Jacques Seligmann & Co. records, 1904-1978, bulk 1913-1974. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Processing of the collection was funded by the Getty Grant Program; digitization of the collection was funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.
Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration Search this
78 Pages (Transcript)
1968 January 15
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Will Barnet conducted 1968 January 15, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.
Barnet speaks of his youth and early interest in art, studying at the Boston Museum School and the Art Students League of New York, where he later taught, artists who influenced him early in his career, moving to New York City, and building his reputation as a graphic artist. He comments on American politics in the 1930s and 1940s and their effect on art, changes in the art scene in the 1940s and the influence of the Surrealists, teaching at the Cooper Union School, dealers and galleries he has been affiliated with and his involvement with the American Abstract Artists group. He discusses the influence of pre-Columbian art on his work, his exhibitions, and his philosophies of teaching and painting.
Biographical / Historical:
Will Barnet (1911-) is a painter and graphic artist in New York, New York.
Originally recorded 3 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 12 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hr., 26 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Transcript: Patrons must use microfilm copy.
Art teachers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Search this
Weinman, Adolph A. (Adolph Alexander), 1870-1952 Search this
2.2 Linear feet ((partially microfilmed on 1 reel))
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence; notes; a scrapbook; sketches; photographs; announcements; and clippings.
REEL 37: Letters and telegrams, and cards of condolence to de Francisci's widow Theresa after his death, from Robert Weinman, Pietro Montana, Anthony Cirino, Max Kuehne, Donald DeLue and others. Also included is one letter, Sept. 1, 1954, from de Francisci to his daughter. Photographs, 1907-1964, show de Francisci with his Cooper Union graduating class, at work and with friends; clippings; announcements; and resumes.
UNMICROFILMED: Correspondence; notes; a scrapbook; sketches; and photographs of works of art. Correspondents include Daniel Chester French, Adolph Weinman, Paul Manship, Pietro Montana, and Chaim Gross.
Biographical / Historical:
Sculptor; New York, N.Y. and Rockport, Massachusetts.
Material on reel 37 donated 1971 by Theresa de Francisci, widow of de Francisci. One letter dated Sept. 1, 1954 was returned to de Francisci at her request. Unmicrofilmed material was transferred from the National Collection of Fine Arts, 1979.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration. Library. Search this
Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration -- Catalogs Search this
Greenleaf, Richard Cranch, 1887-1961 -- Catalogs Search this
1 Photographic album (57 photographic prints mounted on blank leaves of paper, b&w, 29 cm.)
Images of 16th-early 19th century European hand-made lace and tassels from the collection of Richard C. Greenleaf. The Greenleaf collection of lace was later given as a bequest to the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration.
Typescript title leaf.
The prints are accompanied by brief hand-written or typescript captions identifying the variety of lace shown, the place and approximate date of creation of the lace, and the source where the lace was found. Many of the prints are also annotated with some sort of accession number.
Handwritten annotations (by Greenleaf?) appear on the versos of many of the prints, although the annotations are generally covered over with paper and are inaccessible. Some prints have typed or handwritten references on accompanying blank guard-sheets. Some annotations are attributed to Marian Hague, another lace collector.
Most of the photographic prints measure approximately 23 x 18 cm.
Cooper-Hewitt Museum. Committee to Save the Cooper Union Museum Search this
0.5 cu. ft. (1 document box)
1963-1971, with related material from 1932
These files were assembled by the management and staff of the Cooper Union Museum, and later the Cooper Hewitt Museum, to document their activities during discussions
about the Museum's future and its transfer from the Cooper Union to the Smithsonian Institution from 1963 to 1970. The records contain correspondence and memoranda of Museum
Directors Lisa Taylor, Richard P. Wunder, and Calvin S. Hathaway; Administrator Christian Rohlfing; and Associate Curator of Exhibitions Edward Kallop reflecting their interaction
with the Cooper Union administration, the Committee to Save the Cooper Union Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, and other museum professionals during the period. Also included
are press releases, minutes of meetings, lists of Committee members, and information about funds raised by the Committee. In addition, the records contain copies of legal
and technical documents regarding the transfer.
