Photographs relating to Native Americans or frontier themes, including portraits, expedition photographs, landscapes, and other images of dwellings, transportation, totem poles, ceremonies, infants and children in cradleboards, camps and towns, hunting and fishing, wild west shows, food preparation, funeral customs, the US Army and army posts, cliff dwellings, and grave mounds and excavations. The collection also includes images of prisoners at Fort Marion in 1875, Sioux Indians involved in the Great Sioux Uprising in Minnesota, the Fort Laramie Peace Commission of 1868, Sitting Bull and his followers after the Battle of the Little Bighorn, and the aftermath of the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890.
There are studio portraits of well-known Native Americans, including American Horse, Big Bow, Four Bears, Iron Bull, Ouray, Red Cloud, Red Dog, Red Shirt, Sitting Bull, Spotted Tail, Three Bears, and Two Guns White Calf. Depicted delegations include a Sauk and Fox meeting in Washington, DC, with Lewis V. Bogy and Charles E. Mix in 1867; Kiowas and Cheyennes at the White House in 1863; and Dakotas and Crows who visited President Warren G. Harding in 1921. Images of schools show Worcester Academy in Vinita, Oklahoma; Chilocco Indian School; Carlisle Indian Industrial School; Haskell Instittue, and Albuquerque Indian School.
Some photographs relate to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, 1876; World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893; Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, 1903; and Centennial Exposition of the Baltimore and Ohio Railraod, 1876. Expedition photographs show the Crook expedition of 1876, the Sanderson expedition to the Custer Battlefield in 1877, the Wheeler Survey of the 1870s, Powell's surveys of the Rocky Mountain region during the 1860s and 1870s, and the Hayden Surveys.
Outstanding single views include the party of Zuni group led to the sea by Frank Hamilton Cushing; Episcopal Church Rectory and School Building, Yankton Agency; Matilda Coxe Stevenson and a companion taking a photographs of a Zuni ceremony; John Moran sketching at Acoma; Ben H. Gurnsey's studio with Indian patrons; Quapaw Mission; baptism of a group of Paiutes at Coeur d'Alene Mission; court-martial commission involved in the trial of Colonel Joseph J. Reynolds, 1877; President Harding at Sitka, Alaska; Walter Hough at Hopi in 1902; and Mrs. Jesse Walter Fewkes at Hopi in 1897.
George V. Allen was an attorney in Lawrence, Kansas and an early member of the National Stereoscope Association. Between the 1950s and 1980s, Allen made an extensive collection of photographs of the American West, mostly in stereographs, but also including cartes-de-visite and other styles of mounted prints, photogravures, lantern slides, autochromes, and glass negatives.
The papers of landscape painter and educator Reuben Tam measure 9.2 linear feet and date from 1931 to 2006. The papers document his career as a painter in New York, Maine, and Hawaii through biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, art organizations, schools, and galleries; diaries, poetry, and other writings; exhibition catalogs, news clippings, other printed material; photographs; artwork, including seventeen sketchbooks; and eight scrapbooks.
There is a 1.1 linear foot unprocessed addition to the collection donated in 2020 that includes 34 sketchbooks, circa 1940-1974, by Tam from his time in New York, Hawaii, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Alaska and Canada.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of landscape painter and educator Reuben Tam measure 9.2 linear feet and date from 1931 to 2006. The papers document his career as a painter in New York, Maine, and Hawaii through biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, art organizations, schools, and galleries; diaries, poetry, and other writings; exhibition catalogs, news clippings, other printed material; photographs; artwork, including seventeen sketchbooks; and eight scrapbooks. There is a 1.1 linear foot unprocessed addition to the collection donated in 2020 that includes 34 sketchbooks, circa 1940-1974, by Tam from his time in New York, Hawaii, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Alaska and Canada.
Biographical material includes school documents, records of his tenure as an instructor at the Brooklyn Museum of Art School, artwork consignment and sales records, and slides and accompanying audio cassette recording of the "Reuben Tam Show" about his work as an artist on Monhegan Island, Maine.
Correspondence is with family, fellow artists, including William Kienbusch and Hyde Solomon, as well as art organizations, schools, and museums, such as Brooklyn Museum of Art School, Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Maine Coast Artists group, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Also found is correspondence with the three galleries which represented his work: Downtown Gallery, Alan Gallery, and Coe Kerr Gallery.
The collection includes five bound diaries as well as diary entries written by Reuben Tam on loose sheets of paper, primarily documenting the 1940s. Other writings include drafts of poetry, one notebook, miscellaneous notes, and essays by others.
Printed material consists of school publications, exhibition catalogs and announcements for solo and group shows, brochures, flyers, magazines, bulletins, and news clippings. Eight scrapbooks found in this collection also include newspaper clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, as well as event invitations, membership cards, and letters, documenting 40 years of Reuben Tam's career.
Photographs are of Reuben Tam, Tam with friends and family, and artwork. One photograph album contains photographs from Tam's visits to Maine from 1946 to 1948, and includes photographs of fellow artists Hyde Solomon, Carl Nesjar, Dorothy Andrews, and William Kienbusch. Artwork in the collection includes prints, drawings, and watercolors as well as seventeen large sketchbooks documenting the coastal landscape of Monhegan Island, Maine.
The collection is arranged as 9 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1934-1993 (Box 1; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1931-2006 (Box 1-4; 3.5 linear feet)
Series 3: Diaries, 1932-1974 (Box 4-5; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 4: Writings, 1939-1987 (Box 5; 7 folders)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1935-1997 (Box 5-6, 9; 1.2 linear feet)
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1930-1990 (Box 6-7, 9; 1.0 linear foot)
Series 7: Artwork, circa 1936-1975 (Box 7, 9-10, OV 11; 0.7 linear feet)
Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1938-1978 (Box 7-8; 0.9 linear feet)
Series 9: Unprocessed Addition, circa 1940-1974 (Box 12, OV13; 1.1 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Reuben Tam (1916-1991) was a landscape painter and educator in New York, Maine, and Hawaii. Tam was born in Kapaa, Hawaii, in 1916. He received a degree in education in 1937 from the University of Hawaii and was briefly a public school teacher before attending graduate courses at the California School of Fine Arts. In 1941 he moved to New York and took courses in art history and philosophy at the New School for Social Research and Columbia University. Tam became affiliated with the Downtown Gallery in 1945 and was a prolific exhibitor in national and regional shows, winning critical praise as an abstract landscape painter. In 1948 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and first exhibited in the National Academy's annual exhibition in 1947.
Tam was an instructor at the Brooklyn Museum of Art School from 1946 to 1974. While there he taught advanced studies in painting and was chairman of the graduate painting department. He also served as a visiting professor at Oregon State University, Haystack, and Queens College, CUNY.
Beginning in 1948, Tam and his wife, Geraldine, spent summers at their home and studio on Monhegan Island, Maine. Tam's work was deeply influenced by coastal landscapes both in Maine and in his native Hawaii. In 1981 he and his wife moved back to Kapaa, Hawaii, where he continued to paint and exhibit his new works until his death in 1991.
Reuben Tam papers, 1958-1966, are also located at Syracuse University.
Scrapbooks were lent for microfilming in 1970 by Reuben Tam and were subsequently donated in 2009 along with additional papers by Geraldine King Tam, Reuben Tam's widow. 34 additional sketchbooks were donated in 2020 by the Geraldine King Tam Trust, via Cindy King, trustee and niece of Geraldine King Tam.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.