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Margaret Casey Gates papers

Creator:
Gates, Margaret Casey, 1903-1989  Search this
Names:
Armory Show (1913: New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Federal Art Project  Search this
Federal Works Agency  Search this
Phillips Collection  Search this
Phillips Memorial Gallery. Art School  Search this
Clark, Betty Jean  Search this
Dove, Arthur Garfield, 1880-1946  Search this
Fitzpatrick, Daniel Robert, 1891-1969  Search this
Garrett, Alice Warder  Search this
Gates, Robert Franklin, 1906-1982  Search this
Gernand, John, 1913-1990  Search this
Knaths, Karl, 1891-1971  Search this
Lewis, John L.  Search this
Rayford, Julian Lee  Search this
Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946  Search this
Taylor, Prentiss, 1907-1991  Search this
Extent:
1 Linear foot
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Writings
Sketchbooks
Date:
1934-1988
Summary:
The papers of Washington, D.C. painter Margaret Casey Gates date from 1934-1988, and measure 1.0 linear foot. Gates' papers document her work as a painter, her projects for the New Deal federal arts programs, the Phillips Memorial Gallery and its art school, where she attended school and later worked as secretary and where her husband Robert Franklin Gates was a teacher, and the Washington, D.C. arts scene. Found are scattered correspondence, seven sketchbooks by Gates and two sketchbooks of her divorced husband Robert Franklin Gates. Miscellaneous notes and writings, a scrapbook, printed material, and photographs of Gates, her husband, friends, artwork, and views of the Virgin Islands are also included in the papers.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Washington, D.C. painter Margaret Casey Gates date from 1934-1988, and measure 1.0 linear foot. Gates' papers document her work as a painter, her projects for the New Deal federal arts programs, the Phillips Memorial Gallery and its art school, where she attended school and later worked as secretary and where her husband Robert Franklin Gates was a teacher, and the Washington, D.C. arts scene. Found are scattered correspondence, seven sketchbooks by Gates and two sketchbooks of her divorced husband Robert Franklin Gates. Miscellaneous notes and writings, a scrapbook, printed material, and photographs of Gates, her husband, friends, artwork, and views of the Virgin Islands are also included in the papers.

Twelve folders of scattered correspondence include letters from the Federal Works Agency and one or two letters each from friends and individuals that reflect Gates' wide range of interests and activities. Correspondents include Betty Jean Clark, Arthur G. Dove, D. R. Fitzpatrick, Alice Garrett, John Gernand, Karl Knaths, John L. Lewis, a Brazilian artist named Portinari, Julian Lee Rayford, Alfred Stieglitz, and Prentiss Taylor.

Artwork consists of seven of Margaret Casey Gates' sketchbooks and two of Robert Franklin Gates' sketchbooks of both abstract and figural sketches. Margaret's sketchbooks contain landscapes that illustrate her travels to Colorado, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Virgin Islands. Sketchbook #2 contains pencil, ink, and pastel drawings of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and an intimate drawing of Robert Franklin Gates, Mitchell Jamieson, and Prentiss Taylor asleep on a ship. Artwork also includes a fine caricature of Robert Franklin Gates by Karl Knaths.

Notes and writings primarily consist of scattered notes and brief descriptive accounts of Gates's experiences at the Phillips Gallery, and at the Colorado Springs Art Center. Her extensive descriptions of her travels to the Virgin Islands are also illustrated.

A scrapbook primarily contains clippings, but also includes an award certificate, letters concerning various topics including Pepsi-Cola's annual art competition and Federal Works Agency projects, brochures for the Phillips Gallery Art School and for the McLean Art Club, and a photograph of the mural at the Mebane, North Carolina post office.

Printed material consists of clippings including copies of the rare magazines The Washington Spectator and the American University publication Right Angle, announcements and catalogs for exhibitions of Gates's work, and miscellaneous booklets and brochures. There is also printed material concerning the Armory Show including a copy of the booklet The Story of the Armory Show by Walt Kuhn.

Photographs are of Margaret Casey Gates, Robert Franklin Gates, friends including Prentiss Taylor, her home, and her artwork. Photographs of Margaret and Robert Gates and their artist friends during their visits to the Virgin Islands in the 1930s are of primary interest, offering unique glimpses of that culture during the 1930s. These photographs include aerial photographs of St. Thomas and photographs by Prentiss Taylor.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 6 series. Each series is arranged chronologically.

Series 1: Correspondence, 1934-1986 (Box 1; 12 folders)

Series 2: Artwork, 1935-1965 (Box 1; 12 folders)

Series 3: Notes and Writings, 1939-1984 (Box 1; 7 folders)

Series 4: Scrapbook, 1938-1961 (Box 1; 3 folders)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1935-1988 (Box 1; 20 folders)

Series 6: Photographs, 1934-1976 (Box 1; 19 folders)
Biographical Note:
Margaret Casey was born in 1903 in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. She studied art in the studio of Bertha Perry, and from 1924 to 1926 at the Corcoran Art School. She later studied under Henry Varnum Poor at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

After working as a commercial artist from 1928-1929, Casey began studying at the Phillips Memorial Gallery in 1931 under C. Law Watkins. There, she met her husband, painter Robert Franklin Gates, and married on January 7, 1933. Robert Franklin Gates (1906-1982), who came to Washington, D.C. in 1930, also studied at the Phillips Gallery Art School and worked with Karl Knaths between 1934 and 1947.

