Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
The 2017 addition is being processed and digitized and is CLOSED to researchers.
The Betty Parsons Gallery records and personal papers measure 57.2 linear feet and date from 1920 to 1991, with the bulk of the material dating from 1946-1983. Records provide extensive documentation of the gallery's operations from its inception in 1946 to its closing in 1983 and provide a comprehensive overview of the activities of an art dealer at the forefront of promoting contemporary American Art in the latter half of the twentieth century. Included is extensive correspondence with artists, galleries, dealers, art institutions, private collectors, and the media. Also found are exhibition files, exhibition catalogs and announcements, sales records, stock inventories, personal financial records, and photographs. Additionally, Betty Parsons' personal papers consist of pocket diaries, personal correspondence, and evidence of her own artwork, including sketchbooks, and files documenting her personal art collection. Additions of 4.4 linear feet and 3.0 linear feet donated 2017 and 2018 include personal correspondence with friends and colleagues, letters to Pasrons, biographical material, writings by Parsons, artists' files, photographs of Parsons with friends and her works of art, artwork including sketches, printed material and a VHS recording about the Chinese text I Ching. Materials date from 1922-1981.
Betty Parsons Gallery records and personal papers, circa 1920-1991, bulk 1946-1983. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The bulk of this collection was digitized in 2008-2009 and is available online via the Archives of American Art's website. Materials that generally have not been scanned include duplicates, slides, transparencies, and unannotated photographs of works of art, routine financial transactions, and income tax records. Only the covers and title pages for many publications, such as catalogs, pamphlets, etc., have been scanned; the complete publication is available by appointment. Materials lent for microfilming on reels N68/62-N68/74 and N69/105-106 are available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary- loan.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Separated materials: Papers lent for microfilming in 1968 and 1969, reels N68/62-N68/74 and N69/105-106.
Also found in the Archives of American Art are oral history interviews with Betty Parsons, June 4-9, 1969 and June 11, 1981.
Betty Parsons (1900-1982) was an art dealer in New York, N.Y. Parsons was director of the Wakefield Bookshop Gallery, 1940-1944, and director of the contemporary section of the Mortimer Brandt Gallery, 1944-1946. She opened Betty Parsons Gallery in 1946 at 11 E. 57th St., later moving to 24 W. 57th St. Artists represented included many abstract expressionists. For many years Jock Truman was director. The gallery closed in 1983.
The bulk of the collection was donated in 1984 and 1986 by William Rayner and Chrisopher Schwabacher, executors of the Estate of Betty Parsons. The gallery donated some records in 1974, most of which had been loaned earlier for microfilming. Additional material was donated by William Rayner in 1998 and by the Estate and Foundation in 2017. Additional material donated 2018 by the Lee Hall estate via via Carolyn Crozier and Deborah Jacobson, co-executors. Hall was Parson's biographer and had the material in her posession at the time of Parsons's death.
The Betty Parsons Gallery records and Betty Parsons papers in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2009. The bulk of the papers have been scanned and total 61,492 images.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001