This series includes personal and professional correspondence of Paul Bransom from the beginning of his career until the end of his life. Correspondence includes letters from other artists, art directors and editors, writers, nature and wildlife conservators and zoologists, curators, collectors, printers, engravers, family, and friends. Also found are letters Bransom wrote to his wife, Grace Bond Bransom, early in their relationship, and scattered correspondence to Grace Bond Bransom and Althea Bond, Bransom's niece and heiress. Many illustrated letters are found among the correspondence, including several lavishly illustrated letters from Charles Sarka. Photographs, clippings, and other enclosures such as membership cards, are scattered throughout the series.
Correspondence is divided into three groups: that between Paul Bransom and his wife, general correspondence, and cards. General correspondence is arranged chronologically except for occasional instances where letters were originally grouped together by author or subject. Drafts and carbon copies of outgoing letters written by Paul Bransom are interfiled with general correspondence, and undated drafts are filed at the end of the general correspondence. Greeting cards with significant written messages are interfiled with general correspondence, and cards without messages are arranged alphabetically at the end of the series. Many of the cards are made with original artwork, as indicated in the folder notes below.
General correspondence contains letters and records of transactions with Bransom's publishing clients, as well as letters from many authors whose stories Bransom illustrated, especially between the 1900s and the 1940s. Among the authors are Albert Payson Terhune, Donald Culross Peattie, J. Frank Dobie, Dorothy Cottrell, Attilio Gatti, Charmian London (wife of Jack London), and Herbert Sass. Artists represented in Bransom's correspondence include Charles Sarka, Joe Back, Walter Biggs, Patricia Bott, Chen Chi, John Clymer, Paul Fair, Charles Hargens, Bob Kuhn, Dorothy and Gertrude Lathrop, Bob Lougheed, George McLean, Ugo Mochi, Bill and Rachel Scott, Donald Teague, and Clarence Tillenius.
Letters and envelopes are often annotated by Bransom giving the full name of the author and sometimes the nature of their relationship or other biographical information. Additional correspondence can be found in Personal Business Records, and some drafts of outgoing letters are found in the notebooks filed in Notes and Writings.
See Appendix for a list of selected correspondents from Series 2.
The bulk of the collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Use of material not digitized requires an appointment.
Paul Bransom papers, 1862-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art