Crossroads of Rockland History: Millia Davenport

2022-06 Crossroads-Davenport

Millia Davenport
This program originally aired on June 20, 2022. To listen, click here.

On the June 2022 episode of Crossroads of Rockland History, we turned our attention to the life and legacy of Millia Davenport (1895-1992). David Bisaha, assistant professor of theater at SUNY Binghamton joined host Clare Sheridan to discuss this remarkable and trailblazing woman who lived most of her life in Rockland County. Among her many contributions, she wrote the definitive book on theatrical costume history, The Book of Costume. Published in 1948, it remains the gold standard in the field. In 1991, the Costume Society of America established the Millia Davenport Publication Award recognizing excellence in costume scholarship.

David Bisaha is a scholar and practitioner who studies performance design, theatrical space and architecture, and the history of theatrical creativity. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theater at SUNY Binghamton. He specializes in the history of scenic design in the United States, mostly in the first half of the twentieth century, and in the more recent history of immersive and participatory performance. His other research interests include theatre historiography, cognitive sciences and performance, directing theory, and memory studies.

Bisaha’s current book project, American Scenic Design and Freelance Professionalism, is a cultural labor history of scenic designers and designing in the United States. It argues that scenic designers constructed the career of the freelance, professional scenic designer in extra-theatrical locations. By combining archival research into key designers and institutions with the sociology of the professions and a history of theatre labor and economic policy, the project shows how the history of American scenic design intersects with important national issues: the expansion of post-secondary education, the rise of unionism and challenges to its vision for American labor, and the emergence of knowledge work careers and the creative class. At Binghamton, Bisaha teaches theater and performance history, dramaturgy, and theater theory in the MA and BA programs. He is the Curator of the Theatre Collection of the Department of Theatre, and is affiliate faculty and a steering committee member of the Material and Visual Worlds Transdisciplinary Area of Excellence (TAE).


Crossroads of Rockland History, a program of the Historical Society of Rockland County, airs on the third Monday of each month at 9:30 am, right after the morning show, on WRCR Radio 1700 AM and www.WRCR.com. Join host Clare Sheridan as we explore, celebrate, and learn about our local history, with different topics and guest speakers every month. If you want to listen to the live broadcast, and you aren't local, simply download the TuneIn Radio App on your smartphone or tablet and search for WRCR.  We are pleased to announce that we have begun loading our archived podcasts to all major Podcast platforms.

The Historical Society of Rockland County is a nonprofit educational institution and principal repository for original documents and artifacts relating to Rockland County. Its headquarters are a four-acre site featuring a history museum and the 1832 Jacob Blauvelt House in New City, New York.



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