The Rockwell Kent papers measure 88.0 linear feet and date from circa 1840 to 1993 with the bulk of the collection dating from 1935 to 1961. The collection provides comprehensive coverage of Kent's career as a painter, illustrator, designer, writer, lecturer, traveler, political activist, and dairy farmer.
Scope and Content Note:
The Rockwell Kent papers measure 88 linear feet and date from circa 1840 to 1993 with the bulk of the collection dating from 1935 to 1961. The collection provides comprehensive coverage of Kent's career as a painter, illustrator, designer, writer, lecturer, traveler, political activist, and dairy farmer.
Circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the papers are highlighted in an article by Garnett McCoy ("The Rockwell Kent Papers," in the Archives of American Art Journal, 12, no. 1 [January 1972]: 1-9), recommended reading for researchers interested in the collection. The collection is remarkably complete, for in the mid 1920s Kent began keeping carbon copies of all outgoing letters, eventually employing a secretary (who became his third wife and continued her office duties for the remainder of Kent's life).
Series 1: Alphabetical Files contain Kent's personal and professional correspondence, along with business records of the dairy farm and associated enterprises; also included are printed matter on a wide variety of topics and promotional literature relating to organizations and causes of interest to him. Voluminous correspondence with his three wives, five children, and other relatives, as well as with literally hundreds of friends, both lifelong and of brief duration, illuminates Kent's private life and contributes to understanding of his complex character. Among the many correspondents of note are: his art teachers William Merritt Chase, Robert Henri, and Kenneth Hayes Miller; fellow artists Tom Cleland, Arthur B. Davies, James Fitzgerald, Hugo Gellert, Harry Gottleib, Marsden Hartley, Charles Keller, and Ruth Reeves; collectors Duncan Phillips and Dan Burne Jones; critics J. E. Chamberlain and Walter Pach; and dealers Charles Daniel, Felix Wildenstein, and Macbeth Galleries. Kent corresponded with such diverse people as Arctic explorers Peter Freuchen, Knud Rasmussen, and Vilhjalmar Steffanson; composer Carl Ruggles and songwriters Lee Hays and Pete Seeger; civil rights pioneers Paul Robeson and Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois; writers Bayard Boyesen, Scott and Helen Nearing, and Louis Untermeyer; and art historian and print curator Carl Zigrosser.
Kent's interest and involvement in the labor movement are reflected in correspondence with officials and members of a wide variety and large number of unions and related organizations, among them: the Farmers' Educational and Cooperative Union of America, Farmers' Union of the New York Milk Shed, International Workers Order, National Maritime Union, and United Office and Professional Workers of America. Of special interest is his participation, often in leadership roles, in various attempts to organize artists. Files on the American Artists' Congress, Artists League of America, The Artists Union, United American Artists, and United Scenic Artists contain particularly valuable material on the movement.
A supporter of New Deal efforts to aid artists, Kent was actively interested in the various programs and often was critical of their limitations; he advocated continuing federal aid to artists after the Depression abated. The Kent papers include correspondence with the Federal Arts Project, Federal Fine Arts Project, Federal Writers Project, and the War Department, as well as correspondence with the Citizens' Committee for Government Art Projects and President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the subject.
Kent's professional correspondence documents exhibitions, sales, consignments, and reproduction of prints and paintings. He kept meticulous records of his advertising commissions and illustration work. Detailed correspondence with publishers and printers indicates Kent's involvement in the technical aspects of production and provides a good overview of the publishing industry during the mid-twentieth century.
Business records of Asgaard Farm include records of the dairy and transfer of ownership to its employees, tax and employee information, and documents concerning several related business ventures such as distributor ships for grain, feed, and farm implements.
Series 2: Writings consists of notes, drafts, and completed manuscripts by Rockwell Kent, mainly articles, statements, speeches, poems, introductions, and reviews. The Kent Collection given to Friendship House, Moscow, in 1960, was augmented later by a set of his publications and the illustrated manuscripts of many of his monographs. Also included are a small number of manuscripts by other authors.
Series 3: Artwork consists mainly of drawings and sketches by Kent; also included are works on paper by other artists, many of whom are unidentified, and by children.
Series 4: Printed Matter consists of clippings, exhibition catalogs and announcements, brochures, broadsides, programs, and newsletters. These include items by and about Kent and his family, as well as articles written and/or illustrated by him, and reviews of his books. There is also material on a variety of subjects and causes of interest to him. Additional printed matter is included among the alphabetical files, mainly as attachments to correspondence.
