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Oral history interview with Philip Hofer, 1984 Apr. 24

Interviewee:
Hofer, Philip, 1898-1984  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)11930
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)215690
AAA_collcode_hofer84
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_215690
Online Media:

Castano Galleries records

Creator:
Castano Galleries (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Names:
Beam, Philip C.  Search this
Castano, Giovanni, 1896-1978  Search this
Chrysler, Walter P. (Walter Percy), 1909-1988, Jr.  Search this
Danes, Gibson A.  Search this
Denghausen, Franz H., 1911-  Search this
Goodrich, Lloyd, 1897-1987  Search this
Grandin, Isabella  Search this
Hale, Lilian Westcott, 1880-1963  Search this
Hofer, Philip, 1898-1984  Search this
Rathbone, Perry Townsend, 1911-2000  Search this
Richardson, Edgar Preston, 1902-1985  Search this
Sachs, Paul J. (Paul Joseph), 1878-1965  Search this
Venturi, Lionello, 1885-1961  Search this
Extent:
30 microfilm reels
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Microfilm reels
Date:
1907-1983
Scope and Contents:
20 feet, chiefly gallery records and some personal papers of gallery owner, Giovanni (John) Castano, including correspondence, legal material, subject files, notes, writings, financial material, photographs, a scrapbook, and printed material.
Included are biographical information about Castano, business correspondence with dealers, museums, clients, collectors, artists, art historians, and others, and some personal correspondence, including a letter from Rome, 1876, from an unidentified writer to an unidentified woman containing a detailed description of a painting in the Barberini, and correspondence related to Castano's work as a scenic artist, 1924-1931. Subject files contain mainly correspondence and lists of work, and relate to Italian Renaissance exhibition, 1938, the Heeramaneck Collection of Persian and Indian Art, a Boldini exhibition, Arthur C. Goodwin, 1945-1952, and a Mancini-Sargent exhibition, 1951.
Financial material includes records of expenses and income; account books; employees' weekly wage book; records of purchases and sales of art work, including part of a bill for a painting by Diaz paid by Knoedler and Co., 1890; appraisals done for individuals, estates and institutions, including the Gorham Corporation, Harvard University murals, the Mrs. T. Morris Murray estate, furnishings of William M. Paxton's studio, ca. 1941, and paintings by Edmund Tarbell, and others; consignments; priced auction catalogs of the Henry F. Sears estate, the Mary A.H. Traiser estate, and miscellaneous price lists.
Also included are a card file on paintings; lists of paintings; inventories; client cards; address and appointment books; mailing lists; gallery journals, 1936-1927; descriptions and notes on paintings and authentications; biographies of artists; writings by and about Castano; and notes by Churchill Wyman on Philip Hale's anatomy lectures.
Photographs are of Castano, his work, artists at work, and various works of art. Original art work consists of sketches for a logo designed by Suzanne Chapman. Included in the exhibition related material is a catalog for Castano's posthumous exhibition.
Also included is a scrapbook containing announcements, clippings on the gallery and Castano, exhibition catalogs, and biographical material compiled by Castano's longtime secretary.
Among the correspondents are: Philip Beam, Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., Gibson Danes, Franz Denghasusen, Lloyd Goodrich (Whitney Museum of American Art), Isabella Grandin, Lilian W. Hale, Philip Hofer (Fogg Art Museum), Perry T. Rathbone (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), Edgar P. Richardson (Detroit Institute of Arts), Paul J. Sachs (Fogg), and Lionello Venturi.
Biographical / Historical:
Art gallery, Boston, Mass. Founded in 1931 by Giovanni Castano, also known as John Castano. Castano attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where he was an assistant to Philip Hale. He was a scenic artist for the Boston Opera Company and for the Grand Opera in Cincinnati, Ohio. During the Depression, he returned to Boston where he opened a gallery on Newbury Street specializing in European and American paintings, acted as an agent for Wildenstein and Co., and restored paintings. The gallery had numerous exhibitions of the "Boston School," including A.C. Goodwin, Winslow Homer, Philip Hale, Edmund C. Tarbell, William Paxton and others. The gallery occupied several Newbury St. locations. From 1975 until his death, Castano operated it from his home in Needham.
Other Title:
Giovanni Castano Galleries records, 1907-1983.
Provenance:
Lent for microfilming by Elvira Castano Palmerio, Castano's daughter, 1988.
Restrictions:
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
Occupation:
Art appraisers  Search this
Restorers  Search this
Set decorators  Search this
Gallery owners  Search this
Art dealers -- Massachusetts  Search this
Painters -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Function:
Art galleries, Commercial -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Identifier:
AAA.castgall
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-castgall

