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.
This collection is primarily the work of one individual, Donald Harvey Sultner, known professionally as Donald Sultner-Welles (1914-1981). The collection forms a written and visual record of Sultner's family, life, and career from 1913-1980. Its major strength is Sultner's photographic documentation of the world during his travels, ca. 1950-1980. Work by other photographers and artists, correspondence, greeting cards, and contemporary memorabilia and ephemera are included, along with fewer than fifty examples of earlier materials, ca. 1790-1900, collected by Sultner.
The entire collection reflects Sultner's lifework and interests. Housed in @ boxes (.W cubic feet), the collection is organized into eleven
series: Personal Papers; Professional Papers; Lecture Materials; Biographical Materials; Transparencies; Photoprints; Photonegatives; Prints, Drawings, Mixed Media; Audio Tapes; Miscellaneous; and Restricted Materials. The arrangement within each series is based as closely as possi-ble on Sultner's own organization of the materials. However, in several instances similar materials were found separated and have been placed together. In addition, obvious filing mistakes and spelling errors have been corrected. The spelling of geographic place names is based on Offi-cial Standard Names prepared by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, Of-fice of Geography, U.S. Department of the Interior. Not all names given by Sultner were found in the gazetteers, so there may be errors.
The bulk of the collection consists of 2-1/4-inch by 2-1/4-inch color transparencies (Series 5). However, the manuscript materials (Series 1-4) provide a detailed complement to the transparencies. For example, from the mid-1950s until the late 1970s, Sultner kept a travel diary (Se-ries 1). Written on the backs of postcards, this stream-of-consciousness journal reflects not only his daily trips, but his impressions of the countries and thoughts on his photography. A juxtaposition of cards with images is especially useful in understanding what Sultner photographed as well as why and how he photographed it. Sultner's professional corre-spondence (Series 2) documents the various types of groups before which he performed and equipment manufacturers dealt with for cameras, projectors, and so on. Notes, drafts, and final lectures (Series 3) present the performance side of Sultner. This material, when viewed with tapes of concerts and slides, begins to recreate the photo-concert as Sultner presented it. Scrapbooks (Series 4), kept by Sultner from the 1940s to the 1980s, present Sultner's life and career in chronological fashion.
The transparency portion of the collection (Series 5), containing over 87,000 images, is especially rich because of its documentation of the countries of the world. People are seen at their daily tasks, such as washing clothes, marketing, shopping, and eating. Cities are documented as they changed over the years. Two areas in particular will be of spe-cial interest to European and Asian researchers. The first is Sultner's USIS Asian tour in 1959. He visited Japan, Java, India, Korea, the Phil-ippines, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The serene, prewar cities and coun-tryside of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam evince nothing of the devastation to come in the 1960a and 70s.
The second area of interest is Sultner's passion for documenting archi-tecture. As a guest of the German government in 1954, Sultner documented the devastation of World War II and photographed both the reconstruction of bombed buildings and the construction of buildings reflecting "new" postwar architectural styles. In addition to photographing post-WW II styles, throughout his career Sultner documented Palladian, baroque and Rococo architecture. This interest manifested itself in several of his lectures.
A third subject area of interest to Sultner was gardens. Among his first lectures following his USIS tour was "Gardens of the World." Sultner de-veloped this theme into an ongoing commitment to ecology, culminating in a filmstrip, "The Time is Now" (Series 10), prepared for the Hudson River Conservation Society in the 1960s. Carl Carmer, a noted author, wrote the text for the filmstrip. Sultner's taped interviews, lectures, and program music (Series 9) complement the transparencies. During his USIS-sponsored Asian tour in 1959, Sultner recorded impressions of his trip on tape. Interviews with people living in the countries he visited, radio interviews, and his own personal reflections are included. Of particular interest are his "No Harm Asking" interviews in Manila (tape #2), his interview of two French hotel managers in Saigon discussing post-French control conditions (tape #9), and--perhaps the most unusual--his discussion with Erna Hanfstaengl about her personal relationship with Adolf Hitler (tape #107). Scripts for lectures (Series 3) round out the documentation of Sultner's profes-sional work.
Because of the arrangement of the transparencies, it is necessary to check several areas for the same subject. For example, Vietnam images are in the "World" section alphabetically under Vietnam (box 81). Sult-ner also lectured on Vietnam, so there are Vietnamese images in the "framed subjects" (Boxes 137-138). Another example, perhaps more compli-cated, but more common to Sultner, was his distinguishing between images of unidentified "People" and identified "Portraits." Transparency stud ies of human beings will be found under the subseries "People." "Subjects --Portraits," various countries in the subseries "World," and "Lectures." There are also individuals in the black-and-white photoprints (Series 6), and photonegatives (Series 8). The painter and print-maker Charles Shee-ler appears in a number of locations, as does tenor Roland Hayes. Another area of complexity with regard to people concerns the transparencies and negatives. Sultner interfiled his transparencies and negatives of iden-tified individuals. For appropriate storage, these two different formats have been arranged in separate series. Therefore, instead of container lists for the two series, there is a combined alphabetical index to both (pp. 166-206).
Of tangential interest are the photoprints (Series 6), etchings, wood-cuts, and other prints (Series 8) collected by Sultner. One particular subseries of interest contains photographs presented to Sultner by Asian photographers during his 1959 tour. Over 45 images were given to Sultner and represent the standards of camera-club photography in the 1950s. Thesecond subseries consists of over 25 prints by the Italian-American art-ist Luigi Lucioni (1900- ). For further information on this artist,see The Etchings of Luigi Lucioni, -A Catalogue Raisonne', by Stuart P.Embury (Washington, 1984). Lucioni also painted Sultner's portrait in1952 and the "People" section of the transparencies contains a number of images of Lucioni at work. Another significant category is the Japanese prints, including two by a major nineteenth-century artist, Ando Hiro-shige (1797-1858).
Series 11 contains restricted letters to Sultner from friends. These materials will become available to the public in the year 2031.
Twenty-three document boxes of clippings and magazine articles found in standard magazines and newspapers (e.g., Time, Life, Look, Modern Ma-turity, etc.) were destroyed. These materials represented general arti--cles being published on a number of topics during Sultner's lifetime. A list of subject file headings Sultner used is with the manuscript mate-rials.
A second grouping of materials destroyed were nine filing cabinet drawers of travel material--maps, guide books, and other tourist pamphlets used by Sultner on his travels. This material, as with the first group of ma-terial, was of the common variety easily found. Any books or pamphlets found with the clippings were sorted out and sent to Smithsonian Institu-tion Libraries. Other library material that came in with the estate was sent immediately to the library and disposed of through their channels. Any office equipment, such as filing cabinets and supplies, etc., has been put to use in the National Museum of American History.