Series 5: Miscellaneous includes biographical material, legal documents, and memorabilia. Artifacts received with papers include textile samples, a silk scarf, dinnerware, ice bucket, and rubber stamp, all featuring designs by Rockwell Kent. Also with this series are a variety of documents including a phrenological analysis of an ancestor, lists of supplies for expeditions, a hand-drawn map of an unidentified place, and technical notes regarding art materials and techniques.
Series 6: Photographs includes photographs of Kent, his family and friends, travel, and art number that over one thousand. Also included here are several albums of family and travel photographs.
The collection is arranged into six series. Series 1 is arranged alphabetically. The arrangement of the remaining series is explained in each series description. Note that sealed materials that became available in 2000 were microfilmed separately on reels 5740-5741, but have integrated into this finding aid.
Series 1: Alphabetical Files, circa 1900-1971, undated (Reels 5153-5249, 5256, 5740-5741)
Series 2: Writings, 1906-1978, undated (Reels 5249-5252, 5741)
Series 3: Art Work, 1910-1972, undated (Reels 5252, 5741)
Series 4: Printed Matter, 1905-1993, undated (Reels 5252-5254)
Series 5: Miscellaneous, 1859-1969, undated (Reels 5254, 5741)
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1840-1970, undated (Reels 5254-5255, 5741)
Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), an energetic and multitalented man, pursued many interests and careers during his very long and active life. At various times he was an architect, draftsman, carpenter, unskilled laborer, painter, illustrator, printmaker, commercial artist, designer, traveler/explorer, writer, professional lecturer, dairy farmer, and political activist.
While studying architecture at Columbia University, Kent enrolled in William Merritt Chase's summer school at Shinnecock Hills, Long Island. He then redirected his career ambitions toward painting and continued to study with Chase in New York. Kent spent a summer working and living with Abbott H. Thayer in Dublin, New Hampshire, and attended the New York School of Art, where Robert Henri and Kenneth Hayes Miller were his teachers.
Critically and financially, Kent was a successful artist. He was very well known for his illustration work--particularly limited editions of the classics, bookplates, and Christmas cards. He was a prolific printmaker, and his prints and paintings were acquired by many major museums and private collectors. During the post-World War II era, Kent's political sympathies resulted in the loss of commissions, and his adherence to artistic conservatism and outspoken opposition to modern art led to disfavor within art circles. After many years of declining reputation in this country and unsuccessful attempts to find a home for the Kent Collection, Kent gave his unsold paintings--the majority of his oeuvre--to the Soviet Union, where he continued to be immensely popular.
An avid traveler, Kent was especially fascinated by remote, Arctic lands and often stayed for extended periods of time to paint, write, and become acquainted with the local inhabitants. Between 1918 and 1935, he wrote and illustrated several popular books about his experiences in Alaska, Tierra del Fuego, and Greenland. In the 1930s and 1940s, Kent was much in demand as a lecturer, making several nationwide tours under the management of a professional lecture bureau; he spoke mainly about his travels, but among his standard lectures were some on "art for the people."
In 1927, Kent purchased Asgaard Farm at AuSable Forks, New York, in the Adirondacks, where he lived for the remainder of his life, operating a modern dairy farm on a modest scale for many years.
As a young man, Kent met Rufus Weeks, became committed to social justice, and joined the Socialist Party. Throughout his life, he supported left-wing causes and was a member or officer of many organizations promoting world peace and harmonious relations with the Soviet Union, civil rights, civil liberties, antifascism, and organized labor. Kent was frequently featured as a celebrity sponsor or speaker at fund-raising events for these causes. In 1948, he ran unsuccessfully as the American Labor Party's candidate for Congress. Kent's unpopular political views eventually led to the dissolution of his dairy business, resulted in a summons to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and prompted the U.S. State Department to deny him a passport, an action that subsequently was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Kent wrote two autobiographies, This Is My Own (1940) and It's Me, O Lord (1955). In 1969, he was the subject of an oral history interview conducted by Paul Cummings for the Archives of American Art.
In 1969, Rockwell Kent donated his papers to the Archives of American Art; textile samples were received in 1979, and his widow gave additional papers in 1971 and 1996. Letters to Rockwell Kent from wives Frances and Sally, sealed during Sally Kent Gorton's lifetime, became available for research after her death in 2000, and further material was donated to the Archives of American Art in 2001 by the Estate of Sally Kent [Shirley Johnstone] Gorton.
The microfilm of this collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Use of material not microfilmed or digitized requires an appointment.
