The papers of painter, photographer, lithographer and industrial designer Charles Sheeler measure 4.9 linear feet and date from circa 1840s to 1966, with the bulk of the material dating from 1923-1965. The collection documents Sheeler's family, personal life and career through financial and medical records, awards, correspondence, writings, an autobiography, journal and notebooks, scrapbooks, exhibition catalogs and announcements, printed materials, photographs, funeral records and artwork by Sheeler and others. The collection is particularly rich in Sheeler's writings, and also includes Sheeler's industrial designs and manufactured artwork. Notable photographs include Sheeler with Edward Weston, Edward Steichen, and John Marin.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of painter, photographer, lithographer and industrial designer Charles Sheeler measure 4.9 linear feet and date from circa 1840s to 1966, with the bulk of the material dating from 1923-1965. The collection documents Sheeler's family, personal life and career through financial and medical records, awards, correspondence, writings, an autobiography, journal and notebooks, scrapbooks, exhibition catalogs and announcements, printed materials, photographs, funeral records and artwork by Sheeler and others. The collection is particularly rich in Sheeler's writings, and also includes Sheeler's industrial designs and manufactured artwork. There are photographs of Sheeler with Edward Weston, Edward Steichen, and John Marin.
Biographical materials date from 1875, and 1928-1965, and include funeral records, medical records, insurance, tax, and scattered financial records. There is one folder of records relating to artwork and exhibitions, as well as Sheeler's numerous certificates, prizes and awards, and the condolence book used at his funeral.
Correspondence consists of Sheeler's personal and professional correspondence dating from 1937-1966 with friends, artists, dealers, collectors, photographers, and curators. Notable correspondents include Ansel Adams, Walter and Louise Arensberg, William Lane, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall, George Waters, William Carlos Williams, and Edward Weston. The series also includes correspondence with the Archives of American Art, Sheeler's biographer Constance Rourke, and with publishers, editors, children, and the general public. Lastly, there are condolence letters written to Musya Sheeler following Sheeler's death in May 1965.
Writings include Sheeler's journal dating from the 1950s-1963 and two notebooks containing notes, addresses, recipes, etc. Also found are Sheeler's writings on artists, drafts for articles, and a manuscript and notes for an autobiography that Sheeler wrote for Harcourt Brace. The autobiography became the basis for Constance Rourke's biography Charles Sheeler: Artist in the American Tradition published in 1938. The writing series also includes a short story by Musya Sheeler, and an illustrated short story by friend Dorothy Eidlitz.
The scrapbook series contains two oversize scrapbooks dating from 1930s-1960s that include newspaper and magazine clippings about Sheeler and his artwork, exhibition announcements and brochures, a poem, and a thank you letter from Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.
Additional printed materials date from 1923-1966 and document Sheeler's numerous exhibitions, notably his partnership with Edith Halpert and the Downtown Gallery. Found here are clippings, copies of magazines, exhibition announcements and catalogs, museum bulletings, books, and miscellaneous items.
Photographs date from circa 1840s-1963 and include photographs of Sheeler's family, of Sheeler, and of Sheeler with friends and colleagues. There is one daguerreotype, two ambrotypes, and two tintypes of Sheeler's family and of Sheeler as a child. There are copyprints of these originals. Additional photographs are of Sheeler's mother and father (or possibly Sheeler's grandparent), of Sheeler, of Sheeler with his wife Musya, Sheeler with William Lane, Sheeler with Edward Weston, and Sheeler with Edward Steichen and John Marin. The series also includes photographs of Sheeler's collection of Shaker furniture, and photographs of exhibitions.
Artwork by Sheeler dates from circa 1930s-1960s and includes artifacts of manufactured pieces based on his industrial designs. Found are a glass tumbler, salt and pepper shakers, a tea spoon, fabrics designed by Sheeler, and sketches. The series also includes a drawing by Peggy Bacon and a photograph by Minor White.
The collection is arranged into seven series. Materials are arranged by material type and chronologically or alphabetically thereafter:
Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1875, 1928-1965 (Boxes 1, 5, OV10; 0.6 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1937-1966 (Box 1; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings, circa 1930s-1965 (Boxes 1-2 ; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 4: Scrapbooks, 1930s-1960s (Boxes 2, 6; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1923-1966 (Boxes 2-4, 7; 1.5 linear feet)
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1840s-1963 (Box 4, OV11; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 7: Artwork, circa 1930s-1960s (Boxes 4-5, 8-9, OV12-OV14; 1.1 linear feet)
Painter, photographer, lithographer and designer, Charles Rettew Sheeler Jr. was born on July 16, 1883 to Mary Cunningham Sheeler and Charles Rettew Sheeler in Philadelphia. He attended the School of Industrial Art in Philadelphia from 1900-1903 and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he studied under William Merritt Chase. He found early success as a painter and exhibited at the Macbeth Gallery in 1908.
Around 1910 Sheeler took up photography, and by 1912 financially supported himself photographing buildings for local Philadelphia architects. The following year, Sheeler exhibited six paintings at the 1913 Armory Show in New York. In the mid 1910s, Sheeler began to collect American antiques, and by the 1920s was actively acquiring Shaker crafts and furniture.
In 1916, Sheeler was hired by Marius de Zayas of the Modern Gallery in New York to photograph objects and artwork. From 1917-1924, he worked as the staff photographer for the Modern Gallery and moved to New York in 1918. In 1920, Sheeler was hired as a still photographer for The Arts Magazine.
In 1926, Sheeler was hired by Edward Steichen to work as a fashion and celebrity photographer for Conde Nast Publications. His photographs were regularly featured in Vogue and Vanity Fair, but Sheeler also worked as a still life photographer for numerous advertising agencies. The following year, he was commissioned by the advertising firm N.W. Ayer and Son to photograph Ford Motor Company's new plant at River Rouge.
While working as a photographer, Sheeler continued to paint and used the subjects and composition of his photographs as a basis for his painting. His paintings Skyscrapers, 1922; Upper Deck, 1929; and American Landscape, 1930 are examples of Sheeler's technique of merging photographic imagery with painting and his overall precisionist style.
In 1931, upon the advice and guidance of Edith Halpert of the Downtown Gallery, Sheeler began to paint more often and to photograph less. Halpert became Sheeler's primarily dealer, and from 1931-1966 regularly exhibited his paintings and drawings. With Halpert's support, Sheeler produced Classic Landscape, 1931; American Interior, 1934; Silo, 1938; Amoskeag Canal, 1948; and Convolutions, 1952. In addition to Sheeler's partnership with Halpert, his work was exhibited by other galleries and museums throughout the United States and abroad.
In 1939, Sheeler married his second wife, Musya Metas Sokolova (1908-1981) and, in 1942, the couple moved to Irvington-on-Hudson, New York. Sheeler continued to paint and photograph until he suffered a debilitating stroke in 1959. After 1959, Sheeler remained active exhibiting his artwork until his death on May 7, 1965 in Dobbs Ferry, New York.
The Archives of American Art holds several collections that are related to Charles Sheeler.
There are two oral history interviews with Sheeler conducted by Mary Bartlett Cowdrey in December 1958, and by Martin Friedman in June 1959. The Archives also has the records of the Macbeth Gallery, which include a substantial amount of correspondence with Sheeler from 1907-1921, and the Downtown Gallery records, which also include correspondence with Sheeler, photographs of Sheeler and his artwork, exhibition publications, clippings, press releases, and audio visual materials dating from 1904-1972.
Also found in the the Archives is a loan of Charles Sheeler letters filmed on reel NY/59-5 containing letters written by Sheeler to his psychologist and art collector, Dr. Helen Boigon, art student George Craven, and friend William Carlos Williams, all dating from 1939-1958. There is a collection of six letters of Sheeler letters addressed to Doris Royce, possibly an art critic, dating from 1949-1957. Miscellaneous manuscript collections include one letter written by Sheeler to E.P. Richardson in 1958, and another letter written to Frank Crowninshield in September, 1939.
Portions of Sheeler's papers that were originally loaned for microfilming were not included in the later gifts and are available only on microfilm reel NSH-1. A watercolor study microfilmed on reel 1811 was later transferred to the Smithsonian American Art Museum. These materials are not described in the container list of this finding aid.
Charles Sheeler's wife Musya initially loaned the papers to the Archives of American Art for microfilming in 1958, 1965, and 1966. In June, 1966, she donated most of the earlier loaned materials. In 1964, Sheeler's friend Howard Lipman donated three photographs of Sheeler with Edward Steichen and John Marin. The third accrual was transferred to the Archives by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery Library in June 1979.
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
The Charles Sheeler 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 copyright laws.
An interview of Leo Holub conducted 1997 July 3, by Paul Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, in San Francisco, Calif.
Holub discusses his background, being born in Arkansas, moving to New Mexico, and then to Oakland, Calif. (1923); early educational experiences in Oakland, and later at the Art Institute of Chicago; seeing Edward Weston's photographic work at an exhibition in Chicago, and admiring Weston's nude studies of Charis Wilson; his return to the Bay Area; his studio on Montgomery St. (Monkey Block); meeting painter Matthew Barnes, who had assisted Diego Rivera with his murals at the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA), 1931-1932; his experiences as a student at CSFA- its program and instructors which included Maurice Sterne, Gottardo Piazzoni, Lee Randolph, Dick Hackett, Otis Oldfield, William Gaw, Spencer Mackey, and Victor Arnautoff; fellow students including Hassel Smith, Ed Corbett, and Florence Michelson (his future wife); and his beginning awareness of modernism.
Holub discusses his involvement with the Golden Gate International Exposition (1939); apprenticeship with industrial designer Joe Sinel and the advent of the product design era; his founding of Design Development Associates, and staying only a year before moving to Grass Valley, Calif. for his son's health; his return to the Bay Area, succeeding Emmy Lou Packard at the San Francisco Planning Office graphic arts dept.; working at the housing agency and redevelopment agency and as chief designer for the Bay Area Rapid Transit report.
He recalls his encounter with Ansel Adams at the 1955 Yosemite workshop where Holub produced a pictorial map of Yosemite; Adam's "zone system" of exposing for shadows and developing for highlights; going on to teach at CSFA (1955-1957), where Imogen Cunningham was a guest instructor; Minor White replacing him; his ten years at Stanford University's planning office (1960-1970); his campus views "Stanford Scene" that were used by the university to appeal for more space for the art dept., and his shows at Stanford's art gallery in 1964 and at the Washington, D.C. home of Vice President Walter Mondale in 1980.
Biographical / Historical:
Leo Holub (1916-2010) was a photographer, lithographer, and teacher from San Francisco, Calif.
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. Other interviewees in the Art Schools in California Oral History Project include: Emerson Woelffer, Charles Linder, Paul Carey (1993), and Paul Carey and Stephanie Caloia (1997), with funding provided by the Bente and Gerald E. Buck Collection.
Photographers -- California -- San Francisco -- Interviews Search this
An interview of Imogen Cunningham conducted 1975 June 9, by Louise Katzman and Paul Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, in Cunningham's home. [Note: A photograph of Cunningham taken by Katzman at the time of the interview has been cataloged separately.]
Cunningham speaks of her training in Germany, working in Edward Curtis' studio, her childhood art classes, her husband Roi Partridge, the f.64 group, platinum prints, her early interest in photography, and the differences between West Coast and East Coast photographers. She discusses magazine photography, her work as a portrait photographer, collectors, and her professional and personal relationships with Ansel Adams, Maynard Dixon, Dorothea Lange, Willard Van Dyke, Edward Henry Weston, Minor White, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976) was a photographer from San Francisco, California.
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 56 min.
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 others.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Photographers -- California -- San Francisco -- Interviews Search this
Correspondence, photographs, writings, sketches, drawings, paintings, and printed material.
REELS 1880-1882: Extensive correspondence with Bowden's wife, Lois; letters from Paul Bransom, Imogen Cunningham, Hi Hirsch, Hans Hofmann, Robert Johnson, George McNeil, George Post, James Schevill, Hassel Smith, Brett Weston, and Edward Weston; notes and writings on photography and art; sketches, drawings, and paintings; business papers and business correspondence from museum and gallery directors including Edward Steichen, Fred Hobbs, Charles Campbell, Minor White, and others; catalogs, clippings, and other printed materials.
REEL 1885: Ca. 500 photographs, mostly by Bowden, including photos of George Abend, Al and Frances Bernstein, Richard and Pat Bowman, M. Carles, Walter Chabrow, Imogen Cunningham, Willem de Kooning, Vic and Jeanne Di Suvero, Loyola and Ed Fourtane, Mrs. Gibson, Grabhorn, Robinson Jeffers, Aristodemos Kaldis, Lee Krasner, Darius Milhaud, Gordon Onslow-Ford, Phylis and Bob Pauey, Jackson Pollock's studio, Otis Oldfield, George Post, Kenneth Price, Ad Reinhardt, Kenneth Rexroth, Serge Trubach, Edward and Brett Weston, Yvor Winters, Wilfred Zogbaum, and Aldous Huxley. Also included are photographs Bowden, Bowden's family, his wife, Lois, nudes, his works, and exhibits.
Biographical / Historical:
Painter and photographer; San Francisco, California. Studied with Hans Hofmann; founding member of the American Abstract Artists and was associated with the Artists' Gallery; photography influenced by Edward Weston.
Lois Bowden, Harry Bowden's widow, donated the greater part of this collection to the Archives of American Art via Charles Campbell of the Charles Campbell Gallery, San Francisco, Calif. Mr. Campbell subsequently donated 28 additional photographs.
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.
An interview of Paul Caponigro conducted 1999 July 30-August 12, by Susan C. Larsen, for the Archives of American Art, at Caponigro's home, in Cushing, Maine.
Caponigro describes his childhood, military career, and travels through the southwest and northern California, his association with Minor White, exhibitions, publications, employment, and marriage to wife Eleanor.
Caponigro discusses the significance of his Stonehenge series of photographs; others' interpretations of his work; further exhibitions; and the role that his family's move to Santa Fe, New Mexico, has played in the evolution of his work.
Further discussion of the photographic scene in Santa Fe and its connection to American modernist photographers such as Paul Strand and Ansel Adams; travels; Guggenheim grant; the 1991 fall from a rocky ledge that was a physical and spiritual watershed in his life; and his new home in Cushing, Maine.
He recalls George Tice, Ansel Adams, Minor White, Bert Westin, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, Oliver Gagliani, Beniamino Bufano, Morris Graves, Walter Chappell, Jerry Uelsmann, Carl Chiarenza, William Clift, Marie Cosindas, Peter Bunnell, John Szarkowski, Robert Singer, Beaumont Newhall, Georgia O'Keeffe, Ed Ranney, David Scheinbaum, Janet Russek, Lucien Clergue, and many others.
Biographical / Historical:
Paul Caponigro (1932- ) is a photographer and teacher from New England and New Mexico.
Originally recorded on 7 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 12 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 19 min.
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.
Changing the face of engineering the African American experience edited by John Brooks Slaughter, Yu Tao, Willie Pearson, Jr
Slaughter, John Brooks 1934- http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/relators/edt http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/relators/edt http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/n78008353 http://viaf.org/viaf/110618861 Search this
Tao, Yu 1978- http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/relators/edt http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/relators/edt http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/n2015032768 http://viaf.org/viaf/315986247 Search this
Pearson, Willie 1945- http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/relators/edt http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/relators/edt http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/n83122425 http://viaf.org/viaf/70304202 Search this
An interview of Minor White conducted 1973 March 30-May 18, by Robert Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Biographical / Historical:
Minor White (1908-1976) was a photographer from Rochester, N.Y.
Sound quality poor.
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 27 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.