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Oral history interview with Don Baum

Interviewee:
Baum, Don, 1922-  Search this
Interviewer:
Prince, Sue Ann  Search this
Names:
Illinois Arts Council  Search this
Roosevelt University  Search this
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Golub, Leon, 1922-2004  Search this
Ito, Miyoko, 1918-1983  Search this
Leaf, June, 1929-  Search this
Moholy-Nagy, László, 1895-1946  Search this
Spears, Ethel, 1903-1974  Search this
Extent:
2 Sound cassettes (Sound recording, analog)
108 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound cassettes
Pages
Interviews
Date:
1986 January 31-May 13
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Don Baum conducted 1986 January 31 and May 13, by Sue Ann Kendall, for the Archives of American Art, in Chicago, Illinois.
Baum speaks about his childhood in Michigan; interests during his college years at Michigan State; classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; friendship with artists such as Miyoko Ito and Ethel Spears; the Institute of Design and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy; faculty and classes at the University of Chicago; jam sessions at Gertrude Abercrombie's home; teaching at Roosevelt University; the influence of travel; June Leaf; Leon Golub; psychoanalysis and its influence on his work; collage; The Hyde Park Art Center; objects with a magical aura; writing and writers; dolls; the relationship of self to art; outsider art; transformation; Joseph Cornell; the Hairy Who artists; collectors; the Museum of Contemporary Art; the Illinois Arts Council; Chicago art and artists; and travel in Indonesia.
Biographical / Historical:
Don Baum (1922-2008) was a sculptor, assemblage artist, curator, and educator from Chicago, Illinois.
General:
Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 12 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 23 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Restrictions:
Patrons must use transcript.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Topic:
Psychoanalysis and art  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Sculpture, Modern -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Sculptors -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Interviews  Search this
Assemblage (Art)  Search this
Function:
Art Schools -- Illinois -- Chicago
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.baum86
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-baum86

John Wilde papers

Creator:
Wilde, John, 1919-2006  Search this
Names:
Andrew Balkin Editions  Search this
Tandem Press  Search this
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Bouras, Harry  Search this
Colescott, Warrington, 1921-  Search this
Cozzolino, Robert, 1970-  Search this
Economou, George  Search this
Ernst, Max, 1891-1976  Search this
Fein, Sylvia  Search this
Gardetto, Helga  Search this
Gardetto, Peter  Search this
Glasier, Marshall, 1902-  Search this
Hamady, Walter  Search this
Huppler, Dudley, 1917-1988  Search this
Karidis, Jerome  Search this
Laird, Mary Louise, 1948-  Search this
Lindbergh, Reeve  Search this
Littleton, Harvey K.  Search this
Minasian, Khatchik  Search this
Priebe, Karl J., 1914-1976  Search this
Seefeldt, Michael  Search this
Terkel, Studs, 1912-2008  Search this
Whitney, J. D.  Search this
Wolff, Theodore F.  Search this
Extent:
21.3 Linear feet
0.008 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Sketches
Sketchbooks
Diaries
Photographs
Collages
Drawings
Interviews
Illustrated letters
Scrapbooks
Date:
1935-2011
Summary:
The papers of Wisconsin painter, educator, and draftsman John Wilde measure 21.3 linear feet and 0.008 GB and date from 1935 to 2011. The papers consist of biographical material, correspondence, interviews, writings and notes, 27 journals, personal business records, exhibition files, two scrapbooks, photographic materials, six sketchbooks, artwork, and nearly 90 limited edition, letterpress artist collaboration books – many that include artwork contributed by Wilde.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Wisconsin painter, educator, and draftsman John Wilde measure 21.3 linear feet and 0.008 GB and date from 1935 to 2011. The papers consist of biographical material, correspondence, interviews, writings and notes, 27 journals, personal business records, exhibition files, two scrapbooks, photographic materials, six sketchbooks, artwork, and nearly 90 limited edition, letterpress artist collaboration books – many that include artwork contributed by Wilde.

Biographical materials include certificates and awards, a diploma from the University of Wisconsin, curriculum vitae, memorials, and membership files. Correspondence is with family and friends, and colleagues Karl Priebe, Gertrude Abercrombie, Sylvia Fein, Dudley Huppler, Marshall Glasier, Robert Cozzolino, Theodore Wolff, Peter and Helga Gardetto, Andrew Balkin Editions, Warrington Colescott, Tandem Press, Harvey Littleton, and others. Letters from Walter Hamady are access restricted and housed separately.