Series 1: Personal Papers, 1923-1981
Series 2: Professional Papers, 1954-1980
Series 3: Lecture Materials, 1952-1980
Series 4: Biographical Materials, 1954-1980
Series 5: Transparencies, 1947-1980
Series 6: Photoprints, 1913-ca. 1980
Series 7: Photonegatives, 1929-1981
Series 8: Prints, Drawings, Mixed Media, ca. 1790-1979
Series 9: Audio Tapes, 1947-1980
Series 10: Miscellaneous, 1947-1980
Biographical / Historical:
Donald Harvey Sultner was bom in York, Pennsylvania, on April 13, 1914, the son of Lillian May Arnold Sultner and Harvey A. Sultner. In 1923 Sultner attended the Lewis Institute in Detroit, Michigan, to overcome a speech impediment. He entered the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1932 and graduated in 1936. Sultner studied merchandising and sang in the glee club, then under the direction of composer Harl MacDonald. Sultner, a baritone, continued his interest in music and studied voice with Reinald Werrenrath and with Florence Benedict and Bruce Benjamin in New York City. In the late 1940s and early 1950s he appeared in concert with accompanists at schools, clubs, and resort hotels along the East Coast.
It appears that photography was always an important part of Sultner's life. Using a small format (120) camera, he recorded his vacation travels around the United States and Canada, parties, and his family. While living in New York, Sultner continued photographing friends and family and began photographing the famous people he encountered on his concert tours. In the early 1950s he began taking 2-1/4-inch by 2-1/4-inch color transparencies (slides) of landscapes and architecture as he traveled giving concerts.
Sultner, who had taken the stage name of "Sultner-Welles," began what was to be his lifework as a professional "photo-lecturer" in 1952. He illustrated his talks on nature, art, architecture, and the environment with his color slides. In 1954 Sultner toured West Germany as a guest of the Bonn government, and in 1959 he lectured in Asia under the auspices of the U.S. State Department. He was dubbed the "camera ambassador." Constantly adding new material to his collection of slides, Sultner traveled extensively throughout the United States, speaking before garden clubs, cultural organi-zations, and schools. He also appeared aboard various ships of the Holland-America line during a number of cruises abroad.
Sultner had established his performance style by the early 1960s. He expanded his lectures to include a combination of art, words, and music. The expanded presentation resulted in the "photo-concert," a unique synthesis of light and sound that Sultner frequently per-formed with a symphony orchestra. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra commissioned "Concertino for Camera and Orchestra" by Eric Knight with Sultner in mind. The world premiere was in Baltimore in March 1979. While he spoke on many art, garden, and architectural topics, Sultner specialized in subjects relating to the baroque and rococo periods and Palladian architecture.
Sultner died of cancer in York, Pennsylvania, on March 25, 1981, at the age of 67.
1914 -- April 13, born York, Pennsylvania.
1929 -- In Detroit at Lewis Institute to overcome a speech impediment.
1932 -- To University of Pennsylvania.
1935 -- Summer trip to Roanoke (VA), Picketts, Hershey (PA); fall trip to New England for fraternity (AXP) convention.
1936 -- Spring glee club trip; graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; summer trips to Newport News (VA), northern trip to Canada, Picketts (PA).
1937 -- Fall trip to Williamsburg (VA), Duke University (NC); Sultner family begins building "Glen Hill" (Dover, PA).
1938 -- Summer at home, and Picketts (PA), Camp Pratt.
1939 -- Spring trip to Washington, D.C.; September trip to The Homestead (WV), Hot Springs (WV), Virginia; Lake Mohonk (NY).
1940 -- Summer trip to New Orleans, Blowing Rock (NC); winter trip to Skytop Club (NY); fall trip to Atlantic City (NJ), Philadelphia (PA), Annapolis (MD).
1941 -- Winter 1941-42 appearance in "Hit the Deck." Lake Mohonk (NY) with Ted Walstrum (Sept. 22-23); Skytop Club (NY) (February); summer trip to Canada, Lake Chazy (NY) (Aug. 17-23).
1942 -- Spring in Atlantic City (NJ); summer to Buck Hill Falls, Lakes Chazy and Mohonk.
1943 -- Summer trip to Mohonk (NY).
1944 -- Summer: To Toronto (Ontario), Muskoka Lake, Bigwin Island, Montreal (Quebec), Mohonk (NY).
1946 -- To Mohonk (NY), Ogunquit (ME), Old Saybrook (CT), Nantucket (RI).
1947 -- Singing tour of Canada and New England; winter-spring tour to Georgia and Florida.
1948 -- To Florida and Nassau, Feb.-Mar., Vermont, July-Aug.; Nassau-Havana-Miami-Bermuda, October.
1949 -- Singing tour of North and South Carolina.
1950 -- Summer trip to South.
1951 -- To District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, [New Jersey?], New York, Vermont.
1952 -- January 9: first public photo-concert, Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts, Philadelphia; trips to Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont.
1953 -- To Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont.
1954 -- Guest of German government for a study tour in the fall. To District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia.
1955 -- To Holland; Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia.
1956 -- To California, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia.
1957 -- Holland-America Cruise to Germany, Austria, Italy. To Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia.
1958 -- Holland-America Cruises to Germany, Austria, Holland, Italy, Switzerland. To Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota., Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin.
1959 -- United States Information Service (USIS)-sponsored tour of Asia: Burma, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaya, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam. Also visited Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Spain; Alaska, California, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania.
1960 -- Holland-America Cruise to Austria, Belgium, Caribbean, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Morocco. To Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.
1961 -- To Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland; Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode.Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.
1962 -- Portfolio, "Autumn in Vermont," with introduction by Carl Carmer, published in Autumn issue of Vermont Life. Holland-America Cruise to Denmark, England, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Sweden. To Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia.
1963 -- Holland-America Cruise to Caribbean, Canada, Sweden, Thailand. To Alabama, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, N;w York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington.
1964 -- Holland-America Cruise to Germany, Canada, England, Holland, Wales. To Delaware, District of Columbia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia.
1965 -- Holland-America Cruise to Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Holland, Portugal, Wales. To Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Indiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia.
1966 -- Holland-America Cruise to Caribbean, Germany, France, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland. To New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia.
1967 -- Holland-America Cruise to Caribbean, Austria, Denmark, England, Germany, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Wales. To Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia.
1968 -- To Germany; Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia.
1969 -- To England, France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland; Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia.
1970 -- Holland-America Cruise to Caribbean, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden. To Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia.
1971 -- Holland-America Cruise to Caribbean, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Portugal, Sweden. To Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania.
1972 -- Holland-America Cruise to Asia, Pacific, Caribbean, Africa, Austria, Italy, Japan, Thailand, Turkey. To California, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia.
1973 -- Holland-America Cruise to Austria, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Iceland, Sweden. To California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont.
1974 -- To Germany, Switzerland; California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia.
1975 -- To Austria; California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia.
1976 -- To Canada; Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah.
1977 -- To Canada, Germany; New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia.
1978 -- To Scotland; Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina.
1979 -- To England; Florida.
1980 -- To Florida.
1981 -- March 25: Sultner dies of cancer, York, Pennsylania.
