Leopold Godowsky, Jr.

Leopold Godowsky, Jr. (1900-1983), the co-inventor of color film, was an accomplished professional violinist who played with many prominent symphony orchestras. Early in his career, he performed jointly with his father, Leopold Godowsky, one of the greatest pianists and composers of the early twentieth century. This strong family connection to the arts continued when Leopold Jr. married Frances Gershwin, sister of George and Ira Gershwin, a fine vocalist in her own right, who later became a recognized painter and sculptor.

Leopold Godowsky, Jr. and co-inventor Leopold Mannes (1899-1964) discovered common interests in both music and photography while in high school. As teenagers, they set out to "make perfect motion pictures in natural colors," probably unaware that many well -known scientists had been searching unsuccessfully for a practical color photography process for more than half a century. While continuing their musical pursuits, the two collaborated on color film experiments throughout college.

In 1929, Lewis Strauss (later to become the chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission) helped finance the two researchers. The following year, Dr. C.E. Kenneth Mees, founder of the Kodak Research Laboratories, brought Godowsky and Mannes to Rochester, set them up in a lab, and placed experimental scientists at their disposal in order to accelerate their research. In 1935, Kodak released Kodachrome 16mm movie film, and one year later Kodachrome 35mm still film was introduced. The Godowsky and Mannes Archives are currently held in the collection of Thurman F. Naylor, Chestnut Hill, MA.