The papers of ceramicist and sculptor Patti Warashina (b. 1940) date from circa 1900 and 1957 through 1991, bulk 1970-1989. The collection consists of 4.8 linear feet of correspondence and printed material reflecting the many ceramic and craft exhibitions and other projects Warashina participated in throughout the United States, and her associations with other ceramicists. Also included are biographical documents, writings, art works, several photographs, and a video.
Scope and Content Note:
The Patti Warashina papers measure 4.8 linear feet and date from circa 1900 and 1957 through 1991 (bulk 1970-1989). The collection documents the artistic and teaching career of Seattle-based sculptor and ceramicist Patti Warashina predominantly through correspondence and printed material reflecting the many ceramic and craft exhibitions and other projects Warashina participated in throughout the United States, and her associations with other ceramicists. Also included are biographical documents, writings, art works, several photographs, and a video.
Biographical material includes family trees, diplomas, awards, and documents relating to Warashina's family Japanese internment during WWII. Correspondence, 1968-1991, relating to exhibitions and other projects, is with galleries, museums, purchasers, publishers, and others, among them the Lee Nordness Gallery (N.Y.), Morgan Gallery (Kansas City), and Theo Portney Gallery (Seattle). Additional correspondence files contain letters received, 1977-1990, many addressed to Warashina and her husband Bob (Robert Sperry), from friends, colleagues, former students and family members, including Nancy Carmen, Anne Currier, Deborah Horrell, Matthew Kangas, Howard Kottler, Marvin Lipofsky, Michael Lucero, and others.
Ten photographs, circa 1900-1944, are portraits of Warashina's relatives and family, and several snapshots, circa 1970s, are of former students and works of art. Printed material, 1961-1990, includes newspaper and magazine clippings, programs, journals, newsletters, exhibition announcements, exhibition catalogs, and workshop announcements for Warashina's various sculpture and ceramic lectures. Writings include both published and unpublished works by Warashina, including an artist's statement for a possible lecture at the 1986 conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). Also found here are handwritten notes on a panel discussion titled Cultural and Racial Heritage: Sources and Imagery in which Warashina was a participant along with artists Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, María Brito Avellana, and Indira Johnson. Art work consists of blue line drawings for her sculpture "Red Earth," 1986 as well as a pen and ink sketch of Warashina by an unidentified artist. A videocassette, 1987, is of the television program "The Big A: Different Ways of Seeing", in which Warashina appears briefly.
The Patti Warashina papers are arranged as seven series based primarily on type of material. The correspondence in Series 2 is arranged chronologically for exhibitions and projects and general letters received. Additional letters received are arranged by name of author.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1974-1991, undated (Box 1; 3 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1957, 1967-1991, undated (Boxes 1-3; 2.0 linear feet)
Series 3: Photographs, circa 1900- circa 1959, 1971, undated (Box 3; 3 folders)
Series 4: Printed Material, 1961-1990, undated (Boxes 3-6, OV 7; 2.0 linear feet)
Series 5: Writings and Notes, 1984, 1986, 1989, undated (Box 6; 4 folders)
Series 6: Artwork, 1986, undated (Box 6; 2 folders)
Series 7: Miscellany, 1987, undated (Box 6; 2 folders)
Patti Warashina is a Japanese American ceramicist and sculptor. She was born in 1940 as Masae Patricia Warashina in Spokane, Washington to third generation Japanese emigrants. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, Seattle, where she studied with sculptors Robert Sperry, Harold Myers, Rudy Autio, Shoji Hamada, Shinsaku Hamada, and Ruth Penington. She received her first solo exhibition in 1962 at the Phoenix Art Gallery in Seattle the same year she graduated with an M.F.A. from the University of Washington. Warashina later married fellow student Fred Bauer and from 1964 to 1970 exhibited as Patti Bauer.
Influences in Warashina's art include California funk and sculptural ceramics. Her work is best known for its whimsical themes expressed through low-fire highly colored figurative images. Together with fellow artists Robert Sperry, Howard Kottler and Fred Bauer, she brought national recognition to the department of ceramics at the University of Washington's School of Art beginning in the 1980s.
