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Photograph File of Close Up Magazine

Call Number: YCAL MSS 337

Scope and Contents

This collection consists chiefly of promotional photographs and film stills created by motion picture studios for their films and actors, which the editors of Close Up used to illustrate the magazine. The photographs document both popular and avant-garde cinema, as well as the transition period from silent films to films with sound. The Universum Film AG motion picture studio in Germany distributed most of the photographs in the collection, while other photographs came from companies in the Soviet Union, United States, Great Britain, France, and Japan. Many of the photographs have layout notes on their versos by the editors related to their publication in Close Up. Ink stamps or affixed labels on the versos of many of the photographs identify the films and actors. Several photographs have autographs, most notably an inscription by Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948) to Macpherson. A significant group of photographs documents Borderline (1930), an experimental silent film by Kenneth MacPherson and the POOL Group, which starred Paul Robeson (1898-1976) and explored intersections of racial values. Other large groups of photographs also document Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney (1927), directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst (1885-1967), and ¡Qué viva México!, directed by Eisenstein. A group of photographs unrelated to Close Up magazine documents the film, Dreams That Money Can Buy (1947), co-produced by Macpherson with its director, Hans Richter (1888-1976).

Each folder in the collection contains a single photographic print, except where two or more photographic prints are noted.


  • 1911 - 1947
  • Majority of material found within 1926 - 1933


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Photograph File of Close Up Magazine is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was formerly the possession of Islay Lyons (born 1922), photographer and longtime companion of Kenneth Macpherson.

Purchased from Elysium Press on the Elizabeth Wakeman Dwight Memorial Fund, 2008.


Organized into two series: I. Films, 1911-1947. II. Actors and Other Subjects, circa 1925-1947 November 13.


0.98 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


This collection consists chiefly of promotional photographs and film stills created by motion picture studios for their films and actors, which the editors of Close Up used to illustrate the magazine.

Kenneth Macpherson (1903-1971) and

Kenneth Macpherson was a novelist and photographer with an interest in film making. In 1927, he married Annie Winifred Ellerman (1894-1983), also known as Bryher. With their partner, Hilda Doolittle (1886-1961), also known as H.D., they established the POOL Group, a partnership that produced publications and films. The trio also established and edited Close Up (1927-1933), an influential magazine focused on intellectual discussions of cinema. In 1931, the editorial board included Henry Joseph Hasslacher (1907-1985), also known as Oswell Blakeston. Apart from the editors, contributors to Close Up included poet Robert Herring, film critic Harry A. Potamkin, the novelist Dorothy Richardson, and psychoanalyst Hanns Sachs.

Processing Information

Naomi Saito, a public services assistant at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library assisted in identifying photographs related to Japanese films in the collection.

Guide to the Photograph File of Close Up Magazine
by Matthew D. Mason
September 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


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New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.