Living Landmark Award presentation plate
Platter inscribed to Cunningham as "Living Landmark," in red Cartier presentation box.
William John “Bill” Cunningham (1929-2016) was a long-time New York Times photographer and journalist known for his “On the Street” and “Evening Hours” columns. As much a cultural anthropologist as he was a fashion photographer, Cunningham was known for candid street or event photographs of New Yorkers that depicted up-to-the-minute fashion trends. Among Cunningham’s most frequent locations to photograph his candid shots was the corner of Fifth Avenue and Fifty-Seventh Street and at the “up-to-twenty galas” he attended each week.
Born in Boston, Cunningham moved to New York around 1959. Although he initially made hats in New York, he began working as a journalist during the early 1960s, including as a reporter for Women’s Wear Daily. He purchased his first camera around 1967, and began his work as a photojournalist by photographing “The Summer of Love.” Thereafter, he worked as a photographer at the New York Daily News and Chicago Tribune. He was hired by the New York Times in 1977, and worked there for over 39 years. Over the course of his career Cunningham received many honors, including a French Legion of Honor award and the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Living Landmark award.
The collage bike helmet and collage hatbox were given to Cunningham in 2009 by the New York Times. Similarly, the Living Landmark Award was given to Cunningham in 2009; the Carnegie Hall medal was given in 2012.
Donor Louise Doktor was a long-time Cunningham muse and close friend of the photographer. Cunningham bequeathed the bicycle, jacket, camera, and Living Landmark award to her. John Kurdewan, who is donating the bicycle helmet and Carnegie Hall medal, was Cunningham’s assistant at the New York Times for twenty years.
Donor received the property on 1/30/2017 as a beneficiary of the last will of William J. Cunningham, at his apartment at 240 Central Park South, Apt. 18-K, New York, NY.