This collection contains the trail diaries, papers, photographs and slides, and writings of Earl V. Shaffer, the man credited with being the first person to hike the entire Appalachian Trail (AT). His complete trail hikes took place in 1948, 1965, and 1998. He was also a hiking and nature enthusiast and advocate.
Scope and Contents:
The collection contains correspondence, trail diaries (including those from Shaffer's 1948, 1965 and 1998 hikes of the Appalachian Trail), maps and trail guides, writings (most notably drafts of Walking With Spring), galley proofs from his final book Calling Me Back to the Hills, and printed material from hiking and environmental organizations. The collection contains items relating to Shaffer's early life and education, such as diplomas, a baptismal certificate, papers from his years in elementary school, and materials relating to his Army service. One extremely important item found in Series 5 is an article by Benton MacKaye (founder of the AT) that is inscribed to Earl from the author. The bulk of the collection spans the years 1903-2002. There is one item from 1803 (a land deed) and one item each, compact discs, from 2004 and 2007. The collection is divided into five series. Addendums were donated in 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2012 consisting of additional letters and poetry, and a book of poetry entitled South of the Sunset.
This collection is divided into five series.
Series 1: Biographical information, 1803-2006
Subseries 1.1: Shaffer Family Papers, 1873-1998
Subseries 1.2: Education, 1918-1980, undated
Subseries 1.3: Army, 1940-1948, undated
Subseries 1.4: Personal Documents, 1803-2006, undated
Subseries 1.5: Correspondence, 1945-2005, undated
Series 2: Materials Related to Hiking, 1935-2002
Subseries 2.1: Trail Notes, Diaries and General Information, 1935-1998, undated
Subseries 2.2: Photographs and Slides, 1940-2001, undated
Subseries 2.3: Maps and Plats, 1936-1998, undated
Series 3: Writing and Related Materials, 1910-2007, undated
Series 4: Hiking Associations and Clubs, 1937-2002, undated
Series 5: Collected Publications, 1910-1999, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Earl Victor Shaffer (1918-2002) is credited as the first person to hike the entire Appalachian Trail (AT) from Georgia to Maine. Shaffer was born on November 8th, 1918 in York, Pennsylvania to Daniel and Frances Gallagher Shaffer. One of his most influential childhood friends was Walter Winemiller. Shaffer termed Winemiller, ". . . the most capable outdoorsman I had ever known." They grew up together in and around York. When WWII broke out Shaffer joined the Army and Winemiller joined the Marines. Shaffer served in the Army Signal Corps from April 15, 1941 to September 17, 1945. Three years and three months of his service was in the Pacific Theatre based in Hawaii but for a good amount of time on detached service on various outposts and combat islands. Winemiller died in the assault on Iwo Jima and Shaffer's decision to hike the AT in 1948 was in his own words a testament to his friend and ". . . to eradicate as much as possible the lingering effects of that wartime service in the tropics." He wrote that when he was in the army the three books he had with him were the Bible, an Oxford English Dictionary and a volume of Rudyard Kipling's poems. It was during his time in the army that his love of writing poetry manifested itself.
Shaffer hiked the entire AT for the first time in 1948 traveling south to north. This trek is detailed in his book Walking With Spring. For the rest of his life Shaffer was a trail enthusiast and participated in local and national hiking clubs and events. In 1951 Shaffer was named corresponding secretary for the Appalachian Trail Conference (ATC). Shaffer hiked the AT north to south in 1965. Shaffer lived his entire life in and around York, Pennsylvania. He wanted to purchase property for a permanent home near the Appalachian Trail. This dream almost became a reality in the 1980s when Shaffer purchased a small parcel of land near the trail. With the ramifications of the 1968 National Trails System Act and the land purchasing policies of the National Park Service conflicting with his desires Shaffer sold his land near the trail to the National Park Service and broke ties with the ATC over their handling of the affair.
Shaffer continued writing poetry throughout his life. He wrote prose almost always centered on his experiences in the army or while hiking. He self published Walking With Spring in 1981. In 1983, the ATC published the work with Shaffer donating his share of the proceeds to the ATC. In 1998, Shaffer decided to undertake a 50th Anniversary hike commemorating his 1948 hike of the entire AT. He was seventy-nine years old. He completed the hike in October 1998 and gained much national notoriety for it. Shaffer was a carpenter and beekeeper. He also refinished and repaired furniture. Shaffer never married but maintained ties to a large, extended, and supportive family. Shaffer's health gradually deteriorated after his last AT hike and he died on May 5, 2002. The Earl Shaffer Foundation was founded in his honor and is based in York, Pennsylvania.
Materials at the National Museum of American History
The Division of Culture and the Arts contain the following:
Kodak camera used by Earl Shaffer on his first thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 1948 and the flannel shirt, cotton trousers, leather hiking books, knit cap, and canvas backpack he used for his 1998 hike.
Backpack, boots, pith helmet, head net, poncho, and a cook-set, all used by Earl Shaffer on two of his hikes of the Appalachian Trail, 1948 and 1965.
The collection was donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian in April 2003 by John Shaffer, Earl V. Shaffer's brother.
Collection is open for research. Use reference copies of diaries.
Copyrights to all donated materials, both printed and photographic, are retained exclusively by the Earl Shaffer Foundation.
The collection documents in photographs, scrapbooks, notebooks, correspondence, stock ledgers, annual reports, and financial records, the evolution of the telegraph, the development of the Western Union Telegraph Company, and the beginning of the communications revolution. The collection materials describe both the history of the company and of the telegraph industry in general, particularly its importance to the development of the technology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection is useful for researchers interested in the development of technology, economic history, and the impact of technology on American social and cultural life.
Scope and Contents:
The collection is divided into twenty-six (26) series and consists of approximately 400 cubic feet. The collection documents in photographs, scrapbooks, notebooks, correspondence, stock ledgers, annual reports, and financial records, the evolution of the telegraph, the development of the Western Union Telegraph Company, and the beginning of the communications revolution. The collection materials describe both the history of the company and of the telegraph industry in general, particularly its importance to the development of the technology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection is useful for researchers interested in the development of technology, economic history, and the impact of technology on American social and cultural life.
The collection is divided into twenty-six series.
Series 1: Historical and Background Information, 1851-1994
Series 2: Subsidiaries of Western Union, 1844-1986
Series 3: Executive Records, 1848-1987
Series 4: Presidential Letterbooks and Writings, 1865-1911
Series 5: Correspondence, 1837-1985
Series 6: Cyrus W. Field Papers, 1840-1892
Series 7: Secretary's Files, 1844-1987
Series 8: Financial Records, 1859-1995
Series 9: Legal Records, 1867-1968
Series 10: Railroad Records, 1854-1945
Series 11: Law Department Records, 1868-1979
Series 12: Patent Materials, 1840-1970
Series 13: Operating Records, 1868-1970s
Series 14: Westar VI-S, 1974, 1983-1986
Series 15: Engineering Department Records, 1874-1970
Series 16: Plant Department Records, 1867-1937, 1963
Series 17: Superintendent of Supplies Records, 1888-1948
Series 18: Employee/Personnel Records 1852-1985
Series 19: Public Relations Department Records, 1858-1980
Series 20: Western Union Museum, 1913-1971
Series 21: Maps, 1820-1964
Series 22: Telegrams, 1852-1960s
Series 23: Photographs, circa 1870-1980
Series 24: Scrapbooks, 1835-1956
Series 25: Notebooks, 1880-1942
Series 26: Audio Visual Materials, 1925-1994
Series 27: Materials for Interfile (Series 1; Series 3; Series 13; Series 15-23; Series 25-26)
Biographical / Historical:
In 1832 Samuel F. B. Morse, assisted by Alfred Vail, conceived of the idea for an electromechanical telegraph, which he called the "Recording Telegraph." This commercial application of electricity was made tangible by their construction of a crude working model in 1835-36. This instrument probably was never used outside of Professor Morse's rooms where it was, however, operated in a number of demonstrations. This original telegraph instrument was in the hands of the Western Union Telegraph Company and had been kept carefully over the years in a glass case. It was moved several times in New York as the Western Union headquarters building changed location over the years. The company presented it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1950.
The telegraph was further refined by Morse, Vail, and a colleague, Leonard Gale, into working mechanical form in 1837. In this year Morse filed a caveat for it at the U.S. Patent Office. Electricity, provided by Joseph Henry's 1836 "intensity batteries", was sent over a wire. The flow of electricity through the wire was interrupted for shorter or longer periods by holding down the key of the device. The resulting dots or dashes were recorded on a printer or could be interpreted orally. In 1838 Morse perfected his sending and receiving code and organized a corporation, making Vail and Gale his partners.
In 1843 Morse received funds from Congress to set-up a demonstration line between Washington and Baltimore. Unfortunately, Morse was not an astute businessman and had no practical plan for constructing a line. After an unsuccessful attempt at laying underground cables with Ezra Cornell, the inventor of a trench digger, Morse switched to the erection of telegraph poles and was more successful. On May 24, 1844, Morse, in the U.S. Supreme Court Chambers in Washington, sent by telegraph the oft-quoted message to his colleague Vail in Baltimore, "What hath God wrought!"
In 1845 Morse hired Andrew Jackson's former postmaster general, Amos Kendall, as his agent in locating potential buyers of the telegraph. Kendall realized the value of the device, and had little trouble convincing others of its potential for profit. By the spring he had attracted a small group of investors. They subscribed $15,000 and formed the Magnetic Telegraph Company. Many new telegraph companies were formed as Morse sold licenses wherever he could.
The first commercial telegraph line was completed between Washington, D.C., and New York City in the spring of 1846 by the Magnetic Telegraph Company. Shortly thereafter, F. O. J. Smith, one of the patent owners, built a line between New York City and Boston. Most of these early companies were licensed by owners of Samuel Morse patents. The Morse messages were sent and received in a code of dots and dashes.
At this time other telegraph systems based on rival technologies were being built. Some companies used the printing telegraph, a device invented by a Vermonter, Royal E. House, whose messages were printed on paper or tape in Roman letters. In 1848 a Scotch scientist, Alexander Bain, received his patents on a telegraph. These were but two of many competing and incompatible technologies that had developed. The result was confusion, inefficiency, and a rash of suits and counter suits.
By 1851 there were over fifty separate telegraph companies operating in the United States. This corporate cornucopia developed because the owners of the telegraph patents had been unsuccessful in convincing the United States and other governments of the invention's potential usefulness. In the private sector, the owners had difficulty convincing capitalists of the commercial value of the invention. This led to the owners' willingness to sell licenses to many purchasers who organized separate companies and then built independent telegraph lines in various sections of the country.
Hiram Sibley moved to Rochester, New York, in 1838 to pursue banking and real estate. Later he was elected sheriff of Monroe County. In Rochester he was introduced to Judge Samuel L. Selden who held the House Telegraph patent rights. In 1849 Selden and Sibley organized the New York State Printing Telegraph Company, but they found it hard to compete with the existing New York, Albany, and Buffalo Telegraph Company.
After this experience Selden suggested that instead of creating a new line, the two should try to acquire all the companies west of Buffalo and unite them into a single unified system. Selden secured an agency for the extension throughout the United States of the House system. In an effort to expand this line west, Judge Selden called on friends and the people in Rochester. This led, in April 1851, to the organization of a company and the filing in Albany of the Articles of Association for the "New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company" (NYMVPTC), a company which later evolved into the Western Union Telegraph Company.
In 1854 there were two rival systems of the NYMVPTC in the West. These two systems consisted of thirteen separate companies. All the companies were using Morse patents in the five states north of the Ohio River. This created a struggle between three separate entities, leading to an unreliable and inefficient telegraph service. The owners of these rival companies eventually decided to invest their money elsewhere and arrangements were made for the NYMVPTC to purchase their interests.
Hiram Sibley recapitalized the company in 1854 under the same name and began a program of construction and acquisition. The most important takeover was carried out by Sibley when he negotiated the purchase of the Morse patent rights for the Midwest for $50,000 from Jeptha H. Wade and John J. Speed, without the knowledge of Ezra Cornell, their partner in the Erie and Michigan Telegraph Company (EMTC). With this acquisition Sibley proceeded to switch to the superior Morse system. He also hired Wade, a very capable manager, who became his protege and later his successor. After a bitter struggle Morse and Wade obtained the EMTC from Cornell in 1855, thus assuring dominance by the NYMVPTC in the Midwest. In 1856 the company name was changed to the "Western Union Telegraph Company," indicating the union of the Western lines into one compact system. In December, 1857, the Company paid stockholders their first dividend.
Between 1857 and 1861 similar consolidations of telegraph companies took place in other areas of the country so that most of the telegraph interests of the United States had merged into six systems. These were the American Telegraph Company (covering the Atlantic and some Gulf states), The Western Union Telegraph Company (covering states North of the Ohio River and parts of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Minnesota), the New York Albany and Buffalo Electro-Magnetic Telegraph Company (covering New York State), the Atlantic and Ohio Telegraph Company (covering Pennsylvania), the Illinois & Mississippi Telegraph Company (covering sections of Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois), and the New Orleans & Ohio Telegraph Company (covering the southern Mississippi Valley and the Southwest). All these companies worked together in a mutually friendly alliance, and other small companies cooperated with the six systems, particularly some on the West Coast.
By the time of the Civil War, there was a strong commercial incentive to construct a telegraph line across the western plains to link the two coasts of America. Many companies, however, believed the line would be impossible to build and maintain.
In 1860 Congress passed, and President James Buchanan signed, the Pacific Telegraph Act, which authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to seek bids for a project to construct a transcontinental line. When two bidders dropped out, Hiram Sibley, representing Western Union, was the only bidder left. By default Sibley won the contract. The Pacific Telegraph Company was organized for the purpose of building the eastern section of the line. Sibley sent Wade to California, where he consolidated the small local companies into the California State Telegraph Company. This entity then organized the Overland Telegraph Company, which handled construction eastward from Carson City, Nevada, joining the existing California lines, to Salt Lake City, Utah. Sibley's Pacific Telegraph Company built westward from Omaha, Nebraska. Sibley put most of his resources into the venture. The line was completed in October, 1861. Both companies were soon merged into Western Union. This accomplishment made Hiram Sibley leader of the telegraph industry.
Further consolidations took place over the next several years. Many companies merged into the American Telegraph Company. With the expiration of the Morse patents, several organizations were combined in 1864 under the name of "The U.S. Telegraph Company." In 1866 the final consolidation took place, with Western Union exchanging stock for the stock of the other two organizations. The general office of Western Union moved at this time from Rochester to 145 Broadway, New York City. In 1875 the main office moved to 195 Broadway, where it remained until 1930 when it relocated to 60 Hudson Street.
In 1873 Western Union purchased a majority of shares in the International Ocean Telegraph Company. This was an important move because it marked Western Union's entry into the foreign telegraph market. Having previously worked with foreign companies, Western Union now began competing for overseas business.
In the late 1870s Western Union, led by William H. Vanderbilt, attempted to wrest control of the major telephone patents, and the new telephone industry, away from the Bell Telephone Company. But due to new Bell leadership and a subsequent hostile takeover attempt of Western Union by Jay Gould, Western Union discontinued its fight and Bell Telephone prevailed.
Despite these corporate calisthenics, Western Union remained in the public eye. The sight of a uniformed Western Union messenger boy was familiar in small towns and big cities all over the country for many years. Some of Western Union's top officials in fact began their careers as messenger boys.
Throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century the telegraph became one of the most important factors in the development of social and commercial life of America. In spite of improvements to the telegraph, however, two new inventions--the telephone (nineteenth century) and the radio (twentieth century)--eventually replaced the telegraph as the leaders of the communication revolution for most Americans.
At the turn of the century, Bell abandoned its struggles to maintain a monopoly through patent suits, and entered into direct competition with the many independent telephone companies. Around this time, the company adopted its new name, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T).
In 1908 AT&T gained control of Western Union. This proved beneficial to Western Union, because the companies were able to share lines when needed, and it became possible to order telegrams by telephone. However, it was only possible to order Western Union telegrams, and this hurt the business of Western Union's main competitor, the Postal Telegraph Company. In 1913, however, as part of a move to prevent the government from invoking antitrust laws, AT&T completely separated itself from Western Union.
Western Union continued to prosper and it received commendations from the U.S. armed forces for service during both world wars. In 1945 Western Union finally merged with its longtime rival, the Postal Telegraph Company. As part of that merger, Western Union agreed to separate domestic and foreign business. In 1963 Western Union International Incorporated, a private company completely separate from the Western Union Telegraph Company, was formed and an agreement with the Postal Telegraph Company was completed. In 1994, Western Union Financial Services, Inc. was acquired by First Financial Management Corporation. In 1995, First Financial Management Corporation merged with First Data Corporation making Western Union a First Data subsidiary.
Many technological advancements followed the telegraph's development. The following are among the more important:
The first advancement of the telegraph occurred around 1850 when operators realized that the clicks of the recording instrument portrayed a sound pattern, understandable by the operators as dots and dashes. This allowed the operator to hear the message by ear and simultaneously write it down. This ability transformed the telegraph into a versatile and speedy system.
Duplex Telegraphy, 1871-72, was invented by the president of the Franklin Telegraph Company. Unable to sell his invention to his own company, he found a willing buyer in Western Union. Utilizing this invention, two messages were sent over the wire simultaneously, one in each direction.
As business blossomed and demand surged, new devices appeared. Thomas Edison's Quadruplex allowed four messages to be sent over the same wire simultaneously, two in one direction and two in the other.
An English automatic signaling arrangement, Wheatstone's Automatic Telegraph, 1883, allowed larger numbers of words to be transmitted over a wire at once. It could only be used advantageously, however, on circuits where there was a heavy volume of business.
Buckingham's Machine Telegraph was an improvement on the House system. It printed received messages in plain Roman letters quickly and legibly on a message blank, ready for delivery.
Vibroplex, c. 1890, a semi-automatic key sometimes called a "bug key," made the dots automatically. This relieved the operator of much physical strain.
Materials in the Archives Center
Additional moving image about Western Union Telegraph Company can be found in the Industry on Parade Collection (AC0507). This includes Cable to Cuba! by Bell Laboratory, AT & T, featuring the cable ship, the C.S. Lord Kelvin, and Communications Centennial! by the Western Union Company.
Materials at Other Organizations
Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, Delaware.
Western Union International Records form part of the MCI International, Inc. Records at the First Data Corporation, Greenwood Village, Colorado.
Records of First Data Corporation and its predecessors, including Western Union, First Financial Management Corporation (Atlanta) and First Data Resources (Omaha). Western Union collection supports research of telegraphy and related technologies, and includes company records, annual reports, photographs, print and broadcast advertising, telegraph equipment, and messenger uniforms.
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Western Union Telegraph Expedition, 1865-1867
This collection includes correspondence, mostly to Spencer F. Baird, from members of the Scientific Corps of the Western Union Telegraph Expedition, including Kennicott, Dall, Bannister, and Elliott; copies of reports submitted to divisional chiefs from expedition staff members; newspaper clippings concerning the expedition; copies of notes on natural history taken by Robert Kennicott; and a journal containing meteorological data recorded by Henry M. Bannister from March to August, 1866.
Artifacts (apparatus and equipment) were donated to the Division of Information Technology and Society, now known as the Division of Work & Industry, National Museum of American History.
The collection was donated by Western Union in September of 1971.
Collection is open for research.
Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives. Special arrangements must be made to view some of the audio visual materials. Contact the Archives Center at 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
The records of the Downtown Gallery date from 1824 to 1974 (bulk 1926-1969) and measure 109.56 linear feet. The records present a comprehensive portrait of a significant commercial gallery that operated as a successful business for more than forty years, representing major contemporary American artists and engendering appreciation for early American folk art. There is an unprocessed addition to this collection dating circa 1970 of a single financial/legal document.
Scope and Content Note:
The Downtown Gallery records constitute 109.56 linear feet on 167 reels of microfilm. The records are dated 1824 to 1974 with bulk dates from 1926 to 1969. There is an unprocessed addition to this collection dating circa 1970 of a single financial/legal document.
The Downtown Gallery was established in 1926 as Our Gallery and operated under the name Downtown Gallery from 1927 until 1973. Nineteenth-century material consists of items acquired by Edith Gregor Halpert for research purposes or to document works of art in the gallery's inventory. The few records postdating the closing of the gallery relate to the estate of Edith Gregor Halpert.
The extensive records of the Downtown Gallery present a comprehensive portrait of a significant commercial gallery that operated as a successful business for more than forty years, representing major contemporary American artists and engendering appreciation for early American folk art. Edith Halpert, the gallery's founder and director, was an influential force in the American art world for a large part of the twentieth century.
Personal papers are intermingled with the business records of the Downtown Gallery. Many of the artists represented by the gallery were Halpert's personal friends, and over the years she developed social relationships and friendships with many clients. These relationships are reflected by the contents of the records, especially the correspondence, some of which is purely personal. In addition, there are a small number of letters from relatives, photographs of Halpert's family, home and friends, and limited information about her country house and personal finances.
The Downtown Gallery records consist largely of correspondence with collectors, including Edgar and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, Preston Harrison, Mr. and Mrs. Maxim Karolik, William H. Lane, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Beram K. Saklatwalla, Robert Tannahill, and Electra Havemeyer Webb; with dealers, including robert Carlen, Landau Gallery, Leicester Galleries, Mirski Gallery, and Isabel Carleton Wilde; and with large numbers of curators and museum directors, including many affiliated with university museums. In addition, there is correspondence concerning routine gallery business and administrative affairs.
Artist files and an extensive series of notebooks (American Folk Art Gallery notebooks, artist notebooks, and publicity notebooks) compiled by gallery staff contain a wide variety of material and are a rich source of information about individual artists and the Downtown Gallery's exhibition history.
Business records include exhibition records, stock records, sales records, transit records, financial records, lists of artwork and clients, legal documents, minutes, insurance records, research files, and architectural plans.
Writings by Edith Gregor Halpert consist of articles on American folk art, speeches, and short stories; also included are her school notebooks and "Daily Thoughtlets" compiled at age seventeen. All writings by other authors are on art subjects, and most are texts or introductions for exhibition catalogs.
Among the miscellaneous records are biographical material on Edith Gregor Halpert and Samuel Halpert, works of art by Edith Gregor Halpert and other artists, artifacts, and audiovisual materials. The artifacts include wooden weather vane molds and supporting documentation as well as awards presented to Halpert. Audiovisual materials are 16-mm motion picture films of the Westinghouse Broadcasting Corporation television series, America: The Artist's Eye, produced between 1961 and 1963 in association with Jensen Productions. An additional 16-mm motion picture film includes "tails out" footage of Charles Sheeler at home and at work, circa 1950. A copy of the program about Sheeler, along with the "tails out" material, is also on videocassette. In addition, there is a sound recording of a talk on collecting given by Halpert's client, folk art collector Maxim Karolik, in 1962.
Printed matter consists of items produced by the Downtown Gallery, including exhibition catalogs, checklists, invitations, announcements, and press releases. There are also news clippings about Halpert, the Downtown Gallery, and the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection; other art-related clippings are arranged topically. Miscellaneous printed matter not produced by the Downtown Gallery includes newsletters, press releases, publications of art organizations, and reproductions of artwork. A selection of twenty-five volumes from the personal library of Edith Gregor Halpert has been retained.
