The records of the American Federation of Arts (AFA) provide researchers with a complete set of documentation focusing on the founding and history of the organization from its inception through the 1960s. The collection measures 78.6 linear feet, and dates from 1895 through 1993, although the bulk of the material falls between 1909 and 1969. Valuable for its coverage of twentieth-century American art history, the collection also provides researchers with fairly comprehensive documentation of the many exhibitions and programs supported and implemented by the AFA to promote and study contemporary American art, both nationally and abroad.
Scope and Content Note:
The records of the American Federation of Arts (AFA) provide researchers with a complete set of documentation focusing on the founding and history of the organization from its inception through the 1960s. The collection measures 78.6 linear feet, and dates from 1895 through 1993, although the bulk of the material falls between 1909 and 1969. Valuable for its coverage of twentieth-century American art history, the collection also provides researchers with fairly comprehensive documentation of the many exhibitions and programs supported and implemented by the AFA to promote and study contemporary American art, both nationally and abroad.
The earliest documentation from 1895 to 1909 concerns the organization's history and founding and is located in Series 1: Board of Trustees. Also found in this series are meeting minutes, 1909-1963 and 1968. Interfiled with the board meeting minutes are minutes of the executive committee and other special and ad hoc committees, reports to the board, financial statements and reports, and lists of committee appointments and board membership. This series also contains the scattered correspondence and subject files of various officers. Although not a complete set of officers' files, Presidents' Frederick Allen. Whiting (1931-1936), Lawrence M.C. Smith (1948-1952), Thomas Brown Rudd (1952-1954), Daniel Longwell (1954-1956), James S. Schramm (1956-1958), and Roy R. Neuberger (1958-1961) are represented. Leila Mechlin served on AFA's board as secretary from its founding to 1929, and her files are a particularly rich resource for AFA's activities during its early years. Lawrence M.C. Smith's files documenting his years as board treasurer are also arranged in this series. Additional officers' correspondence is interspersed throughout the Alphabetical Files and other series.
General information about the scope of AFA's programs, affiliations, founding, functions, and proceedings are arranged in Series 2: Administrative Records. The first subseries, Alphabetical Files, houses a wide variety of subject files that contain memoranda, correspondence, printed materials, lists, reports, and other papers. These files document the AFA's general history and founding, organizational affiliations, buildings and moves, grants, federal and state government art programs, auctions and other fund-raising efforts, publicity and public relations, publications, and fiftieth anniversary celebration. The subject headings by which these files are arranged are, for the most part, the ones designated by the AFA. The second subseries, Staff Records, houses the scattered files of AFA's director, assistant director, registrar, and special state representative, Robert Luck.
During its most active period, the AFA sponsored or participated in several special programs and Series 3: Special Programs houses the files that document many of them. The first subseries consists of the files for the Artists in Residence program that was funded by the Ford Foundation. Awarded in 1963, the grant sponsored short-term teaching residencies for artists in museums throughout the United States. The host museums were encouraged to hold exhibitions of the artists' works. This subseries contains both the general files of the program, as well as individual files on the participating artists. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, the AFA and the Ford Foundation also sponsored additional programs for artists, including Grants in Aid, Purchase Awards, and the Retrospective Exhibitions Program. The files documenting these three programs are also arranged in Series 3, under the subseries Ford Foundation Program for Visual Artists. In the late 1950s, the AFA implemented the Museum Donor Program with benefactors and philanthropists Audrey Bruce Currier and Stephen Richard Currier. Through the administration of the AFA, the Curriers donated funds to selected institutions specifically for the purchase of contemporary American art. The Curriers preferred to remain anonymous throughout the program. Files documenting this program include correspondence, applications from the accepted institutions, rejections, a summary report, and clippings about the untimely deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Currier in 1967.
Also found in Series 3 are the files documenting AFAs working relationship with the first state arts council, the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). In 1961, AFA and NYSCA implemented a traveling exhibition program in New York State. Found here are files for possible itineraries, proposals, publicity, loans, budgets, and the actual exhibition files. Additional AFA special programs documented in Series 3 include the Picture of the Month program of the mid-1950s and the Jean Tennyson Foundation Color Slide Lecture Program.
AFA Annual Convention files constitute Series 4. Beginning with the Third Annual Convention in 1912 and continuing through the 1963 Annual Convention, the files contain official proceedings, speeches, programs, clippings, correspondence, and press releases. Files are missing for 1913, 1915, 1918, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1926, 1931, 1936-1949, 1952, 1956, 1958, 1960, and 1962. There are also audio recordings in the form of reel-to-reel tapes for the 1951 Annual Convention.
Series 5: Exhibition Files forms the bulk of the collection at circa 62 linear feet and is arranged into twenty subseries. The first subseries, Exhibitions, General, houses primarily the records of the Board of Trustees Exhibition Committee and documents the AFA's earliest involvement with traveling exhibitions. These files contain reports, budgets, correspondence, memoranda, scattered exhibition catalogs, and photographs. They are primarily the files of the chair of the Exhibition Committee and include the files of Juliana R. Force, Eloise Spaeth, and Mrs. John Pope. Also found in this series is a subseries of Mrs. John Pope's records documenting circulating exhibitions from 1934 to 1955, arranged by state.
The remaining nineteen subseries of the Exhibition Files reflect either specific exhibition programs, many of which have unique numbers assigned by AFA to individual exhibitions, or other exhibition-related files, such rejected, canceled, and suggested exhibitions and miscellaneous installation photographs. The Annual Exhibitions files constitute the largest of the subseries and are numbered according to the system assigned by AFA, following a typical chronological order. Although the documentation for each exhibition varies widely by both type and amount, most of the files contain contracts and legal agreements, correspondence, memoranda, itinerary information, condition reports, publicity materials, catalogs, announcements, price lists, and other such information arranged into one or more files. The files were labeled "documentation files," "dispersal files," "report form files," "loan agreement files," and "publicity files" according to the filing system devised by AFA. Many of the files also house a significant amount of correspondence with museum officials, lenders, and artists.
Additional subseries document AFA's exhibition venues and partnerships with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the New York State Council on the [UNK] Life magazine, and Addison Gallery. A complete list of all of the subseries, including specific exhibition programs, follows in the Series Outline.
The final three series of the collection are small: Printed Material, Miscellaneous Files, and Oversized Material. The printed material was donated much later to the Archives and dates from 1990 to 1993. Found here are scattered press releases, annual reports, and an exhibition program. Miscellaneous Files contain scattered records, 1926-1962, of the Architectural League of New York relating to national award programs. It is not clear why this small group of Architectural League records was found mixed with the AFA records but perhaps the collaboration between the two organizations on several special projects provides an explanation. Also found in Miscellaneous Files is a group of black and white lantern slides from a lecture series, "New Horizons in America." Oversized Material includes a portfolio, a work of art, and posters.
See Appendix for a list of artists exhibiting with the American Federation of Arts
The collection is arranged into eight primary series based primarily on administrative units or program areas. Several of the series are further subdivided into subseries. While processing, it became clear that the two filing systems were redundant and overlapped in both subject area and type of material. Most of these files were subsequently merged into the now broader Alphabetical Files or into separate series. Oversized material may be found at the end of the collection arranged in a separate series.
In most cases, files related to one another by subseries or subject areas (in the case of the Alphabetical Files) or by individual name (in the case of officers and staff files) are arranged in chronological order. The entire subseries of Alphabetical Files in Series 2 is arranged by subject heading, as assigned by the AFA, or individual name. The Alphabetical Files originally formed two broad filing systems as established by the AFA: one for general correspondence arranged by subject; and one for director's and other staff correspondence, also arranged by subject.
Series 1: Board of Trustees, circa 1895-1968 (Boxes 1-3)
Series 2: Administrative Records, 1910-1966 (Boxes 4-8)
Series 3: Special Programs, 1950-1967 (Boxes 9-13)
Series 4: Annual Conventions, 1912-1963 (Boxes 14-16)
Series 5: Exhibition Files, 1934-1969 (Boxes 17-78)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1990-1993 (Box 78)
Series 7: Miscellaneous Files, 1926-1962, undated (Box 79)
Series 8: Oversized Materials, 1890, undated (Boxes 80-85)
Founded in 1909 by Elihu Root, the American Federation of Arts (AFA) exists today as a national nonprofit museum service organization striving to unite American art institutions, collectors, artists, and museums. Elihu Root, then secretary of state in the administration of Theodore Roosevelt, spoke of his idea at the first meeting of the AFA held in New York at the National Academy of Arts. He envisioned an organization that would promote American art most often seen only by the elite in the major cities of the East and upper Midwest by sending "exhibitions of original works of art on tour through the hinterlands across the United States."
The American Academy in Rome, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and Metropolitan Museum of Art were influential organizing member institutions. Individual members included such notables as William Merritt Chase, Charles L. Freer, Daniel C. French, Charles L. Hutchinson, Henry Cabot Lodge, J.P. Morgan, and Henry Walters. The founding of the AFA provided the American art world with a forum for communication and participation among artists, cultural institutions, patrons of the arts, and the public.
