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William Mills Ivins papers

Creator:
Ivins, William Mills, 1881-1961  Search this
Names:
Century Association (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Grolier Club  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Pierpont Morgan Library  Search this
Ames, Winslow  Search this
Arensberg, Walter, 1878-1954  Search this
Arms, John Taylor, 1887-1953  Search this
Berenson, Bernard, 1865-1959  Search this
Boas, George, 1891-  Search this
Burroughs, Bryson, 1869-1934  Search this
Carrington, Fitz Roy, 1869-1954  Search this
Cockerell, Sydney Carlyle, Sir, 1867-1962  Search this
Constable, W. G. (William George), 1887-1976  Search this
Dodgson, Campbell, 1867-1948  Search this
Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965  Search this
Friedländer, Max J., 1867-1958  Search this
Greene, Belle da Costa, 1883-1950  Search this
Holmes, Margaret Ivins, 1882-1954  Search this
Ivins, Barbara  Search this
Ivins, Emma Yard, 1857-1940  Search this
Ivins, Florence Wyman, 1881-1948  Search this
Ivins, Katherine  Search this
Ivins, William Mills, 1851-1915  Search this
Lay, Charles Downing, 1877-1956  Search this
Rogers, Bruce, 1870-1957  Search this
Ruzicka, Rudolph, 1883-  Search this
Sachs, Paul J. (Paul Joseph), 1878-1965  Search this
Sarton, George, 1884-1956  Search this
Simonson, Lee, 1888-  Search this
Sizer, Theodore, 1892-1967  Search this
Webster, Herman A. (Herman Armour), 1878-1970  Search this
Wind, Edgar, 1900-  Search this
Winter, Carl, 1906 Jan. 10-  Search this
Photographer:
Käsebier, Gertrude, 1852-1934  Search this
Extent:
20.5 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Date:
1878-1964
Summary:
The papers, 1878-1964 (20.5 linear feet) of museum curator, director, and art scholar William Mills Ivins (1881-1961) consist of correspondence, writings, notes, photographs, and Ivins family papers. Ivins was Curator of Prints, 1916-1946, Assistant Director, 1933-1938, and Acting Director, 1938-1940 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The collection contains professional and personal correspondence with art historians, art dealers, museum curators, print and book collectors, and artists concerning the history of print making, book design and illustration, print collectors and collecting, exhibitions, and museum administration. Also found are Ivins' published and unpublished writings and lectures, and notes. The collection contains some Ivins' family papers including family correspondence, genealogies, and photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers, 1878-1964 (20.5 linear feet) of museum curator, director, and art scholar William Mills Ivins (1881-1961) consist of personal and professional correspondence, writings, notes, photographs, and Ivins family papers. Ivins was Curator of Prints, 1916-1946, Assistant Director, 1933-1938, and Acting Director, 1938-1940 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The collection contains professional and personal correspondence with art historians, art dealers, museum curators, print and book collectors, and artists concerning the history of print making, book design and illustration, print collectors and collecting, exhibitions, and museum administration. Correspondence files appear to be complete, and correspondence is of substantive content. Also found are Ivins' published and unpublished writings and lectures, and notes. Of particular interest are the letters from Bernard Berenson, Paul J. Sachs, and Theodore Sizer, each of whom corresponded with Ivins freqently over extended periods about both personal and professional and matters.

Ivins' family papers include family correspondence, genealogies, and photographs. The papers of Ivin's wife, illustrator Florence Wyman Ivins (1881-1948), and the correspondence of several other relatives, can be found here augmented by family photographs.
Arrangement:
The collection has been arranged into 7 series. The contents and organization are noted in the individual series descriptions.

Series 1: Professional and Personal Papers, circa 1908-1961 (Boxes 1-8; 6.5 linear ft.)

Series 2: Writings, circa 1910-1960 (Boxes 8-12; 4.9 linear ft.)

Series 3: Publications, 1896-1958 (Boxes 13-14; 2.0 linear ft.)

Series 4: Miscellaneous, 1915, undated (Box 15; 1.0 linear ft.)

Series 5: Ivins Family Papers, 1878-1964, undated (Boxes 16-20; 4.5 linear ft.)

Series 6: Photographs, circa 1890-1940 (Boxes 20-21; 1.5 linear ft.)