The photographs series includes images of people: Edith Gregor Halpert, family, friends, also many images of her dog, Adam, and views of her country home in Newtown, Connecticut. Other photographs of people include portraits of artists, most of whom were affiliated with the Downtown Gallery. There are also photographs of works of art (with a large number of black-and-white negatives, 35-mm color slides, and glass plate negatives) and of exhibitions, of the exterior and interior of the Downtown Gallery, and of an award presented to Halpert.
See Appendix B for a chronological list of Downtown Gallery exhibitions.
It is not certain how well arranged the files were while still the property of the gallery, though Halpert's background as an efficiency expert and her talents as an organizer suggest that the gallery's records were well maintained. It is clear, however, that much of the original order has been lost; Halpert is known to have removed files, including many records concerning the Harnett-Peto controversy.
Correspondence (Series 1) is arranged chronologically, and Artist Files (Series 2) is arranged alphabetically. The remaining series are organized into subseries that reflect either a function or specific record type, and the arrangement of each is explained in the detailed series descriptions. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
The Downtown Gallery records are arranged into eight series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1926-1974, undated (Boxes 1-22; 22 linear ft.; Reels 5488-5545)
Series 2: Artist Files, A - Z, 1917-1970, undated (Boxes 23-27; 5 linear ft.; Reels 5545-5558)
Series 3: Notebooks, 1835, 1874, circa 1880-1969, undated (Boxes 28-59; 32.5 linear ft.; Reels 5558-5603)
Series 4: Business Records, 1925-1974, undated (Boxes 60-94, OV 95, OV 96, OV 97; 34.5 linear ft.; Reels 5603-5636)
Series 5: Writings, 1917-1968, undated (Box 98; 1 linear ft.; Reels 5636-5638)
Series 6: Miscellaneous Material, circa 1835, 1883, 1913-1970, undated (Boxes 99-101, 103, OV 102, OV 104, FC 120-124; 3.25 linear ft.; Reels 5638-5639)
Series 7: Printed Matter, 1824-1865, 1920-1969, undated (Boxes 105-108; 4 linear ft.; Reels 5640-5647)
Series 8: Photographs, circa 1880-1960s, undated (Boxes 109-118, OV 119, MGP 4; 8.75 linear ft.; Reels 5647-5654)
As a very young woman, Edith Gregor Halpert (1900-1970) attended art school sporadically while pursuing a business career that began in advertising and included work as a personnel manager and efficiency expert. She continued her business career after marrying artist Samuel Halpert (1884-1930) in 1918 and eventually became a highly paid executive with an investment firm. Well-invested bonuses provided the capital for Halpert to open her own business.
In November 1926, Halpert and business partner Berthe (Bea) Kroll Goldsmith opened Our Gallery at 113 West 13th Street for the purpose of promoting a group of progressive American artists, many of whom were friends of Edith and Samuel Halpert. The following year, at the suggestion of William Zorach, the gallery changed its name to Downtown Gallery--emphasizing its Greenwich Village location, unique for the time--and the name survived despite relocation to midtown Manhattan (to 43 East 51st Street in 1940, to 32 East 51st Street in 1945, and to the Ritz Tower Concourse at 465 Park Avenue in 1965).
The Downtown Gallery specialized in contemporary American art. An early gallery brochure states: "The Downtown Gallery has no prejudice for any one school. Its selection is driven by quality--by what is enduring--not by what is in vogue." Some of the artists affiliated with the Downtown Gallery from its early years were Stuart Davis, "Pop" Hart, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Charles Sheeler, Max Weber, and William and Marguerite Zorach. In its original location, the gallery served as a place where artists (many of whom lived and worked in the neighborhood), collectors, and others interested in American art met in the evenings for coffee, conversation, and sometimes lectures or other formal programs. Holger Cahill (1887-1960) entered into a partnership with Halpert and Goldsmith in 1929 when they founded the American Folk Art Gallery, the first ever of its kind; the American Folk Art Gallery opened on the second floor of the Downtown Gallery in 1931. Folk art was an important feature of the gallery throughout its history, though the name American Folk Art Gallery does not appear to have been used consistently. Because the profit margin was high and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller bought avidly for her growing collection, folk art revenues subsidized contemporary art exhibitions and helped the gallery survive the Depression. The Daylight Gallery, also run by Halpert and Goldsmith, opened in 1930 in a separate structure behind the main gallery, and continued until the Downtown Gallery moved to East 51st Street in 1940. Its purpose was to exhibit painting and sculpture to best advantage in a gallery designed to diffuse light perfectly and to demonstrate how works of art may be used as architectural embellishments in a modern building. Other subsidiary galleries operated by the Downtown Gallery were the John Marin Room, opened in 1950 and run by John Marin, Jr., and the Ground-Floor Room, 1951, "dedicated to the adventurous, less experienced collector willing to gamble on his taste and ours."
From the beginning, Halpert endeavored to hold prices at reasonable levels; she employed aggressive marketing and advertising techniques learned from her career in business and banking, offering extended payment plans without interest to buyers of modest means. She recognized the value of placing representative works by Downtown Gallery artists in important art museums and public collections, even if a price reduction was necessary to achieve this goal.
After purchasing Goldsmith's share of the business in 1935, Halpert, needing to earn a profit, reorganized the gallery as a more overtly commercial venture. The roster of artists was reduced to twelve. Those eliminated tended to be younger artists, most of whom were supported by WPA work. Eventually, the roster expanded; new additions were usually artists not based in New York, whom Halpert learned of through her work as an adviser to the WPA Federal Art Project. Halpert had long courted Alfred Stieglitz's artists, and in the years following his death in 1946 a number of them affiliated with the Downtown Gallery. Another change was that the Downtown Gallery no longer represented only living American artists; the gallery began handling a number of estates, most notably that of Arthur Dove. In 1953, the roster of Downtown Gallery artists shifted dramatically when Halpert entered into an agreement with Charles Alan. Alan had been hired in 1945 with the understanding that he was being trained to run the Downtown Gallery upon Halpert's retirement five years in the future. Eight years later, it became apparent that Halpert was not going to retire; without consulting the artists, she transferred representation of all artists who had joined the Downtown Gallery since 1936 to the newly established Alan Gallery.
Exhibitions at the Downtown Gallery included both solo exhibitions and group shows usually built around a theme; most lasted about a month. Annual exhibitions (sometimes titled anniversary exhibitions) opened the exhibition season each fall and showcased the gallery's artists. The Downtown Gallery's Christmas show, a long-standing event that encouraged purchases of original art for holiday gift giving, was eagerly anticipated as it featured fine artwork at very reasonable prices. Between 1927 and 1935, the Downtown Gallery was the site of the American Print Makers Society annual exhibitions. During its forty-seven years in operation, the Downtown Gallery organized many important, influential exhibitions. American Ancestors (1931) presented American folk art as the precursor to and direct influence on the contemporary art featured by the Downtown Gallery. The title was used for a number of subsequent exhibitions and became a synonym for folk art. American Folk Art Sculpture: Index of American Design, Federal Art Project (1937) featured drawings by WPA artists recording objects that documented America's material culture and artistic heritage. Along with the Index of American Design drawings, the exhibition included a number of the original sculptures from the Downtown Gallery's inventory and borrowed from folk art collector Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.
William Harnett: "Nature-Vivre" (1939) reintroduced the nineteenth-century artist whose trompe l'oeil paintings had been collected by Halpert over a period of years expressly for this purpose. Between 1947 and 1949, a controversy ensued over paintings--some of which had been sold by the Downtown Gallery--with the signature of William Harnett but discovered by San Francisco Chronicle art critic Alfred Frankenstein to be the work of Harnett's student, John Peto. Halpert had purchased the questionable pieces in good faith, completely unaware of the added signatures, and she defended her attributions, despite evidence to the contrary. Frankenstein publicized his discovery widely; while neither Halpert nor the Downtown Gallery were named directly, their identity was apparent to his well-informed readers. The situation was further inflamed when additional articles by Frankenstein failed to include new evidence favorable to Halpert and the Downtown Gallery.
Another major exhibition was American Negro Art, 19th and 20th Centuries (1941-1942), the first show of its kind held at a commercial gallery. Held at the Downtown Gallery, the exhibition was sponsored by a committee of prominent citizens including Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, Archibald MacLeish, A. Philip Randolph, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Among its aims were to raise money for the Negro Art Fund, to promote museum acquisitions of work by black artists, and to encourage galleries to represent the living participants. In addition to providing its facilities, the Downtown Gallery donated all sales commissions to the Negro Art Fund and added Jacob Lawrence to its roster of artists.
Edith Gregor Halpert played important roles in a number of exhibitions and major art projects that were not connected with the Downtown Gallery. She served as organizer and director of the First Municipal Exhibition of American Art, Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1929. Beginning in 1932, Halpert was extensively involved with Radio City Music Hall arts projects. She conceived, organized, and handled publicity for the First Municipal Art Exhibition (also known as the Forum Exhibition) sponsored by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and held at Radio City Music Hall in 1934. As an adviser to the WPA Federal Art Project, Halpert spent the summer of 1936 in Washington, D.C., developing its Exhibition and Allocation Program, which registered works of art arriving from regional project centers and selected pieces for traveling exhibitions that circulated throughout the country. In 1937, she formed the Bureau for Architectural Sculpture and Murals, a central clearinghouse from which architects could review and select work by artists and sculptors experienced in working in architectural settings. Halpert served as curator of the art section of the American National Exhibition, sponsored by the United States Information Agency and the U.S. Department of Commerce; she traveled to the Soviet Union with the exhibition, installed the show, and gave daily gallery talks in Russian. In 1952, to promote art history, Halpert established the Edith Gregor Halpert Foundation. Its activities included assisting universities to fund scholarships for the study of contemporary American art and championing the rights of artists to control the sale and reproduction of their work. For her "outstanding contribution to American art," Halpert received the Art in America Award in 1959. She also received a USIA Citation for Distinguished Service in 1960, and the University of Connecticut awarded her its First Annual International Silver Prize for "distinguished contribution to the arts" in 1968.
In addition to being an art dealer, Edith Gregor Halpert was also a collector of contemporary American art and American folk art. For many years, Halpert and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., discussed a gift of a substantial number of paintings to form the nucleus of a new wing to be called the Gallery of 20th-Century American Art. After numerous disagreements and misunderstandings by both parties, the plan was abandoned. While negotiations were still in progress, the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection was exhibited in two installments, 1960 and 1962, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. During the following two years, portions of her collection traveled to Santa Barbara, Honolulu, and San Francisco. Other exhibitions, drawn completely from the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection, include American Modernism: The First Wave, Painting from 1903-1933, presented at Brandeis University Museum of Art, 1963; Six Decades of American Art, shown at Leicester Galleries, London, 1965; Image to Abstraction, held at Amon Carter Museum, 1967; and Edith Halpert and the Downtown Gallery, exhibited at the University of Connecticut, 1968. The Edith Gregor Halpert Collection was eventually sold at auction by Sotheby Parke-Bernet, 1973.
Dr. Dianne's Tepfer's dissertation (1989) on Edith Gregor Halpert was an invaluable resource in arranging and describing the records of Downtown Gallery; her chronology was consulted often in constructing this Historical Note.
1900 -- born Edith Gregoryevna Fivoosiovitch to Gregor and Frances Lucom Fivoosiovitch, Odessa, Russia
1906 -- arrived in New York City with recently widowed mother and older sister; family name changed to Fivisovitch
1916 -- employed as a comptometer operator at Bloomingdale's department store; studied drawing with Leon Kroll and Ivan Olinsky at the National Academy of Design; further shortened name to Fein
1916-1917 -- attended life drawing and anatomy classes taught by George Bridgeman at the Art Students' League; employed in foreign and advertising offices, R. H. Macy department store
1917 -- met artist Samuel Halpert at John Weichsel's People's Art Guild
1917-1918 -- employed as advertising manager, Stern Brothers department store
1918-1919 -- employed as systematizer (efficiency expert), investment firm of Cohen, Goldman
1918 -- married Samuel Halpert
1919-1920 -- employed as systematizer, investment firm of Fishman & Co.; attended writing courses, Columbia University
1921-1925 -- employed as personnel manager, systematizer, and head of correspondence at investment banking firm of S. W. Strauss & Co.; eventually appointed to the board of directors
1924 -- first exposed to folk art at the home of sculptor Elie Nadelman
1925 -- visited Paris with Samuel Halpert (June-September)
1926 -- visited Ogunquit, Maine, with Samuel and was further exposed to antiques and folk art; other summer guests included artists Stefan Hirsch, Bernard Karfiol, Walt Kuhn, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Robert Laurent, Katherine Schmidt, Niles Spencer, and Marguerite and William Zorach; opened Our Gallery, devoted to modern American art, at 113 West 13th Street with business partner Berthe Kroll Goldsmith
1927 -- separated from Samuel, who moved to Detroit to teach at the Society for Arts and Crafts; changed name of Our Gallery to Downtown Gallery, at the suggestion of William Zorach
1928 -- Abby Aldrich Rockefeller first visited the Downtown Gallery; published George O. "Pop" Hart: 24 Selections from His Work by Holger Cahill, first of a projected series of ten Downtown Gallery monographs
1929 -- initiated divorce proceedings in Detroit; founded the American Folk Art Gallery, the first of its kind, with business; partners Berthe Kroll Goldsmith and Holger Cahill; served as organizer and director of the First Municipal Exhibition of American Art, Atlantic City
1930 -- divorce granted; present at the death of Samuel Halpert; opened the Daylight Gallery in a separate structure behind the Downtown Gallery specially designed to display works of art under optimal conditions; published Max Weber by Holger Cahill, second (and last) of the Downtown Gallery monographs
1931 -- opened the American Folk Art Gallery on second floor of the Downtown Gallery
1932 -- purchased house in Newtown, Connecticut; became extensively involved with Radio City Music Hall arts projects
1934 -- conceived, organized, and handled publicity for the First Municipal Art Exhibition, also called the Forum Exhibition, sponsored by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and held at Radio City Music Hall
1935 -- bought Goldsmith's share of the business and, as sole owner, reorganized the gallery
1936 -- served as adviser to WPA Federal Art Project, charged with developing the Exhibition and Allocation Program
1937 -- formed Bureau for Architectural Sculpture and Murals
1939 -- organized Nature-Vivre; exhibition of paintings by the rediscovered William Harnett, rekindling interest in trompe l'oeil painting
1940 -- Downtown Gallery moved to 43 East 51st Street; cataloged and installed the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Collection of American Folk Art at Williamsburg, Virginia
1941 -- American Negro Art, 19th and 20th Centuries
1945 -- Downtown Gallery moved to 32 East 51st Street; hired Charles Alan as assistant director
1946 -- Downtown Gallery began representing former Alfred Stieglitz artists Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, and Georgia O'Keeffe
1947-1949 -- embroiled in controversy over paintings with the signature of William Harnett but discovered to be the work of Harnett's student John Peto
1950 -- opened the John Marin Room, operated by John Marin, Jr.
1951 -- opened the Ground-Floor Room, for works by new artists
1952 -- established the Edith Gregor Halpert Foundation
1953 -- transferred representation of newer Downtown Gallery artists to the Alan Gallery
1954 -- published The ABCs for Collectors of Contemporary Art by John I. H. Baur
1959 -- traveled to Moscow as curator of the art section, "American National Exhibition," and gave daily gallery talks in Russian; received Art in America Award
1960 -- exhibited selections from the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; awarded USIA Citation for Distinguished Service and the Merit Award Emblem
1962 -- second exhibition of the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection at the Corcoran Gallery of Art; began discussions, ultimately abandoned, for the transfer and installation of a large gift of paintings from the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection to a special wing of the Corcoran Gallery of Art
1963 -- American Modernism: The First Wave, Painting from 1903-1933, an exhibition based entirely on the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection, Brandeis University Museum of Art
1965 -- Downtown Gallery moved to smaller quarters, Ritz Tower Concourse, 465 Park Avenue; open by appointment only; Six Decades of American Art, from the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection, Leicester Galleries, London
1967 -- Image to Abstraction, an exhibition based entirely on the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
1968 -- the Downtown Gallery ceased to be the exclusive representative of Abraham Rattner, Ben Shahn, Georgia O'Keffe, and Max Weber, and the estates of Stuart Davis, and Marguerite and William Zorach were withdrawn from the gallery; Edith Halpert and the Downtown Gallery exhibition at the Museum of Art, the University of Connecticut; awarded the First Annual International Silver Prize medal for "distinguished contribution to the arts," University of Connecticut
1970 -- died, New York City
1970-1973 -- the Downtown Gallery continued limited operation under the direction of niece, Nathaly Baum
1972-1978 -- the Downtown Gallery records donated to the Archives of American Art by Nathaly Baum, executor of the Edith Gregor Halpert estate
1973 -- Sotheby Parke-Bernet auction sale of the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection
1997-1999 -- arrangement, description, and microfilming of Downtown Gallery records and publication of this finding aid funded by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, Inc.
Appendix B: Chronological List of Downtown Gallery Exhibitions:
Below is a chronological listing of Downtown Gallery exhibitions, culled from catalogs and checklists, invitations and announcements, press releases, newspaper reviews, advertisements, lists compiled by gallery staff, and The Archives of American Art Collection of Exhibition Catalogs (1979). Exhibition titles indicated on the announcement or used in a published review sometimes differ from the title of the corresponding exhibition catalog or printed checklist. Catalogs or announcements for most shows will be found with the printed matter produced by the Downtown Gallery (Series 7.1), in the publicity notebooks (Series 3.3.), and/or with artist files (Series 2). Microfilm reel and frame number(s) are noted in parentheses for catalogs or exhibition announcements recorded in The Archives of American Art Collection of Exhibition Catalogs that are not among the Downtown Gallery records.
Undated -- Jan. 24-Feb. 12: American Landscapes: Paintings and Water Colors Mar. 3-28 [1964?]: Abraham Rattner: New Paintings, 1961-1963 June: Art for 13,000,000 Sept. 17-27: Abraham Rattner: Stained Glass Window Designed for the De Waters Art Center, Flint, Michigan
1926 -- Nov. [6-?}: Opening Exhibition: Small Works by Leading American Contemporary Artists Dec. [4-?]: The Christmas Exhibition, $10-50
1927 -- Jan. 8-Feb. 4: American Marines Jan. 8-Feb. 4: Print Room Selection Nov. 26-Dec. 9: Frank Osborn: Sculpture Lamps Nov. 26-Dec. 9: Stuart Davis May [10-?]: Portfolio Selection, $5-25 Dec. 10-31: American Print Makers Exhibition Nov. 3-23: "Pop" Hart: One-Man Show Oct. 13-Nov. 3: Ogunquit Exhibition: Summer Work by 12 Ogunquit Residents Mar. 1-19: George C. Ault: Water Colors and Drawings Feb. [5-?]: George Overbury "Pop" Hart Apr. [11-?]: Spring Exhibitions: Pictures Suggestive of the Season Mar. 21-Apr. 9: Walt Kuhn Lighographs: `New Trapeze Ladies'
1928 -- Feb. 14-Mar. 4: Walt Kuhn: Recent Works Jan. 24-Feb. 12: 75 Years of American Landscapes Mar. 6-25: Samuel Halpert: Recent Work Dec. 10-31: American Print Makers 2nd Annual Exhibition Jan. 3-22: Joseph Pollett: Recent Paintings and Watercolors Oct. 7-28: Paris by Americans Oct. 29-Nov. 17: Max Weber: New Lithographs, $10-50 Nov. 19-Dec. 8: George C. Ault: Paintings, $30-300 Apr. 23-May 13: May Flowers May 19-June 13: Art for Everybody, $10-50 Mar. 26-Apr. 15: Ernest Fiene: Lithographs Apr. 2-22: Marguerite Zorach: Paintings and Drawings
1929 -- Nov. [19-?]: Glenn Coleman: Temperas June 3-14: Oils, Sculpture, Water Colors, Monotypes, Drawings, Pottery May [14-?]: Joseph Pollet: Watercolors May [14-?]: Lithographs by A. Walkowitz Mar. 26-Apr. 14: José Orozco: Paintings of New York City Apr. 23-May 14: Walt Kuhn: Loan Paintings Feb. 12-Mar. 23: Stefan Hirsch: Paintings Mar. 4-Apr. 14: Duncan Ferguson: Sculpture Jan. 21-Feb. 10: Drawings by 8 American Artists (Hart, Karfiol, Kuhn, Pascin, Walkowitz, Weber, M. Zorach, and W. Zorach) Jan. 2-20: Ann Goldthwaite: Recent Work Dec. 10-31: American Print Makers 3rd Annual Exhibition Oct. 29-Nov. 17: Joseph Pollet: Recent Paintings Oct. 7-28: Americans Abroad (Davis, Fiene, Ganso, Hart, Hirsch, Pascin, and Wilenchick)
1930 -- Oct. [25-?]: Reuben Nakian: Sculpture Nov. 18-Dec. 16: Glenn Coleman: Paintings Sept. 30-Oct. 25: Summer Landscapes, 1930: Paintings by American Contemporary Artists Summer: Important Painting and Sculpture by Leading American Artists in the Daylight Gallery May 26-July 1: Small Painting, Sculpture, and Drawings by Leading American Contemporary Artists, $100 or Less Apr. 19-May 10: Daylight Gallery Opening Exhibition Oct. [25-?]: Julia Kelly: Painting Apr. [8-?]: Ben Shahn: Paintings and Drawings Mar. 11-30: Wood Gaylor: Paintings Feb. [11-?]: Marguerite Zorach: Recent Paintings of New England and New York Jan. 28-Feb. 15: 33 Moderns: The Downtown Gallery Exhibition of Paintings, Sculpture, Watercolors, Drawings, and Prints by 33 American Contemporary Artists [at the Grand Central Galleries] Jan. [25-?]: Stuart Davis: Recent Paintings Dec. 8-31: American Print Makers 4th Annual Exhibition Jan. [2-?]: Abraham Walkowitz: Heads and Flowers May [10-?]: "Pop" Hart: Paintings from Africa and Europe
1931 -- Jan. 3-25: Jules Pascin Memorial Exhibition Jan. [27-?]: William Zorach: New Sculpture Feb. [14-?]: Joseph Pollett: Paintings Feb. 2-16: Isabella Howland: Paintings Dec. 14-31: American Ancestors: Masterpieces by Little Known and Anonymous American Painters, 1790-1890 Mar. 16-30: 7 Masters of Water Color (Demuth, Dickinson, Hart, Marin, Sheeler, Walkowitz, Zorach) Apr. [29-?]: Peggy Bacon: Caricature Portraits Mar. 31-Apr. 9: Stuart Davis: Recent Paintings Nov. [18-?]: Charles Sheeler: Recent Paintings May 12-31: Flowers: Paintings in Oil and Water Color by American Contemporary Artists Oct. 5-25: `Artists' Models,' Figure Paintings by Leading Contemporary American Artists June 2-22: Paintings, Water Colors, Drawings, Sculpture by Leading Contemporary American Artists Oct. 28-Nov. 17: Karl Knaths: Paintings Dec. 7-31: American Print Makers 5th Annual Exhibition
1932 -- May 31-June 30: Paintings and Sculpture by Outstanding American Artists Dec. 28-Jan. 14: William Zorach: Spirit of the Dance in Original Plaster Dec.: Christmas Exhibition: Drawings, Paintings, Sculpture, $10-100 Feb. 20-Mar. 3: Peggy Bacon: Recent Paintings (N433: 515) Jan. 5-18: American Modern Art [arranged by the Downtown Gallery at Knoedler & Co., Inc., Chicago] Oct. 4-22: Prelude to the Season: New Paintings and Sculpture by American Contemporaries Dec. 9-31: Carl Walters: Sculpture and Pottery in Ceramic Jan. 5-24: Alexander Brook: Recent Paintings Jan. [24-?]: Paintings by Contemporary American Painters Feb. 23-Mar. 7: Wood Gaylor: Recent Paintings Oct. 4-22: Bernard Sanders: Graphics Dec. 5-31: American Print Makers 6th Annual Exhibition Feb. [24-?]: Winter in Maine: Recent Watercolors by William Zorach Mar. 22-Apr. 3: Joseph Pollet: Recent Paintings Nov. 18-Dec. 9: Stefan Hirsch: Recent Work--New York and Mexico Apr. 5-17: The Passion of Sacco-Vanzetti: Gouaches by Ben Shahn Apr. 19-May 15: Pictures of New England by a New Englander: Recent Paintings of Dogtown, Cape Ann, Mass., by Marsden Hartley [errata slip stapled to cover of the copy filmed on Br10: 660-663 indicates the dates were changed to Apr. 26-May 15, 1932] May 17-29: 3 Painters: Baum, Botkin, Schultz Oct. 25-Nov. 13: Dorothy Varian: Recent Paintings
1933 -- Jan. 17-Feb. 4: Bernard Karfiol: Paintings and Drawings Mar. 21-Apr. 8: Major Works by Distinguished American Artists Feb. [28-?]: Watercolors by Stuart Davis Feb. 27-Mar. 18: Reuben Nakian: Sculpture Portraits of 10 Artists Feb. 7-25: Yasuo Kuniyoshi: Recent Paintings Oct. 3-14: American Ancestors, 2nd Exhibition: Masterpieces by Little Known and Anonymous American Artists: 1720-1870 May 23-June 30: Paintings and Sculpture: Recent Works by Leading American Contemporaries, at $100 May 2-20: Ben Shahn: The Tom Mooney Case Apr. 11-29: Nicolai Cikovsky: Recent Paintings Nov. 14-Dec. 14: Drawings and Rare Prints by "Pop" Hart Dec. 5-31: American Print Makers 7th Annual Exhibition Oct. 24-Nov. 11: Painting and Sculpture by Leading Contemporaries
1934 -- Jan. 23-Feb. 10: Alexander Brook: Recent Paintings Feb. 13-Mar. 3: Babe Ruth by Reuben Nakian Jan. 3-20: Ernest Fiene: Painter of the American Scene Dec. 13-31: Practical Manifestations in American Art Apr. 3-21: Katherine Schmidt: Paintings Apr. 25-May 12: Stuart Davis: Recent Paintings Dec. [3-?]: Group Show Mar. 13-31: Recent Paintings by Joseph Pollet Oct. 1-14: Hamilton Easter Field Art Foundation Collection of Paintings and Sculpture Oct. 23-Nov. 3: Marguerite Zorach: Paintings and Drawings May 15-June 15: Paintings and Sculpture: Selected Works by Leading American Contemporaries, Extraordinary Values at $100 Dec. 3-29: American Print Makers 8th Annual Exhibition Feb. 20-Mar. 3: Recent Work by Peggy Bacon Nov. 20-Dec. 8: Peggy Bacon: `Off with Their Heads,' Caricature Portraits of 38 Contemporary American Celebrities Nov. 6-17: American Drawings: Recent Work by Charles Sheeler, John Marin, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Charles Locke, Stuart Davis, Alexander Brook
1935 -- May 1-18: Nakian: The New Deal in Portraiture Apr. 13-28: Reuben Nakian: Portrait Heads of the Present Administration May 21-June 14: Paintings and Sculpture by Leading American Artists Dec.: Carl Walters: Ceramic Sculpture and Pottery Mar. 12-30: Exhibition of 14 Paintings by 14 American Contemporaries Feb. 20-Mar. 9: Nicolai Cikovsky: Recent Paintings Apr. 10-27: Watercolor and Pastels by 14 American Artists Dec. 2-28: American Print Makers 9th Annual Exhibition Nov.: Ernest Fiene: Paintings Nov. [5-?]: American Folk Art: Recently Acquired Paintings and Sculpture Jan. 16-Feb. 2: Charles Burchfield and Charles Sheeler Dec. 11-28: Anne Goldthwaite: Murals of the South Jan. 16-Feb. 9: Bernard Karfiol: Watercolors and Drawings Oct. 22-Nov. 9: Opening Exhibition: Important Recent Painting and Sculpture May 21-June 14: $100 Exhibition: Extraordinary Values for Discriminating Collectors
1936 -- Oct. [28-?]: Tenth Anniversary Exhibition: American Art, 1800-1936 Dec. 13-24: American Print Makers 10th Anniversary Annual Exhibition (N428:304-305) Dec.: Christmas Gift Show Dec.: Ceramics by Carl Walters Feb. [25-?]: Watercolors by William Zorach Mar. 17-Apr. 4: Yasuo Kuniyoshi: Paintings May [5-?]: Joseph Pollet: Paintings May 26-June 12: Paintings and Sculpture: Recent Work by Leading American Contemporaries, Extraordinary Values at $100 Apr. 14-May 2: Portraits by 6 Contemporary and Early American Artists Jan. 30-Feb. 15: American Birds in Sculpture, 1785-1935 Jan. 6-25: Alexander Brooke: Paintings Dec. 2-31: Vital Statistics
1937 -- Dec. 7-31: Christmas Exhibition: Fine Works of Art as Original Gifts through June 25: Paintings and Sculpture, 1800-1937 Oct. 5-23: Paintings by 12 Younger Artists Oct. 19-Nov. 6: Fall Exhibition May 18-June 5: Joseph Steig: Watercolors May 5-29: Major Examples by Major Artists Apr. 13-May 1: Children in American Folk Art, 1725-1865: Children's Art, Their Portraits, and Their Toys Apr. [10-?]: Contemporary Americans Sept. 28-Oct. 9: American Folk Art Sculpture: Index of Design, WPA Federal Art Project Sept.: Drawings by the Index of American Design Oct. 20-Nov. 10: An Exhibition of Contemporary American Art from the Downtown Gallery of New York, Sponsored by the Atlanta Georgian and Sunday American at the High Museum of Art Mar. 9-27: The 1920s: Oils, Sculpture, Watercolors, and Drawings by 18 American Contemporaries Mar. 30-Apr. 10: Younger Artists Nov.: Dorothy Varian: Paintings Feb. 9-27: American Dogs: Recent Portraits in Oil of Champion Dogs by Fenelle and Paintings and Sculpture Portraying Dogs of the Period 1820-1860 from the American Folk Art Gallery Jan. [15-?]: David Fredenthal Feb.: Group Show
1938 -- Oct. 4-22: Americans at Home: 32 Painters and Sculptors Sept. 4-22: Folk Art Apr. [27-?]: David Fredenthal: Paintings May 25-June 17: Art for the Summer House, $15-100 Apr. 5-23: Preston Dickinson, 1891-1930: 13 Pastels Dec. 6-30: Christmas Exhibition Mar. 16-Apr. 2: Paintings by Americans: New Paintings by Karfiol, Kuniyoshi, Sheeler, and Recent Oils by Marin and O'Keeffe Nov. [15-?]: Louis Guglielmi: Paintings Feb. 15-Mar. 5: 50 American Watercolors and Pastels, 1800-1938 Dec. 6-30: Carl Walters: Ceramic Sculpture Jan. 18-Feb. 15: American Genre Paintings, 1785-1887 Nov. 2-20: John Stenvall: Paintings Jan. 5-22: Isabella Howland: 25 Sculpture Heads Jan. 25-Feb. 11: Nicolai Cikovsky: Paintings Nov. 1-12: American Ancestors: Masterpieces in American Folk Art, 1720-1860 Nov. [2-?]: Georgia O'Keeffe: Paintings
1939 -- Oct. 3-14: Paintings on Velvet, 1800-1840 Feb. [14-?]: Nathaniel Kaz: Sculpture Nov. 7-25: Contemporary American Genre: 27 Painters and Sculptors Mar. [7-?]: Katherine Schmidt: Paintings May [8-?]: Group Show Jan. 24-Feb. 11: Yasuo Kuniyoshi: Paintings Dec. 6-30: Carl Walters: Ceramic Sculpture Jan. [24-?]: Jack Levine: Paintings Mar. 28-Apr. 15: William Steig: Sculpture June 7-30: American Art, Past and Present Apr. 18-May 16: William Harnett: `Nature-Vivre' Oct. [17-?]: John Marin: 20 Drawings Jan. 4-21: Important New Paintings by American Artists: Cikovsky, Karfiol, Marin,, O'Keeffe, Sheeler, and Varian Dec. 6-30: Christmas Exhibition: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture, $100 or Less May [16-?]: Raymond Breinin: Paintings
1940 -- Jan. [3-?]: Mitchell Siporin: Paintings Jan. [23-?]: Rainey Bennett: Paintings Dec. 2-21: Charles Sheeler: `Power,' 6 Original Paintings Commissioned for Reproduction in the December 1940 Issue of Fortune(N433:550 551) Mar. [25-?]: Yasuo Kuniyoshi: Lithographs Mar. [25-?]: Group Show: Paintings Feb. [20-?]: Julien Levi: Paintings Mar. [18-?]: Gallery Group Dec. [9-?]: Christmas Exhibition Oct. 17-Nov. 16: Opening Exhibition [43 East 51st Street] May 13-24: Artist's Fund Exhibition Apr. 23-May 11: Review of the Season: Paintings by Leading American Artists
1941 -- Dec. 9-Jan. 3, 1942: American Negro Art: 19th and 20th Centuries Sept. 16-Oct. 11: American Folk Sculpture: Weather Vanes in Metal and Wood: 18th and 19th Centuries [?]-June 27: Summer Exhibition and William Harnett May 6-30: What Is Wrong with This Picture? Nov. 13-Dec. 6: Yasuo Kuniyoshi: Recent Paintings (Br10: 699-700) Nov. 11-Dec. 6: Bernard Karfiol Oct. 21-25: American Folk Art Sale Oct. 7-Nov. 1: New Examples by Leading American Artists Apr. 8-26: Spring: New Paintings by Outstanding Americans Feb. 25-Mar. 22: Masterpieces in American Folk Art Jan. 7-Feb. 1: The Painter Looks at Music Feb. 4-21: 13 American Paintings
1942 -- Oct. 13-31: Paintings, Cartoons, Photographs of the St. Louis Post Office Murals by Mitchell Siporin and Edward Millman Dec. 22-Jan. 9, 1943: Inter-American Folk Arts, 1700-1900: Paintings and Sculpture by Little Known and Anonymous Artists of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Mexico, Peru, U.S.A. Jan. 7-24: Watercolors and Drawings by Leading American Artists Feb. 3-28: Julian Levi Mar. 3-28: Battles & Symbols of the U.S.A.: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture by American Folk Artists Apr. 7-May 2: Spring Exhibition: New Paintings and Newly Discovered Paintings by William M. Harnett Apr. 7-May 2: American Folk Art May 5-29: Yasuo Kuniyoshi: Retrospective Loan Exhibition, 1921-1941 (Br10: 703-705) June 10-26: Paintings, Sculpture, Drawings by Leading American Artists Sept. 22-Oct. 10: Opening Exhibition: New Paintings and Sculpture
1943 -- Jan. 12-30: Breinin: Recent Paintings (D55: 77) Mar. 2-27: William Zorach: Selected Sculpture (D57: 632-634) Mar. 31-Apr. 24: Spring Exhibition and American Folk Art June 8-25: Summer Exhibition: American Art Oct. 5-30: 18th Annual Exhibition: American Art Oct. 27-Nov. 20: Recent Paintings in Encaustic by Karl Zerbe Nov. 23-Dec. 11: Demuth, Dickinson, "Pop" Hart, Pascin
1944 -- Nov. 14-Dec. 2: Ben Shahn: Paintings in Tempera (Br10: 707-708) Feb. 1-12: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture Apr. 11-May 6: Spring: New Important Paintings & Sculpture by Leading Americans Feb. 15-Mar. 11: Horace Pippin May 31-June 30: Summer Exhibition May 9-27: William Zorach Oct. 3-28: 19th Annual Exhibition: American Art Sept. 13-30: American Folk Art from the Collection of Mrs. Isabel C. Wilde
1945 -- Jan. 3-20: Suba: First One-Man Exhibition of Paintings Mar. 6-31: Julian Levi Feb. 13-Mar. 3: George L. K. Morris: Paintings, 1944 and 1945, and Sculpture, 1934-1945 (Br10: 712-714) May 1-26: 19th Annual Spring Exhibition Apr. 3-28: Yasuo Kuniyoshi: New Paintings and Drawings Oct. 15-Nov. 3: Loan Exhibition Oct. 15-Nov. 3: 20th Anniversary [opening of new quarters on East 51st Street] Dec. 4-29: Christmas Exhibition Nov. 6-Dec. 1: 20th Annual Exhibition: American Art Dec. 4-29: Jacob Lawrence: John Brown, A Series of 22 Paintings in Gouache
1946 -- Dec. 3-31: Christmas Exhibition Sept. 4-21: Masterpieces in American Folk Art: Recently Discovered Examples Sept. 24-Oct. 19: 21st Annual Exhibition: New Paintings by Leading American Artists June: New Important Paintings by Leading Americans July 2-Aug. 30: Summer Exhibition: Recent Paintings and Sculpture... Combined with a Selection of Important American Folk Art Mar. 26-Apr. 13: Paul Burlin May 7-25: 6 Artists Out of Uniform: New Post-War Paintings by 6 Important Americans Jan. 29-Feb. 16: Stuart Davis Retrospective Exhibition: Gouaches, Watercolors, Drawings, 1912-1941 (N126: 369-370)
1947 -- Apr. 1-26: Spring 1947 Apr. 29-May 17: Boston/New York: First Exchange Exhibition [Boston portion at Downtown Gallery and New York portion at Boris Mirski Gallery, Boston] Feb. 4-Mar. 1: Important New Drawings Mar. 4-29: William Zorach Jan. 7-25: Arthur Dove Nov. 11-29: Niles Spencer Dec. 2-27: Christmas Exhibition Sept. 23-Oct. 18: 22nd Annual Exhibition Sept. 3-20: 20th-Century American Watercolors Aug. 12-29: Exhibition of American Folk Art: Recent Acquisitions June 10-Aug. 8: American Art, 1800-1947 and American Folk Art May 20-June 7: National Parks: A Fortune Portfolio
1948 -- Sept. 28-Oct. 23: 23rd Annual Exhibition Sept. 8-28: The American Family: Folk Paintings, 1750-1850 Aug. 10-Sept. 2: Marin - New York (N126: 407-408) June 29-Aug. 6: Art for the 8,060,000 May 10-20: Mexican Folk Art Apr. 13-May 1: William Harnett Centennial Exhibition Mar. 22-Apr. 3: American Art: A Multiple Exhibition Arranged by the Association of Dealers in American Art [Downtown Gallery participating] Jan. 20-Feb. 7: Paintings by Stuart Davis, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Jack Levine, John Marin, Ben Shahn Dec. 7-31: Christmas 1948 Nov. 16-Dec. 14: Jacques Maroger: Recent Paintings (N126: 411-412) undated: American Art... 20th Century Image to Abstraction [Amon Carter Museum; entire exhibition drawn from the collections of Edith Gregor Halpert and the Downtown Gallery] Dec. 7-31: William Zorach
1949 -- Nov. 15-Dec. 3: Reuben Tam Dec. 6-24: Christmas Exhibition May 10-28: Mexican Folk Art July 6-29: Art and/or Money Sept. 7-24: Important Paintings and Sculpture by Little Known and Unknown Artists of the 18th and 19th Century Oct. 3-22: 24th Annual Exhibition Mar. 15-Apr. 2: Paul Burlin Apr. 5-23: The Artist Speaks Apr. 25-10: 26 Teenage Artists Presented by Seventeen Magazine May 3-21: Arthur G. Dove: Watercolors, 1929-1946 (N126: 424) Sept. 7-24: American Folk Art
1950 -- Apr. 25-May 13: In 1950... Jan. 23-28: Creative Art for Commerce Dec. 5-23: Christmas Exhibition Oct. 24-Nov. 11: Jacob Lawrence (D56: 298-300) May 16-June 2: A Museum Collection: American Folk Sculpture Apr. 4-22: Yasuo Kuniyoshi Sept. 26-Oct. 21: 25th Annual Exhibition: New Paintings and Sculpture June: Art for 13,000,000 Jan. 31-Feb. 18: Ralston Crawford Dec. 27-Jan. 27, 1951: John Marin Mar. 14-Apr. 1: In 1940... Feb. 21-Mar. 11: Aquamedia
1951 -- Dec. 11-29: Christmas Exhibition May 1-19: Newcomers: Paintings by Artists from 15 States Nov. 20-Dec. 8: O. Louis Guglielmi Apr. 3-28: Spring 1951 Oct. 2-27: 26th Annual Exhibition: New Paintings and Sculpture by Leading American Artists July 10-Aug. 17: Summer Exhibition: American Art Sept. 5-22: Contemporary American Drawings June 12-29: Masterpieces in American Folk Art Mar. 13-31: Charles Sheeler: Paintings, 1949-1951 Feb. 20-Mar. 1: William Zorach: Sculpture, 1947-1951
1952 -- Oct. 28-Nov. 15: Niles Spencer Oct. 14-Nov. 15: The Ground-Floor Room 2nd Annual Exhibition Dec. 9-27: Stuart Davis and Yasuo Kuniyoshi Mar. 11-29: Ben Shahn: Paintings (D56: 1075-1076) Mar. 4-20: Recent Arrivals Jan. 2-26: John Marin: Oils and Watercolors June 3-27: Art for the 67% May 12-29: Lithographs, Woodcuts, Theorems, Serigraphs, and Other Prints by Leading American Artists Apr. 22-May 10: Arthur G. Dove Apr. 1-19: Spring '52 Oct. 1-25: 27th Annual Exhibition Nov. 18-Dec. 16: Shop for Art Early at the Downtown Gallery Sept. 9-27: American Amateur Art of 100 Years Ago July 1-Aug. 1: Pertaining to Summer: An Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture by Leading American Artists
1953 -- Jan. 7-Feb. 14: Performance: A New Series of Paintings in Tempera by Jacob Lawrence Feb. 17-Mar. 7: Celebrating the Tercentenary of New York, MDCLIII - MCMLIII: Paintings of New York by Leading American Artists Apr. 21-May 9: David Aronson May 12-29: 8 Younger Artists Mar. 10-28: Paul Burlin Mar. 31-Apr. 18: Reuben Tam Nov. 17-Dec. 7: Art in the Office Dec. 8-31: Art Gems for Christmas Sept. 22-Oct. 17: 28th Annual Exhibition: Recent Paintings and Sculpture Oct. 20-Nov. 14: Yasuo Kuniyoshi: Ink Paintings
1954 -- Sept. 14-Oct. 2: Artists of Chicago May 25-June 25: Summer 1954 Nov. 9-20: Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture: A Benefit Exhibition by Its Faculty and Visiting Artists for the Scholarship Fund Oct. 5-30: 29th Annual Exhibition: New Paintings and Sculpture Nov. 23-Dec. 24: Christmas Exhibition Apr. 6-May 1: Dove and Demuth: Watercolor Retrospective May 4-22: American Folk Art: Painting and Sculpture Feb. 2-27: International Exhibition: American, Belgian, British, Canadian, French, Italian, Mexican Painters under 40 Mar. 2-31: Stuart Davis: Recent Paintings
1955 -- Mar. 20-Apr. 23: Georgia O'Keeffe May 24-June 11: Gallery Purchases: Contemporary Art Apr. 26-May 21: Spring 1955 Sept. 13-Oct. 1: Painters of Los Angeles June 14-30: Gallery Purchases: American Folk Art Nov. 1-26: Arthur Dove: Collages Oct. 4-29: 30th Annual Exhibition Dec. 28-Jan. 21, 1956: William Zorach: A Selection, 1914-1955
1956 -- May 1-26: Bernard Karfiol: The Figure (N126L529-531) May 29-June 29: Spring 1956 Sept. 5-29: Americans in Europe Oct. 9-Nov. 3: 31st Annual Exhibition Nov. 6-Dec. 1: Stuart Davis: Exhibition of Recent Paintings, 1954-1956 Dec. 4-22: 31st Annual Christmas at the Downtown Gallery Jan. 31-Feb. 25: The Recurrent Image Apr. 3-28: Charles Sheeler: Selections from the Collection of the William H. Lane Foundation Feb. 28-Mar. 24: Arthur Dove: Paintings
1957 -- Dec. 31-Jan. 25, 1958: 32nd Annual Exhibition [?]-May 4: Spring Exhibition Dec. 9-21: Art Our Children Live With: A Loan Exhibition of American Art Jan. 8-Feb. 7: Max Weber Feb. 12-Mar. 2: New Acquisitions: Wm. M. Harnett (1848-1892) Feb. 12-Mar. 2: American Folk Art: Paintings and Sculpture Mar. 2-30: New Mexico as Painted by Stuart Davis, Marsden Hartley, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, John Marin, Georgia O'Keeffe, John Sloan May 7-31: Important Drawings by Leading American Artists June 4-28: Summer 1957 Oct. 7-Nov. 2: Group Show Nov. 5-27: Last Judgments by Abraham Rattner (D203: 76) Nov. 25-Dec. 7: 32nd Annual Christmas at the Downtown Gallery
1958 -- Sept. 30-Oct. 11: Arthur Dove: Watercolors June 9-27: 100 Church Street, `Portrait of a Building' by 10 American Artists May 20-June 7: Charles Demuth Apr. 29-May 10: Spring 1958 Mar. 5-Apr. 19: Charles Sheeler Jan. 28-Feb. 21: C. S. Price Dec. 8-27: 33rd Annual Christmas Exhibition Nov. 11-Dec. 6: Max Weber: The Figure in Retrospect, 1906-1958 Oct. 14-Nov. 8: 33rd Annual Exhibition
1959 -- Dec. 8-24: Ben Shahn: Silk-Screen Prints Dec. 29-Jan. 23, 1960: New Acquisitions Oct. 20-Nov. 14: 34th Annual Exhibition Nov. 17-Dec. 5: 34th Annual Christmas at the Downtown Gallery Sept. 22-Oct. 17: The Dial and the Dial Collection: A Special Loan Exhibition of Paintings, Sculpture & Graphics by 30 American Artists Apr. 29-June 2: Spring 1959 Apr. 7-25: Robert Osborn Mar. 3-28: Ben Shahn Jan. 6-31: New Acquisitions: American Folk Art Painting and Sculpture
1960 -- Feb. 23-Mar. 19: Gallery Group Mar. 22-Apr. 9: Jack Zajac Mar. 11-[?]: Signs & Symbols, U.S.A., 1760-1960 Jan. 21-Feb. 20: 7 Artists in Hawaii Dec. 5-24: Robert Osborn: Paintings and Drawings from `The Vulgarians' Nov. 8-Dec. 3: Abraham Rattner Dec. 5-24: 35th Annual Christmas at the Downtown Gallery through June 30: Summer 1960 Oct. 11-Nov. 5: 35th Annual Exhibition Apr. 19-may 7: Tseng Yu-Ho May 10-June 4: Stuart Davis
1961 -- June 13-30: Selections 1961 May 16-June 9: Spring 1961 Dec. 4-23: 36th Annual Christmas at the Downtown Gallery Sept. 12-Oct. 7: New Acquisitions Feb. 15-Mar. 11: Aquamedia in American Art Jan. 25-Feb. 11: Yasuo Kuniyoshi Apr. 11-May 2: Gallery Group Mar. 15-Apr. 8: Alfred Duca Jan. 9-Feb. 6: New Acquisitions
1962 -- Nov. 3-28: Robert Osborn Dec. 3-22: 37th Annual Christmas at Downtown Gallery May 22-June 15: 36th Annual Spring Exhibition: The Figure Apr. 24-May 19: Stuart Davis Oct. 16-Nov. 10: 37th Anniversary Exhibition Sept. 25-Oct. 13: American Roots: Folk Art in Painting and Sculpture Feb. 27-Mar. 17: Robert Osborn: Clowns and Non-Clowns Jan. 9-27: Tseng Yu-Ho: 18 Dsui Paintings Mar. 27-Apr. 21: Abstract Painting in America, 1903-1923 Mar. 10-31: Max Weber Memorial Exhibition
1963 -- Mar. 12-Apr. 16: Signs & Symbols * U.S.A., 1780-1960 May 7-[?]: Max Weber Dec. 2-21: 38th Annual Christmas at Downtown Gallery June 11-July 3: Summer 1963 Apr. 9-May 3: Spring 1963 Jan. 8-Feb. 2: John Marin Oct. 1-26: 38th Anniversary Exhibition Oct. 29-Nov. 16: Ben Shahn: Retrospective Exhibition, Paintings and Drawings, 1901-1958 Oct. 29-Nov. 16: Homage to e. e. cummings Oct. 29-Nov. 16: Gallery Group Aug. 6-Sept. 15: Loan Exhibition from the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection [Santa Barbara Museum of Art] Nov. 7-Dec. 8: Loan Exhibition from the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection [Honolulu Academy of Arts] Sept. 9-14: Visual Art by Performing Artists Dec. 3-Jan. 7, 1964: American Signs and Symbols
1964 -- Sept. 9-Oct. 3: 20th Century American Drawings Oct. 6-31: 39th Anniversary Exhibition Dec. 1-24: 39th Annual Christmas at the Downtown Gallery Jan. 11-Feb. 9: Loan Exhibition from the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection [California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco] Jan. 28-Feb. 21: George L. K. Morris Mar. 3-28: Supplement to the Rattner Exhibition May 12-June 5: New York City: Paintings, 1913-1963, by American Artists
1965 -- Jan. 5-23: Charles Sheeler and Yasuo Kuniyoshi Nov. 30-Dec. 18: Warner Brothers Co. Mural by Willard Cummings and Emilio A. Serio Mar. 23-Apr. 17: John Storrs Sept. 8-Oct. 2: A Gallery Survey of American Art [inaugural show, Ritz Tower Concourse, 465 Park Avenue] Nov. 3-20: Edward Stasack Nov. 30-Dec. 18: 40th Annual Christmas at the Downtown Gallery
1966 -- Nov. 5-Dec. 12: Morris Broderson Oct. 18-Nov. 12: 41st Anniversary Exhibition: Contemporary American Art Mar. 1-26: Balthus: New Paintings, 1963-1966 May 3-27: Charles Sheeler Sept. 20-Oct. 8: "Popular Art" in America, 18-19th Century
1967 -- Apr. 18-May 13: John Storrs Mar. 15-Apr. 8: Arthur Dove Nov. 7-25: O. Louis Guglielmi Sept. 26-Oct. 21: 42nd Anniversary Exhibition Feb. 14-Mar. 11: George L. K. Morris Jan. 10-Feb. 14: William Zorach: The Last Decade Dec.: Gallery Group
Berman, Avis. Pioneers in American Museums: Edith Halpert. Museum News 54, no. 2 (November/December 1975): 34-37, 61-64.
