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Allan Randall Freelon papers

Creator:
Freelon, Allan Randall, 1895-1960  Search this
Extent:
4.4 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Scrapbooks
Diaries
Drawings
Date:
1830-2018
Summary:
The papers of African American painter and educator Allan Randall Freelon, who was based in Pennsylvania, measure 4.4 linear feet and date from 1830 to 2018. The collection contains biographical material, including appointment books and family history material; correspondence; writings; material related to professional activities, including exhibitions and school visits; personal business records, including estate records; printed material; scrapbooks; photographic material; and artwork and artifacts.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of African American painter and educator Allan Randall Freelon, who was based in Pennsylvania, measure 4.4 linear feet and date from 1830 to 2018. The collection contains biographical material, including appointment books and family history material; correspondence; writings; material related to professional activities, including exhibitions and school visits; personal business records, including estate records; printed material; scrapbooks; photographic material; and artwork and artifacts.

Biographical material include address lists, certificates, appointment books, and family history material.

Correspondence includes a mixture of personal and professional correspondence with families, friends, galleries, museusm, and and Philadelphia area schools.

Writings consist of Freelon's MFA thesis, notes and notecards. There is also a fair amount of writings by others, such as essays, poems, reports, and even a travel diary from 1879-1880 by someone with the initials "I. J. G."

Materials related to professional activities include exhibition, project, and committee files. There are also assorted materials related to Freelon's work as the Art Director for Philadelphia public schools.

Also included are personal business records, which contain estate records (which includes a audiovisual recording), auction records, condition reports, inventories, property records, and sale records.

Printed material consists of clippings, magazines, newsletters, and exhibition catalogs and announcements.

There are three scrapbooks, which primarily contains a mixture of photographic material, correspondence, and printed material.

Photographic materials include slides, photographs, and negatives of Freelon, his paintings, studio, friends and family, and various other location.

Artwork and artifacts include sketchbooks, sketches, and one souvenir spoon from the Sesqui-Centennial Exposition of 1926.
Arrangement:
This collection is arranged as nine series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1919, circa 1938-2001 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1878-2010 (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, 1879-1880, 1922-1959 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 4: Professional Activities, circa 1935-1957, 2000-2005 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 5: Personal Business Records, 1856-1957, 1995-2018 (Boxes 1-2, OV 6; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1849-2015 (Box 2, Box 4; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 7: Scrapbooks, 1923-1960 (Box 2, Boxes 4-5; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 8: Photographic Material, circa 1880-circa 2006 (Boxes 2-3, Box 5, OV 6, MGP 6, Box 7; 1.6 linear feet)

Series 9: Artwork and Artifacts, circa 1912-circa 1960 (Box 3; 0.2 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Allan Randall Freelon Sr. (1895-1960) was painter and educator in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania known for his impressionist paintings.

Freelon studied at the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art (now the University of the Arts), the University of Pennsylvania, and the Tyler School of Art of Temple University. He also spent summers studying painting with Hugh Breckenridge in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

His work was included in exhibitions at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, traveling exhibitions with the William E. Harmon Foundation, the Albright-Knox Gallery, the National Gallery of Art, the Howard University Gallery of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He was also one of seven Black artists included in the exhibition Art Commentary on Lynching, organized by the NAACP.

Freelon married Marie Cuyjet in 1918 and they had one son Allan Randall Freelon Jr. Freelon and Cuyjet eventually divorced and Freelon married Mary Kouzmanoff.

Freelon taught art in the Philadelphia public school system and in 1921 was appointed as assistant director of art education. In 1939 he was named the special assistant to the director of art in the Philadelphia public schools. Freelon also taught painting at Windy Crest, his studio in Telford, Pennsylvania, where he passed away in 1960.
Provenance:
The Allan Randall Freelon papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in 2019 by Nnenna and Maya Freelon as part of the Archives' African American Collecting Initiative funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. Nnenna is the widow of Phil Freelon, Allan Randall Freelon's grandson. Maya Freelon is Nnenna and Phil's daughter.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.

Access to nitrate negatives is restricted. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Painters -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia  Search this
Educators -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia  Search this
Topic:
African American artists  Search this
African American painters  Search this
African American educators  Search this
Impressionism (Art)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks
Diaries
Drawings
Citation:
Allan Randall Freelon papers, 1830-2018. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.freealla
See more items in:
Allan Randall Freelon papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw97f25a9d8-30fc-4ede-a04a-ff439b2e418d
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-freealla
Online Media:

Be your wonderful self

Author:
Delaney, Beauford 1901-1979  Search this
Host institution:
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery  Search this
Ogden Museum  Search this
Physical description:
180 pages illustrations, portraits 31 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Expositions
Exhibition catalogs
Date:
2021
Topic:
African American artists  Search this
African American painters  Search this
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Modernism (Art)  Search this
Artistes noirs américains  Search this
Peintres noirs américains  Search this
Expressionnisme abstrait  Search this
Modernisme (Art)  Search this
Call number:
N40.1.D343 M53p 2021
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1157656

Here At The Smithsonian: Contemporary Expressions

Creator:
Smithsonian Institution Archives  Search this
Type:
Conversations and talks
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2021-02-22T20:20:59.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Museum administration  Search this
See more by:
SIArchives
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
YouTube Channel:
SIArchives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_9syry4IhSzc

Panel Discussion - A Closer Look at African American Artists in SAAM’s Collection

Creator:
Smithsonian American Art Museum  Search this
Type:
Conversations and talks
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2020-02-09T00:32:31.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
See more by:
americanartmuseum
Data Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum
YouTube Channel:
americanartmuseum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_XMjaL11vpXE

Farafina Kan - The Sound of Africa

Creator:
National Museum of the American Indian  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2013-01-28T14:32:51.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Native Americans;American Indians  Search this
See more by:
SmithsonianNMAI
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
YouTube Channel:
SmithsonianNMAI
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_Mm5vamup76E

Farafina Kan Youth - The Sound of Africa

Creator:
National Museum of the American Indian  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2013-01-28T14:50:04.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Native Americans;American Indians  Search this
See more by:
SmithsonianNMAI
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
YouTube Channel:
SmithsonianNMAI
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_bqsq6Q8R4TI

Inspired: Africa, WPA Art and a Unique Hospital Design

Creator:
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum  Search this
Type:
Conversations and talks
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2013-06-03T22:27:17.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Design  Search this
See more by:
cooperhewitt
Data Source:
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
YouTube Channel:
cooperhewitt
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_orbRNNebPE4

Archives of American Art Short Film Series: Jeff Donaldson Letter to Fellow OBAC Members, June 1967

Creator:
Archives of American Art  Search this
Type:
Conversations and talks
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2020-05-29T13:50:15.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
See more by:
SmithsonianAAA
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
YouTube Channel:
SmithsonianAAA
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_L_FBSufR1EQ

Peggy Seeger - "Butcher Boy" [Official Audio]

Creator:
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2009-04-21T16:43:49.000Z
YouTube Category:
Music  Search this
Topic:
Cultural property  Search this
See more by:
smithsonianfolkways
Data Source:
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
YouTube Channel:
smithsonianfolkways
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_ftPwWuQ-IUI

Dave Van Ronk - "Duncan and Brady" [Official Audio]

Creator:
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2009-04-21T17:21:17.000Z
YouTube Category:
Music  Search this
Topic:
Cultural property  Search this
See more by:
smithsonianfolkways
Data Source:
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
YouTube Channel:
smithsonianfolkways
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_sSHvXOHGC7o

Mark Spoelstra - "Sugar Babe, It's All Over Now" [Official Audio]

Creator:
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2009-04-21T17:22:23.000Z
YouTube Category:
Music  Search this
Topic:
Cultural property  Search this
See more by:
smithsonianfolkways
Data Source:
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
YouTube Channel:
smithsonianfolkways
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_sWyLnYGSKwc

Calvin Burnett papers, 1920-1979, bulk 1960s-1970s

Creator:
Burnett, Calvin W., 1921-2007  Search this
Type:
Drawings
Scrapbooks
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Calvin Burnett papers, 1920-1979, bulk 1960s-1970s. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
African American artists  Search this
African American educators  Search this
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks  Search this
Diaries  Search this
African American  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)8493
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)210669
AAA_collcode_burncalv
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks
Diaries
African American
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_210669
Online Media:

Sam Gilliam papers, 1957-1989

Creator:
Gilliam, Sam, 1933-2022  Search this
Subject:
Andrews, Benny  Search this
Driskell, David C.  Search this
Gilliam, Dorothy Butler  Search this
Krebs, Rockne  Search this
Mondale, Walter F.  Search this
Carl Solway Gallery  Search this
Philadelphia Museum of Art  Search this
Studio Museum in Harlem  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Scrapbooks
Sketches
Sound recordings
Citation:
Sam Gilliam papers, 1957-1989. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Color-field painting  Search this
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Washington Color School (Group of artists)  Search this
African American artists  Search this
African American educators  Search this
African American painters  Search this
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks  Search this
African American  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9584
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211785
AAA_collcode_gillsam
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks
African American
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211785
Online Media:

