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Mary Fanton Roberts papers

Roberts, Mary Fanton, 1871-1956  Search this
Barnard, George Grey, 1863-1938  Search this
Borglum, Gutzon, 1867-1941  Search this
Carman, Bliss, 1861-1929  Search this
Coburn, Charles Douville  Search this
Enters, Angna, 1907-  Search this
Fanton, Belle  Search this
Glackens, William J., 1870-1938  Search this
Guilbert, Yvette, 1865-1944  Search this
Haggin, Ben Ali, 1882-1951  Search this
Henri, Robert, 1865-1929  Search this
Herford, Oliver, 1863-1935  Search this
Kroll, Leon, 1884-1974  Search this
Le Gallienne, Eva, 1899-  Search this
Muray, Nickolas, 1892-1965  Search this
Osbourne, Lloyd, 1868-1947  Search this
Remington, Frederic, 1861-1909  Search this
Rerikh, Nikolai Konstantinovich, 1874-1947  Search this
Roberts, Dorothy, 1906-  Search this
Roberts, Goodridge, 1904-  Search this
Roberts, William C.  Search this
Seton, Ernest Thompson, 1860-1946  Search this
Sloan, John, 1871-1951  Search this
Troubetzkoy, Pierre, 1864-1936  Search this
Yeats, John Butler, 1839-1922  Search this
3.8 Linear feet
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
The papers of art writer and editor Mary Fanton Roberts measure 3.8 linear feet and are dated 1880 to 1956. The bulk of this collection is Roberts' correspondence with numerous important artists, dancers, actors, writers, and musicians of the day. Also found are scattered biographical materials, family correspondence, writings, printed material, photographs and artwork.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of art writer and editor Mary Fanton Roberts measure 3.8 linear feet and are dated 1880 to 1956. The collection is comprised mainly of correspondence with family members, artists, dancers, actors, writers, musicians, and visual and performing arts organizations. Also found are scattered biographical materials, writings, printed material, photographs and artwork.

The collection contains a small amount of biographical material about Mary Fanton Roberts and her husband, William Carman Roberts, including his journal of a vacation with Ernest Thompson Seton and his wife. Personal Correspondence is with her husband and sister Belle Fanton, and with friends. Business and political correspondence documents her career as a magazine editor and writer, her participation in political organizations and events, her participation in radio talks, and her correspondence regarding war issues.

Art correspondence/subject files include correspondence with and collected materials on artists, photographers, art patrons, critics, and wives of artists, as well as arts organizations, museums, and schools. Correspondence of note is with George Gray Barnard, Gutzon Borglum, Ben Ali Haggin, Leon Kroll, Frederic Remington, W. Goodridge Roberts, Nicholas Roerich, Pierre Troubetzkoy, illustrator Oliver Herford, John Butler Yeats, and Ashcan school artists Robert Henri, John Sloan, and William Glackens, as well as many others. Dance and theatre correspondence/subject files include correspondence with actors, dancers, playwrights, patrons, organizations and theatres. Correspondence of note in this series is with Charles "Orlando" Coburn, Eva Le Gallienne, Angna Enters, and the "Duncan Dancers." Literary and music orrespondence/subject files include correspondence with authors, poets, critics, singers, publishers, and musicians, such as Bliss Carman, Yvette Guilbert, and Lloyd Osbourne. Additional material found in these subject files, other than letters, includes invitations, photographs, calling cards, artwork, news clippings, and printed material.

Writings by Roberts include an autobiographical essay about her youth and early career, guest lists and notes concerning hosted events, and typescripts of poems by her niece Dorothy Gostwick Roberts. Printed material is comprised of art exhibition catalogs, published articles and trade bulletins written by Roberts, and newsclippings. Photographs are of Roberts, her family, friends, and places she lived, and include autographed portraits given to her, primarily from actors and actresses. Also found are photographs taken by Nickolas Muray of art models. Scattered artwork in this collection includes several small drawings by unidentified artists, as well as a pencil portrait of Roberts by John Butler Yeats.
The collection is arranged into 11 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1906, 1912-1941, undated (Box 1; 2 folders)

Series 2: Personal Correspondence, 1902-1951, undated (Box 1; 7 folders)

Series 3: Business and Political Correspondence, 1903-1959, undated (Box 1; 6 folders)

Series 4: Art Correspondence/Subject Files, 1898-1956, undated (Box 1-2; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 5: Dance and Theatre Correspondence/Subject Files, 1902-1953, undated (Box 2-3; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 6: Literary and Music Correspondence/Subject Files, 1900-1952, undated (Box 3; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 7: General Correspondence, 1898-1946, undated (Box 3-4; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 8: Writings, 1915-1926, 1952, undated (Box 4; 3 folders)

Series 9: Printed Material, 1899, 1909-1947, undated (Box 4-5; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 10: Photographs, 1880-circa 1943, undated (Box 5; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 11: Artwork, 1906, undated (Box 5; 3 folders)
Biographical Note:
Mary Fanton Roberts was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1864. When she was a young girl her family moved to Deadwood, in the Montana territory, where her father had mining prospects. When she was old enough, she and her sister were sent back to New York to attend the Albany Female Academy. After finishing school, Roberts pursued journalism and became a staff writer for four years for the Herald Tribune, the Journal, and the Sun in New York. During her long career she was editor of Demorest Magazine, editor-in-chief of New Idea Woman's Magazine, managing editor of The Craftsman, and creator and editor of The Touchstone Magazine and Decorative Arts magazine. Her longest period at one publication was seventeen years as editor of Arts and Decoration. She often wrote articles on the topic of decorative arts and home decorating, and published two books, Inside 100 Homes, and 101 Ideas for Successful Interiors.

In 1906 she married William Carman Roberts, writer and editor of Literary Digest for thirty years. They lived in Manhattan and Waterford, Connecticut.

Roberts was very involved in the artistic, theatrical, and literary circles in New York City, and met and became friends with many young avant garde American artists, including Robert Henri and John Sloan. Through her husband she met many writers and poets, including Theodore Dreiser and Bliss Carman. Roberts was active in organizations such as the Women's City Club, Pen and Brush, and the MacDowell Society and also attended countless art openings, theater performances, and other social events. As an avid supporter of modern dance, she became friends with many performers, including Isadora Duncan and Angna Enters. After her husband's death in 1941, Roberts moved to the Chelsea Hotel, where she lived for the rest of her life. She maintained lifelong relationships with a wide circle of friends and continued to correspond with them and attend social events until her death in 1956 at the age of 92.
The collection was donated in 1957 by Phoebe DuBois and Violet Organ.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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.
Art critics -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Editors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Ashcan school of art  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Mary Fanton Roberts papers, 1880-1956. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
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Mary Fanton Roberts papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
Online Media:

Type design : past & present : a typographic homily / by Frederic W. Goudy

Type designer:
Goudy, Frederic W (Frederic William) 1865-1947  Search this
Carman, Bliss 1861-1929 If I were Pan  Search this
Franklin Printing Company (Philadelphia, Pa.)  Search this
Physical description:
4 unnumbered pages ; 29 cm
Type and type-founding  Search this
Printing  Search this
Roman type  Search this
Italic type  Search this
Gothic type  Search this
Deepdene type  Search this
Monotype  Search this
Call number:
Z116 .G68 1930
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

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