Bragazzi, Olive. The Story Behind the Rediscovery of William Harnett and John Peto by Edith Halpert and Alfred Frankenstein. American Art Journal 15, no. 3 (Spring 1984): 51-65.
Tepfer, Diane. Edith Gregor Halpert and the Downtown Gallery/Downtown, 1926-1940: A Study in American Art Patronage. Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 1989.
Edith Gregor Halpert, interview by Harlan Phillips, 1962-1963. Oral History Program, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Edith Gregor Halpert, interview by Harlan Phillips, January 20, 1965. New Deal and the Arts Project, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Edith Gregor Halpert, lecture delivered at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, October 19, 1959, on the 1959 American National Art Exhibition in Moscow. Tape-recorded by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, and transcribed by the the Downtown Gallery staff.
In addition, the Archives of American Art has among its collections personal papers and oral history interviews of artists and collectors associated with the Downtown Gallery. Researchers are advised to conduct a name search in the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS).
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (ND-1- ND-71), the mojority of which was subsequently donated. Loaned materials not donated at a later date remain with the lender and are not described in the container listing of this finding aid.
Between 1957 and 1967, the Downtown Gallery loaned portions of its records to the Archives of American Art for microfilming. Because the microfilming was done in increments, the material was not always filmed in logical sequence, and overlapping and duplication of records occurred. Since files loaned for microfilming were, for the most part, still working records used to conduct ongoing gallery business, their contents changed and shifted over time. After Edith Halpert's death in 1970, the records of the Downtown Gallery were received by the Archives of American Art, 1972-1978, as a gift from her niece and executor, Nathaly Baum. In addition to the previously microfilmed material, the gift includes correspondence, inventories and sales records, financial records, photographs, and printed matter, as well as artifacts.One additional document received 2016 by Karen Freeman, daughter of Arthur H. Freeman, who did business at L.D. Landau and Co. Freeman represented halpert as an insurance agent.
The microfilm of this collection has been digitized and is available online via the Archives of American Art website.
The Downtown Gallery records are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. 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. Prior to publishing information regarding sales transactions, researchers are responsible for obtaining written permission from both artist and purchaser involved. If it cannot be established after a reasonable search whether an artist or purchaser is living, it can be assumed that the information may be published sixty years after the date of sale.
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Downtown Gallery records, 1824-1974, bulk 1926-1969. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing, microfilming and digitization of the microfilm of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.
The collection documents the Fuller Brush Company founded by Alfred C. Fuller in 1906.
The collection documents the Fuller Brush Company from the early years of its existence. The contents include photographs; ledgers; correspondence; internal reports; manufacturing facility studies; quality control reports; financial statements; sales data; company newsletters, some loose and some in bound form; other internal publications; advertising; trade literature; product manuals; catalogs; training manuals and employee handbooks; company annual reports; convention programs and materials; films; materials relating to employee incentives; vinyl records of radio broadcasts; scripts, pressbooks, and other promotional material for motion pictures; informational audio-cassete tapes; contracts, trial testimonies, and other legal papers; industry surveys and marketing campaign proposals; and clippings and printed materials.
Collection is arranged into thirteen series. Unless otherwise noted, material is arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Historical background, 1916-2001
Series 2: Corporate records, 1917-2010 (bulk 1973-1976)
Series 3: Marketing, 1941-2013
Series 4: Operational records, 1913-1976 (bulk 1969-1976)
Series 5: Financial materials, 1919-1996
Series 6: Personnel, 1922-1984
Series 7: Sales managers, 1922-1990
Series 8: Distributors, 1921-2006
Series 9: Publications, 1920-1999
Series 10: Product materials, 1912-2017
Series 11: Photographs, circa 1890-2000
Series 12: Press Clippings and Publicity, 1921-2010
Series 13: The Fuller Brush Man and The Fuller Brush Girl, 1947-1953, 2004 (bulk 1947-1952).
Founded in 1906 by Alfred C. Fuller in Hartford, Connecticut, the Fuller Brush Company predominately sold a wide range of cleaning products, marketed for personal care, housekeeping, and commercial users. Mostly a direct-selling company, it is perhaps best known for its independent, door-to-door salesmen, a figure referred to in popular culture as "the Fuller Brush Man." Calling on the housewives of America, the Fuller Brush Man would visit households with a gift, flyers, and a case full of samples, with which he would demonstrate the use of cleaning implements of various shapes and sizes. Through techniques such as developing new products based on customer feedback, and providing a satisfaction guarantee by allowing for product returns during the Fuller Brush Man's next visit, the Fuller Brush Company inspired new levels of trust and credibility in direct selling. In return, the company reaped massive profits. During the peak of the company's popularity, in around the 1950s, the Fuller Brush Man was a ubiquitous part of the American landscape, alluded to in comic strips, radio programs, and popular films, such as the 1948 Red Skelton comedy The Fuller Brush Man and the 1950 comedy The Fuller Brush Girl, starring Lucille Ball.
The Fuller Brush Company continually used its resources to promote and establish the identity of the Fuller Brush Man, to its own salespeople as well as the public. Traditional print advertisements were supplemented with extensive publicity coverage, carefully crafted by the Fuller Brush Company's advertising and public relations team. The company fostered a culture of achievable aspiration among new recruits, through in-house publications, which celebrated the accomplishments of fellow dealers, incentive programs, and a career ladder pipeline, which allowed high achieving salesmen to advance from independent dealers to regional sales managers--who were considered formal employees of the Fuller Brush Company. Some sales managers became local celebrities in their districts, adding their own charisma to the development of the Fuller Brush Man--such as New York District's Al Teetsel--whose "Fine and Dandy" personal motto established a cult following. Other Fuller Brush Company salesmen used the Fuller Brush Man's distinctive optimism, pluck, and perseverance to later become celebrities in their own right, such as evangelist Billy Graham, who attributed his high school days as a successful Fuller Brush Man to his future success.
While the Fuller Brush Company is best known for its door-to-door network of Fuller Brush Men, and its household products division, the company experimented with various channels of distribution and other specialized products during its over 100-year history. The Fuller Brush Company produced implements to clean guns during World War II, and in 1945 was honored with the E Award for its war effort contributions. In the 1940s, the Fuller Brush Company introduced female salespeople, or "Fullerettes" to their door-to-door ranks (mostly to promote their Debutante Cosmetics line, released by Daggett & Ramsdell, Inc. in 1948). The company returned to actively recruiting Fullerettes in 1966, and thereafter welcomed distributors of either sex. The company's Machine Division produced the mast for the sailboat "Columbia" in 1958, and in the 1960s, its Marine Division produced items for the maintenance of nautical equipment. Around the 1960s, its Household Division incorporated new items such as vitamins and hormone treatments into its personal care product line. The company experimented with retail brick-and-mortar locations, and, in 1974, instigated a telemarketing program. After 1985, the Fuller Brush Company began to move away from door-to-door sales techniques, redeveloping its sale channel distribution system to include mail order catalogs, a secure sales website for distributors, network-marketing techniques, and a reinterpretation of sales territories for distributors where district territories began to blur in favor of nationwide sales opportunities.
Founded in Hartford, Connecticut, the company remained in the region through the 1960s, though the company shifted locations to larger offices and manufacturing facilities as it grew. In 1960, operational facilities and headquarters moved to a large, custom-built campus in East Hartford, Connecticut. However, in 1968, the company was acquired by the Kitchens of Sara Lee, Inc. (then a part of the Consolidated Foods Corporation). During the 1970s the Fuller Brush Company experienced rapid changes in administration and organization. Under President Nat Zivin, headquarters relocated to Niles, Illinois in 1973. Later the same year, headquarters and operations moved to a large manufacturing facility in Great Bend, Kansas. The company remained a division of Sara Lee until 1989.
The Fuller Brush Company grew to involve multiple subsidiaries, including many that were international. The Fuller Brush Company established a wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary in 1921, called the Fuller Brush Company, Limited. In 1942, the Fuller Brush Company bought out a competitor, the Albany, New York-based Mohawk Brush Company. The "bristlecomb" hairbrush, introduced by the Mohawk Brush Company in 1928, remained one of the Fuller Brush Company's signature products. In 1961, the Fuller Brush Company founded and incorporated Charter Supply Corporation as a wholly-owned Mohawk subsidiary. Charter Products operated as a "private label" division, to rebrand duplicate products. The Fuller Brush Company also owned subsidiaries in Mexico; in 1968, the Fuller Brush Company held 100% interest in House of Fuller, S.A. and Charter de Mexico, S.A., both established in Mexico. Also in 1968, the Fuller Brush Company was a partial owner of House of Fuller (Jamaica), Ltd. The Fuller Brush Company conducted business around the world, including dealings in England, France, Jamaica, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Spain, and Venezuela.
With growth came legal challenges. The Green River Ordinance, established in 1931, placed limits on door-to-door sales. The Fuller Brush Company challenged the ordinance, when it went to the Supreme Court in 1937. Over the course of its history, the Fuller Brush Company weathered lawsuits ranging from trademark disputes to labor treatment complaints from area managers in Puerto Rico.
After the sale by Sara Lee in 1989, the Fuller Brush Company was held by a series of private owners, including Lee Turner and Stuart A. Ochiltree. In June 1994, CPAC, Inc. purchased the company. In 1995, CPAC, Inc. also bought a longtime competitor of the Fuller Brush Company, Stanley Home Products, a company founded in 1929 by Stanley Beverage, a former sales vice president for the Fuller Brush Company. The two companies became siblings under the same parent organization; items from the Stanley Home Products line were sold by Fuller Brush Company distributors, and manufactured at the Fuller Brush Company plant in Great Bend. In 2012, both the Fuller Brush Company and Stanley Home Products filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The companies merged their product lines and catalogs, eliminating equivalent products, to cut costs and streamline operations.
In December 2012, David Sabin and Chicago-based private equity firm Victory Park Capital purchased the Fuller Brush Company. The company headquarters moved to Napa Valley, California. Facing increased financial difficulties, in 2016 the company began to phase out its independent distributor system and domestic manufacturing operations. Around January 2018, the company was sold to Galaxy Brush LLC of Lakewood, New Jersey.
Alfred C. Fuller (January 13, 1885 - December 4, 1973), was founder and first president of the Fuller Brush Company, as well as the "original Fuller Brush Man." He was born in rural Nova Scotia, to parents Leander Joseph Fuller and Phebe Jane Collins. The eleventh of twelve children, Fuller took pride in the resilient and self-sufficient spirit he developed growing up on a Nova Scotian farm, and valued such qualities throughout his life over formal education. Long after his success, he promoted himself as an average man among average men.
In 1903, at age eighteen, Alfred Fuller left his family home in Nova Scotia, and followed siblings who settled in the United States. He moved in with his sister Annie and her husband, Frank Adler, in Somerville, Massachusetts. After a series of odd jobs, Fuller considered trying his hand at selling brushes (he was inspired by a brother, Dwight, who made and sold brushes before his death by tuberculosis in 1901). Alfred discovered a knack for trade; unlike many other direct salesmen at the time, his sales technique emphasized product demonstrations. Eventually, Fuller decided to make his own brushes. He set up a workbench in his sister's basement in January 1906. Four months later, he moved to Hartford, Connecticut where he founded the Fuller Brush Company.
The rapid success of the company, improved Alfred C. Fuller's romantic prospects. With the enthusiastic support of his sister, Annie, Alfred initiated a courtship with a Nova Scotian woman who had formerly caught his eye, Evelyn Ellis. They were married on April 10, 1908. However, the marriage was strained, and they divorced in 1930. In 1932, Alfred Fuller remarried. His second wife, Mary Primrose Pelton, was also Nova Scotian, the daughter of a judge from Yarmouth. They remained together for the rest of his life.
Alfred C. Fuller and his first wife Evelyn had two sons. Alfred Howard was born in 1913 and Avard in 1916. Both would later rise to prominence within the Fuller Brush Company, serving as its second and third presidents. The elder son, Howard, was Fuller Brush Company President from 1943 until 1959. From an early age, Howard challenged his father regarding the direction of the company. With his bold and aggressive personality, Howard was able to institute changes to the company that resulted in higher profits, such as distributing catalogs before the salesman's visit, shortening product demonstrations, prioritizing many small sales over few large sales, and developing other techniques that emphasized speed and efficiency. However, his temperament also contributed to Howard and his wife Dora's untimely deaths. Howard, always interested in thrilling, high-risk pursuits (such as driving sports cars, piloting airplanes, and racing speedboats and sailboats) was cruising through Nevada at 120-miles per hour for a business trip, uncharacteristically accompanied by his wife, when his Mercedes-Benz 300 SL blew a tire. Both Fullers died in the accident.
Following the tragic accident, Avard assumed leadership of the Fuller Brush Company. Avard's more conservative nature ushered in an era of leadership where his father, Alfred C. Fuller, rose in honor and influence with the company. However, Avard relied on traditional sales strategies (such as promoting a culture around the Fuller Brush Man, rather than take a more active strategy toward integrating female distributors) which placed the Fuller Brush Company at a disadvantage with competitors such as Avon Cosmetics. Avard served as President of the Fuller Brush Company until 1969.
Although Alfred C. Fuller never reclaimed presidency of the Fuller Brush Company, he remained chairman emeritus for the duration of his life. A treasured company figurehead, celebrations were held in his honor long after his retirement. In 1956, a testimonial dinner was held where a portrait of Fuller was unveiled in honor of the 50-year anniversary of the Fuller Brush Company. In 1965, Alfred C. Fuller was further honored, when his birthplace was dedicated as a historic landmark. Alfred C. Fuller was known as "Dad" Fuller to the thousands of Fuller Brush Men and Fullerettes who represented the company door-to-door throughout the country, and made frequent appearances in in-house publications and external publicity. Working with Hartzell Spence, Alfred C. Fuller wrote an autobiography, titled A Foot in the Door, published by the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. in 1960. A practicing Christian Scientist with a devout Methodist mother, Fuller frequently alludes to the influence of his faith in his autobiography. Alfred C. Fuller passed away on December 4, 1973.
Materials in the Archives Center
Stanley Home Products Collection (AC0788)
Earl S. Tupper Papers (AC0470)
Brownie Wise Papers (AC0509)
Ann and Thomas Damigella Collections (AC0583)
Industry on Parade Film Collection, episodes 66, 217 (AC0507)
Materials at the Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Libraries Trade Literature Collection, includes some Fuller Brush Company catalogs;
The Work and Industry Division, National Museum of American History holds artifacts from the Fuller Brush Company from previous accessions, such as hairbrushes for women and men (including bristlecomb hairbrushes); shower brushes; toothbrushes; combs; a military brush; brush holders; and similar materials. (AG.A.6645-AG.A.6653; AG.A.6656-AG.A.6666; AG.77-FT-15.0523; ZZ.RSN833134).
The Medicine and Science Division, National Museum of American History holds a general purpose cleaning brush, and a bathroom fixtures cleaning brush from a previous accesssion (2006.0098).
National Portrait Gallery holds a portrait of Alfred Fuller.
Materials at Other Organizations
Hagley Museum and Library, Manuscripts and Archives Department
Avon Products Inc., Records, 1880-2012
University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Archives
Columbia Pictures Records, 1934-1974 (collection #93555)
Includes materials related to the Fuller Brush man and Fuller Brush Girl, 1950.
Artifacts collected along with the acquisition of archival material are held by the Divisions of Work and Industry, and Medicine and Science.
Separated materials assigned to the Division of Work and Industry include a men's tie; buttons; ashtray; charm; and tape measure. See accession 2018.0089.
Separated materials assigned to Division of Medicine and Science include a bathing brush, a dental plate brush, a women's hair brush, a comb cleaner, and toothbrushes. Some items are maintained in original packaging, or are kept with original paper inserts. See accession 2018.0090.
Collection donated by the Fuller Brush Company through David Sabin, 2018.
Collection is open for research. Reference copies for audio and moving images materials do not exist. Use of these materials requires special arrangement. Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Watkins, J. Elfreth (John Elfreth), 1852-1903 Search this
24.28 Cubic feet (64 boxes)
This collection includes information about Samuel P. Langley and his colleagues, as well as documentation of Langley's work. The collection includes biographies of Langley and his assistant Charles Manly, newspaper clippings, correspondence, manuscripts regarding Langley's aircraft, photographs and drawings, work requisitions for the Aerodromes, a sketchbook, specifications and measurements for Langley's experiments, the Langley Memoirs on Mechanical Flight and the Langley "Waste Books."
Scope and Contents:
This collection includes information about Langley and his colleagues, as well as documentation of Langley's work. The collection includes the Aerodrome project waste books, biographies of Langley and his assistant Charles Manly, newspaper clippings, correspondence), manuscripts regarding Langley's aircraft, photographs and drawings, work requisitions for staff labor on the project, a sketchbook, specifications and measurements for Langley's experiments, and manuscript material from the Langley Memoir on Mechanical Flight.
The National Air and Space Museum's Samuel P. Langley Collection was drawn from several sources in the Smithsonian Institution. Parts of the collection were separated at undetermined dates from the institutional records of Langley's time as Secretary (now held by the Smithsonian Institution Archives [SIA], as the Samuel P. Langley Papers, 1867-1906, Record Unit 7003) for several purposes:
Design papers and notes from Langley's aerodrome project were used for restoring the Langley Aerodromes for exhibits beginning in 1917.
Correspondence from the papers was consulted when controversies arose between the Wright brothers and the Smithsonian, and over credit for the design of the motor built by Stephen M. Balzer and extensively modified by Charles Manly, which was used on Aerodrome A.
Technical drawings of the Aerodromes were drawn from the SIA in the 1970s for conservation purposes.
Other material was added to the collection over the years:
Correspondence, memoranda, notes and label scripts from Langley exhibits from 1913 through the 1960s.
Design notes and work records from Langley's workshop were stored with the Aerodromes in the Museum's collections, and were later transferred to the Archives Division.
Biographical material on Langley, and correspondence to the Museum on Langley and the Aerodromes.
Material from the foundation of the Langley Aerodynamic Laboratory (now NASA's Langley Research Center) in 1913.
In addition to Record Unit 7003, researchers may wish to consult these Smithsonian Institution Archives' collections:
Record Unit 31, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence, 1866-1906, with related records to 1927.
Record Unit 34, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence, 1887-1907
Record Unit 7268, J. Elfreth Watkins Collection, 1869, 1881-1903, 1953, 1966 and undated.
The Archives Division of the National Air and Space Museum holds the Charles M. Manly Papers, (Acc. 1999-0004). Manly was Samuel Langley's assistant in the Aerodrome project from 1898 to 1903.
Note: The digital images in this finding aid were repurposed from scans made by an outside contractor for a commercial product and may show irregular cropping and orientation in addition to color variations resulting from damage to and deterioration of the original objects.
The Samuel P. Langley Collection is arranged in the following series:
Series 1 - Waste Books: Langley and his staff used waste books - bound ledgers - to keep records of their work on the aeronautical projects, which Langley inspected frequently.
Series 2 - Scrapbooks: A collection of 18 scrapbooks containing newspaper and magazine clippings on "Aerial Navigation". Projects by Langley, Maxim, Lilienthal and many obscure aeronautical experimenters are included. Other clippings are included in Series VIII and XI.