The Donald H. Sultner-Welles Collection, ca. 1790-1981, came to the National Museum of American History in 1982 from the estate of Mr. Sultner. The collection was created by Sultner over his adult life and represents one of the most extensive collections of color transparencies created by one individual and held in a public repository. Sultner's emphasis was on world culture. He took the majority of his photographs in the eastern United States, western Europe, and Asia. Gardens, architecture, and people are the three major subject areas represented in the collection. Of additional interest are Sultner's taped impressions of his 1959 United States Information Service (USIS)-sponsored Asian tour. The collection occupies 309 boxes and covers more than 83 cubic feet.
The Donald H. Sultner-Welles Collection is open to researchers in the Archives Center, third floor east, of the National Museum of American History, between 12th and 14th Streets, on Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20560. The Archives Center is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Written and telephone (202/357-3270) inquiries are welcome and researchers are encouraged to contact the Archives Center before their arrival. The FAX number is 202/786-2453.
This is the eleventh in a series of occasional guides to collections in the Archives Center. Finding aids to other collections are available. The Guide to Manuscript Collections in the National Museum of History and Technology (1978) and an updated compilation contain brief descriptions of all archival holdings in the Museum. All current Archives Center holdings are available for search on the Smithsonian Institution Bibliographic Information System (SIBIS), an online database.
References in notebook to tapes not located:
5/1960 Laddsl--Pasadena, CA (Thornton Ladd, Helen Peabody, me, Mrs. Ladd
Frontispiece: Portrait of Donald Harvey Sultner-Welles by Ludwig Harren, Nuremberg, Germany, May, 1957. Series 6: Photo¬prints, box 6; Series 7: Photonegatives, 700.1.
vii Donald Sultner-Welles inspecting slides at his 2101 E. Market Street apartment. Photograph by Gretchen H. Goughnour, York, Pennsylvania, December 1958. Series 6: Photoprints, box 6, folder 5; Series 7: Photonegatives, Box 11, 696.1.
Sultner-Welles with Rollei, Kobe, Japan, April 1959. Press photograph, photographer unknown. Series 7: Photonegatives, 687.1.
10 Americana by the Roadside" (boy with soda, Beech Creek, North Carolina). Series 5, Subseries 5: Subjects, Box 102: 6.3.
20 "Americana in Europe" (sign: "To the Elephant Kraal," South Africa). Series 5, Subseries 5: Subjects, Box 102: 6.33.
39 North Miami Beach Motel, Florida, February 1960. Series 5, Subseries 1: United States, Box 8: 9.11. SI Neg. 87-326, Videodisc Frame 2942.
40 Beech Creek, North Carolina (portrait of elderly woman), June 1956. Series 5, Subseries 1: United States, Box 28: 12.10. SI Neg. 87-327, Videodisc Frame 10156.
97 Brookgreen Sculpture Garden, South Carolina, ca. 1963. Series 5, Subseries 1: United States, Box 35.35.11. SI Neg. 87-328; Videodisc Frame 12747.
98 "Six Irrigation Paddlers Outside Hue," South Vietnam, 1959. Series 5, Subseries 2: World, Box 81: 35.11; also Series 7: Photonegatives, 658.1 (copy neg.). Videodisc Frame 27960.
151 Alkmaar Cheese Market, The Netherlands, September 1969. Series 5, Subseries 2: World, Box 70: 17.9. SI Neg. 87-329; not shown on videodisc.
152 African Cruise: Victoria Falls, Rhodesia, February 1972. Series 5, Subseries 3: Cruises, Box 83: 9.12. SI Neg. 87-330, Videodisc Frame 28344.
166 Il Galero, Italy, July 1966. Series 5, Subseries 4: European Architectural Styles, Box 99: 48.4. SI neg. 87-331.
179 "Baroque--Germany: Alterding," July 1965. Series 5, Subseries 4: European Architectural Styles, Box 94: 1.8. SI Neg. 87-332, Videodisc Frame 31310.
180 Design Elements, Hotel Fontainebleau, New Orleans,, Louisiana, April, 1961. Series 5, Subseries 5: Subjects, Box 106: 23.2. SI Neg. 87-333, Videodisc Frame 34912.
192 Charles Sheeler, ca. 1957-1965. Series 5, Subseries 9: Lectures, Box 169: 49.2. SI Neg. 87-334. Videodisc Frame 52713.
276 Villa Barbaro, Maser, Treviso, Italy. Series 7. Photonegatives, 715.1. SI Neg. 87-335.
281 "Water--Economics," Storm-Damaged Beach House. Series 5, Subseries 8: Notecard Transparencies, Box 155: 22.12. SI Neg. 87-336.
282 Market in Madeira. Series 5, Subseries 9: Lectures, Box 161: 48.12. SI Neg. 87-337, Videodisc Frame 48435.
298 Children (South Carolina?). Series 5, Subseries 9: Lectures, Box 104: 17.2. SI Neg. 87-338.
311 Goethe Statue, Chicago, Illinois. Series 7: Photonegatives, 678.1.
316 Feeding Gulls, Florida. Series 7. Photonegatives, 684.1.
331 Montage for Sultner's concerts. Series 8: Prints, Drawings, Mixed Media, filing case. Series 7: Photonegatives, 740.1.
332 Sultner Showing Slides to Garden Club, Caterpillar Tractor Co. Auditorium, Dec. 1958. Photograph by Gretchen H. Goughnour, York, Penn. Series 7: Photonegatives, 690.1.
340 Montage for Sultner's concerts. Series 8: Prints, Drawings, Mixed Media, filing case. Series 7: Photonegatives, 742.1.
341 Children, Ohio (boy in box in wagon) Series 5, Subseries 9: Lectures, Box 165: 13.2; Series 7: Photonegatives, 667.4 (copy neg.)
352 Publicity/brochure photograph. Drinking cup and water, Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania. Series 7: Photonegatives, 651.1.
353 Publicity/brochure photograph, Milles Gardens, Stockholm, Sweden. Series 7: Photonegatives, 659.1.
Collection is open for research.
A small number of letters and photographs are restricted until the year 2031. Identification list in box.
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.
Via, Ida Virginia Woods, 1914-2010 -- 20th century Search this
22.1 Cubic feet (67 boxes, 3 map-size folders)
Motion pictures (visual works)
Maryland -- Family farms
Prince George's County (Md.)
Arizona -- motion pictures
Charles County (Md.) -- Family farms
Calvert County (Md.) -- Family farms
California -- motion pictures
Bahamas -- motion pictures
Yosemite National Park (Calif.)
Puerto Rico -- motion pictures
Washington -- motion pictures
Oregon -- motion pictures
St. Thomas, V.I. -- motion pictures
Florida -- motion pictures
Papers documenting the farming and family life of the Robinson family of Prince George's County and after 1975, Charles County, Maryland. Papers documenting the farming and family of the Via family of Greene County, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Prince George's and Calvert Counties, Maryland, by 1949.
