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James J. Rorimer papers, 1921-1982, bulk 1943-1950

Creator:
Rorimer, James J. (James Joseph), 1905-1966  Search this
Subject:
Rorimer, Katherine S.  Search this
Valland, Rose  Search this
Allied Forces.Supreme Headquarters.Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.).Board of Trustees  Search this
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Type:
Scrapbooks
Topic:
Art treasures in war  Search this
Art thefts  Search this
Cultural property  Search this
Curators  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)8384
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)210558
AAA_collcode_rorijame
Theme:
Art Theory and Historiography
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_210558
Online Media:

James J. Rorimer papers

Creator:
Rorimer, James J. (James Joseph), 1905-1966  Search this
Names:
Allied Forces. Supreme Headquarters. Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section  Search this
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.). Board of Trustees  Search this
Rorimer, Katherine S.  Search this
Valland, Rose  Search this
Extent:
2.3 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Date:
1921-1982
bulk 1943-1950
Summary:
The papers of curator and museum director James J. Rorimer measure 2.3 linear feet and date from 1921 to 1982, with the bulk from 1943-1950. The papers include documentation of James J. Rorimer's World War II service in the Monuments, Fine Art and Archives Section of the U.S. Army and his activities protecting historic and cultural sites from bombing, and locating and recovering art work and cultural icons stolen by the Nazis. Found within the papers are scattered biographical materials and correspondence, writings include draft versions of Rorimer's book Safe-Keeping or Survival: The Salvage and Protection of Art in War, financial records, photographic materials including a photo album containing photographs of European art work and cultural sites where Rorimer worked, newsclippings and additional printed materials, and one scrapbook of clippings dating from World War II.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of curator and museum director James J. Rorimer measure 2.3 linear feet and date from 1921 to 1982, with the bulk from 1943-1950. The papers include documentation of James J. Rorimer's World War II service in the Monuments, Fine Art and Archives Section of the U.S. Army and his activities protecting historic and cultural sites from bombing, and locating and recovering art work and cultural icons stolen by the Nazis. Found within the papers are scattered biographical materials and correspondence, writings include draft versions of Rorimer's book Safe-Keeping or Survival: The Salvage and Protection of Art in War, financial records, photographic materials including a photo album containing photographs of European art work and cultural sites where Rorimer worked, newsclippings and additional printed materials, and one scrapbook of clippings dating from World War II.

Scattered biographical materials include a college transcript and various certificates. Much of the correspondence is comprised of army directives but also includes some personal letters from Rorimer's wife Katherine.

Writings by Rorimer include several handwritten manuscripts and drafts of his book Survival: The Salvage and Protection of Art in War, which was originally titled Safe-Keeping. There is one folder of miscellaneous financial records, mostly dating from Rorimer's time in the army. There is also one folder of minutes of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Board of Trustees meetings.

Photographic materials include black and white photographs, negatives, contact prints, postcards, and one photo album. The photograph album was given to Rorimer from the headquarters of the Office of Military Government in Baden-Wurttemberg and is titled War Damage in Wurtemmberg: A Selection of Photographs. Many of the photographs document bomb damage to European cultural monuments and historic sites. There are photographs of Nazi stolen art repositories discovered by Rorimer and fellow Monuments Men at Buxheim monastery and Neuschwanstein castle, art recovery and transportation, and restitution work at Wiesbaden Central Collecting Point. Photographs of people, such as Edith Standen, Rose Valland, and Rorimer, are scattered throughout the series.

Printed materials include newspaper and magazine clippings, mostly related to The Cloisters or the activities and achievements of the Monuments Men. Printed materials also includes bulletins, brochures, and press releases. There is also a war-time scrapbook and two handbooks of maps showing historic monuments and sites in France and Germany.
Arrangement note:
The collection is arranged as 7 series:

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1942-1946 (Box 1, 4; 8 folders)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1927-1982 (Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, circa 1946-1950 (Box 1; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 4: Financial Records, 1943-1946 (Box 1; 1 folder)

Series 5: Administrative Files, 1940 (Box 1; 1 folder)

Series 6: Photographic Materials, 1921-1966 (Box 1-2, 4; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 7: Printed Materials, 1923-1966 (Box 3-4, OV 5-6; 0.7 linear feet)
Biographical/Historical note:
James J. Rorimer (1905-1966) was a museum director and curator of medieval art working in New York City. Rorimer was the primary force and first director of The Cloisters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. During World War II, Rorimer served in the U.S. Army Monuments, Fine Art and Archives Section protecting cultural sites and recovering stolen art work.

James J. Rorimer was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1905 and attended the University School there until he left in 1921 in order to study abroad in Europe. He studied at the Ecole Gory in Paris for two years, then returned to the United States to finish his studies at the University School in Cleveland. In 1927, Rorimer graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. Soon after, he began working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City where he worked his way up from a position as an assistant to Head Curator of Medieval Art, a position he filled from 1934 to 1955, director of The Cloisters, and eventually director and trustee of the museum.

Rorimer was heavily involved with the planning and development of The Cloisters, working closely with the architect Charles Collens. When The Cloisters opened in 1938, Rorimer worked there as a curator and later became the first director in 1949. During this time, Rorimer developed a professional relationship with John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who donated to New York City a large tract of land, a portion of which was given to the Metropolitan Museum as a location to build The Cloisters. The Cloisters' collections evolved into a world renown collection of medieval art under Rorimer's curatorship and directorship.

As the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1955-1966, Rorimer nearly doubled membership and attendance, raised a substantial amount of endowment funding, renovated almost half of the galleries, and increased the exhibition space.

Rorimer married Katherine Newton in 1942. They had two children, Anne and Louis.

During World War II, from 1943 to 1946, Rorimer served in the U.S. Army's Monuments, Fine Art and Archives (MFAA) Section. The "Monuments Men" of the U.S. Army were charged with locating and protecting historical sites, monuments, artwork, and buildings from Allied bombing. Towards the end of the war, the section led recovery efforts to locate and retrieve Nazi stolen art works and other cultural heritage items. Rorimer served as a MFAA officer in Normandy and Paris, and, while in Germany, was promoted to chief of the MFAA Section of the 7th Army Western Military District.

While in Paris, Rorimer worked closely with Rose Valland, an employee of the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris who spied on the Nazis and recorded in detail the movements of artwork stolen by members of the Nazi party, including Hermann Wilhelm Goering and Joseph Goebbels. With Valland's assistance, Rorimer discovered a large cache of stolen and confiscated artwork at the Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps. He and his team also recovered other artwork, European antiquities, and cultural icons that were stored in nearby salt mines. Rorimer and the other Monuments Men arranged the recovery and removal of the cache of stolen goods.

Rorimer received numerous awards for his work during World War II including, the French Cross of War in 1945, Chevalier in 1947, and officer of the French Legion of Honor in 1957. Rorimer wrote about his work as a Monuments Man in his book Survival: The Salvage and Protection of Art in War, published by Abelard Press in 1950. James J. Rorimer died in 1966.
Related Archival Materials note:
Among the holdings of the Archives of American is an oral history interview with Anne Rorimer, James' daughter, conducted in 2010 by the Archives of American Art. The Archives also holds the papers of several members of the World War II Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Section of the U.S. Army, including S. Lane Faison, Walker Hancock, Walter Horn, Thomas Carr Howe, George Stout, and Otto Wittman. as well as oral history interviews with some of them.

The official government records for James Rorimer's service during World War II in the MFAA Section of the U.S. Army are maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration.
Provenance:
The James J. Rorimer papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by his wife, Katherine Serrell Rorimer, in 2 installments in 1983.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The James J. Rorimer 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.
Topic:
Art treasures in war -- France  Search this
Art treasures in war -- Germany  Search this
Museum directors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Confiscations and contributions -- Germany  Search this
Art thefts -- Germany -- History -- 20th century  Search this
Cultural property -- Protection -- Europe -- History -- 20th century  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Destruction and pillage -- Europe  Search this
Curators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Art and the war  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Citation:
James J. Rorimer papers, 1923-1982, bulk 1943-1950. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.rorijame
See more items in:
James J. Rorimer papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-rorijame
Online Media:

Segment on medieval art in New York from the Exploring art radio series

Creator:
McLanathan, Richard B. K., 1916-1998  Search this
Subject:
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Type:
Sound Recording
Date:
1963 April 28
Topic:
Art, Medieval  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)14788
See more items in:
Richard McLanathan papers, 1901-1995, bulk 1940s-1990s
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_14788

(No Title Given: Cloisters Museum) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Architect:
Pope, John Russell 1874-1937  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Image number:
JUL J0101409
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_101410

Cloisters (Museum) [Folder]

Additional name:
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York). Cloisters  Search this
Contents:
Folder(s) may include exhibition announcements, newspaper and/or magazine clippings, press releases, brochures, reviews, invitations, illustrations, resumes, artist's statements, exhibition catalogs.
Place:
New York (N.Y.)
Topic:
Art Organizations  Search this
Location:
Art & Artist files at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/ National Portrait Gallery Library
Data source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:SILAF_99861

Cloister, Museum, Toulouse, (painting)

Painter:
Wenrich, John C. 1894-1970  Search this
Medium:
Gouache on paper
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
University of Rochester Memorial Art Gallery 500 University Avenue Rochester New York 14607 Accession Number: 2003.87
Date:
1919
Topic:
Landscape--France--Toulouse  Search this
Architecture exterior--Civic--Museum  Search this
Architecture exterior--Detail--Column  Search this
Architecture exterior--Detail--Stairs  Search this
Control number:
IAP 37390708
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_471962

Cloisters Museum

Collection Creator:
Smithsonian Institution, Conservation Analytical Laboratory  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Box 13 contains materials restricted indefinitely; see finding aid; Contact reference staff for details.
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 576, Smithsonian Institution, Conservation Analytical Laboratory, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0576-refd1e492

The Nine Heroes tapestries at the Cloisters : a picture book / by James J. Rorimer and Margaret B. Freeman

Author:
Rorimer, James J (James Joseph) 1905-1966  Search this
Freeman, Margaret B  Search this
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Physical description:
24 p. : ill. ; 26 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
France
Date:
1953
1949
Topic:
Tapestry  Search this
Call number:
NK2985.N7M45
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_101123

The unicorn tapestries / Margaret B. Freeman, Curator Emeritus, The Cloisters

Author:
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Freeman, Margaret B  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Subject:
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Physical description:
244 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 32 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
France
Date:
1976
Medieval, 500-1500
Topic:
Hunt of the unicorn (Tapestries)  Search this
Tapestry, Medieval  Search this
Tapestry, Gothic  Search this
Unicorns in art  Search this
Art and mythology  Search this
Christian art and symbolism--Themes, motives  Search this
Call number:
NK3049.U5 N43 1976X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_75314

A Sculpture of Abraham Lincoln’s Hand Has Been Stolen From an Illinois Museum

Creator:
Smithsonian Magazine  Search this
Type:
Blog posts
Smithsonian staff publications
Blog posts
Published Date:
Mon, 04 Jan 2016 20:00:00 +0000
Topic:
Search this
See more post:
Smithsonian Article Database
Data Source:
Smithsonian Magazine
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:posts_5f3f97afc18ea49f79336c13fa697b8a

Radiance and reflection : medieval art from the Raymond Pitcairn Collection / Jane Hayward and Walter Cahn with Peter Barnet ... [et al.]

Author:
Hayward, Jane  Search this
Cahn, Walter  Search this
Barnet, Peter  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Subject:
Pitcairn, Raymond 1885-1966 Art collections  Search this
Physical description:
261 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 27 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
France
Date:
1982
C1982
Topic:
Sculpture, Romanesque  Search this
Sculpture, French  Search this
Glass painting and staining, Gothic  Search this
Glass painting and staining--History  Search this
Art, Medieval  Search this
Call number:
N6843 .H39 1982
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_509940

The Cloisters : a branch museum of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to art of the Middle Ages

Author:
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Subject:
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Physical description:
[20] p. : ill., plans ; 23 cm
Type:
Catalogs
Place:
New York (State)
New York
Date:
197u
197-?]
Topic:
Art, Medieval  Search this
Art  Search this
Call number:
N611.C6 A9 1970z
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_734186

Mediaeval monuments at the Cloisters as they were and as they are, by James J. Rorimer

Author:
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Rorimer, James J (James Joseph) 1905-1966  Search this
Physical description:
15, [1] p., 1 l. illus. (incl. map) XXVIII pl. on 15 l. 36 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
New York (State)
New York
Date:
1941
Topic:
Art, Medieval  Search this
Art  Search this
Call number:
N611 .C6 1941X
N611.C6 1941X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_420715

The Cloisters : studies in honor of the fiftieth anniversary / edited by Elizabeth C. Parker with the assistance of Mary B. Shepard

Author:
Parker, Elizabeth C  Search this
Shepard, Mary B  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
International Center of Medieval Art  Search this
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Subject:
Cloisters (Museum) Congresses  Search this
Physical description:
xiv, 459 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm
Type:
Congresses
Place:
New York (State)
New York
Date:
1992
Topic:
Art, Medieval  Search this
Art  Search this
Call number:
N5963.N4 C583 1992X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_454688

The Unicorn tapestries. Based on a study of the Unicorn Tapestries by Margaret B. Freeman. Adaptation by Linda Sipress

Author:
Sipress, Linda  Search this
Freeman, Margaret B  Search this
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Subject:
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Physical description:
[48] p. illus. (part col.) 28 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
France
Date:
1974
C1974
Medieval, 500-1500
Topic:
Hunt of the unicorn (Tapestries)  Search this
Tapestry, Gothic  Search this
Unicorns in art  Search this
Art and mythology  Search this
Christian art and symbolism--Themes, motives  Search this
Call number:
NK3049.U5 S618 1974
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_470714

Views of the Museum and the Cloisters; a picture book

Author:
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Subject:
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Physical description:
3 p. l., 20 pl. on 10 l., 1 l. 19 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1939
Call number:
N610.A73 1939X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_386034

The Cloisters, a brief guide, by Joseph Breck

Author:
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Breck, Joseph 1885-  Search this
Physical description:
x, 58 p., 1 l. illus. 22 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
New York (State)
New York
Date:
1926
Topic:
Art, Medieval  Search this
Art  Search this
Call number:
N611 .C6 1926X
N611.C6 1926X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_395850

The Cloisters, the building and the collection of medieval art in Fort Tryon Park, by James J. Rorimer

Author:
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Rorimer, James J (James Joseph) 1905-1966  Search this
Physical description:
212 p. illus. 22 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
New York (State)
New York
Date:
1963
Topic:
Art, Medieval  Search this
Art  Search this
Call number:
N611.C6 1963X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_248034

Addresses on the occasion of the opening of the branch building, the Cloisters, in Fort Tryon Park : the gift of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., May tenth, 1938

Author:
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Physical description:
27, [1] p. 25 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1938
[1938]
Topic:
Presses, Issues of  Search this
Call number:
708.1N545
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_248037

The unicorn tapestries at the Cloisters; a picture book. By James J. Rorimer, director

Author:
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Rorimer, James J (James Joseph) 1905-1966  Search this
Subject:
Cloisters (Museum)  Search this
Physical description:
38 p. illus. 19 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
France
Date:
1962
Topic:
Tapestry  Search this
Call number:
NK3049.U5N43 1962X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_249659

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