There are interviews with Wilde from Harry Bouras' radio show Critics Choice, as well as an interview with Gertrude Abercrombie by Studs Terkel's for Terkel's WFMT radio show broadcast in Chicago.

Wilde discusses his artwork and other topics in 27 journals spanning seven decades. Additional writings by Wilde include term papers, his thesis titled "A Survey of the Development of Surrealism in Painting and Its Chief Innovations with Special Emphasis on the Life and Work of Max Ernst," transcriptions for gallery talks and speeches, notes, and various other writings. Writings about Wilde are by Theodore Wolff, Michael Seefeldt, and other authors. Wilde's personal business records include account books, appraisals, donation papers, inventory books and lists, and a draft of Wilde's last will and testament.

There are exhibition files for Leaders in Wisconsin Art (1982), John Wilde: Drawings 1940-1984 (1984), Wildeworld: The Art of John Wilde (1999), John Wilde: Recent Work (2003), With Friends: Six Magical Realists (2005), and others.

Printed materials include art auction catalogs, calendars, clippings, exhibition catalogs and announcements, invitations, magazines and journals, poetry booklets, press releases, programs, and an annual report. There are also two scrapbooks containing clippings and other printed materials compiled by Wilde. There are photographs of Wilde, his studio and estate, his close friends and fellow artists, and of works of art by Wilde and others. Few photographs are in digital format.

A series of nearly 90 artists collaboration books, many illustrated by Wilde, include Five Poems by Khatchik Minasian, Poems for Self Therepy by George Economou, Six Poems by J.D. Whitney, John's Apples by Reeve Lindbergh and 44 Wilde 1944, What His Mother's Son Hath Wrought (WHMSHW), The Story of Jane and Joan, and A Hamady Wilde Sampler/Salutations 1995. Other books are by Walter Hamady, Mary Laird Hamady, and others.

Six sketchbooks contain drawings and studies, as well as sketches of himself, his friends, and of his first wife Helen. Interspersed througout the sketchbooks are lists of artworks, accounting notes, and other notes and writings. Additional artwork includes files marked as preparatory drawings by Wilde, a large collage by Jerome Karidis titled Homage to the Queen Gertrude Abercrombie, and a few drawings by others.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 13 series.

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1939-2006 (0.5 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1935-2011 (9.6 linear feet; Boxes 1-9, 21, 25-27)

Series 3: Interviews, circa 1959-circa 1975 (0.2 linear feet; Box 9)

Series 4: Journals, 1935-2006 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 9-11)

Series 5: Writings and Notes, 1936-2006 (0.5 linear feet; Box 11)

Series 6: Personal Business Records, 1940-2006 (0.5 linear feet; Box 12)

Series 7: Exhibition Files, 1963-2010 (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 12-13)

Series 8: Printed Materials, 1940-2010 (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 13-14, 21)

Series 9: Scrapbooks, 1948-1963 (0.4 linear feet; Box 21)

Series 10: Photographic Materials, circa 1940-2000s (3.5 linear feet; Boxes 14-17, 21, 0.008 GB; ER01)

Series 11: Artists Collaboration Books, circa 1970-circa 2000 (4.0 linear feet; Box 17-20, 22)

Series 12: Sketchbooks, 1940-1985 (0.2 linear feet; Box 20, 22)

Series 13: Artwork, circa 1943-circa 2000 (0.3 linear feet; Box 20, OVs 23-24)
Biographical / Historical:
John Wilde (1919-2006) was a painter, educator, and draftsman who specialized in silver point and was associated with Magic Realism. He lived and worked in Wisconsin.

Wilde was born near Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 12, 1919. He lived his whole life in Wisconsin except when he served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison for his bachelor and master degrees in art and art history. While at university, Wilde, along with Marshall Glasier, Sylvia Fein, Karl Priebe, Dudley Huppler, and Gertrude Abercrombie, formed a close-knit circle of friends who shared similar ideas on art and painted in the style of Magic Realism. They often met at Priebe's studio in Milwaukee or Abercrombie's house in Chicago. Wilde also met his first wife and fellow art student, Helen Ashman, during this time. Wilde later married Shirley Grilley after Helen's death in 1966.