Series 7: Oversized Material, 1897-1950 (1 OV folder)
Biographical Note:
William Mills Ivins, Jr. (1881-1961), a lawyer, first became interested in collecting prints and illustrated books while an undergraduate at Harvard. He studied the history of printmaking through self-directed reading, by looking at prints in the major European libraries and museums, and tried his hand at many of the printmaking processes. While practicing law, he wrote articles and organized some small exhibitions of prints as early as 1908. In 1916, the Metropolitan Museum of Art appointed its first Curator of Prints to organize a Department of Prints and Drawings and to develop its small existing collection. Upon the recommendation of Paul J. Sachs who was unable to accept the position, Ivins was selected. He held the post until his retirement some thirty years later.

During his tenure as Curator of Prints, Ivins became one of the most highly-respected individuals in the profession. Under Ivins the collection grew in scope, size, and quality; he acquired materials by cultivating potential donors, and through systematic purchase of pieces not likely to come into the collection by bequest. The department's active exhibition schedule included some especially noteworthy shows, such as The Arts of the Book in 1924.

Ivins was knowledgeable and shared information by writing several books on prints and the history of printmaking, and by writing large numbers of articles for the educated layman. His articles often highlighted items in the permanent collection, and frequently appeared in the museum's Bulletin. He was interested in perspective, psychology of perception, aesthetics, mathematics and modern philosophy, and wrote on these topics, as well.

He was an accomplished speaker and was in much demand as a lecturer. Of particular note were his series on Illustrated Books of the Renaissance at the Morgan Library in 1936, and the 1950 Lowell Lectures (subsequently published under the title Prints and Visual Communication).

In addition to his curatorial duties, Ivins served as Assistant Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art between 1933 and 1938, and was its Acting Director from 1938 until 1940. Francis Henry Taylor was appointed Director in 1940, and Ivins was named to the newly created post of Counselor; failure to attain the directorship was a bitter disappointment, which many attributed to his lack of tact and generally difficult disposition.

Ivins retired in 1946, and continued to write and publish until the mid-1950's. During this period he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Yale University (1946), made an honorary fellow of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1946), named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1950), and invited to deliver the annual lectures at the Lowell Institute (1950). He died at the age of eighty in 1961, after several years of declining health.

Ivins' private collection of prints and illustrated books, which he had continued to amass through the 1930's, was partially dispersed during his lifetime through gifts to the Metropolitan Museum and to a number of university and special libraries. The portion remaining in his estate was sold at auction by Parke Bernet between 1962 and 1964.

1881 -- born to William Mills Ivins and Emma Yard Ivins, Flatbush, N.Y.

1890-1893 -- attended King's School, Stamford, Conn.

1896 -- trip to South America with father

1897 -- graduation from St. Paul's School, Concord, N.H.

1901 -- graduation from Harvard (A.B.)

1901-1902 -- travelled in Europe with Paul Haviland, and studied economics at University of Munich

1902-1904 -- employed by The World's Work, writing articles on economic and artistic subjects

1907 -- graduation from Columbia School of Law

1907-1916 -- practiced law in New York City: Ivins, Wolff and Houget for New York Public Service Commission, 1907-1908; Strong and Cadwallader, 1908-1909; Cravath, Henderson, and der Gersdorff, 1909-1916

1908 -- arranged first exhibition of prints, Keppel & Co,

1910 -- marriage to Florence Wyman, an illustrator

1916 -- appointed first Curator of Prints, Metropolitan Museum of Art

c. 1927-1935 -- served on editorial board of Metropolitan Museum Studies

1933-1938 -- Assistant Director, Metropolitan Museum of Art

1937 -- Morgan Library Lectures

1938 -- Honorary Curator of Prints and Drawings, Morgan Library

1938-1940 -- Acting Director, Metropolitan Museum of Art (Note: Mr. Ivins continued to act as Curator of Prints during periods when he was assigned other major administrative responsibilities at the museum)

1940 -- Counselor, Metropolitan Museum of Art

1946 -- Honorary Fellow, Metropolitan Museum of Art; retirement from Metropolitan Museum of Art; Honorary Doctorate, Yale University

1950 -- Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Lowell Lectures (published in 1953 under the title Prints and Visual Communication)

1961 -- death

1962-1964 -- Ivins Collection of Prints and Illustrated Books sold at auction by Parke Bernet