Series 3 - Aeronautical Research and the Aerodromes: This series consists of notes, data, drawings and memoranda from Langley's aeronautical research at both the Smithsonian and the Allegheny Observatory. Subseries 2 contains material used in various Smithsonian exhibitions of the Langley Aerodromes. Some additional material is included in Series 11.
Subseries 3.1 - Design and Construction
Subseries 3.2 - Langley Aerodrome Exhibits
Series 4 - Correspondence: Letters and memoranda written by and sent to S. P. Langley and his assistants, C. M. Manly and J. E. Watkins. Additional correspondence is included in Series 11.
Subseries 4.1 - S. P. Langley Correspondence
Subseries 4.2 - S. P. Langley's Assistants' Correspondence
Subseries 3 - Miscellaneous Correspondence
Series 5 - Manuscripts, Papers, Articles: Manuscripts, published articles and papers by Langley and others. See also Series 11.
Subseries 5.1 - Works by S. P. Langley
Subseries 5.2 - Miscellaneous Manuscripts, Articles, and Notes
Series 6 - Photographs: Photographs, mainly of Langley's Aerodromes. Additional photographs are included with Series 11.
Series 7 - Trade Catalogues and Ephemera: Trade catalogues and price lists from various suppliers and dealers found stored with the "Aerodrome A" at the Museum's Paul E. Garber Facility in Suitland, Maryland.
Series 8 - Miscellaneous Files
Series 9 - Flat Boxes and Oversized Material: Ledgers, drawings, test data, publications
Series 10 - Shorthand Diaries: A collection of 37 notebooks containing notes in an unidentified shorthand system, dating from 1898 to 1902, with 8 notebooks bearing partial dates or undated.
Series 11 - Additional Material: After the publication of the Langley Collection finding aid, two additional boxes of correspondence, manuscript material, drawings and photographs were found in the Museum's rare book room, the Ramsey Room. This material has been included as a separate series.
Biographical / Historical:
Samuel Pierpont Langley (1834-1906) was an astronomer, a pioneer of aeronautical research, and Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution (1887-1906). As a young man, Langley studied civil engineering and pursued this as a career until 1864, when his interest in astronomy led him to positions at the Harvard Observatory, the Naval Academy, the Western University of Pennsylvania and the Allegheny Observatory in Pittsburgh. In 1887, Langley was named Secretary of the Smithsonian, and spent the following years in the research, construction and tests of flying machines. On May 6, 1896, his unpiloted Aerodrome No. 5, powered by a 1hp steam engine, flew nearly three quarters of a mile. This flight surpassed by more than ten times the best efforts of any predecessor. In 1898, at the request of the Army's Board of Ordnance and Fortifications, Langley started work on another design - the Great Aerodrome, also known as Aerodrome A. However, two attempts at launching the aircraft in 1903 failed. In addition to his scientific experiments, Langley's writings include Experiments in Aerodynamics and The Internal Work of the Wind, and the Langley Memoir on Mechanical Flight, published posthumously. Samuel P. Langley died in Aiken, South Carolina, on February 27, 1906.
A Timeline of Early Aeronautical Milestones and Samuel P. Langley's Life and Career
August 22, 1834 -- Samuel Pierpont Langley born to Samuel Langley and Mary Sumner Williams Langley in Roxbury Massachusetts.
1843 -- William Henson and John Stringfellow publish their design for the "Aeriel", a steam-powered "Aerial Steam Carriage".
1845 -- Langley begins to attend the Boston Latin School.
1847 -- Henson tests a model of his aircraft.
1848 -- Stringfellow and Henson build and test a steam powered model aircraft. It has a wingspan of 10 feet (3.5 meters), and it flies 131 feet (40 meters) before crashing into a wall.
1849 -- Sir George Cayley tests a towed triplane glider. In one test, it flies several yards with a local boy as a passenger.
1851 -- Langley graduates from the Boston High School; begins work as an apprentice with a Boston architect.
circa 1852-1864 -- Langley works for architectural and engineering firms in St. Louis and Chicago.
1853 -- Cayley's coachman flies a glider across Brompton Dale, Yorkshire. The coachman resigns his position after the flight. Cayley conceives the rubber band–powered model airplane. Michel Loup designs a powered twin propeller monoplane with a wheeled undercarriage.
1853-1854 -- L C. Letur tests his parachute-glider design. Letur is killed in a test flight in 1854.
1855 -- Joseph Pline coins the word "aeroplane" to describe a propeller-driven dirigible.
1857 -- Jean-Marie Le Bris, a sea captain inspired by the flight of the albatross, builds a glider he names the "Albatros Artificiel" and makes two short hops, breaking his leg in the second. Félix du Temple, a French naval officer, flies a clockwork model aircraft - the first sustained powered flights by a heavier-than-air machine.
1862 -- Gabriel de la Landelle coins the word "aviation", and later, "aviateur" - aviator.
1864 -- Langley returns to Roxbury. He begins work, with his younger brother John, on a five foot focal length telescope, which they complete over three years.
1864-1865 -- Samuel and John Langley tour Europe.
circa 1865 -- Langley is hired as observatory assistant at the Harvard University Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
January 1866 -- The Aeronautical Society of Great Britain (later named the Royal Aeronautical Society) is founded.
circa 1866 -- Langley is hired as assistant professor of mathematics at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. Duties include restoring the Academy's astronomical observatory to operation.
1867 -- Langley is named professor of Astronomy and Physics at the Western University of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh. Duties include directorship of the Allegheny Observatory. His tenure at Allegheny will begin his work at the popularization of science through lectures and writing newspaper and journal articles.
1868 -- Stringfellow builds a model triplane.
1869 -- Langley proposes a system of standard time distribution via the telegraph to railroads and cities. The Pennsylvania Railroad signs on for the service. Langley joins a U.S. Coast Survey expedition to Oakland, Kentucky, to observe the August 7th solar eclipse. He observes later eclipses in 1870, 1878, and 1900.
1870 -- The Allegheny Observatory begins twice-daily time signals to the Pennsylvania Railroad's offices. Other railroads, businesses, and government offices later subscribe to the service. The income from the system aids the operation of the Allegheny Observatory and Langley's research work. Langley travels to Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, to observe a solar eclipse.
1870 -- Alphonse Pénaud designs his rubber-powered "Hélicoptère".
August 18, 1871 -- Pénaud demonstrates his "Planophore", a rubber-powered model, at the Tuileries, Paris. It flies 40 meters (approximately 131 feet) in 11 seconds.
1871 -- Francis Wenham designs the first wind tunnel; it is built by John Browning.
1873 -- Langley makes a detailed drawing of a sun spot. Famous for its accuracy of detail, the drawing is widely reproduced for many years.
1876 -- Pénaud and Paul Gauchot patent a design for an inherently stable steam-powered full-sized airplane.
1878 -- Bishop Milton Wright presents a toy based on the Pénaud "Hélicoptère" to two of his sons – eleven year old Wilbur and seven year old Orville.
1879-1880 -- Langley designs and builds his bolometer for the measurement of the energy of incident electromagnetic radiation.
1879 -- Victor Tatin designs and flies a compressed air-powered seven foot long model.
1881 -- Langley organizes an expedition to Mount Whitney in California's Sierra Nevada Range for solar observations and other scientific studies.
1883 -- Alexandre Goupil builds a bird-shaped unpowered airplane that briefly lifts off in a tethered test while carrying two men.
1884 -- The U.S. Signal Service publishes Langley's report on the Mount Whitney expedition.
1886 -- Langley's interest in aeronautics is kindled by a paper on bird flight by a Mr. Lancaster at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Buffalo, New York. Lancaster also describes making small flying models which he describes as "floating planes" and "effigies".
1887 -- Langley designs and builds his large whirling table at the Allegheny Observatory for the study of aerodynamics; begins aeronautical experimental work. He coins the term Aerodromics for the art of building flying machines from the Greek aerodromoi.
January 12, 1887 -- Langley is appointed Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.
April 1887 -- Langley begins to build small Pénaud type rubber-powered flying models.
November 18, 1887 -- Langley is named Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution on the death of Secretary Spencer F. Baird. He retains the directorship of the Allegheny Observatory, dividing his time between Washington and Allegheny until 1891 when James E. Keeler becomes director of the observatory.
1887 -- Hiram Maxim, an American living in Great Britain and inventor of the Maxim machine gun, begins work on a large powered biplane test rig.
1888 -- Langley publishes The New Astronomy.
1889 -- The National Zoological Park is founded, due to Langley's support. A site in Washington's Rock Creek Park is selected by Langley and Frederick Law Olmstead. The Zoo becomes part of the Smithsonian in 1890, and is opened in 1891.
1890 -- Langley founds the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; its first home is in a wooden building behind the Smithsonian Castle. In 1955, SAO moves to Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1890 -- Clément Ader completes his "Éole', a full-sized airplane. It has a fifty foot wing span, and is equipped with a lightweight 20-horsepower steam engine of Ader's design and a four-bladed propeller. At Armainvilliers on October 9, the Éole lifts off the ground to an altitude of approximately one foot and skims the ground for about 50 meters (165 feet). Ader later claims a second flight of 100 meters in September, 1891; there is no evidence for the second flight.
March 28, 1891 -- First successful flight of one of Langley's rubber-powered models.
1891 -- Work begins on Langley's "Aerodrome No. 0", powered by two small steam engines. Construction is halted before the aircraft is completed.
1891 -- Otto Lilienthal, a German mechanical engineer, begins a program of flight research using piloted hang gliders of his own design. He and his brother Gustav will go on to design and build 18 gliders over the next five years, making approximately 2,000 flights. Langley's Experiments in Aerodynamics is published by the Smithsonian.
1892 -- Langley's "Aerodrome No. 1" designed and built. Not flown.
1892-1893 -- "Aerodrome No. 2" and "Aerodrome No. 3" are designed and built. "No. 3" is powered by compressed air. Neither is flown.
1893 -- A 38 foot scow is converted into a houseboat with a workshop and launch platform for Aerodrome testing. In May, it is towed down the Potomac to a point near Quantico, Virginia, off Chopawamsic Island. In November, "Aerodrome No. 4" is taken to the houseboat for testing.
November 20, 1893 -- Test flight of "Aerodrome No. 4" - it falls in the water.
December 7, 1893 -- Second flight of "Aerodrome No. 4" – it falls in the water.
July 31, 1894 -- Maxim's large test rig rises briefly from its support rails during a test run.
August 1-4, 1894 -- Octave Chanute and Albert Zahm sponsor the Conference on Aerial Navigation in Chicago, bringing together an international assembly of aeronautical researchers.
October 1894 -- Test flight of modified "Aerodrome No. 4", using improved catapult. Aircraft falls in the water. "Aerodrome No. 5", with a one horsepower gasoline burning steam engine, is also tested. It flies 35 feet for three seconds before stalling and falling into the river.
November 12, 1894 -- Lawrence Hargrave, an Australian researcher, links together four of his box kites, adds a simple seat, and flies to an altitude of 16 feet in the device.
1894 -- Chanute publishes his book Progress in Flying Machines.
1895 -- James Means publishes the first of his three >Aeronautical Annuals.
May 6, 1896 -- "Aerodrome No. 6" is launched from the houseboat's catapult; the left wing collapses and the aircraft lands in the water. Aerodrome No. 5 is launched at 3:05 PM and flies about half a mile in a minute and a half at an altitude reaching 100 feet – the first sustained flight of a heavier than air apparatus. In a second flight at 5:10, Aerodrome No. 5 makes three circles, climbs to about 60 feet, and is airborne for one minute and thirty-one seconds. The flight is witnessed and photographed by Alexander Graham Bell (box 45, folder 9).
June 1896 -- Chanute and Augustus Herring establish a camp at the Lake Michigan dunes near Miller, Indiana to conduct flight tests on a number of gliders – several of Chanute's designs, including his multiwing "Katydid", Herring's copy of a Lilienthal design, and a Chanute-Herring triplane collaboration.
August 9, 1896 -- Lilienthal's glider stalls and crashes from an altitude of about 50 feet. Lilienthal dies of his injuries the next morning. His last words are "Opfer müssen gebracht warden" - "Sacrifices must be made".
November 28, 1896 -- "Aerodrome No. 6" is flown from the houseboat – it flies 4800 feet in one minute and forty-five seconds.
July 1897 -- Ader completes his "Avion III", also known as the "Aquilon". It features two 20-horsepower steam engines and twin tractor propellers, and a wingspan of nearly 56 feet. The aircraft weighs approximately 880 pounds. Ader attempts a flight on October 14; "Avion III" is unable to rise off the ground.
March 25, 1898 -- Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt suggests the military use of the Langley "Aerodrome" to Navy Secretary John D. Long (box 40, folder 10).
April 6, 1898 -- Langley proposes a scaled-up version of the "Aerodrome" for military use to a joint Army-Navy board meeting at the Smithsonian. He requests $50,000 to build a large, piloted version of his earlier designs. The proposed aircraft is called the "Great Aerodrome", or "Aerodrome A".
June 1898 -- Charles M. Manly, a Cornell University engineering student, is hired as Langley's "assistant in charge of experiments".
October 1898 -- Major work begins on the "Great Aerodrome", also known as "Aerodrome A".
December 12, 1898 -- A contract is signed between Langley and Stephen M. Balzer of New York. Balzer is to design and build a 12 horsepower motor to power the "Aerodrome". On the same date, Langley writes to the U.S. Army Board of Ordnance and Fortifications, agreeing to design and build a flying machine. He estimates a cost of $50,000 to build his machine.
May 1899 -- A new, larger houseboat equipped with a turntable and catapult is delivered in Washington.
May 30, 1899 -- Wilbur Wright sends a letter to Langley at the Smithsonian, requesting material pertaining to aeronautical research. He says in his letter that he wishes "… to begin a systematic study of the subject in preparation for practical work." Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Richard Rathbun directs his staff to assemble a package of papers, including Langley's Story of Experiments in Mechanical Flight and Experiments in Aerodynamics. The Wright brothers receive the package three weeks later. They later credit the material they received from the Smithsonian with giving them a "good understanding of the nature of the problem of flying."
June 7 - August 3, 1899 -- Additional flights of "Aerodrome No. 5" and "No. 6" are made from the houseboat at Chopawamsic Island.
July 1899 -- Langley visits Ader's workshop in Paris.
July 1899 -- The Wright Brothers build a five foot biplane kite.
October 2, 1899 -- Percy Pilcher dies of his injury after his Lilienthal-type glider breaks up in flight.
May 1900 -- Langley and the staff of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory observe the May 28 solar eclipse in Wadesboro, North Carolina.
August 1900 -- The Wrights begin to build their first glider, a biplane design with a 17 foot wingspan.
September 1900 -- The Wrights arrive at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, to test their glider on the dunes. They begin test flights in early October.
July 1901 -- The Wrights return to Kitty Hawk with a new biplane glider.
August 1901 -- Langley creates the Children's Room, with exhibits designed to inspire interest in science, technology and natural history, in the Smithsonian Castle.
Autumn 1901 -- The Wright brothers return to Dayton and begin a program to develop their own fundamental aeronautical data, building a wind tunnel and a test rig mounted on a bicycle.
September 19, 1902 -- The Wrights complete assembly of their new glider and begin flights the same afternoon. They continue the flights through the autumn. After an early crash, continual modifications improve the design. Wilbur writes to his father, "We now believe the flying problem is really nearing its solution." On their return to Dayton, the brothers file a patent on their design.
July 14, 1903 -- The houseboat is towed down the Potomac to a spot opposite Widewater, Virginia, about 40 miles from Washington.
August 8, 1903 -- Langley's "Quarter-Size Aerodrome" makes a successful flight from the houseboat.
September 3, 1903 -- Work is begun on erecting the "Great Aerodrome" on the houseboat catapult.
October 7, 1903 -- The "Great Aerodrome", piloted by Manly, is launched by the houseboat catapult at 12:20 PM. The aircraft is snagged by the catapult launch car, and drops into the river. Langley was in Washington, and does not witness the attempt. The wreckage of the "Aerodrome" is salvaged.
December 8, 1903 -- The refurbished "Great Aerodrome" is readied for flight on the houseboat, now moored below Washington at Arsenal Point at the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. At 4:45 PM, the aircraft, with Manly at the controls, is launched. The tail assembly drags along the launch track, and the "Aerodrome's" tail begins to collapse. The "Aerodrome" drops into the river. Manly is briefly trapped by the wreckage, but cuts himself free and is rescued. In the aftermath of the crash, Langley is ridiculed in the press. Though the Army withdraws its support, Langley receives offers of financial support from businessmen to continue his aeronautical work. He politely refuses these offers and ends his aeronautical activities.
December 17, 1903 -- The Wright brothers make four flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The first flight covered a distance of 120 feet and lasted 12 seconds; in the fourth flight, the "Flyer" traveled 852 feet in 59 seconds.
June 1905 -- The Smithsonian's accountant, W. W. Karr, is accused of embezzling Institutional funds. He is later convicted and imprisoned. Langley holds himself responsible for the loss, and thereafter refuses to accept his salary.
November 1905 -- Langley suffers a stroke.
February 1906 -- Langley moves to Aiken, South Carolina to convalesce.
February 27, 1906 -- After suffering another stroke, Langley dies.
March 3, 1906 -- Samuel Pierpont Langley is buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, Boston.
May-October 1914 -- The "Great Aerodrome" is refurbished and is tested on Lake Keuka, Hammondsport, New York; the tests are conducted by Glenn Curtiss. Using the Manly-Balzer motor and mounted on pontoons instead of using a catapult launch, the "Aerodrome" makes several short flights, the longest lasting about five seconds. Later a Curtiss 80-hp engine is substituted for the Manly-Balzer motor and a flight of about 3,000 feet is made on September 17. The Smithsonian Institution later displays the "Aerodrome" with an exhibit label that reads "The first man-carrying aeroplane in the history of the world capable of sustained free flight." This claim causes a rift between the Institution and Orville Wright (Wilber Wright had died in 1912) that is not fully mended until 1942. The Wright 1903 "Flyer" is presented to the Smithsonian Institution on December 17, 1948. Today, the "Flyer" is on exhibit in the Milestones of Flight Gallery of the National Air and Space Museum's Mall Building; Samuel Langley's "Great Aerodrome" is displayed at the Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.
The Smithsonian Aeronautical Staff:
Langley's staff engaged in his aeronautical work as listed in waste books, drawings and correspondence:
The Smithsonian Aeronautical Staff
F. C. Bache -- Laborer with the U.S. Fish Commission, then located at the Smithsonian.
Carl Barus -- Formerly of the U.S. Geological Survey and the Weather Bureau. Hired in 1893 as a physicist; acted as the liaison between Langley and the Aerodrome project staff. Part of the crew on the houseboat.
Louville Eugene Emerson -- Laborer.
George L. Fowler -- An engineer, Fowler was hired by Langley to help design an engine for the Aerodromes.
William Gaertner -- Instrument maker.
Heed, Jr. -- Name found in a shorthand diary dated 1899 - presumably, a Smithsonian secretary or assistant.
Augustus Moore Herring -- An independent aeronautical experimenter and skilled designer and pilot of gliders; hired by Octave Chanute in 1894 and by Langley as chief assistant in 1895. Herring resigned (or was dismissed) in November 1895 and resumed work with Chanute. In 1908, he competed with the Wrights for the Army Flyer contract, but did not complete a finished aircraft.
Edward Chalmers Huffaker -- An engineer and aeronautical experimenter; built gliders based on the observation of bird flight; had delivered a paper at the International Conference on Aerial Navigation in Chicago, 1893. Recommended by Chanute, Huffaker was hired by Langley in December, 1894. He resigned from the Smithsonian in 1898 and went to work for Chanute.
L. C. Maltby -- Machinist, 1891-1899; assisted in motor design and oversaw the fabrications of the metalwork for the Aerodromes. Part of the crew on the houseboat.
Charles Matthews Manly -- Graduate of Cornell University (1896). Hired by Langley and placed in charge of construction of the Great Aerodrome in 1898. Piloted the Great Aerodrome on its two launch attempts, 1903. Manly resigned from the Smithsonian in 1905. He served as a consulting aviation engineer for different government agencies and corporations, including the British War Office, 1915; the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Corporation 1915-1919 (from 1919-1920 as the assistant general manger); and as a member of the US Commission to the International Aircraft Conference, London, 1918. Manly also completed and edited Langley's Memoir on Mechanical Flight which was published by the Smithsonian in 1911.
Charles B. Nichols -- Smithsonian cabinet maker (1890-1893), in charge of construction of the small rubber powered models.
R. Luther Reed -- Smithsonian carpenter foreman (1880-1904). In charge of construction of Aerodromes No. 5 and 6 following between Herring's departure and Manly's arrival. Worked on design of the Great Aerodrome and the second houseboat. Part of the crew on the houseboat.
B.L. Rhinehart -- Smithsonian mechanic. Built a small steam motor for Aerodrome No. 0 in 1891. Performed design work on an experimental gasoline motor, c.1896.
William L. Speiden -- Draftsman or designer (1893-1899).
John Elfrith Watkins -- Assistant engineer of construction with the Pennsylvania Railroad. Joined the Smithsonian as an honorary curator in the Steam Transportation section in 1885. Named curator of Transportation in 1887. He rejoined the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1892, and later worked at the Field Columbian Museum as director of Industrial Arts. Watkins returned to the Smithsonian in 1895 as the National Museum's curator of Technological Collections. In 1898, he was named curator of the Division of Technology. Watkins also served the Smithsonian as Engineer of Property, 1888-1889, and Chief of Buildings and Superintendence, 1896-1903. Watkins carried on much of the Aerodrome project's correspondence, and was the project's expert in steam engine design.
George B. Wells -- Smithsonian messenger (1894-1903). Most of the collection's shorthand notebooks (Series X) bear his name; possibly, he acted as Langley's stenographer.
William Crawford Winlock -- Curator, Bureau of International Exchange (1889-1899).
Parts of the collection were separated at undetermined dates from the institutional records of Samuel Langley's time as Secretary (now held by the Smithsonian Institution Archives [SIA], as the Samuel P. Langley Papers, 1867-1906, Record Unit 7003).
In addition to Record Unit 7003, researchers may wish to consult these Smithsonian Institution Archives' collections:
Record Unit 31, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence, 1866-1906, with related records to 1927.
Record Unit 34, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence, 1887-1907
Record Unit 7268, J. Elfreth Watkins Collection, 1869, 1881-1903, 1953, 1966 and undated.
The Archives Division of the National Air and Space Museum holds the Charles M. Manly Papers, (Acc. 1999-0004). Manly was Samuel Langley's assistant in the Aerodrome project from 1898 to 1903.
Langley Technical Files: The Archives Division's technical files are housed in the Archives-Library reading room of the Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Material on Langley and his Aerodromes are housed in folders in the technical files Aircraft Series and in the Biographies Series. Because material from the Samuel P. Langley Collection is thought to have been transferred into the Technical Files, these file headings are included here. In the listings, "Images Available" refers to digital image files available through the Archives Division's image database; these images may be viewed in the Museum's reading rooms.
