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Unpublished Jayne Mansfield Photographs

December 16, 2013

Jayne Mansfield may have been on of the most photographed women in the world during her brief lifetime, but even fifty years after her death they are "still out there" pun intended. A recent auction reveals numerous unseen and unpublished photographs of the woman who put the blonde bomb in bombshell.

Vera Jayne Palmer was born in 1933 and passed away in 1967 leaving behind a massive celebrity legacy and a plethora of photographs, yet no one complains when more turn up. The photos here are attributed to Milt Palmer, at one time a photographer working for the Las Vegas New Bureau. Other photographers working for the bureau included Don English, Jerry Abbott and Joe Buck. Many of their photos are deposited at the University of Nevada Las Vegas Digital Collections department of the library, who provide free online access to the images, and they do include several images likely from the same events as these dated 1956. Sure enough one of the images here has been dated with a grease pen.

The pictures shown come from original working contact sheets retained by a friend of the photographer, so it is unlikely they are in the archive.

Similarly, the Las Vegas News Bureau, still operating (but incorporated into the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) allows access for non-commercial use of images from the working photographers who documented the growth and splendor of the city. Again, these pictures are not indexed in their collection, but many are. The Las Vegas News Bureau has been working with agencies and planners to promote news and events in Southern Nevada for sixty years. Their online exhibition "A Photo History of Vegas) contains images dating back to 1905, when the city was established.

Most notable are the bureau's photographs of the city architecture, but Jayne here was built like a brick too. Although not generally credited with the concept, it was Jayne who invented the Wardrobe Malfunction, and the photo of Sophia Loren miffed at Ms. Mansfield's breasts has to be one of the most famous photographs of the 20th Century.

Miss Mansfield was victim of more than a tragic accident. A purported nude stag film was openly offered for sale after her death in men's magazines, but it was mostly a ruse. There were likely several versions of the spurious product, but one consisted of bubble baths and "walking" shots of the actress cribbed from her films with some extended footage.

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