Scope and arrangement
The Herman Buchman papers consist of correspondence, including a few pieces of personal correspondence, personal papers, photographs, slides, color transparencies, sketches, clippings, and ephemera largely relating to his professional activities as a makeup artist, author and educator. The papers illuminate the breadth of his professional accomplishments and provide a glimpse into a backstage art through one of its most eminent practitioners.
The correspondence includes letters to and from Herman Buchman, mostly concerning his two published books, Stage Makeup and Film and Television Makeup, but also includes letters on other proposed books and projects. There is very little personal correspondence.
The personal papers include certificates from professional organizations such as IATSE (International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees), ephemera from other professional organizations, sketchbooks, resumes, clippings, photographs of Herman Buchman, and some unidentified personal slides and negatives.
The teaching materials include photographs, slides, and a few programs from various student productions at SUNY College at Purchase, the Juilliard School of Music, The Juilliard Opera Theatre, and The Juilliard School's Drama Division. There are also some unidentified color slides of student classes which illustrate makeup technique, mostly from the 1970s.
His projects form the largest part of the collection. They include photographs, photographic proofs, color transparencies, original artwork, clippings, and notes relating to his two published books. These two books became standard texts in the field. They are especially well-documented, insofar as most of the images used to illustrate them are included in the collection.
Although he worked in theater, film, television, opera, and ballet, his motion picture work is best-documented. There are a number of screenplays, photographs, and slides of productions on which he worked from the 1940s to the 1970s. Some of his films are not represented in the collection.
Other projects include materials on additional professional activities in which he was involved, such as lecturing, developing a stage makeup kit, proposals for books, other articles written, educational films, and two television series.
The Herman Buchman papers are arranged in four series:
- ca. 1950-19909 folders
This series contains letters mostly regarding to Herman Buchman's professional activities. The letters are arranged alphabetically and include numerous letters related to his two published books, with permission requests, publicity letters and query letters. There are also letters to and from well-known actors (especially stage actors), some letters possibly written for a proposed book titled The Faces of Shakespeare. Of particular interest are the handwritten letters and notes from Sir Ralph Richardson, whose foreword to Herman Buchman's book Stage Makeup is included.
There are a number of handwritten letters from Sir Derek Jacobi and Sir Ian Richardson. Other notable correspondents include Morris Carnovsky, Claude Dauphin, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Peter Hall, Stacy Keach, Alfred Lunt, Trevor Nunn, Sir Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Eric Porter, and Parker Stevenson. There is a typed note to Mrs. Herman Buchman from Leonard Lyons.
- ca. 1953-198310 folders
This series contains materials relating to his union activities, both as makeup professional and as a faculty member. It also includes sketchbooks and personal photographs, slides, negatives, and clippings. Included is a certificate of appreciation from IATSE, Local 798 (1953) and a membership certificate from the National Society of Literature and the Arts (1975). This series also contains ephemera such as an IATSE (Local 545) convention nametag, a pocket pen holder and pin, membership cards for New York State United Teachers, United University Professors, and some handwritten notes.
Other professional materials include several resumes, probably from the 1970s and 1980s and clippings from 1950s and the 1970s. There are also two sketchbooks: one dated 1948, which consists of ink sketches and one dated 1967, which includes a note from his daughter, Caitlin, and a sketch labeled "Harry Andrews 11/1967" in the motion picture The Night They Raided Minsky's. Photographs, slides and negatives include images of Herman Buchman, views of Manhattan, rural scenes, and unidentified people. One humorous item is an undated certificate labeled "The Fool Killer Award," from Alfred Markim, The Landau Company. It also states that Herman Buchman "has been named a Colonel in the Mexican Militia."
- ca. 1950-19909 folders
This series contains materials such as photographs and slides of student productions, including Twelfth Night and miscellaneous productions at SUNY College at Purchase from the 1970s. There are also photographs of The Juilliard School Drama Division student productions of The Cherry Orchard, The Clandestine Marriage, The Country Wife, and The Heiress mostly from the 1970s. Other ephemera include programs and clippings from The Juilliard Opera Theatre for The Beggar's Opera, Falstaff and Fidelio from the 1950s, as well as a 1952-1953 catalog for the Juilliard School of Music. There is also a copy of a student exam and a proposed curriculum for a course on makeup.
Although some slides are identified as "American Theatre Wing Students," it is doubtful that this is accurate, since the slides do not seem to be of the time period (1946-1953) when Herman Buchman worked at the American Theatre Wing.
- 5.75 boxes
This series consists of photographs, photographic proofs, contact sheets, slides, color transparencies, negatives, screenplays, a script, handwritten notes, clippings, and ephemera relating to his two published books: Stage Makeup and Film and Television Makeup, and theater, film and other productions on which he worked. There is relatively little material on his theatrical productions.
This series also contains materials relating to other projects on which he worked, including lectures for the American Film Institute (1976) and for The College of Santa Fe (1990). The Sea Breeze Antiseptic/Albolene Cream lecture tour (1972-1973), for which he gave numerous interviews and appeared on several television programs, is especially well-documented.
Other writings include proposals for books: Give a Makeup Party, On Stage Makeup (both 1980s), and a book on criminal justice disguise, which also included a seminar. This series also contains proposals, a script and plot ideas for two television series, The Chameleon and The Unwilling Mask (1961), as well as a proposal for an educational film series. Also included are three articles written for Theatre Crafts magazine and a transcript of a 1974 interview with Herman Buchman. The remaining materials consist of an article on makeup for the Encyclopedia Americana (1981) and an unsourced article on "Creating the Illusions [sic] of Age."