Neil Edwards Photography Collection

Processed by Robert Graves. Machine-readable finding aid created by Michael P. Palmer
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90007
Phone: (213) 741-0094
Fax: (213) 741-0220
Email: askone@onearchives.org
URL: http://www.onearchives.org
© 2007
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives. All rights reserved.

Neil Edwards Photography Collection

Collection number: Coll2007-003

ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives

Los Angeles, California
Processed by:
Robert Graves
Date Completed:
March 5, 2007
Encoded by:
Michael P. Palmer
© 2007 ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives. All rights reserved.
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.


Descriptive Summary

Title: Neil Edwards photography collection
Dates: circa 1950-circa 1970
Bulk Dates: 1964-1969
Collection number: Coll2007-003
Creator: Edwards, Neil, 1939-2003
Collection Size: 12 ring-binder boxers + 12 archives boxes + 1 oversize box (5.3 linear feet).
Repository: ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.
Los Angeles, California 90007
Abstract: 474 photographic prints and 3910 slides created circa 1964-1969 by male physique photographer Neil Edwards, as well as 420 photographs and 909 slides collected by Edwards and created circa 1950-1970 by Athletic Model Guild, Bruce of Los Angeles, Calafran Enterprises, Champion Studios, Jay Mitchell, and Times Square Studio, and others. The collection also includes Edwards' business records, including model releases and notes on models, miscellaneous physique publications, 1958-1968, and erotic drawings and writings.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Access

The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

Publication Rights

Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner and copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Neil Edwards photography collection, Coll2007-003, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Scott Wachtler.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Robert Graves, September 2005-December 2006. Finding aid edited by Michael Palmer, March 2007.
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Biography

Neil Edwards was born George Elliot McNeil on February 11, 1939, to George lliot McNeil and Elizabeth McKinney, and was raised in Virginia. His parents also had a daughter, whose name is not known. His mother eventually divorced her husband, who was said to have "tormented" her and their children. As an adult, the younger George Elliot McNeil legally changed his name to Neil Edwards to avoid any connection with his father's name. Neil adored his mother, who went on to marry another man, Wilbur Peck.
Little is known of Neil's formative years. After leaving Virginia, he moved to New York City and took a few classes in computers and arts at the City College of New York. During this period he also worked as a set designer on Broadway summer stock productions, where he met prominent entertainers such as Marlene Dietrich, Carol Channing, and Barbra Streisand.
Along with contemporaries such as Bob Mizer's Athletic Model Guild, Walter Kundzicz's Champion Studios, and more independent photographers such as David of Cleveland, Bruce of Los Angeles, Edwards played a part in creating the mid-twentieth century phenomenon known as physique photography. Intended to skirt and evade censors of the time, physique photography was designed to produce erotic photographs of male and female models for consumers who could not obtain such materials from any other source. Physique photographers utilized any loophole they could find to produce, release, and distribute their product. Early models were photographed with skimpy posing straps, and photographs, catalogs and magazines of nude or near-nude models were released with editorial commentary suggesting that the photos were produced to satisfy the interests of naturists, fans of sport and bodybuilding, or budding human form artists.
Edwards' work as a physique photographer appears to have fallen between the years of 1964 and 1969, when he lived in Philadelphia: the earliest model release in the collection is dated March 1964, the latest January 1969. Mailings for his studio and model releases from this period also give a studio address in New York City, so it is believed he split his time between the two cities. It is not known how Edwards came to be a physique photographer. His associate, Scott Wachtler, believes that photography was a hobby for Edwards and that he entered the field of physique photography in the belief that he could do a better job than those currently in the field.
At the height of his photographic productivity, Edwards' work appeared in the pages of and on the covers of several male fitness magazines, including The Young Physique and Muscleboy, some of which are represented in this collection. Edwards also is known to have to produced one periodical showcasing his work exclusively, The Edwardians, of which three or four issues were published, and possibly one other magazine, Blueboy (long preceding the better-known, gay erotic photography magazine of the same name), which featured a male model posed in the same fashion as John Singer Sargent's Blueboy painting.
Wachtler does not believe that Edwards was a standard portrait photographer during his time as a physique photographer. However, his collection contains several examples of portrait and other photography, and he may have worked on a commission basis during this time, taking standard photographs for friends or paying clients.
As with other photographers of the day, Edwards' work started out tame, with models wearing posing straps and rarely touching themselves, and progressed to more obviously erotic work in later years, with models fully nude, sometimes shown touching themselves and on some occasions posed with other male models in tame but sexually suggestive situations.
Eventually, Edwards was targeted by the Philadelphia District Attorney, Arlen Specter, for his physique photography work. Edwards' home was raided by police, who confiscated all his photographic equipment, most of his film, and his mail-order lists. Edwards was not arrested, nor was he ever charged for a crime. However, he petitioned for over a year for the return of his equipment. At one point, he was told the equipment had been lost, and eventually he was told that the raid never took place. This loss ruined Edwards financially, forcing him to go on public welfare, and depressed him emotionally, eventually resulting in a nervous breakdown that saw him committed to New York's Bellevue Hospital for a short time. It is unknown precisely when this raid occurred; however, Edwards' photographic output ceased abruptly in 1969.
Edwards never took up professional photography again, and instead took a job with American Airlines, eventually developing the company's SABRE computer reservation system. When American asked Edwards to move to Texas, he refused and was bought out of his contract. Edwards used the money to move to Tampa, Florida, where he opened a restaurant, Neil's, which was popular with locals, but did not make enough money to sustain itself and ended in bankruptcy. Edwards then went to work as an art critic for a local classical music radio station. It was there that he developed a computer software program, Music Director, that automatically scheduled classical music for radio stations all over the country. In 1989, he created the company Broadcast Data Consultants, the firm where he met Wachtler.
Edwards' sister died in the mid 1990s of lung disease, and his mother and stepfather died in the late 1990s. Edwards himself died in Clearwater, Florida, on December 16, 2003, of the hereditary lung condition, pulmonary fibrosis, which may also have been the cause of his sister's death.
Source: Scott Wachtler

