The papers of Hudson River School painter Jervis McEntee measure 1.6 linear feet and date from 1796 and 1848 to 1905. Letters from close friends and family members to McEntee include many from his mentor Frederic Edwin Church, and fellow artists Samuel Putnam Avery, George Henry Boughton, Sanford Gifford, Richard Henry, Eastman Johnson, Elizabeth B. Stoddard, John Ferguson Weir, Worthington Whittredge, and others. Papers relating to the McEntee family include obituaries, a family genealogy, and letters from and regarding family members. There are also papers relating to the Vaux family (McEntee's brother-in-law's family) and American architect and landscape artist Calvert Vaux, who designed a studio for McEntee. Of special significance are five volumes of diaries dating from 1872 through 1890 which provide a detailed depiction of the American art world in the 1870s and 1880s.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Hudson River School painter Jervis McEntee measure 1.6 linear feet and date from 1796 and 1850 to 1905. Letters from close friends and family members to McEntee include many from his mentor Frederic Edwin Church, and fellow artists Samuel Putnam Avery, George Henry Boughton, Sanford Gifford, Richard Henry, Eastman Johnson, Elizabeth B. Stoddard, John Ferguson Weir, Worthington Whittredge, and others. Papers relating to the McEntee family include obituaries, a family genealogy, and letters from and regarding family members. There are also papers relating to the Vaux family (McEntee's brother-in-law's family) and American architect and landscape artist Calvert Vaux, who designed a studio for McEntee. Of special significance are five volumes of diaries dating from 1872 through 1890 which provide a detailed depiction of the American art world in the 1870s and 1880s.
The Jervis McEntee papers have been arranged into five series, based on material type.
Series 1: Letters, 1850-1905, undated (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 2: Vaux Family Letters and Correspondence, 1850-1890, undated (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 3: Third Party Letters, 1861-1873, undated (Box 2; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 4: Miscellany, 1796, 1848-1895, undated (Box 2; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 5: Diaries, 1872-1890 (Box 3-4; 0.6 linear feet)
Jervis McEntee was born in Rondout, New York, July 14, 1828. He had early literary and artistic aspirations and studied under Frederic E. Church, who had himself studied under the Hudson River School master, Thomas Cole. McEntee was to maintain a close relationship with Church for the rest of his life. After an unsuccessful stint as a businessman, McEntee settled in New York in 1857 as one of the charter residents of Richard Morris Hunt's Tenth Street Studio Building. Since many of the other occupants were either bachelors or commuters, and since Mrs. McEntee was a lively, sympathetic hostess, the couple became the center of a spontaneous salon frequented by some of the best-known artists, writers, and actors of the time. After his wife died in 1878, McEntee stayed on, an increasingly neglected widower until his death in 1891.
McEntee was identified with the Hudson River School and an accomplished and sensitive painter of autumnal landscapes. He wrote in 1874, "Perhaps what would mark my work among that of my brother artists is a preference for the soberer phases Nature, the gray days of November and its leafless trees." McEntee stood at the center of the interlocking directorate formed by the National Academy of Design, the Century Club, and the Tenth Street Studio Building. In the latter part of the 19th century, these formed a supreme art establishment whose membership was composed of the old guard American artists, such as McEntee's close friends Eastman Johnson, Sanford Gifford, John Ferguson Weir, Worthington Whittredge, and Church, who were fighting an ultimately futile battle against the encroachment of European influences among both artists and collectors.
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reel D9) including a diary dated June 12, 1851-August 17, 1851. This material was returned to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York and is not described in the collection container inventory.
The Adirondack Museum lent one diary for microfilming in 1964. The rest of the collection was acquired from several donors between 1959 and 1997. The noted collector Charles E. Feinberg donated letters in 1959 and, Mrs. Helen S. McEntee, who married the nephew of Jervis McEntee, donated the five volumes of diaries in 1964. William Gaffken, director of the insurance company that acquired the McEntee family insurance business, donated the remaining papers in 1997.
Use of original papers requires and appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
The Jervis McEntee 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.