Nina Howell Starr papers, circa 1933-1996

Creator:
Starr, Nina Howell, 1903-2000  Search this
Subject:
Ghent, Henri  Search this
Uelsmann, Jerry  Search this
Morgan, Barbara Brooks  Search this
Evans, Walker  Search this
Savage, Naomi  Search this
Kanaga, Consuelo  Search this
Kernan, Margo  Search this
Connor, Linda  Search this
Brandt, Helene  Search this
Szarwarski, John  Search this
Mainardi, Patricia  Search this
Sherwood, Maggie  Search this
Ringgold, Faith  Search this
Daitz, Evelyne Z.  Search this
Coke, Van Deren  Search this
Cohen, Stephenie  Search this
Macdonald-Wright, Stanton  Search this
Kruger, Louise  Search this
Putnam, Wallace  Search this
Rose, Ruth Starr  Search this
Strand, Paul  Search this
Evans, Minnie  Search this
DiSpirito, Henry  Search this
Siskind, Aaron  Search this
Lippard, Lucy R.  Search this
International Women's Art Festival  Search this
Sharon Arts Center  Search this
Professional Women's Photographers, Inc.  Search this
Photographic Historical Society of New York  Search this
Southern Regional Council  Search this
Museum of American Folk Art  Search this
Type:
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Interviews
Drawings
Sketches
Transcripts
Sound recordings
Prints
Citation:
Nina Howell Starr papers, circa 1933-1996. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Folk art  Search this
Civil rights  Search this
African American art  Search this
Folk art -- Photographs  Search this
Women photographers  Search this
Photography  Search this
African American artists  Search this
Theme:
African American  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)6053
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)216034
AAA_collcode_starnina
Theme:
African American
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_216034
Online Media:

It’s Okay to Be Messy! | Joyful Lessons + Art Projects for Kids | NMAAHC Kids

Creator:
National Museum of African American History and Culture  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2024-03-27T21:44:09.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
African Americans  Search this
See more by:
WatchNMAAHC
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
YouTube Channel:
WatchNMAAHC
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_bs-TMMK4hPc

Meet the Archives of American Art: Sarah

Creator:
Archives of American Art  Search this
Type:
Conversations and talks
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2024-05-24T16:00:59.000Z
YouTube Category:
Education  Search this
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
See more by:
SmithsonianAAA
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
YouTube Channel:
SmithsonianAAA
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_v4oyxmWbwCo

The Mecca of Fine Arts Education: Howard University:

Creator:
Anacostia Community Museum  Search this
Type:
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2024-04-05T16:20:15.000Z
YouTube Category:
Nonprofits & Activism  Search this
Topic:
African Americans  Search this
See more by:
SmithsonianAnacostia
Data Source:
Anacostia Community Museum
YouTube Channel:
SmithsonianAnacostia
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:yt_JUVtjYUWP3s

Ethel Waters

Artist:
Beauford Delaney, 1901 - 1979  Search this
Sitter:
Ethel Waters, 31 Oct 1896 - 1 Sep 1977  Search this
Medium:
Pastel on paper
Dimensions:
Sheet: 65 x 49.6 cm (25 9/16 x 19 1/2")
Frame: 90.5 × 75 cm (35 5/8 × 29 1/2")
Type:
Drawing
Date:
1940
Topic:
Costume\Jewelry\Earring  Search this
Ethel Waters: Female  Search this
Ethel Waters: Literature\Writer  Search this
Ethel Waters: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor  Search this
Ethel Waters: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor\Stage actor  Search this
Ethel Waters: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor\Movie actor  Search this
Ethel Waters: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer\Blues singer  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; purchase partially supported through the generosity of the Abraham and Virginia Weiss Charitable Trust, Amy and Marc Meadows, in honor of Wendy Wick Reaves; and Jewell Robinson
Object number:
NPG.2011.7
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
Copyright:
© Estate of Beauford Delaney by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Location:
Currently not on view
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sm484ba532a-3339-4eab-8373-dcbe5695a6d7
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_NPG.2011.7

