Our First Museum Donor, 1985 -
Albert C. Rosenfelder
ALBERT CLAYTON ROSENFELDER
Albert C. Rosenfelder was instrumental in advancing The Hollywood Heritage Museum, then known as The Hollywood Studio Museum. When he passed January 12, 1985, he left a large collection of movie memorabilia, a collection he had hoped one day to install in a museum. He attached his Hollywood Heritage membership card to his will which then contributed to his estate being given to the organization after a short probate period which had been complicated by the fact that in the body of the will, he had only included that his estate goes to "a" Hollywood Museum. At that time, another entity, the Peter Gordon Group, was also trying to establish a museum in the Garden Court Apartment building, a contested ownership as the previous owner had simultaneously sold the building to another buyer as well. A third potential recipient was the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation, who had title to, and ownership of material donated for n unbuilt Hollywood Museum opposite the Hollywood Bowl established in 1960.
By 1983 the barn had been located on the earlier museum site through a contract with Hollywood Heritage Inc., so that the county approached Hollywood Heritage and offered to opt out of the estate if we would use the funds for air conditioning and an alarm system, which we readily agreed to.
Al was a native of Cleveland, Ohio, where he was born in 1906. Following his service in the U.S. Army during World War II, he had been a salesman and a caretaker prior to coming to Los Angeles before 1950.
Al lived on McCadden Street in Hollywood, next door to Victor Carriero, a journalist with the "Cinefilo" magazine from Brazil. Al owned two houses, one of which he lived in, the other in which he housed his vast collection, primarily, over 3,000 photographs and paper documents on entertainment industry performers of stage, screen, radio, television, and recording. It is this collection which began The Hollywood Heritage Museum's permanent collection. Among these papers are numerous letters and snapshots from silent film performers Al and his friends personally visited and photographed.
Only when the museum staff processed all of Al’s possessions in the bequest, were personal letters discovered which identified Al as a member of the LGBTQ community. Al’s dream of a museum lives on through us and during Pride Month, we want to acknowledge the deep debt we have to Al.