Chicago real estate developer Dwight Cleveland has donated over 1,000 vintage movies posters from his collection to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The posters, documenting the studio era of “B” movie filmmaking from the first half of the 20th century, feature a variety of genres including westerns (“The Revenge Rider” and “Heart of the Golden West”), war films (“Friendly Enemies” and “Somewhere in France”) and musicals (“Breakfast in Hollywood” and “Girl From Rio”).
The posters will be housed in the academy’s Margaret Herrick Library.
“Dwight’s collection was a dream to receive,” said Anne Coco, the Herrick’s graphic arts librarian. “Not only was it very well organized, but the posters also were in excellent shape. Our staff is fairly certain he was a librarian in another lifetime.”
Cleveland, 52, has been collecting posters since 1977, when he was in high school in North Andover, Mass., and had spent the last few years searching for a buyer for his 11,000-piece archive, which he said was valued at $3.5 million.
“I really think that film posters are one of the very few truly indigenous art forms of our country,” said Cleveland. “By making these gifts, I hope to excite an appreciation for the works themselves among members of the general public and also set a good example for other collectors.”
In addition to what Cleveland donated to the academy, his collection includes posters from 55 countries, Oscar’s best picture winners and every title of AFI’s Top 100 list.