The papers of Holger Cahill (1887-1960) date from 1910 to 1993, with the bulk of the material dating from 1910-1960, and measure 15.8 linear feet. The collection offers researchers fairly comprehensive documentation of Cahill's directorship of the Works Progress/Projects Administration's (WPA) Federal Art Project (FAP) in addition to series documenting his work as a writer and art critic. Material includes correspondence, reports, artist files, scrapbooks, printed material, and photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Holger Cahill (1887-1960) date from 1910 to 1993, bulk 1910-1960, and measure 15.8 linear feet. The collection offers researchers fairly comprehensive documentation of Cahill's directorship of the FAP in addition to series documenting his work as a writer and art critic. FAP records include national and state administrative reports, records of community art centers, photographic documentation of state activities, artist files, divisional records about teaching, crafts, murals, and poster work, files concerning the Index of American Design, scrapbooks, and printed material.
The collection is arranged into nine series:
Series 1: Biographical Material and Personal Papers, 1931-1988 (Box 1; 19 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence Files, 1922-1979, 1993 (Boxes 1-2; 1.5 linear ft.)
Series 3: Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project, 1934-1970 (Boxes 2-14, 18, MMs009; 10.75 linear ft.)
Series 4: Writings, Lectures and Speeches, 1916-1960 (Boxes 14-15, 18; 1.0 linear ft.)
Series 5: Minutes of Meetings and Panel Discussions, Non-FAP, 1939-1947 (Box 15; 5 folders)
Series 6: Notes and Research Material, 1935-1970 (Boxes 15-16; 0.25 linear ft.)
Series 7: Artwork, undated (Boxes 16, 18; 2 folders)
Series 8: Printed Material, 1910-1985 (Boxes 16-17; 1.8 linear ft.)
Series 9: Photographs, circa 1917-1960 (Box 17; 6 folders)
Holger Cahill was born Sveinn Kristjan Bjarnarson in Iceland in a small valley near the Arctic Circle, on January 13, 1887. His parents, Bjorn Jonson and Vigdis Bjarnadottir, immigrated to the United States from Iceland sometime later in the 1880s. In 1904, his father deserted the family, forcing Sveinn to be separated from his mother and sister to work on a farm in North Dakota. He ran away and wandered from job to job until settling in an orphanage in western Canada, where he attended school and became a voracious reader.
As a young man, he worked at many different jobs and attended night school. While working on a freighter, he visited Hong Kong, beginning his life-long interest in the Orient. Returning to New York City, he eventually became a newspaper reporter, continued his studies at New York University, and changed his name to Edgar Holger Cahill. In 1919 he married Katherine Gridley of Detroit. Their daughter, Jane Ann, was born in 1922, but the couple divorced in 1927.
Cahill met John Sloan circa 1920, and they shared a residence. Cahill also wrote publicity (until 1928) for the Society of Independent Artists, through which he made many friends in the arts. From 1922 to 1931, he worked under John Cotton Dana at the Newark Museum, where he received his basic experience in museum work, organizing the first large exhibitions of folk art.
From 1932 to 1935, he was the director of exhibitions for the Museum of Modern Art. In 1935, Cahill was appointed director of the Works Progress/Projects Administration (WPA) Federal Art Project (FAP), until its end in June 1943. In 1938, Cahill organized a countrywide exhibition "American Art Today" for the New York World's Fair. He also married MoMa curator Dorothy Canning Miller in that year.
Profane Earth, Cahill's first novel, was published in 1927, followed by monographs on Pop Hart and Max Weber, miscellaneous short stories, and a biography of Frederick Townsend Ward, entitled A Yankee Adventurer: The Story of Ward and the Taiping Rebellion. Following the end of the Federal Art Project, Cahill wrote two novels, Look South to the Polar Star (1947) and The Shadow of My Hand (1956).
Holger Cahill died in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in July 1960.
The Holger Cahill papers were donated to the Archives of American Art through a series of gifts by Cahill's widow, Dorothy C. Miller, between 1964 and 1995.
The microfilm of this collection has been digitized and is available online via the Archives of American Art website.
The Holger Cahill 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.
An interview of Jack Kufeld conducted 1981 Oct. 5, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and His Times oral history project.
Kufeld discusses his acquaintance with Mark Rothko and the artists of The Ten. He speaks briefly about Gallery Secession and its owner, Robert Godsoe, and the Gallery's role in the formation of The Ten. Kufeld and Rothko lived together for a short time after Rothko's separation from his first wife, Edith. Kufeld remembers Edith, with whom he remained friends for many years even though he stopped associating with painters when he abruptly stopped painting in the late 1930s. He talks about the Design Laboratory, where he was a teacher. Kufeld recalls Robert Godsoe, Milton Avery, Max Yavno, J.B. Neumann, Adolf Gottlieb, Lou Harris, Max Weber, I. Rice Pereira, Chaim Gross, Vladimir Jaffe, and many others.
Biographical / Historical:
Jack Kufeld (1907-1990) was a painter from New York, N.Y. Member of the painters' group The Ten which included Mark Rothko, Ilya Bolotowsky, Joseph Solman, Adolph Gottlieb and others.
Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 4 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hrs., 44 min.
This interview was conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and his Times oral history project, with funding provided by the Mark Rothko Foundation.
Others interviewed on the project (by various interviewers) include: Sonia Allen, Sally Avery, Ben-Zion, Bernard Braddon, Ernest Briggs, Rhys Caparn, Elaine de Kooning, Herbert Ferber, Esther Gottlieb, Juliette Hays, Sidney Janis, Buffie Johnson, Jacob Kainen, Louis Kaufman, Katharine Kuh, Stanley Kunitz, Joseph Liss, Dorothy Miller, Betty Parsons, Wallace Putnam, Rebecca Reis, Maurice Roth, Sidney Schectman, Aaron Siskind, Joseph Solman, Hedda Sterne, Jack Tworkov, Esteban Vicente and Ed Weinstein. Each has been cataloged separately.
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
An interview of William Friedman conducted 1965 June 16, by Mary McChesney, for the Archives of American Art New Deal and the Arts Project.
Friedman speaks of his education; teaching at the Design Laboratory under the Federal Art Project; working as a supervisor with the Iowa Federal Art Project; the establishment of art centers; the Index of American Design; his feelings about the project.
Biographical / Historical:
William Friedman (1909- ) was a designer who worked for the Iowa Federal Art Project.
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 35 min.
This interview conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts project, which includes over 400 interviews of artists, administrators, historians, and others involved with the federal government's art programs and the activities of the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s and early 1940s.
United States. Work Projects Administration Search this
Davis, Charles H. (Charles Harold), 1856-1933 Search this
0.2 Linear feet ((on 11 microfilm reels))
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence; writings and notes; scrapbooks; business material; biographical data; photographs; inventories; exhibition catalogs; and printed material.
REELS D222-D223: Manuscripts; notebooks entitled "Concepts of Substance" containing notes, essays, quotations, a diary, and reviews; scrapbooks; and publications.
REELS 1296-1302 & 1322(photos): Personal and business correspondence; notes and manuscripts of her many philosophical writings on light, space, and the infinite; poems by Pereira and by others; sales and loan receipts for her paintings; inventories of her paintings; paint formulas and technical data; biographical data; notes for the Design Laboratory of the WPA-Fine Arts Project; statements by her about her art and about the alleged suppression of her art by the Museum of Modern Art; exhibition catalogs; clippings; and photographs of her works and personal photos.
REEL 2395: Course outlines, an activity report, and printed material pertaining to the Design Laboratory school of industrial design in New York City. Also included are outlines, writings, and printed material pertaining to Pereira's lectures at Columbia University, the Brooklyn Museum, Smith College, the Artists League, the University of Michigan, and for the United American Artists.
REEL 3470: A letter to Juliet Gordon, New York City, October 15, 1969, protesting the denigration of women by -"a whole battalion of these American super artists," and condemning the Museum of Modern Art for devoutedly supporting their art. She writes, "Only when a society is expiring do such aberrations and betrayal of the female become the cultural mode."
Biographical / Historical:
Painter, writer, educator; New York, N.Y. Died 1971.
Material on reels D222-D223 lent for microfilming 1965 and material on reel 2395 donated 1965 by Irene Rice Pereira; material on reels 1296-1302, 1322 lent for microfilming, 1977 and reel 3470 donated 1978 by Djelloul Marbrook, nephew of Pereira.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.