The largest subseries within the Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., records, General Correspondence dates from circa 1913 through 1978 (bulk 1923-1978) and measures 33 linear feet. The general correspondence thoroughly documents the firm's business in its most active New York years when it was directed by Germain Seligman after his father's death in 1923. Although focusing primarily on the business of the New York office, throughout there is scattered correspondence of the Paris office staff, agents, and shippers, particularly René Seligmann, Georges Seligmann, and A. O. Liechti. Also included is the correspondence of Germain Seligman and the firm's employees, partners, and agents such as César de Hauke, Theresa D. Parker, Georges Seligmann, René Seligmann, Clyfford Trevor, and Rolf Hans Waegen. Researchers should note that additional correspondence of Theresa D. Parker is found in the series housing the files of Contemporary American Department (Series 8). Additional correspondence files for Clyfford Trevor (Series 1.10) and Rolf Hans Waegen (Series 1.11) are arranged in their own subseries as well. De Hauke & Co., Inc., Records (Series 9) is arranged in a separate series and also contains extensive correspondence with U.S. and European clients, collectors, dealers, and agents.
The General Correspondence covers a diverse range of the firm's business activities and focuses primarily on client contacts and potential and realized sales and purchases. Included are correspondence with regular and potential clients notifying them of acquisitions that may be of interest; correspondence with both American and European art collectors regarding complicated sales and purchase negotiations; correspondence with American and European agents, dealers, and galleries concerning possible acquisitions, commissions, and sales; correspondence with American and European shippers, insurance companies, and banking agents; and routine correspondence concerning travel plans, research requests, photograph and publication requests, letters of recommendation and introduction, exhibitions, and restoration and authentication of works of art.
The files are arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent and reflect the firm's original arrangement except in cases of obvious duplication or misfiling. Cross-references direct readers to alternate listings or additional references where appropriate. Almost all the names listed reflect correspondence, although a few indicate files with information or letters about that particular individual. The original arrangement was in reverse chronological order in three groups, each group representing a particular date range. For ease of researcher use, the groups were merged into one large alphabetical file, and, in most cases, individual folders were rearranged in chronological order; a few reverse-order folders remain. Each letter of the alphabet has a miscellaneous division housing the correspondence of any name for which there are fewer than five letters, with folders representing an alphabetical range within each letter of the alphabet. For many of the names appearing in the General Correspondence (Series 1.3), there are corresponding files in Collectors Files (Series 2) that provide information about the private collections of U.S. and European collectors.
The bulk of this series has been scanned with the exception of folders containing records relating to subjects such as employee personnel records, or routine and financial transactions unrelated to gallery business.
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
The records of Jacques Seligmann & Co. are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Jacques Seligmann & Co. records, 1904-1978, bulk 1913-1974. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Processing of the collection was funded by the Getty Grant Program; digitization of the collection was funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.