Patti Warashina is a recipient of several awards for achievements in the field of crafts, most recently the Twining Humber Award granted by Seattle's Artists Trust in 2002. She received the Governor's Award of Special Commendation for the Arts in 1980 in addition to grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in both 1975 and 1986. In 1978, Warashina was awarded a World Craft Council Travel Grant which allowed her to conduct research on the ceramic arts process in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Bali and the Philippines. Warashina's teaching career spans over 30 years and includes positions at the University of Wisconsin, Eastern Michigan University, and at her alma mater where she has taught for over 25 years. Her work is featured in several museum collections in both the U.S. and abroad including the American Craft Museum in New York, the Seattle Art Museum and Henry Art Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery (Washington, DC), the Art Gallery of Western Australia, and the Ichon World Ceramic Center in Korea. Since her marriage to ceramicist Robert Sperry in 1976, she has used Patti Warashina as her professional name. Patti Warashina is a resident of Seattle, Washington.
The Patti Warashina papers were donated by the artist to the Archives of American Art in 1991.
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
Ceramicists -- Washington (State) -- Seattle Search this
Semi Joseph Begun was a pioneer in magnetic recording. The papers document Begun's professional career in the field of magnetic recording.
Scope and Contents:
The S. Joseph Begun papers contain correspondence, memoranda, patents, printed matter, reports, speeches and writings, awards, biographical materials, and autobiographical and historical material documenting the life and career of S. Joseph Begun.
Series 1: Personal Papers, 1927-1998, is arranged alphabetically by general subject and contains materials related to Begun's education, biographical files and obituaries, and awards.
Series 2: Professional Files, 1924-1992, is organized in general chronological order. Following broad subdivisions covering his early activities in Germany and America, these materials are grouped by corporate affiliation: Brush, the National Defense Research Committee, Clevite, Gould, Science and Management, Inc., and Auctor Associates, Inc. It should be noted that Begun's involvement with various organizations often overlaps; his continuous employment with Brush, Clevite, and Gould means that similar letterheads may be found under different corporate bodies.
Series 3: Writings and Speeches, 1930-1988, documents Begun's publications and presentations, and includes drafts, correspondence, programs, printed matter, magazines, and reprints. It should be stressed that this series is not a bibliography. The series is arranged chronologically.
Series 4: Autobiographical and Historical Materials, 1888, 1930-2000, reflects Begun's efforts in his last years to write his autobiography. He wrote drafts, interviewed former co-workers such as Al Dank and Otto Kornei from the Brush Development Company, and accumulated a considerable number of articles and other materials on the history of magnetic recording. Additional materials include a copy of Begun's autobiography, My Years in Magnetic Recording: Dr. Semi Joseph Begun, as edited by Dr. Mark Clark.
The collection is organized into four series.
Series 1: Personal Papers, 1927-1998
Subseries 1, Academic Records, 1927-1933
Subseries 2, Awards, 1929-1994, undated
Subseries 3, Biographical files, circa 1935-1994; 1998
Subseries 4, Correspondence, 1946-1992
Subseries 5, Diary fragments, 1969-1970
Subseries 6, Wire Recorder, 1983-1994
Subseries 7, Financial Records, 1960
Subseries 8, Obituaries, 1995
Subseries 9, Photographs, circa 1940s-1987
Series 2: Professional Files, 1924-1992
Subseries 1, Early Career in Germany, 1929-1949
Subseries 2, Early Career in America, 1935-1948
Subseries 3, Brush Development Company, 1936-1960s
Subseries 4, National Defense Research Committee, 1942-1948
Subseries 8, Science and Management, Inc., circa, 1969-1970
Subseries 9, Auctor Associates, Inc., circa, 1968-1992
Series 3: Writings and Speeches, 1930-1988
Series 4: Autobiographical and Historical Materials, 1888 (bulk 1930-2000)
Biographical / Historical:
Semi Joseph Begun, a pioneer in magnetic recording, was born in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland) on December 2, 1905. He earned an M.S. in Engineering in 1929 and a doctorate in 1933 from the Institute of Technology in Berlin for work related to magnetic recording. In 1929, he began working for Schuchhardt A.G., where he designed the first commercially successful magnetic recorder. Later, he worked for Echophon A.G. and C. Lorenz A.G., where he designed the first magnetic tape recorder for use by the German Broadcasting System. Begun emigrated to America in 1935 and worked in New York City both for the Guided Radio Corporation and independently. He and Sidney Wolf formed two companies Acoustic Consultants and Magnetone, a holding company for Begun's patents. In 1938, he joined the Brush Development Company in Cleveland, Ohio. During World War II, Begun served as a member of the National Defense Research Committee. After the war, he wrote Magnetic Recording (1949), the first textbook on the subject. In 1952, the Brush Development Company merged with the Cleveland Graphite Bronze Company to form the Clevite Corporation. Begun held several executive positions at Clevite, including Director of Advanced Development and Vice President for International Operations. He was a member of Clevite's Board of Directors and assisted in the merger between Clevite and Gould National Battery in 1968. In 1969, Begun formed Science Management, Inc., (SMI) to serve investment groups and other interested clients with the evaluation of new and existing products and to appraise management ability of new ventures with high technology products. In 1971, Begun founded Auctor Associates, Inc., a consulting firm focused on high technology markets. In 1983, he founded the Society for Prevention of Violence, a non-profit educational organization. Begun held over 50 patents and was the recipient of numerous professional awards. He died in Cleveland on January 5, 1995.