The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands : containing the figures of birds, beasts, fishes, serpents, insects, and plants : particularly, the forest-trees, shrubs, and other plants, not hitherto described, or very incorrectly figured by authors : together with their descriptions in English and French : to which, are added observations on the air, soil, and waters : with remarks upon agriculture, grain, pulse, roots, &c. : to the whole, is prefixed a new and correct map of the countries treated of / by Mark Catesby = Histoire naturelle de la Caroline, la Floride, & les Isles Bahama : contenant les desseins des oiseaux, animaux, poissons, serpents, insectes, & plantes, et en particulier, des arbres des forets, arbrisseaux, & autres plantes, qui n'ont point été decrits, jusques à present par les auteurs, ou peu exactement dessinés : avec leur descriptions en françois & en anglois : à quoi on a adjouté, des observations sur l'air, le sol, & les eaux, avec des remarques sur l'agriculture, les grains, les legumes, les racines, &c. : le tout est precedé d'une carte nouvelle & exacte des païs dont il s'agist / par Marc Catesby
Histoire naturelle de la Caroline, la Floride, & les Isles Bahama
The collection contains: twenty-nine silver gelatin photoprints mounted on Fome-Core, Masonite, and cardboard, ranging in size from 5-1/2" x 9-1/4" to 10-11/16" x 13-13/16"; three 5" x 7" unmounted silver gelatin photoprints; a scrapbook which originally contained 56 silver gelatin photoprints, ranging in size from 2" x 3" to 7-1/2" x 9-1/2"; and silver gelatin film negatives (presumably acetate) for the prints. The scrapbook includes a New York Daily News clipping about Rivers: "Builds a Bridge to Students" by Anthony Burton (dated May 12, 1970 by Rivers) with a photograph showing him speaking to a crowd,
Most of the photographs depict the construction of the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings--iron workers on the job and relaxing during breaks, and pictures of the buildings at various stages of completion. Other subjects are: a demonstration to prevent World War II (1935), a color photoprint of the Civil Rights March and Demonstration in Washington, D.C. (1963), and two magazine clippings from a Soviet publication, New Times, in which Rivers's prize-winning "Self Portrait" (1930) was reproduced.
Most of these prints were made by Charles Rivers many years after the creation of the original negatives, probably ca.1970s 1980s. The collection is in generally good condition, except that many of the print surfaces are scratched.
Biographical / Historical:
Charles Rivers created a certain amount of confusion about his origins, whether accidentally or intentionally. Born Constantinos Kapornaros (or Kostandinos Kapernaros) in the small town of Vahos in Mani, an isolated area in the southern Peloponnesian region of Greece, on May 20, 1904, he emigrated to the United States as a child of five or six with his parents. His school record showed that he was enrolled in 1911 at the age of seven. The family lived in Maine or New Hampshire, then Massachusetts, and later other locations in New York state. It is believed that his new name was derived from the Charles River in Boston. The change may have been occasioned by a need to conceal his deep involvement in left-wing political and union activities.
Mr. Rivers settled in New York City in 1950 and resided there until 1993. He sometimes identified his birthplace as Denver, Colorado, but this may have been a fabrication or simplification, based on the fact that Greek church baptismal records were kept in Denver. His sons James and Ronald believe that he never became an official American citizen. Late in life, in order to visit his birthplace, he was issued a passport, based on his school records, which stated that he was born in Denver.
Rivers photographed the construction of the Chrysler Building (1929) and the Empire State Building (1930) in New York City. He was inspired to take up photography by seeing the work of the influential documentary photographer Lewis Hine, whose famous images of working children helped win passage of protective child labor laws. Rivers and Hine both photographed the Empire State Building and the men building it, yet Rivers apparently was unaware until years later that his idol had been present. Employed as an iron worker, Rivers traded his pail of tools for a Zeiss Ikon camera during his lunch hour or when photographic opportunities arose. While the workers depicted in some of the photographs clearly are aware of the photographer's presence, Rivers's project presumably was conducted more or less surreptitiously. It is not known for certain if the paths of Rivers and Hine ever crossed, but his son Ron considers it unlikely: Hine photographed only the Empire State Building in connection with his "Men at Work" project, not the earlier Chrysler Building, and Rivers did not work on the Empire State Building for a very long period. His self-portrait on the Empire State Building, "The Bolter-Up," may have been intended as a memento during one of his last days on that job.
Rivers became unemployed in the Depression and consequently became involved in national efforts to create Social Security, unemployment insurance, and housing programs. These experiences apparently encouraged his active participation in politically leftist activities, as coverage about him in Soviet publications attests. A pacifist, in 1935 he was involved in demonstrations aimed at preventing World War II, and in the 1960s he took part in anti-Vietnam demonstrations and encouraged young people to continue such resistance.
In the 1950s Rivers worked in steel fabrication, in a chemistry lab as a technician, and briefly as a legislative aide for a New York state senator.
In 1986 Rivers submitted his 1930 self-portrait, posed on the Chrysler Building, to the International Year of Peace art contest sponsored by the New Times, published in Moscow: it was awarded a prize and diploma.
Mr. Rivers died in 1993, only two weeks after moving to Arlington, Texas to enter a nursing home near his sons' homes.
1. The page on Rivers in New York University=s Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives web site (http://laborarts.org/collections/item.cfm?itemid=82) --noted 5 June 2002), claims Rivers was born in 1905 and changed his name Ato resemble those of the Mohawk Indians working on the high steel of New York City=s skyscrapers and bridges".
2. This spelling is given in an e-mail from James Rivers to Helen Plummer, Aug. 19, 2002.
4. Telephone conversation between Ron Rivers and the author, 6 June 2002. Additional information was provided by Ron Rivers in electronic mail messages, 5 June and 12 June 2002.
5. James Rivers, op. cit.
6. Telephone conversation with Ron Rivers, 6 June 2002.
7. In a biographical statement for the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art (copy supplied by Helen Plummer), Charles Rivers called Denver his birthplace. The George Eastman House photographer database also included this apparently erroneous information, probably derived from the Amon Carter statement (telephone conversation with Helen Plummer, 3 June 2002).