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection consists of the 474 photographic prints and 3910 slides created by male physique photographer Neil Edwards, as well as materials created by Edwards in the course of his work, and photographs and magazines he collected throughout his life. In addition to physique photographs, the collection contains slide images of vacations and other trips taken by Edwards. The materials pertaining to Edwards' photography business include model and employment releases, notes by Edwards concerning his models, and brochures and catalogs for Edwards' studio. Among the other studios and well-known photographers whose images (420 photographs and 906 slides) Edwards collected are Athletic Model Guild, Bruce of Los Angeles, Champion Studios, Calafran Enterprises, Jay Mitchell, and Times Square Studio; the identifiable nude models include Rudolf Nureyev, Burt Lancaster, Ray Fuller, and Jim Stryker. Printed materials in the collection include bound volumes of The Young Physique (1958-1966), Demi-Gods (1961-1963), and Muscleboy (1963-1966); unbound issues of magazines and other publications; erotic drawings; and gay erotic short stories.

Arrangement

Series 1. Photographic works by Neil Edwards. Series 2. Photographic works by others. Series 3. Printed matter.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Edwards, Neil, 1939-2003
Athletic Model Guild
Bruce of Los Angeles
Calafran Enterprises
Champion Studios
Conrad
Jay Mitchell
Star Fire Studios
Times Square Studio
Gay erotic literature
Gay erotic photography
Photographers--United States
Photography of men
Photography of the nude