The bulk of the collection was donated by the widow of S. Joseph Begun, Mrs. Ruth W. Begun, in July 1995.
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
42.5 Linear feet ((88 boxes and 1 map case folder) )
The Papers of John Victor Murra document his personal and professional life through audiovisual materials, correspondence, diaries, graduate school notes, lectures, photocopies of archival materials, photographs, published materials collected by Murra, reading and research notes and his own writings. The materials span more than 70 years. The collection includes materials relating to Murra's immigration to the United States and later lawsuit for naturalization, his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Chicago, his experiences in the Spanish Civil War and in Ecuador during the Second World War as Don Collier's assistant, his teaching career at a number of colleges and universities in the United States and abroad including the University of Puerto Rico, Vassar College, Yale University, and Cornell University, and his research interests such as the fieldwork projects he directed at Hunuco and Lake Titicaca. The bulk of his correspondence may be found in Series I - Correspondence which mostly consists of his communications with former classmates from the University of Chicago, colleagues in the United States and abroad, and former students. Series IV - Biographical and Series VII - Graduate School and Teaching contain a significant amount of material pertaining to Murra's studies at the University of Chicago and his lawsuit for naturalization. Correspondence and newspaper editorials from F. C. Cole and Robert Redfield as well as oral history transcripts of Murra's personal reminiscences are among the items found in these series. For many years, Murra also kept personal diaries, originally intended as records of his dreams, which form Series III - Dream Archives. Although this collection is primarily textual in nature, there are also a photograph and an audio-visual series. The later includes recordings of Murra's Lewis Henry Morgan lectures. The occasional photograph also appears throughout other series.
Scope and Contents:
The Papers of John Victor Murra document his personal and professional life through audiovisual materials, correspondence, diaries, graduate school notes, lectures, photocopies of archival materials, photographs, published materials collected by Murra, reading and research notes and his own writings. The materials span more than 70 years.
The collection includes materials relating to Murra's immigration to the United States and later lawsuit for naturalization, his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Chicago, his experiences in the Spanish Civil War and in Ecuador during the Second World War as Don Collier's assistant, his teaching career at a number of colleges and universities in the United States and abroad including the University of Puerto Rico, Vassar College, Yale University, and Cornell University, and his research interests such as the fieldwork projects he directed at Huánuco and Lake Titicaca.
Murra is a polyglot and a prolific correspondent, two elements which are reflected throughout the collection. English, French, Spanish and Romanian are the predominant languages used in his correspondence, but there are also letters in German, Italian and Russian. The bulk of his correspondence may be found in Series I --Correspondence which mostly consists of his communications with former classmates from the University of Chicago, colleagues in the United States and abroad, and former students. Series IV --Biographical and Series VII --Graduate School and Teaching contain a significant amount of material pertaining to Murra's studies at the University of Chicago and his lawsuit for naturalization. Correspondence and newspaper editorials from F. C. Cole and Robert Redfield as well as oral history transcripts of Murra's personal reminiscences are among the items found in these series. For many years, Murra also kept personal diaries, originally intended as records of his dreams, which form Series III --Dream Archives. Although this collection is primarily textual in nature, there are also a photograph and an audio-visual series. The later includes recordings of Murra's Lewis Henry Morgan lectures. The occasional photograph also appears throughout other series.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or National Anthropological Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.