Scope and Contents:
An extensive and comprehensive collection of papers relating to family, farming, and the Southern Maryland tobacco culture, the Robinson and Via Family Papers cover many aspects of family and farm life. The papers are particularly important in regard to the tobacco culture that defined Southern Maryland for generations. The papers concern two distinct family groups, the Robinson and Via families who are connected through the marriage of Franklin A. Robinson and Adina Mae Via. The papers consist of material generated by the Robinson and Via families in their personal and working lives and as farm owners and operators.
The papers are especially strong in 20th century material. They consist of various types of farm records: account books, bills, receipts, tenant farming agreements, ephemera, land rental and purchase agreements, insurance policies, photographs and 8mm and 16mm films of farming practices and procedures, equipment and landscapes, related to the farming of tobacco, small grains, and livestock. The personal records include diaries, letters both personal and business, greeting cards, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, high school yearbooks, baby books, house plans, recipe books, photographs and 8mm films of birthdays, holidays, weddings, baptisms, family occasions, and family travel, oral histories, and funeral ephemera including photographs, and transcription discs. Of particular interest are the "Serenity Farm Tobacco Production Photographs" documenting the crop year 1999-2000 and the films detailing agricultural practices. There is a memorandum book for Black Walnut Thicket, 1885-1901, the Baden farm in Baden, Prince George's County.
This collection includes a comprehensive range of 8mm and 16mm films and photographs documenting farming practices and landscapes as well as family gatherings, birthdays, holidays, and vacations. The researcher is alerted to the fact that in some cases with the memorandum and account books, books printed for a given year were often saved and used for subsequent years, some were dated, some were not.
The collection is divided into seven series arranged by subject and most often chronologically at folder level within each series.
The collection is divided into seven series:
Series 1: Ferndale Farm (Potomac Landing), Prince George's County, Maryland, 1861-1973, undated
Subseries 1.1: Farm papers, bill, and receipts, and publications, 1861-1973, undated
Subseries 1.2: Farm papers, bill, and receipts, 1945-1960, undated
Subseries 1.3: Farm papers, bills, and receipts, 1960-1965, undated
Series 2: Robinson Family, 1845-2017, undated
Subseries 2.1: Family Papers and Publications, 1845-1993, undated
The Robinson family is thought to be of Scottish origin and appear in the records of Prince George's County, Maryland by the early 18th century. The line has been definitively traced to James Robinson (?-1849). James' father was probably Benjamin Robinson (?-1810), of Prince George's County, Maryland. (Will Book TT1, pg. 15, Records of Prince George's County, Maryland, Maryland State Archives (MSA))
James Robinson and Sarah Wynn were issued a marriage license on February 28, 1802 in Prince George's County, Maryland. (Marriage Records of Prince George's County, Maryland) Eleven children lived to maturity (not listed in birth order); Thomas Wells (1803-1869), Ann, Priscilla, James Monroe, Benjamin (1813-1882), John C. (1819-1895), Mary Sophia, Thomas Stanley (1800-1874), Alfred, Sarah Ann, Matilda, and Rebecca Maria.
James worked as overseer for Benjamin Oden on Oden's estate Bellefields near Upper Marlborough, Prince George's County. (Oden Papers, Maryland Historical Society) The Robinsons and their children, moved to Wood County, Virginia (now West Virginia) on April 18, 1818 where James acted as Oden's land agent (Deed Book 6, pg. 123, Land Records of Wood County, West Virginia). They brought with them three slaves described in the above reference as, "Kate a woman 45 years of age very black; Colonel a boy aged 8 years yellow complexion: and George a boy aged six years of a dark brown complexion." They settled on part of what was known as the "Burnt Mill" tract in the general area where the Hughes River meets the Little Kanawha River. (Deed Book 9, pg. 110 and Deed Book 14, pg. 40, Land Records of Wood County)
Thomas Wells Robinson may not have accompanied his family to Virginia as he has a presence in Prince George's County prior to 1822 and was employed as overseer for Benjamin Oden at least until 1832. He married Elizabeth I. Richards on December 15, 1829 (Robinson Family Bible). They had nine children; Richard Thomas (1831 1906), Rebecca Maria (1832-1895), Mary Wynn (1834-1916), James George (1835-1883), Virlinda Victoria (1837-1838), Elizabeth Ann (1839-1916), Sarah Ann Sophia (1840-1874), Franklin Alexander (1841-1905) and John Alfred (1843); seven lived to maturity. (Robinson Family Bible) Elizabeth died on August 17, 1843 from complications in childbirth. She was buried in the churchyard of Page's Chapel (later known as St. Thomas Episcopal Church), Croom, Prince George's County.
In 1843, Thomas purchased the plantation of Dr. Benjamin B. Hodges for $10,000 or approximately $15 an acre. Hodges was a brother-in-law of Benjamin Oden. The deed dated September 7, 1843 describes the parcel as containing, "Six hundred and twenty nine acres of land more or less and constitute that plantation or Estate of the said Benjamin Oden heretofore commonly called "Brown's Quarter Place" being the Land tracts and parcels of land sold by the said Benjamin Oden to the said Benjamin B. Hodges and by deed bearing date the tenth day of December eighteen hundred and thirty five and recorded in Liber AB no. 10 folio 162 also one of the land Records of the County aforesaid". (JBB no. 3 pgs. 312 314, Land Records of Prince George's County) The land was level to rolling bordered on the north by a tributary of Piscataway Creek and generally termed "white oak land". Underlying the whole property was a large strata of gravel and sand. The entire parcel went by the name, Potomac Landing.
Thomas supplemented his land holdings with later purchases. With the exception of twenty acres purchased from Sarah Talbert in 1844, (JBB no. 3 pg. 475, Land Records of Prince George's County) and the purchase of lot #3 consisting of 195 acres, part of the estate of John Townshend in 1856, these purchases were not contiguous to Potomac Landing. By the time of his death in 1869 these non-contiguous parcels had been sold. Thomas sold eighty-six acres of Potomac Landing and Jeffries to Edward Eversfield in October of 1843. (JBB no. 3, pg. 198, Land Records of Prince George's County) On January 13, 1846 Thomas married the widow Martha Ann Walls, daughter of George and Martha Naylor Walls. They had two sons; Benjamin Wells (1848-1849) and Robert Henry (1851-1937).