Art Smith Archive

Artist:
Smith, Art, 1917-1982  Search this
Curator of an exhibition:
Billops, Camille, 1933-2019  Search this
Names:
Boatwright, Ruth Ellington, 1915-2004  Search this
Primus, Pearl, (dancer)  Search this
Musician:
Ellington, Duke, 1899-1974  Search this
Extent:
11 Cubic feet (23 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1909-2010
bulk 1930-1982
Summary:
Arthur (Art) Smith was one of the leading studio jewelry artists of the mid-twentieth century. Between 1946 and 1977, Arthur Smith worked out of his store, Art Smith in Greenwich Village, New York City creating commissions as well as modern designs for a diverse clientele, for wholesalers across the United States, and for inclusion in crafts and art exhibitions. During his life, Arthur's work was featured in numerous exhibitions across the United States. His legacy was also honored posthumously through additional exhibitions curated by artists, galleries, and museums, and other projects. This archival collection contains biographical materials, a significant amount of Smith's family papers, family photographs, photographs related to Art Smith Jewelry advertisements and exhibitions, original drawings and facsimiles of jewelry drawings and designs, exhibition materials and catalogues, correspondence, clippings about Arthur and jewelry advertisements, business papers, manuscript drafts, oral history interview transcripts and related biographical research materials collected by Charles Russell, Arthur's partner, while writing the biography "Art as Adornment: The Life and Work of Arthur George Smith." The collection provides insight into Arthur Smith's life and family, his work as a jewelry artist, and the preservation of his legacy.
Scope and Contents:
The Art Smith Archive (1909-2010, bulk dates 1930-1982) documents the life, art and career, and posthumous legacy of Arthur (Art) George Smith (1917-1982), a twentieth century Black, gay, modernist studio jewelry artist. The collection documents Arthur Smith's personal and family life, his professional activities as a jewelry artist based in New York City, and his posthumous legacy. The collection contains family and personal papers and photographs documenting the Smith family's experience emigrating to New York City from Cuba in the early 1900s and their lives in Brooklyn. The collection mainly documents Arthur's work as a jeweler through his drawings and sketches, business papers, clippings and advertisements, numerous photographs and photo boards displaying jewelry for promotion and advertisement, and his exhibitions work. Additionally, Arthur's personal connections and interests in art, jazz, and dance in mid-century New York are represented in the collection through items such as his Wax Records jazz collection and Katherine Dunham Dancers broadside advertisement collected and maintained by Charles Russell, Arthur's partner. The collection also displays the ongoing legacy and study of Arthur Smith's craftsmanship and modernist jewelry style through documentation of a number of posthumous exhibitions and memorializing projects. The collection is comprised of family and biographical personal papers, photographs, business records, correspondence, clippings and periodicals, artwork, jewelry artifacts and prototypes, and collected music recordings. The collection also includes oversized photographs, drawings, and designs, and other items.
Arrangement:
Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1909-2003

Subseries 1.1: Family Papers, 1909-2003

Subseries 1.2: Family Photographs, 1920-1995, undated

Subseries 1.3: Personal Photographs, 1934-1982

Subseries 1.4: Personal Papers, circa 1942-1982

Series 2: Professional Activities, circa 1946-2003

Subseries 2.1: Business Records and Jewelry Designs, circa 1947-1980

Subseries 2.2: Professional Photographs of Jewelry and Art Smith, circa 1946-2003, undated

Subseries 2.3: Exhibition Records, 1948-1981

Series 3: Advertisements and Periodicals, 1949-2008

Series 4: Legacy and Memorialization, 1982-2010

Subseries 4.1: Posthumous Exhibitions and Estate Management, circa 1985-2010

Subseries 4.2: Hatch-Billops Collection Projects, 1974-1990

Subseries 4.3: Writing and Biography Research, 1982-2010

Series 5: Books and Exhibition Catalogues, 1970-2006

Series 6: Jewelry Artifacts, circa 1979-1980, undated

Series 7: Music Collection, circa 1946-1949, undated
Biography:
Arthur (Art) George Smith was born in Santa Lucia, Cuba to Jamaican parents James and Mary Smith (née Williams) on October 28, 1917. The couple and their adopted daughter, Ina, had migrated from Jamaica to Cuba for work. In 1918, James Smith left Cuba for Brooklyn, New York, where he served as an officer in Marcus Garvey's United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). The family, Mary, Ina, and young Arthur joined him in 1920. Mary and James would later separate. Arthur's mother and sister worked a series of domestic work and tutoring jobs to support the family as well as provide young Art with educational opportunities not traditionally experienced by Black people during the Great Depression.