Arranged in 12 series and 1 accretion: (I) Correspondence (1927-1998, 2004) [Bulk 1950-1990], (II) Chronological Correspondence (1953-1991), (III) Dream Archives [Diaries] (1951-1996) [Bulk: 1951-1983], (IV) Biographical (1937-1995), (V) Subject and Publications (1922-1996), (VI) Archival Documents, (VII) Graduate School and Teaching (1936-1992) [Bulk: 1936-1982], (VIII) J. V. M. Publications (1959-1993), (IX) Photographs (1937-1988), (X) Audio Visual Materials (1964-1998), (XI) Maps, (XII) Artwork, Accretions.
John Victor Murra was born Isak Lipschitz on August 24, 1916 in Odessa, Ukraine. He spent his childhood and adolescence in Bucharest, Romania where he passed his baccalaureate examinations in 1933. Following high school, he worked as an apprentice in paper factories in Romania and Croatia.
In December 1934, Murra immigrated to Chicago, Illinois, where his uncle lived, to escape the worsening political turmoil in Romania. Shortly after his arrival in the United States, Murra enrolled at the University of Chicago where he completed a Bachelor of Arts in sociology in 1936. He then enlisted in the International Brigade and served as an infantry corporal in the 58th battalion, 15th brigade in the Spanish Republican Army. At the end of the Spanish Civil War, he spent almost six months (February-June 1939) in refugee internment camps, most notably the camp at Argèles-sur-Mer, France. In 1939, Murra returned to Chicago to continue his studies and it was about this time that he started to use the name Murra in official documents. He completed his Master of Arts degree in Anthropology at the University of Chicago in 1942.
The war injuries sustained by Murra during the Spanish Civil War exempted him from military service during the Second World War. Between 1941 and 1942, Murra traveled to Ecuador as the assistant to Donald Collier, Conservator at the Field Museum of Chicago, on an archaeological project sponsored by the Institute of Andean Research. His work with Collier ultimately led him to contribute to the Handbook of South American Indians. Between 1942 and 1943, he worked as an interviewer for John Dollard and Ruth Benedict in their work for the United States Department of War to survey Abraham Lincoln Brigade veterans. In 1943, Murra was appointed Instructor in Anthropology at the University of Chicago to fill in for Fred Eggan, who entered military service. In addition to instructing at the University of Chicago during the mid-1940s, Murra also served as editor on the topic of anthropology for the Encyclopedia Britannica (1945-1946).
The decade or so following the Second World War was often extremely frustrating for Murra as he pursued his quest for American citizenship. In 1946, the U.S. government denied his applications for naturalization and travel papers on the grounds that he had served in the Spanish Republican Army. Consequently, Murra was unable to accept a fellowship from the Social Science Research Council that would have funded his travel to Ecuador to pursue his doctoral research. Although he finally won his lawsuit for citizenship in 1950, Murra did not receive a passport until 1956 and was ultimately forced to change thesis topics in order to continue his doctoral studies without field work. To support himself during this difficult period, Murra taught at several American institutions—most notably at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras (1947-1950) and Vassar College (1950-1961), and supervised a number of field work programs in the Caribbean for Columbia University, Vassar College, Yale University and the University of Montreal. He also served briefly as a regional specialist on African land tenure for the United Nations.
In 1955, Murra defended his Ph.D. dissertation, The Economic Organization of the Inca State and he was awarded a Ph.D. in Anthropology the following year from the University of Chicago. Shortly thereafter he took a sabbatical from Vassar College to teach in Peru (1958-1960) at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima and pursue research at the archives of Cuzco.
In the 1960s, Murra turned his attention towards pursuing research interests and cultivating the anthropological training of South American graduate students. He left Vassar College in 1961 and spent time teaching as a visiting professor, first for the Organization of American States at the Escuela Nacional de Antropología y Historia, Mexico (1961) and then at Yale University (1962). Murra received in 1963 a three-year National Science Foundation grant for his well known study of Huánuco, Peru. During his fieldwork for this project, he continued to teach at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Peru (1965-1966) and the Universidad de Chile (1965). He also worked to improve the educational opportunities for South American students by supporting efforts to establish a graduate school at the Universidad de La Plata. Upon returning to the United States, Murra was a National Academy of Sciences postdoctoral associate at the Smithsonian Institution (1966-1967).
