Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Search Results

Collections Search Center
2 documents - page 1 of 1

Ellen Hulda Johnson papers

Creator:
Johnson, Ellen H.  Search this
Names:
Allen Memorial Art Museum  Search this
American-Scandinavian Foundation  Search this
College Art Association (U.S.)  Search this
Oberlin College -- Faculty  Search this
Archipenko, Alexander, 1887-1964  Search this
Cézanne, Paul, 1839-1906  Search this
Dine, Jim, 1935-  Search this
Hesse, Eva, 1936-1970  Search this
Kensett, John Frederick, 1816-1872  Search this
Milles, Carl, 1875-1955  Search this
Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-  Search this
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973  Search this
Saunders, David  Search this
Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946  Search this
Tacha, Athena, 1936-  Search this
Tworkov, Jack  Search this
Venturi, Robert  Search this
Wilke, Wendell  Search this
Extent:
55.3 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Place:
Ossabaw Island (Ga.)
Date:
1872-1994
bulk 1921-1992
Summary:
The papers of art historian, art critic, author, librarian and educator Ellen Hulda Johnson measure 55.3 linear feet and date from 1872-1994, with the bulk of the material dating from 1921-1992. The papers include biographical materials; personal and family files; personal, professional, and business correspondence; extensive research and writing files; teaching files; subject files; professional and curatorial files; and artists' files. Johnson's papers reflect the full range of her career, interests, and close relationships with many artists.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of art historian, art critic, author, librarian and educator Ellen Hulda Johnson measure 55.3 linear feet and date from 1872-1994, with the bulk of the material dating from 1921-1992. The papers include biographical materials; personal and family files; personal, professional, and business correspondence; extensive research and writing files; teaching files; subject files; professional and curatorial files; and artists' files. Johnson's papers reflect the full range of her career, interests, and close relationships with many artists.

Personal papers consist of biographical materials and personal and family files, including "memorabilia" files compiled by Johnson. Correspondence is a mix of personal, business, and professional correspondence. Significant correspondents include David Saunders (who painted a portrait of Johnson), Claes Oldenburg, Jack Tworkov, Robert Venturi, the American Scandinavian Foundation. A folder of correspondence compiled for the Archives includes letters from Alfred Stieglitz, Wendell Wilkie, Carl Milles, Jim Dine, and Alexander Archipenko.

Extensive and comprehensive writing and research project files include articles, lectures, presentations, manuscripts, notes and notebooks, including her class notebooks from courses she attended in Paris in 1935, and additional notes and notebooks on a wide variety of subjects. The numerous articles, lectures, papers, and drafts were written primarily by Johnson for the College Art Association, the Allen Memorial Art Museum bulletin, and numerous additional publications and presentations; but there are also writings by others included in the research files. Major writing projects and related research files cover Scandinavian art, the Ossabaw Island artist's colony, Cezanne, Eva Hesse, John Frederick Kensett, Claes Oldenburg, Picasso, David Saunders, Athena Tacha, Pop Art, and many other topics. Johnson's research files, manuscripts, correspondence, and photographs for major exhibitions, including one on Eva Hesse (1982) and for her published books including American Artists on Art from 1940-1980 (1982), Claes Oldenburg (1971), Fragments Recalled at 80: The Art Memoirs of Ellen H. Johnson (1993), and Modern Art and Object (1976) are arranged with the writing project files. Johnson's bibliographic index cards are found here as well.

The collection contains extensive teaching files for courses taught by Johnson at Oberlin and as a visiting professor at other institutions; professional and curatorial files reflecting her curatorial career at Allen Memorial Art Museum, as a consultant, jury member, and continuing education courses she later attended, including the Baldwin Lecture Series; and 18 linear feet of artist's files assembled by Johnson.
Arrangement:
The Ellen Hulda Johnson papers are arranged into seven series:

Series 1: Personal Papers, 1910-1994 (2 linear feet; Boxes 1-2, 56)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1937-1992 (4.5 linear feet; Boxes 3-7)

Series 3: Writing and Research Projects, 1872, 1932-1994 (13.5 linear feet; Boxes 7-20, 56)

Series 4: Subject Files, 1930-1993 (5 linear feet; Boxes 21-25)

Series 5: Teaching Files, 1928-1989 (6 linear feet; Boxes 26-31)

Series 6: Professional and Curatorial Files, 1936-1991 (6 linear feet; Boxes 32-37, 56)

Series 7: Artists Files, 1935-1992 (18.3 linear feet; Boxes 37-55)
Biographical / Historical:
Ellen Hulda Johnson (1910-1992) was an art historian, critic, and professor who worked and taught at Oberlin College in Ohio for most of her career.

