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George Nakashima papers

Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Names:
Caldwell, Alfred, 1903-1998  Search this
Extent:
1 Linear Feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Date:
1950-1991
Summary:
The papers of architect, craftsman, woodworker, and furniture designer George Nakashima measure 1.0 linear foot and date from 1950 to 1991. The collection is comprised of biographical material, correspondence, writings, subject files, and printed material that mostly relate to Nakashima's work in furniture design.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of architect, craftsman, woodworker, and furniture designer George Nakashima measure 1.0 linear foot and date from 1950 to 1991. The collection is comprised of biographical material, correspondence, writings, subject files, and printed material that mostly relate to Nakashima's work in furniture design.

Biographical materials consist of a curriculum vitae and obituaries. Correspondence is with clients, colleagues, and friends in the United Staes, Japan, and the Sri Aurobindo community. Writings by and about Nakashima include articles, essays, and a speech about his design processes. Subject files are on Alfred Caldwell, flush toilet systems, trademark, and wood and tree services. Printed material includes art reproductions, booklets, catalogs, clippings, and publicity material.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as five series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1990 (Box 1; 1 folder)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1950-1990 (Box 1; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, 1953-1989 (Box 1, 2 folders)

Series 4: Subject Files, 1957-1980s (Box 1, 4 folders)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1954-1991 (Box 1, 0.2 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
George Nakashima (1905-1990) was an architect, craftsman, woodworker, and furniture designer in New Hope, Pennsylvania. He was born in Spokane, Washington and received a bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of Washington in 1929. He also earned a master's degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1930.

After his studies, Nakashima traveled around the world by steamship. He spent time in France, North Africa, and Japan. While in Japan, he began working under architect Antonin Raymond. When Raymond's architecture company was commissioned to build for the Sri Aurobindo ashram in Puducherry, India, Nakashima became the onsite architect as well as a devotee of Sri Aurobindo. When World War II began, Nakashima returned to the U.S. with his wife, Marion, whom he met in Japan. George, Marion, and their infant daughter Mira were sent to a Japanese internment camp in Idaho in 1942. The Nakashimas were able to leave the camp after Raymond sponsored their release in 1943. Nakashima began working on Raymond's farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where he eventually built his workshop. Nakashima's son Kevin was born after the family relocated to Pennsylvania.

Nakashima's design work includes furniture lines for the Widdicomb Furniture Company and Knoll Furniture, and 200 pieces of furniture commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller. He also wrote a book titled The Soul of a Tree: A Master Woodworker's Reflections.

Nakashima died in 1990.
Provenance:
The papers were donated by Marion Nakashima, widow of George Nakashima, in 1991.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Topic:
Architect-designed furniture  Search this
Artisans  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Asian American architects  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Furniture designers--Pennsylvania--New Hope  Search this
Furniture making  Search this
handicrafts  Search this
Woodworkers  Search this
Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.nakageor
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-nakageor

Weston -- Miles Garden

Landscape architect:
Furlong, Ethelbert Ely, d. 1993  Search this
Former owner:
Miles, Walter, 1907-1999  Search this
Miles, Jessie  Search this
Architect:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Collection Creator:
Adams, Molly, 1918-2003  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Place:
Miles Garden (Weston, Connecticut)
United States of America -- Connecticut -- Fairfield County -- Weston
Scope and Contents:
The folder includes worksheets, a copy of an article about the garden with photographs by Molly Adams and a complete plant list, and other information.
General:
This Japanese-style garden was designed by landscape architect Ethelbert E. Furlong for artist Walter Miles and his wife, Jessie, to complement their home, which in turn had been designed by noted architect and woodworker George Nakashima. Because Walter Miles wanted to install and maintain the garden himself, with as little help as possible, he modified Furlong's plan to some degree, while retaining the spirit of the design. Dry stream beds, a pavilion, a bamboo-roofed gatehouse, and irregularly shaped stones were some of the many features of the garden. Although Asian plant material was used extensively, non-Japanese plants such as as Blue Atlas cedar and a flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) were also selected. After leaving this house in 1971, Walter Miles built a second Japanese-style house and garden in Washington, Connecticut, where he lived until 1983.
Persons associated with the property include Ethelbert E. Furlong (landscape architect, ca. 1960); George Nakashima (architect, ca. 1950); and Walter and Jessie Miles (former owners, 1950-1971).
Related Materials:
Miles Garden related holdings consist of 1 folder (18 safety film negatives; 9 photographic prints)
Collection Restrictions:
Access to original images by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Collection Rights:
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens.
Topic:
Gardens -- Connecticut -- Weston  Search this
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Maida Babson Adams American garden collection.
Identifier:
AAG.ADM, File CT317
See more items in:
Maida Babson Adams American garden collection
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Gardens
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aag-adm-ref620

Marshall Reisman papers concerning George Nakashima

Creator:
Reisman, Marshall, 1914-2009  Search this
Names:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Extent:
0.2 Linear Feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Photographs
Sketches
Date:
1959-2010
bulk 1972-1989
Summary:
The Marshall Reisman papers concerning George Nakashima are dated 1959-2010, bulk 1972-1989, and comprise 0.2 linear feet. The papers include letters, correspondence, annotated sketches, photographs, financial records, and printed material related to commissioned works by woodworker and sculptor George Nakashima for art collector Marshall Reisman.
Scope and Contents note:
The Marshall Reisman papers concerning George Nakashima are dated 1959-2010, bulk 1972-1989, and comprise 0.2 linear feet. The papers include correspondence, letters, annotated sketches, receipts, photographs, financial records, and printed material related to commissioned works by woodworker and sculptor George Nakashima for art collector Marshall Reisman.
Arrangement note:
The collection is arranged as 3 series:

Series 1: Annotated Sketches, 1972, 1989 (Box 1; 1 folder)

Series 2: Letters and Related Financial Records, 1959-2001 (Box 1; 5 folders)

Series 3: Printed Material 1962-2010 (Box 1; 2 folders)
Biographical/Historical note:
Marshall Reisman (1914-2009) and his wife Dorothy (1914-2008) were both art collectors from Syracuse, NY. They commissioned furniture and other objects from George Nakashima (1905-1990).
Provenance:
Donated by the Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman Foundation through Robert Falter, trustee, 2010.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Marshall Reisman papers concerning George Nakashima 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:
Collectors and collecting -- New York (State)  Search this
Sculptors  Search this
Art commissions  Search this
Woodworkers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Sketches
Citation:
Marshall Reisman papers concerning George Nakashima, 1959-2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.reismars
See more items in:
Marshall Reisman papers concerning George Nakashima
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-reismars

Biographical Material

Collection Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Extent:
1 folder (Box 1)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1990
Scope and Contents:
This series contains Nakashima's curriculum vitae, a memorial service bulletin, and photocopies of his obituaries.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.nakageor, Series 1
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-nakageor-ref1

Awards, Regarding

Collection Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 19
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1982-1985
Scope and Contents:
Includes material on the Order of the Sacred Treasure awarded by the Emperor of Japan and the Altar for Peace.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-nakageor-ref13

Caldwell, Alfred

Collection Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 30
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1980s
Scope and Contents:
Includes a speech transcript and photocopy of "The Hex of Harmony" by Caldwell.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-nakageor-ref21

Trademark

Collection Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 32
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1957
Scope and Contents:
Includes an engraving copy of a hand drawn logo for Nakashima's business.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-nakageor-ref23

Wood and Tree Services

Collection Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 33
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1960-1980s
Scope and Contents:
Includes photographs of cut trees, tables, and clocks.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-nakageor-ref24

Clippings

Collection Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 38-39
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1954-1991
Scope and Contents:
Almost all newspaper clippings are photocopies.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-nakageor-ref28

Subject Files

Collection Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Extent:
4 folders (Box 1)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1957-1980s
Scope and Contents:
This series contains mainly printed materials but also contains some correspondence and photographs in files for architecture professor Alfred Caldwell, flush toilet systems, trademarks, and wood and tree services.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.nakageor, Series 4
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-nakageor-ref4

Printed Material

Collection Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Extent:
0.2 Linear Feet (Box 1)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1954-1991
Scope and Contents:
Art reproductions of St. James in Pennington, New Jersey, booklets, catalogs and clippings relating to Nakashima, and publicity material for exhibitions and events are in printed materials.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.nakageor, Series 5
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-nakageor-ref5

Correspondence

Collection Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Extent:
0.7 Linear Feet (Box 1)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1950-1991
Scope and Contents:
This series consists of general chronological files and named files. Chronological correspondence spans four decades and includes letters with clients, colleagues, and friends regarding business dealings, visits to Nakashima's workshop, and his ongoing affiliation with the Sri Aurobindo community. Named files are for awards, an exhibition at the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce, correspondents in Japan, scholar and Sri Aurobindo devotee Vasant Merchant, correspondence regarding Nakashima's book titled The Soul of the Tree: A Woodworker's Reflections, and letters from the Sri Aurobindo temple.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.nakageor, Series 2
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-nakageor-ref2

Writings

Collection Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Extent:
2 folders (Box 1)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1953-1989
Scope and Contents:
Writings by Nakashima include essays and a speech delivered to the New York Herald Tribune Forum on his design process and how his craft is connected to the natural and spiritual world. Writings about Nakashima include a translated article from Kateigaho magazine, "A Tree of Destiny" by Richard A. Ek, and article excerpts printed onto a single page.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.nakageor, Series 3
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-nakageor-ref3

Ben Shahn papers

Creator:
Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969  Search this
Names:
Baskin, Leonard, 1922-2000  Search this
Delano, Jack  Search this
Dugan, Alan  Search this
Evans, Walker, 1903-1975  Search this
Ferry, W. Hawkins  Search this
Francis, Arlene  Search this
Friendly, Fred W.  Search this
Gusten, Theodore, 1899-1978  Search this
Hirsch, Joseph, 1910-1981  Search this
Kingman, Dong, 1911-  Search this
Lange, Dorothea  Search this
Lee, Russell, 1903-1986  Search this
Lionni, Leo, 1910-  Search this
MacLeish, Archibald, 1892-1982  Search this
Martin, John Bartlow, 1915-1987  Search this
Mydans, Carl  Search this
Nakashima, George, 1905-  Search this
Nakashima, Marian  Search this
Odets, Clifford, 1906-1963  Search this
Osborn, Robert Chesley, 1904-1994  Search this
Rivera, Diego, 1886-1957  Search this
Robbins, Jerome  Search this
Rodman, Selden, 1909-  Search this
Rothstein, Arthur, 1915-1985  Search this
Sheeler, Charles, 1883-1965  Search this
Smith, David, 1906-1965  Search this
Soby, James Thrall, 1906-1979  Search this
Soyer, Raphael, 1899-1987  Search this
Vachon, John, 1914-1975  Search this
Williams, William Carlos, 1883-1963  Search this
Wolcott, Marion Post, 1910-1990  Search this
Zorach, William, 1887-1966  Search this
Extent:
25 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Awards
Sketches
Transcripts
Motion pictures (visual works)
Sketchbooks
Video recordings
Drawings
Photographs
Prints
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1879-1990
bulk 1933-1970
Summary:
The papers of social realist painter, photographer, illustrator, printmaker, and teacher Ben Shahn (1898-1969) measure 25.0 linear feet and date from 1879-1990, with the bulk of the material dating from 1933-1970. The bulk of the collection consists of over 14 linear feet of incoming letters from artists, writers, colleagues, publishers, art organizations, galleries, and universities and colleges. Also found are biographical materials, project and source files, printed material, artwork by Shahn and others, photographs taken of and by Shahn, interview transcripts, sound recordings of interviews and a motion picture film.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of social realist painter, photographer, illustrator, printmaker, and teacher Ben Shahn (1898-1969) measure 25.0 linear feet and date from 1879-1990, with the bulk of the material dating from 1933-1970. The bulk of the collection consists of over 14 linear feet of incoming letters from artists, writers, colleagues, publishers, art organizations, galleries, and universities and colleges. Also found are biographical materials, project and source files, printed material, artwork by Shahn and others, photographs taken of and by Shahn, interview transcripts, sound recordings of interviews and a motion picture film.