Oral history interview with Eleanor Sayre

Interviewee:
Sayre, Eleanor A.  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Names:
Ashmolean Museum  Search this
Bryn Mawr College -- Students  Search this
Fogg Art Museum  Search this
Harvard University -- Students  Search this
Lyman Allyn Museum  Search this
Museo del Prado  Search this
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  Search this
Rhode Island School of Design. Museum of Art  Search this
Yale University. Art Gallery  Search this
Ames, Winslow  Search this
Constable, W. G. (William George), 1887-1976  Search this
Edgell, George Harold, b. 1887  Search this
Forbes, Edward Waldo, 1873-1969  Search this
Goya, Francisco, 1746-1828  Search this
Hofer, Philip, 1898-1984  Search this
Karolik, Maxim  Search this
King, Georgiana Goddard, 1871-1939  Search this
Rathbone, Perry Townsend, 1911-2000  Search this
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, 1606-1669  Search this
Rosenberg, Jakob, 1893-  Search this
Rossiter, Henry P. (Henry Preston), b. 1885  Search this
Sachs, Paul J. (Paul Joseph), 1878-1965  Search this
Seybolt, George Crossan, 1914-1993  Search this
Sizer, Theodore, 1892-1967  Search this
Swarzenski, Hanns, 1903-1985  Search this
Washburn, Gordon B. (Gordon Bailey), 1904-1983  Search this
Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924  Search this
Extent:
213 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Place:
Philippines -- History -- Japanese occupation, 1942-1945
Spain -- History -- 1939-1975
Date:
1993 April 19-1997 January 10
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Eleanor Sayre conducted 1993 April 19-1997 January 10, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Sayre talks about her early childhood in Williamstown and Cambridge, Mass.; her family background; visits to the White House with her maternal grandfather, Woodrow Wilson; living abroad while her father was in government service in Bangkok, then Siam (now Thailand), Paris, and Switzerland, with extensive recollections of her brothers and schooling in Europe.
Attending Winsor School in Boston; her mother's death; her years at Bryn Mawr College, including her switch to art history from political science; Georgianna Goddard King as an influential teacher; an internship under Laura Dudley at the Fogg Art Museum's Print Room and the lasting effect of this experience.
Being a graduate student in fine arts at Harvard and the importance of Edward Forbes and Paul Sachs as teachers; her decision not to pursue a PhD; working with Jakob Rosenberg; helping to get young Jews out of Europe; her position as assistant for exhibitions at Yale University Art Gallery under Theodore Sizer; the trauma of her father's internment by the Japanese in the Philippines, where he was High Commissioner and his rescue; and her decision to turn down a military intelligence job in order to work with German Jewish refugees.
Her brief tenure at Lyman-Allyn Museum, Conn., under Winslow Ames; her years in the education department under Lydia "Ma" Powel at the Museum of Art of the Rhode Island School of Design with Gordon Washburn as director; and working closely with Heinrich Schwartz on prints and drawings.
The liberal tradition of her father's wealthy family; her father; being brought to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston by its curator of prints, Henry Rossiter and on the charming collector and benefactor, Maxim Karolik; MFA curator of paintings, William George Constable; and George Harold Edgell, MFA director.
The collector, Philip Hofer, who by putting his Goya proofs on loan at the MFA, led to Sayre's life-long study of the artist; her research on Goya in Spain; raising of a large sum from Boston businesses to purchase Hofer's prints for the MFA, and the MFA's eminence by the 1960s in Goya's graphic work; the disgusting repression of dissent in Franco-era Spain; Goya's passionate self-assertion, which is what principally attracted Sayre to his work, and his conceptual process and method of work.
Earlier years at the MFA, Boston, including the accessibility of the print department's study rooms; Edwin J. Hipkiss, curator of American decorative arts; the Christmas poetry and prints exhibitions designed as profound learning experiences for a broad public; and being chosen as successor to Rossiter; and further comments on Maxim Karolik.
W.G. Russell Allen and other collectors who gave their collections to the MFA; her efforts to effectively present art to the broad public; her methods of appealing to the public coalescing at the MFA in 1989 with the "Goya and the Spirit of the Enlightenment" exhibition; and an exhibition of the work of Beatrix Potter.
Spain under the dictator, Francisco Franco; her first study in Spain of Goya's drawings and her urging the Prado Museum to conserve its drawings; the Prado's director, F. Sanchez-Canton; her research on prostitution at the Ministry of Justice; being decorated for her recommending the preservation of Goya's art and the marvelous private collections of Goya in Spain; and her obsession with interpreting the meaning of Goya's work.
The MFA, Boston, under the directorship of Perry Rathbone, who wanted many more people involved than had his predecessor, George Harold Edgell, who ran it like a Boston Brahmin Club; Rathbone's accomplishments; his downfall and that of his assistant (and curator of European decorative arts and sculpture) Hanns Swarzenski in bringing a so-called Raphael into this country by irregular means, which led to Rathbone and Swarzenski's firing by George Seybolt, the trustee president; Rathbone's reluctance to hire women curators and Sayre's finally becoming curator of prints and drawings in 1967; her philosophy as curator; on Hanns and Brigitte Swarzenski as dear friends; her exchange of positions with the curator of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, where she put their valuable but neglected print collection in order.
The exhibition and catalog, "Rembrandt: Experimental Etcher," (1969) in collaboration with the Pierpont Morgan Library; general views on exhibitions; co-authoring the exhibition catalog "Goya and the Spiris of Enlightenment" (1989); her contributions to Goya research; her current research and writing on Goya's Capaprichos print series; and her satisfaction in having spent her career in art museums.
Biographical / Historical:
Eleanor A. Sayre (1916-2001) was a curator and art historian from Boston, Mass.
General:
Originally recorded on 8 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 15 digital wav files. Duration is 11 hrs., 21 min.
Provenance:
This interview is 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 administrators.
Occupation:
Printmakers  Search this
Topic:
Art historians -- Interviews  Search this
Jewish refugees -- Germany  Search this
Museum curators -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- Interviews  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Germany -- Refugees  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.sayre93
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-sayre93

