Collection Facts

Extent: 
178 items
Collection Owner:

Historical Context

Harry Bruno (1893-1978) led a dynamic, fascinating life. When he wasn’t creating history himself, he was directly touched by it. (Bruno’s parents died on the Lusitania; Harry pulled Captain Ernst Lehmann from the blazing Hindenburg in 1937.)

From an early age, Harry was hooked on aircraft, engines and machines. He built a glider when he was 17 and flew in the Canadian Royal Flying Corp during World War I. His knowledge about airplanes and their construction resulted in Bruno becoming the nation’s leading aviation advertiser.

Promotion came naturally to Harry. Along with a friend, Richard Blythe, Harry created the advertising agency Bruno & Blythe. The firm carried a client list that read like a Who’s Who of American innovation: Igor Sikorsky, William Bendix, Standard Oil, Packard Motor Car Company.

Nydia de Sosnowska (d. 1970), a musical comedy star (Nydia D’Arnell), won Harry’s heart. They married in 1930 and moved to Montauk. (Carl Fisher had hired Bruno to promote interest in Montauk as a resort playground.)

Harry and Nydia were sportsmen who loved fishing and hunting. Nydia, an accomplished surfcaster, set several records. Entertaining in “Green Chimneys,” their large, rambling stucco, the Brunos’ home was also affectionately known to their friends as “Bruno’s Bistro.”

The photographs in this collection speak of a happy life well lived. Green Chimneys had exalted views of the Atlantic Ocean, Block Island Sound, and the Brunos’ extensive gardens. It was bucolic, beautiful, and serene.

Scope of Collection

Harry and Nydia Bruno moved to Montauk in 1930. They enjoyed the sportsman’s life, and were known for entertaining. These images span the years 1930 through the 1960s.