Series consists primarily of McCausland's professional and, to a lesser extent, personal correspondence, which includes general, artist, and some family correspondence. Correspondence typically consists of letters to and copies of letters from McCausland, along with enclosures (such as clippings and other printed material; contracts, agreements, and other business and financial papers; and proposals and manuscripts) and related material (such as notes, illustrations, and writings). Correspondents include artists, art organizations, museums, curators, editors, publishers, scholars, research institutions, her agent (Mary Squire Abbot), friends, and her mother, Belle Noble McCausland. Correspondence largely documents McCausland's various professional activities as an art critic, art historian, and freelance writer, and her relationships with various figures of the art and publishing worlds before, during, and immediately after the Second World War.
General correspondence relates to articles and reviews that McCausland wrote for the Springfield Republican; to freelance articles she wrote over the years for various publications, including ones for Parnassus, The New Republic, and Magazine of Art, as well as yearly articles for various encyclopedias (such as Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Americana, and Collier Encyclopedia); and to various book projects, including Changing New York (1939), Careers in the Arts (1950), and ones on the artists E. L. Henry, George Inness, and Alfred H. Maurer. General correspondence also relates to her teaching job at Sarah Lawrence College and other courses taught; to various editing projects, including photo-editing Carl Sandburg's Poems of the Midwest and the planned book Art and Advertising; her work as a research consultant on the American Processional exhibition and book, and on other exhibitions; and her involvement in various art and social organization, as well as her participation in various conferences. General correspondence largely documents McCausland's tireless efforts to drum up work, and to fund (through various grants and fellowships) and carry out her many research and writing projects.
Correspondence from particular artists, including Arthur Dove, Louis Eilshemius, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Alfred Stieglitz, was maintained by McCausland in files separate from general correspondence. Artist correspondence documents her relationships with these artists - particularly well-documented are her relationships with Dove and Stieglitz - and the artists' reactions to her reviews of their shows. Files of artist correspondence also include some of McCausland's own notes on her feelings about or relationship with particular artists.
Family correspondence consists almost entirely of letters and copies of letters from McCausland to her mother, Belle Noble McCausland. These seem to have originated from the scrapbook kept by McCausland's mother which can be found amongst personal papers.
See Appendix for a list of notable correspondents from Series 2
General correspondence is arranged in rough chronological order. Within individual yearly files, McCausland often grouped together letters to and from a particular correspondent; this existing organization has for the most part been maintained. Selected artist correspondence and family correspondence are arranged in files at the end of the series. Correspondence can also be found amongst research and writing files.
Appendix: Notable Correspondents from Series 2:
List represents only a selection of correspondents from general correspondence.
A. A. Wynn Inc.: 1951
ACA Gallery: 1941, 1943, 1945, 1946, 1947
Abbot, Mary Squire (McIntosh and Otis Company): 1941, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1958
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation: 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1952, 1953
Jones, Howard Mumford (Harvard University): 1947
Kauffer, E. McKnight: 1946
Kent, Rockwell: 1945, 1946
Kirstein, Lincoln: 1941, 1943, 1944, 1946, 1947
Kish, Maurice: 1945
Kistler, Aline: 1941
Knight Publishers Inc.: 1938
Kuniyoshi, Yasuo: 1945
Landon, Edward: 1939
Lange, Dorothea: 1945
Larkin, Oliver: 1943, 1944, 1949
Leeper, John and Blanche (see also Corcoran Gallery of Art): 1950, 1951, 1954
Leighton, George: 1945
Lerner, Abe (see also World Publishing Company): 1950, 1951
Lipman, Jean: 1945, 1946, 1947, 1952
Lipton, Norman C. ( -- Good Photography -- ): 1941, 1942, 1943
Longman, Lester: 1940
MacMahon, Audrey (see also -- Parnassus -- ): 1936, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1942
The MacMillan Company: 1943, 1947, 1949, 1950
Magazine of Art -- : 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947
Magriel, Paul: 1954
Maurer, Alfred L.: 1951
Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1943, 1947, 1955
Miller, Dorothy: 1950, 1951
Milwaukee Art Institute: 1948
Minicam Photography -- : 1941, 1943, 1944
Modernage Furniture Corp.: 1945
More, Herman (Whitney Museum of American Art): 1954
Morton, Phillip: 1951, 1952
Mount Holyoke College: 1943
Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute: 1956
Museum of Modern Art: 1934, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945
Museum of the City of New York: 1958
N.W. Ayer and Son: 1945, 1946, 1950
The Nation -- : 1940, 1955
National Gallery of Art: 1944, 1945
National Maritime Union: 1945
Navas, Elizabeth: 1952, 1953, 1954
Neuberger, Roy: 1952
The New American Library -- : 1955, 1956
The New Republic -- : 1944, 1947
The New School for Social Research: 1945
The New York Herald Tribune -- : 1945, 1947
New York Historical Society: 1943
New York Public Library: 1943, 1955, 1956
New York State Museum: 1949
The New York Times -- : 1940
Newark Museum: 1944
Newhall, Beaumont: 1944
Newhall, Nancy: 1945
Norman, Dorothy: 1934, 1937, 1938, 1940
Old Print Shop: 1945
Olmsted, Anna Wetherill (Syracuse Museum of Art): 1950
Opportunity -- : 1943, 1944, 1945
Ossorio, Alfonso: 1953
P. F. Collier and Son Corp.: 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958
Pach, Walter: 1955
Parnassus -- : 1939
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art: 1951
Pepsi-Cola Company: 1944, 1945
Philadelphia Art Alliance: 1946
Pierre Matisse Gallery: 1938, 1939
Popular Photography -- : 1943
Portland Art Museum: 1940
Porter, Eliot: 1954
Printer's Ink (Carl Weiss): 1951
Railway Express Agency: 1949
Rivera, Diego: 1949
Rogers, John C.: 1941
Roosevelt, Eleanor: 1944
Rosenblum, Walter: 1944
Rothschild, Lincoln: 1937, 1942, 1945, 1946, 1949
Royce, William: 1933, 1934, 1935, 1942, 1958
Rukeyser, Muriel: 1941, 1950
San Francisco Chronicle -- : 1951, 1953
Sarah Lawrence College: 1942, 1943, 1944
Saturday Evening Post -- : 1946
Schlesinger, Arthur: 1943
School Art League of New York City: 1953, 1954
Schwimmer, Rosika: 1933, 1935, 1943
Sculpture's Guild: 1938, 1940, 1941
Segy, Ladislaw: 1943
Shelter -- : 1939
Sloan, John: 1951
Smith College Museum of Art: 1939, 1954
Soby, James Thrall: 1935, 1946, 1951
Social Science Research Council: 1948
Springfield Museum of Fine Art: 1938, 1940, 1941
Standard Oil: 1946
Stein, Gertrude: 1934
Sterling, Charles (Department of Painting, The Louvre): 1951
Strand, Paul: 1942
Survey Associates -- : 1938, 1939
Sweeney, James John: 1954, 1955, 1956
Thornton, Russell (see also Corcoran Gallery of Art): 1951, 1952, 1953
Time Magazine -- : 1945
Toklas, Alice B.: 1949
Traphagen School of Fashion: 1957
U.S. Camera -- : 1940
University of Chicago Library: 1951
University of Minnesota: 1951
University of Nebraska: 1953, 1954, 1956, 1957
Vanderbilt, Paul (Library of Congress): 1950
Vogue Magazine -- : 1953
Vose, Robert C.: 1945
Wade, Henry: 1954
Walker Art Center: 1946, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951
Walker, Hudson: 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952
Ward, Lynd: 1942, 1945, 1947
Western Photography -- : 1946
Weston, Edward: 1943
Weyhe Gallery: 1940, 1951
Wheaton College: 1955
Wheeler, Monroe: 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945
Whitney Museum of American Art: 1946, 1947, 1951
Wichita Art Association: 1947
Williams, Hermann Warner (see also Corcoran Gallery of Art): 1950, 1951, 1952, 1954
Wilson, Sol: 1945
Worcester Art Museum: 1943, 1945
World Publishing Company: 1946, 1949, 1950, 1955
Yale University Art Gallery: 1949
Yale University Library: 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954
Young, Art: 1941
Young Artists Guild: 1948
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Elizabeth McCausland papers, 1838-1995, bulk 1920-1960. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
The papers of art historian, dealer, critic, and curator Katharine Kuh measure 12 linear feet and date from 1875-1994, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930-1994. The collection documents Kuh's career as a pioneer modernist art historian and as the first woman curator of European Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago. Found within the papers are biographical material; correspondence with family, friends and colleagues; personal business records; artwork by various artists; a travel journal; writings by Kuh and others; scrapbooks; printed material; photographs of Kuh and others; and audio recordings of Kuh's lectures and of Daniel Catton Rich reading poetry.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of art historian, dealer, critic, and curator Katharine Kuh measure 12 linear feet and date from 1875-1994, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930-1994. Found within the papers are biographical material; correspondence with family, friends and colleagues; personal business records; artwork by various artists; a travel journal; writings by Kuh and others; scrapbooks; printed material; photographs of Kuh and others; and audio recordings of Kuh's lectures and of Daniel Catton Rich reading poetry.
Biographical material consists of copies of Kuh's birth certificate, resumés, passports, award certificates, honorary diplomas, and address books listing information about several prominent artists and colleagues.
Four linear feet of correspondence offers excellent documentation of Kuh's interest in art history, her travels, her career at the Art Institute of Chicago, her work as a corporate art advisor, and as an author. There are letters from her mother Olga Woolf, friends, and colleagues. There is extensive correspondence with various staff members of the Art Institute of Chicago, the First National Bank of Chicago, and The Saturday Review. Also of interest are letters from artists and collectors, several of whom became life-long friends including Walter and Louise Arensberg, Cosmo Campoli, Serge Chermayeff, Richard Cox, Worden Day, Claire Falkenstein, Fred Friendly, Leon Golub, Joseph Goto, David Hare, Denise Brown Hare, Jean Hélion, Ray Johnson, Gyorgy and Juliet Kepes, Len Lye, Wallace Putnam, Kurt Seligmann, Shelby Shackelford, Hedda Sterne, and Clyfford Still. Many letters are illustrated with original artwork in various media.
There are also scattered letters from various artists and other prominent individuals including Josef Albers, George Biddle, Marcel Breuer, Joseph Cornell, Stuart Davis, Edwin Dickinson, Joseph Hirshhorn, Daniel Catton Rich, and Dorothea Tanning.
Personal business records include a list of artwork, Olga Woolf's will, inventories of Kuh's personal art collection, miscellaneous contracts and deeds of gift, receipts for the sale of artwork, files concerning business-related travel, and miscellaneous receipts.
Artwork in the collection represents a wide range of artist friends and media, such as drawings, watercolors, paintings, collages, and prints. Included are works by various artists including lithographs by David Hare and a watercolor set, Technics and Creativity, designed and autographed by Jasper Johns for the Museum of Modern Art, 1970.
Notes and writings include annotated engagement calendars, travel journals for Germany, a guest book for the Kuh Memorial gathering, and many writings and notes by Kuh for lectures and articles concerning art history topics. Of interest are minutes/notes from meetings for art festivals, conferences, and the "Conversations with Artists Program (1961). Also found are writings by others about Kuh and other art history topics.
Six scrapbooks contain clippings that document the height of Kuh's career as a gallery director and museum curator. Scrapbook 6 contains clippings about Fernand Léger, the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1953.
Additional printed material includes clippings about Kuh and her interests, a comprehensive collection of clippings of Kuh's articles for The Saturday Review, exhibition announcements and catalogs, calendars of events, programs, brochures, books including Poems by Kuh as a child, and reproductions of artwork. Of particular interest are the early and exhibition catalogs from the Katharine Kuh Gallery, and rare catalogs for artists including Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Stanley William Hayter, Hans Hofmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Franz Kline, Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Pablo Picasso.
Photographs provide important documentation of the life and career of Katharine Kuh and are of Kuh, family members, friends, colleagues, events, residences, and artwork. Several of the photographs of Kuh were taken by Will Barnet and Marcel Breuer and there is a notable pair of photo booth portraits of Kuh and a young Ansel Adams. There are also group photographs showing Angelica Archipenko with Kuh; designer Klaus Grabe; painters José Chavez Morado and Pablo O'Higgins in San Miguel, Mexico; Kuh at the Venice Biennale with friends and colleagues including Peggy Guggenheim, Frances Perkins, Daniel Catton Rich, and Harry Winston; and "The Pre-Depressionists" including Lorser Feitelson, Robert Inverarity, Helen Lundeberg, Arthur Millier, Myron Chester Nutting, and Muriel Tyler Nutting.
Photographs of exhibition installations and openings include views of the Katharine Kuh Gallery; Fernand Léger, Man Ray, and László Moholy-Nagy at the Art Institute of Chicago; and Philip Guston, Jimmy Ernst, Seymour H. Knox, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Mark Rothko at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. There are also photographs depicting three men posing as Léger's "Three Musicians" and the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the Art Institute of Chicago. There is a photograph by Peter Pollack of an elk skull used as a model by Georgia O'Keeffe.
Additional photographs of friends and colleagues include Ivan Albright, Alfred Barr, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Willem De Kooning, Edwin Dickinson, Marcel Duchamp, Claire Falkenstein, Alberto Giacometti, poet Robert Graves with Len Lye, Philip Johnson, Gyorgy and Juliet Kepes, Carlos Mérida, José Orozco, Hasan Ozbekhan, Pablo Picasso, Carl Sandberg, Ben Shahn, Otto Spaeth, Hedda Sterne, Adlai Stevenson, Clyfford Still, Mark Tobey, and composer Victor Young.
Photographs of artwork include totem poles in Alaska; work by various artists including Claire Falkenstein, Paul Klee, and Hedda Sterne; and work donated to the Guggenheim Museum.
Four audio recordings on cassette are of Katharine Kuh's lectures, including one about assembling corporate collections, and of Daniel Catton Rich reading his own poetry. There is also a recording of the Second Annual Dialogue between Broadcasters and Museum Educators.
The collection is arranged as 9 series. Undated correspondence, artwork, and photographs of individual artists are arranged alphabetically. Otherwise, each series is arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1945-1992 (Box 1; 16 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1908-1994 (Boxes 1-5, 13-14, OV 15; 4.0 linear feet)
Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1941-1989 (Box 5; 19 folders)
Series 4: Artwork, 1931-1986 (Boxes 5, 13-14, OVs 15-23; 1.7 linear feet)
Series 5: Notes and Writings, 1914-1994 (Boxes 5-7; 1.7 linear feet)
Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1935-1953 (Box 7; 8 folders)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1916-1992 (Boxes 7-10, 13, OV 22; 3.0 linear feet)
Series 8: Photographs, 1875-1993 (Boxes 10-13; 1.2 linear feet)
Series 9: Audio Recordings, 1977 (Box 12; 1 folder)
Katharine Kuh (1904-1994) worked primarily in the Chicago area as an modern art historian, dealer, critic, curator, writer, and consultant. She operated the Katharine Kuh Gallery from 1935-1943 and was the first woman curator of European and Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Katharine Kuh (née Woolf) was born on July 15, 1904 in St. Louis, Missouri, the youngest of the three daughters of Olga Weiner and Morris Woolf, a silk importer. In 1909, the family moved to Chicago, Illinois. While traveling with her family in Europe in 1914, Katharine contracted polio, causing her to spend the next decade in a body brace. During this time of restricted movement, she developed an interest in art history through the collecting of old master prints.
After her recovery, Katharine Woolf attended Vassar College where one of her professors, Alfred Barr, encouraged her to study modern art. She graduated from Vassar in 1925 and received a master's degree in art history from the University of Chicago in 1929. Later that year, she moved to New York to pursue a Ph.D. in Renaissance and medieval art at New York University.
In 1930, Katharine Woolf returned to Chicago and married businessman George Kuh and began to teach art history courses in the suburbs of Chicago. After divorcing George Kuh in 1935, she opened the Katharine Kuh Gallery, the first gallery devoted to avant-garde art in Chicago. It was also the first gallery to exhibit photography and typographical design as art forms, and featured the work of Ansel Adams, Josef Albers, Alexander Calder, Wassily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, and Man Ray, among others. From 1938 to1940, Kuh was the Visiting Professor of Art at the University School of Fine Arts, San Miguel, Mexico.
After the Katharine Kuh Gallery closed in 1943, Kuh was hired by museum director Daniel Catton Rich to fill a position in public relations at the Art Institute of Chicago. During the following years, Kuh edited the museum's Quarterly publication, took charge of the museum's Gallery of Interpretive Art, and began a long term relationship with Rich. In 1946, Kuh was sent on a special mission for the U. S. Office of Indian Affairs to make a detailed study of Native American totemic carvings in Alaska.
In 1949, Kuh persuaded Mr. and Mrs. Walter Arensberg of Los Angeles to exhibit their collection of modern art, creating the first post-war exhibition of modern art in Chicago. She published her first book Art Has Many Faces in 1951, and in the following year, she began writing art criticism for The Saturday Review. In 1954, Kuh was appointed the first woman curator of European Art and Sculpture at the Art Institute. She assembled the American contribution for the Venice Biennale in 1956 and during these years, Kuh helped acquire many of the works of modern art currently in the museum's collection.
A year following Daniel Catton Rich's 1958 resignation from the Art Institute of Chicago, Kuh also resigned and pursued a career in New York as an art collection advisor, most notably for the First National Bank of Chicago. In 1959, Kuh was made art critic for The Saturday Review, and she continued to publish books, including The Artist's Voice in 1962, Break-Up: The Core of Modern Art in 1965, and The Open Eye: In Pursuit of Art in 1971.
Katharine Kuh died on January 10, 1994 in New York City.
The Katharine Kuh papers were donated in several installments from 1971 to 1989 by Katharine Kuh and in 1994 by her estate. Artwork was donated in 1995 by Kuh's former employer, the Art Institute of Chicago.
Authorization to quote, publish or reproduce requires written permission until 2019. Contact the Archives of American Art Reference Services department for additional information.