Index of Models Photographed or Distributed by Neil Edwards

Adams, Ted
Alexander
Allen, David
Anderson, Steve
Antoine, Jacques
Arnold, Hank
Baillard, Rupe
Baker, Bill
Barnes, Chip
Basco, Tony
Bouchard, Andre
Bucholz, Dirk
Byers, John
Carlton, John
Carroll, Larry
Castor, Eric
Chamberlain, Peter
Cokos, Alex
Collins, Rick
D'Amboise, Gregg
Devereux, Rick
Dougherty, Rich
Douglas, Bill
Estes, Jimmy
Evans, Brett
Falkenburg, Lance
Farrell, Trate
Fredericks, Karl
Gavin, Chuck,
Gelder, Hans
Hamilton, Steve
Hammel, Chuck
Harding, Ken
Harrigan, Tim
Hastings, Bill
Idol, Brian
Jackson, Brad
Jefferson, Jim
Jensen, Peter
Jordan, Trey
Keeler, Ronnie
Kelly, Jack
Kirby, Don
Koenig, Walt
Larson, Ernie
Little Joe
Lloyd, Joseph
Lunstead, Tom
Marshall, Gary
Martin, Peter
Mason, Alan
McCauley, Don
McDonald, Bruce
Miller, Ed
Mitchell, Jay
Müller, Franz
O'Neil, Tony
O'Shea, Tim
Payne, Bill
Peterson, Alan
Peterson, Jerry
Pettit, Keith
Powell, Wayne
Powers, Drake
Price, Ernie
Primavera, Dennis
Primavera, Tony
Randall, Ed
Richardson, Mike
Roberts, Barry
Rodriguez, Manuel
Rogers, Ian
Rogers, Johnny
Sanford, David
Scali, Vince
Shephard, Phil
Stevens, Ricky
Stewart, Marty
Sullivan, Jerry
Swanson, Ted
Tallchief, Joe
Talley, Mat
Todd, Charles
Weiss, Kurt
Whyte, Lee
Williams, Dennis
Williams, Ronnie

Collection Contents

Box: 1-13

Series 1. Photographic Works by Neil Edwards circa 1964-circa 1969

Physical Description: 12 ring-binder boxes + 1 oversize box (1.9 linear feet); 474 photograhs, 3910 slides (including 231 stereoscopic slides), and 2 negatives.

Scope and Content

This series consists of work known or believed to be produced by Neil Edwards. Edwards released his work primarily in photographic prints and slides, which were usually sold in photosets or slidesets of 5 or 6. These photos and slides were usually identified with a rubber stamp by model name and photoset number and sequence number (e.g. on a slide, the stamp "Marty Stewart 4-5" would indicate this was the fifth image in the fourth slideset of model Marty Stewart). Sample images sent to potential buyers would be stamped with the model's name and the letter "S." Edwards also produced a large number of "bonus" slides of his models. In most cases, these would be identified as above, but with the model's name and a letter and digit sequence such as "X-4." These slides often were more sexually explicit, showing a model masturbating or having sex with another model, and were probably either produced solely for Edwards' own benefit or quietly sold to buyers that Edwards felt he could trust. No mention of these "bonus" slides is ever made in Edwards' regular catalogs or advertisements.
At some point during Edwards' period of strongest productivity, he purchased the rights to photographs produced by a studio called Starfire Studios, and began distributing their work with his own "Neil Edwards" stamp. With little identification given between Starfire's work and Edwards', it is unclear if any of Starfire's photographs may be incorrectly credited to Edwards within this collection.
Edwards also produced slide images of vacations and other trips he took. A few notable destinations and other images in his collection include: a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans (date unknown); Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, Munich, and Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany; Brussels, Belgium; China and Hong Kong; Luray Caverns, Virginia; Flushing Meadows, New York, and London; as well images of the flags of thirty-five gay motorcycle clubs.
The series comprises 4 ring-binder boxes of photographic prints, ranging in size from 2" x 3" Polaroids to 8" x 10" prints, and 1 oversize box of 11" x 14" prints; 7 ring-binder boxes of 2" x 2" slides; 1 ring-binder box of stereoscopic slides; and several folders of paper materials pertaining to his photography business, including model and employment releases signed by Edwards and/or his models and employees; notes maintained by Edwards on his models, including vital statistics, critical descriptions of models' attributes, impressions Edwards had of their model potential, who may have referred them to Edwards, etc.; a small amount of correspondence to and from Edwards; and brochures and catalogs for Edwards' studio and Starfire Studios.
Box 1-4, 13