Smith began to display a talent for fine arts while attending elementary school that continued to flourish in high school leading him a full scholarship to Cooper Union, a private college in New York focused on the study of fine art, architecture, and engineering. Smith was advised to focus on architecture because of the limited opportunities afforded to Black people in the fine arts. He instead chose to explore a variety of art forms and later recalled being most interested in sculpture and decorative arts. He graduated in 1940. The same year, the New Deal work program, National Youth Administration (later Junior Achievement, Inc) allowed Smith to teach youth art courses at the Children's Aid Society in Harlem. There he met Winifred Mason (Chenet), a pioneer in creating African American jewelry. In 1943, Mason hired, trained, and mentored Smith at her shop located in Greenwich Village - then an important enclave for artists, writers, and musicians. It was here that he learned how to transform metals into the wearable art that would come to define the Mid-century Modern jewelry movement.

In 1946, Smith left Mason to open his first shop on Cornelia Street in Little Italy in New York City, but he was forced to relocate because of racial discrimination and violence. He was chased and nearly hit by a white driver and his store's display window was broken twice. Smith opened his second store the following year at 140 W 4th Street in Greenwich Village. Smith initially shared the store, then known as Craft House, with Helen Cornélé Cuyjet (Nélé), an African American metalsmith and leather craftswoman. They shared this space for several years before parting ways. He renamed the store, Art Smith Jewelry after himself. Smith's jewelry was dynamic and noted for being lightweight, sinuous, and attentive to line and form. His earlier use of brass and copper enabled him to produce work using affordable materials while still creating unique custom designs. Employing and training up to four apprentices at a time from art schools, Smith was able to produce large quantities of product. His prolific output allowed him to sell his work to national retail stores and boutiques in New York City, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. His retail clients included Bloomingdales and Milton Heffling's Inc.

His diverse clientele came from the social scene of Greenwich Villages and nationwide colleges with affiliated art and/or jewelry programs and galleries. He possessed a strong Black client base that transversed multi-disciplinary Black arts scene including artists, writers, dancers, and musicians. Smith designed jewelry for major modern Black dance companies including the Pearl Primus Dance Company, Tally Beatty Dance Company, and Claude Marchant Dance Company. He also sold thousands of dollars-worth of jewelry to outlets such as the Afro-Arts Bazaar in Harlem, operated by Ina Cullen (widow of poet Countee Cullen), Etta Moten Barnett and Estelle Massey Osborn. He was a member of the Neal Salon, a social support network made up largely of Black gay artists and performers in New York City. His various networks included close friends such as choreographer Talley Beatty, visual artists Charles Sebree, Joyce Scott and Camille Billops, and actress Ruth Attaway, and acquaintances such as photographer Gordon Parks and writer Ralph Ellison.

By the 1950s, Smith's pieces were being featured in Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, and The New Yorker. Both African American community magazines, Jet and Opportunity published articles on his work. Two of his notable commissions include a brooch for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and cufflinks for Duke Ellington. Smith, a longtime Ellington fan, designed the cufflinks as commissioned by Ellington's sister, Ruth, with the first notes of his 1930 hit composition, "Mood Indigo." Smith was also a founding member of the Duke Ellington Society, a fan club that celebrated Ellington artistry and legacy. An avid jazz aficionado, Smith attended concert and dance performances frequently of his friends, associates, and patrons. He also was noted for creating work while listening to music. Jazz music was his muse, and he amassed a considerable music collection dedicated to the art form.

Through his notoriety and social circle, he gained opportunities to teach, create, exhibit and in some cases sell his work to several institutions. These include Morgan State College (now University located in Maryland), Staten Island Museum of Smith and Sciences, Brookfield Craft Center, and the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (Maine). Smith was also featured in the first NEH-funded "National African American Crafts Jubilee" and the associated "Contemporary African American Crafts" exhibition both taking place in Memphis, TN. In 1979, Smith co-created a work of jewelry with visual artist Joyce Scott, that encapsulated both their respective styles.

Smith met his life partner, Charles Russell in 1973 at The Metropolitan, movie theater in Greenwich Village. Russell, who identified as a white bisexual man, remained his partner until end of Smith's life. Together, the couple moved to a loft in Soho where they often hosted their social events while showcasing Smith's famous jazz collection. By the late 1970s, Smith's health started to decline, and he was forced to close his shop. Smith transitioned to working out of their home on selective commissions. By 1979, the couple moved back to his native Brooklyn where Smith's sister, Ina (who was then in poor health) came to live with them. Smith died of heart failure on February 20, 1982. Charles remained close to Smith's niece Yvonne and sister Ina, the latter continued to live with Charles, as he moved to subsequent locations in New Jersey and Illinois until her death in 1995. Yvonne assisted Charles in managing Smith's estate until her death in 2002. Smith's friend and collaborator, Camille Billops created "The Art Smith Project", a collaborative project including his partner, family, friends, and supporters to actively document and preserve his legacy, his process, and his art. The Project was dedicated to the documentation of Smith's work and process through photography of his jewelry and oral history interviews with his friends and former clients. This also entailed preserving Smith's archives in the Hatch-Billops Collection, Inc. Camille utilized the archive in the exhibition, "Arthur Smith: A Jeweler's Retrospective" at the Jamaica Arts Center in New York. For several years, Camille and Charles both managed requests from museums and galleries to exhibit and licensing of photographs of his work. In 2008, Charles donated nineteen pieces from the Art Smith store, with accompanying archival materials, his store sign and jewelry-making tools, to the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

Posthumously, several major exhibitions recognizing Smith's contribution to midcentury modernist jewelry include "Structure and Ornament: American Modernist Jewelry 1940-1960" at the Fifty-50 Gallery in New York in 1984; "Sculpture to Wear: Art Smith and his Contemporaries," at the Gansevoort Gallery in New York in 1998; "Messengers of Modernism: American Studio Jewelry 1940-1960" at the Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts in 1996; and "From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith" at the Brooklyn Museum in 2008.

Charles Russell remained dedicated to his partner's legacy and family. With encouragement from Camille Billops, over the course of two decades, Charles wrote a biography of Art Smith's life. The resulting book, Art as Adornment: The Life and Work of Arthur George Smith, was published in 2016. Charles, with assistance of gallerist and artist manager Mark McDonald, continuing to maintain his personal collection and manage Smith's estate, including jewelry loans, and sales. Charles' personal collection of Smith materials along with an additional collection documentation "The Art Smith Project" maintained by the Hatch-Billops Collection, Inc. were donated to NMAAHC in 2018 and 2022 respectively.
Biographical Timeline:
Biographical Timeline

1906 -- James August Smith and Mary Elizabeth Williams wed in Jamaica

1914 -- James and Mary (Williams) Smith and their adopted daughter Ina, migrate from Jamaica to Santa Lucia, Cuba

October 28, 1917 -- Arthur George Smith is born in Santa Lucia, Cuba.

1920 -- Mary, Ina, and Arthur leave Cuba to settle in Brooklyn with James.

1931 -- As an 8th grader at Brooklyn P.S. No. 3, Arthur wins an ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) poster contest. He later recalled this as one of the events that led him to decide to become an artist.

1935 -- – Arthur attends Cooper Union Day School, he takes a broad array of classes, wanting to expose himself to as many artistic forms as possible. He begins experimenting with three-dimensional art forms through sculpture and decorative design classes.

1936 ca. -- Arthur begins working with the National Youth Administration (NYA), painting public service signs for the Harlem youth program. While there, he meets noted theater set designer Perry Watkins from the Negro Playwrights Company. Arthur apprentices with Watkins for over a year.

1938 -- At a jazz performance in Harlem, Arthur meets dancer Talley Beatty, an emergent Black choreographer and dancer in Katherine Dunham's company. The two establish a lifelong friendship. Arthur would later design jewelry for several of Beatty's performances as well as those of other Black modern dance companies.

1939 -- As a sophomore at Cooper Union, Art wins the New York World Fair architecture contest.

1940 -- Arthur graduates from Cooper Union with a degree in Advertising Design.

1941 -- Smith starts at the Children's Aid Society under the auspices of the Junior Achievement, Inc., an organization devoted to helping young adults with business pursuits. While there, he meets Winifred Mason, a fellow African American jewelry designer.

1943 -- Smith begins to work as an assistant for Winifred Mason in her store at 133 West 3rd Street in Greenwich Village.

1946 -- Smith opens his first store at 37 Cornelia Street, an Italian neighborhood. He also becomes involved with Craftsmen's Equity, an organization of professional workers in the field of ceramics, jewelry, textiles, and plastics. He becomes its president the following year.

1948 -- Talley Beatty invites Art to join the Neal Salon, a social support group for Black gay artists and musicians. Art also publishes an article, "Jewelry Making is My Craft" in National Urban League magazine, Opportunity for the winter edition.

1950 -- Smith's work is featured in Vogue Magazine in the September issue.

1951 -- Smith is noted in the program book of the Pearl Primus Dance Company show, "Dark Rhythms," as having designed the jewelry for the production.

1953 -- Smith publishes an ad for his boutique, Art Smith in May issue of The New Yorker magazine.