The papers of sculptor and art instructor, Eugenie Gershoy, measure 7.2 linear feet and date from 1914 to 1983. The collection documents Gershoy's career through biographical material, correspondence, business records, notes, writings, artwork, printed material, and photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The Eugenie Gershoy papers date from 1914 to 1983, measure 7.2 linear feet, and reflect Gershoy's career as a sculptor and teacher. The collection contains biographical material, correspondence, business records, notes, writings, artwork of Gershoy and others, printed material including exhibition catalogs, and photographs with subjects including Gershoy, her friends and colleagues, her studio, and her artwork.
Correspondence forms the bulk of the collection and includes correspondence between Gershoy and her siblings and their families regarding her activities, as well as with colleagues, many of whom were associated with the Woodstock Artist Association, and many of whom were museum colleagues.
The collection is arranged into eight series according to material type. The contents of each series have been arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1939-1971 (boxes 1, 8-9; 3 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1914-1983, undated (boxes 1-6, 8-9; 5.8 linear ft.)
Series 3: Business Records, 1952-1978 (box 6; 5 folders)
Series 4: Notes, 1967-1970, undated (box 6; 3 folders)
Series 5: Writings, 1970, undated (box 6; 2 folders)
Series 6: Artwork, 1932-1978, undated (boxes 6, 8-9, OV 10, 26 folders)
Series 8: Photographs, 1916-1983, undated (boxes 7, 9; 12 folders)
Born in Krivoi Rog, Russia on January 1, 1901, Eugenie was the youngest of the Gershoy children. The family immigrated to New York City in 1903. She later became a U.S. citizen.
With the aid of two scholarships, she attended the Art Students League and studied under A. Stirling Calder, Leo Lentelli, Kenneth Hayes Miller, Boardman Robinson, and Carl Walters. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, she maintained a studio with Harry Gottlieb in Woodstock, New York. From 1936 to 1939, under the WPA Federal Art Project, she worked in conjunction with Max Spivak on murals for the children's recreation room in the Astoria branch of the Queens Borough Public Library, New York.
Gershoy's first solo show was at the Robinson Gallery in New York in 1940. Following a year of teaching at the New Orleans Art School, she moved to San Francisco in 1942. In 1946 she taught ceramics at the California School of Fine Arts, and in May 1950, she studied at Yaddo.
In addition to visits to England and France in the early 1930s, Gershoy travelled to Mexico and Guatemala in 1947, 1948, and 1961. She worked in Paris in 1951 and toured Africa, India, and the Orient in 1955.
Eugenie Gershoy died in 1986.
Related material in the Archives of American Art includes a transcribed oral history interview with Eugenie Gershoy conducted by Mary McChesney for the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts Oral History Program, October 15, 1964. A link to the transcript is provided from the online catalog.
The Eugenie Gershoy papers were donated to the Archives of American Art between 1975 and 1983 by the artist.
The collection is open for research. Patrons must use microfilm copy.
An interview of Edward Landon conducted 1975 Apr. 17-May 28, by Robert Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Landon speaks of working with the local theater in high school; leaving Hartford at age 17 or 18 for Greenwich Village in New York and the Art Students League; studying figure drawing with George Bridgman; getting married and moving to Springfield, Mass.; exhibiting with the Springfield Art League; the Artist Union and the Artist Congress in the 1930s; spending a summer with Georgia O'Keeffe and Paul Strand in Taos, N.M.; the cooperation amongst artists that lasted into the 1950s to establish serigraphs as an American fine art print medium; when he received the Solomon Guggenheim Scholarship for Non-objective Art in 1939; when he made furniture and picture frames and the publishing of his book on making picture frames in 1946; when he began working as an easel painter in the Massachusetts Federal Art Project of the WPA in 1933; becoming president of the Western Chapter of the Artists Union in 1934; when he corresponded and visited Arthur Dove; his friendship with Elizabeth McCausland; his introduction to Harry Gottlieb and silk screen printing; the love of color and currently trying for emotional effects in his work; initiating silk screen exhibitions in the Springfield Museum; the beginning of the National Serigraph Society and his work as the exhibition secretary; his teaching approach; the first class held in his garage with fellow artists; more on his relationship with Elizabeth McCausland; Arthur Dove's influence on a recent painting Landon finished; his trip to Taos in 1930 and the importance of artist colonies for him early on; the feeling of not having roots, but being comfortable with the idea; the purpose of the National Serigraph Society; his feelings about printmakers moving away from traditional printing; organized exhibitions for the United States Information Service; his enjoyment in organizing things; the commercialization of creating "prints;" how photo-realism does not translate well in the print medium; the importance of trying to convey an idea in his work; his success in covering small boxes, address books and other items, as well as book binding; his preference for printing small editions of 25 to 35 prints; of a description of his method of printing; his Fulbright Fellowship in 1950 to travel to Norway and lecture; an interest in early Scandinavian art; publishing a silkscreen portfolio of pre-Viking art for the American Scandinavian Foundation; traveling through Europe; his influence as an innovator in France and Scandinavia; meeting with silk screen artists in Oslo; art forms in his work at this time; his inclusion in "Who's Who in American Art;" the avoidance of art movements; how by the 1950s the reason for the National Serigraph Society no longer existed because the medium was popular by that time; his move to Vermont in 1957 or 1958; work as a color mixer, book binder, and returning to framing because of health reasons; his second illness changing what he found important in his life; and how the content of his work became more emotional. Landon also recalls Louie Lozowick, Gertrude Stein, Marian Hughes, Elizabeth Olds, John Marin, Alfred Stieglitz, Berenice Abbott, Marvo Perry, Hilla Rebay, Sir William T. Rogers, Max Weber, Dennis Hartley, Alfred Maurer, Bernie Sabbath, and Henry Mark.
Biographical / Historical:
Edward Landon (1911-1984) was a printmaker from Weston, Vt.
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 39 min.
These interviews are part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Correspondence and subject files relate to the activities of Ward, including his membership in the Society of American Graphic Artists, and his collaborative work with his wife, May McNeer Ward.
Correspondents include Fritz Eichenberg, Wanda Gág, Harry Gottlieb, Jacob Kainen, Rockwell Kent, Louis Lozowick, Elizabeth McCausland, Diego Rivera, Prentiss Taylor, and Carl Zigrosser, as well as bookdealers, collectors, children, writers, galleries and museums, publishing and printing companies, advertising and public relations firms, religious organizations, and art, civic, and political associations and societies. Letters are often accompanied by enclosures such as writings and printed material.
Subject files contain awards, drafts and typescripts of Ward's writings, lectures, and speeches, notes, outlines and galley proofs for McNeer's and Ward's books, scripts for radio broadcasts, book contracts and royalty statements, lists of Ward's graphic works, illustrations and Christmas cards by Ward, exhibition announcements and catalogs, clippings, reviews, newsletters, bulletins, press releases, and miscellaneous printed material.
Biographical / Historical:
Lynd Ward: Printmaker, illustrator, writer. Died 1985. May McNeer: Children's book author. Died 1994. Born Chicago, Lynd Kendall Ward majored in Fine Arts at the Teachers College, Columbia University, where he illustrated school publications until his graduation in 1926. In the same year he married May McNeer of Tampa, Florida. They collaborated on many books written by McNeer and illustrated by Ward. Between 1926 and 1927, Ward studied at the National Academy for Graphic Arts in Leipzig, Germany, working with Alois Kolb, George Mathey, and Hans A. Mueller. Ward was a prolific graphic artist, illustrating over one hundred books including GODS' MAN and other woodcut novels produced between 1929 and 1937.
Lent for microfilming 1985 by Georgetown University.
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
0.2 Linear feet ((partially microfilmed on 1 reel))
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence, writings and research material concerning Thomas Hart Benton and Baigell's other writings. Also included is a ca. 1965 interview with Hoyt Sherman conducted by Baigell.
REEL 2086: Letters, notes, and writings, some illustrated, ca. 1967-1972, from Thomas Hart Benton to Baigell for Baigell's writings and biography of Benton. Benton writes about synchronism, cubism, regionalism, social realism, John Weichsel, Stuart Davis, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Reginald Marsh, and others, and his life. Inluded is a copy of Benton's 53-page handwritten manuscript, "The Thirties," describing his mural commissions and the controversies with the social realists over his regionalist style of painting. Also included are 2 letters from Louis Lozowick, and one each from William Gropper and Harry Gottlieb in response to Baigell's questions of social realism, regionalism, and art in the 1930's.
ADDITION: Letters, research notes, and writings on Thomas Hart Benton, as well as correspondence with Dorothy Dehner, Doris Lee, Louis Lozowick, Raphael Soyer and Ben Shahn, among others, relating to Baigell's book, "The American Scene: American Painting of the 1930s," (1974). Also included is an interview with colleague Hoyt Sherman conducted by Baigell, ca. 1965, in which Sherman discusses perception, Cézanne, and Sherman's most famous pupil, Roy Lichtenstein, who always testified that he was profoundly influenced by Sherman's methods and philosophy. Sherman analyzes Lichtenstein's work and recalls the artist during his student days at Ohio State University, and discusses his possible impact on Lichtenstein.
Biographical / Historical:
Art historian; New York, N.Y. b. 1933. Baigell is associate professor of art, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Donated 1980, 2002 and 2004 by Matthew Baigell.
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.