The papers of painter and muralist John Milton Ramm measure 11 linear feet and date from 1900 to 1992. Found within are biographical materials, family correspondence, personal business records, notes and notebooks, travel journals and other writings by Ramm and his father, John Henry Ramm. Art work consists of sketches, sketchbooks, watercolor sketches, mural designs, and other drawings by John Milton Ramm and John Henry Ramm. Also found are numerous photographs of family, friends, travels and voyages, and San Francisco cityscapes, as well as photographs of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fires taken by John Henry Ramm.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of painter and muralist John Milton Ramm measure 11 linear feet and date from 1900 to 1992. Found within are biographical materials, family correspondence, personal business records, notes and notebooks, travel journals and other writings by Ramm and his father, John Henry Ramm. Art work consists of sketches, sketchbooks, watercolor sketches, mural designs, and other drawings by John Milton Ramm and John Henry Ramm. Also found are numerous photographs of family, friends, travels and voyages, and San Francisco cityscapes, as well as photographs of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fires taken by John Henry Ramm. The collection reflects the artist's interest in travel and his thorough recording of each voyage through paintings, drawings, photographs, and journals.
The Notes Series (32 folders) consist of notebooks and unbound notes primarily concerning John Milton Ramm's travel and art-related activities.
The Writings Series (1.0 linear feet) consists of travel journals and typescripts based on travel by John Milton Ramm, and scripts and poetry by his father John Henry Ramm. There are also two travel journals written by others.
The Art Works Series (1.3 linear feet) primarily consists of drawings and watercolors by John Milton Ramm depicting scenes from his travels and designs for advertisements and magazine covers. There are also drawings, watercolors, small oil paintings, and prints by his father John Henry Ramm, and bookplates designed by unidentified artists, probably friends of John Milton Ramm.
The Photographs Series (2.4 linear feet) consists of photographs of John Milton Ramm, family members, his house, views of San Francisco, California and other western states, views of his voyages around the world, and of his art work. There are also photographs taken by Ramm's father, John Henry Ramm of San Francisco, most notably views of the 1906 fire and earthquake damage, and photographs of his art work. Miscellaneous photographs by unidentified photographers include views of the Gilbert Islands in 1915.
The Printed Material Series (54 folders) includes clippings, an exhibition announcement for John Milton Ramm, miscellaneous calling cards for individuals and businesses, a school yearbook, published scripts, and miscellaneous booklets and programs.
The Artifacts Series (1 folder) consists of a hand-carved backscratcher and a rubber stamp of a heraldic emblem.
The collection has been arranged into nine series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1903-1992 (Box 1; 16 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1909-1981, undated (Boxes 1-6, OV 13; 5.0 linear feet)
Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1908-1984, undated (Box 6; 3 folders)
Series 4: Notes, 1922-1976, undated (Box 6; 32 folders)
Series 5: Writings, 1910-1951, undated (Box 6, 7; 1.0 linear feet)
Series 6: Art work, 1900-1951, undated (Boxes 7-8, 12, OV 13-15; 1.3 linear feet)
Series 7: Photographs, 1903-1981, undated (Boxes 8-10, 12, OV 15; 2.4 linear feet)
Series 8: Printed material, 1913-1963 (Boxes 10-12; 54 folders)
Series 9: Artifacts, undated (Box 12; 1 folder)
John Milton Ramm was born in San Francisco, California, on October 27, 1904. His parents were Antoinette Ramm and John Henry Ramm (1879-1948), who was also a painter and photographer, most notably recording the damage of the 1906 earthquake and fire. After graduating from Lowell High School in 1921, John Milton Ramm attended the California School of Fine Arts and later continued his art-related studies under his father. Between 1923 and 1938, he sailed on over a dozen merchant ships, traveling around the world performing various shipboard duties in addition to recording his surroundings in letters, drawings, and photographs. From 1928 to 1929, Ramm worked as a commercial artist and painted sets and backdrops for several motion picture studios including United Artists and Warner Brothers. Between 1932 to 1941, he painted murals and decorated the interiors of various business establishments such as restaurants and stores. In 1937, he was an art instructor at the San Francisco Boys' Club and at a W.P.A. Recreation Project Training course. From 1941 to 1945, Ramm was employed as a shipfitter and engineering draftsman aboard various ships. He was married to Hungarian-born Gabriella Vigh.
John Milton Ramm died February 26, 1984 in Alameda, California.
The John Milton Ramm papers were donated in 1994 by Sandra Howard, a family friend who inherited the estate of the artist.
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. research facility.
The John Milton Ramm 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.