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Ruth Reeves papers, 1880-1967

Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Topic:
Textile designers  Search this
Women textile designers  Search this
Scrapbooks  Search this
Textile design  Search this
Photographs  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9188
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211383
AAA_collcode_reevruth
Theme:
Women
Lives of American Artists
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211383
Additional Online Media:

Ruth Reeves Papers

Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Extent:
1.1 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Date:
circa 1880-1967
Summary:
The papers of textile designer Ruth Reeves measure 1.1 linear feet and date from circa 1880 to 1967. Found are biographical materials, scattered correspondence, writings on textile design, printed material, artwork, photographs, and scrapbooks.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of textile designer Ruth Reeves measure 1.1 linear feet and date from circa 1880 to 1967. Found are biographical material, scattered correspondence, writings on textile design, printed material, artwork, photographs, and scrapbooks.

Biographical records include biographical sketches, travel papers, and divorce records. Correspondence is scattered but includes letters from Ruth Reeves to her daughter Judith. Most of Reeves' general correspondence is from family and friends. A teaching file for a course on textile design at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art contains notes, lecture drafts, and sketches. Writings by Ruth Reeves are on textile design and may include drafts with handwritten notes. Artworks include painted sketches and prints by Ruth Reeves. Photographs include portraits of Reeves, snapshots of her family and travel photos. Of note is a portrait of cartoonist Art Young by Berenice Abbott.
Arrangement:
Due to the small size of this collection, the papers are arranged as one series.

Series 1: Ruth Reeves Papers, circa 1880-1967 (Box 1-2; 1.3 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Ruth Reeves (1892-1966) was a textile designer, educator, and painter active in New York City, New York and India. She is known for having designed rugs for Radio City Music Hall.

Ruth Reeves was born in Redlands, California in 1892 to John Chapenou and Jennie Martafel Reeves. First, she studied art in California but moved to New York City to attend Pratt Institute in 1911. In 1913, she earned a scholarship to the Art Students League. Her formal art education focused on painting but due to finances, Ruth left school and took freelance jobs as an illustrator and textile designer. In Paris, she worked as an illustrator for Fairchild Publications and remained in Paris to study under Fernand Léger.

Reeves' first exhibition was with The American Designers' Gallery where she showed textiles. She experimented using screen print and vat dye techniques to create household textiles. In addition to her design career, Reeves served as national supervisor for the Index of American Design under the Federal Art Project and taught at the Cooper Union. In 1956, she accepted a Fulbright grant and moved to India to study Indian textile techniques.

Ruth Reeves married Donald Robert Baker, with whom she had three daughters. Ruth Reeves died in 1966 in New Delhi, India.
Provenance:
The Ruth Reeves papers were donated by her daughter, Judith Baker Katzman in 1971 and 1972.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.reevruth
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-reevruth

Ruth Reeves papers

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Extent:
1.3 Linear feet (Box 1-2)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1880-1967
Scope and Contents:
Biographical materials include address books, biographical sketches and resumes, a death notice and will, and passports for Ruth Reeves and Donald Robert Baker. Also found is a divorce record from 1922 of Reeves' first marriage to Leland Olds. Correspondence is scattered and is largely unsigned or with nicknames and initials. A letter from the Girl Scouts of America to Reeves regards a manuscript written by Reeves on textiles. Other letters are from Reeves to her daughter Judith and condolence letters written to her family.

Writings by Ruth Reeves largely concern textiles, designs, and inspiration. An excerpt of a writing entitled "On Designing Textiles" (1935) appeared in Art Education Today. A teaching file contains lecture notes, outlines, and sketches for a course taught at the Cooper Union in the 1940s. Artwork contains painted sketches, three prints, and an ink sketch by Ruth Reeves. Photographs are of Reeves, family, friends, vacation, works of art, and India. Tourist albums are mass produced and of sights in Europe. Of note is a portrait of cartoonist Art Young by Berenice Abbott. Two unbound mixed media scrapbooks serve as a portfolio of Reeves' career as a designer, educator, and writer.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.reevruth, Series 1
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref1