To accomplish its mission, the AFA established volunteer committees for membership, exhibitions, and publications. During its first year, the AFA began publishing Art and Progress (later changed to Magazine of Art) and the American Art Annual (now the American Art Directory). In 1909, the AFA also organized its first traveling exhibition, Paintings by Prominent American Artists, which was shown at museums in Fort Worth, New Orleans, Minneapolis, and New Ulm, Minnesota.
By the end of the first year, the headquarters of the organization moved to Washington, D.C., to facilitate lobbying the federal government for favorable art legislation. In 1913, the AFA lobbied successfully for the removal of the tariff on foreign art entering the United States. In 1916, the Federation met with the Interstate Commerce Commission to protest prohibitively high interstate taxes on traveling art exhibitions.
Throughout the next fifteen years, the AFA continued to grow in membership and influence. By 1919, membership included 438 institutions and 2,900 individuals. The AFA's annual conventions were held in major national art centers and were attended by members, chapter delegates, and the public. At the conventions, scholars, patrons, and curators lectured on and discussed subjects of national interest, thereby fostering an exchange of ideas. The AFA also sponsored periodic regional conferences to promote institutional cooperation and to discuss mutual problems and needs. To facilitate exhibition venues west of the Mississippi River, in 1921 the AFA opened regional offices at the University of Nebraska and at Stanford University. The AFA produced and circulated slide programs and lecture series to museums and educational institutions that fostered art education. By 1929, the Federation had developed forty-six slide-lecture programs that covered American mural painting, European and American contemporary art, and textiles.
During the 1930s, the Federation expanded its services by providing schools with teaching guides, student workbooks, slides, and films about art. In 1935, the AFA began publishing Who's Who in American Art, later publishing The Official Directory of Illustrators and Advertising Artists and Films on Art reference guides. To reach an even larger audience, the AFA began collaborating with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to organize national circulating exhibitions to "bring the museum to the people."
One of AFA's priorities was to make American art more visible abroad. The Federation focused on encouraging the representation of American artists in foreign exhibitions, and in 1924 it lobbied successfully for additional American participation in the Venice Biennale. The AFA's focus on exhibiting American art abroad continued to expand, particularly following World War II. In 1950, recognizing that the AFA could assist in promoting American culture, the State Department awarded the AFA a grant for a German "re-orientation program" consisting of educational exhibitions shown in German museums. Additional government funding further enabled the AFA to organize American participation in exhibitions in India, Japan, Paris, Switzerland, and Rotterdam between 1950 and 1970. Later, the AFA collaborated with the United States Information Agency (USIA) to create the Overseas Museum Donor Program which permitted donations of American art to foreign institutions on a restriction-free, tax-deductible basis. During the 1950s, the AFA was a very active member of the Committee on Government and Art, a national committee with members from across the art and museum world concerned with government sponsorship of and legislation affecting art sales, commissions, and trade.
In 1952, the headquarters of the AFA returned to New York, sparking a period of innovation and expanded of programs. Throughout the 1950s, the AFA distributed films about art and co-sponsored the Films on Art Festival in Woodstock, New York. The AFA also introduced its Picture of the Month Program in 1954, renting original works of art to small American art and educational institutions. In 1956, the AFA organized the Art Collectors Club of America to provide fellowship for art collectors through meetings and activities. The club disbanded in the 1970s.
The Federation's exhibition programs continued to flourish during the 1950s and 1960s. Private and public financial support allowed the AFA to achieve many of its goals. In 1958, the Ford Foundation awarded an important grant to organize a series of traveling one-person shows and a series of monographs devoted to contemporary American artists. Milton Avery, Andrew Dasburg, José DeCreeft, Lee Gatch, Walter Quirt, Abraham Rattner, and others were among the artists who participated. Private foundation support for the AFA's Museum Donor Program provided an annual allowance that was distributed to regional museums for the pourchase of contemporary American art. Cooperative programs and joint venues also became popular during this period. For example, public support from the New York State Council on the Arts allowed the AFA to circulate exhibitions to small New York State communities, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts provided the AFA with five exhibitions for national tours.
Throughout its history, the American Federation of Arts has concentrated on its founding principle of broadening the audience for contemporary American art. Through its numerous exhibition and film programs, the AFA has succeeded in "breaking down barriers of distance and language to broaden the knowledge and appreciation of art." Annual exhibitions such as New Talent in the USA and Art Schools USA, organized by the AFA, brought before the public the most contemporary American artists and craftspeople, genres, and artistic forms of experimentation, exposing viewers to new ways of thinking and expression. In 1965, AFA produced The Curriculum in Visual Education, a series of films created to heighten the aesthetic awareness of children.
A vital part of American art history, the AFA was one of the first organizations to develop successfully the concept of traveling art exhibitions on a national and international level. The AFA was instrumental in assisting museums with circulating important juried exhibitions of contemporary art, such as the Whitney Annual and Corcoran Biennial. The AFA also recognized the importance of the exchange of cultural ideas, and it brought exhibitions of the European masters to the American public as well as exhibitions focusing on foreign contempoorary art, photography, and architecture. Many organizations and museums have followed the AFA's precedent, and traveling national and international venues are now commonplace.
Since 1909, women have served as officers and members of the Board of Trustees. Leila Mechlin was a founding participant and served as secretary from 1909 to 1933. Juliana R. Force and Eloise Spaeth both chaired the Exhibition Committee in the late 1940s. Women and artists of diverse backgrounds and nationalities were widely represented in the AFA's exhibition programs, most notably during the 1960s. In 1960, the AFA organized, with financial support from the Ford Foundation, a major Jacob Lawrence retrospective. Additional culturally diverse exhibitions included Contemporary Jewish Ceremonial Art (1961), The Heart of India (1962), 1,000 Years of American Indian Art (1963), and Ten Negro Artists from the United States (1966).
The AFA also had an impact on patronage in the arts. AFA exhibitions of contemporary art provided collectors with knowledge of new artists and avant-garde art forms, creating a broader demand and market for this type of work. Museums and collectors began purchasing work by new or obscure American artists whom they learned about through AFA exhibitions and programs.
The historical records of the American Federation of Arts offer the researcher a unique opportunity to study the development of American art and artists in the twentieth century as well as providing insight into trends in American culture.
1909 -- Founded in New York City. Began publishing Art and Progress (later retitled Magazine of Art) and the American Art Annual.
1910 -- Moved headquarters to Washington, D.C.
1913 -- Lobbied successfully for the removal of the tariff on art entering the United States.
1915-1916 -- Lobbied successfully against the Cummins Amendment and the Interstate Commerce Commission's prohibitively high interstate tax on traveling art.
1920 -- Organized a lobbying campaign for the development of a national gallery of art at its national convention.
1921 -- Opened two new offices at the University of Nebraska and at Stanford University.
1924 -- Arranged American participation in the Venice Biennale exhibition.
1927 -- Closed office at Stanford University.
1929 -- Organized American participation in exhibitions in France and Germany.
1933 -- Closed office at the University of Nebraska.
1935 -- Began publishing Who's Who in American Art.
1948 -- Published The Official Directory of Illustrators and Advertising Artists.
1949 -- Collaborated with the Metropolitan Museum of Art to circulate exhibitions from its collections.
1950 -- Participated in the U.S. government's German re-orientation program.
1951 -- Joined forces with the United States Information Agency (USIA) to create the Overseas Museum Donor Program. Published the reference guide Films on Art. Co-sponsored the Films on Art Festival in Woodstock, New York, through 1957.
1952 -- Moved headquarters to New York City.
1953 -- Magazine of Art liquidated.
1954 -- Introduced the Picture of the Month Program.
1956 -- Founded the Art Collectors Club of America.
1958 -- Received a Ford Foundation grant to finance a series of one-person shows of contemporary American artists.
1960 -- Created the Museum Donor Program.
1961 -- Received a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts to circulate exhibitions to small New York state communities.
1963 -- Received a grant from the Ford Foundation for the Artists in Residence program.
1964 -- Introduced the List Art Poster Program.
1965 -- Produced The Curriculum in Visual Education, a series of films that attempted to heighten the aesthetic awareness of children.
Appendix: List of Artists Exhibiting with American Federation of Arts:
The following is an alphabetical list of artists who exhibited with the American Federation of Arts; many are obscure. The alpha-numeric codes and numbers appearing with the artist's name represent specific AFA exhibition programs and, most often, AFA's exhibition numbering system. In cases where the AFA did not assign an exhibition number, Archives' staff have done so.
The primary reference source for the names and name variants is the American Federation of Arts Records. The names are documented in handwritten notes and lists, typed lists, and exhibition catalogs and announcements. The Archives of American Art name authority file was also consulted in questionable cases. The majority of names, however, were not found in either the AAA name authority file or standard bibliographic resources, and only in the AFA records.