8. Ron Rivers, telephone conversation, 6 June 2002.
9. Identified by Charles Rivers as the camera used in the skyscraper photographs: interview by Carol Sewell, "Photographer looked at U.S. from high view," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dec. 27, 1986. Rivers also used a Rolleiflex, according to Ron Rivers (see note above), but the folding Zeiss Ikon camera would have been a more convenient addition to a lunchbox than the bulkier Rolleiflex. The collection negatives are not in the Rolleiflex square format, moreover.
10. See Judith Mara Gutman, Lewis W. Hine and the American social conscience. New York: Walker, 1967.
11. Ron Rivers, telephone conversation, 6 June 2002.
Materials at the Smithsonian Institution
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Included Rivers's self-portrait, "The Bolter Up," in its summer 2002 exhibition, "Metropolis in the Machine Age," in the form of a new print made from a digital copy of the Archives Center's original negative. The author discussed the new print from the Rivers negative and other photographs in this exhibition in an invited gallery lecture, "The Skyscraper Photographs of Lewis Hine and Charles Rivers," Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, June 6, 2002.
Materials at Other Organizations
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
See Barbara McCandless and John Rohrbach, Singular moments: photographs from the Amon Carter Museum, with select entries by Helen Plummer. Reproduction of a Rivers photograph, with description and analysis, p. 30. Additional information has been generously supplied by Ms. Plummer, curatorial associate, and Barbara McCandless, curator of photography, Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth Texas.
Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University
Museum of the City of New York
Some of his photographs were included in the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art exhibition, "Looking at America: Documentary Photographs of the 1930s and 1940s," December 1986.
The collection is a gift from Mr. Charles Rivers, 1989.
Collection is open for research.
Archives Center claims copyright. Rights were conveyed to the Archives Center through a Deed of Gift signed by the donor.
The papers of art critic, writer, and historian Elizabeth McCausland measure 45 linear feet and date from 1838 to 1995, with the bulk of the material dating from 1920 to 1960. The collection provides a vast accumulation of research data on various artists and aspects of American art, especially the early American modernists and the Federal Arts Projects. Papers include McCausland's extensive research and writing files, particularly on Marsden Hartley, E. L. Henry, Lewis Hine, George Inness, and Alfred H. Maurer. McCausland's correspondence with artists includes a substantial amount with Arthur Dove and Alfred Stieglitz. Her collaborative work with Berenice Abbott on the Changing New York book and series of photographs is well-documented within the collection. Also found are general writings, subject files, files relating to exhibitions, teaching, and committees, photographs, art work, personal papers, and printed material. Additional McCausland material donated later from the estate of Berenice Abbott include biographical materials, project files, writings, and printed materials.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of art critic, writer, and historian Elizabeth McCausland measure approximately 45 linear feet and date from 1838 to 1995, with the bulk of the material dating from 1920 to 1995. The collection provides a vast accumulation of data on various artists and aspects of American art, especially the early American modernists and the Federal Arts Projects. Papers include McCausland's extensive research and writing files, particularly on Marsden Hartley, E. L. Henry, Lewis Hine, George Inness, and Alfred H. Maurer. McCausland's correspondence with artists includes a substantial amount with Arthur Dove and Alfred Stieglitz. Her collaborative work with Berenice Abbott on the Changing New York book and series of photographs is well-documented within the collection. Also found are general writings, subject files, files relating to exhibitions, teaching, and committees, photographs, art work, personal papers, and printed material. Additional McCausland material from the estate of Berenice Abbott include biographical materials, project files, writings, and printed materials.
McCausland's personal papers consist of appointment books and engagement calendars, scrapbooks, student papers, works printed on her private press, financial records, biographical material, and scattered memorabilia, which together document other aspects of her life apart from her work. Correspondence includes incoming and outgoing letters along with enclosures, dating from McCausland's time as a journalist for The Springfield Republican in the 1920s and 1930s to her time as a freelance writer, art critic, and historian (1940s-1960s) and mostly concerning professional matters. Also included is a substantial amount of correspondence with artists, particularly Arthur Dove and Alfred Stieglitz, and some personal correspondence with her mother. General writings consists primarily of copies of McCausland's speeches and lectures on various art topics in addition to her early poems (dating from the 1930s) and scattered essays and articles.
The most extensive part of the collection is comprised of McCausland's research and writing files pertaining to large research and curatorial projects, such as ones on the artists Alfred H. Maurer and Marsden Hartley (which was begun by the American Art Research Council and subsequently taken over by McCausland), and one for the American Processional exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in 1950. A wide variety of smaller projects are also well-documented in the series Other Research and Writing Files, including ones on E. L. Henry, Lewis Hine, George Inness, her collaborative work with Berenice Abbott on the Changing New York book and series of photographs. Numerous other artists and art topics are covered as well, such as Arthur Dove, Robert Henri, Jacob Lawrence, Charles Hawthorne, film, and photography. Files for her book Careers in Art (1950), her many speaking and lecture engagements, and editing work are also found in this series. Files consist primarily of correspondence, notes, research material, manuscripts, bibliographies, photographs of works of art, completed research forms for works of art, card index files, and printed material.