Mildred Constantine Papers

Creator:
Constantine, Mildred  Search this
Names:
Cleveland Museum of Art  Search this
Getty Conservation Institute  Search this
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) -- Employees  Search this
Museum of New Mexico  Search this
Ohio State University  Search this
Philadelphia Museum of Art  Search this
Rhode Island School of Design  Search this
Abakanowicz, Magdalena  Search this
Albers, Anni  Search this
Barr, Alfred Hamilton, 1902-  Search this
Barragán, Luis, 1902-  Search this
Block, Lou, 1895-1969  Search this
Bourgeois, Louise, 1911-2010  Search this
Buic, Jagoda, 1930-  Search this
Burle Marx, Roberto, 1909-1994  Search this
Cohen, Elaine Lustig, 1927-  Search this
Coiner, Charles T., 1897-  Search this
Corzo, Miguel Angel  Search this
D'Harnoncourt, Anne, 1943-2008  Search this
Danto, Arthur Coleman, 1924-  Search this
Dehner, Dorothy, 1901-1994  Search this
Fitch, James Marston  Search this
Goeritz, Mathias, 1915-  Search this
Hart, Allen M., 1925-  Search this
Hicks, Sheila, 1934-  Search this
Koch, Richard H., d. 2009  Search this
Larsen, Jack Lenor  Search this
Lionni, Leo, 1910-  Search this
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Reuter, Laurel  Search this
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962  Search this
Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969 -- Photographs  Search this
Smith, David, 1906-1965  Search this
Ten Haeff, Ingeborg, 1915-  Search this
Vignelli, Massimo  Search this
Weisman, Donald M.  Search this
Wilder, Elizabeth, 1908-  Search this
Wilke, Ulfert, 1907-1987  Search this
Zeisler, Claire, 1903-1991  Search this
Extent:
5.3 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Illustrated letters
Transcripts
Video recordings
Interviews
Date:
1945-2008
Summary:
The papers of Mildred Constantine measure 5.3 linear feet and are dated 1945-2009. Subject files, writings, photographs, and a scrapbook provide an overview of her curatorial work in the Architecture and Design department of the Museum of Modern Art, and subsequent activities as an independent curator, and art consultant. Especially well documented is Whole Cloth, a book written with Laurel Reuter that presents an historical overview of how artists have used cloth in their work.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Mildred Constantine measure 5.3 linear feet and are dated 1945-2008. Subject files, writings, photographs, and a scrapbook provide an overview of her curatorial work in the Architecture and Design department of the Museum of Modern Art, and subsequent activities as an independent curator, and art consultant. Especially well documented is the book Whole Cloth that she wrote with Laurel Reuter.

Correspondence, though mostly business related, often touches on personal matters since many of the artists and art world figures with whom she corresponded were also friends. Correspondents include Miguel Angel Corzo, Arthur C. Danto, Dorothy Dehner, Allen Hart (who sent more than 40 illustrated letters), Elizabeth Wilder and Donald L. Weisman. She also corresponded with many art institutions and organizations, among them the Cleveland Museum of Art, Independent International Design Conference, El Museo del Barrio, Museum of New Mexico, Ohio State University, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Estate of David Smith.

Subject files reflect Constantine's activities and interests. A large portion of this series concerns Whole Cloth, a book written with Laurel Reuter that presents an historical look at how artists have used cloth in their work. Correspondence between the two authors, with artists, institutions, and others concerns researching and writing the volume. Also documented are the successes and failures of Constantine's decade long pursuit to publish the book. Other substantive files relate to the Cleveland Museum of Art, Getty Conservation Institute, Sheila Hicks, Jack Lenor Larsen, Rhode Island School of Design, and Soviet Film Posters. Files concerning the University of the Arts' 2003 Commencement include a videocassette.

Writings by Constantine are lecture material and notes. Also found are transcripts of interviews with Constantine and writings by others. Printed material includes newspaper and magazine articles about Constantine and her career. A scrapbook of printed material and photographs documents an exhibition of Latin American posters at the Library of Congress organized by Constantine.

Photographs of people include Mildred Constantine with family, friends, artists and others at public and private events around the world. Notable photographs include: Magdalena Abakanowicz, Anni Albers, Alfred Barr, Luis Barragan, Lou Block, Louise Bourgeois, Jagoda Buic, Elaine Lustig Cohen, Charles Coiner, James Marston Fitch, Mathias Goeritz, Ingeborg Ten Haeff, Ann d'Harnoncourt, Sheila Hicks, Richard Koch, Nancy Koenigsberg, Jack Lenor Larsen, Leo Lionni, Roberto Burle Marx, Ruth Reeves, Laurel Reuter, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ben Shahn, Massimo Vignelli, Ulfert Wilke, and Claire Zeisler. Also, there are photographs of artwork by a wide range of artists.
Arrangement:
The Mildred Constantine papers are organized into 8 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1947-1997 (Boxes 1, 6; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1964-2008 (Boxes 1, 6; 1.0 linear feet)

Series 3: Subject Files, 1964-2008 (Boxes 2-5; 3.3 linear feet)

Series 4: Writings, 1991-2008 (Box 5; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1961-2006 (Box 5; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 6: Photographs, 1993 (Box 5; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 7: Artwork, 1945 (Box 5; 1 folder)

Series 8: Scrapbook, circa 1940s (Box 6; 0.1 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Curator and writer Mildred Constantine (1913-2008) was associated with the Museum of Modern Art's Department of Architecture and Design from 1943 to 1971. She then became an art consultant and independent curator, and wrote on fiber and textiles, decorative arts, photography, caricature and cartoons.