Wilde completed artwork for several books published by Perishable Press, a publishing company owned by Walter Hamady. He contributed illustrations to John's Apples by Reeve Lindbergh, 1985- The Twelve Months by Hamady, and Five Poems by Khatchik Minasian. Wilde also wrote and illustrated 44 Wilde 1944, What His Mother's Son Hath Wrought (WHMSHW), The Story of Jane and Joan, and co-authored A Hamady Sampler, Salutations 1995 with Hamady. In addition to his collaborations with Perishable Press, Wilde worked with Warrington Colescott, Harvey Littleton, Tandem Press, and Andrew Balkin Editions on various projects.

The Elvehjem Museum of Art, now the Chazen Museum of Art, located at the University of Wisconsin in Madison where Wilde taught art for 35 years, held several exhibitions of Wilde's work including John Wilde: Drawings 1940-1984 (1984), Wildeworld: The Art of John Wilde (1999), and With Friends: Six Magical Realists (2005).

The Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin began representing Wilde in 1993 and continued to represent Wilde's work after his death in Cooksville, Wisconsin on March 9, 2006.
Related Materials:
An interview with John Wilde conducted in 1979 by Michael Danoff for the Archives of American Art and the collection, Maurice W. Berger correspondence with John Wilde, 1952-1959, are also found in the Archives of American Art.
Separated Materials:
Also avaialbe at the Archives of American Art are materials lent for microfilming (reel 5661 and 4710) including letters from Walter Hamaday. Lent material was returned to the lender and is not described in the collection container inventory.

Portions of the loaned material on reel 4710 were subsequently donated, but a comparison of the film and papers was not completed.
Provenance:
The John Wilde papers were donated incrementally between 1975 and 2015 by John Wilde and his estate. Portions were previously lent for microfilming. Additional letters from Walter Hamady were lent for microfilming by John Wilde in December 1999.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. Research Center. One box of letters from Walter Hamady is ACCESS RESTRICTED; use requires written permission. The Walter Hamady letters microfilmed on 2539a, 4710a, and 5661 are also ACCESS RESTRICTED.
Rights:
The John Wilde papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Occupation:
Draftsmen (artists) -- Wisconsin  Search this
Painters -- Wisconsin  Search this
Art teachers -- Wisconsin  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Wisconsin  Search this
Surrealism  Search this
Magic realism (Art)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketches
Sketchbooks
Diaries
Photographs
Collages
Drawings
Interviews
Illustrated letters
Scrapbooks
Citation:
John Wilde Papers, 1935-2011. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.wildjohn
See more items in:
John Wilde papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-wildjohn

Kathleen Blackshear and Ethel Spears papers

Creator:
Blackshear, Kathleen, 1897-1988  Search this
Spears, Ethel, 1903-1974  Search this
Names:
Art Institute of Chicago  Search this
Art Institute of Chicago. School  Search this
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Archipenko, Alexander, 1887-1964  Search this
Arquin, Florence  Search this
Aubin, Barbara, 1928-2014  Search this
Biesel, Fred, 1893-1954  Search this
Foy, Frances M., 1890-1963  Search this
Gardner, Helen, d. 1946  Search this
Halstead, Whitney  Search this
Kapsalis, Thomas Harry, 1925-  Search this
Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971  Search this
Yoshida, Ray  Search this
Extent:
8.4 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1920-1990
Scope and Contents:
Spears papers (ca. 0.5 ft.) include photographs of Spears and her work; writings about Spears; letters, 1935-1967; a file on the WPA; and travel notes. Blackshear's papers include: writings by and about Blackshear, including an unpublished manuscript by Blackshear, SURVEY OF ART, 1926, and an editor's proof of Helen Gardner's ART THROUGH THE AGES (3rd ed.); photographs of Blackshear and her work; travel diaries, 1920 and undated; ca. 80 sketches; a sketchbook; letters, 1925-1986; address books, 1947-1963 and undated; clippings, 1926-1967; exhibition announcements, 1929-1965; files on Gertrude Abercrombie, Alexander Archipenko, Florence Arquin, Helen Gardner, Whitney Halstead, Tom Kapsalis, Ray Yoshida, and others, containing letters, printed material, photographs of works of art, and personal photographs; and 2.0 ft. of notebooks on art.
Also included are 2.0 ft. of handmade Christmas cards to both Blackshear and Spears from Barbara Aubin, Fred Biesel, Frances Foy, Rockwell Kent, Ray Yoshida, and many others.
Biographical / Historical:
Painter, lecturer, writer, educator; Chicago, Ill. As a graduate student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Blackshear worked as a teaching assistant under Helen Gardner and then continued to teach there for 35 years. She had a lifetime friendship with painter and instructor Ethel Spears.
Provenance:
Donated 1990 by William Terrell, Blackshears' nephew and executor.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Occupation:
Art teachers -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Painters -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Women painters -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.blackath
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-blackath

