Black History Daily: Who had the First Licensed Black Modeling Agency? (1814 hits)
The Brandford Modeling Agency, founded by Edward Brandford (1908-?) was the first licensed black modeling agency in the country. Their models were known as “Brandford Lovelies.” Brandford was born in Jamaica, British West Indies, and was apprenticed to a British academician to study painting. He entered Cooper Union Art School in New York City and graduated in 1930. When he moved to America, Brandford envisioned becoming a purely creative artist.
After graduating from art school, he worked with Burland Printing Company as an apprentice artist. He was one of the artists who designed the catalog of advertisers for the New York World’s Fair in 1939. He became a freelance artist and designed the original copy of People’s Voice. As his business grew, he opened an office on 42nd Street where he designed book jackets for a number of works, including The Great Short Novels of Henry James, edited by Philip Rahr. Brandford’s art also appeared in the New York Herald Tribune’s book review section and in America Home magazine. He saw a need for a black model agency and on July 30, 1947, he opened the Brandford Model Agency. There were 250 black women registered with the agency and 75 on the active list.