Between 1934 and 1941, Robert Gates, with other artists including Mitchell Jamieson and Prentiss Taylor, made several painting trips to the Virgin Islands on a fine arts commission from the U. S. Treasury Department. Margaret Gates accompanied her husband and produced artwork of her own. She also documented their travels. During this same time, Robert taught at the Phillips Gallery Art School and Margaret was employed as the Art School's secretary. In 1937, they purchased a house in McLean, Virginia where Margaret lived until 1980.

In 1939, Margaret Gates won honorable mention in a national mural competition held by the Section of Fine Arts of the U. S. Public Buildings Administration and was subsequently commissioned by the Federal Works Agency to execute a mural for the Post office at Mebane, North Carolina. The mural was completed and installed in 1941.

During the late 1940s and early 1950s, Margaret Gates wrote articles on art for Washington, D. C. publications including the column "The People vs. Art" for American University's Right Angle, and for the magazine The Washington Spectator.

Margaret and Robert Gates were divorced circa 1955. They had no children.

Margaret Gates exhibited her work in the first exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in 1941, as one of many winners of a national competition sponsored by the Federal Works Agency for artwork to decorate a Marine hospital for lepers in Louisiana. She also exhibited in the "Group Show of Washington Painters" at the Bignou Gallery in New York City, as well as at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Philips Collection, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. A retrospective of her work was exhibited at the Watkins Gallery of American University in 1981. Several of her paintings are in the collection of the Phillips Gallery.

Margaret Casey Gates died on November 4, 1989, in Mitchellville, Maryland.
Related Material:
Also found in the Archives of American Art are the papers of Gates' divorced husband Robert Franklin Gates dating from 1910-1988.
Provenance:
The Margaret Casey Gates papers were a bequest from Gates' estate in 1994, executed by her niece Joyce D. Svedberg.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Margaret Casey Gates 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.
Topic:
New Deal, 1933-1939  Search this
Post office buildings -- North Carolina  Search this
Painters -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Art teachers -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Women painters -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Writings
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Margaret Casey Gates papers, 1934-1988. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.gatemarg
See more items in:
Margaret Casey Gates papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-gatemarg

Robert Franklin Gates papers

Creator:
Gates, Robert Franklin, 1906-1982  Search this
Names:
American University (Washington, D.C.) Fine Arts Dept. -- Faculty  Search this
Jack Rasmussen Gallery (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
United States. Dept. of the Treasury. Section of Fine Arts  Search this
Taylor, Prentiss, 1907-1991  Search this
Extent:
2.3 Linear Feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Drawings
Christmas cards
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Date:
1910-1988
bulk 1928-1988
Summary:
The papers of Washington, D.C. area painter and art instructor Robert Franklin Gates date from 1910-1988, bulk 1928-1988, and measure 2.3 linear feet. Found within the papers are biographical materials; letters from government agencies, museums, galleries, and colleagues; business records primarily concerning transactions with the Jack Rasmussen Gallery; artwork including scattered drawings by Gates and block prints by Joe Goethe and D. Neufeld; two scrapbooks; printed materials; and photographs of Gates, family members, models, artwork, and exhibition installations. There are also photograph albums and miscellaneous photographs documenting a 1936 voyage to the Virgin Islands commissioned by the U.S. Treasury Department.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Washington, D.C. area painter and art instructor Robert Franklin Gates date from 1910-1988, bulk 1928-1988, and measure 2.3 linear feet. Found within the papers are biographical materials; letters from government agencies, museums, galleries, and colleagues; business records primarily concerning transactions with the Jack Rasmussen Gallery; artwork including scattered drawings by Gates and block prints by Joe Goethe and D. Neufeld; two scrapbooks; printed materials; and photographs of Gates, family members, models, artwork, and exhibition installations. There are also photograph albums and miscellaneous photographs documenting a 1936 voyage to the Virgin Islands commissioned by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Biographical material includes resumes, biographical accounts, award certificates, records for employment through a State Department Specialists Grant, address lists, teaching notes, writings about Gates, and a guest book signed by colleagues celebrating Gates' forty years at American University. There is a also a group of Navy Department records documenting Gates' employment designing three-dimensional photo-surfaced topography models for use by troops during World War II.

Letters are primarily from the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Works Agency discussing commissions, including the painting of post office murals in Maryland and West Virginia, and from various museums and galleries discussing exhibitions and other art-related activities. There are one or two letters each from colleagues Alice Acheson, Adelyn Breeskin, Charles Burchfield, Alida Conover, John Gernand, Duncan Phillips, Henry Varnum Poor, and Prentiss Taylor. Some letters are Christmas cards decorated with original block prints.

Business records primarily document Gates' interaction with the Jack Rasmussen Gallery in Washington, D.C., but also include miscellaneous sales records and pay stubs from American University.

Artwork consists of scattered drawings of modern houses by Gates and abstract sketches by others, and small block prints by Joe Goethe and D. Neufeld. Two Scrapbooks contain clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, and scattered letters.

Additional printed material includes clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs for Gates and others, prospectuses for art exhibitions, press releases, calendars of events, booklets about color and lenses, brochures for art schools and books, and an unannotated calendar containing a reproduction of one of Gates' paintings.

