Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Additional Online Media

Catalog Data

Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969  Search this
Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969  Search this
Rodman, Selden  Search this
Rothstein, Arthur  Search this
Odets, Clifford  Search this
Sheeler, Charles  Search this
Rivera, Diego  Search this
Robbins, Jerome  Search this
Vachon, John  Search this
Williams, William Carlos  Search this
Wolcott, Marion Post  Search this
Smith, David  Search this
Soby, James Thrall  Search this
Soyer, Raphael  Search this
Gusten, Theodore  Search this
Friendly, Fred W.  Search this
Kingman, Dong  Search this
Zorach, William  Search this
Hirsch, Joseph  Search this
Evans, Walker  Search this
Dugan, Alan  Search this
Francis, Arlene  Search this
Ferry, W. Hawkins  Search this
Mydans, Carl  Search this
Martin, John Bartlow  Search this
Nakashima, Marian  Search this
Nakashima, George  Search this
Lee, Russell  Search this
Lange, Dorothea  Search this
MacLeish, Archibald  Search this
Lionni, Leo  Search this
Osborn, Robert Chesley  Search this
Delano, Jack  Search this
Baskin, Leonard  Search this
Motion pictures (visual works)
Video recordings
Sound recordings
Place of publication, production, or execution:
United States
Physical Description:
24.8 Linear feet
The collection is arranged as 12 series: Series 1: Biographical and Family Records, 1879-1984 (Box 1, OV 36; 0.2 linear ft.) Series 2: Letters, 1929-1990 (Boxes 1-25, 35, OVs 36-38; 14.4 linear ft.) Series 3: Project Files, 1933-1975 (Boxes 25-26; OVs 36-37; 1.03 linear ft.) Series 4: Financial and Legal Records, 1934-1988 (Boxes 26-27, 35; 0.81 linear ft.) Series 5: Notes and Writings, circa 1933-1988 (Boxes 27-28; 1.62 linear ft.) Series 6: Artwork, circa 1930s-1965 (Boxes 28, 35; 11 folders) Series 7: Source Files, circa 1900s-1960s (Boxes 28-30, 35; 1.81 linear ft.) Series 8: Printed Material, 1912-1988 (Boxes 30-33, 35, OV 39; 3.22 linear ft.) Series 9: Photographs, circa 1900-1969 (Boxes 33-35; 0.86 linear ft.) Series 10: Interview Transcripts, 1943-1968 (Box 34; 0.25 linear ft.) Series 11: Audio and Video Recordings, 1959-1968 (Box 34; 0.25 linear ft.) Series 12: Artifacts, circa 1930s-circa 1960s (Box 34; 2 items)
Access Note / Rights:
Access to original papers requires an appointment. Access to audiovisual recording with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
The papers of social realist painter, photographer, illustrator, printmaker, and teacher Ben Shahn (1898-1969) measure 24.8 linear feet and date from 1879-1990, with the bulk of the material dating from 1933-1970. The bulk of the collection consists of over 14 linear feet of incoming letters from artists, writers, colleagues, publishers, art organizations, galleries, and universities and colleges. Also found are biographical materials, project and source files, printed material, artwork by Shahn and others, photographs taken of and by Shahn, interview transcripts, sound recordings of interviews and a motion picture film.
Ben Shahn papers, 1879-1990, bulk 1933-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Additional Forms:
This site provides access to the papers of Ben Shahn in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2010, and total 41733 images. Some of the audiovisual material has been digitized for reference use and is available in the Archives of American Art offices.
Material lent for microfilming is available on 35mm microfilm reel N70-6 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Use Note:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art holds four oral history interviews with Ben Shahn: 1964 Apr. 14 interview conducted by Richard K. Doud for the Archives of American Art New Deal and the Arts Project in which Shahn speaks of his travels and work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and the American image as portrayed by FSA; 1965 Jan. 17 interview; 1965 Oct. 3. interview conducted by Harlan Phillips for the Archives of American Art New Deal and the Arts Project; and 1968 Sept. 27 interview conducted by Forrest Selvig. Most of these interviews have transcripts available online.<br /> The Archives also holds the Bernarda Bryson Shahn papers, circa 1947-2005, and two oral history interviews with Bernarda Bryson Shahn: 1983 Apr. 29 and 1995 July 3. The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reel N70-6) including addresses and essays by Shahn, seven royalty statements, and three letters from publishers. Many of the writings found on this reel were included in subsequent donations. All other lent material was returned to the lender and is not described in the collection container inventory.
Biography Note:
Ben Shahn (1898-1969) was a social realist painter, muralist, printmaker, photographer, illustrator, and teacher who worked primarily in Brooklyn, New York and New Jersey. He was most active in the 1930s through the 1950s and worked on several federally funded arts projects, including the Farm Security Administration's photographic documentation project of rural America during the Depression.
Language Note:
English .
The Ben Shahn papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in several installments between 1967-1991 by Shahn's widow, Bernarda Bryson Shahn who also lent materials for microfilming in 1969. Jean Shahn, Ben Shahn's daughter-in-law and estate representative, donated one additional sketch in 2018.
Digitization Note:
This site provides access to the papers of Ben Shahn in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2010. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 41,803 images.
Location Note:
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Printmakers -- United States  Search this
Illustrators -- United States  Search this
Photographers -- United States  Search this
Art Movements and Schools  Search this
Photography  Search this
Record number:
Art Movements and Schools
Data Source:
Archives of American Art