The collection is arranged into twenty-four series based primarily on type of document or special project. Though concentrated in its own series, additional correspondence is scattered throughout the collection and may be found in special project files, gallery files, exhibition files, studio notebooks, and scrapbooks. The correspondence has been divided into two subseries, one chronological and the other according to Rattner's subject-oriented filing system. Special art projects have been organized by project, and placed in chronological order. The studio notebooks have also been divided into subseries, and all notebook pages maintain Rattner's original order. The first subseries of notebooks reflects Rattner's numbering system, while the second subseries is arranged chronologically. The vast amount of printed material has been divided into subseries, and all of the unfilmed printed material has been organized chronologically at the end of the series. Within each series, material is arranged either in chronological order, or in some cases, according to Abraham Rattner's own organizational system. Oversized materials from various series are housed in oversized folders 33-45 and are noted in the Series Description/Container Listing with see also/see references or in the container columns. Series 1: Biographical Files, 1893-1978, undated (box 1; 0.2 linear ft.) Series 2: Interviews, 1957-1975, undated (box 1; 7 folders) Series 3: Correspondence Files, 1933-1978, undated (boxes 1-5; 4.3 linear ft.) Series 4: Special Projects, 1940-1987, undated (boxes 5-6, ovs 33-35; 1.5 linear ft.) Series 5: Joan d'Arc Fresco painted by Paul Gaugin, 1925-1963, undated (box 7, ov 36; 12 folders) Series 6: Gallery Files, 1942-1975 (boxes 7-8; 1.5 linear ft.) Series 7: Exhibition Files, 1963-1978 (boxes 7, 9; 9 folders) Series 8: Writings, 1940-1972, undated (box 9; 0.9 linear ft.) Series 9: Studio Notebooks, 1935-1975, undated (boxes 10-11; 1.9 linear ft.) Series 10: Art Expenses, circa 1940-1970 (boxes 11-13; 0.7 linear ft.) Series 11: Household Files, 1940-1970, undated (box 13; 0.8 linear ft.) Series 12: Financial Records, 1933-1963 (boxes 13-14; 0.7 linear ft.) Series 13: Notes and Lists, 1936-1972, undated (box 14; 0.5 linear ft.) Series 14: Address Books, 1939-1977, undated (box 15; 1.0 linear ft.) Series 15: Date Books/Diaries, 1937-1977, undated (boxes 16-17; 1.6 linear ft.) Series 16: Scrapbooks, 1938-1952 (boxes 18-22; 1.5 linear ft.) Series 17: Printed Material, 1920s-1980s, undated (boxes 23-26; 3.6 linear ft.) Series 18: Writings by Others, 1945-circa 1980, undated (box 26; 20 folders) Series 19: Photographs, 1891-1970s, undated (boxes 27-29; 1.6 linear ft.) Series 20: Works of Art by Rattner, 1912-1914, 1940-1967, undated (box 30, ovs 37-44; 2.4 linear ft.) Series 21: Works of Art by Others, undated (box 30, ov 45; 7 folders) Series 22: Bettina Bedwell Papers, 1932-1947, undated (box 31; 0.4 linear ft.) Series 23: Esther Gentle Papers, 1921-1984, undated (boxes 31-32; 1.3 linear ft.) Series 24: Allen Leepa Papers, 1952-1969, undated (box 32; 8 folders)
Access Note / Rights:
The collection is open for research. Use of unmicrofilmed portion requires an appointment.
The Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers measure 26.3 linear feet and date from 1891 through the 1980s. The collection documents Rattner's life and career as an artist through interviews, extensive correspondence, gallery files, studio notebooks, writings, notes, date books and diaries, photographs, and works of art.
Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers, 1891-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The bulk of the collection is available on 35 mm microfilm reels 5258-5279 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.
Loaned material, including notebooks, writings, and some correspondence, were returned to Abraham Rattner after microfilming. This material is now part of the Abraham Rattner notes collection at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at St. Petersburg College. Loaned material is available on reels D203-D205, D205A-D205B, and reel 1212, but is not described in this finding aid.
Abraham Rattner was born in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1895. His parents immigrated to the United States to escape antisemitism in Czarist Russia. He was the second of six children, including his eldest brother Louis, younger brothers Manuel (Manny) and Harry, and his younger sisters Rose and Jennie.
The collection was given to the Archives of American Art in stages by Abraham Rattner 1972-1983, by Esther Gentle 1986-1987, and by Gene Allen in 1992. The donated material that was previously filmed has been integrated and refilmed includes reels D203 and D205C-D205D. The material found on reels D205A-D205B was loaned by Rattner and the material found on reel 1212 was loaned by his sister, Jennie Allen.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001