Gertrude Abercrombie papers, circa 1880-1986, bulk 1935-1977

Creator:
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Subject:
De Diego, Julio  Search this
Armin, Emil  Search this
Huppler, Dudley  Search this
Evans, B.  Search this
Armour, Richard Willard  Search this
Van Vechten, Carl  Search this
Purdy, Carl  Search this
Algren, Nelson  Search this
Wilde, John  Search this
Terkel, Studs  Search this
Rorem, Ned  Search this
Priebe, Karl J.  Search this
Warren, Paul  Search this
Karidis, Jerome  Search this
Rollins, Sonny  Search this
Purdy, James  Search this
Wilcox, Wendell  Search this
Wilder, Thornton  Search this
Type:
Sketchbooks
Diaries
Drawings
Scrapbooks
Sound recordings
Sketches
Photographs
Writings
Topic:
Surrealism  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)5608
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)208442
AAA_collcode_abergert
Theme:
Women
Diaries
Lives of American Artists
Chicago's Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_208442
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Ellen Lanyon

Interviewee:
Lanyon, Ellen  Search this
Interviewer:
Crawford, James, 1944-  Search this
Names:
Ox-Bow Summer School of Painting  Search this
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Berdich, Vera, 1915-2003  Search this
Blackshear, Kathleen, 1897-1988  Search this
Buehr, George Frederick, 1905-1983  Search this
Carleback, Julius  Search this
Ginzel, Roland, 1921-  Search this
Grooms, Red  Search this
Hirsch, Joseph, 1910-1981  Search this
Hoff, Margo  Search this
Lasansky, Mauricio, 1914-  Search this
Rupprecht, Edgar A.  Search this
Schniewind, Carl Oscar, 1900-1957  Search this
Watson, Dudley Crafts, 1885-  Search this
Extent:
5 Sound tapes (5 in.)
214 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound tapes
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1975 Dec. 5
Scope and Contents:
Interview of Ellen Lanyon conducted by James Crawford for the Archives of American Art.
Lanyon speaks of family background; interests in art and music and collecting objects and antiques; her early art education; remembrances of 1933 Chicago World's Fair; Art Institute; Oxbow Summer School of Painting; her work and techniques; exhibitions; Institute of Design; marriage and move to University of Iowa; Iowa art department, Iowa print group; Fulbright to England; travel in France and Italy; return to Chicago; founding of graphic workshop; Hairy Who group; The Imagists; Seven and Up exhibitions; Red Grooms in Chicago; and commissions. She recalls George Buehr, Margo Hoff, Dudley Crafts Watson, Vera Berdich, Joseph Hirsch, Carl Schneiwind, Kathleen Blackshear, Mauricio Lasansky, Gertrude Abercrombie, Julius Carleback, Roland Ginzel, and Edgar Rupprecht.
Biographical / Historical:
Ellen Lanyon (1926- ) is a painter and printmaker in New York and Chicago, Ill.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Occupation:
Painters -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Interviews  Search this
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Women artists -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Interviews  Search this
Printmakers -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.lanyon75
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-lanyon75

Gertrude Abercrombie papers

Creator:
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Names:
Algren, Nelson, 1909-1981  Search this
Armin, Emil, 1883-  Search this
Armour, Richard Willard, 1906-  Search this
De Diego, Julio, 1900-  Search this
Evans, B.  Search this
Huppler, Dudley, 1917-1988  Search this
Karidis, Jerome  Search this
Priebe, Karl J., 1914-1976  Search this
Purdy, Carl  Search this
Purdy, James  Search this
Rollins, Sonny  Search this
Rorem, Ned, 1923-  Search this
Terkel, Studs, 1912-2008  Search this
Van Vechten, Carl, 1880-1964  Search this
Warren, Paul, 1916-  Search this
Wilcox, Wendell  Search this
Wilde, John, 1919-2006  Search this
Wilder, Thornton, 1897-1975  Search this
Extent:
5.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketchbooks
Diaries
Drawings
Scrapbooks
Sound recordings
Sketches
Photographs
Writings
Date:
circa 1880-1986
bulk 1935-1977
Summary:
The papers of surrealist artist Gertrude Abercrombie date from circa 1880-1986, with the bulk of the material dated 1935-1977, and measure 5.9 linear feet. Found within are biographical material; correspondence (mostly incoming letters) with friends, museums, and galleries; files for artists that interested her; writings and notes, including five journal-type notebooks; scattered personal business records; two sketchbooks by Abercrombie and additional sketches and drawings, some by others; printed material, audio recordings, one scrapbook, photographs, and estate records.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of surrealist artist Gertrude Abercrombie date from circa 1880-1986, with the bulk of the material dated 1935-1977, and measure 5.9 linear feet. Found within the papers are biographical material; correspondence (mostly incoming letters) with friends, museums, and galleries; artists files; writings and notes, including five journal-type notebooks; scattered personal business records; two sketchbooks by Abercrombie and additional sketches and drawings, some by others; printed material, audio recordings, one scrapbook, photographs, and estate records.

Biographical material consists of biographical notes, Gertrude Abercrombie's will, address books, and a file titled "memorabilia." Personal and professional correspondence consists mainly of incoming letters and some drafts of Gertrude Abercrombie's outgoing letters. Letters from museums and galleries concern loans of paintings and exhibitions. A large amount of the personal correspondence consists of post cards including many antique ones, as well as cards containing original art work by Julio de Diego, Jerry [Jerome] Karidis, Karl Priebe.

Artist files consist of correspondence, printed material, and photographs concerning painters, writers, a jazz musician, and a photographer. The individuals represented are: Dudley Huppler, Jerome Karidis, Karl Priebe, James Purdy, Sonny Rollins, Carl Van Vechten, Wendell Wilcox, John Wilde, and Thornton Wilder.

Writings and notes include reminiscences, miscellaneous writings and notes, and a girlhood diary with brief entries. Five notebooks contain a variety of writings dating from 1953 through 1975, and undated. One volume concerns only her second husband Frank Sandiford.

Business records include a painting catalog on file cards, mailing and guest lists, and miscellaneous sales records. In addition, six notebooks record expenses, sales, inventories, mailing lists, a register of paintings, and a guest book.

There are two sketchbooks, Christmas card designs, sketches and drawings done by Gertrude Abercrombie. There are also prints, drawings, and a painting by Emil Arman, B. Evans, de Diego, and unknown artists.

Printed material consists of articles and clippings about Gertrude Abercrombie, exhibition catalogs, and reproductions. Also included are books by friends inscribed by the authors, among them: Nelson Algren, Richard Armour, Dudley Huppler, James Purdy, Ned Rorem, Paul Warren [pen name of Abercrombie's second husband, Frank Sandiford], Studs Terkel, and Thornton Wilder.

Audio recordings (33-1/3 rpm phonograph alums) are inscribed to Gertrude Abercrombie by the artists. Orlando's album cover, designed by Abercrombie, incorporates one of her paintings.

Records of the Estate of Gertrude Abercrombie and the Gertrude Abercrombie Trust, Donald Baum, Executor, consist mainly of correspondence with the institutions that were offered works of art by Gertrude Abercrombie and from her personal collection. Also included are general correspondence, financial and tax records, and legal documents.

There is one scrapbook dated 1943 containing photographs and printed material.