From 1968 to 1982, Murra served as Professor of Anthropology at Cornell University. He continued to travel extensively to archives in Spain and South America during this period and held a number of academic posts at other institutions including Yale University (1970-1971), the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University (1974-1975), l'Université Paris X Nanterre (1975-1976), the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia in Mexico (1977) and John Hopkins University (1981). He also served as the president of the American Society of Ethnohistory (1970-1971), the American Ethnological Society (1972-1973), and the Institute of Andean Research (1977-1983). Murra's efforts to cultivate educational opportunities for South American graduate students and promote international dialogue among students from different nationalities produced three well known programs: the comparative seminar on the Andes and Mesoamerica that he organized with Angel Palerm (1972), the Lake Titicaca field project he ran with Luis G. Lumbrebas (1973) and the Otoño Andino held at Cornell University (1977). In 1969, he received the honor of being the Lewis Henry Morgan Lecturer at the University of Rochester.
Following his retirement from Cornell University (1982), Murra served as a consultant to the Banco Nacional de Bolivia at the Museo Nacional de Etnografía, La Paz (1982-1983). He received a Guggenheim Fellowship (1983-1984), that enabled him to pursue research at the Archivo Nacional and the Academia de la Historia in Madrid and the Archivo General de Indias in Seville. During his time in Spain, he also taught at the Universities of Madrid and Seville and at the Institut Catalá d'Antropologi in Barcelonia (1985-1986). The following year, he was a Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics and was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the Sun, Peru. He then pursued research at the Instituto de Antropologia de Buenos Aires (1988-1989) and then returned to Spain, where he was a fellow at the Archivo de Indias (1990-1991). In 1993, the Universidad de Barcelona awarded him the honor of Doctor Honoris Causa.
Murra was married and divorced twice; neither marriage produced any children. He first married Virginia Miller in 1936; the date of their divorce is unknown. His second marriage to Elizabeth "Tommy" Sawyer lasted thirteen years (1945-1958).
Bibliography of Selected Publications
1943 -- Survey and Excavations in Southern Ecuador. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History, Publication 528, Anthropological series volume 35, May 15, 1943. Co-authored with Donald Collier.
1948 -- "The Cayapa and Colorado" in the Handbook of South American Indians. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office
1951 -- Soviet Linguistic Controversy, translated from the Soviet Press. New York: King's Crown Press. Co-authored with Robert M. Hankin and Fred Holling.
1956 -- The Economic Organization of the Inca State. Chicago: University of Chicago.
1962 -- Cloth and its Functions in the Inca State.
1964 -- Visita hecha a la Provincia de Chucuito por Garci Diez de San Miguel en el año 1567. Lima: Casa de la Cultura del Perú. Co-authored with Waldemar Espinoza Soriano and Frey Pedro Gutiérrez Flores.
1966 -- New Data on Retainer and Servile Populations in Tawantinsuyu.
1967 -- Visita de la provincia de León de Huánuco en 1562. Iñigo Ortiz de Zúñiga, visitador. Huánuco, Peru: Universidad Nacional Hermilio Valdizán, Facultad de Letras y Educación. Contains articles by several authors.
1970 -- Current Research and Prospects in Andean Ethnohistory. Ithaca: Cornell University.
1975 -- Formaciones económicas y políticas del mundo andino. Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos.
1976 -- American Anthropology, the Early Years. St. Paul: West Publishing Co. Edited for the American Ethnological Society
1978 -- La organización económica del Estado inca. México: Siglo Veintiuno. Murra's Ph.D. thesis translated from English to Spanish by Daniel R. Wagner.
1980 -- Formazioni economiche e politiche nel mondo andino: saggi di etnostoria. Torino: Giulio Einaudi. Primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno Guamán Poma de Ayala (Waman Puma). Co-authored with Rolena Adorno and Jorge L. Urioste. Republished in 1987. The Economic Organization of the Inca State. Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press.
1981 -- The "Vertical Control" of a Maximum of Ecologic Tiers in the Economies of Andean Societies. The Mit'a Obligations of Ethnic groups to the Inka State. Las etnocategorías de un Khipu estatal.