In addition to his sons, Thomas owned slaves. The number varied from six in 1849 (JBB 6, folio 186, Land Records of Prince Georges' County) to eleven as noted in the census for 1850, and finally six as noted in the census of 1860. The 1867 Maryland Slave Statistics noted that, "at the time of the adoption of the Constitution of Maryland, in the year 1864, . . ." Thomas owned six slaves, their names and ages being; Isaac Franklin age 31, Alfred West age 19, Susan West age 17, Margaret Franklin age 14, Fannie Franklin age 12, and Peter Franklin age 9. All were noted as being in good physical condition. (Prince Georges' County Slave Statistics 1867 1869, C 1307 1, MdHR:6198, page 185, MSA)
In April 11, 1855 Thomas excuted a deed of trust to J.W. & E. Reynolds of Baltimore for securing a loan. At that time the farm was described as, "about five hundred and seventy acres . . . also the following personal property to wit Eight head of horses, nine cows, two mules, twelve work oxen, twenty Eight Sheep, one bull, two colts and all other stock of every description now on the aforesaid land, also the farming utensils and the following named Slaves, Stephen aged Sixty three years, Isaac aged twenty six years, Elvia aged twenty Eight years Alfred aged twelve years, Hanson aged ten years, Henrietta aged twelve years Susanna aged eight years, and Margaret aged three years. Together with the crop of Tobacco now in the house and the crop of wheat now growing." (EWB 1 pages 155 156, Land Records of Prince Georges' County)
Thomas's financial problems began in the mid-1800s when Deeds of Trust appear in the county records securing outstanding loans. In 1856 and 1857 Thomas joined with others as bondsman for his son, Richard who was serving as "Collector of the State and County Taxes" for the 4th collection district, making he and the other signatories liable for any uncollected taxes. This, coupled with poor investments, led to his almost being "sold out" in 1859-1860 by J.W. & E. Reynolds of Baltimore to pay his debts. He executed three drafts on Penn & Mitchell, also of Baltimore, to pay off J.W. & E. Reynolds. (Equity Case #597, Prince Georges' County) Thomas was in poor health and his son James managed the plantation in 1857 and 1858, and again from 1861 to October of 1862 (Equity Case #873, Prince Georges' County)
In October of 1862 Thomas' two sons, James and Franklin, traveled to Richmond to join the Confederate States Army. James enrolled in the 5th Battalion, Local Defense Arsenal and Franklin enrolled in the 5th Virginia Infantry, the Stonewall Brigade. (CSA Military Records, National Archives) James visited home frequently but was captured by the Union Army in St. Mary's County, Maryland on May 15, 1864 and spent the remainder of the war in Point Lookout Prison Camp. He was released on May 14, 1865. Franklin was not able to visit home at all during the war but survived to return home in 1865.
In 1865, Thomas surveyed a parcel of 172 acres for his daughter Rebecca Maria. Rebecca had married her second cousin, William B. Robertson, on November 18, 1855. He made a gift of fifty acres, and Rebecca agreed to purchase the remainder. The Robertsons named this parcel Holly Grove. In Equity Case #849 (1872) filed after Thomas' death, his widow Martha and Samuel H. Berry, as executrix and executor, sought to recover payment for this land. At that time, William B. Robertson described this 172 acres of Potomac Landing: "There was no fences on the line which separated this land from the old gentleman's land, but he was to put a fence on it which he agreed to do before we agreed to come there. The land was thin, unimproved, with gullies and scrubby pine. If witness had been a judge of land he would not have given five dollars for it. All the improvements were one comfortable quarter the other indifferent with a poor oak shingle roof, worn out which made it not tenantable." Further along in his testimony, William gave an account of a conversation, "In a few days my father in law Thos. W. Robinson came to Washington and told me there his children had returned from the South, his two sons, that his debts were small and he was a happy man." Rebecca and William built a house on the property, a side-hall, double parlor plan that most likely her brother James was builder. They also built accompanying farm structures. (Records of Prince George's County, Maryland, Equity Case #849, MSA)
Thomas' son, Franklin, managed the farm after the War. In December 1868 Thomas entered into a sharecropping agreement with Edward Hanson, an African-American. After about a year-long illness, on May 16, 1869, Thomas died, deeply in debt. He was buried beside Elizabeth in the graveyard at St. Thomas' Church. He named as executrix his wife, Martha, and his friend and lawyer, Samuel H. Berry, as executor. His will divided the farm into thirds, one third going to his wife and their son Robert Henry, one third to his son James, and one third to his son Franklin. The land was surveyed according to the will. His personal property was sold but not enough profit was realized to pay off his creditors. The Commissioners of Prince George's County sued the estate on behalf of Thomas' creditors. The outcome was that in 1876 the property was sold at public auction. The Notice of Sale dated September 1, 1876 in the local county newspaper, The Prince Georgian, describes the farm as, "containing 514 2/3 acres More or less. The Improvements consist of a SMALL DWELLING, Three Barns, Stabling, and other necessary outbuildings. It is well wooded and watered, and the soil of fair quality. It has recently been divided into three lots and will be offered in lots, a description of which will be given at the time of sale." The sale was held on September 27, 1876, Lot No. 1 was purchased by Robert for $6.00 an acre, Lot #2 was purchased by Franklin for $5.00 an acre and Lot #3 was purchased by James for $4.00 per acre. Robert and Franklin eventually paid off their mortgage, but James defaulted on his purchase and later moved to St. Mary's County, Maryland. His portion later came to be owned by the Hawkins family, some members who had worked on the Robinson farm. (Equity Case #873, Prince Georges' County, MSA)
Lot #1, purchased by Robert from his fathers' estate, consisted of 177-1/3 acres, including the dwelling and farm buildings. On July 24, 1872, he married Amanda Malvina Baden (1849-1940), daughter of Robert W. G. and Margaret Caroline Early Baden. The Baden and Early families were both prominent south county families. Robert and Amanda had eight children; Caroline Early (1873 1967), Lucy Tennent (1875 1958), Albert Henry (1878 1914), Martha Perry (1880 1961), Robert Gover (1882 1882), Frank Alexander (1883 1970), Margaret Baden (1886 1956) and Grace Malvina (1889 1965).
By 1880 Robert had paid off his debt on the property and was fully engaged in farming. Unlike his father, or perhaps because of his father, Robert did not add to his land holdings, choosing to remain relatively debt free for his lifetime. The only land transactions he participated in were the sales of 79-3/4 acres in 1921 of Amanda's inheritance from her father and her interest in two smaller parcels of her father's land sold in 1894 and 1928 respectively. In 1928 he transferred 3.09 acres to his son Frank.
As late as the Federal census of 1880, Franklin was living with Robert and his household, both men engaged in farming. Sometime after 1880, Franklin took up residence on his part of Potomac Landing. His brother James most likely built the side-hall double parlor house that copied the main house at Potomac Landing. On February 18, 1897, Martha Robinson, died at the age of ninety. She was buried in the graveyyard of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden, Prince George's County.
Robert continued cultivation of tobacco and small grains as his father before him. The first reference to the farm being named Ferndale is found in the "Communion Record" of Robert's daughter, Martha Perry "Pattie", dated 1896. (Robinson and Via Family Papers) The exact origin or reason for this new name is lost but perhaps the name Potomac Landing held such bitter memories of debt and hardship that, as a symbolic break with the past, a new name was found. It also may have simply been a way to distinguish this portion of Potomac Landing from the others. The farm continued to be listed on tax bills as Potomac Landing well into the 20th century, but was known to the general public and businesses as the Ferndale Farm. (Robinson and Via Family Papers)
Robert served as deputy inspector at the State Tobacco Warehouse in Baltimore for eight years under W.B. Bowie. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Brandywine. In July of 1905, Franklin died, a bachelor farmer. He was buried facing south in the graveyard of the Church of the Atonement, Cheltenham, (a chapel in St. Thomas' Episcopal Parish) where he had served as vestryman, treasurer, and cemetery custodian. Franklin died intestate and a lengthy process of dividing his estate began. This resulted in the sale of his part of Potomac Landing (Lot #2) in July 1908 to William E. Boswell. The court declared Robert ineligible for any inheritance due to his being " . . . a brother of the half blood." The Boswell family later sold the property to the Billingsley family of St. Mary's County. (Equity Case 3209, Prince George's County)
In 1910, after living in the farm's original home for approximately sixty seven years, the Robinson family built a new home. It was described in a 1956 insurance policy as, "2 story, frame, metal roof, 16x43, wing 14x28, 9 rooms." (Robinson and Via Family Papers) The house design was a simple Victorian with plastered walls, and lit by carbide gas. Electrical lighting was installed in 1951. The house was built with monies from Robert and Amanda, and their son Frank, who served as builder and contractor.
On Tuesday March 9, 1937, "During a celebration in honor of his wifes birthday anniversary, Mr. Robinson collapsed at the table and died immediately without a word or a sigh." (Robinson and Via Family Papers) Robert was buried beside his mother in the cemetery at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden.
At Robert's death, Ferndale Farm was valued at $30.00 an acre, the total acreage, 174 acres, being valued in the whole at $5,220.00. Robert died intestate, again the fate of the land was in question. He left eight heirs, his widow, Amanda, six of his children and his son Albert Henry's only surviving child, R. Henry Robinson. Rather than have the farm sold and his mother's life disrupted, Frank purchased the estate and personal property from the heirs. Before this could take place, a deed had to be granted the heirs for the property since one had never been recorded after the 1876 sale. Equity case 873 was reopened sixty-two years after its supposed resolution. Frank testified, "over a period of about thirty years I would on a number of occasions, talk about the fact that he had purchased and paid for this property and that a deed had never been executed to him and [he] kept saying he was going to have someone straighten this matter out for him." It was discovered that Robert had fully paid for his part of Potomac Landing. On February 14, 1938 the farm was deeded from Amanda along with Robert''s heirs to Frank. (Book 499, page 334, Land Records of Prince George's County) According to the deed and a 1937 fire insurance policy the farm consisted of 177 1/3 acres, "1 two story dwelling, one tenant house, 1 barrack, 1 tobacco barn, 1 corn house & cow stable, 1 Stable, and 1 Granary & Stable." (Robinson and Via Family Papers)
Frank A. Robinson, now the sole owner of Ferndale Farm, was born August 17, 1883. He learned farming and in addition took up the trade of builder and contractor. As a young man, he worked in the general store of his uncle Robert Baden. He was the contractor for the first Bank of Brandywine and many homes in and around the town of Brandywine, including the home of his cousin Robert E. Baden, DDS. He was secretary of the Building Committee for construction of the Chapel of the Incarnation in Brandywine, a mission chapel for St. Thomas' Episcopal Parish. His success in the building trade gave him disposable income that he invested in land. His first purchase was in August, 1915 of a 2-9/100 acre of land in Brandywine that was being sold by the Board of County School Commissioners; the purchase price was $300. In March 1916 he purchased 38.09 acres of his Uncle Franklin's farm. This property adjoined Ferndale Farm.
Over the next fifty-four years of his life, Frank bought and sold many pieces of real estate. Perhaps his most significant purchases were: 18-1/3 acres purchased from The German American Colonization Land Company of Maryland in October 1915 (Book 115, pg. 140, Land Records of Prince George's County); 147.99 acres purchased from August and Wilhelmina Noltensmeir in December 1917 (Book 129, pg. 263, Land Records of Prince George's County) and 320 acres called the Vineyard purchased from William M. Wilson in March 1928. Frank used these three parcels as collateral for other purchases. Never once did he mortgage Ferndale Farm, insuring that no matter what financial stormy seas might blow, his home was secure. Over the course of his life, especially in the case of the Noltensmeir farm, when cash was needed a parcel of land would be surveyed off and sold. He inherited his grandfather Thomas' love of land but had fortunately developed a shrewd business sense to go along with it.
On November 20, 1929, he married Elizabeth Freeland Bourne, daughter of Joseph Blake and Maria Gantt Bourne of Calvert County, Maryland. They had three children: Mary Elizabeth (1930-2009), Franklin Alexander (1932), and Robert Lee (1935-1997). In addition to his construction business he continued farming, raising tobacco, hay, and small grains. He engaged in sharecropping with tenants on his various properties. He was active in community affairs serving on the Board of The Maryland Tobacco Growers Association (MTGA), the Vestry of St. Thomas Parish, and as sheriff of Brandywine. On January 9, 1940 Amanda Baden Robinson died. She was buried next to her husband at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden. In February 1958, Frank and Elizabeth conveyed 1.57 acres of Ferndale Farm to son Franklin where he and his fiancée, Adina M. Via, were building their new home prior to their marriage in July of that same year.
The booming economy and suburbanization of the Washington metropolitan area in the early 1960's led to the high quality gravel lying beneath Ferndale into becoming a valuable commodity. In October 1962, Franklin and his parents granted a three-year lease to William C. Nolte for mining sand and gravel on the Ferndale Farm at .174 per yard. (Book 2747, pg. 11, Land Records of Prince George's County) From now until 1975 when the property was sold, gravel would be mined from under the farm by various companies. In November 1962, Elizabeth and Frank transferred to Franklin the 38.09 acres Frank had purchased from Fitzhugh Billingsley in 1916. (Book 2754, pg. 99, Land Records of Prince George's County) That same year they transferred 6.754 acres, part of the Vineyard, to son Robert and his wife Lois, (Book 2765, pg. 201, Land Records of Prince George's County)
On December 28, 1965, Frank and Elizabeth participated in a land exchange/purchase of the farm of Ralph W. and Cordelia H. Brown located along the Patuxent River in Benedict, Charles County, Maryland. Franklin had rented this farm the year before and was impressed enough by its location and arability to work out a purchase. Frank and Elizabeth traded 65.9920 acres that would eventually become Franklin's under Frank's will. On February 21, 1966 they deeded the Charles County farm to Franklin and Adina. Adina named this property Serenity Farm. The property consisted of 480.66 acres. (Liber 179, page 708 etc., Land Records of Charles County)
On February 5, 1970, after a short illness, Frank died at Cafritz Memorial Hospital. He was buried at St. Paul's Episcopal Church near his parents. In his will, probated March 4, 1970 he left thirty acres of the property purchased from the German American Land Company and A. Noltensmeir to Elizabeth. He willed forty acres of the same parcel to daughter Mary Robinson Conner. The remainder of Ferndale Farm was willed to Franklin and the remaining acreage of the Vineyard was left to Robert Lee.
Franklin Alexander Robinson was born August 13, 1932 at the Garfield Hospital in Washington, D.C.. He received his schooling in the public school system of Prince George's County, graduating from Gwynn Park High School in June 1951. He was a charter member of Gwynn Park's chapter of The Future Farmers of America. He was extremely active in FFA, achieving the Degree of Maryland Farmer in 1950 and their highest award, the Degree of American Farmer at their convention in Kansas City, Missouri in October 1953. He obtained his private pilots license in 1954. He entered the United States Army in February 1955 and went through basic training at Camp Gordon, Augusta, Georgia. After basic training he was transferred to Camp Hanford, Washington State. There he worked part time on the farm of Dick and Theresa Laurent during his off duty hours and began a lifelong friendship with them. He returned home to farming on an agricultural discharge in October of 1956. On July 27, 1958 he married his high school sweetheart, Adina Mae Via, daughter of Robert Milton and Virginia Woods Via. They had three children: Franklin Alexander (1959), Robert David (1962), and Adina Theresa (1963).
Franklin continued expanding and improving the farming operation by modern methods and means. At times, he farmed over one thousand acres, both owned and rented. On February 21, 1966, his parents deeded their purchase of the Ralph W. and Cordelia H. Brown farm in Benedict to he and Adina, later known as Serenity Farm Franklin and Adina engaged an architect to draft house plans for an anticipated new residence. A small A frame vacation home was built on the property so the family could spend weekends there.
On December 14, 1966, after a long illness, Adina died from complications associated with Hodgkin's Disease. She was buried in Trinity Memorial Gardens, Waldorf, Charles County. Franklin married Margaret Walker Lennox (nee Tallen, known as Rita) on August 21, 1970 (Marriage Records of Prince George's County, Maryland). This marriage ended in divorce in 1977. There were no children from this marriage.
On July 14, 1975 the Robinson family, Franklin, his second wife, Margaret, her daughter Margaret W. Lennox, Franklin, Jr., R. David, A. Theresa and Elizabeth B. Robinson, moved to Serenity Farm. On July 17, 1975 Franklin and Elizabeth sold the remaining acreage of Ferndale Farm to Brandywine Sand and Gravel, thus ending 131 years of ownership by the Robinson family. Elizabeth Bourne Robinson died on July 15, 1976 and was buried beside her husband at St. Paul's Church, Baden. Franklin married Hiltrud (Ceddie) Harris (nee Sedlacek) on July 15, 1978. (Robinson Family Bible) This marriage ended in divorce in 1986. There were no children from this marriage. Franklin married Diedre Gale Merhiage on April 19, 1989; this marriage ended in divorce in 1997. There were no children from this marriage. He married Remelda Henega Buenavista on January 13, 2007.
The Robinson family continue day-to-day operations of Serenity Farm. The land is well suited to the growing of tobacco and small grains, which crops, (with the exception of tobacco) along with a flock of sheep, are cultivated there to the present time. After the crop year 2001 the Robinson family took the tobacco buyout program offered by the state of Maryland and ceased growing tobacco. Franklin is active in farming and community affairs having served on the vestry of St. Thomas Episcopal Parish, the Board of Directors of MTGA, the Board of the Production Credit Association, the Boards of three schools, Holy Trinity Day School, Queen Anne School, and Calverton School, and numerous other organizations. Currently the farm consists of approximately 275 acres. In 1981 a state agricultural land preservation district of 222.755 acres was created. This was the first such district in Charles County and one of the first in the state of Maryland.
In 1985, R. David began a greenhouse business for the sale of spring flowering bedding plants and hanging baskets but currently works in conjunction with Farming 4 Hunger to grow produce for local area foodbanks. A. Theresa is involved in the daily running of the farm along with Franklin. Franklin, Jr., obtained a BFA degree in Drama from The Catholic University of America in 1981 and an MA from The American University in Film and Video Production in 1988. He was a civilian employee of the United States Air Force (USAF) from November 1981 to January 1986. He pursued a full time career as a professional actor from 1986-2007 and is a published author and produced playwright. The three siblings have been involved in community affairs, with R. David sitting on the Charles County Agricultural Preservation Board, A. Theresa having served on the vestry of Trinity Episcopal Parish, Charles County, and Franklin, Jr. having served on the vestries of both Trinity Parish and St. Thomas Episcopal Parish, the Board of the Washington Literacy Council, a choir member of the choir at St. Thomas Church, among other church related posts and as chair of the Charles County Historic Preservation Commission.
The Via family traces its origins to the colony of Virginia, where the probable progenitor of the line, Amer Via, a French Huguenot, settled in Manakin Town, Albemarle County between 1670-1700. It is impossible to trace the Via line definitively due to the loss of Virginia county records during the Civil War.
The Via family line covered in this collection can be definitively traced to William Via of Fredericksville Parish, Louisa (later Albemarle) County, Virginia. The William Via family lived west of the present day town of Whitehall at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, an area commonly known as Sugar Hollow. William Via III served in the Virginia Line during the Revolutionary War. He married Mary Craig, daughter of Thomas Craig and Jane Jameson, on March 17, 1784. William died on June 27, 1836, in Albemarle County (Rev. War Pension Appl. 6363, National Archives). His son Thomas married Sally, widow Griffin, on January 1, 1811 (Albemarle County Marriage Records). Their son, Hiram Karl Via (1812-1893), married Harriet Ardenia Naylor by license dated March 7, 1836 (Albemarle County Marriage Records).
Hiram and Harriet's son, Robert St. Clair Via (1844-1925), served as a private in Company I, 7th Virginia Infantry of the Confederate States Army (CSA Military Service Records, National Archives). After the war he married his first cousin, Mary Frances Naylor, daughter of Samuel Chapman Naylor and Eliza Jane Gardner, on April 3, 1866 in Rockingham County (Rockingham County, Virginia, Marriage Records). Sometime between 1870 and 1872, they moved to Linn County, Missouri, and settled about seven miles from the town of Bucklin. Their son, Hiram Chapman Via (1872-1933), was born there. In 1893, the family returned to Virginia, and settled on a farm in Greene County near the town of Stanardsville.
Hiram Chapman Via operated a mill as well as a farm. On March 15, 1899, he married Adina Eleanor Eusebia Runkle, daughter of Milton D. L. Runkle and Roberta A. Beadles (Greene County, Virginia, Marriage Records). They had three children: Bernice Olive (1902-1999), Robert Milton (1906-1983), and Deward Daniel (1909-1977).
Robert moved to Washington, D.C.. In December 1927 he began employment with the Capitol Traction Company as a streetcar conductor (Robinson and Via Family Papers). During the early 1930s, Robert rented a townhouse at 715 A St., SE, where he lived with his sister Bernice V. McMullan and her son, William C. McMullan; his brother and sister in law, and his parents. Next door, at 717, lived the Moses Albright family, including Moses's stepdaughter Ida Virginia Woods (1914-2010), daughter of Jesse Lee Woods (1894-1918) and Donna Mae Barker (1896-1928) of Frederick County, Maryland. Robert and Virginia began a courtship and on September 3, 1932 were married in Frederick, Frederick County, Maryland (Frederick County, Maryland, Marriage Records).
After their marriage, Robert and Virginia lived in various locations in the Washington metropolitan area. Their first child, Robert Delano, was born on March 24, 1933, and their second child, Adina Mae, was born on April 12, 1937. Virginia was employed outside the home while her children were in school. Her first job before her marriage had been with Woolworth's in Martinsburg, WV working the candy counter and then before the birth of her son at The Hecht Company on F St. in Washington, D.C.. After her marriage she worked briefly for the United States Postal Service in Capitol Heights, Maryland. Beginning in the 1950s, she worked for Charles of the Ritz as a receptionist in their beauty salon located in Woodward & Lothrop's F Street store in Washington, D.C.. She also worked as salon manager at the Charles of the Ritz salons in the Woodward & Lothrop stores in Seven Corners, Virginia, and Chevy Chase, Maryland. She retired due to health reasons in 1973.
On September 10, 1941, Robert and Virginia purchased Lot #43 in Woodlane subdivision in Prince George's County. (Book 619, pg. 12, Land Records of Prince George's County) A house was designed for them for this lot by Clyde E. Phillips. They did not construct a home on this property due to the outbreak of World War II. Robert, due to his employment in public transportation, did not serve with the Armed Services in World War II. On October 18, 1946, they purchased approximately thirty acres bordering on Burch's Creek near the towns of Clinton, also know as Surrattsville, and T.B. in Prince George's County from Joseph H. and M. Pauline Blandford. (Book 873, pg. 483, Land Records of Prince George's County) Over the next three years, hiring private contractors, doing work themselves, and with the help of Robert's brother Deward, they built the two story house designed by Phillips in 1941. They moved to the farm from Capitol Heights in 1949. Robert raised hogs, small grains and a crop of tobacco yearly on this farm and also maintained his job with Capitol Transit (formerly Capitol Traction).
In 1954, Robert and Virginia purchased a farm of approximately 150 acres in Island Creek, Calvert County, Maryland. The intention was for Robert and his son to enter into a full time farming operation on expanded acreage. Robert D. Via, known as Delano, graduated from Gwynn Park High School in June 1951. Delano was a part-time farmer and pursued a career as a country and western singer with Bashful Bob and the Rhythm Rangers, he being Bashful Bob. He was employed in various jobs, and began a tour in the Army in 1953. By the time the Via family moved to Calvert County in 1956, he decided to pursue careers other than farming. He eventually traveled and worked in various parts of the United States. He married first Delores Cooper, second Gloria J. Irick, and finally Candice Marinelli in December 1974, they had two children, Robert Marin (1975) and Kirstin Marin (1976).
On June 1, 1956 Robert resigned from his position at Capitol Transit due to health reasons. He and his family moved to the farm in Island Creek, Calvert County where he began full time farming. He and Virginia sold the thirty-acre farm in Prince George's County on June 21, 1956 to Melvin C. and Geraldine H. Rardia. (Book 2003, pg. 564, Land Records of Prince George's County) Virginia continued her employment with Charles of the Ritz. Adina, now a graduate of Gwynn Park High School, was employed by the USAF at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, Maryland. They both commuted daily from Calvert County to their places of employment.
Robert farmed in Calvert County, raising hogs, cattle, small grains and tobacco. Over the course of the next twenty-seven years, Robert and Virginia sold smaller parcels off the farm. In 1974, Robert and Virginia built a small retirement home designed for them by Calvert Masonry Contractors. Robert died on December 22, 1983. He was buried beside his daughter Adina in Trinity Memorial Gardens. At the time of Robert's death, the farm consisted of 28.694 acres. In 1998, Virginia deeded the remainder of the farm, then less than six acres, to her grandson, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr. who sold all but a one-acre lot in April 1999.
Virginia continued to live on the farm in Calvert County, maintaining a small herd of cattle. In the fall of 1989 Franklin, Jr. went to live with her. In 1993, the onset of Alzheimer's Disease required her to move to Serenity Farm and take up residence with her granddaughter A. Theresa. Virginia participated in various studies on Alzheimer's Disease conducted by the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland beginning in 1992. She was profiled in the September 1997 issue of Washingtonian Magazine. In October of 1998 she moved to All American Senior Care in Brandywine, Maryland and in 1999 she moved to Morningside, an elderly care facility in Waldorf, Maryland. In 2002, she moved to St. Mary's Nursing Center in Leonardtown, Maryland. The remainder of the farm was sold in 1999 and 2002. She died January 14, 2010 and was buried at Trinity Memorial Gardens in Waldorf.
Adina Mae Via was born April 12, 1937 at the Homeopathic Hospital in Washington, D.C.. Adina grew up in Washington, D.C. attending public schools. She moved with her family to the Burch's Creek farm, Prince George's County, in 1949. She enrolled in the Prince George's County school system, and graduated from Gwynn Park High School in June of 1955. After graduation, she was employed by the USAF at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs.
In July of 1956, she moved with her family to the Via farm in Island Creek, Calvert County. On July 27, 1958 she married Franklin A. Robinson at the Chapel of the Incarnation. They had three children: Franklin Alexander (1959), Robert David (1962) and Adina Theresa (1963). In the fall of 1958, she and Franklin took up residence in the home they had built on Ferndale Farm. She resigned from her position with the USAF in 1959.
On December 14, 1966, at Providence Hospital in Washington, DC, Adina died from complications due to Hodgkin's Disease. She had been battling this disease for many years prior to her death. She was buried in Trinity Memorial Gardens, Charles County.
Materials at Other Organizations
The Maryland Historical Society holds items (costume, farming related implements) related to the Robinson and Via families.
Materials at the National Museum of American History
The Division of Work and Industry (Agriculture Collection) holds agricultural implements and artifacts associated with both the Robinson farms and the Via farm; the Division of Home and Community Life holds clothing, textiles (crib quilt), jewelry, cosmetics and Adina M. Robinson's sewing box and dress patterns; (Costume and Textiles Collection). See accession numbers: 1989.0688, 1990.0394, 1991.0010; 1991.0722, 1992.0184, 1992.0283, 1992.0321, 1992.0474, 1992.3106, 1994.0064, 1994.0304, 1997.0327, 1998.0038, 1998.0129, 2001.0196, 2002.0087, 2003.0015, 2005.0009.
Division of Armed Forces History (National Numismatics Collection) holds the Robert M. Via Trolley Token Collection.
The collection was donated to the National Museum of American History, Archives Center, by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., in November 1993.
Unrestricted research use on site to portions of collection, but some papers of living persons are restricted. Access to restricted portions may be arranged by request to donor. Gloves required for unprotected photographs. Viewing film portions of the collection and listening to LP recording requires special appointment.
The Archives Center does not own exclusive rights to these materials. Copyright for all materials is retained by the donor, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.; permission for commercial use and/or publication may be requested from the donor through the Archives Center. Military Records for Franklin A. Robinson (b. 1932) and correspondence from Richard I. Damalouji (1961-2014) are restricted; written permission is needed to research these files. 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.
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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.