Mildred Constantine (known as "Connie") began her career at College Art Association. Hired as a stenographer in 1930, she soon was promoted to editorial assistant for Parnassus, the forerunner of Art Journal.

Constantine left the College Art Association in 1937 to study at New York University and earned BA and MA degrees. She then continued her education at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. In 1940, Constantine worked in the Office of Inter-American Affairs at the Library of Congress; it was there that she met René d'Harnoncourt.

Influenced by her 1936 travels in Mexico, Constantine's first curatorial effort was an exhibition of Latin American posters. Drawn from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, the exhibition was held at the Library of Congress.

At the urging of René d'Harnoncourt, The Museum of Modern Art's Architecture and Design Department hired Constantine in 1943. The majority of her 28 year tenure at the museum was spent working with the department's founder, architect Philip Johnson. As a curator during the 1950s and 1960s, Constantine's innovative exhibitions brought lesser known portions of the museum's collection to public attention. Among her exhibtions were: "Words and Images," that focused on graphic design and posters; "Polio Posters," the first Museum of Modern Art show dedicated to social issues; "Olivetti: Design in Industry;" "Signs in the Street;" and "Lettering by Hand." She also published books on Art Nouveau, contemporary package design, and other subjects.

In 1971, Constantine left the Museum of Modern Art to become an independent curator and art consultant. Exhibitions included "Frontiers in Fiber: The Americans," and "Small Works in Fiber" with Jack Lenor Larsen. Tina Modotti: A Fragile Life, Constantine's book on the photographer, actress, model, and political activist, appeared in 1974. That same year, she and Alan Fern produced Revolutionary Soviet Film Posters that focused on works from the 1920s. Her last published work, Whole Cloth, was written with Laurel Reuter and published in 1997. Constantine continued to research and write, and at the time of her death was working on a large, international survey of the study of thread.

Mildred Constantine and Ralph W. Bettelheim (1909-1993) were married for 50 years. They had two daughters, Judith and Vicki.

Mildred Constantine died from heart failure on December 10, 2008, at home in Nyack, New York.
Related Material:
Oral history interviews with Mildred Constantine were conducted for the Archives of American Art by Harlan Phillips, 1965 October 15, and by Paul Cummings, 1976 May 3-1976 August 26.
Provenance:
The papers were donated to the Archives in 2009 by Mildred Constantine's daughters, Judith Bettelheim and Vicki McDaniel.
Restrictions:
Use of origininal material requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Mildred Constantine 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:
Film posters, Russian  Search this
Textile fabrics in art  Search this
Curators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Illustrated letters
Transcripts
Video recordings
Interviews
Citation:
Mildred Constantine papers, 1945-2008. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.consmild
See more items in:
Mildred Constantine Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-consmild
Additional Online Media:

Correspondence, Condolence Letters

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 9
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1966-1967
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref10

"Design in Occupational Therapy," by Ruth Reeves

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 10
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1940
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref11

"What Creative Design Means to Me," by Ruth Reeves

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 12
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1950
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref13

"Why the Modern Designer Goes to Primitive Sources for Inspiration," by Ruth Reeves

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 13
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1950
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref14

Excerpt, "On Designing Textiles," by Ruth Reeves

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 14
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1935
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref15

Outline for a Book on Textile Design

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 15
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1950
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref16

Writing, Untitled, Maybe a Lecture

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 16
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1938 October
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref17

Writings, General

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 17
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1920-circa 1940
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref18

Teaching File, Textile Design

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 18
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1940
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref19

Address Books

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1940-circa 1960
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref2

Receipts

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 19
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1951, 1965
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref20

Clippings

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 20
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1920-1952
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref21

Exhibition Catalogs

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 21
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1930-1939
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref22

Magazines, Newsletters, and Periodicals

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 22-24
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1930-1966
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref23

Postcards

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 25
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1930-1950
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref24

Sketches

Collection Creator:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 26
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1930
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Reeves Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-reevruth-ref25

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