From the estate of veteran African-American actress Pauline [also spelled Paulene] Myers (1913-1996), a large archive of her personal collection of photographs and miscellaneous ephemera
• Approximately 90 black-and-white photographs (plus numerous duplicates), most 8 x 10”, showing Myers in scenes from various radio and television shows, plays and movies, plus some publicity shots and candid photos of her at formal Hollywood functions. Only a few are identified (Broadway plays from 1943, 1953 and 1956, an NBC TV series of 1961, and movies of 1964 and 1973), but some apparently date back to the 1930s and ‘40s. A few photographs are also inscribed to Myers by friends and colleagues.
• Playwright Moss Hart, Typed Letter Signed, to Myers, Oct. 1957: “A tribute from me to you is richly deserved, for I know very few people on the stage who pursue their craft with the honesty and dedication that you do. And you happen to be a first-rate actress into the bargain….”
• S.M.Handelsman, Autograph Letter Signed. Ivar Theatre, Hollywood, Oct. 5, 1957. “…you know my thoughts about your abilities as an actress. I wish much good luck and when I find time you may have a try at improving my diction.” Handelsman managed more than a dozen stage plays from World War II through the 1970s.
• Miscellaneous ephemera kept by Myers, including a mounted photographic wood plaque advertising a New York City utility company’s program for the elderly; a VHS video cassette of two shows in which she performed; her publicity folder from a 1971 courtroom drama; an copies of ads for her “one-man show” staged in Edinbugh, Scotland in 1979
For more than half a century, beginning in the early 1930s, when Black actors and actresses were almost non-existent in New York and Hollywood, Pauline Myers was a pioneer, performing first on the Broadway stage, later in films and television series. She debuted on Broadway at age 20 and still appeared (in the Cosby Show) at 79, four years before her death. The IMDB database credits her with more than 75 movie and television appearances - to say nothing of dozens of live theater roles – over six decades. A unique career, recorded by the equally unique photographs in this personal collection.