Photographs circa 1964-circa 1969

Box 1

Models: Alexander - Brett Evans

Physical Description: 48 sheets; 90 images
Box 2

Models: Trate Farrell - Garry Marshall

Physical Description: 52 sheets; 101 images
Box 3

Models: Peter Martin - Ricky Stevens

Physical Description: 63 sheets; 121 images
Box 4

Models: Jerry Sullivan - Dennis Williams

Physical Description: 50 sheets; 87 images, plus 44 polaroids of unidentified models (sheets 45-49) and 2 5" x 4" color negatives of Erik Neilson (sheet 50)
Box 13

Oversize (11' x 14'') and mounted prints

Physical Description: 31 photographs
Box 5-12

Slides circa 1964-circa 1969

Box 5

Models: Ted Adams - Alex Cokos

Physical Description: 24 sheets; 467 slides
Box 6

Models: Rick Collins - Chuck Hammel

Physical Description: 30 sheets; 589 slides
Box 7

Models: Ken Harding - Alan Mason

Physical Description: 24 sheets; 471 slides
Box 8

Models: Don McCauley - Tony Primavera

Physical Description: 28 sheets; 529 slides
Box 9

Models: Ed Randall - Marty Stewart

Physical Description: 27 sheets; 535 slides
Box 10

Models: Marty Stewart - Ronnie Williams

Physical Description: 28 sheets; 560 slides
Box 11

Stereoscopic slides. Models: Rupe Baillard - Mat Talley

Physical Description: 24 sheets; 231 slides
Box 12 : 1-4

Models identified by a single name only

Physical Description: 4 sheets; 75 slides
Box 12 : 5-27

Vacation slides

Physical Description: 23 sheets; 418 slides
Box 12 : 28-29

Gay motorcycle club flags

Physical Description: 2 sheets; 35 slides
Box: 14-19

Series 2. Photographic Works by Others circa 1950-circa 1970

Physical Description: 6 ring-binder boxes (1.1 linear feet); 420 photographs, 909 slides, and 108 playing cards.

Scope and Content

This series consists of photographs and slides produced by other photographers and collected by Edwards. Like many other physique photographers, Edwards was also a collector of gay erotic photographs and slides produced by others. Included are: 4 ring-binder boxes of photographic prints, ranging in size from 2" x 3" to 8" x 10", as well as 2 decks of playing cards featuring nude male models; and 2 ring-binder boxes of 2" x 2" slides and unmounted slide ransparencies. Studios and well-known photographers represented in the series include Athletic Model Guild, Bruce of Los Angeles, Champion Studios, Calafran Enterprises, Jay Mitchell, and Times Square Studio. Identifiable nude models represented include Rudolf Nureyev, Burt Lancaster, Ray Fuller, and Jim Stryker. The series also includes photographic or slide reproductions of drawings by erotic artists such as Conrad, whose work Edwards distributed.
Box 14-17

Photographs circa 1950-circa 1970

Box 14

Photographer, studio or model name identified

Box 14 : 1

Perkins Agency

Physical Description: 1 sheet; 1 photograph
Box 14 : 2-21

Athletic Model Guild (AMG)

Physical Description: 20 sheets; 79 photographs
Box 14 : 22-32

Bruce of Los Angeles

Physical Description: 11 sheets; 41 photographs
Box 14 : 33-34

Jean Ferrero

Physical Description: 2 sheets; 5 photographs
Box 14 : 35

Jim Stryker (model)

Physical Description: 1 sheet; 1 photograph
Box 14 : 36-44

Erotic drawings by Conrad of Neil Edwards Studios

Physical Description: 9 sheets; 18 photographic reproductions
Box 14 : 45-56

Erotic playing cards

Physical Description: 12 sheets; 2 decks (108 cards), 1 action, 1 solo
Box 15-17

Unidentified

Box 15

Unidentified photographs

Physical Description: 47 sheets; 52 photographs
Box 16

Unidentified photographs

Physical Description: 42 sheets; 127 photographs
Box 17

Unidentified photographs

Physical Description: 57 sheets; 96 photographs
Box 18-19

Slides circa 1950-circa 1970

Box 18

Photographer, studio or model name identified

Physical Description: 21 sheets; 366 slides
Box 19

Unidentified

Box 19 : 1-22

Mounted slides

Physical Description: 22 sheets; 427 slides
Box 19 : 23-30

Unmounted slides

Physical Description: 7 sheets; 113 slides
Box 20-25

Series 3. Printed Matter circa 1950-circa 1970

Physical Description: 6 archives boxes (2.3 linear feet).

