This collection, which dates from 1926-1986, documents the output of Moses Asch through the various record labels he founded and co-founded, and includes some of his personal papers. The Asch collection includes published recordings, master tapes, outtakes, business records, correspondence, photographs, and film.
Scope and Contents:
The Moses and Frances Asch Collection measures 841 cubic feet and dates from 1926-1987, with some contemporary, relevant correspondence, clippings, and ephemera added after 1987.
Most of the collection consists of audio recordings (commercial 78 rpm and long-playing records, open reel tapes, acetate discs, and test pressings), correspondence with recording artists and producers, artwork, photographs, ephemera, clippings, record production materials, writings, and business papers relating to Folkways Records. Materials relating to Folkways Records can be found primarily in the Correspondence, Folkways Production, Business Records, Photographs, Artwork, Sound Recordings, and Film series.
The collection also contains some biographical materials and personal correspondence, including materials related to Asch's first business, Radio Laboratories, located in the Biographical Materials series. Correspondence, ephemera, photographs, record production materials, business papers, and recordings relating to Asch's record labels before Folkways Records (Asch Recordings, Disc Company of America, Cub Records) are located in the Early Label Materials series as well as the Audio Recordings and Photographs series.
The collection is arranged in 10 series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1942-1987
Series 2: Folkways Production, 1946-1987
Series 3: Business Records, 1940-1987
Series 4: Woody Guthrie papers, 1927-1985
Series 5: Early Label Materials, 1940-1949
Series 6: Biographical Materials, 1926-1987
Series 7: Photographs
Series 8: Artwork
Series 9: Audio Recordings
Series 10: Film
At this time, the collection is partially processed. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The son of Yiddish writer Sholem Asch, Moses Asch was born in Poland in 1905. His childhood was spent in Poland, France, Germany, and New York. While young, Asch developed an interest in radio electronics, which ultimately lead him to his life's work, recording the music and sounds of the world. He established several record labels in succession, sometimes partnering with other record companies. Two of his fist record companies, Asch Recordings and DISC Co. of America, went bankrupt. They were followed by his best-known label, Folkways Records, which was founded in 1948 with Marian Distler (1919-1964). He was still working on Folkways recordings when he died in 1986.
Folkways Records sought to document the entire world of sound. The 2,168 titles Asch released on Folkways include traditional and contemporary music from around the world, spoken word in many languages, and documentary recordings of individuals, communities, and current events. Asch's business practices revolved around the commitment to keep every recording issued by Folkways in print, despite low sales. Asch stayed afloat by cutting costs where he could (such as color printing) and offering a high-quality product, meticulously recorded and accompanied by extensive liner notes. In doing this, he could charge a slightly higher price than other commercial outfits. Despite a tenuous relationship with financial solvency, Folkways grew to be not only one of the most important independent record companies in the United States in the 20th century, but also one of the largest and most influential record companies in the world.
Moses Asch's record labels featured famous and lesser known American writers, poets, documentarians, ethnographers, and grass roots musicians on commercial recordings. American folk icon Woody Guthrie recorded on the Asch, Disc, and Folkways labels, and the Asch Collection includes some of his correspondence, lyrics, drawings, and writings. The collection also includes correspondence with other notable musicians and artists such as John Cage, Langston Hughes, Margaret Walker, Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter, Pete Seeger, Peggy Seeger, Ewan MacColl, Alan Lomax, Henry Cowell, and Kenneth Patchen. Also in the collection are ethnographic field notes and photographs by as well as correspondence with Béla Barók, Sidney Robertson Cowell, Harold Courlander, Helen Creighton, Laura Boulton, and Samuel Charters. Asch hired various prominent artists and graphic designers including David Stone Martin, Ben Shahn, John Carlis, and Ronald Clyne to create album cover art for his recordings. Much of the original art and designs for these covers can be found in the Asch Collection.
Asch's output of recordings on various labels, including published recordings, open reel master tapes, outtakes, and acetate disks, in addition to his business papers, correspondence, photographs, and other files were acquired by the Smithsonian Institution in 1987. The collection came to the Smithsonian with the understanding that all 2168 titles under the Folkways label would be kept available in perpetuity.