Ellen Hulda Johnson was born in 1910 in Warren, Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in art history at Oberlin in 1933 and 1935. She worked briefly at the Toledo Museum of Art before returning to Oberlin as the art librarian. In 1940 she started Oberlin's art rental program, the first of its kind in the country. She was appointed to the faculty in 1948 and taught nineteenth and twentieth century art, American art from colonial times to the present, contemporary art, and Scandinavian art. She was a member of the Allen Memorial Art Museum's acquisition committee and appointed honorary curator of modern art in 1973. She remained at Oberlin her entire career, retiring from teaching in 1977.

Johnson was a scholar of Cézanne, Claes Oldenburg, Eva Hesse, Pablo Picasso, Edvard Munch, John F. Kensett and other modern masters, as well as Scandinavian art. In 1962 she wrote the first important article on Claes Oldenburg and, in 1970, assisted curator Athena Tacha commission his first permanent large sculpture (3-Way Plug) for the grounds of the Allen Memorial Art Museum. She was the first to show the black-striped paintings that established Frank Stella's reputation. Her efforts in promoting acquisitions of young contemporary artists helped make the Allen Memorial Art Museum a leading institution in contemporary art. Her Oberlin lectures on modern art became so popular that they had to be held in the college's largest auditorium and influenced generations of students, many of whom went on to signficant positions in the field. A new wing of the museum designed by Robert Venturi opened in 1977 and was named in honor of Johnson.

Johnson was the author of numerous articles, books, and exhibition catalogs including Cezanne (Penquin, 1967); Claes Oldenburg (Penquin, 1971); American Artists on Art from 1940-1980 (Harper and Row, 1982); and Modern Art and the Object (Thames and Hudson, 1976).

In 1968, Johnson purchased the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Weltzheimer house in Oberlin, and spent a considerable part of her time and money restoring the building where she lived the rest of her life. She bequethed the house and her significant art collection to Oberlin upon her death in 1992.
Separated Materials:
Shortly after aquisition, the Archives transferred Ellen Hulda Johnson's vertical file (16 linear feet) of clippings, press releases, and exhibition announcements to the library of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery.
Provenance:
The Ellen Hulda Johnson papers were donated in 1994 and 1998 by the estate of Ellen Hulda Johnson via exectutor Athena Tacha.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington D.C. Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
The Ellen Hulda Johnson papers 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.
Occupation:
Educators -- Ohio -- Oberlin  Search this
Librarians -- Ohio  Search this
Authors -- Ohio  Search this
Art historians -- Ohio -- Oberlin  Search this
Art critics -- Ohio  Search this
Topic:
Pop art  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Study and teaching  Search this
Art, Scandinavian  Search this
Art, Modern -- 19th century -- Study and teaching  Search this
Artist colonies -- Georgia  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Citation:
Ellen Hulda Johnson papers, 1872-1994, bulk 1921-1992. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.johnelle
See more items in:
Ellen Hulda Johnson papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-johnelle
Additional Online Media:

Eleanor Munro papers

Creator:
Munro, Eleanor, 1928-  Search this
Names:
Antin, Eleanor  Search this
Blaine, Nell, 1922-1996  Search this
Bontecou, Lee, 1931-  Search this
Chase-Riboud, Barbara  Search this
Frank, Mary, 1933-  Search this
Lin, Maya Ying  Search this
Mitchell, Joan, 1926-1992  Search this
Pepper, Beverly  Search this
Stone, Sylvia, 1928-  Search this
Thomas, Alma  Search this
Extent:
36.7 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Interviews
Diaries
Sound recordings
Photographs
Transcripts
Date:
circa 1880-2011
bulk 1950-2011
Summary:
The papers of writer and art critic Eleanor Munro measure 36.7 linear feet and date from circa 1880-2011, bulk 1950-2011. The collection documents Munro's life, career, and research on women artists, through biographical and family material, correspondence, writing projects, diaries, dream journals and notebooks, subject and research files, printed material, and photographic material.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of writer and art critic Eleanor Munro measure 36.7 linear feet and date from circa 1880-2011, bulk 1950-2011. The collection documents Munro's life, career, and research on women artists, through biographical and family material, correspondence, writing projects, diaries, dream journals and notebooks, subject and research files, printed material, and photographic material.