The Museum's relationship with the Smithsonian from 1932 to 1968, and with the Smithsonian's National Collection of Fine Arts from 1965 to 1971, is documented through files
containing correspondence, memoranda, newsletters, press clippings, and invitations exchanged by administrators and curators of each institution regarding museum business.
On June 25, 1963, the president and Board of Trustees of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art announced their plans to close the Cooper Union Museum
for the Arts of Decoration. They temporarily closed the Museum in order to study the possibilities of dispersing the collections to other New York institutions. These actions
aroused much comment in the press and among art patrons.
On July 9, 1963, the Committee to Save the Cooper Union Museum announced its formation to the Trustees of the Cooper Union. The Committee was chaired by Henry F. duPont,
and eventually numbered 260 members. The Committee raised funds to form a charitable trust, and on September 17 it offered to assume responsibility for the Museum from the
Cooper Union. However, in November the Trustees accepted an offer by the American Association of Museums (AAM) to form a committee of advisors to aid in the study of the Museum's
future. Shortly thereafter, the Museum was reopened to the public.
On behalf of the Committee to Save the Cooper Union Museum, duPont asked the Smithsonian Institution to become responsible for the Museum. The AAM committee substantially
endorsed duPont's proposal. On October 9, 1967, the Committee, the Trustees of the Cooper Union, and the Smithsonian jointly announced an agreement that the Museum and its
library would be transferred to the Institution. The Committee to Save the Cooper Union Museum remained in existence to maintain the Cooper Union Museum Charitable Trust.
These records are the official minutes of the Board. They are compiled at the direction of the Secretary of the Smithsonian, who is also secretary to the Board, after
approval by the Regents' Executive Committee and by the Regents themselves. The minutes are edited, not a verbatim account of proceedings. For reasons unknown, there are no
manuscript minutes for the period from 1857 through 1890; and researchers must rely on printed minutes published in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution instead.
Minutes are transferred regularly from the Secretary's Office to the Archives. Minutes less than 15 years old are closed to researchers. Indexes exist for the period from
1907 to 1946 and can be useful.
The Smithsonian Institution was created by authority of an Act of Congress approved August 10, 1846. The Act entrusted direction of the Smithsonian to a body called
the Establishment, composed of the President; the Vice President; the Chief Justice of the United States; the secretaries of State, War, Navy, Interior, and Agriculture; the
Attorney General; and the Postmaster General. In fact, however, the Establishment last met in 1877, and control of the Smithsonian has always been exercised by its Board of
Regents. The membership of the Regents consists of the Vice President and the Chief Justice of the United States; three members each of the Senate and House of Representatives;
two citizens of the District of Columbia; and seven citizens of the several states, no two from the same state. (Prior to 1970 the category of Citizen Regents not residents
of Washington consisted of four members). By custom the Chief Justice is Chancellor. The office was at first held by the Vice President. However, when Millard Fillmore succeeded
to the presidency on the death of Zachary Taylor in 1851, Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney was chosen in his stead. The office has always been filled by the Chief Justice
since that time.
The Regents of the Smithsonian have included distinguished Americans from many walks of life. Ex officio members (Vice President) have been: Spiro T. Agnew, Chester A.
Arthur, Allen W. Barkley, John C. Breckenridge, George Bush, Schuyler Colfax, Calvin Coolidge, Charles Curtis, George M. Dallas, Charles G. Dawes, Charles W. Fairbanks, Millard
Fillmore, Gerald R. Ford, John N. Garner, Hannibal Hamlin, Thomas A. Hendricks, Garret A. Hobart, Hubert H. Humphrey, Andrew Johnson, Lyndon B. Johnson, William R. King, Thomas
R. Marshall, Walter F. Mondale, Levi P. Morton, Richard M. Nixon, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Theodore Roosevelt, James S. Sherman, Adlai E. Stevenson, Harry S. Truman, Henry A.
Wallace, William A. Wheeler, Henry Wilson.