55-1: AFA annual exhibitions program
AD-1: Addison Gallery exhibitions
L-1: Life Magazine Exhibitions
ME-1: Misceallaneous exhibitions (numbers assigned by AAA staff)
NMA-1: Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibitions
NE-96: Contemporary Color Lithography
NY-1: New York State Council on the Arts exhibitions
VA-1: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts exhibitions
A. Quincy Jones, Frederick E. Emmons & Assoc: 62-34
The records of the American Federation of Arts (AFA) were donated to the Archives of American Art (AAA) over a thirteen-year period, with the bulk of the material arriving between 1964 and 1966. In 1979, Preston Bolton donated his letters and those from John de Menil, Ann Drevet, Lee Malone, and others regarding planning for the 1957 AFA annual convention held in Houston, Texas; convention committee minutes from 1956; and AFA newsletters. This material, as well as a 1979 gift from Louise Ferrari of transcripts from a panel discussion from the 1957 AFA convention in Houston, was microfilmed on AAA Reel 1780. All material previously microfilmed on Reel 1780 has been fully integrated into the collection and arranged within proper series and subseries. The provenance of the 1990-1993 printed material is unknown.
Use requires an appointment.
The American Federation of Arts records 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 records of the National Arts Club measure 32.1 linear feet and date from 1898 to 1960. The collection documents the founding of the club, and it's governance, administration, exhibitions, and social activities
Scope and Content Note:
Records of the National Arts Club, spanning the period 1898 to 1960, document the founding of the organization, and its governance, administration, finances, exhibitions, and social activities. There are large gaps in the records and many of those surviving are incomplete, which can be explained by a 1932 resolution of the Board of Governors that "old files and letters and bills in the storeroom prior to 1922 may be destroyed at the discretion of the Secretary and Treasurer."
Minutes and reports of the Board of Governors and Executive Committee are fairly complete through 1949, but sparse thereafter. Records do not exist for all standing and special committees, and those remaining tend to be concentrated in the early twentieth century.
Correspondence of the officers, for the most part, is routine and relates to administrative matters. Financial records cover the period 1917 to 1950, with a large number of gaps.
A small number of records of the Arts Realty Co. (later known as 15 Gramercy Park, Inc.) are extant. These include lists of stockholders, correspondence concerning mortgage bonds, and minutes.
Membership records, arranged alphabetically, are available for the years 1931 to 1959, and there are rosters arranged by membership category, 1940-1952; in addition, printed membership lists were issued circa 1900-1951.
More than four hundred exhibitions are known to have been held in the galleries of the National Arts Club between 1899 and 1960. Catalogs for 124 National Arts Club exhibitions are available at the Archives of American Art; 69 titles are to be found among the Club's records and an additional 55 were microfilmed previously as parts of other collections. Other exhibition documentation includes printed matter such as invitations, entry blanks, publicity, and photographs (see Appendix A). For some exhibitions, supporting documentation such as correspondence with exhibitors and collectors, sales and consignment records, and shipping receipts have survived. These files are mainly confined to Books of the Year exhibitions, Arts and Crafts/Decorative Arts exhibitions, and a smaller number of exhibitions of Living American Etchers, 1928-1957.
General social events, activities sponsored by Arts Club committees, and special commemorative occasions are documented by invitations, programs, publicity, calendars of events, and photographs. The majority of this material is contained in seventeen scrapbooks, 1898-1940. Programs of the Men's Open Table, 1915-1950, are particularly well documented by the Chairman's correspondence and three volumes containing meeting notices with signatures of members in attendance.
In addition to printed matter relating to exhibitions and events, scrapbooks, 1898-1940, contain general publicity, clippings concerning members, and samples of National Arts Club printed matter such as form letters to the general membership, brochures, ballots, house rules, published membership lists, year books, and the like. Loose printed matter augments that preserved in the scrapbooks. These sources combined provide a fairly complete set of the Bulletin, but the number of year books is small, and there are catalogs of only slightly more than a third of the exhibitions identified.
Photographs, in addition to those recording exhibitions and events, include portraits of governors, officers, distinguished visitors, speakers, and performers; views of Gramercy Park and the interior and exterior of the clubhouse; and works of art in the permanent collection.
Miscellaneous material includes information on the National Arts Club's first home on West 34th Street, and the Tilden Mansion, its current clubhouse on Gramercy Park; histories of the organization; unpublished speeches presented at Club occasions; and copies of legal documents, including the Club's charter and act of incorporation.
See Appendix A for an annotated list of National Arts Club exhibitions, 1899-1960
The records are arranged into the following series:
Series 1: Board of Governors, 1898-1960, undated
Series 2: Administration, 1898-1960, undated
Series 3: Financial Records, 1917-1952
Series 4: Membership, circa 1900-1962
Series 5: Arts Realty Co., 1909-1913, 1945-1956, undated
Series 6: Miscellaneous, 1890-1961, undated
Series 7: Photographs, 1899-1957, undated
Series 8: Printed Matter, 1893-1960, undated
Series 9: Scrapbooks, 1898-1940
The National Arts Club was founded by Charles de Kay, literary and art critic for the New York Times who believed there was a need for a club uniting all of the arts. In March of 1898, de Kay called together a number of civic leaders and men prominent in the art world who supported the idea, elected the first officers and incorporated the Club in 1899.
As stated in a circular issued by the Club, its specified purposes were: to promote the mutual acquaintance of art lovers and art workers in the United States; to stimulate and guide toward practical and artistic expression the artistic sense of the American people; to maintain in the City of New York a Club House...for social purposes in connection with the arts; to provide proper exhibition facilities for such lines of art, especially applied and industrial art, as shall not be otherwise adequately provided for in the same City; and to encourage the publication and circulation of news, suggestions and discussions relating to the fine arts.
During its initial months, the National Arts Club operated from a temporary office at 156 Fifth Avenue. In the search for a permanent site, considerable care was taken to select an auspicious location and accommodations, and in 1899 the first clubhouse was opened at 37 West 34th Street in leased quarters renovated expressly for the Club. Within a year, the gallery and restaurant required additional space, and there was a desire to provide overnight quarters for members visiting from out of town. In 1901 the Club created a corporation, Arts Realty Co., which issued shares to members and other investors for the purpose of raising funds to purchase the adjacent property (39 West 34th Street). This end was accomplished, and when it was decided to move the Club to another location, proceeds from the sale of the lease on 37 West 34th Street and the lot next door, augmented by additional funds subscribed by members, enabled Arts Realty Co. to acquire the Tilden Mansion at 15 Gramercy Park in 1905. Construction was begun immediately on a connecting studio tower to the rear (119-121 East 19th Street), designed by architect and Club President George B. Post. Upon completion, the Club bought the property from Arts Realty Co., issuing both First and Second Mortgage Bonds to individual subscribers. The Gramercy Park property has been occupied by the Club since 1906.
A show of American gold and silver work in October 1899 was the first exhibition held at the National Arts Club. Decorative arts, crafts, and industrial arts figured prominently in early exhibitions, as did designs for civic improvements. The monthly exhibition schedule emphasized contemporary American art, but also included some historical shows. Members of the public were admitted without charge to the galleries, where they could view such innovative and important exhibitions as Pictorial Photographs presented by the Photo-Secession (1902) and a group exhibition featuring the works of Robert Henri, William Glackens, George Luks, Arthur B. Davies, and Maurice Prendergast (1904). After about 1907, exhibitions grew more conservative, probably reflecting the personal tastes of Art Committee members rather than a formal opposition of the Club to nonrepresentational art. Increasingly, the exhibition schedule was filled by shows of members' work, the Club's permanent collection (mainly works by artist members, usually given in payment for life membership), the Annual Arts and Crafts exhibitions, Books of the Year exhibitions, and shows organized by various art societies.
In addition to exhibitions, the National Arts Club regularly featured a variety of cultural programs such as concerts, lectures, and dramatic presentations for members and guests. Parties, dinner, dances, and other social activities drew members to the Club, too. During its first years, some artist members expressed dissatisfaction with the high priority given social functions; by 1905, J. Carroll Beckwith, Walter Shirlaw, and Stanford White were among those who had resigned for this reason.
Within the National Arts Club there have been some smaller societies. The earliest of these were The Discus, a short lived dining and debating club, and The Vagabonds, a lunch group of writers, editors, printers and illustrators. The Men's Open Table, founded in 1910, met weekly for more than forty years for dinner followed by a talk, given by a fellow member or an outside, often professional, lecturer. A wide range of topics, not necessarily on the arts, were presented and discussed at the Men's Open Table. The American Institute of Graphic Arts is one of the organizations said to have developed from associations formed and discussions held at the Men's Open Table. A Women's Open Table, patterned after the men's, was established later.
The National Arts Club, unlike many other private clubs founded during the same era, admitted women members from its inception. Throughout its history, the Club's membership has been comprised of artists, musicians, writers, and performers, as well as collectors and supporters of the arts drawn from all parts of the country. Membership peaked at around 1,800 in 1920, declining throughout the Depression and again in the mid-1950s, and remaining at about 600 for the next two decades.
1898 -- Founding; occupied temporary office at 156 Fifth Ave.
1899 -- Incorporation; leased clubhouse at 37 West 34th St.; opened first exhibition, American Gold and Silver Work
1900 -- Constitution adopted
1901 -- First donations to permanent collection; Arts Realty Co. formed for the purpose of acquiring and financing the adjacent property (39 West 34th St.)