Scope and Content

This series contains printed materials collected by Edwards. These include 7 bound volumes of magazines, including complete runs of the magazines The Young Physique from 1958 to 1966, Demi-Gods from 1961 to 1963, and Muscleboy from 1963 to 1966 (the first and last of these magazines published Edwards' work, as well as ads for his mail order service, beginning in 1964); 44 issues of magazines and other publications; wall calendars for 1966 and 1967 that include brief notes from Edwards on appointments during those years; erotic drawings by unidentified artists; numerous gay erotic short stories by unidentified authors; a gay dating service questionnaire; and scrapbook collages of nude men compiled by Edwards.
Box 20-22

Periodicals (bound)

Box 20 : 1

Young Physique, vol. 1, no. 1 - vol. 2, no. 5 1958-1960

Box 20 : 2

Young Physique, vol. 2, no. 6 - vol. 3, no. 5 / Demi-Gods, vol. 1, nos. 1-5 1961

Box 20 : 3

Young Physique / Demi-Gods 1962

Box 21 : 1

Young Physique / Muscleboy 1963

Box 21 : 2

Young Physique / Muscleboy 1964

Box 22 : 1

Young Physique / Muscleboy 1965

Box 22 : 2

Young Physique / Muscleboy 1966

Box 23-24

Unbound magazines and publications

Box 23 ; 1

Basic Approach to Drawing the Male Nudist , no. 6 circa 1965

Box 23 : 2

Basic Approach to Drawing the Nude, v. 4, Body Builders circa 1965

Box 23 : 3

Butch, no. 2 1965

Box 23 : 4

Butch, no. 3 1965

Box 23 : 5

Butch, no. 4 1966

Box 23 : 6

Champ, no. 2 March 1961

Note

Page 5/6 damaged
Box 23 : 7

David, vol. 2, no. 10 August-September 1972

Box 23 : 8

Gay, no. 2 circa 1965

Box 23 : 9

Golden Boys, no. 1 1967

Box 23 : 10

Golden Boys, no. 2 1967

Box 23 : 11

Golden Boys, no. 3 1967

Box 23 : 12

Golden Boys, no. 4 1967

Box 23 : 13

Golden Boys, no. 5 1968

Box 23 : 14

Golden Boys, no. 6 1968

Box 23 : 15

Golden Boys, no. 7 1968

Box 23 : 16

Golden Boys, no. 8 1968

Box 23 : 17

International Nudist Sun, no. 1 1964

Box 23 : 18

International Nudist Sun, no. 2 1964

Box 23 : 19

International Nudist Sun, no. 3 1964

Box 23 : 20

International Nudist Sun, no. 4 1964

Box 23 : 21

International Nudist Sun, no. 5 1964

Box 23 : 22

International Nudist Sun, no. 6 1964

Box 23 : 23

International Nudist Sun, no. 7 1964

Box 23 : 24

International Nudist Sun, no. 8 1964

Box 23 : 25

International Nudist Sun, no. 9 1965

Box 23 : 26

International Nudist Sun, no. 10 1965

Box 23 : 27

International Nudist Sun, no. 11 1965

Box 23 : 28

International Nudist Sun, no. 12 1965

Box 23 : 29

Leather Men, no. 1 1969

Box 24 : 1

Like, Young, no. 2 1967

Box 24 : 2

Like, Young, no. 3 1967

Box 24 : 3

Male Classics Annual 1965

Box 24 : 4

Male Nudist Portfolio, no. 4 1966

Box 24 : 5

Male Nudist Portfolio, no. 5 1966

Box 24 : 6

Male Nudist Portfolio, no. 6 1966

Box 24 : 7

Manpower!, no. 1 1969

Box 24 : 8

Physique Pictorial, vol. 11, no. 2 November 1961

Box 24 : 9

Physique Pictorial, vol. 13, no. 4 May 1964

Box 24 : 10

