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Alfred Bendiner original drawings of actors and actresses


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. 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

Alfred Bendiner was born in 1899, the second of five children to Armin and Rachel Hartmann Bendiner, Sephardic Jewish immigrants from Hungary. The Bendiner family lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania relocating to Philadelphia while Alfred was still a young child.

Bendiner attended Philadelphia's Northeast High School, and upon graduation won a scholarship to the School of Industrial Art. His first job was as a cartoonist for the Public Ledger. Bendiner enrolled in the Army in 1918 during World War I. After his military service Bendiner attended the University of Pennsylvania from 1922-1927 and earned a Bachelor of Architecture and Masters degrees. Bendiner studied architecture under architect Paul Philippe Cret (1876-1945), who funded Bendiner's European tour from 1927 to 1928. In 1929, Bendiner opened his own architectural firm where he had small projects, and used his caricature skills to supplement his income.

Bendiner served as the artist for University Museum's expedition to Tepe Gawra and Kafaji, Iraq under archaeologist and University of Pennsylvania professor Ephraim Avigdor Speiser. Upon his return to Philadelphia, Bendiner married Elizabeth Wheatly Sutro. The couple were life-long travel companions.

In 1938 Bendiner began his career making caricatures for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. His caricatures from concerts and plays of actors, musicians, conductors, comedians, and performers appeared weekly in the Bulletin with his commentary.

Bendiner wrote articles, produced compilations of his drawings, and an autobiography. Bendiner died in 1964.

Source used: Pezzati, Alessandro, "The Reluctant Architect: Alfred Bendiner (1899-1964)": The SAA Archaeological Record, 6(3):41-43.

This collection consists of seven original caricatures of theater or music performers in pencil or in ink. Actors include: Licia Albanese, Lynn Fontanne, Jan Kiepura, Eva Le Gallienne, Pauline Lord, Alfred Lunt, Lauritz Melchior, Florence Reed, Laurette Taylor, Helen Traubel, and Dame Mary Whitty. These actors are portrayed in "La Bohème," "Late Christopher Bean," "Outward Bound," "There Shall be No Night," "Therèse," and "Tristan and Isolde."

There is one caricature of a pianist, entitled "Solomon," probably depicting Solomon Cutner.

The caricatures themselves are interesting, as some appear to be in draft form. It is unclear if these images were published in newspapers or were simply done for the pleasure of the artist.

Gift of Nancy Burlan, on behalf of the University of the Arts, 2020.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Holly Mengel
Finding Aid Date
2020 August 17
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

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"La Bohème," with Jan Kiepura and Licia Albanese, undated.
Box 1 Folder 1
"Late Christopher Bean," with Pauline Lord, undated.
Box 1 Folder 2
"Outward Bound," with Laurette Taylor and Florence Reed, undated.
Box 1 Folder 3
"Solomon," probably Solomon Cutner at the piano.
Box 1 Folder 4
"There Shall be No Night," with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, undated.
Box 1 Folder 5
"Therèse," with Dame Mary Whitty and Eva Le Gallienne, undated.
Box 1 Folder 6
"Tristan and Isolde," with Lauritz Melchior and Helen Traubel, undated.
Box 1 Folder 7

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