Nora Francke Cammann died on January 31 at her home in Bridgehampton, after a long bout with cancer, with her husband, Fred, and her sons at her side. She was 82.
Ms. Cammann was born in New York on May 1, 1932, to the late Eleanor and Albert Francke. She was educated at The Brearley School and Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut, and graduated from Barnard College. She spent many summers in Bridgehampton after her parents purchased land in Bridgehampton fronting Sagg Pond in the 1950s. She and her husband, a former president and member of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee, moved to Bridgehampton permanently in 1985.
Ms. Cammann brought her multiple talents to the community as curator of the Bridgehampton Museum. She started by cataloguing the entire collection on 3-by-5 index cards, and for the next 20 years, mounted the museum’s three or four exhibitions a year. Her exhibition of historical clothes and costumes, many brought home by former whalers and loaned to the museum, was said by the late gallery owner, Elaine Benson, to be the most comprehensive of any museum on the East End. At the time of her death, she had endowed the digitalization of the museum’s entire collection. Volunteer students from the Ross School are currently engaged in the process.
In 1955, she began her career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where she worked with Dr. Nathan Kolodny, the director of the 92nd Street Y, on developing the programming for the newly created Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. She took a timeout in the ’60s to raise her two sons, Peter and Philip, before returning to her career. Her museum work continued at the Museum of Natural History, where she worked with Gardner Stout, the newly elected chairman, on resurrecting, restoring, cataloguing and exhibiting long-overlooked artifacts in the museum’s archives. She gathered the designs derived from four Indian groups and reproduced them in needlepoint. Her work was published by Charles Scribner in 1973 and became the basis for an exhibit of the Indian art at the museum.
Ms. Cammann then went into the film business with her husband, Fred Cammann, founder of Cammann Productions. They traveled all over eastern China for Young & Rubicam Inc., first filming a history of Beijing carpets, then making another film documenting the history of the silk industry. She was the art director for both films. She continued her work as art director for the many domestic projects of Cammann Productions, including educational films for IBM and American Express.
She is survived by her husband, Fred; two sons, Peter and Philip; a granddaughter, Grace; a brother, Albert Francke; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Bridgehampton at noon on Friday, February 7.
Memorial donations may be made to the Bridgehampton Museum, www.bridgehamptonhistoricalsociety.org.