Ex officio members (Chief Justice) have been: Roger B. Taney, Salmon P. Chase, Nathan Clifford, Morrison R. Waite, Samuel F. Miller, Melville W. Fuller, Edward D. White,
William Howard Taft, Charles Evans Hughes, Harlan F. Stone, Fred M. Vinson, Earl Warren, Warren E. Burger.
Regents on the part of the Senate have been: Clinton P. Anderson, Newton Booth, Sidney Breese, Lewis Cass, Robert Milledge Charlton, Bennet Champ Clark, Francis M. Cockrell,
Shelby Moore Cullom, Garrett Davis, Jefferson Davis, George Franklin Edmunds, George Evans, Edwin J. Garn, Walter F. George, Barry Goldwater, George Gray, Hannibal Hamlin,
Nathaniel Peter Hill, George Frisbie Hoar, Henry French Hollis, Henry M. Jackson, William Lindsay, Henry Cabot Lodge, Medill McCormick, James Murray Mason, Samuel Bell Maxey,
Robert B. Morgan, Frank E. Moss, Claiborne Pell, George Wharton Pepper, David A. Reed, Leverett Saltonstall, Hugh Scott, Alexander H. Smith, Robert A. Taft, Lyman Trumbull,
Wallace H. White, Jr., Robert Enoch Withers.
Regents on the part of the House of Representatives have included: Edward P. Boland, Frank T. Bow, William Campbell Breckenridge, Overton Brooks, Benjamin Butterworth,
Clarence Cannon, Lucius Cartrell, Hiester Clymer, William Colcock, William P. Cole, Jr., Maurice Connolly, Silvio O. Conte, Edward E. Cox, Edward H. Crump, John Dalzell, Nathaniel
Deering, Hugh A. Dinsmore, William English, John Farnsworth, Scott Ferris, Graham Fitch, James Garfield, Charles L. Gifford, T. Alan Goldsborough, Frank L. Greene, Gerry Hazleton,
Benjamin Hill, Henry Hilliard, Ebenezer Hoar, William Hough, William M. Howard, Albert Johnson, Leroy Johnson, Joseph Johnston, Michael Kirwan, James T. Lloyd, Robert Luce,
Robert McClelland, Samuel K. McConnell, Jr., George H. Mahon, George McCrary, Edward McPherson, James R. Mann, George Perkins Marsh, Norman Y. Mineta, A. J. Monteague, R.
Walton Moore, Walter H. Newton, Robert Dale Owen, James Patterson, William Phelps, Luke Poland, John Van Schaick Lansing Pruyn, B. Carroll Reece, Ernest W. Roberts, Otho Robards
Singleton, Frank Thompson, Jr., John M. Vorys, Hiram Warner, Joseph Wheeler.
Citizen Regents have been: David C. Acheson, Louis Agassiz, James B. Angell, Anne L. Armstrong, William Backhouse Astor, J. Paul Austin, Alexander Dallas Bache, George
Edmund Badger, George Bancroft, Alexander Graham Bell, James Gabriel Berrett, John McPherson Berrien, Robert W. Bingham, Sayles Jenks Bowen, William G. Bowen, Robert S. Brookings,
John Nicholas Brown, William A. M. Burden, Vannevar Bush, Charles F. Choate, Jr., Rufus Choate, Arthur H. Compton, Henry David Cooke, Henry Coppee, Samuel Sullivan Cox, Edward
H. Crump, James Dwight Dana, Harvey N. Davis, William Lewis Dayton, Everette Lee Degolyer, Richard Delafield, Frederic A. Delano, Charles Devens, Matthew Gault Emery, Cornelius
Conway Felton, Robert V. Fleming, Murray Gell-Mann, Robert F. Goheen, Asa Gray, George Gray, Crawford Hallock Greenwalt, Nancy Hanks, Caryl Parker Haskins, Gideon Hawley,
John B. Henderson, John B. Henderson, Jr., A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Gardner Greene Hubbard, Charles Evans Hughes, Carlisle H. Humelsine, Jerome C. Hunsaker, William Preston
Johnston, Irwin B. Laughlin, Walter Lenox, Augustus P. Loring, John Maclean, William Beans Magruder, John Walker Maury, Montgomery Cunningham Meigs, John C. Merriam, R. Walton
Moore, Roland S. Morris, Dwight W. Morrow, Richard Olney, Peter Parker, Noah Porter, William Campbell Preston, Owen Josephus Roberts, Richard Rush, William Winston Seaton,
Alexander Roby Shepherd, William Tecumseh Sherman, Otho Robards Singleton, Joseph Gilbert Totten, John Thomas Towers, Frederic C. Walcott, Richard Wallach, Thomas J. Watson,
Jr., James E. Webb, James Clarke Welling, Andrew Dickson White, Henry White, Theodore Dwight Woolsey.