1957 -- Arthur sells 70 pieces of jewelry to Bloomingdale's in New York City department store.

1958 -- Smith is injured in a car accident while on a trip . He sustains injuries to his face, specifically his eye. His production slows until he recovers.

1959 -- Talley Beatty's "The Road of the Phoebe Snow" with Smith being a contributor to program.

1974 -- Smith accepts a summer teaching assignment at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts located in Deer Isle, Maine. From December 1 through 20, he is also featured in The Gallery of Art at Morgan State College in Baltimore's "The Haystack Encounter".

1978 -- Samella Lewis, art historian, educator and artist, publishes her book, Art: African American, featuring both Art Smith and Camille Billops.

1979 -- In May, the 1st "National African American Crafts Conference & Jubilee" is held in Memphis, sponsored by Shelby State Community College. Smith is the exhibition and teaches a workshop in jewelry-making. The following month, his work is featured in the Brookfield Craft Center 25th Anniversary Exhibit.

1990 -- Camille Billops curates the exhibition "Arthur Smith: A Jeweler's Retrospective" at the Jamaica Arts Center, after creating the "Art Smith Project" honoring Arthur Smith's legacy.

2007 -- Charles donates Art Smith jewelry and archives to the Brooklyn Museum.

2008 -- The Brooklyn Museum opens the exhibition, "From Brooklyn to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith".

2016 -- Charles publishes biography of Art's life and career, Art as Adornment: The Life and Work of Arthur George Smith.
Topic:
Jewelry -- Design  Search this
American studio craft movement  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
African American art  Search this
African American artisans  Search this
African American artists  Search this
African American art museum curators  Search this
African American artists as teachers  Search this
Identifier:
NMAAHC.A2018.110
See more items in:
Art Smith Archive
Archival Repository:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/io30eef96b9-c92a-4085-b7bd-1479be645792
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmaahc-a2018-110

Lowery Stokes Sims papers

Creator:
Sims, Lowery Stokes  Search this
Names:
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Studio Museum in Harlem  Search this
Catlett, Elizabeth, 1915-2012  Search this
Colescott, Robert, 1925-2009  Search this
Lam, Wifredo  Search this
Pousette-Dart, Richard, 1916-1992  Search this
Extent:
34 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound recordings
Interviews
Video recordings
Date:
1967-2019
Summary:
The papers of African American art historian, curator and arts administrator, Lowery Stokes Sims, measure 34.0 linear feet and date from 1967 to 2019. The collection documents Sims's career, and her work towards the inclusion of women artists and artists of color into the mainstream art world. The collection comprises biographical materials, datebooks, correspondence, writings, notebooks, exhibition files, professional files that include Sims's files from the Studio Museum in Harlem, Metropolitan Museum of Art records, research files, files on Robert Colescott, printed materials, photographic materials, and unidentified audiovisual and born-digital materials.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of African American art historian, curator and art administrator, Lowery Stokes Sims, measure 34.0 linear feet and date from 1967 to 2019. The collection documents Sims's career, and her work towards the inclusion of women artists and artists of color into the mainstream art world. The collection comprises biographical materials, datebooks, correspondence, writings, notebooks, exhibition files, professional files that include Sims's files from the Studio Museum in Harlem, Metropolitan Museum of Art records, research files, files on Robert Colescott, printed materials, photographic materials, and unidentified audiovisual and born-digital materials.

Biographical materials contain address books, awards, interviews with Sims, and resumes. Fifty datebooks highlight Sims's daily activities for over four decades. Personal and professional correspondence is with Audrey Flack, Za, Betye Saar, Hale Woodruff, Susan Schwalb, Margo Machida, William McKnight, and others.

Writings include drafts and typescripts on Alma Thomas, Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden, Wifredo Lam, African American and women artists; a transcript of a conversation between Sims and Maren Hassinger; and born digital material of presentations. Also in the collection are 60 notebooks containing personal and professional notes and journal entries.

Exhibition files consist of correspondence, budget records, writings about the exhibition and for the catalog, clippings, exhibition announcements, loan forms, artist biographies, and artwork lists for Living Space: An Exhibition on Low Income Housing (1977), Art as a Verb (1988), Next Generation: Southern Black Aesthetic (1990), and Richard Pousette-Dart, 1916-1992 (1997).

Professional files document Sims's memberships, conferences, projects, and teaching activities, as well as her work at the Studio Museum of Harlem. The Metropolitan Museum of Art records consist of research on the museum's collection of works by African American artists, program and staff files, and snapshots of Sims with colleagues on a trip to Patagonia.

Research files contain printed materials, notes, 32 audiovisual recordings and nine born digital discs, and biographical material on artists Frederick Brown, Elizabeth Catlett, Stuart Davis, Maren Hassinger, Edgar Heap of Birds, Al Loving, Faith Ringgold, Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, Kara Walker, and others. The files on Robert Colescott include a book proposal, artwork lists, exhibition files, four sound recordings of an interview between Colescott and Sims, and research material on related topics.

Printed materials consist of clippings featuring Sims, posters, event programs, a few newsletters and magazines, exhibition catalogs that include essays written by Sims, and three documentary recordings. Photographic materials include prints, negatives, transparencies, photograph albums, and slides of Sims, colleagues and friends, exhibitions and professional events, Russ Thompson and Benny Andrews, Beverly Buchanan, Rick Powel, Vaclav Havel, Jeff Donaldson, Samella Lewis, and others.

The final series consists of nine sound recordings and one born digital disc (CD) that could not be placed into a series as the material is either unlabeled or the labels are illegible.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 13 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1980-circa 2005 (0.5 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Datebooks, 1975-2017 (4.0 linear feet; Boxes 1-5)

Series 3: Correspondence, 1971-2018 (1.0 linear feet; Boxes 5-6)

Series 4: Writings, circa 1970s-2018 (2.6 linear feet; Boxes 6-8, OV 33)

Series 5: Notebooks, 1975-2016 (2.6 linear feet; Boxes 39-42)

Series 6: Exhibition Files, 1967-2017 (1.6 linear feet; Boxes 9-10, OV 36)

Series 7: Professional Files, 1969-2018 (6.3 linear feet; Boxes 10-16, OV 34)

Series 8: Metropolitan Museum of Art Records, 1972-2008 (6.0 linear feet; Boxes 16-22, OV 38)

Series 9: Research Files, circa 1970-2017 (6.0 linear feet; Boxes 22-28, OV 35)

Series 10: Files on Robert Colescott, 1971-2019 (1.6 linear feet; Boxes 28-30)

Series 11: Printed Materials, 1970s-2017 (1.8 linear feet; Box 30, OV 37)

Series 12: Photographic Materials, 1970s-2018 (0.8 linear feet; Boxes 31-32)

Series 13: Unidentified Audio and Born Digital Material, circa 1985-2009 (1 folder; Box 32)
Biographical / Historical:
Lowery Stokes Sims (1949-) is an African American art historian, curator, and arts administrator. Sims began her career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1972 where she became the museum's first African American curator. She left the Met in 1999 for the Studio Museum in Harlem where she served as Executive Director, President, and then Adjunct Curator of the Permanent Collection from 2000 to 2007. From 2007 to 2015, she was curator for the Museum of Art and Design.

Sims was born in Washington D.C. but moved to New York when she was 2 years old. She graduated from Bishop Reilly High School in Queens, N.Y. in 1966. She went on to receive a bachelor of arts degree in art history from Queens College in 1970 and a master of arts degree in art history from Johns Hopkins University in 1972. In 1995, Sims completed her dissertation, published as Wifredo Lam and the International Avant-Garde, 1923-1982 in 2002, to receive her doctoral degree from The Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Sims is a member of the College Art Association, the International Committee of Art Critics, Art Matters Foundation, and has served on the boards of Just Above Midtown (JAM) Gallery, Caribbean Cultural Center, National State Council on the Arts, and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, among others. She was awarded the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism in 1991, a Leadership by Example Award from the New York coalition of 100 Black women in 1997, and a Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award from the Queens Museum of Art in 1998. Sims has also lectured at Queens College, the Institute of Fine Art at New York University, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Rutgers University, and Bard College.
Related Materials:
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview of Lowery Stokes Sims conducted on July 15 and 22, 2010 by Judith Olch Richards, for the Archives of American Art's Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts project, at Sims' home, in New York, N.Y.
Provenance:
The collection was donated in 2019 by Lowery Stokes Sims as part of the Archives' African American Collecting Initiative funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.
Restrictions:
Notebooks in Series 5 are access restricted; written permission is required. Contact Reference Services for more information. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Art historians -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Arts administrators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art museum curators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
African American artists  Search this
African American art  Search this
African American art museum curators  Search this
Women art historians  Search this
Women museum curators  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Video recordings
Citation:
Lowery Stokes Sims papers, 1967-2019. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.simslowe
See more items in:
Lowery Stokes Sims papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9a66e8319-d9c1-4f8d-b005-08f8bc7cf659
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-simslowe
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