Also found are subject files containing printed material, scattered notes and correspondence, and photographs, which may have been used for reference and/or collected in the course of McCausland's research activities; files relating to various exhibitions organized by McCausland from 1939 to 1944, including ones of silk screen prints and modern photography; files relating to courses on art history taught by McCausland, especially the one she taught at Barnard College in 1956; and files stemming from her participation in various art organizations and committees, especially during the time period just before and during the Second World War.
Printed material consists primarily of clippings and tear sheets of McCausland's newspaper articles and columns, which document her contributions to The Springfield Republican from 1923 to 1946, in addition to scattered exhibition catalogs, announcements, books, and miscellaneous publications. Photographs include ones of various artists and works of art, ones from the Farm Security Administration, and ones by photographers, such as Berenice Abbott (including ones from the Federal Art Project book, Changing New York), Barbara Morgan, Weegee, and Edward Weston, among others. Photographs, sometimes annotated or including notes, are scattered throughout her research files. Also included are photographs of McCausland, dating from her childhood. Art work found in the collection includes drawings, prints, and watercolors that were either given to McCausland by the artist or collected by her in the course of her work as an art critic and historian.
Additional material belonging to Elizabeth McCausland and donated by the estate of Berenice Abbott includes biographical material; business and personal correspondence; professional project files and writings, including drafts and research materials related to the book projects Art in America, Conversations with March, and Frank Kleinholz; and printed materials, including reprints of critical essays and articles by McCausland.
The collection is arranged as 15 series:
Series 1: Personal Papers, 1838, 1920-1951 (Boxes 1-2, 34; 1.5 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1923-1960 (Boxes 2-5; 2.9 linear feet)
Series 3: General Writings, circa 1930-1954 (Boxes 5-6; 0.9 linear feet)
Series 4: Alfred H. Maurer, 1851-1951, bulk 1948-1950 (Boxes 6-9; 3.7 linear feet)
Series 5: American Processional, 1949-1951 (Boxes 10-11; 1.8 linear feet)
Series 6: Marsden Hartley, 1900-1964, bulk 1944-1964 (Boxes 11-21, OV 37; 10 linear feet)
Series 7: Other Research and Writing Files, 1896, 1926-1958 (Boxes 21-25, 31; 4.6 linear feet)
Series 8: Subject Files, 1927-1954 (Boxes 25-26; 1.0 linear feet)
Series 9: Other Exhibition Files, 1939-1941, 1944 (Box 26; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 10: Teaching Files, 1939-1965 (Box 27; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 11: Committee Files, 1936-1960 (Box 27; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 12: Printed Material, 1923-1953 (Boxes 28-32, 34, OV 38, BV 44-47; 4.6 linear feet)
Series 13: Photographs, circa 1905-1950 (Boxes 32-36, OV 37; 1.4 linear feet)
Series 14: Art Work, 1887-1942 (Boxes 33-34, OV 39-43; 0.7 linear feet)
Series 15: Elizabeth McCausland Material from the Estate of Berenice Abbott, 1920-1995 (Boxes 48-53; 5.4 linear feet)
Elizabeth McCausland, the art critic and writer, was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1899. She attended Smith College, receiving her Bachelor's degree in 1920 and her Master's in 1922. Beginning in 1923, she worked as a general reporter for The Springfield Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts). After several years, she began to review art exhibitions and soon became an established art critic. In the course of her work, she began to develop friendships with artists, such as Alfred Stieglitz and Arthur Dove. During these early years, she also wrote poetry and designed and printed limited edition publications on her private press.
McCausland moved to New York in 1935, but continued to contribute a weekly art column to The Springfield Republican until it suspended publication in 1946. From the mid-1930s on, she worked primarily as a freelance writer and art critic, contributing articles to publications such as Parnassas, The New Republic, and Magazine of Art. In the latter part of her career, her writings focused more on art history and special studies on artists.
In the late-1930s, McCausland collaborated with the photographer Berenice Abbott on the Federal Art Project book, Changing New York, for which she provided the text to Abbott's now-famous photographs of New York City neighborhoods, architecture, and street scenes. She studied and wrote about photography, including numerous articles on the photographer Lewis Hine (of whose work she organized a retrospective exhibition at the Riverside Museum in 1939), and was appointed to the Advisory Committee of the Museum of Modern Art's Department of Photography in 1944.
McCausland went on to organize other exhibitions, including a show of contemporary work, "The World of Today" (Berkshire Museum, 1939), shows of silk screen prints (Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, March 1940 and New York State Museum, Summer 1940), and a photography show, "Photography Today" (A.C.A. Gallery, 1944). In the late 1930s, she embarked upon a study of "the status of the artist in America from colonial times to the present, with especial attention to the relation between art and patronage," which continued over twenty years (and was never completed) and for which she received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1943.