1905 -- Arts Realty Co. purchased Gramercy Park property (Tilden Mansion) on behalf of NAC; remodeling of clubhouse and construction of studio tower begun
1906 -- Plan for financing new clubhouse approved; second Mortgage Bonds issued; clubhouse and studio tower occupied; First Annual Books of the Year Exhibition
1907 -- Annual Members' Exhibition initiated; Bulletin began publication
1910 -- First meeting of Men's Open Table (established 1909)
1914 -- Essay contest, "A Critical Estimate of the Altman Collection"
1917 -- American Artists War Emergency Fund Committee issues art stamp
1923 -- Junior Artist membership category created
1930-1931 -- Essay contest, "Soul of America"
1940 -- Works by deceased artist life members deaccessioned from permanent collection; fund for refugee artists established
1962 -- Clubhouse designated New York City Landmark
1976 -- Clubhouse designated National Historic Landmark
1987 -- NAC records donated to Archives of American Art
Appendix A: Annotated List of National Arts Club Exhibitions, 1899-1960:
* = photographs included with records of NAC (See pp. 22-23 for reel and frame numbers)
+ = photograph in NAC album (See pp. 24 for reel and frame numbers)
x = catalog, checklist, or printed announcement included with NAC printed matter
s = copy of catalog in NAC scrapbook (volume number noted, see pp. 27-32 for reel and frame numbers of each volume)
Microfilm reel and frame numbers (e.g.: N134:416-419) are cited below for NAC catalogs appearing in other collections within the Archives of American Art.
DateExhibitionOct. 30 *, 1899 -- House Warming, Exhibition of American Gold and Silver Work
Nov. 13-18, 1899 -- Tenth Exhibition of the Woman's Art Club; Reception to Miss Cecilia Beaux (N134:416-419)
Nov. 27-Dec. 10, 1899 -- Art Pottery, American, Oriental, and European (N134:407-415)
Dec. 23-Jan. 8, 1899 -- Exhibition of Small Bronzes (N134:437-443)
Jan. 13, 1900 -- Exhibition of Photographs, works by members of the Society of Mural Painters
Jan. 29, 1900 -- Design for Street Refuge, shown by New York Municipal Art Society
Feb. 5-22, 1900 -- Exhibition of Embroideries and Native Rugs (N134:420-425)
Feb. 24-Mar. 10, 1900 -- John Leslie Breck Memorial Exhibition (N443:703-708; N551:719-724)
Mar. 24-Apr. 14, 1900 -- Pastel Exhibition, American Work
Apr., 1900 -- Old and Modern Japanese Prints
Apr. 14-21, 1900 -- Ernest Tarleton Memorial Exhibition
Apr. 21-May 3, 1900 -- Exhibition of Color Reproductions, American and European
May 10-21, 1900 -- American Art Leatherwork (N134:432-426)
May 24-30, 1900 -- Small Exhibition of Japanese Water Colors
May 31-June 14, 1900 -- William Hamilton Gibson Memorial Exhibition
June, 1900 -- New York Municipal Art Society Competition
Nov. 28-Dec. 19 x, 1900 -- Arts and Crafts (N134:421-431)
Jan., 1901 -- Birds and Beasts in Art
Feb., 1901 -- Art Leatherwork and Objects Relating to the Hearth
Mar., 1901 -- Works by the Society of Mural Painters
Apr., 1901 -- Books and Bookmaking
Apr., 1901 -- Howard Walter, Water Colors Taken in Europe
May, 1901 -- Glass in the Arts
May, 1901 -- Memorial to John A. Fraser, His Paintings
May-Nov., 1901 -- Arts and Crafts in the Liberal Arts Building, Pan-American Pacific Exhibition, Buffalo, N.Y.
June-Sept., 1901 -- Sculpture, Oil Paintings, Pastels, Water Colors, and Objects of Industrial Art by Members of the Club
Oct., 1901 -- Memorial Window for the Ames Family by John La Farge
Nov., 1901 -- Annual Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture by the Woman's Art Club
Dec., 1901 -- Objects Shown at the Pan-American Pacific Exposition
Jan., 1902 -- Ecclesiastical Art
Feb., 1902 -- Art Objects Relating to Civic Art, under the auspices of the Municipal Art Society
Mar., 1902 -- American Pictorial Photographs, shown by the Photo-Secession
Mar. 26-Apr. 21, 1902 -- Fourth Annual Exhibition of the National Sculpture Society (N551:725-729; N134:446-451)
May, 1902 -- Pictures of "Womanhood"
May, 1902 -- Memorial Window for Baltimore by D. Maitland Armstrong; Memorial Window for Wells College by Mrs. Ella Condie Lamb June Window in Stained Glass, Memorial to Julia Doane, Chicago, by John La Farge
Oct., 1902 -- Collection of Objects in Metal; Artistic Bird Cages lent by A. W. Drake, Esq.
Nov., 1902 -- Annual Exhibition by the Woman's Art Club
Nov., 1902 -- Paintings by Four Western Artists, Messrs. Duveneck, Steele, Meakin and Sharp, through the courtesy of the Cincinnati Museum Association
Dec., 1902 -- Designs Submitted for Competition for the Emblem of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition
Jan. s, 1903 -- Portraits of Napoleon, lent by John Leonard Dudley, Jr., Esq. (volume 4)
Jan., 1903 -- "Autumn," Stained Glass Window for the country residence of William C. Whitney, by John La Farge
Feb., 1903 -- Eskimo and Arctic Objects, with Paintings from the Arctic and Antarctic Circles by Frank Wilbert Stokes
Mar., 1903 -- Objects of Municipal Art
Apr., 1903 -- Examples of Ideal Art by American Artists
May, 1903 -- Sculptures by Rodin, Roche, and Rivere, belonging to Miss Lois Fuller
May, 1903 -- Portraits and other Paintings by American Artists of the Colonial and Early Periods
June-Oct., 1903 -- Summer Exhibition of Paintings, Water Colors, and Sculpture by Members of the Club
Nov., 1903 -- Jewelry and Precious Stones, Modern, Old and Oriental
Dec. 1-14, 1903 -- Thirteenth Annual Exhibition of the Woman's Art Club (N134:452-456)
Dec., 1903 -- Stained Glass Window, designed by Miss Mary E. Tillinghast
Dec., 1903 -- Sketches for the Sculpture at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, shown by the National Sculpture Society
Jan. 5-16 s, 1904 -- Loan Exhibition of Pictures by Eminent American Painters (N134:426-464, and volume 4)
Jan. 5-16 s, 1904 -- Loan Exhibition of Pictures by Robert Henri, William Glackens, George Luks, Arthur B. Davies, and Maurice Prendergast (volume 4)
Feb., 1904 -- Pictures by Contemporary American Artists
Mar. 2-15, 1904 -- Loan Exhibition of Pictures by American Figure Painters (N50:471-472; N134:460-461)
Mar., 1904 -- Annual Exhibition of Objects of Municipal Art
Apr. 5-15 s, 1904 -- Loan Exhibition of Pictures by Some Boston Artists (N443:713-715, and volume 4)
Apr. 19-30 s, 1904 -- Loan Exhibition of Pictures by Old Masters, lent by the Messrs. Durand-Ruel (N443:711-712; N134:462-464, and volume 4)
May 3-14 s, 1904 -- Oil Paintings, Water Colors, and Drawings by John La Farge, N.A. (volume 4)
May, 1904 -- Photographs of Paintings by Old Italian Masters, under the auspices of the Library Committee
Oct., 1904 -- Work of Holders of the Lazarus and Reinhart Scholarships executed while at the American Academy in Rome
Nov., 1904 -- "The Moral and Divine Law," painting by John La Farge
Nov., 1904 -- Exhibition by Members of the Nippon-Bijitsuin (Japanese Art Academy)
Jan., 1905 -- Exhibition by the Lyme Group of Painters
Feb., 1905 -- "Old Masters" and Aphrodite
Feb., 1905 -- Pictures by Some Boston Artists
Mar., 1905 -- Annual Exhibition of the Municipal Art Society of New York
Apr., 1905 -- Artistic and Commercial Posters, under the Auspices of the Municipal Art Society
Apr., 1905 -- Textiles and Ceramics
Oct., 1905 -- "Out of Doors" as Seen by Various Artists
Nov., 1905 -- Color Prints by S. Arlent-Edwards
Dec., 1905 -- American Indians as Seen by the Artist and the Artist Photographer
Jan., 1906 -- Birds and Beasts in Art
Feb., 1906 -- Miniatures
Mar., 1906 -- Fifth Annual Exhibition of the Municipal Art Society
Mar., 1906 -- Exhibition by the Alumni of Cooper Institute
Apr. 2-14 s, 1906 -- Municipal Art Society Exhibit of Poster Designs (volume 4)
Apr.-May, 1906 -- Exhibition by the Women's Art Club of New York
Nov. 8-18 s, 1906 -- Opening Exhibition [first exhibition in new quarters]: American Paintings from the Collection of Mr. William T. Evans (D45:29-34, and volume 4)
Dec., 1906 -- Books of the Year
Dec. 8-Jan. 1 s, 1906 -- Pictures by Some American Painters (volume 4)
Jan. 12-Feb. 1 s, 1907 -- Modern German Paintings from the Collection of Mr. Hugo Reisinger (N443:716-717, and volume 4)
Feb. s, 1907 -- Exhibition of Wood Engravings by Timothy Cole made for Century Magazine
Feb., 1907 -- Longfellow Memorial
Mar. 13-31, 1907 -- Sixth Annual Exhibition of the Municipal Art Society of New York
Apr., 1907 -- New York Society of Ceramic Artists
Apr., 1907 -- Paintings and Sculpture by Members
May s, 1907 -- Exhibition of Artists' Preliminary Sketches
May-Nov., 1907 -- Sketches by Members
Oct. 16-Nov. 16 s, 1907 -- Fall Exhibition of Sketches by Members (volume 4)
Nov. 20-Dec. 11, 1907 -- Arts and Crafts Exhibition (N29:1001-1026)
Dec., 1907 -- Second Annual Exhibition of the New Books of the Year
Jan. 4-25 s, 1908 -- Contemporary Art (N443:744-746, and volume 5)
Feb., 1908 -- First Annual Exhibition of Advertising Art
Nov., 1927 -- Twenty-second Annual Exhibition of Books of the Year
Dec. 7-24 +, 1927 -- Fifth Annual Exhibition of Works of Living American Etchers (N552:13-18)
Jan., 1928 -- Members' Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture
Feb. 8-29 +, 1928 -- Small Paintings
Mar. 8-31 x, 1928 -- Exhibition of Decorative Arts
Apr. 4-20 +, 1928 -- Exhibition by Junior Artist Members of the Club
Nov., 1928 -- Twenty-third Annual Exhibition of Books of the Year
Dec., 1928 -- Small Paintings
Jan. 8-Feb. 8 + -- Members' Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture
Feb. 13-Mar. 8 -- Sixth Annual Exhibition by Living American Etchers
Mar. + -- Richard M. Hurd Loan Exhibition of Italian Primitives
Apr. 3-26 + -- Exhibition by Junior Artist Members of the Club
May 1-Oct. 1 + -- Summer Exhibition by Painter Life Members
Nov. -- Twenty-fourth Annual Exhibition of Books of the Year
Dec. 4-26 * + -- Exhibition of the Decorative Arts
Jan. 8-Feb. 1 +, 1930 -- Members' Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture
Feb. 5-28 x +, 1930 -- Seventh Annual Exhibition of Living American Etchers
Mar. 5-28 +, 1930 -- Junior Artist Members' Exhibition
Apr. 16-Sept. 30 +, 1930 -- Members' Exhibition of Small Paintings (N134:484-490)
Nov., 1930 -- Silver Anniversary Exhibition of Books of the Year
Dec. 3-26 * +, 1930 -- Eighth Annual Exhibition by Living American Etchers
Jan. 7-Feb. 6 +, 1931 -- Members' Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture
Mar. 4-27 +, 1931 -- Exhibition by the Junior Artist Members
Mar. 13-Apr. 15 x, 1931 -- Auction Exhibition and Sale by Artist Members
Apr. 1-25 +, 1931 -- Members' Work of the New York Water Color Club
May 2-24 +, 1931 -- The Story of Gramercy Park in Portraits and Historical Objects of the Period, in connection with Gramercy Park Centenary Celebration
June 3-Oct. 1 +, 1931 -- Members' Exhibition of Small Paintings
Oct. 21-Nov. 20, 1931 -- Twenty-sixth Annual Exhibition of Books of the Year
Nov. 26-Dec. 26, 1931 -- Sixteenth Annual Exhibition by the Society of American Etchers (formerly The Brooklyn Society of Etchers)
Jan. 6-13 +, 1932 -- Members' Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture
Feb. 3-27 +, 1932 -- Exhibition of Drawings by Artist Members
Mar. 2-26 +, 1932 -- Paintings by Junior Artist Members
Mar. 13-Apr. 15 +, 1932 -- Auction Exhibition and Sale by Artist Members
Apr. 20-30 +, 1932 -- Exhibition by a Group of New York Art Schools
May 4-Oct. 1 +, 1932 -- Members' Annual Exhibition of Small Paintings
Jan. 4-27 +, 1933 -- Members' Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture
Mar. 1-31 +, 1933 -- Junior Artist Members
Apr. 5-22 +, 1933 -- Society of Illustrators
May 3-Oct. 1 +, 1933 -- Members' Exhibition of Small Paintings and Sculpture
Jan. 3-27 +, 1934 -- Members' Annual Exhibition
Jan. 31-Mar. 2 +, 1934 -- Memorial Exhibition of a Group of Former Painter and Sculptor Members: Max Bohm, Emil Carlsen, Charles Hawthorne, Robert Henri, Karl Bitter, Solon Borglum, Daniel Chester French, Edmund Quinn
Mar. 7-29 +, 1934 -- Junior Artist Members
Apr. 4-27 +, 1934 -- Society of Illustrators, Thirty-second Annual Exhibition
May 2-June 28 +, 1934 -- Members' Exhibition of Small Paintings and Sculpture (N552:69-71; N134:491-494)
Nov.-Dec., 1934 -- Seventeenth Annual Exhibition of the Society of American Etchers (formerly The Brooklyn Society of Etchers) (N552:49-65)
undated -- Twenty-ninth Annual Exhibition of Fifty Books of the Year
Apr. 24-May 3 +, 1940 -- Flower and Still Life Paintings
May 8-June 1, 1940 -- Special Exhibition of Water Colors, Architectural Renderings, Type Compositions, and Color Reproductions by Edwin Hooper Denby, A.I.A., S.A.D.G. (N443:779-780; N134:509-510)
Dec. +, 1940 -- Twenty-fifth Annual Exhibition of the Society of American Etchers
Feb. 4-Mar. 1, 1942 -- Exhibition of Paintings by Artists of the United Nations (N134:512-518)
June 12-Sept. 30, 1942 -- Members' Summer Exhibition (N134:519)
Dec. 16-Jan. 22, 1942 -- Exhibition of Chinese and Indian Art (N134:520)
Mar. 31-, 1943 -- Exhibition of Junior Members (N134:521)
July 1-Sept. 30, 1943 -- Summer Exhibition of Smaller Paintings by Members (N134:522)
Feb. 17-Mar. 15, 1944 -- Exhibition of Studies by American Masters (N134:523)
Oct. 5-27, 1944 -- Exhibition of Enlarged Photographs of American Patriots as Seen in Sculpture (N134:523)
Jan. 10-Feb. 9 x, 1945 -- Members' Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture
Dec. 22-Jan. 4, 1945 -- Seventh Annual Exhibition of the American Veterans Society of Artists, Inc. (N134:527-540)
May 21-30, 1946 -- The Traphagen School Exhibition of Costume Design, Illustrating the Development of American Fashion (N134:526)
Feb. 20-Mar. 7, 1947 -- Exhibition of Contemporary Chinese Paintings (N134:541)
Apr. 20-May 2, 1947 -- Junior Members' Exhibition
Dec. 10-24, 1947 -- Ninth Annual Exhibition of American Veterans Society of Artists, Inc. (N121:721-733)
Feb. 23-Mar. 6, 1948 -- Forty-seventh Annual Exhibition of the New York Society of Ceramic Arts (N134:543)
Mar. 9-21, 1948 -- Annual Exhibition of Junior Members (N134:543)
Apr. 8-May 30, 1948 -- Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture by Members, Past and Present (N134:543)
June 10-Sept., 1948 -- Members' Summer Exhibition (N134:544)
Jan. 19-Feb. 9, 1949 -- Fifty-first Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture by Members and Guest Artists (N134:544)
Mar. 14-31, 1949 -- Exhibition by Members of the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors (N134:545)
May 5-Sept. 15, 1949 -- Members' Summer Exhibition (N134:546)
Oct. 15-Nov. 4, 1949 -- Fourth Annual Exhibition of the Photo-Engravers Society
Jan. 4-Feb. 1, 1950 -- Fifty-second Annual Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture by Members and Guest Artists (N134:546-548 and 550)
Jan. 28-Feb. 19, 1950 -- Eighty-third Annual Exhibition of the American Water Color Society (N134:549)
Feb. 8-23, 1950 -- Exhibition of Creative Art Associates (N134:549)
Mar. 16-Apr. 2, 1950 -- Exhibition of Room Interiors Especially Designed by Members of the American Institute of Decorators, in collaboration with Members of the National Society of Mural Painters (N134:551)
May 7-28, 1950 -- Active Members' Exhibition (N134:551-554)
June 28-Sept. 15, 1950 -- Members' Summer Exhibition (N134:555)
Feb. 26-Mar. 17 x, 1951 -- Paul Mommen
Mar. 24-Apr. 19, 1951 -- Exhibition of Paintings by Non-Members (N134:558-559)
May 5-31, 1951 -- Spring Water Color Exhibition (N134:560)
June 6-, 1951 -- Group Exhibition by Distinguished Artist Members: Gifford Beal, Louis Betts, Charles Clapman, Walter Farndon, Albert Groll, Eugene Higgins, Leon Kroll, Van Dearing Perrine, Keith Shaw Williams
Jan. 6-30, 1952 -- Fifty-fourth Annual Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture by Members and Guest Artists (D176:917-919; N134:561)
Feb. 9-28, 1952 -- Annual Water Color Exhibition (N134:562)
Mar. 9-27, 1952 -- Exhibition of Oil Paintings by Distinguished American Artists (N134:572)
Jan. 4-18, 1953 -- Fifty-fifth Annual Exhibition by Painter and Sculptor Members and Guest Artists (N134:563)
Jan. 25-Feb. 8, 1953 -- Annual Water Color Exhibition (N134:564)
Feb. 15-Mar. 1, 1953 -- Open Exhibition of Oil Paintings (N134:565-568)
Mar. *, 1953 -- Art of Indonesia
May 3-24, 1953 -- Members' Exhibition of Smaller Paintings in Oil (N134:569-571)
Nov. 1-14, 1954 -- The American Artists Professional League, American Art Week (N121:258-259)
Oct. 2-19, 1955 -- Open Water Color Exhibition
Jan. 8-22 x, 1956 -- Fifty-eighth Annual Exhibition by Painter and Sculptor Members and Guest Artists (N134:573-575)
June 17-Sept. 7 x, 1956 -- Members' Summer Exhibition
Sept. 24-Oct. 8 x, 1956 -- James H. Walsh
Oct. 28-Nov. 10 x, 1956 -- Small Picture Exhibition by Members and Guests
Nov. 16-30 x, 1956 -- August Benziger
Dec. 5-22 *, 1956 -- Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition of Books of the Year
Jan. 6-27, 1957 -- Fifty-ninth Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture by Members and Guest Artists
Feb. 1-15, 1957 -- Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club Sixtieth Annual Exhibition (N134:576-577)
Sept. * x, 1957 -- International Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture
Jan. 10-24 x, 1958 -- Sixtieth Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture by Members and Guest Artists
May 21-31 x, 1958 -- Water Color and Graphic Arts Exhibition by Members and Non-Members
Oct. 17-31 x, 1958 -- Twelfth Annual Exhibition of the Photo-Engravers Society
Nov. 22-Dec. 3 x, 1958 -- Metropolitan Young Artists Show
Jan. 11-26 x, 1959 -- Sixty-first Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture by Members and Guest Artists
Dec. 9-Jan. 7 x, 1959 -- Metropolitan Young Artists Show
Jan. 15-28 x, 1960 -- Sixty-second Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture by Members and Guest Artists
Apr. 18-May 1, 1960 -- Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club Flower Painting Exhibition and Sale (D176:1128-1129)
June 8-29 x, 1960 -- Summer Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture by Members
undated -- * Arts and Crafts Exhibitions
undated -- * x Annual Exhibitions of Books of the Year
undated -- * Ceramic Art Exhibition
undated -- x Water-Oils by Charles S. Chapman, N.A.