Biographical material and family records include a 1924 passport for Shahn and his first wife, Tillie, biographical sketches of Shahn, and award certificates received by him.

Letters are primarily written to Shahn from family members, artists, writers, colleagues, publishers, art organizations, galleries, and universities and colleges. Notable correspondents include Leonard Baskin, Alexander Calder, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Joseph Hirsch, Leo Lionni, John Bartlow Martin, George and Marian Nakashima, Clifford Odets, Charles Olson, Robert Osborn, Diego Rivera, Jerome Robbins, Selden Rodman, James Thrall Soby, Raphael Soyer, and William Carlos Williams. A small number of scattered letters from Shahn can also be found throughout the series.

Project files document approximately twenty-one of Shahn's commissions, including murals for the community center at Jersey Homesteads, the Bronx Central Annex Post Office, the Social Security Building in Washington D.C. , and the William E. Grady Vocational High School. The files also document his involvement in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Roosevelt, in addition to projects for schools, temples and private homes.

Financial and legal records include consignment records, loan agreements, royalty statements and receipts for artwork sold.

Notes and writings are by Shahn and others including Alan Dugan, W. H. Ferry, Theodore Gusten, and John Bartlow Martin. They include lists of artwork, many of which are annotated.

Artwork includes a sketchbook and several unbound sketches and lettering by Shahn, in addition to drawings and prints by others including Shahn's children, Mario Casetta and Stefan Martin.

Source files contain printed material and photographs relating to topics depicted by Shahn in his artwork such as children, dams, farming, houses, industry, mines and miners, slums, war and workers. These files also contain scattered photographic prints by FSA and OWI photographers including Shahn, Jack Delano, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans, Marion Post Wolcott, Arthur Rothstein, and John Vachon.

Printed material includes news clippings covering Shahn and his career as well as subjects of interest to Shahn. Also found are exhibition catalogs and announcements for exhibitions for Shahn and others, and reproductions of Shahn's artwork including publications illustrated by him.

Photographs are of Shahn, his family and friends and colleagues including Alexander Calder, Jerome Robbins, Charles Sheeler, David Smith and William Zorach. Also included are photographs taken by Shahn of New York City and for the FSA in the 1930s, as well as photographs of artwork by Shahn. Photographs by others include one photo each by Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee and Arthur Rothstein.

The collection also contains transcripts of eight radio, television and motion picture interviews of Shahn and a reel of 16mm motion picture film from the BBC-TV program "Monitor," in addition to sound recordings of interviews of Shahn by Tony Schwartz and Arlene Francis. Artifacts include a Christmas greeting in the form of a sock.
Arrangement note:
The collection is arranged as 12 series:

Series 1: Biographical and Family Records, 1879-1984 (Box 1, OV 36; 0.2 linear ft.)

Series 2: Letters, 1929-1990 (Boxes 1-25, 35, OVs 36-38; 14.4 linear ft.)

Series 3: Project Files, 1933-1975 (Boxes 25-26; OVs 36-37; 1.03 linear ft.)

Series 4: Financial and Legal Records, 1934-1988 (Boxes 26-27, 35; 0.81 linear ft.)

Series 5: Notes and Writings, circa 1933-1988 (Boxes 27-28; 1.62 linear ft.)

Series 6: Artwork, circa 1930s-1965 (Boxes 28, 35; 11 folders)

Series 7: Source Files, circa 1900s-1960s (Boxes 28-30, 35; 1.81 linear ft.)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1912-1988 (Boxes 30-33, 35, OV 39; 3.22 linear ft.)