In addition to her other writing, during the 1940s, McCausland carried out studies on the artists, E. L. Henry and George Inness, which resulted in exhibitions at the New York State Museum in 1942 and the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum in 1946, respectively and publications (a report on Henry and a book on Inness). From 1948 to 1949, she carried out an extensive study of the painter, Alfred H. Maurer, organizing an exhibition, "A. H. Maurer: 1868-1932," which showed at the Walker Art Center and the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1949, and publishing the biography, A. H. Maurer, in 1951. In 1950, she worked as a special consultant on the American Processional exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery and as editor of the accompanying book. Shortly thereafter, she began a study of Marsden Hartley for a monograph, which was published in 1952, and she helped organize the Hartley exhibition at the University of Minnesota that same year. She continued the Hartley study on larger scale for a planned biography and catalogue raisonne; although she continued to work on it off and on for the next decade, the project was never completed.
McCausland published other books, including Careers in the Arts (1951), and undertook other research and consulting projects, such as photo-editing Carl Sandburg's Poems of the Midwest (1946), conducting surveys of art and advertising for an article in Magazine of Art and of art education for Cooper Union Art School, and contributing yearly articles on art to various encyclopedias. At different times throughout her career, she supplemented her income by taking teaching positions. She taught courses on art history at Sarah Lawrence College from 1942 to 1944 and at Barnard College in 1956, as well as courses at the Design Laboratory (1939) and the New School for Social Research (1946). She also gave numerous lectures and speeches on various art topics, and regularly participated in conferences and symposiums. Towards the end of her career, she was publishing less, but was still involved in many projects, most notably the Hartley study.
McCausland was a tireless promoter of the arts, and often an advocate for artists. Even though her work was well-known among certain art circles, she never received the recognition as a writer that she deserved. Nor was she ever able to free herself from the pressure of writing for a living. Continually suffering from poor health, she died on May 14, 1965.
Related material found in the Archives includes a sound recording from a symposium on Marsden Hartley, of which McCausland was a participant, held at the Portland Museum of Art in 1961. The Frank Kleinholz papers contain a recorded interview of McCausland done in 1944-1945 for radio station WNYC. Some of McCausland's correspondence is found in the G. Alan Chidsey papers; Chidsey served as a trustee of the Marsden Hartley estate.
Material separated from the collection includes some issues of Camera Work (Vol. 30, 47, 49/50), which were combined with other issues in an artificial collection created by the Archives at some earlier point.
Elizabeth McCausland donated the bulk of her papers in several installments from 1956 to 1961. An unknown donor, perhaps her literary executor, donated additional papers sometime after her death in 1965. It appears that McCausland originally donated her research files on Marsden Hartley, measuring 10 linear feet, to the Whitney Museum, who then lent them to the Archives for microfilming in 1966, and donated them sometime thereafter. McCausland originally donated files of newspaper clippings and offprints of her articles to the The New York Public Library, who gave them to the Archives in 1968. Additional McCausland material from the estate of Berenice Abbott was donated to the Archives in 2009.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The Elizabeth McCausland 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.
Art historians -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
This collection measures 7.7 linear feet, dates from circa 1870 to 1992, and documents the life and career of painter Ross Moffett and, to a lesser extent, the life and career of his wife, painter, lithographer, etcher, and illustrator, Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett. The collection includes correspondence, photographs, artwork including sketchbooks, and printed material including published writings, newspaper clippings, press releases, and exhibition catalogs.
Scope and Content Note:
The Ross and Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett papers measure 7.7 linear feet and date from circa 1870 to 1992. Because Dorothy Moffett's papers were received separately they are filed together in Series 13. Series 1-12 deal primarily with the life and career of Ross Moffett. The collection documents Ross Moffett's participation in the Provincetown community as an artist and resident through correspondence, photographs, sketchbooks and printed material, including published writings, news clippings, press releases, and exhibition catalogs. The papers of Dorothy Moffett include family letters, photographs, a journal and original artwork providing scattered documentation of her life and career as an a printmaker and illustrator.
General correspondence primarily focuses on news and financial affairs of the Moffett family farm in Iowa. Also included are letters from Provincetown artist, Edwin Dickinson, and a small amount of correspondence with other artists, collectors and dealers.
Files documenting specific projects that Ross Moffett was involved with are arranged separately and include correspondence, printed material and photographs. Project files have been established for the following projects: the publication of Art in Narrow Streets, the Eisenhower mural, the Cape Cod National Seashore Park and the renovation of the Center Methodist Church.
The series of printed material, 1918-1992, relates to Ross Moffett's career as an artist and his general interest in art. Photographs primarily focus on scenes of Provincetown and include photographs of works of art by Provincetown artists. Also included are photographs of artwork by Moffett arranged chronologically, Moffett's studio in Provincetown, and installations at the Provincetown Art Association Galleries.
Artwork found in Series 10 and 11 includes drawings by Ross Moffett and 85 annotated sketchbooks, including four by Dorothy Moffett.