Langley Technical Files: Aircraft Series Technical Files
Langley (Samuel P.), General -- Photos, Images Available. Folder(s): AL-198600-80
Langley Technical Files: Biographies Series Technical Files
Langley, Samuel Pierpont, general -- Documents. Folder(s): CL-094000-01
Langley, Samuel Pierpont (articles by) -- Documents. Folder(s): CL-094000-02
Langley, Samuel Pierpont (articles by/Aero) -- Documents. Folder(s): CL-094000-03
Langley, Samuel Pierpont (articles by/Aero) -- Documents. Folder(s): CL-094000-04
Langley, Samuel Pierpont (articles by/Astro) -- Documents. Folder(s): CL-094000-05
Langley, Samuel Pierpont (articles by/Astro) -- Documents. Folder(s): CL-094000-06
Langley, Samuel Pierpont (articles by/Rocket) -- Documents. Folder(s): CL-094000-08
Langley, Samuel Pierpont (articles by/French) -- Documents. Folder(s): CL-094000-09
Langley, Samuel Pierpont (articles on) -- Documents. Folder(s): CL-094000-10
Langley, Samuel Pierpont (articles on) -- Documents. Folder(s): CL-094000-11
Langley, Samuel Pierpont (articles on) -- Documents. Folder(s): CL-094000-12
Langley, Samuel Pierpont (articles on) -- Documents. Folder(s): CL-094000-13
Langley, Samuel Pierpont (articles on) -- Documents. Folder(s): CL-094000-14
Langley, Samuel Pierpont (Awards and Honors) -- Documents. Folder(s): CL-094000-15
Langley, Samuel Pierpont (Wright Controversy) -- Documents. Folder(s): CL-094000-16
Langley, Samuel Pierpont (Obituaries) -- Documents. Folder(s): CL-094000-17
Langley, Samuel Pierpont -- Photo Dupes. Folder(s): CL-094000-40
Langley, Samuel Pierpont -- Photos. Folder(s): CL-094000-80
Langley, Samuel Pierpont -- Negatives. Folder(s): CL-094000-85
Langley, Samuel Pierpont -- Images available.
Smithsonian generated, transfer, unknown.
No restrictions on access
Primarily published sheet music, plus some related ephemera. Originally included 781 boxes of American sheet music and assorted clippings, articles, photographs, etc.; also 93 boxes of 33-1/3 RPM phonograph records, 30 boxes of 45 RPM records, and 20 boxes of 78 RPM records
Scope and Contents:
Sam DeVincent organized his collection topically and the present organization is built upon his basic system. In the course of processing this huge collection organized into hundreds of topics, a set of more encompassing topical headings have been developed. For example, the series designation "transportation" gathers together DeVincent's topical headings of "automobiles," "railroads," "bicycles," etc. Each of these larger, conceptual, headings is considered a series and is given a series number. Transportation is series number 1. Each series will be described separately and a composite index will lead researchers into the appropriate series. Terminology is consistent with Library of Congress Subject Headings whenever possible.
Within each series, the topical headings used by DeVincent, or a heading of similar level and type, receive sub-series numbers. For example, "railroads" is part of series 1, transportation, and is given the sub-series number 7. Therefore, "railroads" is designated as 1.7.
All of the sheet music has been placed in folders (from 1 to 45 items per folder) and given a letter of the alphabet. Within each folder, the music is arranged alphabetically by song title. A researcher searching the index for the song Wabash Cannonball (note that very few song titles are indexed) would be directed to "1.7 V." The researcher would then turn to the railroad section of the container list (1.7) and look for folder V and read the folder description.
Most of the sheet music is either a solo piano or a piano/vocal arrangement. There are very few orchestral or band parts and very little music for instruments other than piano. When the word "instrumental" is used in folder descriptions and titles, the music referred to has no lyrics and is for solo piano. Music for other instruments or ensemble parts will be mentioned explicitly in the folder description and usually indexed. Also, duplicates have not been kept in the file unless the sheet is particularly old or fragile (in which case one duplicate was kept if available). Sheets with slightly different covers, different ink colors, or variations in advertising matter are not considered duplicates.
In addition to the sheet music, the collection includes ephemera files corresponding to each series. These files contain items such as lists of sheet music, DeVincent's correspondence with other collectors, wire service printouts received at the radio station where he worked, his notes to be used for cross-indexing ("see also" references), and miscellaneous items relating to the topic. Some materials kept by DeVincent have not been incorporated into the ephemera files, for example most of the popular magazines, Fort Wayne Indiana newspaper clippings about non-musical topics, and some advertising matter.
The ephemera files are numbered with the same series and sub-series numbers as the sheet music. For example bicycles are 1.3 in both the music and ephemera files. A description of the ephemera file follows the sheet music container list. It is followed by an index to the entire series. Many topical headings not directly concerned with the topic of the series are indexed (for example "Women, images of" is an important topic in the bicycle sub-series). The author of each series description made the decisions about topics for indexing.
Series 1: Transportation:
Dates -- circa 1800-1980
Contents -- Series 1: Transportation contains circa 3,900 pieces of sheet music documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards transportation technology in the United States.1.1: Aeronautics1.2: Automobiles1.3: Bicycles1.4: Boats and Boating1.5: Horse-Drawn Vehicles1.6: Motorcycles1.7: Railroads1.8: Urban Transportation1.9 Ephemera
Series 2: Armed Forces:
Dates -- circa 1810-1980
Contents -- Series 2: Armed Forces contains circa 3,400 pieces of sheet music and song folios documenting the military history of the United States; there are only a handful of foreign imprints. 2.1: Pre-Civil War2.2: Civil War2.3: Pre-World War I2.4: World War I2.5: World War II2.6: Post -World War2.7: Naval History2.8: Marine CorpsEphemera
Series 3: African-American Music:
Dates -- circa 1828-1980
Contents -- Series 3: African-American Music contains circa 7,800 pieces of sheet music and folios dating from the 1820s to the 1980s; most of the material dates from after 1890. 3.1: Minstrel Shows and Blackface Entertainers3.2: Uncle Tom's Cabin3.3: African-American Folk-songs and Spirituals3.4: Songs about African-American/Vocal Ragtime3.5: Instrumental and Ragtime Music3.6: Ragtime Composers and Publishers3.7: Blues and Jazz Music3.8: Composers and PerformersEphemera
Series 4: Songwriters:
Dates -- 1817-1982
Contents -- Series 4: Songwriters: The song sheets associated with each songwriter in this series are generally arranged in the following order: General Songs; Ethnic Songs; Armed Conflict Songs or other Topical Headings; Ragtime; Instrumental; Musical Theater Production Songs; Motion Picture Production Songs; Specialized Song Sheets/Editions; Professional/Artist Copy Song Sheets; and Folios/Volumes. List: 4.1 - 4.217Ephemera
Series 5: Politics and Political Movements:
Dates -- circa 1817-1982
Contents -- Series 5: Politics and Political Movements contains circa 1,565 pieces of sheet music and song folios documenting the political history of the United States. 5.1: Patriotic Music5.2: Politicians and Political Figures5.3: Politics and Political Parties5.4: Ku Klux Klan5.5: Prohibition and Temperance5.6: Trade Union5.7: Women's RightsEphemera
Series 6: Moving Pictures and Movie Stars:
Dates -- 1911-1986
Contents -- Series 6: Moving Pictures and Movie Stars: 6.1 Academy Award Songs6.2 Child Stars6.3 Dance Folios6.4 Disney Productions and Other Cartoon Movies6.5 Female Stars6.6 Male Stars6.7 Movie Music6.8 Silent Films6.9 Songs About the MoviesEphemera
Series 7: Sports:
Dates -- 1834-1983
Contents -- Series 7: Sports contains 1,254 pieces of sheet music and song folios. Most of the sheet music is either piano or piano/ vocal arrangements. 7.1: Baseball, 1860-19767.2: Boxing, 1893-19827.3: Fishing, 1847-19627.4: Football, 1894-1978; undated7.5: Gambling and Games of Chance, 1891-19807.6: Golf, 1893-19537.7: Horse Racing, 1899-19687.8: Hunting, 1834-19517.9: Ice Skating, 1861 -1978; undated7.10: Olympics, 1932-19837.11: Ping Pong, 1901-19027.12: Roller Skating, 1871-1980; undated7.13: Skiing, 1908-19717.14: Sleighs and Sledding, 1846- 1967; undated7.15: Sports, Miscellaneous, 1866-19777.16: Tennis, 1893-1914, 1951Ephemera
Series 8: Geography:
Dates -- 1794-1987
Contents -- Series 8: Geography is divided into three sections: the United States, Foreign Countries, and Natural Features. The more than 13,000 sheets date from 1830-1987 and include undated sheets that are probably earlier. The series comprises 33 cu. ft. 8.1-8.49: United States, 1830-1987 (States)8.50-8.51: United States, 1830-1987 (U. S. Regions)8.53-8.89: Foreign Countries, 1794-1982 (Afghanistan - Italy)8.90-8.126: Foreign Countries, 1794-1982 (Japan - Vietnam) & (Foreign Regions)8.127-8.128: Natural Features, 1834-1980Ephemera
Series 9: Domestic and Community Life:
Dates -- 1827-1986; undated
Contents -- Series 9: Domestic and Community Life documents family, love, marriage, home, and social organizations. It does not include Health or Business items, which are included in separate series. Certain issues, such as women's rights, are in Series 2: Politics and Political Movements. 9.1: Adult Family Members, 1836-1985; undated9.2: Children, 1855-1971; undated9.3: Dolls, Stories, Toys, 1860-1984; undated9.4: Songs About and Images of Men and Women, 1828-1972; undated9.5: Home, Neighborhood, and Immigrants/Refugees, 1830-1980; undated9.6: Love, 1827-1982; undated9.7: Marriage, 1829-1976; undated9.8: Friendship and Social Organizations, 1838-1982; undated9.9: Age, Death, and Dying, 1834-1951; undated9.10: Domestic Art and Clothing, 1843-1978; undated9.11:Albums, Lockets, and Memories, 1857-1952; undatedEphemera
Series 10: Sacred Music and Religious Themes:
Dates -- 1822-1986, undated
Contents -- Series 10: Sacred Music and Religious Themes contains approximately 4,000 pieces of sheet music, much of which is traditional Christian music, but also documents popular attitudes towards religion in the United States. Note that the Christmas and Easter subseries include their secular aspects. 10.1, Adam, Eve, and Eden, 1882-197110.2, Angels, 1849-1961, undated10.3, Bells and Chimes, 1848-1956, undated10.4, Biblical Characters and Stories, 1876-1986, undated10.5, Cathedral, Chapel, Church, 1866-1966, undated10.6, Choir, 1880-193710.7, Christmas, 1828-1984, undated10.8, Devil and Satan, 1865-1979, undated10.9, Easter, 1872-1975, undated10.10, Evolution, 1925-196310.11, Heaven, 1866-1975, undated10.12, Inspirational Singers, 1868-197710.13, Madonna, The Virgin Mary, 1855-1953, undated10.14, Miracles, 1929-195910.15, Mormons, 1895-1933, undated10.16, Paradise, 1900-1925, undated10.17, Pilgrim, 1868-1938, undated10.18, Psalms, 1884-1980, undated10.19, Quakers, 1899-1940, undated10.20, Rosary, 1897-195310.21, General Sacred Songs, 1822-1982, undatedEphemera, 1899-1986
Series 11: Entertainment:
Dates -- 1841-1984, undated
Contents -- Series 11: Entertainment contains more than 12,500 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards entertainers and entertainment in the United States. Note that movies and some musical entertainment are also covered in Series 6, Moving Pictures and Movie Stars, and in Series 16, Country, Western, and Folk Music. Blind musicians and performers are in Series 17. 11.1: Early Troupes & Bandmasters, 1841-1944, undated11.2: Dance Bands and Orchestras, 1905-1964, undated11.3: Novelty Bands, 1901-195211.4: Male Singers (Individual), 1846-198111.5: Female Singers (Individual), 1845-197111.6: Duos and Groups (Male and Mixed), 1903-198111.7: Female Duos and Groups, 1896-196611.8: Child Entertainers, 1852-1927, undated11.9: Impersonators, 1904-198211.10: Actors and Comedians, 1853-198211.11: Theater, 1873-1973, undated11.12: Juke Box, Nickelodeon, 1923-198111.13: Phonograph, Records, Tapes, 1878-197111.14: Radio, Transistor, Wireless, 1898-198411.15: Television, 1931-198711.16: Circus, Fair, Zoo
Series 12: Plants and Animals:
Dates -- 1831-1984, undated
Contents -- Series 12: Plants and Animals contains approximately 4,000 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards plants and animals in the United States. 12.1, Trees, 1833-1969, undated12.2, Plants and Flowers, 1840-1979, undated12.3, Animals, 1831-1984, undated12.4, Fish, Mermaids, and Aquatic Species, 1832-1978, undated12.5, Birds, 1834-1976, undated12.6, Insects and Spiders, 1853-1968, undated
Series 13: Agriculture, Business, and Law:
Dates -- 1827-1985, undated
Contents -- Series 13, Agriculture, Business, and Law contains approximately 3,300 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards business, commerce, farming and food, finances, labor, law, and social order in the United States. The series comprises nine cubic feet, plus two boxes of ephemera. 13.1, Business and Jobs, 1927-1982, undated13.2, Farming, Food, and Tobacco, 1836-1986, undated13.3, Finances and Valuables, 1841-1982, undated13.4, Law and Social Order, 1858-1972, undated13.5, Public Services and Utilities, 1836-1984, undatedEphemera, 1901-1987, undated
Series 14: Calendar, Time, and Weather:
Dates -- 1811-1980, undated
Contents -- Series 14, Calendar, Time, and Weather contains approximately 1,800 pieces of sheet music, documenting attitudes toward and consequences of natural events. The four seasons comprise the larger part. 14.1, Years, 1880-1945, undated14.2, Seasons, 1850-1978, undated14.3, Months, 1855-1978, undated14.4, Days of the Week, 1853-196514.5, Clocks and Time, 1844-1967, undated14.6, Weather, 1911-1980, undatedEphemera, 1952-1982, undated
Series 15: Holidays and Celebrations:
Dates -- 1847-1982, undated
Contents -- Series 15, Holidays and Celebrations contains approximately 500 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards holidays, celebrations, and travel in the United States. Note that Christmas items are in Series 10, Sacred Music and Religious Themes, subseries 7. 15.1, Holiday, Travel, Vacation, 1866-198215.2, Carnival, 1847-1937, undated15.3, Mardi Gras, 1892-1958, undated15.4, Masquerade, 1900-1973, undated.15.5, Halloween, 1853-1962, undated.15.6, Thanksgiving, 1853-1974, undated.15.7, New Year, 1852-1970, undated15.8, Park, 1869-1969, undated15.9, Picnic, 1854-1964, undated15.10, Rolling Chairs, 1905-1923, undatedEphemera
Series 16: Country, Western, and Folk Music:
Dates -- 1839-1986, undated
Contents -- Series 16: Country, Western, and Folk Music, contains approximately 11,500 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards country, western, and folk music in the United States. The dates always refer to copyright of the music and not to the subject on the cover, songwriter's life, or other events. There are 78 boxes of sheet music and 16 boxes of ephemera. 16.1, Individual Male Entertainers, 1911-1983, undated16.2, Individual Female Entertainers, 1902-1986, undated16.3, Duos and Groups, 1910-1981, undated16.4, The West, 1939-198416.5, Barn Dance, Fiddle Tunes, and "Turkey in the Straw," 1878-197516.6, Blues, Feuding, Hillbilly, Honky Tonk, and Yodeling, 1885-1975, undated16.7, Miscellaneous Songs, 1913-198316.8, Folios, 1914-1969Ephemera --subseries 1-7 and subseries 9-10
Series 17: The Human Condition--Physical, Mental, Behavioral:
Dates -- 1833-1987
Contents -- Series 17, The Human Condition--Physical, Mental, Behavioral contains approximately 1,000 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards the human condition in the United States. 17.1, Physical Health, 1833-1982, undated17.2, Happiness, 1845-1978, undated17.3, Crazy, Foolish, 1904-1973, undated17.4, Rubes, 1888-1938Ephemera
Series 18: Dance:
Dates -- 1812-1978, undated
Contents -- Series 18, Dance contains approximately 3,330 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards dance in the United States. 18.1, General Songs about Dance, 1882-1967, undated18.2, Ballroom Dancers and Dance Institute, 1840-1951, undated18.3, Charleston, 1923-196418.4, Fox Trot, 1913-193218.5, Galop, 1842-1924, undated18.6, Gavotte, 1874-1978, undated18.7, Jigs and Reels, 1891-1951, undated18.8, Lancers, 1857-1903, undated18.9, Maxixe, 1913-1914, undated18.10, Mazurka, 1854-1940, undated18.11, Minuet, 1875-1968, undated18.12, One Step, 1910-192118.13, Polka, 1845-1975, undated18.14, Quadrilles, 1831-1883, undated18.15, Redowa, 1853-1908, undated18.16, Schottische, 1850-1944, undated18.17, Skirt Dance, 1891-1893, undated18.18, Square Dance, 1926-196418.19, Tango, 1909-195218.20, Three Step, 1903-191318.21, Two Step, 1894-192518.22, Varsova, 1851-1917, undated18.23, Waltz, 1812-1968, undated18.24, Folios, 1888-1953, undatedEphemera
Series 19: Art and Literature:
Dates -- 1830-1977, undated
Contents -- Series 19, Art and Literature contains approximately 860 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting popular attitudes towards art and literature in the United States. 19.1, Art and Artists, 1839-1977, undated19.2, Cover Artists and Early Lithograph Covers, 1830-1931, undated19.3, Photography, 1848-196619.4, Carving and Whittling, 1906-194719.5, Books, Diary, and Stories, 1849-198319.6, Poets and Poetry, 1836-1969, undated Ephemera Index
Series 20: Newspapers:
Dates -- 1844-1968, undated
Contents -- Series 20, Newspapers, 1844-1968, contains materials documenting the business of and popular attitudes towards newspapers in the United States. 20.1, Songs about Advertising, the News and the Press20.2, Songs published by Newspapers or about serialized stories20.3, Songs about Newsboys and Newsgirls20.4, Cartoons, Cartoonists, and Comics20.5, Newspaper and Magazine SupplementsEphemera
Series 21: Musical Instruments:
Dates -- 1824-1981 and undated
Contents -- Series 21, Musical Instruments, 1824-1981, undated, contains approximately 4,900 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards the playing of music in the United States. Numerous teaching manuals are included.21.1, Accordion, 1902-1964, undated21.2, Banjo, 1853-1975, undated21.3, Cello, 1891-1935, undated21.4, Clarinet, 1905-1958, undated21.5, Concertina, 1905-1941, undated21.6, Cornet, 1848-1924, undated21.7, Double Bass, 1939-195521.8, Drums, 1867-1971, undated21.9, Fiddle, 1893-1981, undated21.10, Flute, 1847-1936, undated21.11, Guitar, 1824-1977, undated21.12, Harmonica, 1904-1974, undated21.13, Harp, 1866-1976, undated21.14, Hurdy Gurdy, 1899-196921.15, Mandolin, 1843-1954, undated21.16, Music Boxes, 1848-1979, undated21.17, Organ, 1856-1973, undated21.18, Saxophone, 1907-195321.19, Tambourine, 1854-196021.20, Trombone, 1906-195721.21, Trumpet, 1904-1945, undated21.22, Ukulele, 1915-1964, undated21.23, Violin, 1843-1957, undated21.24, Zither, 1970-1951, undated21.25, Various Instruments, 1835-1968, undatedEphemera
Series 22: American Indian:
Contents -- Series 22: American Indian
Dates -- 1899-1975
Series 23: Universe:
Contents -- Series 23: Universe
Dates -- 1842-1970
Series 24: Education:
Contents -- Series 24: Education
Dates -- 1834-1964
Series 25: Vocal:
Contents -- Series 25: Vocal
Series 26: General Sheet Music:
Contents -- Series 26: General Sheet Music
Series 27: Gypsies:
Contents -- Series 27: Gypsies
Series 28: Opera:
Contents -- Series 28: Opera
Series 29: Piano:
Contents -- Series 29: Piano
Series 30: Marches and Quicksteps:
Contents -- Series 30: Marches and Quicksteps
Series 31: Dialects:
Contents -- Series 31: Dialects
Series 32: Christopher Columbus:
Contents -- Series 32: Christopher Columbus
Series 33: Reveries:
Contents -- Series 33: Reveries
Series 34: Indiana Publishers:
Contents -- Series 34: Indiana Publishers
Series 35: Sam DeVincent Personal Papers:
Contents -- Series 35: Sam DeVincent Personal Papers
Series 36: Folios and Songbooks:
Contents -- Series 36: Folios and Songbooks
Series 37: Other Materials:
Contents -- Series 37: Other Materials
Dates -- 1853-1976
Additional Topical Series:
An updated list of DeVincent topical series is available via the Smithsonian finding aid portal.
The collection is arranged into topical series.
Sam DeVincent was born January 8, 1918 and lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana for most of his life. DeVincent collected sheet music and related materials during most of his lifetime. His interest included both the music and the cover art. Because he had little money to support his collecting, DeVincent gathered most of his material through careful searches and travel.
DeVincent and his wife used much of the music he collected in their musical group "Nancy Lee and the Hilltoppers." The group performed regularly on radio station WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana, from 1945 to 1955. After 1955 (and the emergence of rock and roll), "Nancy Lee and the Hilltoppers" played only once a week on the radio station. At this time, Mr. DeVincent worked as an all-night disc jockey at WOWO. In 1960 he became music director and music librarian at the station. His position as music librarian helped him to add to his collection, especially the phonograph recordings (many promotional copies are included).
DeVincent retired from WOWO in 1983. He and his wife continued to perform publicly including a weekly radio show on WOWO. The National Museum of American History acquired the DeVincent collection in the spring of 1988. Sam DeVincent passed away November 29, 1997.
Materials in Other Organizations:
Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
The Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music contains approximately 24,000 pieces of sheet music, songbooks, and folios. DeVincent arranged his collection into categories based on either personal names of musicians or performers or on subjects he defined that were as diverse as the American Red Cross and Halloween. The Lilly Library has maintained this arrangement.
All the sheet music in the DeVincent collection is listed in the IN Harmony: Sheet Music from Indiana: Lilly Library web site. Digitized images are available for some items.
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History:
Donald J. Stubblebine Collection of Musical Theater and Motion Picture Sheet Music and Reference Material, 1843-2010 (AC1211)
This collection was purchased by the Smithsonian Institution in 1988 from Sam and Nancy Lee DeVincent.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
This collection contains John and Ann Fischer's correspondence, field notes, manuscripts, microfilm, sound recordings, and photographs relating to their work in Micronesia, Japan, and New England. Most of the materials in this collection were produced or collected by John. Although some materials have been identified as Ann's work, not all folders containing her notes have been so identified. Since John and Ann often collaborated, some of their notes are also intermixed. Materials relating to Truk and Ponape make up the bulk of the series. They not only include John and Ann's field notes but also administrative materials relating to John's position as District Anthropologist and District Island Affairs Officer. Because they returned at various times to visit and update data, there are documents on Ponape from 1949 as well as from the 1970s and in between. The Fischers' work in Japan is also well-represented in the collection along with their research for John and Beatrice Whiting's Six Cultures Project. The collection also contains a number of psychological tests administered by John and Ann during their research in Ponape and Japan. The sound recordings are mostly related to Ponape, with additional recordings from Japan. Several of the photographs are from Micronesia, some of which were taken by Harry Clifford Fassett. There are also some photos from Japan as well as personal photographs. Additional items in the collection include John's correspondence and papers he wrote as a student.
