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Dorothea A. Dreier papers

Creator:
Dreier, Dorothea A., 1870-1923  Search this
Names:
Cooperative Mural Workshop  Search this
Women's Trade Union League of America  Search this
Bartlett, Agnes Willard  Search this
Bartlett, Mary F.  Search this
Bartlett, Maud W.  Search this
Davis, Charles H. (Charles Harold), 1856-1938  Search this
Dreier, Ethyl Eyre Valentine  Search this
Dreier, Katherine Sophie, 1877-1952  Search this
Dreier, Mary E. (Mary Elisabeth), 1875-1963  Search this
Forbes, Rebecca  Search this
Gogh, Elisabeth du Quesne van, 1859-1936  Search this
Kuhn, Walt, 1877-1949  Search this
Mahan, Ellen Kuhn  Search this
Robins, Margaret Dreier  Search this
Robins, Raymond, 1873-1954  Search this
Schetter, Charlotte  Search this
Shirlaw, Walter, 1838-1909  Search this
Extent:
2.6 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pamphlets
Sketchbooks
Photographs
Broadsides
Date:
1881-1941
bulk 1887-1923
Summary:
The papers of artist and art patron Dorothea A. Dreier measure 2.6 linear feet and date from 1881-1941, with the bulk of the material dating from 1887-1923. The papers document the life and work of Dorothea Dreier and also contain the papers of and about members of her immediate family, particularly her sisters, Mary and Katherine Dreier, and Margaret Dreier Robins. Found are correspondence, printed materials, legal and financial records, photographs, and one sketchbook by Dreier.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of the painter Dorothea A. Dreier measure 2.6 linear feet and date from 1881 to 1941, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1887-1923. These papers document not only her life and work as an artist, but also the activities of her distinguished family in the realms of social reform, women's suffrage, and politics, through correspondence, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, broadsides, exhibition catalogs, publications, photographs, ephemera, a sketchbook, and legal and financial records.

Biographical materials include official documents, childhood writings, notes, ephemera, membership cards, invitations, programs, notes, lists, and legal and financial records.

Measuring 1.2 linear feet, correspondence is the largest and most extensive series and consists of letters from family and close friends as well as business correspondence. Although the letters in this series span from 1881-1925, a large number stem from Dorothea's 1913-1916 stay at Saranac Lake for treatment of her tuberculosis.

Family correspondents consist of members of Dorothea's immediate family as well as more distant relations, including those who resided in her parent's native Germany. Letters from her sisters Mary E. Dreier, and Margaret (Gretchen) Dreier Robins, her sister-in-law Ethyl Eyre Valentine Dreier and brother-in-law Raymond Robins provide some insight into the varied social reform and political movements, such as women's suffrage and the Bull Moose Party, with which they were allied. Additionally both Mary and Margaret were active in the Women's Trade Union League, Margaret having served as the League's president from 1907-1922. Therefore their correspondence is a rich resource for scholars interested in women's history and the history of the Progressive Era in the United States.

Due to their shared interest in the arts, her sister Katherine S. Dreier's letters provide information about her own work as an artist, particularly when she was studying abroad, exhibitions in which she participated or visited, and the Cooperative Mural Workshop, a combination art school and workshop that she ran from 1914-1917 with Walt Kuhn, with substantial financial help from Dorothea.

Additionally through her Brooklyn neighborhood, art classes, and support of numerous social causes, Dorothea had a large circle of friends. Frequent correspondents include the Bartlett sisters, Agnes, Mary, and Maud, Rebecca Forbes, Ellen Kuhn Mahan, and Charlotte Schetter. Notable art world correspondents include Vincent van Gogh's sister Elisabeth du Quesne van Gogh, the American Tonalist landscape painter Charles Harold Davis and Dreier's painting instructor and close friend, the painter Walter Shirlaw.

Printed materials reflect the varied interests and activities of Dorothea Dreier and select members of her immediate family through exhibition announcements, catalogs, including a numbered copy of the The Dorothea A. Dreier Exhibition from the memorial exhibition of her work at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1925, newspaper clippings relating to her career, the activities of other members of the Dreier family, art and politics; as well as pamphlets, broadsides, brochures and blank postcards.

