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Millia Davenport

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Millia Davenport
Millia Davenport.jpg
Millia Davenport in 1920
Born(1895-03-30)March 30, 1895
DiedJanuary 18, 1992(1992-01-18) (aged 96)
Notable work
The Book of Costume (1948)
Millia Davenport cover illustration for The Quill (January 1918); her stylized "MD" signature mark is in the top left corner.
Millia Davenport cover illustration for The Quill (January 1918); her stylized "MD" signature mark is in the top left corner.

Millia Crotty Davenport (March 30, 1895 – January 18, 1992) was an American costumer, theater designer, and scholar, known for her 1948 work The Book of Costume.[1]


Millia Davenport was born March 30, 1895, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to biologists Charles and Gertrude Davenport, who became leaders of the American eugenics movement.[2] She studied in Paris as a teenager, returning to New York where she graduated from Huntington High School in 1913 and attended Barnard College from 1913 to 1915.[3] She studied at the Parsons School of Design from 1917 to 1918, and later taught there.[4]

She married editor Arthur Harold Moss in her early twenties and for a time was editor and publisher of The Quill, a Greenwich Village literary magazine.

In the 1920s she married Walter Louis Fleisher, and in the late 1930s married a third time to physician Edward Harkevy. In 1947 she declined an offer from Orson Welles to design costumes for his film production of Macbeth in order to focus on her academic research, culminating in The Book of Costume.[5]

In the early 1960s she founded and cataloged the library of the American Museum of Folk Art.[6]

In 1981 Davenport received the highest honor given by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, for a lifetime of distinguished contribution to the performing arts.[7] That same year she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Parsons School of Design.[4]

She died January 18, 1992,[2] aged 96, at a nursing home minutes away from her longtime home in New City, New York, which she designed and built.[4]


In 1991 the Costume Society of America established the Millia Davenport Publication Award recognizing excellence in costume scholarship.[8]


  1. ^ Robinson, Alice M.; Roberts, Vera Mowry; Barranger, Milly S., eds. (1989). Notable Women in the American Theatre: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Press. pp. 196–197. ISBN 978-0-313-27217-2.
  2. ^ a b "Millia Davenport Harkevy"., U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936–2007 [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 2015. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  3. ^ Mikotowicz, Thomas J. (1992). Theatrical Designers: An International Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-313-26270-8.
  4. ^ a b c Stowell, Don (March 1992). "In Memoriam: Millia Davenport" (PDF). Sightlines. United States Institute for Theatre Technology. pp. 3–4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-06-04.
  5. ^ Bruinius, Harry (2007). Better for All the World: The Secret History of Forced Sterilization and America's Quest for Racial Purity. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 305. ISBN 978-0-307-42496-9.
  6. ^ Earson, Adele (Summer 1978). "History of the Museum: 1961–1978". The Clarion. American Museum of Folk Art. pp. 30–31.
  7. ^ "The USITT Award". United States Institute for Theatre Technology. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  8. ^ "Millia Davenport Publication Award". Costume Society of America. Retrieved 9 October 2016.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 November 2020, at 03:56
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