Phyllis Dubsky Feldkamp papers
Held at: Bryn Mawr College [Contact Us]Bryn Mawr College Library, 101 N. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr 19010
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Bryn Mawr College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Phyllis Dubsky Feldkamp (1915-2011) was born in Chicago and attended Bryn Mawr College as part of the class of 1937. Mrs. Feldkamp studied fashion design for several years. She then spent a number of years working as a writer and journalist in other fields, eventually returning to writing about the world of fashion with great success.
Her career began with a job at the Philadelphia Record in 1942, starting first as a reporter and later moving on to an editorial assistant, writer, movie reviewer and interviewer for feature stories. After two years she went to LIFE magazine where she would continue to work until 1951, serving as a researcher/reporter, special projects reporter, and, eventually, editor of the "Letters to the Editor" section.
Between 1950 and 1951, she assisted her husband Fred Feldkamp in editing two posthumous books by the American humorist Will Cuppy. While living in Brittany, France in 1957, she became a stringer for the Paris office of LIFE magazine, served as picture editor of the UNESCO Courier, and in 1961 became the Paris correspondent for the Philadelphia Bulletin, focusing primarily on fashion but also working on interviews and news stories.
She then became the Fashion and Style Editor of the Philadelphia Bulletin in 1968, a position she would hold until 1982. During this time , she also worked as a fashion correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor covering New York and European fashion openings. In addition, she also wrote freelance articles concerning fashion for a number of publications, notably Horizon and the New York Times Magazine. With her husband she published a book, The Good Life… or What's Left of It in 1972.
In the 1980's, she served as a special consultant to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, lectured to students of fashion and design, and contributed stories to several national newspapers and magazines. Between 1986 and 1992 she wrote promotional and publicity material for several department stores, including Wanamakers and Altmans). She died in 2011.
The collection also includes papers of her daughter, Phoebe Feldkamp, a member of the Bryn Mawr class of 1973.
Because of Mrs. Feldkamp's position as a close observer and chronicler of the world of fashion, her working papers serve as an important historical resource for the study of that world. The bulk of the collection reflects Mrs. Feldkamp's interest and involvement with the fashion industry between 1968 and 1982, the years she worked as the Fashion and Style Editor for the Philadelphia Bulletin. Included in these papers are records from her attendance at fashion shows, interviews and correspondence with many leaders in the fashion industry, and reports and articles published in journals and newspapers. Her correspondents include such fashion figures as Bill Blass, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Halston, Bonnie Cashin, Elsa Perretti, Naomi Sims, Mary McFadden, Adri, Estee Lauder, Helena Rubenstein, and Letitia Baldridge. Additionally, some of Feldkamp's writings and correspondence on topics other than fashion, most occuring during the very early years of her career, are also included in the first box of this collection.
The collection also includes a small amount of personal papers, including her diary from a trip to Japan in October 1949; correspondence with her husband and daughter, Phoebe Feldkamp; two family photographs from the 1950s and early 1960s; and Phoebe Feldkamp's eloquent stories and vignettes describing growing up in France, young adulthood in the United States, and the effect of a motorcycle accident on her life.
Of special note is the inclusion of more than 300 photographs, many of professional quality. The photographs, comprising six total boxes, range from still fashion prints to candids of figures in the fashion and entertainment worlds. Also included is a folder of photographs of Feldkamp herself.
The last five boxes in the collection are composed of a complete run of Feldkamp's writings on fashion.
Donated to the college by Phoebe Feldkamp, 1994. Additional material donated by Phoebe Feldkamp in 2016 and 2017.
- Lauder, Estee
- Lauren, Ralph
- Baldrige, Letitia
- Blass, Bill
- Auden, W. H. (Wystan Hugh)
- Vreeland, Diana
- Perreti, Elsa
- Rubenstein, Helena
- McFadden, Mary (1960)
- Sims, Naomi
- Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965
- Connolly, Cyril
- Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous)
- Steichen, Edward
- Klein, Calvin
- Frowick, Roy Halston
- Cuppy, Will
- Bryn Mawr College
- Finding Aid Author
- Unknown Melissa Torquato
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
The Phyllis Feldkamp papers are the physical property of Bryn Mawr College Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors' legal heirs and assigns.