Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The Peter Hopkins papers measure 2.4 linear feet and date from 1823-2001, with the bulk of materials dating from 1935-1994. Writings, letters and diaries make up most of the collection. Printed materials relate to exhibitions of Hopkins' artwork and theatrical performances of his wife, Gertrude Beach Hopkins. There also are writings by both Hopkins and his wife that appeared in the Christian Science Monitor. Of particular interest is a group of vintage family photographs and family papers dating from the 19th century, as well as diaries Hopkins kept while traveling and working in a mental hospital in inland China in the mid 1930s.
Manuscripts by Hopkins include his theories on perspective (the subject of his lectures at The Art Students League of New York) and the artistic methods of great masters. Hopkins also wrote about his theories concerning anthropological matters, world politics, over population, and the meaning of life. Much of Hopkins' correspondence concerns his efforts to explore career opportunities and find audiences for his ideas and writings.
The collection contains one intact scrapbook consisting of materials spanning Hopkins' art career, a substantial quantity of photographs and slides of Hopkins' paintings, some drawings and sketches, and a few sound and video recordings. In addition, there are writings by fathers of the couple, Charles R. Hopkins and Joseph Beach.
Peter Hopkins papers, 1823-2001, bulk 1935-1994. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Peter Hopkins (1911-1999) was a painter and educator in New York, N.Y.
The papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in 2009 by the artist's neighbor, James McGuane.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001