Photographs include both studio portraits and informal snapshots of Dorothea and Katherine Dreier; group photographs including Dorothea; travel photographs, many of which appear to have been taken in the Netherlands; and photographs of Teddy Roosevelt giving a speech at a railway station. Artworks include a sketchbook by Dreier, five sketchbooks by friend and teacher, Walter Shirlaw, and an unidentified artist, a pencil drawing by Shirlaw, an engraving by Huquier and an etching by Ernest D. Roth.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 5 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1884-1923 (Box 1; 0.75 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1881-1925 (Boxes 1-2; 1.2 linear feet)

Series 3: Printed Material, 1883-1916 (Boxes 2-3; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 4: Photographs, circa 1900-1923 (Box 3; 7 folders)

Series 5: Artwork, circa 1885-1941 (Boxes 3-4; 9 folders)
Biographical Note:
Dorothea A. Dreier was born on December 8, 1870, in Brooklyn, New York to German immigrant parents. The second of five children in a close knit, socially progressive family, her siblings include the social reformers and suffragettes Mary E. Dreier and Margaret Dreier Robins. However she was closest to her youngest sister, Katherine S. Dreier, fellow artist, patron of modern art and cofounder of the Société Anonyme, an organization dedicated to the promotion of modern art in the United States. Her sole brother, H. Edward Dreier, followed his father into business and managed the family investments.

Of all the Dreier sisters, Dorothea is the least well-known and there is scant information about her artistic career. It appears that she began her formal art training with John Twachtman and William Merritt Chase, although accounts disagree as to whether it took place at the Art Students League or the National Academy of Design. In 1904 Dorothea and her sister Katherine began studying with the painter Walter Shirlaw, with whom they developed a close friendship. Both sisters also traveled abroad frequently as the family maintained close ties with their German relatives and they combined these visits with trips to museums and galleries throughout Europe where they studied the works of the Old Masters as well as more contemporary artists. As evidenced by her series of oil paintings of Dutch weavers of 1908, Dorothea was greatly influenced by Van Gogh's early paintings of rural Dutch peasant life and she spent long periods abroad living and painting in Laren, The Netherlands. Her later paintings depicted landscapes, both in The Netherlands and the Adirondacks, as well as a series of New York street scenes.

Unfortunately, during a 1913 sojourn in Laren, Dorothea contracted tuberculosis. She remained at Saranac Lake, a renowned treatment center in the Adirondacks from late December 1913 to sometime in 1916. During her convalescence, Dorothea remained actively involved in the arts as she continued to paint and draw and supported her sister Katherine's work at the Cooperative Mural Workshop, a short-lived combination art school and workshop that focused on the decorative arts.

In 1920, Dorothea supported Katherine's decision to champion modern art and made generous financial contributions toward the establishment of the Société Anonyme, where Dorothea's first solo exhibition took place in 1921. This was her only solo exhibition prior to her untimely death in 1923. In the spring of 1925, Christian Brinton of the Brooklyn Museum of Art organized a memorial exhibition for which Katherine Dreier privately published a limited edition catalogue.
Related Material:
The papers of Katherine S. Dreier related to the Société Anonyme Archives are located at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.

The Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute of Harvard University holds the papers of Mary E. Dreier
Provenance:
The bulk of the collection was donated to the Archives of American Art in 1959 by Mrs. Peter Voorhees, Dorothea A. Dreier's neice. Additional materials were donated in 2007 by Theodore and Barbara Dreier, Dreier's great-nephew and great-neice.
Restrictions:
The bulk of this collection has been digitized and is available online via the Archives of American Art's website.
Rights:
The Dorothea A. Dreier 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.
Topic:
Women -- Suffrage  Search this
Suffragists  Search this
Women painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Pamphlets
Sketchbooks
Photographs
Broadsides
Citation:
Dorothea A. Dreier papers, 1881-1941, bulk 1887-1923. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.dreidoro
See more items in:
Dorothea A. Dreier papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-dreidoro
Online Media:

Family Correspondence

Collection Creator:
Dreier, Dorothea A., 1870-1923  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1881-1923
Scope and Contents note:
Family correspondence consists of letters from relatives including members of her immediate family and more distant relatives from Germany. Whenever the relationship of the correspondent to Dorothea is known it has been noted in the folder title. Scattered throughout are letters from Dorothea; most of these were written to her mother (also named Dorothea A. Dreier) and her brother, H. Edward Dreier. Third party correspondence between family members is also found within this subseries.

There is a large group of letters, postcards, telegrams, and a scrapbook containing additional postcards and letters dated 1887, written by Theodor and his daughters Dorothea and Margaret (Gretchen), to Mrs. Dreier, who appears to have remained behind at the family's Brooklyn home while the other correspondents traveled cross-country to California. Some of the early letters between family members are written in German.