The collection also houses research notes and files written by Josephine Couch Del Deo in preparation of a biography of Ross Moffett. These annotations provide useful additional information about Moffett's life.
Papers of Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett include Gregory family letters, Dorothy's correspondence with her father, and letters from other family and friends. Also found are drawings, lithographs and etchings by Dorothy and photographs of her family and friends.
The collection is arranged into thirteen series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1888-1965 (box 1; 1 folder)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1915-1972 (box 1; 0.6 linear ft)
Series 3: Financial Material, 1933-1971 (box 1; 2 folders)
Series 4: Notebook/Notes, undated (box 1; 2 folders)
Series 5: Projects, 1880-1969, undated (boxes 1-2; 1.2 linear ft.)
Series 6: Subject File, 1960-1968 (box 2; 1 folder)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1916-1992, undated (boxes 2-4, 7; 1.5 linear ft.)
Series 8: Photographs, circa 1900-1975, undated (box 4; 15 folders)
Series 9: Slides of Art Association, Iowa Farmland and the Chrysler Museum, circa 1960, undated (box 4; 1 folder)
Series 10: Drawings, circa 1929-1934 (box 5; 1 folder)
Series 11: Sketchbooks, 1913-1969 (boxes 5-8; 2.5 linear ft.)
Series 12: Annotations/Item Descriptions by Josephine Couch Del Deo, undated (box 6; 2 folders)
Series 13: Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett Papers, circa 1870-1975 (boxes 9-11; 0.7 linear ft.)
Ross Moffett (1888-1971) was an important figure in the development of modernism in American Art after World War I. His paintings primarily depict the life and landscapes of the Provincetown, Massachusetts area. Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett is perhaps best known as a printmaker and illustrator of children's books and magazines.
Born in Iowa in 1888, Moffett trained at the Art Institute in Chicago and studied with Charles Hawthorne during the summer of 1913, in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Moffett then studied at the Art Students League and returned to Provincetown in 1915, to establish himself as an artist. He was one of the founders of the Provincetown Art Association and a leading figure in the art colony for many years. In 1920, Moffett married artist Dorothy Lake Gregory in Brooklyn, New York. Dorothy studied at the Pratt Institute and with Robert Henri and George Bellows in New York, and then went to Provincetown to study with Hawthorne as well.
During the 1920's and 1930's, Ross Moffett's success increased steadily and he had his first one-man show at the Frank Rehn Gallery in New York and also at The Art Institute of Chicago in 1928. He served on several exhibition juries around the country during this time. Between 1936 and 1938, Moffett painted four murals in two Massachusetts post offices for the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). Moffett received full membership to the National Academy of Design in 1942.
While Moffett's painting slowed somewhat during World War II he continued his involvement in the arts by maintaining the Provincetown Art Association. He taught briefly at the University of Miami in Ohio from 1932 to 1933, and returned to Provincetown to pursue painting full-time. In the 1950's, Moffett became interested in archaeology and even delivered a few lectures on the subject. During this time he continued to paint and his art reflected his preoccupation with the science of archaeology. In 1954, Moffett was one of two artists selected by the National Academy of Design to paint murals depicting President Dwight D. Eisenhower's life for the Eisenhower Memorial Museum in Abilene, Kansas. Moffett was chosen to portray Eisenhower's civilian life.
In 1960, Moffett became active in the movement to establish the 1400 acres known as the Province Lands as part of the Cape Cod National Seashore Park. After the park was established Moffett wrote and published a history of the first thirty-three years of the Provincetown Art Association in a book titled Art in Narrow Streets, 1964. He continued to serve as a juror for the Provincetown Art Association and was artist-in-residence for the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center in 1970.
Dorothy Moffett also pursued a successful career in art, and publishers such as Rand McNally used her illustrations for youth magazines and childrens books, such as the classic Green Fairy Book. Her work was exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum, the National Academy, and the Brooklyn Museum, and her Alice in Wonderland series of lithographs was purchased for the permanent collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Though best known as a printmaker, Moffett also worked in oil.
Ross Moffett died of cancer on March 13, 1971.
Related resources in the Archives of American Art include a sound recording of a transcribed interview with Ross Moffett by Dorothy Seckler, August 27, 1962; and a sound recording of an untranscribed interview with Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett by Robert F. Brown, September 22, 1972.
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reel D80) including 150 letters relating to art organizations, museums, and government art projects, news clippings, records of the Provincetown Art Association, and the Emergency Committee for the Protection of Province Lands, and miscellaneous publications. Lent materials were returned to Ross Moffett and are now housed at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. This material is not described in the collection container inventory.
Ross Moffett initally lent the Archives of American Art material for microfilming in 1962. The remainder of the collection was donated in 1974 by his widow, Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett (died 1975), via Ross Moffett's biographer, Josephine Del Deo, who turned the papers over in installments. Archaeological material and artifacts received with the papers were donated to the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts.
The collection is open for research. Patrons must use microfilm copy.
