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ISU exhibits Hollywood designer’s sketches online

April 11, 2007
ISU Marketing and Communications

Pocatello native Edward Stevenson made sure that Lucille Ball didn’t wear potato sacks every day in her television show “I Love Lucy.” Stevenson worked as a Hollywood costume designer beginning in the 1930s, including being an employee for DesiLu Productions until his death 1968. Now his sketches can be viewed online thanks to ISU Eli M. Oboler Library and the impetus of Connie Smith Bowen, wife of former ISU President Richard Bowen.

Stevenson sketch“We wanted to make sure that the drawings were preserved,” said Karen Kearns, head of special collections at the library, “and that the students working on (the sketches) would still have access. We thought it might be something that the public would enjoy as well.”

Stevenson was born May 13, 1909 in Pocatello. He moved to California with his widowed mother during high school and interned with designer André Andreive. After working with Fox, First National and other studios, he joined the staff at Radio Keith Orpheum Pictures (RKO) in 1935. In 1954 he started working for DesiLu Productions.

Stevenson’s work on “The Facts of Life” with Edith Head earned him an Oscar for black-and-white costume design. His other movies included “I Remember Mama,” “Cheaper by the Dozen,” “David and Bathsheba,” “Citizen Kane” and “The Magnificent Ambersons.” He worked in costume design for more than 180 motion pictures.

The Stevenson Collection includes a vast array of several hundred sketches and renderings of costumes from his early days as an apprentice to his final years. Also included are sketches by other designers, and numerous scrapbooks and photographs of both his family and his Hollywood associations. The collection was a gift to ISU from Stevenson’s family with additional drawings donated by Ball.The sketches, many in color and some including fabric swatches, have been digitized by a joint effort between the Special Collections Department and the Theatre/Dance Department. Each sketch was scanned and described in detail with the assistance of Trent Clegg, a theatre department graduate assistant now completing his thesis on Stevenson. To view the sketches, visit www.isu.edu/library/special/mc111.htm.

For more information, contact Karen Kearns at 282-3608 or kearkare@isu.edu.


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