of “Something’s Got to Give,” three photographers were invited to the set to shoot Marilyn Monroe as she swam in a swimming pool for a scene with Dean Martin. It would have been Marilyn’s last film but was never released because two months after the shoot, Marilyn was dead. "Marilyn may have had a reputation on screen for being a ditzy blonde, but she was an ambitious …
  • 19th-Century Photographs, from Daguerreotypes to Cartes de Visites I’ve always been interested in antiques. As a kid, I collected a variety of stuff – fossils, rocks, minerals, natural history stuff, Indian artifacts and antiques. I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and my mother had a lot of Victorian antiques. We lived in an old Victorian neighborhood, one of Louisville’s old traditional neighborhoods. In the 1910s and ’20s it had been very vibrant, but started …
  • From Ruby Slippers to Kermit the Frog: Pop Culture Artifacts at the Smithsonian I’ve been at the Smithsonian for 28 years—I never thought I’d stay that long! The first job I had was as a producer and annotator of recordings. We used to have a very active program of archival recordings that we’d release. I came here to work on a set of American popular songs. I remained with the Division of Performing Arts until it was cast asunder and absorbed by the Museum of American Histor…
  • Daile Kaplan of Swann Auction Galleries on Collecting 20th Century Photographs Swann, which is New York City’s oldest specialty auction house, was founded in the late 1940s as an antiquarian book house. In the mid-1970s, as popular interest in photography became more widespread, the specialist at that time realized that Swann should have sales that featured documentary and fine art photography as well as albums and photobooks. Until that time, auctions dedicated to photograp…
  • Collecting James Bond, Doctor Who, and The Beatles Ever since I was a child, I wanted to work in the auction business, specifically in the entertainment part. I liked the idea of handling, owning, and being a part of objects that were lynchpins in the history of music, film, or television. To accomplish my goal, I studied film, got an art-history degree, and earned an M.A. in fine-art valuation. I started out as a general auctioneer working with a…
  • From Ambrotypes to Stereoviews, 150 Years of Photographs We both come from families that had collections and we both had collections as children. Jack lost his when his grandmother threw them out at one point. His grandmother collected china and glass. My parents had collections. When we married, we had both studied photography. In Chicago, we hardly ever saw any photographs. We went to antique shops and we prowled around in flea markets and the malls, …