1983 -- Los Olleros del Inka: Hacia una Historia y Arqueología del Qollasuyu. La Paz: Centrol de Investigaciones Históricas.
1986 -- Anthropological History of Andean Polities. New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited with Nathan Wachtel and Jacques Revel. Originally published in French in 1978 as Anthropologie historique des sociétés andines by Editions de la Maison des science de l'homme in Paris.
1987 -- La teoría de la complementariedad vertical eco-simbiótica. La Paz: Hisbol. Co-authored with Ramiro Condarco Morales. Civilizatie inca: organizarea economica a statului incas. Bucharest: Editura Stiintifica si Enciclopedica. Murra's Ph.D. thesis translated from English to Romanian by Murra's sister, Ata Iosifescu.
1991 -- Visita de los valles de Sonqo en los yunka de coca de La Paz (1568-1570). Madrid: Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana: Quinto Centenario: Instituo de Estudios Fiscales.
1996 -- Las cartas de Arguedas. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Fondo Editorial. Co-authored with Mercedes López-Baralt.
1999 -- Historia general de América Latina / 1. Las sociedades originales. Madrid: Editorial Trotta. Co-authored with Teresa Rojas Rabiela.
2002 -- El mundo andino: población, medio ambiente y economía. Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peuanos: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
2000 -- Nispa ninchis/decimos diciendo : conversaciones con John Murra. Lima: IEP –Instituto de Estudios Peruanos and IAR – Institute of Andean Research. Edited by Victoria Castro, Carlos Aldunate and Jorge Hidalgo Los esfuerzos de Sísifo, coversaciones sobre las ciencias sociales en América Latina. Heredia, Costa Rica: EUNA. A collection of interviews of John Victor Murra and others conducted by Fernando Calderón.
National Anthropological Archives holds additional materials related to Murra in the American Ethnological Society records, the American Society for Ethnohistory records, and the Handbook of South American Indians records.
The New York University Libraries, Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives holds materials related to Murra in Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archive (ALBA), John Dollard Research Files for Fear and Courage under Battle Conditions, and James Lardner Papers.
The Truman Presidential Museum and Library holds Records on the President's Committee on Civil Rights Record Group 220.
In 2008, the VHS videos in the collection were transferred to the Human Studies Film Archives. Additional videotapes were sent to the NAA and transferred to HSFA.
The John Victor Murra papers came to the National Anthropological Archives in several installments over three decades. David Block of Cornell University assisted Murra in selecting and identifying materials for the installment of the collection which arrived at the Smithsonian Institution in September 2003.
The John Victor Murra papers are open for research. Some materials are restricted for privacy reasons.
Access to the John Victor Murra papers requires an appointment.
Correspondence -- 1927-1998
John Victor Murra papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
The papers of ceramicist Robert Sperry measure 13.6 linear feet and 0.907 GB and date from 1951-2002. The collection documents Sperry's career as an artist, teacher, and filmmaker through biographical information, correspondence, exhibition files, gallery files, material on projects and workshops, writings, a scrapbook, financial files, printed and digital material, photographs, moving image materials, and artwork.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of ceramicist Robert Sperry measure 13.6 linear feet and 0.907 GB and date from 1951-2002. The collection documents Sperry's career as an artist and teacher through biographical information, correspondence, exhibition files, gallery files, material on projects and workshops, writings, a scrapbook, financial files, printed and digital material, photographs, video recordings, films, and artwork.
Biographical files contain items outlining Sperry's career including resumes, teaching evaluations, awards, and interviews. Correspondence includes general correspondence with family, friends, colleagues, schools, galleries, art organizations, and publications as well as named files for those with whom Sperry exchanged a significant amount of correspondence over a long period of time. The Exhibition Files contain materials on group and solo exhibitions Robert Sperry participated in, while Gallery Files hold material, such as correspondence and contracts, related to the galleries which exhibited Sperry's work primarily after 1979. The Project and Workshop Files in Series 5 contain material related to public commissions he completed and workshops he gave during the 1980s and 1990s.