Dorothea Dreier enjoyed a close and affectionate relationship with her siblings, which is reflected in their correspondence. In addition to recounting quotidian family news and events, letters from her sisters and brother document the public lives of the correspondents. Her sisters Mary E. Dreier and Margret (Gretchen) Dreier Robins discuss their work for the Women's Trade Union League, the women's suffrage movement and the Bull Moose Party. Her brother Edward's letters provide information about family investments and recount the activities of his wife the suffragist, Ethyl Eyre Valentine Dreier. Dorothea was especially close to her youngest sister Katherine due to their shared interest in the arts. Katherine's letters include references to her painting and studies abroad, exhibitions, and the Cooperative Mural Workshop. However, only one letter, dated September 2, 1920, briefly mentions the Société Anonyme.
Collection Restrictions:
The bulk of this collection has been digitized and is available online via the Archives of American Art's website.
Collection Rights:
The Dorothea A. Dreier 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.
Collection Citation:
Dorothea A. Dreier papers, 1881-1941, bulk 1887-1923. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.dreidoro, Subseries 2.1
See more items in:
Dorothea A. Dreier papers
Dorothea A. Dreier papers / Series 2: Correspondence
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-dreidoro-ref38

Personal and General Correspondence

Collection Creator:
Dreier, Dorothea A., 1870-1923  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1884-1925
Scope and Contents note:
This subseries includes letters from close friends, visiting cards, notes, telegrams, postcards, third party correspondence and business correspondence. Additionally there is a folder of telegrams from Katherine Dreier informing friends and family of Dorothea's death and two folders of condolence letters received by the Dreier family.

Close friends and regular correspondents include the Bartlett sisters, Agnes, Mary and Maud, Charlotte Schetter, Ellen Kuhn Mahan, Rebecca Forbes, and fellow art student Lillian Miller. Through her travels in the Netherlands and her interest in Vincent van Gogh, Dreier became friends with the artists' sister Elisabeth du Quesne van Gogh and there are six postcards from her in this collection. A 1923 letter from Joseph Stella thanks "Miss Dreier" for purchasing his painting White Heron, but it is impossible to tell if he is referring to Dorothea or Katherine. Julius A. Gross, a local photographer, mentions visiting Dorothea's studio and describes the work found within his letters and includes rough sketches of paintings. He may have been contracted to photograph her work for her during her time at Saranac Lake for a proposed publication.

Other notable art world correspondents include Charles Harold Davis, the American Tonalist landscape painter, and Walter Shirlaw, a painter who not only was Dreier's teacher, but also a close friend. The Davis letters suggest that Dreier had hoped to study with him, but his letter of 1902 indicates that he would not be teaching that summer and suggests other painting instructors. Other letters discuss paintings that she purchased from the artist. Shirlaw's letters, along with those of his wife Florence, discuss the artist's plans to paint Dorothea's portrait, as well as current exhibitions, works that he has sold, and planned visits to the Dreier sisters, whom he affectionately labeled "the sisterhood." Several of his letters included illustrations.

Third party correspondence written to Katherine Dreier includes a letter from Walt Kuhn, dated October 14, 1914 that may refer to activities of the Cooperative Mural Workshop. The business correspondence for Dorothea Dreier includes letters related to household purchases, insurance policies, investment accounts and travel reservations. The folder of Katherine Dreier's business correspondence solely is related to work on her home in Stonington, Connecticut.
Collection Restrictions:
The bulk of this collection has been digitized and is available online via the Archives of American Art's website.
Collection Rights:
The Dorothea A. Dreier 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.
Collection Citation:
Dorothea A. Dreier papers, 1881-1941, bulk 1887-1923. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.dreidoro, Subseries 2.2
See more items in:
Dorothea A. Dreier papers
Dorothea A. Dreier papers / Series 2: Correspondence
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-dreidoro-ref60

Dorothea A. Dreier papers, 1881-1941, bulk 1887-1923

Creator:
Dreier, Dorothea A. (Dorothea Adelheid), 1870-1923  Search this
Subject:
Bartlett, Agnes Willard  Search this
Bartlett, Mary F.  Search this
Bartlett, Maud W.  Search this
Davis, Charles H. (Charles Harold)  Search this
Forbes, Rebecca  Search this
Dreier, Mary E. (Mary Elisabeth)  Search this
Dreier, Katherine Sophie  Search this
Dreier, Ethyl Eyre Valentine  Search this
Robins, Margaret Dreier  Search this
Mahan, Ellen Kuhn  Search this
Gogh, Elisabeth du Quesne van  Search this
Shirlaw, Walter  Search this
Schetter, Charlotte  Search this
Robins, Raymond  Search this
Kuhn, Walt  Search this
Cooperative Mural Workshop  Search this
Women's Trade Union League of America  Search this
Type:
Pamphlets
Sketchbooks
Photographs
Broadsides
Topic:
Women -- Suffrage  Search this
Suffragists  Search this
Women painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)7597
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)209759
AAA_collcode_dreidoro
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks
Women
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_209759
Online Media:

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