Oral history interview with Philip Hofer

Interviewee:
Hofer, Philip, 1898-1984  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (sound cassette (90 min.) Sound recording)
37 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1984 Apr. 24
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Philip Hofer conducted 1984 Apr. 24, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Hofer speaks of his childhood in Cinncinnati, Ohio; attending boarding school at the Pomfret School in Connecticut; attending Harvard University; becoming friends with Theodore "Tubby" Sizer; taking a job at the Cleveland Museum of Art; returning to Harvard to study art history in graduate school; collecting illustrated books in his sparetime with his own money; moving to New York City to work as the assistant director of the Morgan Library; traveling through Europe for the Spencer Collection; working for Belle da Costa Greene at the Morgan Library.
Biographical / Historical:
Philip Hofer (1898-1984) was a book collector, curator, and art historian at Harvard University. Hofer founded the Department of Prints and Graphics at Harvard University in 1938.
Provenance:
This interview is 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 administrators.
Restrictions:
This transcript is open for research. Access to the entire recording is restricted. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.hofer84
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-hofer84

Oral history interview with Eleanor M. Garvey

Interviewee:
Garvey, Eleanor M.  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Names:
Clark University (Worcester, Mass.)  Search this
Houghton Library  Search this
Newark Museum  Search this
Wellesley College  Search this
Worcester Art Museum  Search this
Abbot, Agnes Anne, 1897-1992  Search this
Bentinck-Smith, William, 1914-  Search this
Campbell, Alexander  Search this
Campbell, Louisa Dresser, 1907-1989  Search this
Coffey, Katherine, d. 1972  Search this
Conant, Kenneth J.  Search this
Der Nersessian, Sirarpie, 1896-1989  Search this
Freedberg, S. J. (Sydney Joseph), 1914-1997  Search this
Hofer, Philip, 1898-1984  Search this
McAndrew, John  Search this
O'Gorman, James F.  Search this
Richardson, H. H. (Henry Hobson), 1838-1886  Search this
Sawyer, Charles Henry, 1906-2005  Search this
Winship, George Parker, 1871-1952  Search this
Extent:
76 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Date:
1997 February 28-June 13
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Eleanor M. Garvey conducted 1997 February 28-June 13, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art in Garvey's office, Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Garvey discusses her childhood in Worcester, Massachusetts; majoring in art history at Wellesley College under Serape der Nersessian, Alexander Campbell, Agnes Abbott, and Kenneth Conant; study of education at Clark University, with drawing classes at the art school of the Worcester Art Museum; and the extremely useful experience working at the Museum under Charles Sawyer and Louisa Dresser.
Working as an art librarian and museum curator at Wellesley College (1947-1952), and art history professors John McAndrew, Sidney Freedberg, James O'Gorman; moving on to the Newark Museum (1952-1953) and its collections and administration under Katherine Coffey.
Joining the Dept. of Printing and Graphic Arts of the Houghton Library in 1953 beginning as secretary to curator Philip Hofer; Hofer's work on illustrated books; the development of the Houghton Library from the so-called "Treasure Room" of the main Harvard Library under the direction of George Parker Winship; Garvey's close relationship with William Bentinck-Smith, a Houghton patron and an authority on type design; the status of women professionals at Harvard.
Continued discussion of Houghton patron William Bentinck-Smith; publications and exhibitions while at Houghton, including: "The Artist and the Book, 1860-1960" (1961), "The Turn of a Century, 1885-1970" (1970), "Henry Hobson Richardson and His Office: Selected Drawings" (1974), and "Artists of the Book in Boston, 1890-1910" (1988), as well as her current project producing a catalog of 18th century Venetian illustrated books and her involvement in seminars on artists' books.
Biographical / Historical:
Eleanor M. Garvey (1918- ) is a curator and writer from Cambridge, Massachusetts.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes as X digital wav files. Duration is 3 hrs., 30 min.
Provenance:
This interview is 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 administrators.
Topic:
Artists' books  Search this
Book design  Search this
Illustrated books -- 19th century  Search this
Illustrated books -- 20th century  Search this
Museum curators -- Massachusetts -- Interviews  Search this
Women museum curators -- Massachusetts -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.garvey97
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-garvey97

Polly Thayer (Starr) papers

Creator:
Thayer, Polly, 1904-2006  Search this
Names:
Copley Society (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Friends General Conference (U.S.)  Search this
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  Search this
Nucleus Club (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Trustees of Reservations (Mass.)  Search this
Vose Galleries of Boston  Search this
Abramson, Doris E.  Search this
Cortissoz, Royal, 1869-1948  Search this
Hofer, Philip, 1898-1984  Search this
Koval, Dorothy  Search this
Sarton, May, 1912-  Search this
Starr, Donald C.  Search this
Thayer, Ethel Randolph, 1870-1953  Search this
Thayer, Ezra Ripley, 1866-1915  Search this
Tudor, Tasha  Search this
Wheelwright, John, 1897-1940  Search this
Yarnall, Agnes  Search this
Extent:
21.6 Linear feet
0.807 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Photographs
Sound recordings
Sketchbooks
Transcripts
Interviews
Sketches
Video recordings
Drawings
Scrapbooks
Date:
1846-2008
bulk 1921-2008
Summary:
The papers of Boston portraitist and painter Polly Thayer (Starr) (1904-2006) measure 21.6 linear feet and 0.807 GB and date from 1846 to 2008, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1921-2008. The papers document Thayer's personal life and career as a painter, portraitist, and pastel artist. Found within the papers are biographical materials, extensive family papers, correspondence with artists and art venues, interviews, writings, subject files, organization files, exhibition files, art inventory records, printed and digital materials, five sketchbooks, artwork, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Boston portraitist and painter Polly Thayer (Starr) (1904-2006) measure 21.6 linear feet and 0.807 GB and date from 1846 to 2008, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1921-2008. The papers document Thayer's personal life and career as a painter, portraitist, and pastel artist. Found within the papers are biographical materials, extensive family papers, correspondence with artists and art venues, interviews, writings, subject files, organization files, exhibition files, art inventory records, printed and digital materials, five sketchbooks, artwork, and photographs.

Biographical material includes a marriage certificate, school records, inventories of possessions, passports, files about the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake in Japan, and a few personal and scattered financial documents such as invoices and receipts for various art related expenses.

Extensive family papers on many of Polly Thayer's immediate and extended family members include obituaries, condolence letters, writings, and printed materials. The most voluminous files are about Polly Thayer's husband Donald Carter Starr, her mother Ethel Randolph Thayer, and her father Ezra Ripley Thayer.

There is limited correspondence with friends and and colleagues, including Royal Cortissoz, Philip Hofer, Tasha Tudor (photocopies), Dorothy Koval, the curator who wrote about Thayer for her first show at Vose Galleries in 2001, as well as two art consultants who helped Thayer inventory her artwork. The bulk of the correspondence is with museums, galleries, and other venues such as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Copley Society of Boston, and Vose Galleries.

Interviews with Polly Thayer include transcripts as well as sound and video recordings. There is also a sound recording of poet and professor Doris Abramson discussing Catherine Sargent Huntington.

Writings include typescript and handwritten drafts of essays, notebooks, and notes on assorted topics. The bulk of the material was written by Thayer, with a few writings by others.

Subject files are found for people and general interests. The "People" files are collected documents about Thayer's friends, colleagues, artists, and portrait subjects. The files include short biographies, articles, obituaries, a few photographs, two videocassettes and one sound recording. The most voluminous files are on Francis DeLancey Cunningham, the Howe family, Rose Nichols, May Sarton, John Brooks Wheelwright, and Agnes Yarnall. Thayer's "Interests" files consist of articles and clippings on various topics such as animals, humor, and pacifism.

Organization files contain materials related to Polly Thayer's charitable contributions, club memberships and affiliations, including The Chilton Club, Nucleus Club, Religious Society of Friends, and Trustees of Reservations, among others. These files contain seven sound recordings.

Exhibition files contain exhibition catalogs, reviews, clippings, notes, inventory price lists, and other materials about Thayer's solo and group shows.

Art inventory records consist of dismantled binders of inventories that also include photographs of artwork and descriptive information such as the title, medium, and dimensions. There are also photographic inventories of works of art arranged by subject, and several partial art inventories.

Printed materials include two scrapbooks compiled by Polly Thayer's mother containing articles about Thayer, magazines, journals, exhibition catalogs, brochures, exhibition invitations, postcards, clippings, and miscellaneous materials. Digital materials consist of inventories and digitized audio interviews.

Five sketchbooks include figure drawings, portrait sketches, and landscape sketches. Also found are loose drawings of animals, landscapes, and people.

Disbound binders of photographs contain images of works of art that are grouped by subject, including portraits, landscapes, and "mystical/flowers/animals," as well as personal photographs of Polly Thayer and family members, houses, social events, pets, and friends. There is one small disbound photograph album of houses and properties.
Arrangement:
The Polly Thayer papers were organized and inventoried by curator Dorothy Koval and other art consultants prior to arriving at the Archives of American Art, and most likely do not reflect the original order by Polly Thayer. The Archives has maintained the arrangement imposed by Koval for the bulk of the papers. This collection is arranged as 13 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1921-2007 (0.8 linear feet; Box 1, 22, 0.582 GB; ER01-ER02)

Series 2: Family Files, 1846-2006 (2 linear feet; Box 1-3, 22)

Series 3: Correspondence, 1929-2008 (1.3 linear feet; Box 3-5)

Series 4: Interviews, 1995-2004 (0.2 linear feet; Box 5, 0.196 GB; ER03)

Series 5: Writings, 1922-2006 (1.7 linear feet; Box 5-6)

Series 6: Subject Files, circa 1900-2008 (3.3 linear feet; Box 7-10)

Series 7: Organization Files, 1931-2008 (1 linear feet; Box 10-11, 0.029 GB; ER04)

Series 8: Exhibition Files, 1928-2006 (1.9 linear feet; Box 11-13)

Series 9: Art Inventory, circa 1940-1999 (4.6 linear feet; Box 13-17)

Series 10: Printed Material, 1900-2006 (1.8 linear feet; Box 17-19, 22)

Series 11: Sketchbooks, 1930-circa 1970 (0.3 linear feet; Box 19, 23)

Series 12: Artwork, 1927-circa 1990 (0.4 linear feet; Box 19, 23, OV 25)

Series 13: Photographs, 1898-2006 (2.1 linear feet; Box 19-21, 24)
Biographical / Historical:
Polly Thayer (Starr) (1904-2006) was a Boston painter of portraits, landscapes, and still lifes.

Ethel Randolph Thayer, known as Polly, was born in Boston in 1904, the daughter of Professor Ezra Ripley Thayer, also Dean of the Harvard Law School, and Ethel Randolph Thayer, née Clark. Thayer began her drawing lessons at an early age and later attended the Westover Boarding School in Middlebury, Connecticut. Although she signed some of her early paintings Ethel Thayer, by the end of the 1920s she generally signed her work Polly Thayer. She continued to use Polly Thayer as her brush name after she married, although in 1967 she changed her name legally from Ethel Randolph Starr to Polly Thayer Starr.

After graduating from Westover School, Thayer traveled to China, Korea, and Japan with her brother and mother. While in Japan, the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 struck just as their ship was about to leave Yokohama. In the devastation that followed, their ship was used as a hospital and Polly Thayer assisted with nursing the injured.

After returning home, Thayer began her formal studies at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts from 1923 to 1925 where she took painting classes taught by Philip Hale. She eventually left the Boston Museum and began private painting lessons with Hale. While working under Hale, she painted a large nude, Circles, which was awarded the National Academy of Design's coveted Julius Hallgarten Prize in 1929. She also spent the summer of 1924 in Provincetown studying with Charles Hawthorne and traveled to Europe where she studied at the Académie Colarossi in Paris. She later studied in Madrid and, from 1930-1933, at the Art Students League in New York City.

Thayer's first solo exhibition was held on New Year's Eve, 1930 at the Doll & Richards gallery in Boston. The Globe reviewer declared it "surely settles her status as one of the foremost painters in the country." The success of the exhibition led to numerous portrait commissions --any of them exhibited at Wildenstein gallery in New York City --and launched Thayer's career as a portrait artist. Her portrait subjects include Judith Anderson, Jacques Barzun, Maurice Evans, Lewis Galantiere, Robert Hale, May Sarton, John Wheelwright, and Agnes Yarnall, among others. Additional galleries that subsequently gave Thayer solo shows were the Sessler Gallery in Philadelphia; Contemporary Arts and Pietrantonio Galleries in New York; and in Boston the Guild of Boston Artists, Grace Horne Galleries, Child's Gallery, The Copley Society, the St. Botolph Club and the Boston Public Library.

In 1933, Polly Thayer married Donald Starr, a Boston lawyer and avid sailor. They married in Italy and honeymooned in Paris while he took a break from a sailing trip around the world on his schooner "Pilgrim." They had two daughters, Victoria and Dinah. In 1942 Thayer joined the Society of Friends (Quakers) which became an important part of her life and identity. She was active in many educational, charitable and cultural institutions and local clubs. Thayer had long been fascinated by the dynamics, meaning and variety of visual experience. In 1981 the Friends Journal published her essay "On Seeing," a paper she continued to refine until she was ninety-seven.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Polly Thayer began focusing more on landscapes and still lifes and continued to be prolific artist, exhibiting in numerous solo and group exhibits in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. In her later years she renewed an early affiliation with Vose Galleries which she maintained for the rest of her life. In 2001, she was the only living artist whose work was included in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibition "A Studio of Her Own" and a banner of her portrait of May Sarton hung over the entrance to the Museum.

Polly Thayer (Starr) died on August 30, 2006.
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds an oral history interview of Polly Thayer conducted May 12, 1995-February 1, 1996, by Robert F. Brown.

The Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust holds archival materials and artwork by Polly Thayer.
Provenance:
The Polly Thayer (Starr) papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Polly Thayer in 1998 and again in 2008 by Thayer via Stephanie S. Wright, executor. A notebook was donated in 2016 by Dinah Starr, daughter of Polly Thayer (Starr) and merged with the rest of the collection.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Polly Thayer (Starr) 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:
Painters -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Kanto Earthquake, Japan, 1923  Search this
Portrait painters  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Sound recordings
Sketchbooks
Transcripts
Interviews
Sketches
Video recordings
Drawings
Scrapbooks
Citation:
Polly Thayer (Starr) papers, 1846-2008, bulk 1921-2008. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.thaypoll
See more items in:
Polly Thayer (Starr) papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-thaypoll
Online Media:

Dan Fellows Platt papers

Creator:
Platt, Dan Fellows, 1873-1938  Search this
Names:
Berenson, Bernard, 1865-1959  Search this
Hofer, Philip, 1898-1984  Search this
Mather, Frank Jewett, 1868-1953  Search this
Offner, Richard, 1889-1965  Search this
Sargent, John Singer, 1856-1925  Search this
Extent:
209 Items ((on partial microfilm reel))
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1914-1963
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence and publications reflecting the collecting activities of Platt. Correspondents include Bernard Berenson, Philip Hofer, Frank J. Mather, Richard Offner, John Singer Sargent, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Art collector and author; Englewood, N.J.
Provenance:
Lent for microfilming 1967 by Platt's widow.
Restrictions:
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
Topic:
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- New Jersey  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.platdan
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-platdan

Drawing Society lectures

Creator:
Dallas Print and Drawing Collectors Society  Search this
Names:
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Bean, Jacob  Search this
Hofer, Philip, 1898-1984  Search this
Hooton, Bruce Duff, 1928-  Search this
Peterdi, Gabor  Search this
Extent:
3 sound tapes ((71 p. transcripts), 7 in.)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound tapes
Drawings
Sound recordings
Date:
1961-1962
Scope and Contents:
Lectures delivered by curator Jacob Bean, curator and collector Philip Hofer, and painter and printmaker Gabor Peterdi, as part of a series sponsored by the Drawing Society held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Biographical / Historical:
Art society; New York, N.Y.
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of three issues of the Drawing Society's publication "Drawing," Bruce Hooton, editor, including v.1, no. 1, and v. 2, nos.1-2 (microfilm reel D177)
Provenance:
Lectures donated by the Drawing Society. The publication "Drawing" was lent for microfilming in 1965 by Bruce Hooten, editor.
Topic:
Art -- Societies, etc.  Search this
Genre/Form:
Drawings
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.drawsoci
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-drawsoci

Della trasportatione dell'obelisco vaticano : et delle fabriche di Nostro Signore papa Sisto V / fatte dal cavallier Domenico Fontana ... ; intagliato da Natal Bonifatio da Sibenicco

Author:
Fontana, Domenico 1543-1607  Search this
Bonifacio, Natale 1538-1592  Search this
Former owner:
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984 DSI  Search this
Donor:
Burndy Library DSI  Search this
Subject:
Sixtus V Pope 1520-1590  Search this
Physical description:
[4], 108 [i.e. 113], [4] leaves : ill., port. ; 43 cm. (fol.)
Type:
Electronic resources
Place:
Vatican City
Date:
1590
Topic:
Obelisks  Search this
Call number:
DT62.O2F6 1590X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_322803

Theatre des instrumens mathematiques & mechaniques / de Iaques Besson dauphinois, docte mathematicien ; avec l'interpretation des figures d'iceluy, par François Beroald

Author:
Besson, Jacques (Mathematician)  Search this
Béroalde de Verville 1556-  Search this
Illustrator:
Androuet du Cerceau, Jacques active 1549-1584  Search this
Boyvin, René approximately 1525-approximately 1598  Search this
Former owner:
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984 DSI  Search this
Physical description:
[40] pages, 60 leaves of plates : illustrations ; 41 cm (fol.)
Type:
Early works to 1800
Date:
1578
Topic:
Mechanical engineering  Search this
Machinery  Search this
Call number:
TJ144 .B464tZ
TJ144 .B55 F1578
TJ144.B464tZ
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_245609

Work of W.A. Dwiggins

Artist:
Dwiggins, W. A (William Addison) 1880-1956  Search this
Writer of preface:
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Papermaker:
Fairbanks, Thomas Nast  Search this
Book designer:
Ruzicka, Rudolph 1883-1978  Search this
Publisher:
American Institute of Graphic Arts  Search this
Host institution:
Architectural League of New York  Search this
Binder:
J.F. Tapley Co.  Search this
Printer:
Pynson Printers  Search this
Collotyper:
Meriden Gravure Company  Search this
Subject:
Dwiggins, W. A (William Addison) 1880-1956  Search this
Physical description:
39 pages, 47 unnumbered leaves of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 23 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Collotypes (prints)
Line blocks
Exhibition catalogs
Case bindings (Binding)
Decorated paper bindings (Binding)
Date:
1937
Topic:
Book design  Search this
Book ornamentation  Search this
Printing  Search this
Call number:
Z116.A3 D8X 1937
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1108837

The universal penman, engraved by George Bickham, London, 1743

Author:
Bickham, George 1684?-1758?  Search this
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Physical description:
[5], 212 p. illus. 36 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1941
[1941]
Topic:
Penmanship  Search this
Business  Search this
Call number:
Z43 .B58 1743a
Z43 .B58 1743a
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_197039

The courtly tradition in Japanese art and literature : selections from the Hofer and Hyde collections / John M. Rosenfield, Fumiko E. Cranston, Edwin A. Cranston

Author:
Rosenfield, John M  Search this
Cranston, Edwin A. 1932-  Search this
Cranston, Fumiko E  Search this
Art Institute of Chicago  Search this
Fogg Art Museum  Search this
Japan House Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Eccles, Mary Hyde Art collections  Search this
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984 Art collections  Search this
Hyde, Donald Frizell 1909-1966 Art collections  Search this
Physical description:
316 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 22 x 28 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1973
Topic:
Arts, Japanese  Search this
Call number:
709.52 .R62
NX584.A1R67X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_843181

Ten color reproductions of paintings / by Andrew Wyeth

Author:
Wyeth, Andrew 1917-2009  Search this
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Subject:
Wyeth, Andrew 1917-2009  Search this
Physical description:
1 portfolio ([4] leaves, [10] fold. leaves of plates) : col. ill. ; 68 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1956
Call number:
N40.1.W97 H6
N40.1.W97H6
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_302380

The universal penman, engraved by George Bickham, London, 1743

Author:
Bickham, George 1684?-1758?  Search this
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Physical description:
6 p. l, facsim. (212 numb. l. illus.) 35 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1941
1743
Topic:
Calligraphy  Search this
Penmanship  Search this
Business  Search this
Call number:
Z43.B58 1743aX
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_352103

Fra Luca de Pacioli of Borgo S. Sepolcro / by Stanley Morison

Author:
Morison, Stanley 1889-1967  Search this
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Grolier Club  Search this
Donor:
Burndy Library DSI  Search this
Subject:
Pacioli, Luca approximately 1445-1517 De divina proportione  Search this
Physical description:
[2], vii, [3], 105, [3] p., 1 leaf of plates : ill., port. ; 32 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1933
Topic:
Alphabets  Search this
Lettering  Search this
Call number:
NK3615 .M67 1933
NK3615.M67 1933
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_353624

A catalogue of an exhibition of the Philip Hofer bequest in the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts

Author:
Harvard College Library Department of Printing and Graphic Arts  Search this
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Subject:
Hofer, Philip 1898- Library  Search this
Harvard College Library Department of Printing and Graphic Arts  Search this
Physical description:
xiv, 218 p. : ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
Massachusetts
Cambridge
Date:
1988
Topic:
Book design  Search this
Graphic arts  Search this
Printing--History  Search this
Fine books  Search this
Books--History  Search this
Manuscripts--Library resources  Search this
Call number:
Z116.A3H37 1988X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_373664

Drawings for book illustration : the Hofer Collection / David P. Becker

Author:
Becker, David P  Search this
Houghton Library  Search this
Subject:
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Physical description:
71 p., [55] p. of plates : ill. ; 22 x 25 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1980
Topic:
Illustration of books--Exhibitions  Search this
Drawing  Search this
Artists' preparatory studies  Search this
Call number:
NC961.C3H683X 1980
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_229660

The Japanese courtier : painting, calligraphy, and poetry from the Fogg Art Museum, the Philip Hofer collection / organized by John M. Rosenfield, with a complementary selection of lacquers and other arts of Japan from the collection of F. Bailey Vanderhoef, Jr. ; catalogue written by faculty, graduate students, and museum staff members of Harvard University ; [photos. by Photographic Department, Fogg Art Museum]

Author:
Fogg Art Museum  Search this
Rosenfield, John M  Search this
Subject:
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984 Art collections  Search this
Vanderhoef, F. Bailey (Francis Bailey) 1914- Art collections  Search this
Physical description:
iii, 84 p. : ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
Japan
Date:
1980
Topic:
Art objects, Japanese  Search this
Arts, Japanese  Search this
Lacquer and lacquering  Search this
Call number:
NX584.A1 H37 1980X
759.952 .H35
NX584.A1H37 1980X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_134208

A book of ornaments engraved by Simon Gribelin II in the year MDCCIV and now partially reprinted in collotype facsimile with an introduction by Philip Hofer and technical comment by Rudolph Ruzicka

Author:
Gribelin, Simon 1661 or 2-1733  Search this
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Ruzicka, Rudolph 1883-1978  Search this
Physical description:
13 p., 1 l. illus. (facsim.) plates. 21 x 27 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1941
Topic:
Engraving  Search this
Decoration and ornament  Search this
Call number:
NE2700.G7X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_185100

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