Series 9: Photographs, circa 1900-1969 (Boxes 33-35; 0.86 linear ft.)

Series 10: Interview Transcripts, 1943-1968 (Box 34; 0.25 linear ft.)

Series 11: Audio and Video Recordings, 1959-1968 (Box 34; 0.25 linear ft.)

Series 12: Artifacts, circa 1930s-circa 1960s (Box 34; 2 items)
Biographical/Historical note:
Ben Shahn (1898-1969) was a social realist painter, muralist, printmaker, photographer, illustrator, and teacher who worked primarily in Brooklyn, New York and New Jersey. He was most active in the 1930s through the 1950s and worked on several federally funded arts projects, including the Farm Security Administration's photographic documentation project of rural America during the Depression.

Ben Shahn was born in Kovno, Lithuania and immigrated with his family to the United States in 1906 where he settled in Brooklyn, and later Roosevelt, New Jersey, after becoming a naturalized citizen in 1918.

Following an apprenticeship as a lithographer from 1913-1917, Shahn studied at New York University, the City College of New York, and the National Academy of Design from 1919-1922. He married Tillie Goldstein in 1922 and they had two children, Judith and Ezra.

Two years after Shahn's first solo exhibition at the Downtown Gallery in 1930, his Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti, a series of 23 gouaches about the Sacco and Vanzetti trial of the 1920s, was exhibited at the Downtown Gallery to critical and public acclaim. The exhibition marked the beginning of Shahn's reputation as one of the most important social realist painters in America. Shahn's commitment to social and political justice found a natural outlet in mural painting when, in 1933, he was hired to assist Diego Rivera on the labor and industry mural Man at the Crossroads, for New York City's Rockefeller Center. The mural was destroyed amid controversy in 1933 before it was completed, but Shahn had learned much about the art of fresco painting during the project and was inspired by the potential of the mural as a unique art form for presenting life's struggles and stories to a large public audience. Between 1933 and 1937 Shahn worked on various murals for other buildings, including New York's Central Park Casino (circa 1934) and Riker's Island Prison (1934), none of which saw completion. In 1937, however, the Farm Security Administration (FSA) commissioned Shahn to execute a mural for the Community Center in the town of Jersey Homesteads, later Roosevelt, New Jersey, which Shahn completed in 1938. Shahn settled in Jersey Homesteads the following year and remained there for the rest of his life. Other important mural commissions followed for the Bronx Central Post office (1939) and the Social Security Building in Washington DC (1942).

One of Shahn's assistants on the Jersey Homesteads mural was Bernarda Bryson, whom he had met in 1933 when she came to New York to interview Rivera about the Rockefeller Center mural controversy for an Ohio newspaper. Shahn and Bryson became lifetime companions and had three children, Susanna, Jonathan and Abigail, although they did not marry until shortly before Shahn's death in 1969. Shahn and Tillie Goldstein were divorced in 1944.

Shahn had enrolled with the federal Public Works of Art Project in 1934, and between 1935 and 1938 he and Bryson travelled across country as Shahn photographed poverty-stricken areas and documented rural life for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and the Resettlement Agency. Shahn's interest in photography developed in the early 1930s when, encouraged by his friendship with Walker Evans, he began photographing street scenes and people in New York City. He later used the images as the basis for many of his prints and paintings.

In 1942 Shahn began working for the Office of War Information (OWI) and was instructed to produce posters and pamphlets explaining to citizens the necessities of wartime, such as the need for secrecy and food rationing. Ultimately, only two of Shahn's posters were ever used; the rest were rejected as being too harsh for their intended audience. Shahn later worked for the Congress of Industrial Organization Political Action Committee (CIO-PAC), producing posters for the 1944 campaign to re-elect Roosevelt, who he believed in deeply. He was promoted to director of the CIO's Graphic Arts Division for the 1946 congressional campaign following Roosevelt's death, but that job ended when the election went poorly for the Democratic party.