undated -- x Fine Art of the Caribbean
undated -- x Painters of the United States, 1720-1920, from the Permanent Collection of the Fine Arts Department, International Business Machines Corp.
undated -- * Pottery Exhibition
undated -- * Traveling Exhibition of Enlarged Photographs of Sculpture and Spring Exhibition of Small Sculpture by Members of the National Sculpture Society
undated -- * Exhibition of Small Sculpture
undated -- x Modern Tapestries from Vienna
undated -- x Annual Open Water Color Exhibition
undated -- x Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, Flower Paintings Exhibition and Sale
These citations were compiled from Art Index, 1929-1960; The New York Times Index, 1898-1960; Poole's Index to Periodical Literature, 1898-1906; Nineteenth Century Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature, 1898-1899; and Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature, 1900-1960, using the format employed in Art Index. Citations are presented in chronological order, as it is anticipated that most researchers consulting the National Arts Club Records will be interested in a specific event or era in the Club's history, or are apt to be researching artists whose National Arts Club affiliation or exhibition activities were confined to a particular period.
National Art Club. -- Harpers Weekly -- 42:329, April 2.
Club to advance art industries. -- Critic -- 34:349-51, April.
National Arts Club organized. -- New York Times -- (7-2), 29-288-2, April 26.
Position as a factor in the encouragement of the fine arts. G. Teall. -- Craftsman -- 15:604-13, February.
Club officials rule a member may take a process server into club as a guest to serve papers on fellow member, case of R.S. Perrin vs. D. Whipple. -- New York Times -- 7:3, June 29.
Lecture of Prof. Eucken on Art and Morality. -- New York Times -- 9:3, March 1.
Offers prize to member who writes best manuscript on "A Critical Estimate of the Altman Collection." -- New York Times -- 12:7, November 8.
Annual exhibition of Books of the Year; organization of American Institute of Graphic Arts planned. -- New -- York Times 9:3, November 13.
Alexander de Yourevitch has visited Russian political exiles as agent from the Czar; arranges for Russian trade exhibit in New York; National Arts Club has agreed to cooperate. -- New York Times -- 20:2, March 27.
Dinner in honor of Shakespeare celebration, address by Henry Clews. -- New York Times -- 13:2, April 24.
Farewell dinner to Karl Vollmoeller and George Sylvester Viereck at National Arts Club by Alfred Rau. -- New York Times -- III, 7:3, May 7.
Exhibition of Books of the Year (editorial). -- New York Times -- VI, 514:2, November 22.
Awards announced. -- New York Times -- 10:1, January 7.
Paintings exhibition. -- New York Times -- V, 11:13, January 10.
Poster exhibition. -- New York Times -- III, 2:5, March 28.
Thanksgiving dinner to east side waifs. -- New York Times -- 11:1, November 26.
Annual exhibition; Gold Medal and $1000 prize awarded to Ben Foster. -- New York Times -- 10:6, January 4.
Memorial services for W.B. Howland. -- New York Times -- 7:3, March 3.
Offers prizes for best patriotic medal, poem, and song. -- New York Times -- 9:14, April 6.
Offers prizes to promote expression of American patriotism in art. -- New York Times -- IV, 13:2, April 15.
H.A.W. Wood speaks at distribution of prizes. -- New York Times -- 11:3, May 31.
"Road to France," $500 prize offered for appropriate music. -- New York Times -- 13:2, June 9.
American Artists' War Emergency Fund Committee announces that art stamp will be sold to aid artists reduced in circumstances through the war. -- New York Times -- 13:6, July 10.
Offers prize of $500 for best musical setting for D.M. Henderson's "The Road to France." -- New York Times -- VIII, 9:3, August 12.
Prize for music for war song by D.M. Henderson is awarded to Signe Lund. -- New York Times -- 13:3, November 1.
Annual books exhibition. -- New York Times -- VIII, 686:1, November 23.
Comment on suggestion by G. Bellows that proposed members should possess some work by living American artist. -- New York Times -- III, 20:3, February 6.
Elects governors. -- New York Times -- 9:2, April 13.
Awards Agar prize to Christine Herter. -- New York Times -- 16:7, April 7.
Address by Ann Martin. -- New York Times -- 4:3, August 3.
Annual exhibition of books; I. Zangwill speaks; protest by member. -- New York Times -- 6:1, November 8.
Prize winners of annual exhibition. -- New York Times -- 4:15, January 10.
Honors J.G. Agar at dinner. -- New York Times -- 6:2, February 26.
Mural panels of Old NY used for New Year's fete to be put on exhibition. -- New York Times -- 29:1, January 4.
Announces prize winners at Members' Annual Exhibition. -- New York Times -- VIII, 11:2, January 18.
Murals depicting history of NYC, painted for New Years' ball, to be given to Museum of the City of New York. -- New York Times -- 25:4, February 3.
Exhibition of lithographs, woodcuts, and linoleum prints. -- New York Times -- VIII, 11:13, April 12.
Exhibition. -- New York Times -- 4:5, January 14.
Exhibition. -- New York Times -- 17:3, April 8.
Exhibition of photographs of recent buildings. -- New York Times -- VIII, 12:6, April 18.
15th century books brought from Germany by Dr. Otto H.F. Vollbehr on exhibition at the National Arts Club. -- New York Times -- 6:6, August 24.
15th century Book of Hours, worth $15,000, stolen from exhibition at National Arts Club. -- New York Times -- 1:2, August 26.
Feature article on exhibition. -- New York Times -- IV, 15:1, August 29.
Book of Hours mysteriously returned to Vollbehr by E.M. Garlock, attorney, acting for unnamed client who claims to have bought book from stranger. -- New York Times -- 19:1, September 12.
Editorial on return of book. -- New York Times -- 20:4, September 13.
21st annual book exhibit; addresses. -- New York Times -- 28:3, November 4.
History in connection with 20th anniversary celebration. -- New York Times -- VIII,18:6, November 7.
New Year's Eve costume ball. -- New York Times -- 15:3, January 1.
Exhibition of American paintings. -- New York Times -- 25:5, March 3.
Exhibition of etchings. -- New York Times -- IX, 10:4, December 11.
Exhibits. -- New York Times -- 30:2, January 12; -- New York Times -- IX, 13:2, January 29.
Awards in small painting exhibition. -- New York Times -- 27:2, February 10.
Exhibit. -- New York Times -- VIII, 15:3, February 12.
First exhibition of decorative arts. -- New York Times -- 28:4, March 15; -- New York Times -- IX, 15:4, March 18.
Exhibition. -- New York Times -- IX, 15:2, April 15.
J. Lie, P. Manship, and C. Beach win prizes. -- New York Times -- 25:3, January 11.
Annual members' exhibition. -- New York Times -- X, 18:4, January 27.