Physique Pictorial, vol. 15, no. 3 June 1966

Box 24 : 11

Stud, no. 2 1967

Box 24 : 12

Stud, no. 3 1967

Box 24 : 13

Tiger, no. 1 1965

Box 24 : 14

Timaárcus Studio Drawings, no. 1, Impressions of "Song of the Loon" 1967

Box 24 : 15

Tomorrow's Man, vol. 14, no. 9 August 1966

Box 24 : 16

Wonder Boy, no. 5 circa 1960-1965

Box 25

Papers and other materials

Box 25 : 1

Brochures and catalogues - Neil Edwards and Starfire Studios circa 1964-circa 1969

Box 25 : 2-3

Correspondence 1965 1968

Box 25 : 2

Bernard Brandt (a.k.a. Ernie larson) to Neil Edwards 1965

Box 25 : 3

Neil Edwards to Jeff Sammons (model scout) 1968

Box 25 : 4

Model and employment releases 1964-1969

Box 25 : 5

Notes on models circa 1964-circa 1969

Box 25 : 6

Calendars 1966-1967

Box 25 : 7

Erotic drawing by unknown artist of sailor at glory hole circa 1950-circa 1970

Box 25 : 8-30

Erotic fiction (unless otherwise indicated author unidentified) circa 1950-circa 1970

Box 25 : 8

"Angelo"

Physical Description: 41 pages
Box 25 : 9

"Bail-out"

Physical Description: 11 pages
Box 25 : 10

"Bobby and the Devil"

Physical Description: 17 pages
Box 25 : 11

"The Confession of a French Stenographer"

Physical Description: 8 pages
Box 25 : 12

"Dear Denny", by Phil

Physical Description: 4 pages
Box 25 : 13

"Dear Phil", by Denny

Physical Description: 2 pages
Box 25 : 14

"Dear Steve", by Donald

Physical Description: 3 pages
Box 25 : 15

"Dear Tom", by Jack

Physical Description: 7 pages
Box 25 : 16

"Everyone is Jewish When You're In Love"

Physical Description: 5 pages, text includes erotic drawings
Box 25 : 17

"Incest"

Physical Description: 2 pages, text includes erotic drawings
Box 25 : 18

"Interlude on an express"

Physical Description: 3 pages
Box 25 : 19

"Intimate Interviews", by Raklph A. Storm

Physical Description: 23 pages
Box 25 : 20

"The Marines and the Situation"

Physical Description: 2 pages
Box 25 : 21

"My Eighteenth Summer"

Physical Description: 2 pages; 7 copies
Box 25 : 22

"One Autumn Afternoon", by Jeff (?)

Physical Description: 18 pages
Box 25 : 23

"Peaches and Cream"

Physical Description: 9 pages
Box 25 : 24

"The Perils of Hitch-hiking"

Physical Description: 5 pages
Box 25 : 25

"Saturday Trips", by Jeff (?)

Physical Description: 23 pages
Box 25 : 26

"Telephone Linemen"

Physical Description: 9 pages
Box 25 : 27

"Two Lands and a Lake"

Physical Description: 23 pages
Box 25 : 28

Untitled ["Barry and Dudley met..."]

Physical Description: 9 pages
Box 25 : 29

Untitled ["It had been a rather wild..."]

Physical Description: 4 pages
Box 25 : 30

Untitled ["When John came home..."]

Physical Description: 3 pages
Box 25 : 31

Greeting cardss 1960-1970

Box 25 : 32

Humor: "Gay Word Describtions [sic]" circa 1960

Box 25 : 33

Humor: "Songs That Mother Never Taught US" circa 1960

Box 25 : 34

Man-to-Man dating service questionnaire circa 1970

Box 25 : 35

Scrapbook photo collages circa 1960-circa 1970