The collection is arranged as 8 series. Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1962-1978 Series 2: Correspondence, 1945-2010, undated Series 3: Writings, 1952-1976, undated Series 4: Research files, 1849, 1950-1984, 2009, undated Series 5: Printed Materials, 1931-1981, undated Series 6: Artwork, 1949, 1952, 1983, undated Series 7: Photographs of Artwork, circa 1950-2010 Series 8: Addition to the Dore Ashton Papers, circa 1928-2013
Access Note / Rights:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
The papers of Dore Ashton measure 35.6 linear feet and date from circa 1928-2014, with one letter in the Joseph Cornell subject file dating from 1849. The records document Dore Ashton's career as an art critic, historian and educator, with particular depth for the period of 1952 through 1990. The collection contains a small amount of biographical material, as well as correspondence, writings, subject files, printed materials, artwork, and reference photographs of artworks. An addition to the Dore Ashton papers includes biographical material, correspondence, writings, writing project and subject files, teaching files, printed material, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographic material.<br /> The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence with many artists, writers and others, including Pat Adams, James Adley, Rudolf Arnheim, Jake Berthot, Dennis Congdon, George Herbert, Remo Guidieri, Barbara Howes, Fred Licht, Joan Punyet Miro, Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, and Hedda Sterne, among others. Smaller amounts of letters are from Joseph Albers, Edward Albee, Richard Avedon, Richard Diebenkorn, David Driskell, Alberto Giacometti, Philip Guston, Lillian Hellman, Alger Hiss, Bernard Malamud, Joan Miro, Robert Motherwell, Lewis Mumford, Claes Oldenburg, and Vassilis Vassilikos.<br /> Writings consist of transcripts of miscellaneous articles or those written for various publications. Research files include reference or research materials for books, exhibitions, individuals and various topics. Individuals and topics include Jacopo Luis Borges, Allan Kaprow, Richard Lindner, Seong Moy, Jean Tinguely, Mark Tobey, Jack Tworkov, Adja Yunkers; and Dadaism, poetry and symbolism.<br /> The addition to the Dore Ashton papers (Series 8) includes biographical material, correspondence, writings, writing project and subject files, teaching files, printed material, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographic material. Writings make up a significant part of the addition and contain hundreds of manuscripts, as well as lectures, notes, sixty notebooks, ten diaries, and writings by others. Writing project and subject files comprise over half of the addition and encompass a large collection of alphabetical files pertaining to artists, actors, writers, thinkers, and collaborators; work projects including writings, exhibitions, panels, symposia, and lecture series; as well as various other subjects and topics. The addition also contains teaching files related to Ashton's positions at the Cooper Union, the New School for Social Research, and Yale University. The photographic material in this series is also abundant and contains hundreds of original photographs of Ashton throughout all stages of her life, many with friends and family.
Dore Ashton papers, circa 1928-2014. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Portions of the collection are available on 35 mm microfilm reels 5143-5152 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Funding for the processing of a portion of this collection was provided the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund
The Dore Ashton 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.
Among the holdings of the Archives is an oral history interview with Dore Ashton conducted November 21, 2010 by George W. Sampson, for the Archives of American Art's Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts Project.<br /> Dore Ashton papers are also located at Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.
Dore Ashton (1928-) is an art critic, author, and educator living in New York City. She wrote, contributed , and edited more than 30 books. Ashton was born in Newark New Jersey in 1928 and received an MA from Harvard University in 1950. Her many books and articles focus on late 19th and 20th century art and artists. Ashton was associate editor at Art Digest from 1952-1954, and critic for Arts and Architecture at the New York Times , 1955-1960. Starting in 1962 she held several lecturing posts at various institutions including the School of Visual Arts, Cooper Union, and the New School for Social Research. She was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1964 and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in 1980. Among Ashton's books are Abstract Art Before Columbus , 1956; Poets and the Past , 1959; A Joseph Cornell Album , 1974; Yes, But...A Critical Study of Philip Guston , 1976, About Rothko , 1983; The New York School: a Cultural Reckoning , 1973; Noguchi East and West , 1992; and David Rankin: The New York Years , 2013. Dore Ashton was the first critic to develop a comprehensive and eye-witness account of the history of the Abstract Expressions.
Most of the collection is in English; some correspondence and printed materials are in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Norwegian, and possibly Latvian.
The Dore Ashton papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Dore Ashton May 27, 1982, May 8, 1997, June 2, 2011, and March, 25, 2016.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001