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains John and Ann Fischer's correspondence, field notes, manuscripts, microfilm, sound recordings, and photographs relating to their work in Micronesia, Japan, and New England. Most of the materials in this collection were produced or collected by John. Although some materials have been identified as Ann's work, not all folders containing her notes have been so identified. Since John and Ann often collaborated, some of their notes are also intermixed.
Materials relating to Truk and Ponape make up the bulk of the series. They not only include John and Ann's field notes but also administrative materials relating to John's position as District Anthropologist and District Island Affairs Officer. Because they returned at various times to visit and update data, there are documents on Ponape from 1949 as well as from the 1970s and in between. The Fischers' work in Japan is also well-represented in the collection along with their research for John and Beatrice Whiting's Six Cultures Project.
The sound recordings are also mostly related to Ponape, with additional recordings from Japan. Several of the photographs are from Micronesia, some of which were taken by Harry Clifford Fassett. There are also some photos from Japan as well as personal photographs. Additional items in the collection include John's correspondence and papers he wrote as a student. Psychological tests administered by John and Ann during their research in Ponape and Japan are also in the collection.
This collection is arranged in 9 series: (1) Records and correspondence, 1948-1985; (2) Truk, 1949-1984 [Bulk 1949-1953]; (3) Ponape, 1839-1984 [Bulk 1947-1984]; (4) New England, 1954-1968 [Bulk 1955-1968]; (5) Japan, 1940-1985 [Bulk 1961-1964]; (6) Academic Work, 1946-1974; (7) Photographs, 1899-1974 [Bulk 1942-1974]; (8) Microfilm, undated; (9) Sound Recordings, 1947-1976 [Bulk 1959-1976]
Ann Kindrick Fischer was born on May 22, 1919 in Kansas City. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Kansas with a B.A. in Sociology in 1941. During World War II she lived in Washington, D.C. working as registrar at the School of Advanced International Studies. At the time she was briefly married to her first husband, James Meredith.
In 1946 Ann entered Radcliffe College's graduate program in the Department of Anthropology. As a student at Radcliffe, she met John Fischer, who was a student at Harvard. In 1949 she traveled to the Caroline Islands to study Trukese mother and child training and to marry John, who had obtained a position as District Anthropologist of the U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. During their time in Micronesia, the two lived a year in Truk and three years in Ponape. While in Ponape, Ann taught English in a middle school as part of her anthropological research. She completed her dissertation, "The Role of the Trukese Mother and Its Effect on Child Training," and was awarded her Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1957.
Her interest in childrearing continued when she returned to Massachusetts from Micronesia. From 1954 to 1957, she worked as a research assistant on the Ford Foundation Six Cultures Project under the direction of John and Beatrice Whiting. Ann and her husband collaborated in a study of children in a New England town, which resulted in their 1963 article "The New Englanders of Orchard Town, USA." In 1961 and 1962, Ann and John worked together again to study childrearing in Japan, focusing on psychology and family life. When they returned from Japan, they did a follow-up study of a Japanese community in San Mateo, California.
In 1959, Ann became the first anthropologist to hold a training fellowship in biostatistics and epidemiology at Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She joined their faculty and also taught at the Tulane School of Social Work (1960-1966) and the Anthropology Department of Newcomb College (1968-1971). In addition, Ann served as consultant to the Peace Corps on Micronesia.
Although she continued to write extensively on families and children throughout her career, her interests also included medicine, the role of women, and minority rights. She particularly became interested in the Houma Indians, publishing her article "History and Current Status of the Houma Indians" in 1965. An active supporter of the Houma Indians, she played an integral role in eliminating segregation in the school system in their area.
On April 22, 1971 Ann died of cancer at the age of 51.
Edmonson, Munro S. "Ann Kindrick Fischer." -- Women Anthropologists: Selected Biographies -- . Ed. Ute Gacs, -- et al. -- Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1989.
Halpern, Katherine Spencer. "Ann Fischer 1919-1971." -- American Anthropologist -- , New Series, Vol. 75, No. 1. (Feb., 1973), pp. 292-294.
Marshall, M. and M. Ward. "John (Jack) Fischer (1923-1985)." -- American Anthropologist -- , New Series, Vol.89, No.1 (Mar., 1987) 134-136.
John Lyle Fischer was born in Kewanee, Illinois on July 9, 1923. His undergraduate work began at Harvard in 1940 but was interrupted by his military service during World War II. During the war he studied Japanese and served as both an interpreter and translator in the Marines. Following the war he returned to Harvard to complete his B.A. in 1946. His undergraduate honors thesis was entitled "Japanese Linguistic Morphology in Relation to Basic Cultural Traits."
John continued on at Harvard for his graduate studies in the Department of Social Relations, earning his Masters degree in Anthropology in 1949. That same year he married Ann Kindrick Meredith on his birthday. The two were stationed in Micronesia where John served as District Anthropologist (1949-1951) for the Naval Administration and later as the District Island Affairs Officer (1951-1953) under the Interior Department Administration.
When he and his family moved back to Massachusetts, he returned to his academic studies at Harvard. Drawing upon his fieldwork in Micronesia, he completed his dissertation, "Language and Folktale in Truk and Ponape: A Study in Cultural Integration," in 1954 and received his PhD from Harvard the following year. Work on the dissertation led to a lifelong interest in folklore and lingistics as well as Truk and Ponape. He revisited Ponape several times in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
From 1954 to 1955 John collaborated with his wife to study comparative child-rearing in New England. In the early 1960s, they once again conducted fieldwork together, this time in Japan, studying the psychological dynamics of family life. They later did a follow-up study of a Japanese community in San Mateo, California. Just before his death, John was planning another research trip to Japan.
In 1958, John obtained a faculty position at Tulane University teaching social anthropology. He served as chair of the Department of Anthropology from 1969 to 1971 and taught at the university until his death. By 1979 Fischer had learned Russian and taught for a year at the University of Leningrad. Fischer was also a Visiting Professor at the University of Pittsburgh in 1975 to 1976. In addition, he was active in various professional societies and consulted with several national organizations. He was co-author of 8 books as well as author of many articles and book chapters.
Following Ann's death from cancer, Fischer married Simonne Cholin Sanzenbach, who was also a professor at Tulane, in 1973. They shared many interests and published an article together in Japanese, "The Nature of Speech According to French Proverbs," in 1983.
At the age of 61, John passed away on May 16, 1985.
More materials relating to John and Ann Fischer can be found in other collections at the National Anthropological Archives. MS 7516 "Documents relating to scientific investigations in Micronesia" contains the Fischers' 1954 East Caroline Handbook. More of John's correspondence can be found in the Southern Anthropological Society Records and in Saul Herbert Riesenberg's Correspondence series under the Records of the Department of Anthropology. The American Indian Chicago Conference Records contains Ann's correspondence.
Harvard University's Tozzer Library and the Bishop Museum also hold some of John's original Ponapean field notes.
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Richard A. Marksbury in 2013.
Access to psychological tests administered by John and Ann Fischer during their research in Ponape and Japan is restricted. Access to the John L. Fischer and Ann K. Fischer Papers requires an appointment.
Electricity and Modern Physics, Division of, NMAH, SI. Search this
220 Cubic feet (700 boxes)
The collection forms a documentary record of over half a century of the history of radio, with the greatest emphasis on the period 1900-1935. The collection includes materials that span the entire history of the growth of the radio industry. It is useful for those historians and other researchers interested in technological development, economic history, and the impact of applications of technology on American life.
Scope and Contents:
The materials accumulated in this collection represent the overriding collecting passion of one individual, George H. Clark. The collection forms a documentary record of over half a century of the history of radio, with the greatest emphasis on the period 1900-1935.
The collection includes materials that span the entire history of the growth of the radio industry. It is useful for those historians and other researchers interested in technological development, economic history, and the impact of applications of technology on American life.
In particular, the collection is rich in biographical information on the men who developed the technical aspects of radio and the industry; information on the inception, growth, and activities of radio companies, most notably the National Electric Signaling Company and RCA; and in photographs of all aspects of Radioana.
While most materials document technical aspects of radio, there is much information (e.g. Series 109, 134) on broadcasting and on the early history of television.
The collection, housed in over 700 boxes (about 276 linear feet), was organized into 259 numbered "classes" or series by Clark. Sixty series numbers were never used or were eliminated by Clark and combined with other series. The unused numbers are scattered throughout the filing system. The collection also includes material from series that were eliminated. These materials were never reclassified and are included as an unprocessed series at the end of the series descriptions. The collection also contains material that was never assigned a "class" designation by Clark (Lettered Series: D, E, F, G, H).
The arrangement of the collection is Clark's own; his adaptation of the Navy filing system he helped devise in 1915. Clark periodically revised the filing system and reclassified items within it.
Clark assigned class numbers to types of equipment (e.g. broadcast receivers), systems (impulse-excited transmitters and systems), scientific theories (circuit theory), and topics (company history, biography). Box 1 contains descriptions of the classification system.
When Clark classified an item and filed it he also assigned a serial number. This classification begins with 1 (or 1A) for the first item in the class and continues with successive numbers as items were added. As a consequence, the order of individual items within a series reflects the order in which Clark filed them, not any logical relationship between the items. Clark created cross references for items dealing with more than one subject by making notations on blank sheets of paper placed in related series.
Clark made cross references between series when there was no logical relationship between them; that is, when a person using the collection would not normally look in the series. For example no cross reference would be made of an engineer from series 87 (portraits) to series 4 (biography), but one would be made from series 87 to series 142 (history of television) if the item showed the engineer, say, working on a television installation.
Clark created the insignia "SRM" as the sign on the bottom of all sheets of paper numbered by him for binding. SRM stood for Smithsonian Radio Museum. This replaced the earlier though not greatly used sign "CGM." For a time about 1930, the class number on each sheet was preceded by these: "C.G.M.", for Clark, Martin, and Goldsmith, the earliest contributors to what would become the Clark Radioana Collection. After about 1933-34 Clark used C.W.C. for Clark Wireless Collection.
There are many photographs located in most series throughout the collection. But there are also three exclusive photographic series. Lettered series A, B, C. See index; and also series descriptions under lettered series.
The collection is divided into 223 series.
Numbered Series 1-233:
Series 1, Library Operating System, 1915-1950
Series 2, Apparatus Type Numbers, 1916-1931
Series 3, Photographic Lists, 1925-1928
Series 4, Biographies of Radio Personages, Technical Index to Correspondents in Series 4
Series 5, History of Radio Companies, 1895-1950
De Forest Radio Company, 1905-1930s
Jenkins Televsion Corporation, 1924-1931
Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, 1908-1929
National Electric Signaling Company, 1896-1941
Wireless Specialty Apparatus Company, 1906-1929
Radio Corporation of America, 1895-1950
Series 6, Shore Stations, 1900-1940
Series 7, Marine Stations, 1900-1930s
Series 8, Broadcasting Stations, 1910s-1940s
Series 9, Amateur Stations, 1910s-1940s
Series 10, Miscellaneous Information, 1911-1914
Series 11, Radio Antiques, 1921-1938
Series 13, Specifications of Radio Apparatus, 1910s-1930s
Series 14, General History, 1899-1950s
Series 15, Radio Companies Catalogues & Bound Advertisements, 1873-1941
Series 16, Log Books, 1902-1923
Series 17, Radio Companies' House Organs, 1896-1942
Series 18, Prime Movers, 1904-1911
Series 19, Batteries, 1898-1934
Series 20, Rectifiers, 1875-1935
Series 21, Motor Generators, 1898-1936
Series 22, Nameplates of Apparatus, 1928
Series 23, Switchboards and Switchboard Instruments, 1910-1935
Series 24, Radio Frequency Switches, 1905-1905-1933
Series 25, Transmitter Transformers, 1893-1949
Series 26, Operating Keys, 1843-1949
Series 27, Power Type Interrupters, 1902-1938
Series 28, Protective Devices, 1910-1925
Series 30, Message Blanks, 1908-1938
Series 31, Transmitter Condensers, 1849-1943
Series 32, Spark Gaps, 1905-1913
Series 33, Transmitter Inductances, 1907-1922
Series 34, Transmitter Wave Changers, 1907-1924
Series 37, ARC Transmitters, 1907-1940
Series 38, Vacuum Tube Type of Radio Transmitter, 1914-1947
Series 39, Radio Transmitter, Radio-Frequency, Alternator Type, 1894-1940
Series 41, Vacuum Tubes, Transmitting Type, 1905-1948
Series 43, Receiving Systems, 1904-1934
Series 45, Broadcast Receivers, 1907-1948
Series 46, Code Receivers, 1902-1948
Series 47, Receiving Inductances, 1898-1944
Series 48, Receiving Condensers, 1871-1946
Series 49, Audio Signal Devices, 1876-1947
Series 50, Detectors, 1878-1944
Series 51, Amplifiers, 1903-1949
Series 52, Receiving Vacuum Tubes, 1905-1949
Series 53, Television Receivers, 1928-1948
Series 54, Photo-Radio Apparatus, 1910-1947
Series 59, Radio Schools, 1902-1945
Series 60, Loudspeakers, 1896-1946
Series 61, Insulators, 1844-1943
Series 62, Wires, 1906-1945
Series 63, Microphones, 1911-1947
Series 64, Biography, 1925-1948
Series 66, Antennas, 1877-1949
Series 67, Telautomatics, 1912-1944
Series 69, Direction Finding Equipment, Radio Compasses, 1885-1948
Series 71, Aircraft Transmitters, 1908-1947
Series 72, Field or Portables Transmitters, 1901-1941
Series 73, Mobile Radio Systems, 1884-1946
Series 74, Radio Frequency Measuring Instruments, 1903-1946
Series 75, Laboratory Testing Methods and Systems, 1891-1945
Series 76, Aircraft Receivers, 1917-1941
Series 77, Field Portable Receivers, 1906-1922
Series 78, Spark Transmitter Assembly, 1909-1940
Series 79, Spark Transmitter System, 1900-1945
Series 82, Firsts in Radio, undated
Series 85: Distance Records and Tests, 1898-1940
Series 87, Photographs of Radio Executives, and Technical Types, 1857-1952
Series 90, Radio Terms, 1857-1939
Series 92, Static Patents and Static Reducing Systems, 1891-1946
Series 93, Low Frequency Indicating Devices, 1904-1946
Series 95, Articles on Radio Subjects, 1891-1945
Series 96, Radio in Education, 1922-1939
Series 98, Special Forms of Broadcasting, 1921-1943
Series 99, History of Lifesaving at Sea by Radio, 1902-1949
Series 100, History of Naval Radio, 1888-1948
Series 101, Military Radio, 1898-1946
Series 102, Transmitting & Receiving Systems, 1902-1935
Series 103, Receiving Methods, 1905-1935
Series 108, Codes and Ciphers, 1894-1947
Series 109, Schedules of Broadcasting & TV Stations, 1905-1940
Series 112, Radio Shows and Displays, 1922-1947
Series 114, Centralized Radio Systems, 1929-1935
Series 116, United States Government Activities in Radio, 1906-1949
Series 117, Technical Tables, 1903-1932
Series 120, Litigation on Radio Subjects, 1914-1947
Series 121, Legislation, 1914-1947
Series 122, History of Radio Clubs, 1907-1946
Series 123, Special Applications of Radio Frequency, 1924-1949
Series 124, Chronology, 1926-1937
Series 125, Radio Patents & Patent Practices, 1861-1949
Series 126, Phonographs, 1894-1949
Series 127, Piezo Electric Effect, 1914-1947
Series 128, ARC Transmitting & Reciving Systems, 1904-1922
Series 129, Spark Systems, 1898-1941
Series 130, Vacuum Tubes Systems, 1902-1939
Series 132, Radiophone Transmitting & Receiving System, 1906-1947
Series 133, Photo-Radio, 1899-1947
Series 134, History of Radio Broadcasting, 1908-
Series 135, History of Radiotelephony, Other Than Broadcasting
Series 136, History of Amateur Radio
Series 138, Transoceanic Communication
Series 139, Television Transmitting Stations
Series 140, Radio Theory
Series 142, History of Television
Series 143, Photographs
Series 144, Radio Publications
Series 145, Proceedings of Radio Societies
Series 146: Radio Museums
Series 147, Bibliography of Radio Subjects and Apparatus
Series 148, Aircraft Guidance Apparatus
Series 150, Audio Frequency Instruments
Series 151, History of Radio for Aircrafts
Series 152, Circuit Theory
Series 154, Static Elimination
Series 161, Radio in Medicine
Series 162, Lighting
Series 163, Police Radio
Series 169, Cartoons
Series 173, Communications, Exclusive of Radio (after 1895)
Series 174, Television Methods and Systems
Series 182, Military Portable Sets
Series 189, Humor in Radio (see
Series 209, Short Waves
Series 226, Radar
Series 233, Television Transmitter
Series A, Thomas Coke Knight RCA Photographs, circa 1902-1950
Series B, George H. Clark Collection of Photographs by ClassSeries C, Clark Unorganized and/or Duplicate Photographs
Series D, Miscellaneous
Series E, News Clippings Series F: Radio Publications
Series G, Patent Files of Darby and Darby, Attorneys, circa 1914-1935
Series H, Blank Telegram Forms from many Companies and Countries Throughout the World
Series I (eye), Miscellaneous Series
Series J, Research and Laboratory Notebooks
Series K, Index to Photographs of Radio Executives and Technical Types
Series L, Index to Bound Volumes of Photos in Various Series
Series M, Index to David Sarnoff Photographs
Biographical / Historical:
George Howard Clark, born February 15, 1881, at Alberton, Prince Edward Island, Canada, emigrated to the United States at the age of fourteen. He worked as a railroad telegraph operator for the Boston and Maine Railroad during high school and college. In his unpublished autobiography he wrote:
In 1888, when I was a lad of seven, I suddenly blossomed out as a scrapbook addict, and for years I gave up boyhood games for the pleasure of sitting in a lonely attic and 'pasting up' my books ... By 1897, in high school, I graduated to beautiful pictures, and made many large size scrapbooks ... Around that time, too, I became infatuated with things electrical, and spent many evenings copying in pen and ink the various electrical text books in the Everett, Mass., Public Library. Clark began collecting material pertaining to wireless or radio in 1902. In 1903 he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. During his last year of college he specialized in radio work under the instruction of Professor John Stone Stone and after graduation went to work for Stone's radio company, the Stone Telegraph and Telephone Company, of Boston.
In 1908 Clark took a competitive examination open to all wireless engineers in the United States and entered the civilian service of the Navy. He was stationed at the Washington Navy Yard, with special additional duty at the Navy's Bureau of Steam Engineering and at the National Bureau of Standards.
In 1915 Clark helped devise a classification system for Navy equipment, assigning a code number to each item. This system of classification for blueprints, photographs, reports, and general data, was prepared by Arthur Trogner, Guy Hill, and Clark, all civilian radio experts with the US Navy Department in Washington. In 1918 Clark adopted the 1915 Navy classification system for organizing the radio data he was accumulating. Clark created the term "Radioana" at this time. He began spending his evenings and weekends pasting up his collection and numbering pages. At this time he bound the accumulated material. It totaled 100 volumes.
In July 1919, after resigning from the Navy, Clark joined the engineering staff of the Marconi Telegraph Company of America, which became part of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) later the same year. His first work was at Belmar and Lakewood, New Jersey, assisting the chief engineer, Roy A. Weagant, in his development of circuits to reduce the interference caused by static (static reduction). Clark and his wife were assigned to the unheated Engineer's Cottage. His wife decided not to stay and left for Florida. Clark moved his trunks of wireless material to the heated RCA hotel at Belmar and spent most of the winter "pasting." As Clark mentions, "From that time on I was wedded to scraps."
After a year of work in New Jersey, Clark was assigned to the sales department in New York, where he devised the "type number system" used by RCA. This type number system, for example, gave the designation UV 201 to the company's first amplifier tube.
From 1922 to 1934 Clark was in charge of RCA's newly created Show Division, which held exhibits of new and old radio apparatus at state fairs, department stores, and radio shows. About 1928 Clark started an antique radio apparatus museum for RCA. RCA's board of directors announced:
Recognizing the importance of providing a Museum for the Radio Art to house the rapidly disappearing relics of earlier days, and the desirability of collecting for it without further delay examples of apparatus in use since the inception of radio, the Board of Directors of RCA has made an initial appropriation of $100,000, as the nucleus of a fund for the establishment of a National Radio Museum. A plan for ultimately placing the museum under the wing of the Smithsonian Institution was coupled with the goal of the Institution's gathering the largest possible library of wireless data.
Around 1933 the RCA traveling exhibition program ended and Clark started classifying his collected "radioana" material. The objects of the museum were eventually turned over for exhibit purposes to the Rosenwald Museum in Chicago and the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, when space was not forthcoming at the Smithsonian. A list of objects sent to the two museums (with tag and case numbers) is in Series 1, Box A. The "radioana" collection remained under Clark's care during the 1930s, and became of increasing use to RCA. Clark continued to add to the material.
Between 1934 and 1942 Clark was in court many times regarding patent infringements. Clark's wireless data was useful and he testified frequently, for example, in RCA's suit against the United States in the Court of Claims over the Marconi tuning patents and in the Westinghouse Company's suit against the United States over the heterodyne. Patent specifications and material regarding these and other radio industry suits are found throughout this collection.
In 1946 RCA retired George Clark and denied him space to house his "radioana" collection. Clark wished to remain in New York and house the collection somewhere in the city where it would be open at all times to the public and where it would be maintained. He hoped to continue cataloguing the collection and writing books from its information. He wanted to keep the collection under his control for as long as he was capable of using it.
George H. Clark died in 1956 and his collection was subsequently given to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1959 the collection was given to the Smithsonian's new Museum of History and Technology, where space was available to house it. The collection remained in the Division of Electricity until the spring of 1983 when it was transferred to the Archives Center.
Brief Company Histories From The Radio Industry, 1900-1930s:
At the end of the nineteenth century, when Guglielmo Marconi began his first wireless company, Western Union, Postal Telegraph, and the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) were the major enterprises in electrical communications. General Electric, Western Electric, and Westinghouse were the major producers of electrical equipment. All these earlier developments set the stage for the expansion of the radio industry.
General Electric, which dominated the lighting industry, was formed in 1892 as a merger of the Edison and Thomson-Houston companies. It was active in building central power station equipment; controlled nearly all the important early patents in electric railways; took a leading part in the introduction of trolley systems; and was the principal supplier of electric motors. Westinghouse promoted the alternating current system and installed the first AC central station in Buffalo, NY, during the winter of 1866-1867. After years of patent litigation, in 1896 GE and Westinghouse agreed to share their patents on electrical apparatus.
American Bell Telephone Company purchased Western Electric in 1881. Western Electric had a strong patent position in telephone equipment and in industrial power apparatus, such as arc lamps, generators, motors, and switchboard equipment.
Until RCA was formed in 1919, these established electrical companies played no active part in the early development of the American radio industry. They were in difficult financial positions, reorganizing, or concentrating their efforts and resources on improving their existing products.
The revolution in "wireless" technology, which began in earnest after 1900, centered in New York City, home of the Lee de Forest and American Marconi companies, and in Boston, headquarters of John Stone Stone and Reginald Fessenden.