Photographs are of art work, people, places, and miscellaneous subjects; negatives, slides, and transparencies are included in this series, too. Photographs of art include the work of Gertrude Abercrombie, Karl Priebe, and Charles Sebree. People pictured are Gertrude Abercrombie and family, including her parents, Richard I. Livingston, Dinah Livingston, and Frank Sandiford. There are also 19th and early 20th century photographs of ancestors. Among the images of friends are: Ivan le Lorraine Albright, Arnold Blanch, Dudley Huppler, Doris Lee, Karl Priebe, and Richard Purdy. Photographs of jazz artists include: Louis Armstrong, George Davis, Erroll Garner, Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Hines, Orlando, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Sarah Vaughn, and the Modern Jazz Quartet. Of particular note the portraits of Gertrude Abercrombie and Dizzy Gillespie by Carl Van Vechten.Among the photographs of places are interior views of Gertrude Abercrombie's home and studio, unidentified landscapes, travel pictures of San Francisco and commercially produced stereopticon slides of other locations. Miscellaneous subjects are automobiles, cats, exhibition installations, and a still life setup.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 11 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1902-1976 (Box 1, OV9; 0.1 linear ft.)

Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1935-1977 (Boxes 1-2; 1.65 linear ft.)

Series 3: Artist files, circa 1935-1977 (Box 2; 0.25 linear ft.)

Series 4: Writings and Notes, circa 1919-1977 (Box 3; 0.1 linear ft.)

Series 5: Business Records, circa 1944-1977 (Box 3; 0.2 linear ft.)

Series 6: Art Work, circa 1939-1975 (Boxes 3, 7; O.2 linear ft.)

Series 7: Printed Material, circa 1906-1977 (Boxes 3-4; 1.6 linear ft.)

Series 8: Audio Recordings, circa 1970-1974 (Box 7; 0.1 linear ft.)

Series 9: Estate Records, circa 1976-1986 (Box 5; o.5 linear ft.)

Series 10: Scrapbook, circa 1943(Box 5; 1 folder)

Series 11: Photographs, circa 1880-1978(Boxes 5-7; OV8, 1.0 linear ft.)
Biographical Note:
Surrealist painter Gertrude Abercrombie (1909-1977) lived and worked in Chicago and was a prominent member of Chicago's Hyde Park arts community.

Abercrombie was known for surrealist oil paintings featuring dreamlike landscapes and fantasies. Her wide circle of friends included locally and nationally known artists, writers, and jazz musicians who made her home a popular avant-garde salon. She was the inspiration for Richie Powell's "Gertrude's Bounce" and, appeared as a fictional character in Malcolm, Eustace Chisholm, and as herself in Gertrude of Stony Island Avenue all by James Purdy.

The only child of Tom and Lula Janes [Jane] Abercrombie, Gertrude was born in Austin, Texas in 1909, while her opera singer parents were in town with a traveling company. In 1913, the family relocated to Berlin to further Jane's career, but the outbreak of World War I forced their return to the United States. They lived with Tom Abercrombie's family in Alledo, Illinois, before permanently settling in Chicago.

Gertrude Abercrombie had a facility with language and possessed musical and artistic talents. After graduation from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana with a degree in romance languages in 1929, she studied figure drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for a short time. She then enrolled at the American Arcademy of Art, also in Chicago, for a year long course in commercial art. Her first job was drawing gloves for Mesirow Department Store ads, followed by a stint working as an artist for Sears.

By 1932, Gertrude Abercrombie began painting seriously. The following summer, she participated in an outdoor art fair in downtown Chicago where she made her first sale and received favorable mention in a newspaper review of the event. Abercrombie's work that featured self-portraits and recurring images of personal symbols - trees, horses, owls, keys, shells, doors, stairways, ladders - began to attract attention. Beginning in 1934, Gertrude Abercrombie was employment as a painter in the WPA Federal Art Project in 1934, enabling her to feel validated as an artist and move from the home of her conservative, Christian Scientist parents to her own apartment. The Chicago Society of Artists presented a solo exhibition of Abercrombie's work in 1934, and in 1936 she showed at the Katharine Kuh Gallery (along with Rita Stein and Nicola Ziroli). In 1936 and 1938 Gertrude Abercrombie won prizes at the Art Institute of Chicago's Annual Exhibition of Works by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity.

