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Catalog Data

Creator:
Britton, James, 1878-1936  Search this
Names:
Arlington Galleries (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Kelly, Andrew J.  Search this
Kent, Duncan Scott  Search this
Lockman, DeWitt McClellan, 1870-1957  Search this
Mitchell, Edwin Valentine, 1890-1960  Search this
Vonnoh, Robert William, 1858-1933  Search this
Blackfield  Search this
Fiske, Gertrude, 1878-1961  Search this
Higgins, Eugene, 1874-1958  Search this
Inukai, Kyohei, 1913-  Search this
Phillips, Duncan, 1886-1966  Search this
Prendergast, Maurice Brazil, 1858-1924  Search this
Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946  Search this
Vose, Robert C. (Robert Churchill), 1911-1998  Search this
Extent:
2.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Illustrations
Notebooks
Diaries
Prints
Sketches
Drafts
Date:
circa 1905-1984
bulk 1905-1935
Summary:
The papers of painter and writer James Britton measure 2.9 linear feet and date from circa 1905-1984, with the bulk of the material dating from circa 1905-1935. The bulk of the papers consist of 49 diaries dating from 1918-1935, plus notebooks of diary excerpts, that chronicle Britton's daily activities and include lists, illustrations, and drafts of correspondence. Additional papers include biographical information compiled by the Britton family; scattered business and financial records; correspondence, including copies of Britton's letters to the editors of the Hartford Courant and the Hartford Times; additional writings and notes that include drafts and manuscripts of an autobiography, drafts of articles for his publication Art Opus, and other writings; sketches and a woodcut print; printed materials, including clippings of his published writings for Art Review International, Book Notes, and Opus; and one photograph of Britton and of works of art.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of painter and writer James Britton measure 2.9 linear feet and date from circa 1905-1984, with the bulk of the material dating from circa 1905-1935. The bulk of the papers consist of 49 diaries dating from 1918-1935, plus notebooks of diary excerpts, that chronicle Britton's daily activities and include lists, illustrations, and drafts of correspondence. Additional papers include biographical information compiled by the Britton family; scattered business and financial records; correspondence, including copies of Britton's letters to the editors of the Hartford Courant and the Hartford Times; additional writings and notes that include drafts and manuscripts of an autobiography, drafts of articles for his publication Art Opus, and other writings; sketches and a woodcut print; printed materials, including clippings of his published writings for Art Review International, Book Notes, and Opus; and one photograph of Britton and of works of art. Biographical information consists of a file of photocopied materials prepared by the Britton Family. Scattered business and financial records include papers relating to Britton's auto accident, indexes of letters, illustrated indexes and lists of works of art, miscellaneous invoices and receipts, and file relating to Arlington Gallery. Nine folders of correspondence include letters written to and by Britton along with posthumus materials to his widow, Caroline Britton. Correspondents include artists and friends Gertrude Fiske, Eugene Higgins, Kyonei Inukai, Andrew Kelly, Dewitt McClellan Lockman, Edwin Valentine Mitchell, Maurice Prendergast, Duncan Phillips, Alfred Stieglitz, Robert Vonnoh, and Robert C. Vose. The bulk of the Britton papers consist of his extensive diaries - 49 volumes, plus notebooks of excerpts and detailed indexes. The diaries date from 1918-1935 and details Britton's daily activities and observations about art figures active in New York and Connecticut, classical music, the Great Depression, Prohibition, the Catholic Church, and politics. In addition, Britton talks of his relationships with his wife and children. The diaries served as a place for Britton to make lists of works of art, portrait subjects, potential clients, etc. Britton also created "Notebooks of Diary Excerpts" and a detailed index of many of the diaries. Additional writings and notes include a handwritten and incomplete typescript of an autobiography, writings for Britton's publication Opus, and miscellaneous writings about art, music and plays. Writings by others include works by Duncan Scott Kent and Blackfield. Artwork includes a print and sketches by Britton, and children's drawings. Printed materials include issues of Britton's Art Review International, Opus, and other publications for which he wrote articles or provided illustration, clippings, exhibition catalogs, and programs. Photographs include one photo of the artist with a painting and photos of works of art.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 8 series: Series 1: Biographical Information, 1970-1984 (Box 1; 1 folder) Series 2: Business and Financial records, 1919-1933 (Box 1; 7 folders) Series 3: Correspondence, 1913-1945 (Box 1; 9 folders) Series 4: Diaries, 1918-1935 (Box 1-2; 1.5 linear feet) Series 5: Writings and Notes, circa 1910s-1931 (Box 2-3; 0.4 linear feet) Series 6: Artwork, circa 1920-1929 (Box 3; 5 folders) Series 7: Printed Material, 1910-1982 (Box 4; 0.4 linear feet) Series 8: Photographs, circa 1905-1930s (Box 4, OV 1; 3 folders)
Biographical Note:
James Britton (1878-1936) was a portrait painter and writer active in Connecticut and New York. Britton wrote extensively about American art and artists and was the editor of his own publications Art Review International and Opus. Also, he was a member of the group of New York painters and sculptors known as The Eclectics. Born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1878, James Britton began his career as an apprentice working under August Jaccaci at Scribner's Magazine in 1895. He studied under George de Forest Brush at the Art Students' League and under Walter Griffin and Charles Noel Flagg in Hartford. He exhibited and worked with many of the American artists associated with the Ash Can school and The Eclectics, a group of New York artists that included Theresa Bernstein, Guy Pene du Bois, Walter Griffin, Philip L. Hale, Eugene Higgins, George Luks, Jane Peterson, Maurice Prendergast, and Mahonri Young. Mainly, Britton worked as a portrait painter but produced many landscapes of Sag Harbor, Long Island, and of his homes in Connecticut. He was a founding member of the New Society of American Artists and the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts. He exhibited at numerous New York City galleries including Ainslie Galleries, Arlington Galleries, Babcock Galleries, Dudensing Galleries, Folsom Galleries, and at the studio of sculptor Marie Apel. A prolific writer on American art and artists, as well as an illustrator, Britton worked as staff artist for the Hartford Times and as an art critic for American Art News and the Hartford Courant. He also founded and edited Art Review International and Opus. Two of his published books include Copley, Painter of the Revolution and Artists of America. Britton was also interested in classical music and wrote on composers Haydn and Beethoven. Britton's extensive diaries found within his papers chronicle his daily life and commentary. In 1914, Britton married Caroline Korner and settled mostly in Connecticut. They had three children, Jerome, Teresa, and Ruth. In 1928, a car struck Britton and left him disabled. Although he continued to paint, he suffered from ill-health as a result of the accident. He died in 1936. James Britton's works are represented at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Mark Twain Memorial, Manchester Public Library and at St. Joseph's College.
Provenance:
James Britton's granddaughters, Barbara Britton and Ursula Roberts Britton donated the James Britton papers in 1985.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The James Britton papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. The collection is subject to all copyright laws. Copyright ownership remains with Barbara Britton and Ursula Britton, who have granted the Archives permission to digitize the collection and post on the Archives website.
Topic:
Authors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art critics  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York -- Diaries  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- Connecticut  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Illustrations
Notebooks
Diaries
Prints
Sketches
Drafts
Citation:
James Britton papers, circa 1905-1984, bulk circa 1905-1935. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.britjame
See more items in:
James Britton papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-britjame