Information in this section was compiled from the Clark Collection; the Invention and Innovation in the Radio Industry by W. Rupert Maclaurin, Macmillan Company, New York, 1949; and Radio Pioneers, Institute of Radio Engineers, Commemorating the Radio Pioneers Dinner, Hotel Commodore, New York, NY, November 8, 1945.
The De Forest Companies
Lee De Forest (1873-1961), inventor of the three-element vacuum tube or triode (1906) and the feedback circuit, was one of the first Americans to write a doctoral thesis on wireless telegraphy: "The Reflection of Short Hertzian Waves from the Ends of Parallel Wires," Yale University, 1899. The grid-controlled tube or audion of De Forest was first a radio detector, 1906-1907; in 1912 was adapted to an amplifier; and later to an oscillator. When it was perfected as a high vacuum tube, it became the great electronic instrument of electrical communications.
De Forest began work in the Dynamo Department at the Western Electric Company in 1899. Six months later he was promoted to the telephone laboratory. In 1900 De Forest went to work for the American Wireless Telegraph Company where he was able to carry out work on his "responder." However, after three months when De Forest refused to turn over the responder to the company, he was fired.
In the following year De Forest had a number of jobs, was active as an inventor, and created numerous firms to manufacture his inventions. In 1901 De Forest joined with Ed Smythe, a former Western Electric colleague and a collaborator in his research, to found the firm of De Forest, Smythe, and Freeman. Between 1902 and 1906 De Forest took out thirty-four patents on all phases of wireless telegraphy. The responder that he had been working on for so long never proved satisfactory.
The numerous De Forest companies, reflected his many interests and his inability to carry one project through to a conclusion. Unlike Marconi, but similar to Fessenden, De Forest had great inventive skill which resulted in a great number of companies; but none lasted long. The original partnership of 1901 led to the Wireless Telegraph Co. of America (1901), the De Forest Wireless Telegraph Company (Maine) (1902), and the American De Forest Wireless Telegraph Company (1903), to name a few.
The American De Forest Wireless Telegraph Company was incorporated after De Forest met a stock promoter, Abraham White. While many stations were built by this company, many never sent a message due to static interference. In 1907 two speculators from Denver with large holdings of company stock put the company out of business. The assets were sold to a new company that these speculators organized, the United Wireless Telephone Company. De Forest was forced to resign. He took the triode patents with him.
De Forest joined with one of White's stock salesmen, James Dunlop Smith, and together with De Forest's patent attorney, Samuel E. Darby, they formed a new corporation, the De Forest Radio Telephone Company in 1907. This company set out to develop wireless communication by means of the radio telephone.
In January 1910 De Forest staged the first opera broadcast, with Enrico Caruso singing. The Radio Telephone Company went bankrupt in 1911 following an aborted merger with North American Wireless Corporation. In 1913 he reorganized the company as the Radio Telephone and Telegraph Company and began producing the triode.
The Marconi Company brought a patent suit, claiming the triode infringed on the Fleming valve to which it had rights. In 1916 the court decided that Marconi had infringed the three element De Forest patent and that De Forest had infringed the two element Fleming valve. The result was that neither company could manufacture the triode.
In 1920 RCA acquired the De Forest triode rights through cross-licensing agreements with AT&T which had recently purchased the rights to it. De Forest's company was no match for GE, Westinghouse, and RCA. The De Forest Radio Company (1923) went bankrupt in 1928, was reorganized in 1930, and went into receivership in 1933. RCA eventually purchased its assets.
Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) came from a wealthy and well connected Italian family. He was able to spend his time developing his inventions and following his own course of action. Marconi spent his entire life developing wireless communication into a "practical" reality. In 1905 Marconi invented a directional antenna. In 1909 he shared with Karl Ferdinand Braun the Nobel prize in physics. And in 1912 he invented the time spark system for the generation of continuous waves. The principal patents in his name were improved types of vertical antennas; improved coherer; magnetic detector for the detection of wireless signals; and improvements on methods of selective tuning. Two other inventions of great importance to the Marconi companies' patent structure were the Oliver Lodge tuning patent and the Ambrose Fleming valve.
In 1895 Marconi made the first successful transmission of long wave signals. The following year he met William Preece, engineer-in-chief of the British Post Office, who was interested in inductive wireless telegraphy. This meeting led to the formation in 1897 of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company Ltd. In 1898 he transmitted signals across the English Channel. In 1899 an American subsidiary was formed. The various Marconi companies were the dominant enterprises in both British and American wireless until 1919 when RCA was formed.
From a business standpoint, wireless did not become profitable until long distance communications were accomplished. On December 12, 1901 in St. John's, Newfoundland, Marconi received a telegraph signal in the form of repetitions of the Morse telegraphic letter "S" transmitted from the Marconi station at Poldhu, Cornwall, England. This success, however, was met by opposition from vested interests, particularly the Anglo-American Telegraph Company whose cables terminated in Newfoundland.
So as not to restrict his company's future to one front alone, Marconi decided to exploit the field of communication with ships at sea. In order to control this field he decided in 1900 to lease his apparatus rather than sell it outright. This strategy did not work. Competition developed in Germany (Telefunken Corporation) and the United States (American De Forest and its successor, United Wireless) and Marconi was forced to sell rather than lease apparatus to the navies of various countries. He nevertheless retained numerous restrictions. This led to further friction. At the height of this debacle English stations worldwide refused to communicate with ships without Marconi equipment. This absurd and dangerous situation had to change and coastal stations opened up to all senders in 1908.
Marconi's system was based on spark technology. He saw no need for voice transmission. He felt the Morse code adequate for communication between ships and across oceans. He, along with most others, did not foresee the development of the radio and the broadcasting industry. He was a pragmatist and uninterested in scientific inquiry in a field where commercial viability was unknown.
For these reasons Marconi left the early experimentation with the radio telephone to others, particularly Lee De Forest and Reginald Fessenden.
National Electric Signaling Company
Canadian-born Reginald Fessenden (1866-1932), one of the principal early radio inventors and the first important inventor to experiment with wireless, left the University of Pittsburgh in 1900 to work for the U.S. Weather Bureau. There he invented the liquid barretter, an early radio receiver, and attempted to work out a means for wireless transmission of weather forecasts. After a squabble over patent rights, Fessenden resigned in 1902.
The National Electric Signaling Company (NESCO), primarily intended to support Fessenden's work on wireless, telegraphy, and telephony, was formed by Fessenden and two Pittsburgh capitalists, Hay Walker, Jr. and Thomas H. Given. It began as an inventor's laboratory and never proved successful as a business venture.
Fessenden recognized that a continuous wave transmission was required for speech and he continued the work of Nikola Tesla, John Stone Stone, and Elihu Thomson on this subject. Fessenden felt he could also transmit and receive Morse code better by the continuous wave method than with a spark-apparatus as Marconi was using.
In 1903 Fessenden's first high-frequency alternator needed for continuous wave transmission was built to his specifications by Charles Steinmetz of GE. In 1906 Fessenden obtained a second alternator of greater power from GE and on Christmas Eve broadcast a program of speech and music. The work on this alternator was given to Ernst F. W. Alexanderson. It took years for Alexanderson to develop an alternator capable of transmitting regular voice transmissions over the Atlantic. But by 1916 the Fessenden-Alexanderson alternator was more reliable for transatlantic communication than the spark apparatus.
Fessenden also worked on continuous-wave reception. This work arose out of his desire for a more effective type of receiver than the coherer, a delicate device that was limited by its sensitivity on a rolling ship at sea. In 1903 he developed a new receiving mechanism - the electrolytic detector.
As his work progressed Fessenden evolved the heterodyne system. However, due to faulty construction and the fact that it was ahead of its time, heterodyne reception was not fully appreciated until the oscillating triode was devised, thus allowing a practical means of generating the local frequency.
Between 1905 and 1913 Fessenden developed a completely self-sustaining wireless system. However, constant quarrels between Fessenden, Walker, and Given culminated in Fessenden's forming the Fessenden Wireless Company of Canada. He felt a Canadian company could better compete with British Marconi. As a result, his backers dismissed Fessenden from NESCO in January of 1911. Fessenden brought suit, won, and was awarded damages. To conserve assets pending appeal, NESCO went into receivership in 1912, and Samuel Kintner was appointed general manager of the company.
In 1917 Given and Walker formed International Signal Company (ISC) and transferred NESCO's patent assets to the new company. Westinghouse obtained majority control of ISC through the purchase of $2,500,000 worth of stock. The company was then reincorporated as The International Radio Telegraph Company. The Westinghouse-RCA agreements were signed in 1921 and International's assets were transferred to RCA.
The development of the radio industry accelerated after 1912. This was due to several factors, the most important of which was the passage of legislation by the US government requiring ships at sea to carry wireless. This created a market incentive and spurred the growth of the industry. Also, with the outbreak of World War I, the larger electrical companies turned their manufacturing output to radio apparatus, supporting the war effort. Three firms were prominent in this industrial endeavor: AT&T, GE, and Westinghouse.
AT&T's early contributions to this effort centered on their improvements of De Forest's triode, particularly in the evolution of circuits, the redesign of the mechanical structure, and an increase in the plate design. The importation of the Gaede molecular pump from Germany created a very high vacuum. The resulting high-vacuum tube brought the practical aspects of the wireless telephone closer to reality. By August 1915 speech had been sent by land wire to Arlington, Va., automatically picked up there via a newly developed vacuum-tube transmitter, and subsequently received at Darien, Canal Zone. By 1920 AT&T had purchased the rights to the De Forest triode and feedback circuit, and had placed itself in a strong position in the evolution of radio technology.
GE centered its efforts on the alternator, assigning Ernst F. W. Alexanderson to its design, and on further development of vacuum tube equipment for continuous wave telegraph transmission. By 1915 Alexanderson, Irving Langmuir, William D. Coolidge, and others had developed a complete system of continuous wave transmission and reception for GE.
As can be seen, both AT&T and GE were diverting major time and expenditures on vacuum tube research. This inevitably led to patent interferences and consequently, to cross-licensing arrangements.
Westinghouse was not in the strategic position of GE and AT&T. Nevertheless, during the war it did manufacture large quantities of radio apparatus, motors, generators, and rectifiers for the European and American governments. Postwar moves led Westinghouse into full partnership with the other two companies.
By the end of the war, all three companies had committed significant resources to wireless. They were hampered internationally, however, by the Marconi Company's dominant status, and in the United States they were blocked by opposing interests with control of key patents.
The US government also was concerned with this lack of solidarity in the wireless industry and over the British domination of the field worldwide. This impasse set a fascinating and complicated stage for the formation of the RCA.
Owen D. Young, legal counselor for GE, was instrumental in breaking the impasse. Through an innovative and far-reaching organizational consolidation, Young was able to persuade British Marconi that persistence in monopoly was a fruitless exercise, because of the strong US government feelings. Marconi, realizing the harm of a potential American boycott, finally agreed to terms. GE purchased the controlling interest in American Marconi, and RCA was formed. Young was made chairman of the board of RCA, while Edwin J. Nally and David Sarnoff of the old American Marconi were appointed president and commercial manager respectively.
On July 1, 1920, RCA signed a cross-licensing agreement with AT&T. The telephone company purchased one half million shares of RCA common and preferred stock for several considerations -- the most important being that all current and future radio patents of the two companies were available to each other royalty-free for ten years. Many provisions of these agreements were ambiguous and led to later squabbles between the RCA partners.
In May 1920 Westinghouse, which had an efficient radio manufacturing organization, formed an alliance with the International Radio and Telegraph Company (NESCO's successor). Westinghouse's part ownership gave them control of Fessenden's patents, particularly continuous-wave transmission and heterodyne transmission. Westinghouse also wisely purchased in October of 1920 Armstrong's patents on the regenerative and superheterodyne circuits -- which also included some of Columbia University professor Michael Pupin's patents. This placed Westinghouse in a strong bargaining position vis-à-vis RCA and in their new consolidated corporation. Westinghouse joined the growing group of radio companies on June 30, 1921. With these mergers, RCA agreed to purchase forty percent of its radio apparatus from Westinghouse and sixty percent from GE.
Through these and other legal arrangements, RCA obtained the rights to over 2,000 patents. These amounted to practically all the patents of importance in the radio science of that day. As a result, other firms in the radio industry, for example, the United Fruit Company and the Wireless Specialty Apparatus Company, entered into cross-licensing arrangements with RCA.
RCA also made arrangements internationally with the three dominant companies in radio communication in their respective countries. British Marconi, Compagnie Generale de Telegraphie sans fil, and Telefunken. Each corporation was given exclusive rights to use the other companies' patents within their own territories.
The rise of amateur radio in the 1920s and, to a greater extent, the demand for new products by the general public contributed to the rise of the broadcasting industry. This put a strain on the earlier agreements between the major radio corporations and between 1921 and 1928 there was a struggle over patents for control of the evolving medium.
An initial attempt by AT&T to control the broadcasting industry -- using its earlier cross-licensing agreements to manufacture radio telephone transmitting equipment -- began with AT&T's disposal of RCA stock holdings in 1922-1923. It ended in 1926 with a new cross-licensing agreement which gave AT&T exclusive patent rights in the field of public service telephony and gave GE, RCA, and Westinghouse exclusive patent rights in the areas covered by wireless telegraphy, entertainment broadcasting, and the manufacture of radio sets and receiving tubes for public sale.
In 1926 after the agreements were finalized, RCA, GE, and Westinghouse joined forces and established the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). Fifty percent of the stock went to RCA, thirty percent to GE, and twenty percent to Westinghouse. The new company was divided into three divisions: the Red, Blue, and Pacific Networks. Independent, competing networks soon emerged. William S. Paley and his family formed the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in 1927. The Mutual Broadcasting System was formed in 1934.
By 1928 RCA had strong patent positions in all major areas of the radio industry, including the research, development and manufacture of vacuum tubes and speakers. Most small companies entering the industry in the 1920s produced their products based on prior research by others and on expired patents. An RCA license, therefore, was essential for the manufacture of any modern radio set or vacuum tube.
In the late 1920s new developments in the reproduction of sound, produced significant changes in the phonograph industry. Among those new developments were the introduction of the electronic record, and the marketing of the Radiola 104 Loudspeaker in 1926. In 1929 RCA purchased the Victor Talking Machine Company. This changed not only the quality but the sales of the phonograph and the phonograph record. A new entertainment industry was born and an ever-expanding market for consumer products was created with cultural implications that continue today.
German industrialists were eager to break the Marconi Company's monopoly. Although Marconi had patents on his inventions in Germany, the Germans developed a rival system through the Telefunken Corporation, incorporated in 1903, based on the inventions of Professor Ferdinand Braun, Dr. Rudolf Slaby, and Count George von Arco.
Before 1903 the Braun-Siemens and Halske system had been developed by Gesellschaft fur Drahtlose Telegraphie (GFDT). The Slaby-Arco system had been developed by Allgemeine Electrizitats-Gesellschaft. After litigation over patents, the German court handed down a decision in favor of the GFDT. The Kaiser, with national interests in mind, ordered that the rivalry cease. The two systems were amalgamated under GFDT, and became known as the Telefunken.
Chronology of Some Significant Events In The History of The Radio Industry
1895 -- Marconi experiments with Hertz's oscillator and Branley's coherer.
1897 -- In March Marconi demonstrates his wireless system on Salisbury Plain, near London, and files a complete patent specification. In May trials of Marconi's system are made over water between Lavernock and Flatholm, a distance of three miles. On May 13, communication is established between Lavernock Point and Brean Down, a distance of eight miles. German scientist Professor Slaby is present. The first Marconi station is erected at the Needles, Isle of Wight. A distance of fourteen and one-half miles is bridged by wireless. In December the Marconi station at the Needles communicates with a ship eighteen miles at sea.
1898 -- In England Oliver Lodge files a complete specification covering inventions in wireless telegraphy.
1899 -- The New York Herald uses Marconi's wireless telegraphy to report the progress of the International Yacht races between the Columbia and the Shamrock off New York harbor in September. US. Navy vessels make trials of Marconi's wireless telegraph system. The cruiser New York and the battleship Massachusetts are equipped with apparatus. Fessenden develops improvements in methods of wireless telegraph signaling.
1900 -- The Marconi International Marine Communication Company is organized on April 25th in London. Reginald Aubrey Fessenden begins work at the United States Weather Bureau. Over the next two years he invents the liquid barretter, an improved radio receiver.
1901 -- In February on board the SS Philadelphia, Marconi receives wireless signals over a distance of 1,551 miles. In March Marconi wireless telegraph service begins between islands of the Hawaiian group. On December 12, Marconi receives transatlantic signal at St. John's, Newfoundland from Poldhu, Cornwall, England. The Canadian government orders two Marconi telegraph sets for use at coastal points along the Strait of Belle Isle.
1901 -- Fessenden procures US patent no. 706737 for a system of radio signaling employing long waves (low frequency). De Forest develops a system of wireless telegraphy in Chicago. 1903-06 10,000 to 50,000 cycle machines, 1 kW, are developed by Steinmetz and by Alexanderson of GE for Fessenden. 1905 Marconi procures patent number 14788 in England, covering the invention of the horizontal directional antenna.
1906 -- At Brant Rock, Massachusetts, Fessenden employs a generator of one-half kW capacity, operating at 75,000 cycles, for radio purposes. He succeeds in telephoning a distance of eleven miles by means of wireless telephone apparatus.
1907 -- De Forest procures a U. S. patent for an audion amplifier of pulsating or alternating current.
1908 -- Marconi stations in Canada and England are opened for radio telegraph service across the Atlantic. Fessenden constructs a 70,000-cycle alternator with an output of 2.5 kW. at 225 volts, for radio signaling purposes. He reports successful radio telephone tests between Brant Rock and Washington, DC, a distance of 600 miles.
1909 -- US House of Representatives passes the Burke Bill for the compulsory use of radio telegraphy on certain classes of vessels. The United Wireless Telegraph Company and the Radio Telephone Company of New York (De Forest and Stone systems) begin the erection of radio stations in the Central and Western states. Marconi shares with Ferdinand Braun of Germany the Nobel prize in recognition of contributions in wireless telegraphy.
1910 -- An act of the US government requires radio equipment and operators on certain types of passenger ships. The Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Marconi station is opened in September. This station communicates with Clifden, Ireland. The transatlantic tariff is seventeen cents a word.
1911 -- A radio section is organized by the US Department of Commerce to enforce the provisions of national radio legislation. Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company acquires the Lodge-Muirhead patents.
1912 -- Rotary gap is used with Fessenden 100 kW 500 cycle spark set at NAA, the Navy's first high-power station at Arlington, Virginia. Marconi Wireless of America acquires property of the United Wireless Telegraph Company. British Marconi secures the important radio patents of Bellini and Tosi, Italian inventors. Wreck of the SS Titanic on April 15th. The act of 1910 is extended on July 23 to cover cargo vessels. requires an auxiliary source of power on ships and two or more skilled radio apparatus operators on certain types of passenger ships. On August 13, an act provides for licensing radio operators and transmitting stations.
1912-1913 -- High vacuum amplifying tubes (an improvement on De Forest's), using the findings of pure science, are produced almost simultaneously in two great industrial laboratories, by Dr. H. D. Arnold of AT&T and Irving Langmuir of GE.
1915 -- De Forest Ultra-audion three-step (cascade) audio amplifier is announced and introduced into practice.
1916 -- GE and the Western Electric Company develop the first experimental vacuum tube radiotelephone systems for the Navy.
1917-1918 -- First production of vacuum tubes in quantity, both coated filament and tungsten filament types, by Western Electric Company and GE.
1918 -- Lloyd Espenschied procures US patent number 1,256,889 for the invention of a duplex radio telegraph system. (See Lloyd Espenschied Papers, Archives Center, NMAH, Collection #13.) The House of Representatives passes a resolution on July 5, authorizing the President to take over management of telegraph and telephone systems due to war conditions.
1919 -- Bills are introduced in Congress for permanent government control of radio stations. The widespread resentment of amateurs has more to do with the defeat of these bills than the objections of commercial companies. Roy Alexander Weagant, New York, reports having developed means of reducing disturbances to radio reception caused by atmospherics or static. This is the first successful static-reducing system. GE purchases the holdings of the British Marconi Company in the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America, the name of the latter company being changed to Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in October. Edward J. Nally is elected president of the new company.
1920 -- E. F. W. Alexanderson is appointed Chief Engineer of RCA. RCA begins the installation of 200-kW Alexanderson alternators at Bolinas, California, and Marion, Massachusetts. The Tropical Radio Telegraph Company, a subsidiary of the United Fruit Company, New York, operates ten long-distance radio stations at points in Central and South Americirca RCA purchases 6,000 acres at Rocky Point, Long Island, New York, and begins erection of a Radio Central station, comprising a number of operating units for communication with European stations and stations in South Americirca On May 15, RCA inaugurates radio telegraph services between installations at Chatham and Marion, Massachusetts, and stations at Stavanger and Jaerobe, Norway. Westinghouse Company's radio station KDKA, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, broadcasts returns of the national elections, November 2. Development, design, and manufacture by GE of the early receiving and transmitting tubes made available to the public by RCA (UV-200,201,202). Radio telegraph stations and properties taken over by the government under war time powers are returned to their owners at midnight, February 29. The government calls for bids for the sale of large quantities of surplus radio and telegraph and telephone apparatus purchased for war needs and not used.
1921 -- RCA develops Vacuum tubes UV-200(detector) and UV-201(amplifier) -- both triodes with brass shells known as the UV base, and incorporating a filament that required 1 ampere at 5 volts for operation -- for storage battery operation; and at the same time also released to the public the WD-11 for dry cell operation, which employed an oxide-coated tungsten filament. RCA station at Rocky Point, Long Island, opens on November 5. WJZ station established by the Westinghouse Company in Newark, NJ. RCA broadcast station at Roselle Park, NJ (WDY) opens on December 15. It continues operation until February 15, 1922, when its operation is transferred to WJZ, Newark, previously owned by Westinghouse. RCA installs 200-kW alternator at Tuckerton, NJ.
1922 -- First use of tube transmitters by RCA for service from the United States to England and Germany. RCA begins substitution of tube transmitters on ships to replace spark sets. RCA begins replacement of crystal receivers by tube receivers on ships.
1923 -- Broadcast stations WJZ and WJY opened in New York in May by RCA. WRC opens in Washington on August 1. The UV-201A, receiving tubes developed by GE and consuming only 1/4 of an ampere are introduced by RCA. Tungsten filaments coated and impregnated with thorium were employed.
1924 -- Edwin H. Armstrong, demonstrates the superheterodyne receiver on March 6th. In November RCA experiments with radio photographs across the Atlantic. RCA markets the superheterodyne receivers for broadcast reception.
1925-26 -- Dynamic loudspeakers introduced. Magnetic pick-up phonograph recording and reproduction developed. RCA opens radio circuit to Dutch East Indies. Direction-finders introduced on ships.
1927 -- Fully self-contained AC radio receivers introduced.
The collection was donated to the Smithsonian in 1959.
The collection is open for research use.
Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs, negatives, and slides.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
National Museum of Natural History. Marine Systems Laboratory Search this
4.5 cu. ft. (4 record storage boxes) (1 document box)
This accession consists of records that document research and collecting programs undertaken by the Marine Systems Laboratory (MSL) under the direction of Walter H.
Adey. Materials include correspondence, email, grant proposals and progress reports, meeting minutes, subject files and a small number of photographs. Of special note are
files concerning Space Biospheres Ventures (the Biosphere II Project).