She left the WPA in 1940 and married lawyer Robert Livingston. Their daughter, Dinah, was born in 1942, and they soon moved to a large Victorian house on South Dorchester St. where Gertude lived for the remainder of her life. The couple divorced in 1948. That same year she married Frank Sandiford, a music critic whose pen name was Paul Warren. An accomplished improvisational pianist, Gertrude Abercrombie became friends with many prominent jazz artists whom she met through Sandiford; in fact, Dizzy Gillespie performed at their wedding. Abercrombie and Sandiford separated in 1964.

The 1940s through 1950s were Gertrude Abercrombie's most productive and prolific period. Although she no longer painted many portraits, he work remained focused on the same themes and symbols. She believed that art was about ideas rather than technique and insisted that "It is always myself that I paint." During this period, Amercrombie exhibited widely in group shows and had solo exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, Associated American Artists (New York), and Leonard Linn, Inc. (Winnetka, Ill.)

By the late 1950s, Gertrude Abercrombie began a long decline. Alcoholism started to take a toll. She suffered serious financial reverses, and in 1964 separated from Frank Sandiford. Debilitating arthritis eventually landed her in a wheel chair, and she became reclusive. In 1977, very near the end of her life, Gertrude Abercrombie was honored with a well-received retrospective exhibition at the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago. She was able to attend the reception and enjoy seeing the many old friends who were at the event.

Gertrude Abercrombie died in Chicago in 1977. Her will established The Gertrude Abercrombie Trust that cared for and distributed to various institutions her own paintings and a personal collection of works by other artists to selected institutions, mainly in the Midwest.
Related Material:
A photograph of Gertrude Abercrombie at home with her painting "Slaughter House", was donated by Donald Baum to the National Collection of Fine Arts in 1979 and transferred to the Archives of American Art that same year.
Provenance:
Donald Baum, executor of both the estate and trust of Gertrude Abercrombie, donated the papers to the Archives of American Art in 1978 and 1986.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Surrealism  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketchbooks
Diaries
Drawings
Scrapbooks
Sound recordings
Sketches
Photographs
Writings
Citation:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers, circa 1880-1986, bulk 1935-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.abergert
See more items in:
Gertrude Abercrombie papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-abergert

Legal Documents

Collection Creator:
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Container:
Box 5, Folder 31
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1976-1980
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Collection Citation:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers, circa 1880-1986, bulk 1935-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Gertrude Abercrombie papers
Gertrude Abercrombie papers / Series 9: Estate Records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-abergert-ref100

Notes

Collection Creator:
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Container:
Box 5, Folder 32
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Collection Citation:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers, circa 1880-1986, bulk 1935-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Gertrude Abercrombie papers
Gertrude Abercrombie papers / Series 9: Estate Records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-abergert-ref102

Tax Returns

Collection Creator:
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Container:
Box 5, Folder 33
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1977-1984
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Collection Citation:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers, circa 1880-1986, bulk 1935-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Gertrude Abercrombie papers
Gertrude Abercrombie papers / Series 9: Estate Records
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-abergert-ref103

Scrapbook

Collection Creator:
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Extent:
0.2 Linear feet (Box 5)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1943
Scope and Contents note:
The scrapbook contains photographs of works by Gertrude Abercrombie and a small amount of printed material consisting of reviews and pages from exhibition catalogs.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Collection Citation:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers, circa 1880-1986, bulk 1935-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.abergert, Series 10
See more items in:
Gertrude Abercrombie papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-abergert-ref105

Scrapbook (1 vol. disbound)

Collection Creator:
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Container:
Box 5, Folder 34
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1943, undated
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Collection Citation:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers, circa 1880-1986, bulk 1935-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Gertrude Abercrombie papers
Gertrude Abercrombie papers / Series 10: Scrapbook
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-abergert-ref106

Photographs

Collection Creator:
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Extent:
1 Linear foot (Boxes 5-7; OV 8)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1880-1978
Scope and Contents note:
Photographs are of art work, people, places, and miscellaneous subjects; negatives, slides, and transparencies are included in this series, too.

Photographs of art include the work of Gertrude Abercrombie, Karl Priebe, and Charles Sebree.

People pictured are Gertrude Abercrombie and family, including her parents, Richard I. Livingston, Dinah Livingston, and Frank Sandiford. There are also 19th and early 20th century photographs of ancestors. Among the images of friends are: Ivan le Lorraine Albright, Arnold Blanch, Dudley Huppler, Doris Lee, Karl Priebe, and Richard Purdy. Photographs of jazz artists include: Louis Armstrong, George Davis, Erroll Garner, Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Hines, Orlando, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Sarah Vaughn, and the Modern Jazz Quartet. Of particular note the portraits of Gertrude Abercrombie and Dizzy Gillespie by Carl Van Vechten.

Among the photographs of places are interior views of Gertrude Abercrombie's home and studio, unidentified landscapes, travel pictures of San Francisco and commercially produced stereopticon slides of other locations. Miscellaneous subjects are automobiles, cats, exhibition installations, and a still life setup.
Arrangement note:
Photographs are arranged into 5 subseries:

Subseries 1: Art Work, 1978, undated

Subseries 2: People, circa 1880-1976, undated

Subseries 3: Places, 1958-1971, undated

Subseries 4: Miscellaneous Subjects, 1931-1961, undated

Subseries 5: Negatives, Slides, and Transparencies, 1963, undated
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Collection Citation:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers, circa 1880-1986, bulk 1935-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.abergert, Series 11
See more items in:
Gertrude Abercrombie papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-abergert-ref108

Art work

Collection Creator:
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1978, undated
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Collection Citation:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers, circa 1880-1986, bulk 1935-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.abergert, Subseries 11.1
See more items in:
Gertrude Abercrombie papers
Gertrude Abercrombie papers / Series 11: Photographs
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-abergert-ref109

By Gertrude Abercrombie

Collection Creator:
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Container:
Box 5, Folder 35-36
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1935-1978, undated
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Collection Citation:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers, circa 1880-1986, bulk 1935-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Gertrude Abercrombie papers
Gertrude Abercrombie papers / Series 11: Photographs / 11.1: Art work
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-abergert-ref110

By Other Artists (works by Karl Priebe, Charles Sebree, and unknown, owned by Gertrude Abercrombie)

Collection Creator:
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Container:
Box 5, Folder 37
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Collection Citation:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers, circa 1880-1986, bulk 1935-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Gertrude Abercrombie papers
Gertrude Abercrombie papers / Series 11: Photographs / 11.1: Art work
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-abergert-ref111

People

Collection Creator:
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1880-1976, undated
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Collection Citation:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers, circa 1880-1986, bulk 1935-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.abergert, Subseries 11.2
See more items in:
Gertrude Abercrombie papers
Gertrude Abercrombie papers / Series 11: Photographs
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-abergert-ref112

Gertrude Abercrombie (includes portrait by Carl Van Vechten)

Collection Creator:
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Extent:
(see also: Box 7; OV 8)
Container:
Box 5, Folder 38-44
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1909-1970s
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Collection Citation:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers, circa 1880-1986, bulk 1935-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Gertrude Abercrombie papers
Gertrude Abercrombie papers / Series 11: Photographs / 11.2: People
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-abergert-ref113

Gertrude Abercrombie with Groups (including Cameron, Huppler, Sandiford, Priebe, and unidentified)

Collection Creator:
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Extent:
(see also: Box 7)
Container:
Box 5, Folder 45
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1953-1960, undated
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Collection Citation:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers, circa 1880-1986, bulk 1935-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Gertrude Abercrombie papers
Gertrude Abercrombie papers / Series 11: Photographs / 11.2: People
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-abergert-ref114

Gertrude Abercrombie with Groups (unidentified)

Collection Creator:
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Container:
Box 5, Folder 46
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Collection Citation:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers, circa 1880-1986, bulk 1935-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Gertrude Abercrombie papers
Gertrude Abercrombie papers / Series 11: Photographs / 11.2: People
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-abergert-ref115

Gertrude Abercrombie with Individuals (Alizier, Benjamin, Cameron)

Collection Creator:
Abercrombie, Gertrude, 1909-1977  Search this
Container:
Box 5, Folder 47
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1939-1954, undated
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Collection Citation:
The Gertrude Abercrombie papers, circa 1880-1986, bulk 1935-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Gertrude Abercrombie papers
Gertrude Abercrombie papers / Series 11: Photographs / 11.2: People
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-abergert-ref116

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