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
These records were created mostly by administrators Rohlfing, Dobkin, and Dunne. They document the activities of the Museum Advisory Board and the acquisitions committee
and contain files on fundraising, membership, product development, sales, education, collections management, and exhibitions. The records also include audit reports and annual
reports; grant proposals; architectural plans of the Miller House; and public relations files, including news clippings from the reopening of the Museum in 1976. In addition,
the records contain periodic budget projections and reports for the programs, administrative departments, and payroll of the Museum dating from 1983 to 1988, along with the
memoranda and spreadsheets which document their development.
In 1963 the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art trustees announced that the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration would be closed, and Director
Calvin S. Hathaway resigned. Curator of Exhibitions H. Christian Rohlfing was named Acting Administrator, and in this capacity he helped to guide the Museum's transfer to
the Smithsonian Institution in 1968. In 1969 Rohlfing became Administrator of the renamed Cooper-Hewitt Museum, and in fiscal year 1972 he assumed the dual title of Administrator
and Curator of Collections. John H. Dobkin became Program Management Officer in FY 1974 and was appointed Administrator in FY 1975. Dobkin and Rohlfing both held the title
of Administrator until FY 1978, when Dobkin resigned and Rohlfing relinquished the post to assume purely curatorial responsibilities. The position of Administrator was vacant
until FY 1979, when Daniel O'Leary became Assistant Director for Administration and Barbara V. Foss and Peter M. Scherer were appointed Administrative Assistants to the Director.
O'Leary left the next year, and Foss was replaced by Chauncie McKeever in FY 1981. In FY 1983 McKeever left, Scherer was appointed Special Assistant to the Director, and Linda
Dunne was named Administrator. Scherer left in FY 1984.
Boxes 6 and 8 contain materials restricted indefinitely; see finding aid; Contact reference staff for details.
56 cu. ft. (56 record storage boxes) (1 oversize folder)
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
These records document the administration of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum from its establishment until its reopening in 1976 in the Carnegie Mansion. Although there is
some material concerning the activities of Eleanor Garnier Hewitt and Sarah Cooper Hewitt, the majority of the records deal with the management of the Museum following Sarah
Cooper Hewitt's death in 1930. Records of Mary S. M. Gibson, curator, 1904-1945; Calvin S. Hathaway, curator, 1946-1951, and director, 1951-1963; H. Christian Rohlfing, acting
administrator, 1963-1968; Richard P. Wunder, director, 1968-1969; and Lisa Taylor, director, 1969- , are included.
The records include correspondence, memoranda, reports, publications, notes, photographs, and forms concerning the administrative operation of the Museum, including financial,
personnel, buildings and equipment, and fund-raising activities; the acquisition, care, and use of the Museum's collections; exhibits, programs, and activities sponsored by
the Museum; research activities of the staff and outside researchers; and Museum publications. Correspondents include staff of the parent organizations, the Cooper Union and
the Smithsonian Institution; museums; art historians; donors; contributors; and the general public. A small amount of material documents the activities and history of the
Cooper and Hewitt families, and of the Cooper Union. Some materials date to when the Museum was part of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.
The Cooper-Hewitt Museum of Decorative Arts and Design was established in 1896 as the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration. Its parent organization, the Cooper
Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, was founded in 1859 by Peter Cooper as a free school for the working classes of New York City. In his original plans for Cooper
Union, Peter Cooper made provisions for a museum, but these plans were not immediately carried out.
In 1895, Peter Cooper's granddaughters, Eleanor Garnier Hewitt, Sarah Cooper Hewitt, and Amy Hewitt Green, asked the trustees of the Cooper Union for room in which to install
a Museum for Arts of Decoration, modeled after the Musee des Arts Decoratifs of Paris. The purpose of the museum was to provide the art students of Cooper Union, students
of design, and working designers with study collections of the decorative arts. The trustees assigned the fourth floor of the Cooper Union's Foundation Building to the sisters,
and the Museum was opened to the public in 1897.
Until the death of Sarah Cooper Hewitt, the management of the Museum was essentially in the hands of the Hewitt sisters as directors. Following Sarah's death in 1930, the
trustees of the Cooper Union appointed a board of four directors, with Constance P. Hare as chairman, to administer the Museum. When Edwin S. Burdell became director of the
Cooper Union in 1938, the Museum was made part of his administrative responsibility, the Board of Directors was abolished, and an Advisory Council on the Museum, responsible
for matters relating to the Museum's collections, was set up. Curators and custodians of the Museum included Mary A. Peoli, 1898-1904; Mary S. M. Gibson, 1904-1945; and Calvin
S. Hathaway, 1946-1963 (curator, 1946-1951, and director, 1951-1963).
In 1963, the Cooper Union began consideration of plans to discontinue the Museum because of the financial demands of the other divisions of the Union and the absence of
a close relationship between the programs of the Museum and the Art School. The announcement of the plans led to a considerable public outcry, and a Committee to Save the
Cooper Union Museum, headed by Henry F. duPont, was established. Negotiations among the Committee, the Cooper Union, and the Smithsonian Institution led to the Museum's transfer
to the Smithsonian on July 1, 1968. The Museum was renamed the Cooper-Hewitt Museum of Design and in 1969 acquired its present name. In 1970, the Museum moved into its present
home, the Carnegie Mansion, which was renovated and reopened to the public in 1976. Heads of the Museum since 1963 have been H. Christian Rohlfing, acting administrator, 1963-1968;
Richard P. Wunder, director 1968-1969; and Lisa Taylor, director, 1969- .
Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration. Department of Exhibitions Search this
18 cu. ft. (18 record storage boxes)
These records document, for the most part, the Department under the administration of Calvin S. Hathaway, Curator, 1946-1951, and Director, 1951-1963. Included is correspondence
of Hathaway with members of the exhibition staff and with collectors and institutions concerning the exhibits in the museum; exhibit files, arranged alphabetically by exhibition
titles and including photographs, pamphlets, floor plans, drawings, publicity materials, specimen lists and descriptions, and correspondence; and annual reports.
The Department of Exhibitions was first organized as the Exhibits Section in 1946. Prior to 1946, persons in charge of exhibitions were Assistants to the Curator of
the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration. Alliene E. Dodge, D. Graeme Keith, James I. Rambo, Everett P. Lesley, Jr., and William R. Osmun were Assistants, Exhibits
Section, during the period from 1946 to 1953. The Assistants were under the supervision of the Curator, and later, under the Director.
In 1953 the Exhibits Section was redesignated the Department of Exhibitions, and the title of Assistants was changed to Keepers. Lesley, Osmun, and Christian Rohlfing held
the title of Keepers during the period from 1953 to 1958. The title of Keeper, Department of Exhibitions was changed to Curator, Department of Exhibitions in 1958. Rohlfing
held the title of Curator, and Edward L. Kallop, who became Associate Keeper in 1957, became Associate Curator. When Rohlfing became Acting Administrator of the Museum in
1963, the position of Curator remained vacant. The Department was discontinued as an administrative unit when the Cooper Union Museum transferred to the Smithsonian Institution
The Department of Exhibitions was responsible for the design, preparation, installation, maintenance, and dismantling of "special" or theme exhibitions of museum and non-museum
collections for the general public, including exhibitions for other branches of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Sciences and Arts.