Writings encompass writings by Sperry and others. Sperry's writings vary greatly and include drafts of articles, a family history, poetry, notes and a screenplay, while writings by others are primarily essays on art. Within this series Sperry's event calendars are also found. Sperry compiled a scrapbook which spans 1955 to 1964 and includes correspondence and printed material about exhibitions and newspaper clippings which feature his artwork. He and his wife, Patti Warashina, also compiled Financial Records primarily of their business and living expenses from 1976 to 1984 and earnings as artists and professors at the University of Washington.
The largest series in this collection, Printed Material, provides information largely on Sperry's career through press clippings, exhibition announcements, catalogs, and publications, and also includes other materials on ceramics in general. The Photographs series contains both photos and negatives from Sperry's trip to Japan to film "Village Potters of Onda" as well as photographs of his artwork and his family. Also found in this collection are a few sketches and drawings by Sperry and one drawing by Patti Warashina. Moving image material includes video recordings and motion picture film with a wide range of content, including documentaries about Sperry, studio footage, and experimental and narrative films created by Sperry in a range of styles and genres, including animation such as the animated film "Henry," hand colored film, live action footage, abstract design, and narrative short films by Sperry. There are digital research copies of some of the films.
The Robert Sperry papers are arranged as thirteen series, according to type of material. Each series is arranged either in rough chronological or alphabetical order.
Series 1: Biographical Files, 1954-circa 2000, undated (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence Files, 1951-2000, undated (Boxes 1-2; 0.9 linear feet)
Series 3: Exhibition Files, 1963-1999, undated (Boxes 2-3; 1.2 linear feet)
Series 4: Gallery Files, 1960-2000, undated (Boxes 3-4; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 5: Project and Workshop Files, 1967-1996, undated (Box 4; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 6: Writings, 1966-1990, undated (Box 5; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 7: Scrapbook, 1955-1964 (Box 5; 8 folders)
Series 8: Financial Records, 1961-1995, undated (Boxes 5-6; 1.0 linear feet)
Series 9: Miscellaneous Subject Files, 1975-1998, undated (Box 6; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 10: Printed Material, 1955-2002, undated (Boxes 6-10; 3.4 linear feet)
Series 11: Photographs, 1963, undated (Box 10; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 12: Sketches and Drawings, 1984, undated (Box 10; 2 folders)
Series 13: Moving Image Material, circa 1962-1998, undated (Boxes 10-12, FC 13-18; 3.1 linear feet, ER01; 0.907 GB)
Robert Sperry was born in Bushnell, Illinois, in 1927. He grew up on his family's farm in Druid, Saskatchewan, Canada, and in 1945 was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he first developed an interest in art. After serving in the military, he returned home and completed his B.A. at the University of Saskatchewan in 1950 and a B.F.A. at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1953. While working on his B.A. he met and married Edyth MacDonald and they had one child, Van, in 1950. Sperry spent one summer as Artist in Residence at the Archie Bray Foundation, in Helena, Montana, and then moved his family to Seattle so that he could complete his M.F.A. at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1955 he stayed at the University and became a professor, teaching ceramics until retiring in 1982. During this time, Sperry widely exhibited his clay vessels in both group and solo exhibitions and was active in the American Craft Council.
When not teaching, Robert Sperry pursued his interest in photography and filmmaking and, in 1963, traveled to Japan to make "Village Potters of Onda," a project that included a documentary film and a collection of black and white photographs. Sperry continued experimenting with film and, in 1967, created a fictional film entitled, "Profiles Cast Long Shadows," which was shown at film festivals throughout the United States. After abandoning another film project in 1970 while going through a divorce, he returned to ceramics as his focus. During the 1970s Sperry developed his techniques, modifying glazes and moving away from the vessel shape. In 1976 Sperry married Patti Warashina, fellow ceramicist and professor at the University of Washington. He began producing murals, which led to several public commissions such as a mural for the IBM Field Engineering Educational Center in Atlanta, created in 1983. Robert Sperry: A Retrospective, was exhibited in 1985-1986 at the Bellevue Art Museum, however, Sperry would continue producing and exhibiting new work, and giving lectures and workshops for thirteen more years, until his death in 1998.
Also found in the Archives of American Art are the Patti Warashina papers, circa 1900-1991. An online finding aid is available.
The Robert Sperry papers were donated by Sperry's wife Patti Warashina in 2003 and 2004.
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.