The collection is organized into twelve series. Series 1: Biographical Information, 1885-1931, undated Series 2: Correspondence, 1843-1940, undated Series 3: Circulars/Requests for Submissions of Works of Art, 1886-1905 Series 4: Legal Records, 1881-1928 Series 5: Financial Records, 1870-1989, undated Series 6: Diaries, 1894-1901 Series 7: Notes and Writings, 1872-1980, undated Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1878-1909 Series 9: Printed Material, 1873-1990, undated Series 10: Photographs, 1898-1990 Series 11: Photographs of Works of Art, undated Series 12: Miscellany, undated
Access Note / Rights:
The collection is open for research. Patrons must use microfilm copy.
The papers of arts administrator, museum director, collector, dealer, and editor Charles M. Kurtz (1855-1909), measure 27.74 linear feet and date from 1843-1990 (bulk dates 1884-1909). The bulk of the collection consists of detailed chronological correspondence between Kurtz and his wife and family, friends, colleagues, and business associates that documents many notable exhibitions, galleries, museums, private collections, as well as cities, people, and events of the period. Also found in the collection are Kurtz's diaries, scrapbooks, printed materials, and photographs.
Charles M. Kurtz papers, 1843-1990, bulk 1884-1909. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Portions of the collection and material lent for microfilming are available on 35mm microfilm reels 4804-4826 and 4912 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.
Glasgow painting diary, Microfilm reel 4912: Authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce requires written permission from Yale Center for British Art. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The St. Louis Exposition/Halsey C. Ives papers in the Archives of American Art contain material relating to Charles M. Kurtz.<br /> Additional Charles Kurtz papers, 1870-1910, including 340 letters which discuss exhibitions, sales of art, patronage, atelier visits, and submissions to publications, and letters to his parents in which he discsses the art market and art world new; as well as manuscripts, notebooks, a diary, and printed ephemera relating to exhibitions and publications, are available at the Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Los Angeles, California. The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reel 4912) including Charles Kurtz's Glasgow painting diary. The loaned diary was returned to the lender and can now be found at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut. This material is not described in the collection container inventory.
Charles M. Kurtz's name is known to many scholars and students of American art history. To some he is important for his critical writings, others are interested in his management of exhibitions for the Art Union and the American Art Association. Many are aware of him because of his publication of National Academy Notes , which continued for nine years. Still others are familiar with Kurtz in his role as an art administrator for late 19th century art exhibitions like those at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago and the St. Louis Fair, or for his accomplishments as the first director of the Albright Gallery in Buffalo, New York. Sometimes researchers have become familiar with his name through the sale catalogue for his considerable collection, which was sold at auction after his death in 1909. His career, which encompassed the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth century, touched on virtually every aspect of art in America during that period.
For many years, the Kurtz Papers were thought to have been destroyed in a fire. Isabel Kurtz, a school teacher who lived with her older sister in Buffalo, New York, was vague when initially approached about her father's papers by Archives Regional Director, Robert Brown in the mid-1980s. However upon her death in 1991, her will revealed that the papers were indeed in her house in Buffalo and the bulk of them were bequeathed to the Archives of American Art. Paintings and a diary relating to the Glasgow School were given to the Yale Center for British Art. That diary has subsequently been duplicated on microfilm and is now also available in the Archives. Scorch marks on some of the papers and also on the paintings given to Yale suggest that there was indeed a fire. The material that was not bequeathed to the Archives included duplicates of printed documents along with books from the Kurtz library and a coin collection, all of which were dispersed in an estate auction that was held in Buffalo in 1991.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001