A portion of the Ross and Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett 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.
The Lena Gurr (1897-1992) papers date from 1908 to 1979 and measure 7.0 linear feet. Gurr was a painter and printmaker who studied under John sloan and Maurice Sterne at the Art Students League between 1920-1922. She also studied in France and married painter and photographer Joseph Biel in 1931. The papers document both Gurr and Biel's careers through correspondence, notes, art work, printed material, scrapbooks, and photographs. The collection offers researchers a valuable resource for studying the New York art community of the pre-war era.
Scope and Content Note:
The Lena Gurr papers date from 1908 to 1979 and measure 7.0 linear feet. The collection presents a good overview of Gurr's career as a painter and printmaker, and her relationship with her husband, painter Joseph Biel. Through biographical material, correspondence, notes, an interview with Lena Gurr, original artwork by Gurr and others, scrapbooks, printed material, photographs of Gurr, family, and friends, and photographs of artwork by Gurr and others, the collection offers researchers a valuable resource for studying the New York art community of the pre-war era.
The collection is arranged into eight series. Material within each series is arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1968, undated (box 1; 1 folder)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1921-1979, undated (boxes 1-4; 3.1 linear ft.)
Series 3: Notes, 1926-1972 (box 4; 4 folders)
Series 4: Interview, 1950 (box 4; 1 folder)
Series 5: Artwork, circa 1908-1951 (box 4; 36 folders)
Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1912-1948 (boxes 4-5, 8-11; 1.45 linear ft.)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1926-1978 (box 5; 21 folders)
Series 8: Photographs, 1912-1978 (boxes 5-7; 1.05 linear ft.)
Born October 27, 1897, in Brooklyn, New York, Lena Gurr was the daughter of Hyman and Ida (Gorodnick) Gurr. She attended the Maxwell Training School for Teachers from 1915 to 1917, then turned her energies toward art. She studied painting and printmaking at the Educational Alliance Art School in 1919, and at the Art Students League (1920-1922), where she was a student of John Sloan and Maurice Stern. She also studied art in Paris, Nice, and Mentone, France. Her first solo exhibition was in 1932 at the Brooklyn Museum.
On November 24, 1931, Gurr married painter and photographer Joseph Biel. He was born October 27, 1891 in Russia, studied at the Russian Academy in Paris, and at the Workman's College, Melbourne, Australia. He also established the first Jewish Library in Melbourne. Upon his arrival in the United States, he studied under George Grosz at the Art Students League. Biel died in April 1943 of a heart ailment.
The Lena Gurr papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Lena Gurr from 1966 to 1979.
The collection is open for research. Patrons must use microfilm copy.
The Lena Gurr 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.
The Kahn Family Films document the activities of the Godwin Construction Co. of New York City from 1928-1934. The films also document more than twenty-five years of the Bergman and Kahn family life and travel. The films are silent, 16mm black and white reversal and Kodachrome. Unless otherwise noted, films were arranged in the Archives Center on compilation reels by subject. Some images are deteriorated because of age and film conditions, most noticeably on 722.39. A detailed description of each reel is included under each film title. The collection is divided into five series and arranged in chronological order;
Series 1, Godwin Construction Company, 1927-1934; documents the digging, structural support and daily site activities at various Godwin construction jobs around New York City. In the footage taken at the Chrysler Building site, Bergman documented many of the workers who worked on the job as well as the secretaries in the main offices with filmed portrait shots. While the films are primarily focused on documenting construction practices and procedures at the sites, there is also footage of workmen and machinery. The films also document the company=s annual ABeefsteak@ that eventually moved from a banquet hall to one of the islands in Jamaica Bay.
Series 2, Rockaway Park Yacht Club, 1927-1929; documents many of Bergman's yachting activities on the yacht Thora and events at the Rockaway Park Yacht Club (RPYC) from family related activities to some of the Godwin Company's Beefsteaks.
Series 3, Travel and Leisure, 1926-1957, undated; documents many of the Bergman and Kahn family trips to various locations in the United States and Europe. The 1927 trip to Canada and the American West has footage of Hollywood, then just on the verge of adding sound to motion pictures. The 1929 trip to Europe occurred not only during the first year of the Great Depression but is a wonderful travelogue of Europe in the years before WWII. On reel 722.27 there is an interesting shot of a poster, "Ethel et Julius Rosenberg Que Les Assassins, Soient Maudits A Jamais" [trans: Ethel and Julius Rosenberg let the assassins be cursed/condemned forever.] showing a young boy throwing mud on the poster - presumably in protest.
Series 4, Family and Home Life, 1928-1958; Titles of the footage are taken directly from the original film containers. There is footage of many family members and gatherings. There is footage shot at Bergman's onetime home at 120-18 Newport Ave., Rockaway Park, Long Island. There is footage of tennis great Bill Tilden giving a small exhibition match in Florida in 1946 on 722.25.
Series 5, Papers, 1927-1958; are selections of the original paper containers for some of the films with the original notes and identifications written on them. This series also contains a copy of Bergman's 1907 thesis and related papers and architectural drawings.
Biographical / Historical:
Harry Montefiore Bergman (1885-1971) was born on August 3, 1885 in Elmira, New York. He graduated from college in 1907 with a degree in Applied Science from Columbia University's School of Engineering. After graduation, he went to work for Godwin Construction Co. He specialized in structural foundations and was an authority on the soil and bedrock of Manhattan Island, New York. Beginning his employment as a superintendent, he rose to the position of Secretary and General Superintendent of Civil Engineering in June, 1927. In January 1932, Bergman was elevated to Vice-President and finally attained the presidency of the company in 1957. Bergman retired from the company in 1967. He was a member of the Association of American Society of Civil Engineers.
Godwin Construction Company was founded by Philander Hanford Godwin (1877-1936) in the early 20th century. Godwin was one of the pre-eminent civil engineering firms in New York City primarily involved in constructing foundations for large public building projects. The company was responsible for digging and construction of the foundations for the Chrysler Building, 176th St. Telephone Building, the old New York Port Authority Truck Terminal, the old Madison Square Garden at 8th Ave. and 50th St., the Hudson River Bridge, New York Hospital, Knickerbocker Village and others. Godwin Construction Co. was located in New York City, through the years at various locations: by 1915 at 251 4th Ave., by 1932 at 370 Lexington Ave., Rm. 1201 and later at 130 East 44th St.
Bergman, a lifelong bachelor, developed a love of motion picture photography and pursued this hobby with great enthusiasm. He photographed not only Godwin's construction work and work sites at various foundation projects throughout New York City in the 1920s and 1930s but filmed the company picnics, called "Beefsteaks", family leisure time activities and vacations as well. Bergman was also an avid yachtsman and filmed many hours of footage while sailing on Samuel Lauterbach's yachtThora , (the Thora may also have been owned in a partnership between Lauterbach and Bergman) and at the Rockaway Park Yacht Club (RPYC) in Rockaway Park, New York. Bergman, along with Lauterbach, was one of the founders of the RPYC and it was reportedly founded because Jews were not allowed membership in any of the "exclusive" yacht clubs surrounding Manhattan. The yacht club was destroyed during the hurricane of 1938. Many films feature Ruth Perl who was Bergman's favorite niece. They took numerous trips to California, Canada, and Europe. Perl seems to also have taken an interest in motion picture photography as well, often operating the camera herself. Perl married Irving Kahn and had three sons, Donald Kahn, Alan R. Kahn and Thomas G. Kahn, who figure prominently in the later films. Bergman was a lifelong resident of New York. As of 1916, his address was 615 W. 143rd St., New York, NY. For a time he lived at 120-18 Newport Ave. in Rockaway Park, NY. In 1951 he bought a home at 143-17 Cronston Avenue in Belle Harbor. At the end of his life, Bergman is noted as living at 1 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. Bergman died on August 3, 1971. At the time of his death Bergman was staying at the Florence Nightingale Nursing Home, 175 East 96th St. in New York, New York.
Bergman's employer and the founder of Godwin Construction Co., Philander H. Godwin, was born on September 30, 1877 in New York City, NY. Godwin graduated from Columbia University's School of Engineering with a degree in Applied Science in 1899. After graduation, he married Carrie L. Pye and they had two children. Godwin founded the Godwin Construction Co. in the early 20th century and was the company's president until his death in 1936. As of 1916, his residence address was Cedar and Arch Avenues in Larchmont, NY and by the time of his death he was living at 26 Willow Avenue in Larchmont. He was a member of the Larchmont Yacht Club and perhaps had a great influence on Bergman's taking up the sport. He was an active member of St. John's Episcopal Church, Larchmont and a member of the Union League. Godwin died on March 27, 1936 in Larchmont.
Sources: Records of Columbia University, New York, New York
"City Sells 2 Plots for Factory Sites", New York Times, June 6th, 1951, pg. 64.
Newspaper Obituary of Harry N. Bergman, Archives Center Control File
Conversation and correspondence with Alan and Kimberly Kahn
My Life: Edward du Moulin
Donated to the National Museum of American History, Archives Center in 2000 by Kimberly R. Kahn, great-great niece of Harry M. Bergman.
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment. Researchers may use videotape reference copies only.
The National Museum of American History may not authorize publication, reproduction, or distribution by a commercial, for-profit publisher, distributor, media producer, or film maker without the express permission of the Donors.
The term of the requirement for written authorization prior to third party, for-profit, commercial use will last 50 (fifty) years unless agreed to in writing by both the National Museum of American History and the Donors.
Oasis in the city : the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Modern Art / edited by Peter Reed and Romy Silver-Kohn ; with contributions by Quentin Bajac, Peter Reed, Romy Silver-Kohn, and Ann Temkin
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Modern Art
Invisible man : Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem / Michal Raz-Russo ; with contributions by Douglas Druick, Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr., Matthew S. Witkovsky, John F. Callahan, and Jean-Christophe Cloutier