Photographs are of Robert Gates, various family members including Gates with his first wife photographed by Prentiss Taylor, models, artwork, and exhibition installations. There are two photograph albums and unbound photographs documenting a 1936 voyage to the Virgin Islands commissioned by the U.S. Treasury Department. Images of this trip are of Gates and colleagues including Mitchell Jamieson, the ship Doris Hamlin, the crew, markets, a cock fight, miscellaneous buildings, town squares, and the countryside of the Virgin Islands.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 7 series. Each series is arranged chronologically:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1928-1975 (Box 1, OV 4; 34 folders)

Series 2: Letters, 1930-1988 (Box 1; 25 folders)

Series 3: Business Records, 1961-1982 (Box 1; 5 folders)

Series 4: Artwork, circa 1962 (Box 1; 6 folders)

Series 5: Scrapbooks, 1932-1939 (Box 1-2; 4 folders)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1916-1988 (Box 2; 48 folders)

Series 7: Photographs, 1910-1982 (Boxes 2-3, OV 4; 20 folders)
Biographical Note:
Robert Franklin Gates was born on October 6, 1906 in Detroit, Michigan. He studied at the Detroit School of Arts and Crafts, and from 1929 to 1930 attended the Art Students' League in New York. Between 1930 and 1932, Gates studied under C. Law Watkins at the Phillips Gallery Art School in Washington, D.C., later becoming an instructor in life drawing and painting there. During this time, he met fellow student Margaret Casey, and they married on January 7, 1933. Between 1934 and 1938, Robert Gates was an art instructor at the Studio House in Washington, D.C.

In 1934, Gates received a commission from the U.S. Treasury Department Section of Fine Arts to create a series of watercolors of Charles Gardens, South Carolina, and from 1929-1940, murals for post offices in Bethesda, Maryland, Oakland, Maryland, and Lewisburg, West Virginia. In 1936, the Treasury Department also commissioned Gates and fellow artists Mitchell Jamieson and Prentiss Taylor to create series of watercolors of the Virgin Islands, arranging for several voyages there.

Between 1937 and 1942, Gates was a guest instructor at the University of Florida, taught art classes at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland and at the Washington County Museum of Art in Hagerstown, Maryland. He also taught at the Phillips Gallery Art School in Washington, D.C. while his wife was employed as the school secretary. In 1938, Gates received a summer scholarship to study under Henry Varnum Poor at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

During World War II, Gates worked as a civilian technician for the Navy Department doing model making and camouflage design, receiving the Distinguished Civilian Service Award for his work.

After the war, and the closing of the Phillips Gallery Art School, Gates attended classes taught by Bill Calfee at American University. In 1946, he joined the faculty and eventually becane chairman of the Art Department in 1954. Robert and Margaret Gates were divorced sometime in the mid-1950s. From 1966 to 1967, Gates was Artist-in-Residence at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, under the Department of State Educational and Cultural Exchange Program. In 1967, he married his second wife, Sarita, while in Baghdad.

Gates is represented in the permanent collections of the American University, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Dumbarton Oaks collection, the Phillips Collection, and the Lewisshon collection.

Robert Franklin Gates died on March 11, 1982 in Alexandria, Virginia.
Related Material:
Also in the Archives of American Art are the papers of Gates' first wife Margaret Casey Gates, 1934-1988,
Provenance:
The Robert Franklin Gates papers were donated in 1995 by Sarita W. Gates, the artist's widow, via legal representative Bradford G. Weekes III.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Robert Franklin Gates 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.
Topic:
Painters -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Art and the war  Search this
Post office buildings  Search this
Mural painting and decoration, American  Search this
Art teachers -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Drawings
Christmas cards
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Citation:
Robert Franklin Gates papers, 1910-1988, bulk 1928-1988. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.gaterobe
See more items in:
Robert Franklin Gates papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-gaterobe

Prentiss Taylor papers

Creator:
Taylor, Prentiss, 1907-1991  Search this
Names:
American University (Washington, D.C.) Fine Arts Dept. -- Faculty  Search this
Golden Stair Press  Search this
Society of Washington Printmakers (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Field, Rachel, 1894-1942  Search this
Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967  Search this
Hurston, Zora Neale  Search this
Kahlo, Frida  Search this
Landeck, Armin, 1905-  Search this
O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953  Search this
Pinckney, Josephine, 1895-1957  Search this
Rivera, Diego, 1886-1957  Search this
Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976  Search this
Robinson, Bill, 1878-1949  Search this
Stein, Gertrude, 1874-1946  Search this
Toklas, Alice B.  Search this
Van Doren, Mark, 1894-1972  Search this
Van Vechten, Carl, 1880-1964  Search this
Extent:
20.4 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Drawings
Writings
Sketchbooks
Prints
Sound recordings
Date:
1885-1991
Summary:
The collection measures 20.4 linear feet, dates from 1885 to 1991 (bulk dates 1908-1986) and documents the career of Harlem Renaissance lithographer, teacher, and painter Prentiss Taylor. The collection consists primarily of subject/correspondence files (circa 16 ft.), reflecting Prentiss' career as a lithographer and painter, his association with figures prominent in the Harlem Renaissance, notably Carl Van Vechten and Langston Hughes, his activities as president of the Society of Washington Printmakers and other art organizations, his work in art therapy treating mental illness, and his teaching position at American University. The subject files contain mostly correspondence, but many include photographs and printed material. Also included are biographical, financial, legal and printed material; several hundred photographs; notes and writings; sketchbooks, drawings and a few prints by Taylor; and scrapbooks dating from 1885-1956.
Scope and Content Note:
The collection measures 20.4 linear feet, dates from 1885 to 1991 (bulk dates 1908-1986) and documents the career of Harlem Renaissance lithographer, teacher, and painter Prentiss Taylor. The collection consists primarily of subject/correspondence files (circa 16 ft.), reflecting Prentiss' career as a lithographer and painter, his association with figures prominent in the Harlem Renaissance, notably Carl Van Vechten and Langston Hughes, his activities as president of the Society of Washington Printmakers and other art organizations, his work in art therapy treating mental illness, and his teaching position at American University. The subject files contain mostly correspondence, but many include photographs and printed material. Also included are biographical, financial, legal and printed material; several hundred photographs; notes and writings; sketchbooks, drawings and a few prints by Taylor; and scrapbooks dating from 1885-1956.