Shahn returned increasingly to painting and a retrospective of his work was held at the Museum of Modern Art in 1947. He also became more active in academia as an accomplished writer, teacher and lecturer. He received honorary doctorates from Princeton University and Harvard University, and become the Charles Eliot Norton professor at Harvard in 1956. Shahn's Norton lectures were collected and published as the influential The Shape of Content in 1957. He also began to work as a commercial artist for a variety of companies and publications including CBS, Time, Harper's, and the Container Corporation of America. Shahn believed, however, that the artist's ideas and integrity must always be reflected in his commercial art. He refused to compromise on this point and was very selective in his choice of commercial commissions. Shahn illustrated many books and articles, designed sets for stage productions such as New York Export: Opus Jazz, choreographed by Jerome Robbins, and designed mural mosaics for synagogues, universities and private homes.

Since the 1930s Shahn had been represented by Edith Halpert at the Downtown Gallery, but his relationship with her was always contentious on the subject of payments Shahn received for commercial work, and became increasingly so as his income from such sources increased. Finally, in 1968, Shahn wrote to Halpert telling her that after ten years of "an accumulation of ill-feeling, discomfort and recrimination between us" he felt compelled to end their dealer-artist relationship.

By the time of Shahn's break with Halpert his health had begun to fail. He died of a heart attack following surgery in a New York City hospital on March 14, 1969.
Related Archival Materials note:
The Archives of American Art holds four oral history interviews with Ben Shahn: 1964 Apr. 14 interview conducted by Richard K. Doud for the Archives of American Art New Deal and the Arts Project in which Shahn speaks of his travels and work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and the American image as portrayed by FSA; 1965 Jan. 17 interview; 1965 Oct. 3. interview conducted by Harlan Phillips for the Archives of American Art New Deal and the Arts Project; and 1968 Sept. 27 interview conducted by Forrest Selvig. Most of these interviews have transcripts available online.

The Archives also holds the Bernarda Bryson Shahn papers, circa 1947-2005, and two oral history interviews with Bernarda Bryson Shahn: 1983 Apr. 29 and 1995 July 3.
Separated Materials note:
In 1969, Bernarda Bryson Shahn loaned addresses and essays by Shahn, 7 royalty statements, and 3 letters from publishers for microfilming. After filming, the material was returned to the donor. The loaned material is available on 35 mm microfilm reel N70-6 at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan, which is not described in the container list of this finding aid. However, many of Shahn's writings on this microfilm were included in subsequent donations to the Archives of American Art.
Provenance:
The Ben Shahn papers were donated in several installments between 1967-1991 by Shahn's widow, Bernarda Bryson Shahn.
Restrictions:
Access to original papers requires an appointment. Access to audiovisual recording with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Ben Shahn 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:
Printmakers -- United States  Search this
Illustrators -- United States  Search this
Photographers -- United States  Search this
Painters -- United States  Search this
Genre/Form:
Awards
Sketches
Transcripts
Motion pictures (visual works)
Sketchbooks
Video recordings
Drawings
Photographs
Prints
Sound recordings
Interviews
Citation:
Ben Shahn papers, 1879-1990, bulk 1933-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.shahben
See more items in:
Ben Shahn papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-shahben
Additional Online Media:

General

Collection Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 5
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1970-1979
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-nakageor-ref10

General

Collection Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 6-17
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1980-1989
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-nakageor-ref11

General

Collection Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 18
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1990
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-nakageor-ref12

Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce Exhibition

Collection Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 20
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1988
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-nakageor-ref14

Japan

Collection Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 21
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1963-1989
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-nakageor-ref15

The Soul of the Tree: A Woodworker's Reflections, Regarding

Collection Creator:
Nakashima, George, 1905-1990  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 24
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1981-1982
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Collection Citation:
George Nakashima papers, 1950-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
George Nakashima papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-nakageor-ref16

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