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Holger Cahill papers

Creator:
Cahill, Holger, 1887-1960  Search this
Names:
American Artists' Congress  Search this
American Council of Learned Societies  Search this
American Federation of Arts  Search this
Artists' Union (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Cartoonists Guild  Search this
Federal Art Project (U.S.)  Search this
Federal Music Project (U.S.)  Search this
Federal Theatre Project (U.S.)  Search this
Index of American Design  Search this
New York World's Fair (1939-1940)  Search this
Shakers  Search this
The Design Laboratory (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Treasury Relief Art Project  Search this
United States. Work Projects Administration  Search this
United States. Works Progress Administration  Search this
Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991  Search this
Brown, Samuel Joseph, 1907-  Search this
De Rivera, José Ruiz, 1904-1985  Search this
Halpert, Edith Gregor, 1900-1970  Search this
Hopkins, Harry Lloyd, 1890-1946  Search this
Knaths, Karl, 1891-1971  Search this
Miller, Dorothy Canning, 1904-2003  Search this
Morris, Carl, 1911-1993  Search this
Olds, Elizabeth, 1896-1991  Search this
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962  Search this
Rowan, Edward Beatty, 1898-1946  Search this
Scaravaglione, Concetta, 1900-1975  Search this
Segal, George, 1924-2000  Search this
Speck, Walter, 1895-  Search this
Ward, Lynd, 1905-1985  Search this
Weisenborn, Rudolph, b. 1881  Search this
Extent:
15.8 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Prints
Government records
Interviews
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Slides (photographs)
Photograph albums
Drawings
Place:
United States -- Economic conditions -- 1918-1945
United States -- Social conditions -- 1933-1945
Date:
1910-1993
bulk 1910-1960
Summary:
The papers of Holger Cahill (1887-1960) date from 1910 to 1993, with the bulk of the material dating from 1910-1960, and measure 15.8 linear feet. The collection offers researchers fairly comprehensive documentation of Cahill's directorship of the Works Progress/Projects Administration's (WPA) Federal Art Project (FAP) in addition to series documenting his work as a writer and art critic. Material includes correspondence, reports, artist files, scrapbooks, printed material, and photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Holger Cahill (1887-1960) date from 1910 to 1993, bulk 1910-1960, and measure 15.8 linear feet. The collection offers researchers fairly comprehensive documentation of Cahill's directorship of the FAP in addition to series documenting his work as a writer and art critic. FAP records include national and state administrative reports, records of community art centers, photographic documentation of state activities, artist files, divisional records about teaching, crafts, murals, and poster work, files concerning the Index of American Design, scrapbooks, and printed material.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into nine series:

Series 1: Biographical Material and Personal Papers, 1931-1988 (Box 1; 19 folders)

Series 2: Correspondence Files, 1922-1979, 1993 (Boxes 1-2; 1.5 linear ft.)

Series 3: Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project, 1934-1970 (Boxes 2-14, 18, MMs009; 10.75 linear ft.)

Series 4: Writings, Lectures and Speeches, 1916-1960 (Boxes 14-15, 18; 1.0 linear ft.)

Series 5: Minutes of Meetings and Panel Discussions, Non-FAP, 1939-1947 (Box 15; 5 folders)

Series 6: Notes and Research Material, 1935-1970 (Boxes 15-16; 0.25 linear ft.)

Series 7: Artwork, undated (Boxes 16, 18; 2 folders)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1910-1985 (Boxes 16-17; 1.8 linear ft.)

Series 9: Photographs, circa 1917-1960 (Box 17; 6 folders)
Biographical Note:
Holger Cahill was born Sveinn Kristjan Bjarnarson in Iceland in a small valley near the Arctic Circle, on January 13, 1887. His parents, Bjorn Jonson and Vigdis Bjarnadottir, immigrated to the United States from Iceland sometime later in the 1880s. In 1904, his father deserted the family, forcing Sveinn to be separated from his mother and sister to work on a farm in North Dakota. He ran away and wandered from job to job until settling in an orphanage in western Canada, where he attended school and became a voracious reader.

As a young man, he worked at many different jobs and attended night school. While working on a freighter, he visited Hong Kong, beginning his life-long interest in the Orient. Returning to New York City, he eventually became a newspaper reporter, continued his studies at New York University, and changed his name to Edgar Holger Cahill. In 1919 he married Katherine Gridley of Detroit. Their daughter, Jane Ann, was born in 1922, but the couple divorced in 1927.

Cahill met John Sloan circa 1920, and they shared a residence. Cahill also wrote publicity (until 1928) for the Society of Independent Artists, through which he made many friends in the arts. From 1922 to 1931, he worked under John Cotton Dana at the Newark Museum, where he received his basic experience in museum work, organizing the first large exhibitions of folk art.

From 1932 to 1935, he was the director of exhibitions for the Museum of Modern Art. In 1935, Cahill was appointed director of the Works Progress/Projects Administration (WPA) Federal Art Project (FAP), until its end in June 1943. In 1938, Cahill organized a countrywide exhibition "American Art Today" for the New York World's Fair. He also married MoMa curator Dorothy Canning Miller in that year.

Profane Earth, Cahill's first novel, was published in 1927, followed by monographs on Pop Hart and Max Weber, miscellaneous short stories, and a biography of Frederick Townsend Ward, entitled A Yankee Adventurer: The Story of Ward and the Taiping Rebellion. Following the end of the Federal Art Project, Cahill wrote two novels, Look South to the Polar Star (1947) and The Shadow of My Hand (1956).

Holger Cahill died in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in July 1960.
Provenance:
The Holger Cahill papers were donated to the Archives of American Art through a series of gifts by Cahill's widow, Dorothy C. Miller, between 1964 and 1995.
Restrictions:
The microfilm of this collection has been digitized and is available online via the Archives of American Art website.
Rights:
The Holger Cahill 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:
Federal aid to the public welfare  Search this
Art and state  Search this
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
New Deal, 1933-1939  Search this
Arts administrators  Search this
Public officers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Prints
Government records
Interviews
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Slides (photographs)
Photograph albums
Drawings
Citation:
Holger Cahill papers, 1910-1993, bulk 1910-1960. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.cahiholg
See more items in:
Holger Cahill papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-cahiholg
Additional Online Media:

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

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