Correspondence is both personal and professional in nature and is with family, friends, colleagues, agents, editors, and others regarding speaking engagements, writings, and other professional projects.

Writing projects make up a significant portion of the collection (10 linear feet) and include non-fiction works as well as fiction and poetry. Files contain drafts, notes, manuscripts, research, correspondence, contracts and agreements, royalty statements, and other business records for articles, books, reviews, talks, lectures, and other writing projects.

Diaries comprise twenty-six volumes of frequent entries that chronicle thoughts and feelings relating to Munro's personal and professional life. Dream journals and notebooks total 210 volumes plus additional loose pages and capture thoughts, reflections, and fragments of remembered dreams.

Subject and research files compiled and organized by Eleanor Munro make up the most substantial portion of the collection (20.6 linear feet) and reflect a wide variety of research interests, work projects, activities, and topics of interest. Types of material in this series are varied and include notes, drafts, printed material, correspondence, proposals, interview transcripts, bibliographies, annotated articles, slides, photographs, original artworks, manuscripts by others, and four sound recordings. Many files relate to Munro's interest in women artists and serve as research for Originals: American Women Artists (1979). Interview transcripts are with women artists Eleanor Antin, Nell Blaine, Lee Bontecou, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Mary Frank, Maya Lin, Joan Mitchell, Beverly Pepper, Sylvia Stone, Alma Thomas, and others.

The remainder of the collection is comprised of biographical and family material, printed material, and photographic material.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 7 series

Series 1: Biographical and Family Material, circa 1880s-2008 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1959-circa 2000s (0.7 linear feet; Box 1-2)

Series 3: Writings Projects, 1921-circa 2000s (10 linear feet; Box 2-12)

Series 4: Diaries, Dream Journals, and Notebooks, circa 1939-2011 (3.8 linear feet; Box 12-15)

Series 5: Subject and Research Files, circa 1950s-2000s (20.6 linear feet; Box 15-36, OV 38-40)

Series 6: Printed Material, circa 1959-circa 2000s (0.6 linear feet; Box 36)

Series 7: Photographic Material, circa 1980s-1990s (0.6 linear feet; Box 36-37)
Biographical / Historical:
Eleanor Munro (1928- ) is a writer and art critic working in New York City and Truro, Massachusetts. She is best known for her groundbreaking work Originals: American Women Artists (1979), one of the first books to argue for the importance of women artists who were generally ignored by the art world. Munro was active in feminist art circles in New York.

Munro's father, Thomas Munro, was an art educator and modernist intellectual. Her mother, Lucile Nadler, was a pianist. She grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, after her father accepted a joint appointment at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Western Reserve University. Munro graduated from Smith College majoring in art history and earned a master's degree in comparative literature from Columbia. She was married to Alfred Frankfurter, editor of ArtNews, from 1955 until his death in 1965. Munro remarried to the writer E. J. Kahn until his death in 1994.

While working on Originals, Munro interviewed forty women artists including Georgia O'Keeffe, Louise Bourgeois, Jennifer Bartlett, Helen Frankenthaler, and Louise Nevelson. Her thesis sought to highlight the relationship between biography and the content of an artist's work. The book serves as an illustration of Munro's idea that the "narrative memory" these artists had constructed for themselves was an important "generative source" of their creativity. Women artists continued to be a prominent interest of Munro's throughout her life.

Munro is also the author of On Glory Roads: a Pilgrim's Book about Pilgrimage (1987), Memoir of a Modernist's Daughter (1988), and other books. In 1988, Munro received the Cleveland Arts Prize for Literature.
Provenance:
Donated by Eleanor Munro's son, David T. M. Frankfurter, in 2015.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Eleanor Munro papers 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.
Occupation:
Art critics -- Ohio  Search this
Authors -- Ohio  Search this
Topic:
Dreams  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Diaries
Sound recordings
Photographs
Transcripts
Citation:
Eleanor Munro papers, circa 1880-2011, bulk 1950-2011. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.munrelea
See more items in:
Eleanor Munro papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-munrelea
Additional Online Media:

Modify Your Search






or


Narrow By
  • Images
  • Finding aids
Filter results to a specific time period.
  • 1870s
  • 1880s
  • 1890s
  • 1900s
  • 1910s
  • 1920s
  • 1930s
  • 1940s
  • 1950s
  • 1960s
  • Archives of American Art