Exhibition of crafts. -- New York Times -- X, 15:6, December 8.
Prize awarded to D.C. Nisbet. -- New York Times -- 23:5, December 29.
Arts Club prizes announced. -- Art News -- 28:21, January 4.
Annual exhibition of painting and sculpture. -- New York Times -- VIII, 13:3, January 19.
Seventh annual exhibition. -- New York Times -- VIII, 13:1, February 16.
Annual junior art show. -- New York Times -- 3:5, March 15; -- New York Times -- X, 19:3, March 16.
Exhibition of prints by living American etchers. -- New York Times -- X, 18:1, December 14.
New York season; Living American Etchers. -- Art Digest -- 5:14, January 1.
M. Gregg Memorial Prize awarded to I.G. Olinsky; medal to H.W. Watrous. -- New York Times -- 34:6, January 10.
Exhibitions. -- New York Times -- VIII, 12:7, February 22.
Exhibition of Junior Artist Members. -- New York Times -- IX, 13:4, March 15.
Hold exhibition of portraits and other objects relating to history of Gramercy Park. -- New York Times -- II, 1:7 and 18:4, May 3.
Annual exhibition of paintings by members. -- New York Times -- 30:6, June 4.
Awards to R.D. Bowden $3000 prize, offered by J.G. Agar for best book on "The Soul of America." -- New York Times -- 20:6, June 8.
Annual exhibition of work by painter and sculptor members; prizes announced. -- New York Times -- 27:7, January 7.
Art Club prizes. -- Art Digest -- 6:10, January 15.
Forum on development of art talent in young artists. -- New York Times -- 13:8, January 18.
Arts Club prizes. -- Art News -- 30:20, January 23.
Opening. -- New York Times -- 16:7, February 4.
Prizes awarded to junior artists. -- New York Times -- 19:2, March 8.
Art auction totals $600. -- New York Times -- 19:5, April 14.
Members' exhibition of small paintings. -- New York Times -- 16:6, May 5.
National Arts Club book exhibition. E. Yost. -- Publishers Weekly -- 122:2382-3, December 31.
R. Nickerson, new member, wins medal at annual painting and sculpture show; other awards. -- New York Times -- 18:2, January 5.
Annual members' exhibition. -- New York Times -- 13:2, January 13; -- New York Times -- IX, 12:6, January 15.
National Arts club prizes. -- Art Digest -- 7:15, January 15; -- Art News -- 31:7, January 28 Celebrates 119th birthday of S.J. Tilden. -- New York Times -- 17:6, February 8.
Exhibition by junior artist members. -- New York Times -- 15:2, March 2.
Prizes for annual members' show announced. -- New York Times -- IX, 12:3, January 14.
Annual dinner. -- New York Times -- 17:4, January 18.
Prizes. -- Art Digest -- February 1, 8:19; -- Art Digest -- 8:13, May 15.
Memorial exhibition of eight of its deceased painter and sculptor members. -- New York Times -- IX, 12:6, February 4.
Junior members exhibit. -- New York Times -- 17:1, March 8; -- New York Times -- IX, 9:7, March 18; Prizes awarded. -- New York Times -- 22:8, March 22.
Annual members' show. -- New York Times -- 17:2, May 3; Awards, -- New York Times -- 21:1, May 8; -- New York Times -- IX, 7:7, May 13.
Awards given by Arts Club. -- Art News -- 32:4, June 2.
Rare book exhibition planned. -- New York Times -- 19:4, September 18; Exhibition. -- New York Times -- 17:1, September 19.
Annual exhibition of members' work opened. -- New York Times -- 17:5, January 10; -- New York Times -- 9:3, January 14.
Annual dinner; awards. -- New York Times -- 20:7, January 17.
Stag dinner; portrait of Victoria replaces painting of nude. -- New York Times -- 23:4, February 1.
Prizes, annual exhibition of painting and sculpture. -- Art Digest -- 9:21, February 1.
Members' annual exhibition. -- New York Times -- 18:2, February 8; -- New York Times -- VIII, 9:6, February 17.
Annual exhibition by junior artists. -- New York Times -- 18:5, March 9.
Arts Club plans a large bazaar. -- Art News -- 33:10, August 17.
Series of articles on traditions of club being written. -- New York Times -- II, 7:1, October 6.
Plans for annual book week. -- New York Times -- II and III, 8:5, October 13; exhibitors to be entertained by J.R. Gregg, president. -- New York Times -- 19:2, October 30.
To award two trips to Europe for mural decoration. New -- York Times -- 26:7, November 1; -- New York Times -- 19:5, November 14.
To hold "At Home" tea. -- New York Times -- II, 8:2, December 8.
Dinner. -- New York Times -- 14:8, December 11.
Annual members' exhibition. -- New York Times -- 19:6, January 9; -- New York Times -- 13:8, January 11; -- New York Times -- IX, 10:1, January 19.
Exhibition of modern textbooks. -- New York Times -- 17:7, February 6.
Announces winners of trips to Europe. -- New York Times -- 21:2, February 11.
Exhibition by neighboring organizations. -- New York Times -- IX, 8:1, April 12.
Summer exhibit from permanent collection. -- New York Times -- IX, 7:4, June 21.
Exhibition of contemporary books; authors' night. -- New York Times -- VI, 9:2, November 8.
Plans for children's matinee at annual book exhibition. -- New York Times -- VI, 7:2, November 8.
Women's open table plans dinner. -- New York Times -- 16:4, November 23.
Exhibition of Society of American Etchers. -- New York Times -- XII, 9:2, November 29.
Awards at members' exhibit. -- New York Times -- 24:3, January 27.
Exhibitions sponsored by Society of American Etchers. -- New York Times -- 21:3, February 3; -- New York Times -- X, 9:7, February 7.
Women's committee holds drama dinner. -- New York Times -- 13:1, February 15.
R.D. Kohn speaks, -- New York Times -- 25:7, March 11.
Jr. artists group exhibit. -- New York Times -- IX, 10:1, March 14; Awards. -- New York Times -- 23:6, March 25.
Photographic exhibition. -- New York Times -- X, 10:2, May 16.
Officers elected. -- New York Times -- 19:1, May 20.
H. Hamilton exhibit. -- New York Times -- IX, 6:7, September 26.
Book of the year exhibit. -- New York Times -- 23:6, November 4; -- New York Times -- VI, 4:3, November 28.
Mr. H.P. Crine elected life member. -- New York Times -- 9:1, November 28.
Members' exhibit. -- New York Times -- 28:3, December 9.
Women's Open Table plans. -- New York Times -- 11:2, January 17.
Members' annual exhibit. -- New York Times -- , January 18 26:2; -- New York Times -- IX,9:3, January 23; Awards. -- New York Times -- 22:2, January 27.
Members studio receptions planned. -- New York Times -- VI, 2:7, January 30.
Dinner honoring Dr. W. Damrosch. -- New York Times -- 12:5, March 7.
Exhibit by art groups near NYC. -- New York Times -- 20:8, March 28.
Group show. -- New York Times -- X, 8:2, April 17.
Viennese ball. -- New York Times -- 22:6, April 21.
J.F. Talcott elected president; D.E. Waid executive committee chairman. -- New York Times -- 21:6, November 19.
Victorian ball. -- New York Times -- 18:1, December 17.
Members' memorial exhibit. -- New York Times -- 15:1, January 13; -- New York Times -- IX, 9:2, January 22.
Members' painting and sculpture exhibit. -- New York Times -- IX, 9:2, February 5.
Jr. Members' lecture. -- New York Times -- 10:2, February 6.
Painting exhibit. -- New York Times -- 18:1, March 1; -- New York Times -- X, 10:2, March 5.
Jr. Members party planned. -- New York Times -- 50:3, March 5.
Exhibit of neighboring art organizations. -- New York Times -- 13:2, April 17.
Wild West party planned to benefit Jr. Members Scholarship Fund; to close 40th anniversary celebration. -- New York Times -- II, 2:8, April 23; -- New York Times -- II, 3:1, April 30.
Jr. Members plan New Year's Eve Olympian Ball. -- New York Times -- 30:2, December 19; -- New York Times -- II, 1:2, December 31.
Art by deceased life members to be sold. -- New York Times -- 17:2, January 5.
Group show; awards. -- New York Times -- 21:2, January 11.
Group show. -- New York Times -- 24:2, January 24; -- New York Times -- IX, 9:2, January 28.
Non-members exhibition. -- Art News -- 38:15, February 3.
Exhibits: ceramics. -- New York Times -- 17:4, February 16; Ceramics and flowers. -- New York Times -- 15:5, February 19; Ceramics. -- New York Times -- II, 5:2, February 25; Exhibits: Jr. members. -- New York Times -- IX, 10:2, April 14; Group show awards. -- New York Times -- 21: 5, April 25.
Pan-American Ball held. -- New York Times -- 21:5, April 20.
Fund campaign for refugee artists started. -- New York Times -- 8:2, July 31.
Establishes artist refugee fund. -- New York Times -- 19:1, August 1.
Benefit exhibit plans. -- New York Times -- 20:8, October 2; Exhibit. -- New York Times -- IX, 5:4, October 6.
County fair planned. -- New York Times -- II, 3:3, October 6.