Ralph Rinzler arranged the Smithsonian's acquisition of the Moses and Frances Asch Collection in 1987, beginning with Asch before his death in 1986 and continuing with extensive discussions between Rinzler and the Asch family. Since its acquisition, archivist Jeff Place and others have added contemporary, relevant correspondence with Folkways artists and related individuals.
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at email@example.com or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
This small collection of the papers of sculptor Marion Walton measures 0.8 linear feet and dates from 1915-1976. Fifteen folders of letters written to Marion and her mother Blanche Wetherill Walton include many from artists and photographers, writers, musicians and composers, and political figures. Also found are printed materials, photographs, and a file concerning a reception for author Jonathan Daniels.
Scope and Content Note:
The collection measures 0.8 linear feet, dates from 1915-1976, and documents the career of sculptor Marion Walton. Found within the papers are letters, printed material, photographs, and a file concerning a reception for author Jonathan Daniels.
Letters include those received by Walton and her mother, music patron Blanche Wetherill Walton, from many notable correspondents, including artist Charles Green Shaw, historian and suffragist Mary Beard, and novelist Vera Brittain. There are scattered letters from artists Béla Kádár, Rockwell Kent, Fred Dana Marsh, Georgia O'Keeffe, John Singer Sargent, Theo Stamos, and Abbott Handerson Thayer, composers Henry Cowell and Carl Ruggles, musician Pete Seeger, lecturer Ruth Gage-Colby, photographer Roy E. Stryker, political figures James Forrestal, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Shirley Williams, and writers Carl Carmer and Margaret Storm Jameson.
Printed material primarily consists of clippings and exhibition catalogs, and photographs are of Walton, her family, colleagues, and artwork. Of special interest is an early photograph of Alberto Giacometti with Rodin's model Carmen, and a photograph of Pablo Picasso autographed on the reverse.
The collection is arranged into 4 series. All series are arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Letters, 1922-1976 (Box 1; 15 folders)
Series 2: File Concerning a Reception for Jonathan Daniels, 1946 (Box 1; 14 folders)
Series 3: Printed Material, 1924-1976 (Boxes 1-2; 17 folders)
Series 4: Photographs, 1915-1972 (Box 2; 18 folders)
Marion Walton was born in 1905 in New Rochelle, New York, the daughter of Ernest Forster Walton and music patron Blanche Wetherill Walton. During the 1920s, she studied at the Art Students League and, from approximately 1922 to 1924, at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris under sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. One of her classmates was Alberto Giacometti.
In 1933, Walton had a solo exhibition at the Weyhe Gallery and later participated in numerous group exhibitions primarily in New York City and in Paris, France. Her work is represented in private collections in the United States and abroad, and in the museum of the University of Nebraska.
Walton taught students in her studio in New York City and at Sarah Lawrence College. She was also a member of Artists Equity and a charter member of the Sculptors Guild.
Walton was married to James Putnam, assistant to the President of the publishing house, MacMillan Company.
Marion Walton died in 1996.
The Marion Walton papers were donated in 1976 by Marion Walton.
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
The Marion Walton 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.
Women sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Marion Walton papers, 1915-1976. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The Howard W. and Jean Lipman papers measure 46.6 linear feet and span the years 1916 to 2000, with one brochure maintained in a research file dating to 1848. The bulk dates for the collection are 1932 to 1992. The papers primarily concern the art collecting activities and interests of the Lipmans which included modern American sculpture, American folk art, and other contemporary American paintings. Found within the papers are correspondence files, notes and printed material that served as research and reference material, along with financial material. The collection also contains writings, notes, and editorial material used by Jean Lipman in her dual roles as an editor for Art in America magazine and as a respected art critic and author.
Scope and Content Note:
The Howard W. and Jean Lipman papers measure 46.6 linear feet and span the years 1916 to 2000. A copy of an 1848 brochure, retained by Jean Lipman in her research and writings files accounts for the early span date listed in the title of the collection. The bulk dates for the collection are 1932 to 1992. The records include correspondence, notes and printed material that served as research and reference material, along with some financial material that documents the art collecting activities and interests of the Lipmans. The collection also contains writing and editorial material used by Jean Lipman in her dual roles as an editor for Art in America magazine and as a respected author.
The Personal Files describe the social activities and associations of the Lipmans and include biographical information, personal and family correspondence, gift giving activities, the art career of Jean Lipman, and relationships maintained by the Lipmans with various art organizations.
The Howard and Jean Lipman Art Collection Files describe the art collecting activities and interests of the Lipmans throughout their lifetime. The General Files section consists of reference files on art organizations and galleries with whom the Lipmans maintained relationships. Also included are particular topics or exhibitions of interest to the Lipmans. The Sculptors and Painters of Interest section served as reference files about the activities of artists in whom the Lipmans were interested and whose works they owned, or considered owning. The Folk Art Collection section documents the collecting and purchasing activities of the Lipmans as they amassed and then subsequently sold their two significant folk art collections.
The Artists Files document the friendship and projects that developed between the Lipmans and three major American artists: Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, and David Smith. Of special interest to researchers will be some original Calder artwork mixed into the correspondence between the Lipmans and Calder, as well as drawings, sketches, prints, and posters found in the associated oversize folder. Also found in the Calder subseries are some proofs from Calder's Circus, edited by Jean Lipman.
The Research and Writing Files is divided into five sections dealing with research and writing projects undertaken by Jean Lipman. The first three sections deal with biographical projects that resulted in books or articles about three significant American primitive artists: Jurgan Frederick Huge, Rufus Porter, and Samuel Wood Gaylor. The fourth section deals with writing projects that resulted in the publication of several generalized books on the topic of American folk art. The final section consists of materials associated with the published articles and other authored works of Jean Lipman on a variety of American art topics.
The Art in America Editorial Files consists of editorial material maintained by Jean Lipman during her tenure (1941-1971) as editor of Art in America. The Financial Files reflect the early financial activities of the magazine during the brief period when the Lipmans owned it.
During the period that Jean Lipman served as editor, a variety of distinguished art historians, artists, architects, novelists, and poets contributed articles, columns, or artwork to the magazine. A sampling of correspondents that can be found in the general correspondence of this series include: Joseph Albers, Marcel DuChamp, John Dos Passos, Nelson Rockefeller, Charles Sheeler, and Andrew Wyeth. The General Correspondence Files also document the two subsequent changes of ownership and the growth of subscribers that occurred during the period of Lipman's editorship.
Editorial material related to individual magazine issues is found within this series, as well as information pertaining to the innovative advertising and special projects undertaken by the magazine as it sought to expand its readership and prestige. The Art in America series also chronicles the changes at the magazine that led to Lipman's resignation as editor in 1971.
The collection is arranged as five series. Arrangement is generally alphabetical by subject heading or type of material. Items within folders are arranged chronologically by year.
Series 1: Personal Files (Boxes 1-3; 3 linear ft.)
Series 2: Howard and Jean Lipman Art Collection (Boxes 3-15; 12 linear ft.)
Series 3: Artists Files (Boxes 15-18, 46-47, OV 50-52; 3.6 linear ft.)
Series 4: Research and Writings Files (Boxes 18-28, 48; OV 50, 53; 10.3 linear ft.)
Series 5: -- Art in America -- Editorial Files (Boxes 28-45; 49, OV 50; 17.3 linear ft.)
Howard W. and Jean Lipman shared a lifetime sponsorship of art. The Lipmans' personal art collection, acquired throughout their marriage, was eventually divided into three separate parts: The Howard W. Lipman Foundation collection that was donated and merged into the modern sculpture holdings of the Whitney Museum of American Art; an American folk art collection that was later sold through two separate auctions in 1950 and 1981 and is now part of the holdings of the New York Historical Association and the Museum of American Folk Art; and a personal collection that was retained and displayed in the Lipmans' various residences in Connecticut, New York, and Arizona.
Married in 1933, the Lipmans began jointly collecting American folk art at a time when few art museums or institutions recognized the historical and artistic value of early primitive, self-taught artists. By the late 1940s, the Lipmans had amassed a large, significant collection that was highly regarded for its quality and scope.
During the early 1950s, the Lipmans also began actively collecting sculpture, focusing upon American contemporary sculptors. In the late 1950s they created the Howard W. Lipman Foundation, with an initial inventory of forty sculptures and three paintings by contemporary American artists. The purpose of the foundation was to acquire significant works by emerging American sculptors and to make them available through loans or donations to various art institutions.
In 1965 the Howard W. Lipman Foundation approached the Whitney Museum of American Art with a proposal to coordinate the foundation's efforts and goals with the museum's contemporary sculpture program. The foundation offered a majority of its growing collection of sculpture and acquisition funds towards the development of the evolving permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Thereafter, the Howard W. Lipman Foundation served in an advisory role to the museum's acquisitions, and the foundation supplied the necessary funds to acquire works of sculpture desired by the Whitney for its permanent collection.
In addition to their folk art and foundation collections, the Lipmans also acquired important works by Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, and David Smith, through their lifelong association and friendship with these artists. Many of these pieces were retained in the Lipmans' personal collection throughout their lives.
Individually the Lipmans also expressed their interest in art through various means. Jean Lipman served as editor of Art in America magazine from 1940 to 1970, which provided her with continuous exposure to emerging artists and trends in American art. Jean Lipman's abiding interest in folk and contemporary art was also expressed through her voluminous writings. Throughout her life she wrote and edited highly acclaimed books and articles about major themes and artists in American art, and she was a recognized folk art authority and connoisseur. Some of her best known works include: The Flowering of American Folk Art; Rufus Porter, Yankee Wall Painter; and Calder's Universe.
Jean Lipman, born in 1909, was also an amateur artist in her later years, creating paintings and assemblages that often dealt with the theme of "art about art." She was represented by a gallery in New York City, as well as one in Arizona, and she had several solo exhibitions.
Howard W. Lipman, born in 1905, showed an early interest in art. By the mid 1920s he had gone to Paris to study painting, but Lipman found himself more attracted to sculpture and he began studying with a German wood carver. In the late 1930s, after returning to the New York City area, Lipman began stone carving with the Clay Club on Eighth Street, adjacent to the Whitney Museum of American Art. He was represented by a New York City gallery and participated in local exhibitions.
Deciding that his sculptural talent was not sufficient for professional pursuit, Lipman began his business career as a stockbroker in Neuberger and Berman, a prominent New York investment management firm that he helped to establish in 1939. Lipman subsequently channeled his artistic endeavors toward collecting and supporting the work of established and emerging American sculptors. He also served on the boards of both the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Archives of American Art.
Howard and Jean Lipman maintained long and close relationships with three prominent American artists: Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, and David Smith. Jean Lipman, in particular, was involved in promoting and documenting Calder and his works through numerous articles, books, and exhibitions that she helped produce as editor of the magazine Art in America and publications director for the Whitney Museum of American Art. Calder's Universe, which she edited to accompany a major Whitney Museum of American Art retrospective exhibition of his works in 1976, was considered by Calder to be his "official" biography. The book went to fourteen printings, one of the largest ever, in the history of art books.
The Lipmans were also great admirers of Louise Nevelson and her work. They purchased her artwork for their own collection, as well as donating pieces to various art museums and institutions. Jean Lipman wrote articles about Nevelson and edited the book, Nevelson's World.
David Smith and the Lipmans established a friendship in the late 1950s that lasted until Smith's untimely death in May 1965. The Lipmans purchased several Smith sculptures, which they placed on the grounds of their Wilton, Connecticut, home. They also purchased Smith works for donation to public institutions, such as the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
The Lipmans retired to Carefree, Arizona, a private residential community renowned for its sensitivity to ecologically-based, architectural design. Howard Lipman died in 1992. Jean Lipman remained active in art and community affairs until her death in 1998.
The papers of Howard and Jean Lipman were initially donated to the Archives of American Art by Howard and Jean Lipman from 1965-1989. Subsequent additions to the original gift were made by Jean Lipman in 1998 and by Peter and Beverly Lipman in 2001. Several small portions of these early accessions were microfilmed.
An associated gift that was originally accessioned as the Art in America Magazine Records was made by Howard and Jean Lipman from 1970-1973. This group, which largely consisted of Jean Lipman's editorial files from her years as editor of the magazine, was subsequently merged with the Howard W. and Jean Lipman records in 2004.
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
The Howard W. and Jean Lipman 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.
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
The Rockwell Kent papers measure 88.0 linear feet and date from circa 1840 to 1993 with the bulk of the collection dating from 1935 to 1961. The collection provides comprehensive coverage of Kent's career as a painter, illustrator, designer, writer, lecturer, traveler, political activist, and dairy farmer.
Scope and Content Note:
The Rockwell Kent papers measure 88 linear feet and date from circa 1840 to 1993 with the bulk of the collection dating from 1935 to 1961. The collection provides comprehensive coverage of Kent's career as a painter, illustrator, designer, writer, lecturer, traveler, political activist, and dairy farmer.
Circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the papers are highlighted in an article by Garnett McCoy ("The Rockwell Kent Papers," in the Archives of American Art Journal, 12, no. 1 [January 1972]: 1-9), recommended reading for researchers interested in the collection. The collection is remarkably complete, for in the mid 1920s Kent began keeping carbon copies of all outgoing letters, eventually employing a secretary (who became his third wife and continued her office duties for the remainder of Kent's life).
Series 1: Alphabetical Files contain Kent's personal and professional correspondence, along with business records of the dairy farm and associated enterprises; also included are printed matter on a wide variety of topics and promotional literature relating to organizations and causes of interest to him. Voluminous correspondence with his three wives, five children, and other relatives, as well as with literally hundreds of friends, both lifelong and of brief duration, illuminates Kent's private life and contributes to understanding of his complex character. Among the many correspondents of note are: his art teachers William Merritt Chase, Robert Henri, and Kenneth Hayes Miller; fellow artists Tom Cleland, Arthur B. Davies, James Fitzgerald, Hugo Gellert, Harry Gottleib, Marsden Hartley, Charles Keller, and Ruth Reeves; collectors Duncan Phillips and Dan Burne Jones; critics J. E. Chamberlain and Walter Pach; and dealers Charles Daniel, Felix Wildenstein, and Macbeth Galleries. Kent corresponded with such diverse people as Arctic explorers Peter Freuchen, Knud Rasmussen, and Vilhjalmar Steffanson; composer Carl Ruggles and songwriters Lee Hays and Pete Seeger; civil rights pioneers Paul Robeson and Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois; writers Bayard Boyesen, Scott and Helen Nearing, and Louis Untermeyer; and art historian and print curator Carl Zigrosser.
Kent's interest and involvement in the labor movement are reflected in correspondence with officials and members of a wide variety and large number of unions and related organizations, among them: the Farmers' Educational and Cooperative Union of America, Farmers' Union of the New York Milk Shed, International Workers Order, National Maritime Union, and United Office and Professional Workers of America. Of special interest is his participation, often in leadership roles, in various attempts to organize artists. Files on the American Artists' Congress, Artists League of America, The Artists Union, United American Artists, and United Scenic Artists contain particularly valuable material on the movement.
A supporter of New Deal efforts to aid artists, Kent was actively interested in the various programs and often was critical of their limitations; he advocated continuing federal aid to artists after the Depression abated. The Kent papers include correspondence with the Federal Arts Project, Federal Fine Arts Project, Federal Writers Project, and the War Department, as well as correspondence with the Citizens' Committee for Government Art Projects and President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the subject.
Kent's professional correspondence documents exhibitions, sales, consignments, and reproduction of prints and paintings. He kept meticulous records of his advertising commissions and illustration work. Detailed correspondence with publishers and printers indicates Kent's involvement in the technical aspects of production and provides a good overview of the publishing industry during the mid-twentieth century.
Business records of Asgaard Farm include records of the dairy and transfer of ownership to its employees, tax and employee information, and documents concerning several related business ventures such as distributor ships for grain, feed, and farm implements.
Series 2: Writings consists of notes, drafts, and completed manuscripts by Rockwell Kent, mainly articles, statements, speeches, poems, introductions, and reviews. The Kent Collection given to Friendship House, Moscow, in 1960, was augmented later by a set of his publications and the illustrated manuscripts of many of his monographs. Also included are a small number of manuscripts by other authors.
Series 3: Artwork consists mainly of drawings and sketches by Kent; also included are works on paper by other artists, many of whom are unidentified, and by children.
Series 4: Printed Matter consists of clippings, exhibition catalogs and announcements, brochures, broadsides, programs, and newsletters. These include items by and about Kent and his family, as well as articles written and/or illustrated by him, and reviews of his books. There is also material on a variety of subjects and causes of interest to him. Additional printed matter is included among the alphabetical files, mainly as attachments to correspondence.
Series 5: Miscellaneous includes biographical material, legal documents, and memorabilia. Artifacts received with papers include textile samples, a silk scarf, dinnerware, ice bucket, and rubber stamp, all featuring designs by Rockwell Kent. Also with this series are a variety of documents including a phrenological analysis of an ancestor, lists of supplies for expeditions, a hand-drawn map of an unidentified place, and technical notes regarding art materials and techniques.
Series 6: Photographs includes photographs of Kent, his family and friends, travel, and art number that over one thousand. Also included here are several albums of family and travel photographs.
The collection is arranged into six series. Series 1 is arranged alphabetically. The arrangement of the remaining series is explained in each series description. Note that sealed materials that became available in 2000 were microfilmed separately on reels 5740-5741, but have integrated into this finding aid.
Series 1: Alphabetical Files, circa 1900-1971, undated (Reels 5153-5249, 5256, 5740-5741)
Series 2: Writings, 1906-1978, undated (Reels 5249-5252, 5741)
Series 3: Art Work, 1910-1972, undated (Reels 5252, 5741)
Series 4: Printed Matter, 1905-1993, undated (Reels 5252-5254)
Series 5: Miscellaneous, 1859-1969, undated (Reels 5254, 5741)
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1840-1970, undated (Reels 5254-5255, 5741)
Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), an energetic and multitalented man, pursued many interests and careers during his very long and active life. At various times he was an architect, draftsman, carpenter, unskilled laborer, painter, illustrator, printmaker, commercial artist, designer, traveler/explorer, writer, professional lecturer, dairy farmer, and political activist.
While studying architecture at Columbia University, Kent enrolled in William Merritt Chase's summer school at Shinnecock Hills, Long Island. He then redirected his career ambitions toward painting and continued to study with Chase in New York. Kent spent a summer working and living with Abbott H. Thayer in Dublin, New Hampshire, and attended the New York School of Art, where Robert Henri and Kenneth Hayes Miller were his teachers.
Critically and financially, Kent was a successful artist. He was very well known for his illustration work--particularly limited editions of the classics, bookplates, and Christmas cards. He was a prolific printmaker, and his prints and paintings were acquired by many major museums and private collectors. During the post-World War II era, Kent's political sympathies resulted in the loss of commissions, and his adherence to artistic conservatism and outspoken opposition to modern art led to disfavor within art circles. After many years of declining reputation in this country and unsuccessful attempts to find a home for the Kent Collection, Kent gave his unsold paintings--the majority of his oeuvre--to the Soviet Union, where he continued to be immensely popular.
An avid traveler, Kent was especially fascinated by remote, Arctic lands and often stayed for extended periods of time to paint, write, and become acquainted with the local inhabitants. Between 1918 and 1935, he wrote and illustrated several popular books about his experiences in Alaska, Tierra del Fuego, and Greenland. In the 1930s and 1940s, Kent was much in demand as a lecturer, making several nationwide tours under the management of a professional lecture bureau; he spoke mainly about his travels, but among his standard lectures were some on "art for the people."
In 1927, Kent purchased Asgaard Farm at AuSable Forks, New York, in the Adirondacks, where he lived for the remainder of his life, operating a modern dairy farm on a modest scale for many years.
As a young man, Kent met Rufus Weeks, became committed to social justice, and joined the Socialist Party. Throughout his life, he supported left-wing causes and was a member or officer of many organizations promoting world peace and harmonious relations with the Soviet Union, civil rights, civil liberties, antifascism, and organized labor. Kent was frequently featured as a celebrity sponsor or speaker at fund-raising events for these causes. In 1948, he ran unsuccessfully as the American Labor Party's candidate for Congress. Kent's unpopular political views eventually led to the dissolution of his dairy business, resulted in a summons to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and prompted the U.S. State Department to deny him a passport, an action that subsequently was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Kent wrote two autobiographies, This Is My Own (1940) and It's Me, O Lord (1955). In 1969, he was the subject of an oral history interview conducted by Paul Cummings for the Archives of American Art.
1882 -- born, Tarrytown, New York
1887 -- death of Rockwell Kent, Sr.
1894-1896 -- attended Cheshire Academy
1895 -- toured Europe with Aunt Jo
1896 -- attended Horace Mann School, New York City
1900-1902 -- studied architecture at Columbia University
1900-1902 -- attended William Merritt Chase's summer school, Shinnecock Hills, Long Island
1903 -- studied with William Merritt Chase, New York City
1904 -- first sale of a painting
1904 -- met Rufus Weeks and attended first Socialist meeting
1905 -- lived and worked with Abbott H. Thayer, Dublin, New Hampshire
1905 -- first painting trip to Monhegan Island, Maine
1907 -- first one-man show, Claussen Galleries, New York City
1908 -- marriage to Kathleen Whiting
1908 -- studied with Robert Henri
1908 -- joined Socialist Party
1909 -- birth of Rockwell, III
1910 -- ran Monhegan Summer School of Art
1910 -- first trip to Newfoundland
1910 -- helped to organize first Independent Exhibition
1911 -- birth of Kathleen
1912 -- moved to Winona, Minnesota
1913 -- birth of Clara
1914 -- settled in Newfoundland
1915 -- deported from Newfoundland
1915 -- birth of Barbara
1917 -- served as full-time organizer and administrator of Independent Exhibition
1918-1919 -- in Alaska with son Rocky
1919 -- purchased Egypt Farm, Arlington, Vermont
1919 -- incorporated self
1920 -- publication of Wilderness
1920 -- birth of Gordon
1922 -- traveled to Tierra del Fuego
1924 -- publication of Voyaging
1925 -- trip to France
1925 -- divorced from Kathleen
1926 -- marriage to Frances Lee
1926 -- traveled to Ireland
1927 -- purchased Asgaard Farm, AuSable, New York
1927 -- editor of Creative Art
1927 -- helped organize National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Washington, D.C.
1929 -- sailed to Greenland on Direction
1930 -- publication of N by E
1932-1933 -- returned to Greenland
1934-1935 -- final trip to Greenland
1935 -- publication of Salamina
1936 -- trip to Puerto Rico
1937 -- trip to Brazil
1937-1938 -- Post Office Department mural commission and controversy over Eskimo-language message interpreted as encouraging Puerto Rican independence
1939 -- divorced from Frances
1939 -- General Electric Co. mural commission for New York World's Fair
1940 -- publication of This Is My Own
1940 -- marriage to Shirley Johnstone (Sally)
1942 -- solo exhibition, Know and Defend America, at Wildenstein Galleries, New York City
1946 -- elected to Executive Committee of American Labor Party
1948 -- congressional candidate, American Labor Party
1948 -- transferred ownership of dairy to remaining employees after boycott resulting from support of Wallace for president
1949 -- attended World Congress for Peace, Paris
1950-1958 -- denied U.S. passport; lawsuit, appeals, and Supreme Court decision reinstating right to travel
1953 -- testified before House Un-American Activities Committee
1955 -- publication of It's Me, O Lord
1958 -- one-man show at Hermitage Museum, Leningrad
1959 -- publication of Of Men and Mountains
1960 -- gift of Kent Collection to Friendship House, Moscow
1960 -- exhibition at Pushkin Museum, Moscow
1963 -- publication of Greenland Journal
1966 -- elected to Academy of Arts of the USSR
1967 -- awarded Lenin Peace Prize, Moscow
1969 -- oral history interview, Archives of American Art
1969 -- home at Asgaard destroyed by fire; papers survived with some water and smoke damage
1969 -- first installment of Rockwell Kent Papers donated to Archives of American Art
1971 -- died, Plattsburgh, New York
1971 -- gift of additional Rockwell Kent Papers to Archives of American Art
1979 -- gift of textile samples to the Archives of American Art
1996 -- gift of additional Rockwell Kent Papers to Archives of American Art
2000 -- death of Sally [Shirley Johnstone] Kent Gorton
2000 -- previously sealed correspondence of wives Frances and Sally (Series 1) opened to researchers
2001 -- gift of additional Rockwell Kent papers to the Archives of American Art from the Estate of Sally Kent [Shirley Johnstone] Gorton
In 1969, Rockwell Kent donated his papers to the Archives of American Art; textile samples were received in 1979, and his widow gave additional papers in 1971 and 1996. Letters to Rockwell Kent from wives Frances and Sally, sealed during Sally Kent Gorton's lifetime, became available for research after her death in 2000, and further material was donated to the Archives of American Art in 2001 by the Estate of Sally Kent [Shirley Johnstone] Gorton.
The microfilm of this collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Use of material not microfilmed or digitized requires an appointment.
The Rockwell Kent 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.