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Bill Cunningham's Belongings Are Headed to the New-York Historical Society

By Nicole Levy | February 17, 2017 4:29pm | Updated on February 20, 2017 8:40am
 Bill Cunningham's bicycle.
Bill Cunningham's bicycle.
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New York Historical Society/Glenn Castellano

Bill Cunningham's trademark bike rides again, into the New-York Historical Society's permanent collection. 

The legendary fashion photographer's longtime friends have donated his personal effects to the Upper West Side museum and library, the institution announced Friday.

Cunningham, whose work The New York Times began publishing in the 1970s, died of a stroke in June. He was 87.


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The journalist left in his friends' care a personal library of more than 200 books, the Biria bicycle he rode around the city, the Nikon camera he used to capture the latest trends in street and high fashion, and the blue French worker's jacket he wore when he wasn't snapping photos at society events.

At the Historical Society, those objects join a series of 88 photographs Cunningham had previously donated to the museum, which hosted a surprise birthday party in his honor in 2014. The collection, called "Facades," pairs models in vintage fashion with historic, sometimes gritty settings.

A selection of Cunningham's personal effects — bequeathed by Cunningham's former Times colleague John Kurdewan and his muse Louise Doktor — will go on display at the Historical Society this spring, the museum said.

Meanwhile, the photographer's books, newspaper clippings, letters and notes will be filed among catalogs at the museum's research library.