Refugee artists show their work. -- Art News -- 39:10, October 12.
Annual book exhibit opens. -- New York Times -- 3:5, November 3.
Testimonial luncheon for foreign authors in U.S. -- New York Times -- 45:2, November 10.
National Arts Club dramatizes books at the 35th annual new books of the year exhibition. -- Publishers Weekly -- 138:2046, November 30.
Annual members' exhibit. -- New York Times -- 24:8, January 10; Comment. -- New York Times -- IX, 9:2, January 12; Awards. -- New York Times -- 24:6, January 23.
Annual prizes. -- Art Digest -- 15:13, February 1.
Benefits concerts planned. -- New York Times -- 39:1, February 23; -- New York Times -- 20:7, March 28.
Annual exhibit awards. -- New York Times -- 28:3, March 11; Comment. -- New York Times -- I, 10:3, March 16.
Group shows. -- New York Times -- IX, 10:1, March 30; -- New York Times -- IX, 8:2, May 25; -- New York Times -- X, 13:5, May 25; -- New York Times -- IX, 7:5, June 15.
Book exhibit. -- New York Times -- 1:6,November 9.
Group show. -- New York Times -- X, 10:1, January 18.
Group show. -- New York Times -- 14:4, February 4; Private preview. -- New York Times -- 15:4, February 5; Comment. -- New York Times -- IX, 9:6, February 8.
Jr. members to honor servicemen at Hallowe'en party. -- New York Times -- 16:3, October 30.
37th annual show of new books. -- Publishers Weekly -- 142:2044, November 14.
To sponsor Chinese and Indian art exhibit in NYC. -- New York Times -- VIII, 9:1, December 13; Exhibit. -- New York Times -- 42:5, December 17.
Holds Xmas fair. -- New York Times -- 13:3, November 16.
Contemporary American painting exhibit planned. -- New York Times -- 23:6, February 20.
Jr. members and young non-members exhibition. -- Art News -- 45:67, May.
Annual book show plans. -- New York Times -- 21:2, November 1; Show, W.L. Laurence speaks. -- New York Times -- 13:1, November 12.
Annual book show. -- Publishers Weekly -- 150:2731, 2718, November 9.
Packaging the book. P. Boswell. -- Art Digest -- 21:3, November 15.
Choosing best book jackets, 41st annual book show. -- Art News -- 45:8, December.
Preview exhibit. -- New York Times -- 21:5, January 9.
Forming symphony orchestra. -- New York Times -- 27:1, September 19.
Ninth annual exhibition of American Veterans Society of Artists. -- Art Digest -- 22:19, January 1.
Conservatives score at the 50th annual exhibition of painting and sculpture. -- Art Digest -- 22:17, February 1.
Fiftieth annual exhibition. -- Art News -- 47:49, March.
Book fair opens in NYC. -- New York Times -- 30:7, December 9.
Summer annual. -- Art Digest -- 23:14, August.
Dinner honors Mrs. F.D. Roosevelt. -- New York Times -- 39:5, October 11.
Fifty-second annual exhibition of oils and sculptures. -- Art Digest -- 24:12, January 15.
Members' summer exhibition. -- Art Digest -- 24:18, August.
Fair plans. -- New York Times -- 44:8, November 1.
Members-guests annual. -- New York Times -- II, 19:1, January 14.
53rd Annual Exhibition. -- Art Digest -- 25:18, January 15; -- Art News -- 49:47, February.
Non-members annual. -- New York Times -- 21:5, March 30.
Open competition for non-members. -- Art Digest -- 25:18, April 15.
Summer painting exhibition series opens. -- New York Times -- 42:8, June 7.
Members work. -- New York Times -- II, 6:4, June 17.
Summer exhibition. -- Art Digest -- 25:19, July.
Fifty-fourth annual exhibition. -- Art Digest -- 26:19, January 15; -- Art News -- 49:47, February.
Members and guests annual. -- New York Times -- 59:2, January 6; Awards. -- New York Times -- 16:2, January 17.
Watercolor annual; awards. -- New York Times -- 14:4, February 8; -- Art News -- 51:56, March.
Non-members painting annual; awards. -- New York Times -- 16:5, March 10; -- New York Times -- 27:3, March 13.
Small pictures by members; awards. -- New York Times -- 25:5, April 9.
Exhibition of small oils. -- Art Digest -- 26:18-19, April 15; -- Art News -- 49:47, February.
Theatre in an art gallery. A. Scheff. -- Theatre Arts -- 37:92, January.
Members-guests annual; awards. -- New York Times -- II, 11:2, January 11.
Non-members painting annual; awards. -- New York Times -- 21:5., February 19.
Members work; awards. -- New York Times -- II, 13:2, May 10; -- New York Times -- II, 8:5, June 21.
Painting and sculpture annual by members and guests. -- New York Times -- 25:5, January 26.
Fifty-sixth annual exhibition. -- Arts Digest -- 28:17, February 1.
Members and non-members annual; contemporary watercolors; awards. -- New York Times -- 27:5, February 11; Review. -- New York Times -- II, 14:2, February 14.
Grand national annual members' competition. -- Art News -- 53:63, May.
Painting and sculpture annual; awards. -- New York Times -- 23:1, January 12.
Fifty-sixth annual exhibition. -- Arts Digest -- 28:17, February 1.
Paintings annual; awards. -- New York Times -- 18:4, March 1.
Annual exhibition of American oil paintings. -- Art Digest -- 29:26, March 15.
Poet P. MacKaye honored on 80th birthday. -- New York Times -- 28:2, March 16.
Arts Club honors Neuman; WNYC. C. Durgin. -- Musical America -- 77:12, April.
Art Clubs of America. -- Artist -- 53:67, June.
At founding [sixtieth anniversary]. -- New York Times -- 49:2, November 27.
First annual metropolitan young artists show; awards. -- New York Times -- 49:2, November 27
Stadium Concerts founder Mrs. C.S. Guggenheimer gets scroll from Mayor Wagner and National Arts Club medal. -- New York Times -- 9:2, March 12.
Tenor competition awards. -- New York Times -- 47:8, November 15.
The National Arts Club donated its records to the Archives of American Art in 1987. Although a limited amount of printed matter was available at various libraries and on microfilm through the Archives of American Art, scholars have not had access to unpublished records of the Club until this time.
In November 2017 an addition to the Officers' Correspondence was donated by Elizabeth G. Knudsen, granddaughter of Edmund Greacen, former Arts Committee Chair.
The collection is open for research. Patrons must use microfilm copy.
The National Arts Club records 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.
This series consists of the business and personal correspondence of Edith Gregor Halpert and the Downtown Gallery. For the most part, this series is general business correspondence concerning routine activities of the Downtown Gallery, including the American Folk Art Gallery and the Daylight Gallery, both operated by the Downtown Gallery on the same premises. Included are correspondence with clients, employees, other galleries, and colleagues concerning sales, loans, purchases, appraisals, and so forth; arrangements for shipping, framing, photography, reproduction permissions, and insurance; and gallery housekeeping and improvements, ordering of supplies, and other administrative concerns.
Also included is personal correspondence of Edith Gregor Halpert. There are letters and greeting cards from nieces, nephews, and other relatives; correspondence with longtime friends, including some who were art collectors, museum curators, or museum directors; and correspondence concerning upkeep and improvement of her Newtown, Connecticut, country home and entertaining there.
See Appendix A for a list of selected correspondents from Series 1
Letters (with enclosures) are arranged chronologically, with those of the same date alphabetized by name of correspondent; undated material is arranged alphabetically, followed by unidentified correspondents and letters bearing illegible signatures.
Box numbers provided in the Container Listing are approximate.
Appendix A: List of Selected Correspondents in Series 1:
Names and titles indicated in this list are those that appear on the letters. Where appropriate, terms have been standardized and cross-referencing provided. Because filing is not always consistent, researchers are advised to check both the name of an individual and the institution that he or she represented.
Abate Associates, Inc., 1956
Abbot and Land, 1965
Abbot, B. Vincent, 1944
Abbot, Bernice, 1957
Abbot, John E., 1945, 1948
Abbot Laboratories, 1950, 1952
ABC Employment Agency, 1951
Richard Abel and Co., Inc., 1968
Abendroth, Robert W., 1966-1967
Abercrombie and Fitch Co., 1962
Abilene Museum of Fine Arts, undated, 1949, 1954
Abingdon Square Painters, 1965
Abraham and Straus, 1930, 1960, 1965-1966, 1968
Abraham, Mae C., 1965
Abrahamsen, Mrs. David, 1962
Abramowitz, M., 1958
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1958-1960, 1965-1966, 1968-1969
[incomplete; without signature], undated, 1953, 1961, 1967, 1968
The microfilm of this collection has been digitized and is available online via the Archives of American Art website. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
The Downtown Gallery records are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. 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. Prior to publishing information regarding sales transactions, researchers are responsible for obtaining written permission from both artist and purchaser involved. If it cannot be established after a reasonable search whether an artist or purchaser is living, it can be assumed that the information may be published sixty years after the date of sale.
Downtown Gallery records, 1824-1974, bulk 1926-1969. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing, microfilming and digitization of the microfilm of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation