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Rockwell Kent papers, circa 1840-1993, bulk 1935-1961

Creator:
Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971  Search this
Subject:
Wildenstein, Felix  Search this
Phillips, Duncan  Search this
Hays, Lee  Search this
Untermeyer, Louis  Search this
Zigrosser, Carl  Search this
Robeson, Paul  Search this
DuBois, W.E.B. (William Edward Burghardt)  Search this
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano)  Search this
Ruggles, Carl  Search this
Stefansson, Vilhjalmur  Search this
Nearing, Helen  Search this
Nearing, Scott  Search this
Pach, Walter  Search this
Rasmussen, Knud  Search this
Reeves, Ruth  Search this
Seeger, Pete  Search this
Daniel, Charles  Search this
Cleland, T. M. (Thomas Maitland)  Search this
Davies, Arthur B. (Arthur Bowen)  Search this
Chamberlain, J. E.  Search this
Boyesen, Bayard  Search this
Chase, William Merritt  Search this
Freuchen, Peter  Search this
Gellert, Hugo  Search this
Gottlieb, Harry  Search this
Hartley, Marsden  Search this
FitzGerald, James  Search this
Keller, Charles  Search this
Miller, Kenneth Hayes  Search this
Henri, Robert  Search this
Jones, Dan Burne  Search this
United American Artists  Search this
United Office and Professional Workers of America  Search this
United Scenic Artists  Search this
National Farmers' Union (U.S.)  Search this
National Maritime Union of America  Search this
American Artists' Congress  Search this
Artists' Union (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Artists League of America  Search this
Citizens' Committee for Government Arts Projects  Search this
Farmers Union of the New York Milk Shed  Search this
Federal Art Project  Search this
Federal Writers' Project  Search this
Macbeth Gallery  Search this
International Workers Order  Search this
Type:
Poems
Sketches
Business records
Photographs
Drawings
Topic:
Designers -- New York (State)  Search this
Mural painting and decoration  Search this
Painters -- New York (State)  Search this
Politics and culture  Search this
Authors -- New York  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- United States -- Political aspects  Search this
Dairy farms  Search this
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Illustrators -- New York (State)  Search this
Illustration of books  Search this
Works of art  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Civilian relief  Search this
Labor unions  Search this
Art and war  Search this
Commercial art  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Art and the war  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9557
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211757
AAA_collcode_kentrock
Theme:
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211757
Online Media:

Oral history interview with George Biddle, 1963

Interviewee:
Biddle, George, 1885-1973  Search this
Interviewer:
Phillips, Harlan B. (Harlan Buddington),, 1920-  Search this
Subject:
Bacon, Peggy  Search this
Benton, Thomas Hart  Search this
Billings, Henry  Search this
Bruce, Edward  Search this
Cahill, Holger  Search this
Demuth, Charles  Search this
Evergood, Philip  Search this
Grosz, George  Search this
Halpert, Edith Gregor  Search this
Hartley, Marsden  Search this
Marsh, Reginald  Search this
Miller, Kenneth Hayes  Search this
Orozco, José Clemente  Search this
Rivera, Diego  Search this
Robinson, Boardman  Search this
Siqueiros, David Alfaro  Search this
Sterne, Maurice  Search this
Stieglitz, Alfred  Search this
Tamayo, Rufino  Search this
Weber, Max  Search this
Zorach, William  Search this
Public Works of Art Project  Search this
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art -- Censorship  Search this
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12696
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213269
AAA_collcode_biddle63
Theme:
New Deal
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_213269

Oral history interview with George Biddle

Interviewee:
Biddle, George, 1885-1973  Search this
Interviewer:
Phillips, Harlan B. (Harlan Buddington), 1920-  Search this
Creator:
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Names:
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Public Works of Art Project  Search this
Bacon, Peggy, 1895-1987  Search this
Benton, Thomas Hart, 1889-1975  Search this
Billings, Henry, 1901-  Search this
Bruce, Edward, 1879-1943  Search this
Cahill, Holger, 1887-1960  Search this
Demuth, Charles, 1883-1935  Search this
Evergood, Philip, 1901-1973  Search this
Grosz, George, 1893-1959  Search this
Halpert, Edith Gregor, 1900-1970  Search this
Hartley, Marsden, 1877-1943  Search this
Marsh, Reginald, 1898-1954  Search this
Miller, Kenneth Hayes, 1876-1952  Search this
Orozco, José Clemente, 1883-1949  Search this
Rivera, Diego, 1886-1957  Search this
Robinson, Boardman, 1876-1952  Search this
Siqueiros, David Alfaro  Search this
Sterne, Maurice, 1878-1957  Search this
Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946  Search this
Tamayo, Rufino, 1899-  Search this
Weber, Max, 1881-1961  Search this
Zorach, William, 1887-1966  Search this
Extent:
261 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1963
Scope and Contents:
An interview of George Biddle conducted in 1963, by Harlan Phillips, for the Archives of American Art.
Biddle speaks of his background in Philadelphia; his Harvard education in preparation for a law career; literary acquaintances; travel; the beginning of his art career; his preoccupation with portraiture; his tragic and pleasant works; the importance of mood; his drawing techniques; drawing from nature; color experimentation; Stieglitz's circle; the susceptibility of artists to change during the 1930s; his involvement with the Public Works of Art Project; government censorship of his murals; his involvement with artists overseas during World War II; and his aesthetic philosophy. He recalls Max Weber, Maurice Sterne, George Grosz, William Zorach, Kenneth Hayes Miller, Peggy Bacon, Marsden Hartley, Charles Demuth, Edith Halpert, Boardman Robinson, Reginald Marsh, Thomas Hart Benton, Henry Billings, Ned Bruce, Holger Cahill, Philip Evergood, Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Siqueiros, and Rufino Tamayo.
Biographical / Historical:
George Biddle (1885-1973) was a painter and sculptor, in Croton-on-Hudson, New York.
General:
Originally recorded 3 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 9 digital wav files. Duration is 13 hr., 56 min.
Provenance:
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.
Topic:
Art -- Censorship  Search this
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.biddle63
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-biddle63

Elizabeth McCausland papers

Topic:
Springfield Republican
Creator:
McCausland, Elizabeth, 1899-1965  Search this
Names:
American Art Research Council  Search this
Barnard College -- Faculty  Search this
Federal Art Project (U.S.)  Search this
United States. Farm Security Administration  Search this
Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991  Search this
Dove, Arthur Garfield, 1880-1946  Search this
Hartley, Marsden, 1877-1943  Search this
Hawthorne, Charles Webster, 1872-1930  Search this
Henri, Robert, 1865-1929  Search this
Henry, Edward Lamson, 1841-1919  Search this
Hine, Lewis Wickes, 1874-1940  Search this
Inness, George, 1825-1894  Search this
Kleinholz, Frank, 1901-  Search this
Lawrence, Jacob, 1917-2000  Search this
Maurer, Alfred Henry, 1868-1932  Search this
Morgan, Barbara Brooks, 1900-1992  Search this
Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946  Search this
Weegee, 1899-1968  Search this
Weston, Edward, 1886-1958  Search this
Extent:
45 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Scrapbooks
Prints
Drawings
Photographs
Watercolors
Place:
New York N.Y. -- Pictorial works -- Photographs
Date:
1838-1995
bulk 1920-1960
Summary:
The papers of art critic, writer, and historian Elizabeth McCausland measure 45 linear feet and date from 1838 to 1995, with the bulk of the material dating from 1920 to 1960. The collection provides a vast accumulation of research data on various artists and aspects of American art, especially the early American modernists and the Federal Arts Projects. Papers include McCausland's extensive research and writing files, particularly on Marsden Hartley, E. L. Henry, Lewis Hine, George Inness, and Alfred H. Maurer. McCausland's correspondence with artists includes a substantial amount with Arthur Dove and Alfred Stieglitz. Her collaborative work with Berenice Abbott on the Changing New York book and series of photographs is well-documented within the collection. Also found are general writings, subject files, files relating to exhibitions, teaching, and committees, photographs, art work, personal papers, and printed material. Additional McCausland material donated later from the estate of Berenice Abbott include biographical materials, project files, writings, and printed materials.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of art critic, writer, and historian Elizabeth McCausland measure approximately 45 linear feet and date from 1838 to 1995, with the bulk of the material dating from 1920 to 1995. The collection provides a vast accumulation of data on various artists and aspects of American art, especially the early American modernists and the Federal Arts Projects. Papers include McCausland's extensive research and writing files, particularly on Marsden Hartley, E. L. Henry, Lewis Hine, George Inness, and Alfred H. Maurer. McCausland's correspondence with artists includes a substantial amount with Arthur Dove and Alfred Stieglitz. Her collaborative work with Berenice Abbott on the Changing New York book and series of photographs is well-documented within the collection. Also found are general writings, subject files, files relating to exhibitions, teaching, and committees, photographs, art work, personal papers, and printed material. Additional McCausland material from the estate of Berenice Abbott include biographical materials, project files, writings, and printed materials.

McCausland's personal papers consist of appointment books and engagement calendars, scrapbooks, student papers, works printed on her private press, financial records, biographical material, and scattered memorabilia, which together document other aspects of her life apart from her work. Correspondence includes incoming and outgoing letters along with enclosures, dating from McCausland's time as a journalist for The Springfield Republican in the 1920s and 1930s to her time as a freelance writer, art critic, and historian (1940s-1960s) and mostly concerning professional matters. Also included is a substantial amount of correspondence with artists, particularly Arthur Dove and Alfred Stieglitz, and some personal correspondence with her mother. General writings consists primarily of copies of McCausland's speeches and lectures on various art topics in addition to her early poems (dating from the 1930s) and scattered essays and articles.

The most extensive part of the collection is comprised of McCausland's research and writing files pertaining to large research and curatorial projects, such as ones on the artists Alfred H. Maurer and Marsden Hartley (which was begun by the American Art Research Council and subsequently taken over by McCausland), and one for the American Processional exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in 1950. A wide variety of smaller projects are also well-documented in the series Other Research and Writing Files, including ones on E. L. Henry, Lewis Hine, George Inness, her collaborative work with Berenice Abbott on the Changing New York book and series of photographs. Numerous other artists and art topics are covered as well, such as Arthur Dove, Robert Henri, Jacob Lawrence, Charles Hawthorne, film, and photography. Files for her book Careers in Art (1950), her many speaking and lecture engagements, and editing work are also found in this series. Files consist primarily of correspondence, notes, research material, manuscripts, bibliographies, photographs of works of art, completed research forms for works of art, card index files, and printed material.

Also found are subject files containing printed material, scattered notes and correspondence, and photographs, which may have been used for reference and/or collected in the course of McCausland's research activities; files relating to various exhibitions organized by McCausland from 1939 to 1944, including ones of silk screen prints and modern photography; files relating to courses on art history taught by McCausland, especially the one she taught at Barnard College in 1956; and files stemming from her participation in various art organizations and committees, especially during the time period just before and during the Second World War.

Printed material consists primarily of clippings and tear sheets of McCausland's newspaper articles and columns, which document her contributions to The Springfield Republican from 1923 to 1946, in addition to scattered exhibition catalogs, announcements, books, and miscellaneous publications. Photographs include ones of various artists and works of art, ones from the Farm Security Administration, and ones by photographers, such as Berenice Abbott (including ones from the Federal Art Project book, Changing New York), Barbara Morgan, Weegee, and Edward Weston, among others. Photographs, sometimes annotated or including notes, are scattered throughout her research files. Also included are photographs of McCausland, dating from her childhood. Art work found in the collection includes drawings, prints, and watercolors that were either given to McCausland by the artist or collected by her in the course of her work as an art critic and historian.

Additional material belonging to Elizabeth McCausland and donated by the estate of Berenice Abbott includes biographical material; business and personal correspondence; professional project files and writings, including drafts and research materials related to the book projects Art in America, Conversations with March, and Frank Kleinholz; and printed materials, including reprints of critical essays and articles by McCausland.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 15 series:

Series 1: Personal Papers, 1838, 1920-1951 (Boxes 1-2, 34; 1.5 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1923-1960 (Boxes 2-5; 2.9 linear feet)

Series 3: General Writings, circa 1930-1954 (Boxes 5-6; 0.9 linear feet)

Series 4: Alfred H. Maurer, 1851-1951, bulk 1948-1950 (Boxes 6-9; 3.7 linear feet)

Series 5: American Processional, 1949-1951 (Boxes 10-11; 1.8 linear feet)

Series 6: Marsden Hartley, 1900-1964, bulk 1944-1964 (Boxes 11-21, OV 37; 10 linear feet)

Series 7: Other Research and Writing Files, 1896, 1926-1958 (Boxes 21-25, 31; 4.6 linear feet)

Series 8: Subject Files, 1927-1954 (Boxes 25-26; 1.0 linear feet)

Series 9: Other Exhibition Files, 1939-1941, 1944 (Box 26; 0.1 linear feet)

Series 10: Teaching Files, 1939-1965 (Box 27; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 11: Committee Files, 1936-1960 (Box 27; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 12: Printed Material, 1923-1953 (Boxes 28-32, 34, OV 38, BV 44-47; 4.6 linear feet)

Series 13: Photographs, circa 1905-1950 (Boxes 32-36, OV 37; 1.4 linear feet)

Series 14: Art Work, 1887-1942 (Boxes 33-34, OV 39-43; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 15: Elizabeth McCausland Material from the Estate of Berenice Abbott, 1920-1995 (Boxes 48-53; 5.4 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Elizabeth McCausland, the art critic and writer, was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1899. She attended Smith College, receiving her Bachelor's degree in 1920 and her Master's in 1922. Beginning in 1923, she worked as a general reporter for The Springfield Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts). After several years, she began to review art exhibitions and soon became an established art critic. In the course of her work, she began to develop friendships with artists, such as Alfred Stieglitz and Arthur Dove. During these early years, she also wrote poetry and designed and printed limited edition publications on her private press.

McCausland moved to New York in 1935, but continued to contribute a weekly art column to The Springfield Republican until it suspended publication in 1946. From the mid-1930s on, she worked primarily as a freelance writer and art critic, contributing articles to publications such as Parnassas, The New Republic, and Magazine of Art. In the latter part of her career, her writings focused more on art history and special studies on artists.

In the late-1930s, McCausland collaborated with the photographer Berenice Abbott on the Federal Art Project book, Changing New York, for which she provided the text to Abbott's now-famous photographs of New York City neighborhoods, architecture, and street scenes. She studied and wrote about photography, including numerous articles on the photographer Lewis Hine (of whose work she organized a retrospective exhibition at the Riverside Museum in 1939), and was appointed to the Advisory Committee of the Museum of Modern Art's Department of Photography in 1944.

McCausland went on to organize other exhibitions, including a show of contemporary work, "The World of Today" (Berkshire Museum, 1939), shows of silk screen prints (Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, March 1940 and New York State Museum, Summer 1940), and a photography show, "Photography Today" (A.C.A. Gallery, 1944). In the late 1930s, she embarked upon a study of "the status of the artist in America from colonial times to the present, with especial attention to the relation between art and patronage," which continued over twenty years (and was never completed) and for which she received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1943.

In addition to her other writing, during the 1940s, McCausland carried out studies on the artists, E. L. Henry and George Inness, which resulted in exhibitions at the New York State Museum in 1942 and the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum in 1946, respectively and publications (a report on Henry and a book on Inness). From 1948 to 1949, she carried out an extensive study of the painter, Alfred H. Maurer, organizing an exhibition, "A. H. Maurer: 1868-1932," which showed at the Walker Art Center and the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1949, and publishing the biography, A. H. Maurer, in 1951. In 1950, she worked as a special consultant on the American Processional exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery and as editor of the accompanying book. Shortly thereafter, she began a study of Marsden Hartley for a monograph, which was published in 1952, and she helped organize the Hartley exhibition at the University of Minnesota that same year. She continued the Hartley study on larger scale for a planned biography and catalogue raisonne; although she continued to work on it off and on for the next decade, the project was never completed.

McCausland published other books, including Careers in the Arts (1951), and undertook other research and consulting projects, such as photo-editing Carl Sandburg's Poems of the Midwest (1946), conducting surveys of art and advertising for an article in Magazine of Art and of art education for Cooper Union Art School, and contributing yearly articles on art to various encyclopedias. At different times throughout her career, she supplemented her income by taking teaching positions. She taught courses on art history at Sarah Lawrence College from 1942 to 1944 and at Barnard College in 1956, as well as courses at the Design Laboratory (1939) and the New School for Social Research (1946). She also gave numerous lectures and speeches on various art topics, and regularly participated in conferences and symposiums. Towards the end of her career, she was publishing less, but was still involved in many projects, most notably the Hartley study.

McCausland was a tireless promoter of the arts, and often an advocate for artists. Even though her work was well-known among certain art circles, she never received the recognition as a writer that she deserved. Nor was she ever able to free herself from the pressure of writing for a living. Continually suffering from poor health, she died on May 14, 1965.
Related Material:
Related material found in the Archives includes a sound recording from a symposium on Marsden Hartley, of which McCausland was a participant, held at the Portland Museum of Art in 1961. The Frank Kleinholz papers contain a recorded interview of McCausland done in 1944-1945 for radio station WNYC. Some of McCausland's correspondence is found in the G. Alan Chidsey papers; Chidsey served as a trustee of the Marsden Hartley estate.
Separated Material:
Material separated from the collection includes some issues of Camera Work (Vol. 30, 47, 49/50), which were combined with other issues in an artificial collection created by the Archives at some earlier point.
Provenance:
Elizabeth McCausland donated the bulk of her papers in several installments from 1956 to 1961. An unknown donor, perhaps her literary executor, donated additional papers sometime after her death in 1965. It appears that McCausland originally donated her research files on Marsden Hartley, measuring 10 linear feet, to the Whitney Museum, who then lent them to the Archives for microfilming in 1966, and donated them sometime thereafter. McCausland originally donated files of newspaper clippings and offprints of her articles to the The New York Public Library, who gave them to the Archives in 1968. Additional McCausland material from the estate of Berenice Abbott was donated to the Archives in 2009.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
The Elizabeth McCausland 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:
Art historians -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Art criticism -- United States  Search this
Documentary photography -- United States  Search this
Authors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art -- Exhibitions -- United States  Search this
Art -- History -- Study and teaching  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Art -- Societies, etc. -- United States  Search this
Modernism (Art) -- United States  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Art critics -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks
Prints
Drawings
Photographs
Watercolors
Citation:
Elizabeth McCausland papers, 1838-1995, bulk 1920-1960. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.mccaeliz
See more items in:
Elizabeth McCausland papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-mccaeliz
Online Media:

Elizabeth McCausland papers, 1838-1995, bulk 1920-1960

Creator:
McCausland, Elizabeth, 1899-1965  Search this
Subject:
Hartley, Marsden  Search this
Abbott, Berenice  Search this
Hawthorne, Charles Webster  Search this
Henri, Robert  Search this
Henry, Edward Lamson  Search this
Dove, Arthur Garfield  Search this
Kleinholz, Frank  Search this
Morgan, Barbara Brooks  Search this
Stieglitz, Alfred  Search this
Weegee  Search this
Hine, Lewis Wickes  Search this
Inness, George  Search this
Lawrence, Jacob  Search this
Maurer, Alfred Henry  Search this
Weston, Edward  Search this
American Art Research Council  Search this
Federal Art Project (U.S.)  Search this
United States  Search this
Barnard College  Search this
Type:
Scrapbooks
Prints
Drawings
Photographs
Watercolors
Place:
New York N.Y. -- Pictorial works -- photographs
Topic:
Springfield Republican  Search this
Art historians -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Art criticism -- United States  Search this
Documentary photography -- United States  Search this
Authors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art -- Exhibitions -- United States  Search this
Art -- History -- Study and teaching  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Art -- Societies, etc. -- United States  Search this
Modernism (Art) -- United States  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Art critics -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)7839
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)210006
AAA_collcode_mccaeliz
Theme:
Diaries
Art Theory and Historiography
Photography
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_210006
Online Media:

Rockwell Kent papers

Creator:
Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971  Search this
Names:
American Artists' Congress  Search this
Artists League of America  Search this
Artists' Union (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Citizens' Committee for Government Arts Projects  Search this
Farmers Union of the New York Milk Shed  Search this
Federal Art Project  Search this
Federal Writers' Project  Search this
International Workers Order  Search this
Macbeth Gallery  Search this
National Farmers' Union (U.S.)  Search this
National Maritime Union of America  Search this
United American Artists  Search this
United Office and Professional Workers of America  Search this
United Scenic Artists  Search this
Boyesen, Bayard  Search this
Chamberlain, J. E.  Search this
Chase, William Merritt, 1846-1916  Search this
Cleland, T. M. (Thomas Maitland), 1880-1964  Search this
Daniel, Charles, 1878-1971  Search this
Davies, Arthur B. (Arthur Bowen), 1862-1928  Search this
DuBois, W.E.B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963  Search this
Fitzgerald, James, 1899-1971  Search this
Freuchen, Peter, 1886-1957  Search this
Gellert, Hugo, 1892-1985  Search this
Gottlieb, Harry, 1895-  Search this
Hartley, Marsden, 1877-1943  Search this
Hays, Lee, 1914-1981  Search this
Henri, Robert, 1865-1929  Search this
Jones, Dan Burne  Search this
Keller, Charles, 1914-2006  Search this
Miller, Kenneth Hayes, 1876-1952  Search this
Nearing, Helen  Search this
Nearing, Scott, 1883-1983  Search this
Pach, Walter, 1883-1958  Search this
Phillips, Duncan, 1886-1966  Search this
Rasmussen, Knud, 1879-1933  Search this
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966  Search this
Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976  Search this
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945  Search this
Ruggles, Carl, 1876-1971  Search this
Seeger, Pete, 1919-2014  Search this
Stefansson, Vilhjalmur, 1879-1962  Search this
Untermeyer, Louis, 1885-1977  Search this
Wildenstein, Felix, 1883-1952  Search this
Zigrosser, Carl, 1891-  Search this
Extent:
88 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Poems
Sketches
Business records
Photographs
Drawings
Date:
circa 1840-1993
bulk 1935-1961
Summary:
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.
Arrangement:
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)
Biographical Note:
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.

1882 -- born, Tarrytown, New York

1887 -- death of Rockwell Kent, Sr.

1894-1896 -- attended Cheshire Academy

1895 -- toured Europe with Aunt Jo

1896 -- attended Horace Mann School, New York City

1900-1902 -- studied architecture at Columbia University

1900-1902 -- attended William Merritt Chase's summer school, Shinnecock Hills, Long Island

1903 -- studied with William Merritt Chase, New York City

1904 -- first sale of a painting

1904 -- met Rufus Weeks and attended first Socialist meeting

1905 -- lived and worked with Abbott H. Thayer, Dublin, New Hampshire

1905 -- first painting trip to Monhegan Island, Maine

1907 -- first one-man show, Claussen Galleries, New York City

1908 -- marriage to Kathleen Whiting

1908 -- studied with Robert Henri

1908 -- joined Socialist Party

1909 -- birth of Rockwell, III

1910 -- ran Monhegan Summer School of Art

1910 -- first trip to Newfoundland

1910 -- helped to organize first Independent Exhibition

1911 -- birth of Kathleen

1912 -- moved to Winona, Minnesota

1913 -- birth of Clara

1914 -- settled in Newfoundland

1915 -- deported from Newfoundland

1915 -- birth of Barbara

1917 -- served as full-time organizer and administrator of Independent Exhibition

1918-1919 -- in Alaska with son Rocky

1919 -- purchased Egypt Farm, Arlington, Vermont

1919 -- incorporated self

1920 -- publication of Wilderness

1920 -- birth of Gordon

1922 -- traveled to Tierra del Fuego

1924 -- publication of Voyaging

1925 -- trip to France

1925 -- divorced from Kathleen

1926 -- marriage to Frances Lee

1926 -- traveled to Ireland

1927 -- purchased Asgaard Farm, AuSable, New York

1927 -- editor of Creative Art

1927 -- helped organize National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Washington, D.C.

1929 -- sailed to Greenland on Direction

1930 -- publication of N by E

1932-1933 -- returned to Greenland

1934-1935 -- final trip to Greenland

1935 -- publication of Salamina

1936 -- trip to Puerto Rico

1937 -- trip to Brazil

1937-1938 -- Post Office Department mural commission and controversy over Eskimo-language message interpreted as encouraging Puerto Rican independence

1939 -- divorced from Frances

1939 -- General Electric Co. mural commission for New York World's Fair

1940 -- publication of This Is My Own

1940 -- marriage to Shirley Johnstone (Sally)

1942 -- solo exhibition, Know and Defend America, at Wildenstein Galleries, New York City

1946 -- elected to Executive Committee of American Labor Party

1948 -- congressional candidate, American Labor Party

1948 -- transferred ownership of dairy to remaining employees after boycott resulting from support of Wallace for president

1949 -- attended World Congress for Peace, Paris

1950-1958 -- denied U.S. passport; lawsuit, appeals, and Supreme Court decision reinstating right to travel

1953 -- testified before House Un-American Activities Committee

1955 -- publication of It's Me, O Lord

1958 -- one-man show at Hermitage Museum, Leningrad

1959 -- publication of Of Men and Mountains

1960 -- gift of Kent Collection to Friendship House, Moscow

1960 -- exhibition at Pushkin Museum, Moscow

1963 -- publication of Greenland Journal

1966 -- elected to Academy of Arts of the USSR

1967 -- awarded Lenin Peace Prize, Moscow

1969 -- oral history interview, Archives of American Art

1969 -- home at Asgaard destroyed by fire; papers survived with some water and smoke damage

1969 -- first installment of Rockwell Kent Papers donated to Archives of American Art

1971 -- died, Plattsburgh, New York

1971 -- gift of additional Rockwell Kent Papers to Archives of American Art

1979 -- gift of textile samples to the Archives of American Art

1996 -- gift of additional Rockwell Kent Papers to Archives of American Art

2000 -- death of Sally [Shirley Johnstone] Kent Gorton

2000 -- previously sealed correspondence of wives Frances and Sally (Series 1) opened to researchers

2001 -- gift of additional Rockwell Kent papers to the Archives of American Art from the Estate of Sally Kent [Shirley Johnstone] Gorton
Provenance:
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.
Restrictions:
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.
Rights:
The Rockwell Kent 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:
Designers -- New York (State)  Search this
Mural painting and decoration  Search this
Painters -- New York (State)  Search this
Politics and culture  Search this
Authors -- New York  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- United States -- Political aspects  Search this
Dairy farms  Search this
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Illustrators -- New York (State)  Search this
Illustration of books  Search this
Works of art  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Civilian relief  Search this
Labor unions  Search this
Art and war  Search this
Commercial art  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Art and the war  Search this
Genre/Form:
Poems
Sketches
Business records
Photographs
Drawings
Citation:
Rockwell Kent papers, circa 1840-1993, bulk 1935-1961. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.kentrock
See more items in:
Rockwell Kent papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kentrock
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