This microfilm collection consists of the Alexander family papers relating to African American painter Henry Ossawa Tanner. The collection includes correspondence between Tanner and Raymond Alexander (1924-1937) and court documents concerning Tanner's legal action against the Bethel A.M.E Church. Included in the Sadie Aleander materials are personal letters from Tanner; correspondence from museums discussing exhibition loans and the discovery of Tanner paintings; printed material, including catalogs and clippings; and materials related to the Tanner commemorative stamp.
Biographical / Historical:
Raymond Pace Alexander (1897-1974) and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander (1898-1989) were prominent African American lawyers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sadie Alexander was Henry Ossawa Tanner's niece. Raymond Alexander represented Tanner in his legal suit against the Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia regarding nonpayment for a bust of Richard Allen.
The Archives of American Art also holds the Henry Ossawa Tanner papers, 1860s-1978; the Henry O. Tanner letters to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1885-1909; and the Marcia M. Mathews papers relating to Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1937-1969. The Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library holds the Henry Ossawa Tanner collection, 1907-1937.
Microfilmed in 1990 as part of AAA's Philadelphia Arts Documentation Project. Only those parts of the Alexander family papers relating to Henry Ossawa Tanner were filmed; the entire collection is available at the University of Pennsylvania Archives and Records Center (Alexander Family Papers, 1817-2005).
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
The collection, which dates from the 1980s and measures 1.42 linear feet, was compiled in the course of preparations for the "Black Women: Achievements Against the Odds" exhibit, which was staged at the Anacostia Museum from February 1976 to December 1976. This collection documents the lives and achievements of African American women in a variety of fields, including law, medicine, education, politics, science and the arts. The collection is comprised of documents, magazine and newspaper clippings, correspondence, photocopies, brochures and pamphlets.
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu.