William Helburn: Seventh and Madison Mid-Century Fashion and Advertising Photography

William Helburn, Robert Lilly, Lois Allen Lilly

Lusciously illustrated and produced, here is the work of one of the major image-makers of the postwar era in fashion and advertising

William Helburn was the go-to photographer for many of the top advertising agencies in New York in the 1950s and 1960s. Shock value and an unrelenting hunger for success helped Helburn to a pioneer’s share in the revolutionary era of advertising and his work would also appear on the editorial pages and covers of major magazines.  As well as cars and cosmetics, Helburn shot Coca-Cola, Canada Dry, whiskeys, clothing lines, airlines, jewelry, cigars and cigarettes, and any number of other products. He worked with the top models of the day, from Dovima and Dorian Leigh to Jean Patchett and Barbara Mullen to Jean Shrimpton and Lauren Hutton.

William Helburn: Seventh and Madison is the first book to survey the photographic work of William Helburn and gives viewers a delicious taste of the vivid reality that the television series Mad Men seeks to evoke. Most of these images have not been seen since they were first published decades ago. In addition to the photographs, Robert Lilly contributes a biographical account of Helburn’s life and work, and former colleagues Jerry Schatzberg, George Lois, Sunny Griffin, and Ali McGraw offer insights into the lusty, creative spirit of William Helburn.


Introduc[es] this key character of a long gone era, in which the United States lived what was probably the most exciting and innovative time in advertising. Helburn [made] images that were outside the box and popped from the pages of the magazines and billboards, bringing new excitement to the ads he was hired to shoot.

— The Huffington Post

This collection is peerless.

— The Society Diaries

He shot Tippi Hedren lying on an ironing board on Seventh Avenue, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward on stools as traffic whizzed by in the middle of Broadway…

— The New York Post: Page Six

Mad-Men era fashion and advertising photographs.

— VanityFair.com

[Helburn] was an accomplished contemporary of the masters Avedon and Penn, specializing in his own sophisticated take on New York fashion. His particular gift was in presenting his models within a larger urban landscape…His fashion work was playful and vivid. Some of the advertising photography is dated, but the best pictures here recall a time when even the most elegant fashion was somehow earthbound, before the overuse of Photoshop began digitally carving models into alien beings. A series of picture with actress Sharon Tate for Esquire in 1967 and 1968 capture a stylish revolution in primary colors before the era went dark.

— The Los Angeles Times

A treasure for those who consider themselves fashion-obsessed…Helburn was to photography and fashion what Steve McQueen was to acting and Hollywood.

— New York Journal of Books

Helburn is now getting the recognition he deserves…A very compelling book.

— Rebeat

Not only a testament to the man and his talent but helps preserve an important part of fashion and advertising photography. The clothes, the models, the settings recall a time of creativity and fun.

— Passport


William Helburn

Photographs By

A native New Yorker, William Helburn became a photographer after serving in the U.S. Army. Upon returning home from World War II, a partner's chance encounter with Fernand Fonssagrives turned him toward fashion photography. He attended Alexander Brodovitch's famous Design Laboratory and went on to shoot for Harper's Bazaar, Life, Esquire, Town & Country, Ladies' Home Journal, McCall's, and Charm. He was a first-call photographer for the top advertising firms of the era, including Altman- Stoller; Delehanty, Kurnit & Geller; Young & Rubicam, and Doyle Dane Bernbach. Helburn won numerous advertising and graphic arts awards. He would turn to television commercials in the 1970s, but continued shooting still photography into the early 1980s. He lives in Connecticut.

Robert Lilly

Text By

For more than thirty years, Robert Lilly, also a native New Yorker, has produced news programs, stories, and documentaries from Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas for companies including NBC, CNN, VH1, and Reuters. He lives in New York.

Lois Allen Lilly

Text By

Lois Allen Lilly is from New York and Florida. She is a producer, reporter, narrator, and intellectual property specialist. She lives in New York.