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Saul Bass (1920-1996), a graphic designer, animator, and director was born in New York City.
Bass founded Saul Bass & Associates in 1946 which became Bass, Yager & Associates in 1976. Initially working in print advertising, he became known for his animated and graphic title sequences opening numerous feature films from the 1950s through 1990s, beginning with "Carmen Jones" (1954). He collaborated with filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger and Martin Scorsese, producing iconic openings for films such as "The Man with the Golden Arm" (1955), "Vertigo" (1958), "North by Northwest" (1959), and "Spartacus" (1960), and after a hiatus, re-entered the world of title design with new energy in the late 1980s and 1990s with films such as "Broadcast News" (1987), "Goodfellas" (1990), and "Casino" (1995).
Bass also produced and directed animated shorts, live-action documentaries, and television commercials, received an Academy Award for his short "Why Man Creates" (1968), and was nominated for an Academy Award for "Notes on the Popular Arts" (1977) and "Solar Film" (1979).
Bass served on the Academy Board of Governors from 1989 to 1996 and designed posters for the Academy Awards ceremony in 1991, and from 1993 through 1996.
Independent of his film title work, Bass designed many emblematic corporate symbols and trademarks for clients such as AT&T, Exxon, General Foods, Geffen Records, the Girl Scouts, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Lawry’s, Warner Communications, and the YWCA. He also designed logos for several Japanese companies in the 1980s.
The Saul Bass papers span the years 1949-1996 (bulk 1955-1996) and encompass 233 linear feet. The collection consists of production, television, and stage files; subject files; business papers; books and periodicals; and oversize material.
The production files contain film title and logo explorations for many feature films, including descriptions and design. There are also storyboards and publicity materials which include stationery, correspondence, and some post-production material. Much of Bass’ early main work is only represented by small black-and-white photographs attached to cards with description of the work cataloged under “record of work done” that shows this work on a smaller scale. Films represented in the collection include: "The Age of Innocence" (1993), "Anatomy of a Murder" (1959), Around the World in 80 Days" (1956), "Carmen Jones" (1954), "Casino" (1995), "Exodus" (1960), "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1963), "The Man with the Golden Arm" (1955), "North by Northwest" (1959), "Psycho" (1960), "The Shining" (1980), "Spartacus" (1960), "Vertigo" (1958), and "West Side Story" (1961).
The production files also include scripts and production material on films Bass directed: "From Here to There" (1964), "Notes on the Popular Arts" (1977), "Phase IV" (1974), "Quest" (1983), "The Searching Eye" (1964), "The Solar Film" (1979), and "Why Man Creates" (1968).
The unproduced subseries of the production files include materials on several films and a short by Bass tentatively titled "Notes on Change."
The television files include title work for "A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies" [TV] (1996) and "Under Suspicion" [TV] (1994-1995) as well as several others.
Stage files contain mostly publicity materials for a few productions.
Subject files include correspondence, Academy Award material as well as extensive material on Bass’ tenure as a member of the Academy Board of Governors. There is also material on his membership in several organizations that document his varying levels of involvement, as well as participation in a variety of exhibitions, competitions, and film festivals. There are several interviews with Bass, articles on Bass, and several publications on his work. There is some biographical material, including a draft of an unpublished biography on Bass written by Joe Morgenstern in 1994. There is material on tributes to Bass as well as awards received by him. There is a card index from 1951–1965 that includes black and white photographs and description of graphic work done for print. There are materials and scripts on various types of presentations given by Bass.
Business papers include poster design for the Academy Awards ceremony, logo and trademark exploration and design, stationery design, graphic design, corporate identification programs, storyboards, and other types of design for various companies, individuals and publications. Of special interest are extensive files regarding all aspects of the work Bass did over many years for AT&T, Exxon, the Girl Scouts, and the J. Paul Getty Museum. There is script and production material on the short film "One Hundred Years of the Telephone" done for AT&T. There are “record of work done” cards for various companies. Of interest is correspondence, presentation material, and business material on Bass/ Yager and Associates as well as Saul Bass and Associates.
Books include publications with sections on Saul Bass, books with covers designed by Bass, or books on Bass.
Periodicals include articles on Saul Bass, interviews with Bass, or covers designed by Bass.
Gift of the Saul Bass family, 1998-1999.