1977-1983 -- William M. Ivins, Jr. Papers donated to the Archives of American Art by his daughter, Barbara Ivins
Provenance:
The William Mills Ivins, Jr., papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by his daughter, Barbara Ivins, in several installments between 1977 and 1983.
Restrictions:
Use of unmicrofilmed material in the holdings of the Archives of American Art requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C., facility.
Rights:
The William Mills Ivins 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:
Illustrators  Search this
Aesthetics  Search this
Art museums  Search this
Book collectors and collecting  Search this
Museum directors  Search this
Perspective  Search this
Designers  Search this
Museums -- Acquisitions  Search this
Art historians  Search this
Prints -- History  Search this
Etching -- History  Search this
Engraving -- History  Search this
Medicine and art -- History  Search this
Illustrated books -- History  Search this
Museum curators  Search this
Citation:
William Mills Ivins papers, 1878-1964. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.ivinwill
See more items in:
William Mills Ivins papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-ivinwill
Additional Online Media:

Il faut être de son temps / George Boas

Author:
Boas, George 1891-1980  Search this
Physical description:
p. 52-65 ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1941
1941?]
19th century
Topic:
Art, Modern  Search this
Philosophy, French  Search this
Call number:
N6465.R6 B63 1941
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_598896

Romanticism in America; papers contributed to a symposium held at the Baltimore museum of art, May 13, 14, 15, 1940, edited by George Boas

Author:
Boas, George 1891-1980  Search this
Physical description:
xi p., 1 l., 202 p. XV pl. on 8 l. 24 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
1940
19th century
Topic:
Romanticism  Search this
Arts, American  Search this
Call number:
NX503.7 .B66 1940
NX503.7.B66 1940
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_361286

The Cone collection of Baltimore, Maryland; catalogue of paintings, drawings, sculpture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; with a foreword by George Boas

Author:
Cone, Etta  Search this
Boas, George 1891-1980  Search this
Subject:
Matisse, Henri 1869-1954  Search this
Cone, Claribel Art collections  Search this
Physical description:
26 p., [125] leaves of plates illus., port. 32 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1934
1934]
Topic:
Art--Private collections  Search this
Impressionism (Art)  Search this
Post-impressionism (Art)  Search this
Call number:
N5220.C75X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_100275

The Greek tradition in painting and the minor arts; an exhibition sponsored jointly by the Baltimore museum of art and the Walters art gallery from May 15 through June 25, 1939

Author:
Baltimore Museum of Art  Search this
Boas, George 1891-1980  Search this
Hill, Dorothy Kent 1907-  Search this
Ross, Marvin Chauncey  Search this
Miner, Dorothy Eugenia  Search this
King, Edward Stauffer 1900-  Search this
Walters Art Gallery (Baltimore, Md.)  Search this
Physical description:
3 p. l., 89 p. illus. 27 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1939
1939]
Topic:
Painting  Search this
Art objects  Search this
Mythology, Greek  Search this
Art and mythology  Search this
Call number:
N7428.5 .B19
N7428.5.B19
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_186491

A primer for critics, by George Boas

Author:
Boas, George 1891-1980  Search this
Physical description:
viii, 153 p. 22 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1937
Topic:
Criticism  Search this
Aesthetics  Search this
Call number:
BH39.B6X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_186961

Wingless Pegasus, a handbook for critics

Author:
Boas, George 1891-1980  Search this
Physical description:
x, 244 p. 23 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1950
Topic:
Art criticism  Search this
Call number:
N7435.B54X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_186965

Romanticism in America; papers contributed to a symposium held at the Baltimore Museum of Art, May 13, 14, 15, 1940. Edited by George Boas

Author:
Boas, George 1891-1980  Search this
Physical description:
xi, 202 p. 15 plates. 22 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
1961
1961. [c1940]
Topic:
Romanticism  Search this
Call number:
PS201 .B66 1961
PS201.B66 1961
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_14006

Courbet and the naturalistic movement; essays read at the Baltimore Museum of Art, May 16, 17, 18, 1938

Author:
Boas, George 1891-1980  Search this
Subject:
Courbet, Gustave 1819-1877  Search this
Physical description:
x, 149 p. illus., ports. 23 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1967
[1967, c1938]
Topic:
Naturalism in art  Search this
Naturalism in literature  Search this
Call number:
N40.1.C85 B6 1967
N40.1.C85B6 1967
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_25936

The Greek tradition; papers contributed to a symposium held at the Baltimore museum of art, May 15, 16, 17, 1939, edited by George Boas

Author:
Boas, George 1891-1980  Search this
Physical description:
xi, 206 p. front., plates. 24 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Greece
Date:
1939
Topic:
Civilization  Search this
Call number:
CB5 .B66
CB5.B66
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_38003

The challenge of science

Author:
Boas, George 1891-1980  Search this
Physical description:
xx, 92 p. 21 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1965
[1965]
Topic:
Science  Search this
Call number:
Q171 .B66
Q171.B66
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_50365

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