The Langston Hughes files contain photocopies of letters from Hughes, greeting cards, ten original photographs of Hughes, and an autographed card printed with Hughes' poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers. In addition, there is a contract between Hughes and Taylor, witnessed by Carl Van Vechten, forming the Golden Stair Press, through which many of Hughes' poems were printed with illustrations by Taylor. A rare edition of their first publication, The Negro Mother, is found here. Also found in this file is a 1932 final copy of Scottsboro Limited, another collaborative effort between Taylor and Hughes that focused on a case where nine black youths were falsely accused of raping two white women. The collection contains extensive correspondence about Taylor's lithograph of the same title and the printing of the publication. Other rare Harlem Renaissance publications found within Taylor's papers include Golden Stair Broadsides, Opportunity Journal of Negro Life, The Rebel Poet, and Eight Who Lie in the Death House, several of which were also illustrated by Taylor.

Prentiss Taylor's long association with Langston Hughes and other figures of the Harlem Renaissance stemmed from his early friendship with Carl Van Vechten. Taylor's papers contain correspondence with Van Vechten, autographed copies of Van Vechten's booklets, and numerous photographs of notable Harlem Renaissance figures, many taken by Van Vechten, including Zora Neale Hurston, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Eugene O'Neill, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Paul Robeson, and many others. Also found are period photographs of Charleston, South Carolina and Harlem street scenes.

95 letters from Rachel Field, 75 letters from Langston Hughes, 3 letters from Armin Landeck, 46 letters from Josephine Pinckney, 1 letter from Gertrude Stein, 7 letters from Alice B. Toklas, 1 postcard from Mark Van Doren, and 25 letters from Carl Van Vechten are photocopies. Originals of the Hughes and Toklas letters are located at the Yale University Library. Location of the remaining original letters are unknown.

The Prentiss Taylor papers offer researchers insight into the rich cultural documentation of the Harlem Renaissance and the development of twentieth-century printmaking as an American fine art.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into ten series. The largest series housing Subject Files is arranged alphabetically, primarily by name of correspondent, maintaining Taylor's original arrangement. The remaining series are arranged in chronological order. Oversized material from various series has been housed in Box 21 (Sol) and OV 22 and is noted in the Series Description/Container Listing Section at the appropriate folder title with see also/see references.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1918-1985, undated (Box 1; 6 folders)

Series 2: Miscellaneous Receipts, 1929-1986, undated (Box 1; 11 folders)

Series 3: Insurance Records, 1960-1976 (Box 1; 1 folder)

Series 4: Notes, 1921-1984, undated (Box 1; 18 folders)

Series 5: Writings, 1924-1971, undated (Box 1-2; 51 folders)

Series 6: Art Work, 1916-1975, undated (Box 2; 14 folders)

Series 7: Scrapbooks, 1885-1956 (Box 2, 21; 10 folders)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1914-1990, undated (Box 2-3, 21; 29 folders)

Series 9: Photographs, 1908-1984, undated (Box 3, 21; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 10: Subject Files, 1885-1991, undated (Box 3-21, OV 22; 18.0 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Prentiss Taylor was born in 1907 at the Washington, D. C. residence of his maternal grandmother, his birth assisted by his grandmother's cook, affectionately known as Cookie Belle.

In the 1920s, Taylor studied painting with Charles W. Hawthorne in Provincetown, but turned to lithography in the late 1920s to early 1930s during his enrollment at the Art Students League in New York City. He received further training in that medium at the George C. Miller workshop in New York. During this period, he also designed costumes for the American-Oriental Revue. Taylor worked primarily in the printmaking medium for the rest of his life, experimenting with various techniques and compositions and ultimately achieving a status as one this country's great lithographers. Taylor depicted mostly realistic and narrative scenes of subjects and themes that reflected his personal interests in music, architecture, religion and social justice.

During his time in New York, Taylor developed close friendships with poet Langston Hughes and writer Carl Van Vechten. He collaborated with Hughes in the formation of the Golden Stair Press to produce publications reflecting the ideas of the Harlem Renaissance. Taylor created a number of prints and illustration for the press and its publications.

After returning to Washington, D.C., Taylor's work was included in exhibitions at the Corcoran Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. He was represented by the Franz Bader Gallery in Washington, D.C., and by the Bethesda Art Gallery in Maryland. In 1942, Taylor was elected President of the Society of Washington Printmakers, a position he held for thirty-four years. He also worked as an art therapist for more than thirty years and taught oil painting at American University from 1955-1975.

Prentiss Taylor died October 7, 1991 in Washington, D.C.
Related Material:
Prentiss Taylor papers are also located at the Yale University Library.
Separated Material:
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reel 1392) including three notebooks detailing Taylor's lithographs, a gift and sales notebook, a guestbook, exhibition announcements, and a brochure. Lent materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Provenance:
Prentiss Taylor lent the Archives of American Art material for microfilming in 1978. Papers were donated in 1978 and 1984 by Taylor, and in 1992 and 2004 by his companion, Roderick S. Quiroz, for the estate of Prentiss Taylor.
Restrictions:
The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.
Rights:
The Prentiss Taylor 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.
Topic:
Art teachers -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Lithography -- 20th century -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Lithographers -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Painters -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Art therapy  Search this
Harlem Renaissance  Search this
Printmakers -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Drawings
Writings
Sketchbooks
Prints
Sound recordings
Citation:
Prentiss Taylor papers, 1885-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.taylpren
See more items in:
Prentiss Taylor papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-taylpren
Additional Online Media:

Alma Thomas papers

Creator:
Thomas, Alma  Search this
Names:
Art in Embassies Program (U.S.)  Search this
Martha Jackson Gallery  Search this
Bader, Franz, 1903-1994  Search this
Breeskin, Adelyn Dohme, 1896-1986  Search this
Johnson, Nathalie J. Cole  Search this
Sarg, Tony, 1882-1942  Search this
Tarbary, Celine  Search this
Taylor, Joshua Charles, 1917-  Search this
Thomas, J. Maurice (John Maurice), 1900 or 1901-  Search this
Extent:
5.5 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Scrapbooks
Audiocassettes
Video recordings
Photographs
Date:
circa 1894-2001
Summary:
The papers of Washington, D.C. painter and art educator Alma Thomas, date from circa 1894-2001 and measure 5.5 linear feet. The papers document Thomas's work as a teacher, and her development and success as a painter of the Washington Color School, through biographical material, letters, notes and writings, personal business records, exhibition files, printed materials, scrapbooks, photographs, an audio recording, and two video recordings.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of Washington, D.C. painter and art educator Alma Thomas, date from circa 1894-2001 and measure 5.5 linear feet. The papers document Thomas's work as a teacher, and her development and success as a painter of the Washington Color School, through biographical material, letters, notes and writings, personal business records, exhibition files, printed materials, scrapbooks, photographs, an audio recording, and two video recordings.

Biographical material includes identity cards, chronologies, an audio recording including a biographical account, and scattered documentation of Thomas's education and teaching careers with D.C. Public Schools, Howard University, and Thomas Garrett Settlement in Wilmington, Delaware. Also found are records relating to Thomas's participation in a summer marionette class taught by Tony Sarg in 1934, and a tour of European art centers which Thomas took in 1958.

Letters relate primarily to the exhibition of Thomas's work and related events and are from galleries, museums, other art institutions, colleagues, and friends including Franz Bader, Adelyn Breeskin, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Howard University Gallery of Art, Martha Jackson Gallery, Nathalie J. Cole Johnson, Vincent Melzac, Celine Tabary, and Joshua Taylor.

Notes and writings include four notebooks and autobiographical writings by Thomas, a "Birthday Book," and an annotated engagement calendar. J. Maurice Thomas's writings about Alma Thomas, her research for a bibliography on James Weldon Johnson, and writings by others, including Jacob Kainen, about Alma Thomas, are also found here.

Exhibition files contain a wide variety of documentation for many group and solo exhibitions of Thomas's work from the early 1950s through a 1998-2000 traveling retrospective exhibition, including solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1972. The records include letters from Franz Bader Gallery, David Driskell at Fisk University, and Vincent Melzac. Photographs include Thomas with individuals including William Buckner, Jeff Donaldson, David Driskell, James W. Herring, and Vincent Melzac. Also found is a photograph of the 1951 Little Paris Studio Group picturing Lois Mailou Jones, Celine Tabary, Alma Thomas, and others. Two video recordings are of events related to the 1998-2000 retrospective at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and the Columbus Museum of Art. Records documenting a 1981-1982 exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, A Life in Art: Alma Thomas, includes the script of a video written by Adolphus Ealey.

Personal business records include price lists, gift and loan receipts, and files concerning the Art in Embassies Program, the Martha Jackson Gallery, a benefit auction for the Corcoran School of Art, and the designation of the Thomas family home in Washington, D.C. as a historic property.

Eleven scrapbooks document Thomas's teaching career through the activities of the art classes she taught at Shaw Junior High School.

Printed materials include announcements and catalogs for exhibitions and other events; clippings which document Thomas's career and subjects of interest to her; Christmas cards featuring block prints designed by Thomas; and other programs and publications featuring Thomas.

Photographs are of Alma Thomas, family, and friends and colleagues including Sam Gilliam, James V. Herring, and Nathalie V. Cole Johnson; art classes taught by Thomas; Thomas's homes in Columbus, Georgia and Washington, D.C.; and exhibitions not documented in Series 4: Exhibition Files, including photographs of Alma Thomas at an opening at Barnett Aden Gallery with Alonzo Aden and others.
Arrangement note:
The papers have been arranged into 8 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1911-2001 (Box 1; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 2: Letters, circa 1930-2001 (Boxes 1-2; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 3: Notes and Writings, circa 1920s-circa 1998 (Box 2; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1951-2000 (Boxes 2-3, OV 7; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 5: Personal Business Records, circa 1950s-1994 (Box 3; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 6: Printed Material, circa 1908-2000 (Boxes 3-5, OV 7; 1.8 linear feet)

Series 7: Scrapbooks, 1930-1946 (Box 5; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 8: Photographs, circa 1894-2001 (Boxes 5-6; 0.6 linear feet)
Biographical/Historical note:
Washington, D.C. painter and art educator Alma Thomas (1891-1978) was known for her abstract paintings filled with dense patterns of color, and was considered a major artist of the Washington Color School.

Thomas was born in Columbus, Georgia, in 1894, and was the eldest of the four daughters of John Harris Thomas and Amelia Cantey Thomas. The family moved to Washington, D.C. in 1906 and Thomas was first introduced to art classes at Armstrong Technical High School. Following her graduation in 1911 she took a course in kindergarten teaching at the Miner Normal School, and subsequently worked as a substitute teacher in the Washington, D.C. public school system until 1914, when she took a teaching position on the Eastern shore of Maryland. From 1916 to 1923 she taught kindergarten at Thomas Garrett Settlement House in Wilmington, Delaware.

Thomas originally enrolled at Howard University in Washington, D.C. as a home economics major in 1921, but after studying under Lois Mailou Jones amd James V. Herring in Herring's newly established art department, she earned a Bachelor's degree in Fine Art in 1924, and became the first person to graduate from the program. Thomas then began her teaching career at Shaw Junior High School in Washington, D.C. that lasted from 1924, until her retirement in 1960. During this time she established community arts programs that would encourage her students to develop an appreciation of fine arts. Activities included marionette programs, distribution of student-designed holiday menu cards for dinners given for soldiers at the Tuskegee Veterans' Hospital, art clubs, lectures, and student exhibitions. In 1943 she became the founding vice president of Barnett Aden Gallery, which was established by James V. Herring and Alonzo Aden and was the first integrated gallery in Washington, D.C.

In 1934 Thomas earned an M.A. degree in Art Education from Columbia University. At American University in Washington, D.C., she studied creative painting under Joe Summerford, Robert Gates, and Jacob Kainen from 1950 to 1960, and began to break away from representational painting and experiment more seriously with Abstract Expressionism. In 1958 she participated in a tour of the art centers of Western Europe under the auspices of the Tyler School of Fine Arts at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Following her retirement from teaching in 1960, Thomas devoted herself full-time to painting, and continued to develop her signature style. She was inspired by nature and the desire to express beauty through composition and color, and refused to be constrained by societal expectations related to her race, gender, and age, achieving her greatest success in the last decade of her life. Her work was exhibited at the Dupont Theatre Art Gallery, Franz Bader Gallery, and the Howard University Gallery of Art, before she was honored in 1972 with exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Thomas's work has been exhibited at the White House and can be found in the permanent collections of major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Separated Materials note:
In 1979, J. Maurice Thomas loaned papers for microfilming. Most, but not all, of the loaned material was later donated and is described in this finding aid. Loaned materials not donated at a later date are available on reels 1541-1543 and are not described in the container listing of this finding aid.
Provenance:
J. Maurice Thomas, the artist's sister, loaned portions of the collection for microfilming in 1979. Most, but not all of this material was then later donated in several accretions by J. Maurice Thomas, between 1979 and 2004. Charles Thomas Lewis, Thomas' nephew, gave additional papers in 2010.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate copies requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Alma Thomas 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.
Topic:
Women painters -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Painting, American  Search this
Art teachers -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
African American artists -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks
Audiocassettes
Video recordings
Photographs
Citation:
Alma Thomas papers, circa 1894-2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.thomalma
See more items in:
Alma Thomas papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-thomalma
Additional Online Media:

Jacob Kainen papers

Creator:
Kainen, Jacob  Search this
Kainen, Ruth Cole.  Search this
Names:
Addison Gallery of American Art  Search this
Australian National Gallery  Search this
Baltimore Museum of Art  Search this
British Museum  Search this
Brooklyn Museum  Search this
Corcoran Gallery of Art  Search this
Corcoran School of Art (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Middendorf Gallery  Search this
National Gallery of Art (U.S.)  Search this
Smithsonian American Art Museum  Search this
Acton, David, 1953-  Search this
Agee, William C.  Search this
Berman, Avis  Search this
Broun, Elizabeth  Search this
Butler, Bryce  Search this
Cole, Phoebe  Search this
Fine, Ruth, 1941-  Search this
Fort Wayne Museum of Art  Search this
Frohlich, Newton, 1936-  Search this
Gilkey, Gordon  Search this
Gorky, Arshile, 1904-1948  Search this
Halesz, Piri  Search this
Harrison, Carol  Search this
Holden, Donald  Search this
Holladay, Wilhelmina Cole, 1922-  Search this
Hopps, Walter  Search this
Jackson, John Baptist, 1701-1780?  Search this
Jordon, Jim  Search this
Kalonyme, Louis  Search this
Lunn, Harry, 1933-1998  Search this
Morse, Peter  Search this
Nordland, Gerald  Search this
O'Connor, Francis V.  Search this
Pollack, Jerome  Search this
Powell, Richard J., 1953-  Search this
Purcell, Ann  Search this
Rand, Harry  Search this
Reynolds, Jock  Search this
Ries, Martin, 1926-  Search this
Solman, Joseph, 1909-2008  Search this
Steinberg, Leo  Search this
Taylor, Joshua Charles, 1917-  Search this
Taylor, Prentiss, 1907-1991  Search this
Tejera, V. ((Victorino))  Search this
Thornton, Valerie  Search this
Weber, Joanne  Search this
Extent:
33.3 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Photographs
Diaries
Transcripts
Videotapes
Visitors' books
Lectures
Prints
Greeting cards
Interviews
Scrapbooks
Date:
1905-2009
bulk 1940-2001
Summary:
The papers of painter, printmaker, and curator Jacob Kainen measure 33.3 linear feet and date from 1905 to 2009, with the bulk of the material from 1940-2001. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence/subject files including personal correspondence to and from friends and family members and professional correspondence and records concerning Kainen's activities as an artist, curator, teacher, and art collector. The collection also contains biographical material, writings, diaries, calendars, inventories, interview transcripts, printed material, photographs, works of art by other artists, and nine scrapbooks.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of painter, printmaker, and curator Jacob Kainen measure 33.3 linear feet and date from 1905 to 2009, with the bulk of the material from 1940-2001. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence/subject files including personal correspondence to and from friends and family members and professional correspondence and records concerning Kainen's activities as an artist, curator, teacher, and art collector. The collection also contains biographical material, writings, diary and journal entries, calendars, inventories, interview and "dialog" transcripts, printed material, photographs, works of art by other artists, and nine scrapbooks.

Biographical materials include items concerning Kainen's career as a curator and artist, in addition to a useful bibliography, detailed biographical outline, and a copy of an FBI report compiled on him. Also included are five videocassette recordings of Kainen.

Alphabetical correspondence/subject files comprise the bulk of the collection and include both Jacob's and Ruth's correspondence with family, friends, colleagues, artists, art critics, curators, museums, arts organizations, galleries, and many others. There is a significant amount of correspondence with David Acton, the Addison Gallery of Art and Jock Reynolds, William Agee, Australian National Gallery, Baltimore Museum of Art, Avis Berman, the British Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Elizabeth Broun and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bryce Butler, Pheobe Cole, the Corcoran Gallery and School of Art, Richard Field, Ruth Fine, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Newton Frohlich, Gordon Gilkey and the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Arshile Gorky, Piri Halesz, Carol Harrison, Donald Holden, Wilhelmina Holladay, John Baptist Jackson, Jim Jordon, Lou Kantor, Harry Lunn Jr., Middendorf Gallery, National Gallery of Art, Peter Morse, Gerald Nordland, Francis O'Connor, Jerome Pollack, Richard Powell, Ann Purcell, Harry Rand, Martin Ries, Joseph Solman, Leo Steinberg, Prentiss Taylor, Victorino Tejera, Valerie Thornton, Joanne Weber, and numerous family members.

Writings are by and about Jacob Kainen. Kainen's writings include articles, lectures, exhibition catalog essays, notes, travel notebooks, short stories, poems, and written statements about his artistic motivations and justifications. There are writings about Kainen by Avis Berman, Ruth Cole Kainen, and others. The bulk of the numerous diary entries are from Ruth Cole Kainen's diaries, many of which concern Jacob and their family. There are also annotated and revised diary entries. There is one folder of diary entries and one folder of journal entries by Jacob Kainen and two dismantled journal-like notebooks. The papers include daily calendars and travel itineraries from 1972 through 2001.

The papers include transcripts of formal interviews and informal conversations with Jacob Kainen. Transcripts are of informal dinner, telephone, and general conversations between friends, colleagues, artists, and Ruth Cole Kainen. Included are conversations with Avis Berman, Walter Hopps, Harry Rand, Joshua Taylor, and several others. Many of these transcripts were also annnotated by Jacob and Ruth Kainen. Also found are numerous transcripts of more formal interviews with Kainen by art historians, art critics, and students.

There are inventories, appraisals, and lists of sold and not sold paintings, as well as color photographs of some of Kainen's works of art. Also found are inventories of the Kainens' art collection. Printed materials include Kainen's exhibition catalogs and announcements, clippings of articles by and about Jacob Kainen, and an exhibition guestbook.

Photographs are of Kainen with his family and friends, at exhibition openings, and working in his studios. Works of art by others includes handmade greeting cards, limited edition prints, and portfolios given to Jacob Kainen. Nine scrapbooks containing news clippings and exhibition publications document the entirety of Kainen's career as an artist.
Arrangement:
The Jacob Kainen papers are arranged into 11 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1938-2001 (Boxes 1, 32; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence/Subject Files, 1936-2003 (Boxes 1-12, 32-33; 11.8 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, circa 1920s-2002 (Boxes 12-13, 33; 1.6 linear feet)

Series 4: Diaries, circa 1952-2002 (Boxes 13-18, 33-38; 10.0 linear feet)

Series 5: Calendars, 1953-2008 (Boxes 18-20, 38; 1.7 linear feet)

Series 6: Transcripts, circa 1975-1994 (Boxes 20-21, 38; 1.4 linear feet)

Series 7: Inventories, 1927-2001 (Boxes 21-22; 1.0 linear feet)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1938-2003 (Box 22, 38, OV 31; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 9: Photographs, 1905-2000 (Boxes 22-25, 38, OV 31; 3.3 linear feet)

Series 10: Works of Art by Others, 1942-2000 (Boxes 25-26, OV 31; 1.2 linear foot)

Series 11: Scrapbooks, 1936-1998 (Boxes 27-30, 38; 1.3 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Jacob Kainen (1909-2001) was a painter, printmaker, and curator who worked primarily in Washington, D.C.

Born on December 7, 1909 in Waterbury, Connecticut, Jacob Kainen moved with his family to New York City in 1918. Kainen studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn from 1927 until 1930, and at the Art Student's League. In the early 1930s, Kainen became involved in social causes and formed close friendships with the early abstractionists, including John Graham, Arshile Gorky, and Stuart Davis. He joined the Artists' Union and a contributor to its journal, Art Front, along with Stuart Davis and Harold Rosenberg. Jacob's participation in the Artists' Union was later investigated by the FBI.

From 1935 until 1942, Kainen worked for the Graphic Arts Division of the Works Progress Administration in New York City and began exhibiting with the New York School. It was during this period that he married Bertha Friedman. Jacob and Bertha had two sons together, Dan and Paul, and divorced in 1968.

In 1942, Kainen made a life-changing decision to leave New York City and move to Washington, D.C. to accept what he thought would be a temporary position as a scientific aide in the Division of Graphic Arts at the Smithsonian Institution. Kainen quickly became Assistant Curator and Curator in 1946. He served as Curator for twenty years, completely reshaping the department and building the graphic arts collection. His print exhibitions brought the work of S.W. Hayter, Josef Albers, Adja Yunkers, Louis Lozowick, Karl Schrag, José Guerrero, Louis Schanker, Werner Drewes, and Boris Margo to Washington audiences - graphic work that might not have been shown that early in the area.

1947 marked the opening of the Washington Workshop Center for the Arts, where Kainen served as a teacher and guide to several important artists, helping to make the workshop a magnet for new talent and instrumental in furthering the careers of several artists. Although Kainen taught Gene Davis and Alma Thomas and introduced Morris Louis to Leon Berkowitz, he never considered himself a member of the "Washington Color School."

In 1949, the Corcoran Gallery of Art held a retrospective of Kainen's prints and three years later Kenneth Noland organized Kainen's first painting retrospective at Catholic University. Kainen's paintings from the 1940s illustrated a shift away from social realism toward abstract expressionism. In 1956, Jacob Kainen received a grant from the American Philosophical society to conduct research in Europe for his monograph on the English woodcut artist, John Baptist Jackson. He traveled to Europe again in 1962 to study paintings and prints from the Mannerist Period.

From 1966 until 1970, Kainen worked as the Curator of prints and drawings at the National Collection of Fine Arts (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum). He married Ruth Cole in February of 1969. Kainen retired from the Smithsonian a year later to devote himself full-time to his art, but continued to serve as a special consultant to the Smithsonian American Art Museum for nineteen years. In 1971 and 1972, Kainen taught painting and the history of printmaking at the University of Maryland. A retrospective of Kainen's paintings was held in 1993 at the National Museum of American Art (SAAM).

Throughout his artistic career, Kainen experimented with different mediums and explored different styles, yet he identified himself as a painter. Jacob Kainen participated in at least twenty-five one man shows and several group exhibitions. His works are in collections across the United States and abroad, including the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the British Museum. He worked in his studio up until the time of his death on March 19, 2001 at his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Related Material:
Found among the holdings of the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview of Jacob Kainen conducted by Avis Berman in 1982 for the Archives' "Mark Rothko and His Times" oral history project. Also found are microfilm copies of Bertha Kainen's correspondence with Avis Berman regarding Berman's essay about Jacob Kainen.
Separated Material:
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reels 565, 2147-2149, and 2200) including correspondence, writings by Kainen, and papers relating to the Smithsonian Institution Loyalty Board's investigation of Jacob Kainen from 1942-1954. Most, but not all, of the loaned materials were included in later gifts. Loaned materials not donated at a later date remain with the lender and are not described in the container listing of this finding aid.
Provenance:
Jacob and Ruth Kainen first lent the Archives of American Art material for microfilming from 1973-1981, the bulk of which was included in the later gifts. Papers were then donated in multiple accretions between 1981-2007 by Jacob and Ruth Kainen, and in 2009 from the estate of Ruth Kainen via executor Teresa Covacevich Grana. Also in 2003, eight photographs of Jacob and Ruth Kainen were transferred from the National Portrait Gallery to the Archives of American Art.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Jacob Kainen 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:
Curators -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Topic:
Painters -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Painting, Modern -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Painting, Abstract -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Artists' studios -- Photographs  Search this
Art teachers -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Printmakers -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Diaries
Transcripts
Videotapes
Visitors' books
Lectures
Prints
Greeting cards
Interviews
Scrapbooks
Citation:
Jacob Kainen papers, 1905-2008, bulk 1940-2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.kainjaco
See more items in:
Jacob Kainen papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kainjaco
Additional Online Media:

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