This collection is comprised of the professional papers of Joel M. Halpern and, to a lesser extent, the papers of Barbara Kerewsky-Halpern. Both their collaborations and individual work are represented here. Materials include their correspondence, published and unpublished writings, research materials, photographs, grant applications, consultant work, teaching files, their files as students, and writings by colleagues.
The bulk of the research files pertain to Halpern's Orašac demography project. Also present are notes and photographs from his field research in the Balkans during the 1950s and 1960s. The collection also reflects his research interests in the Inuit of Alaska and Canada. There is little original material, however, documenting his fieldwork in Laos. Additional materials of interest in the collection include a transcript of an interview Halpern conducted with Conrad Arensberg as well as his notes and syllabi from courses taught by a number of prominent anthropologists, such as Conrad Arensberg, Morton Fried, Alfred Kroeber, and Margaret Mead. The collection also contains a set of prints of Shinnecock Indians that Halpern obtained from Red Thunder Cloud.
Among Kerewsky-Halpern's files are notes from her research on South Slav immigrants in Ontario, her research on oral tradition among peasant communities in Southeastern Europe, as well as her involvement in multiple sclerosis organizations and the Feldenkrais Method.
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 As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today.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.
This collection is organized into 10 series: 1) Correspondence, 1950s-2003; 2) Research, 1953-1996; 3) Writings, 1948-2007; 4) Professional Activities, 1951-1990s; 5) Student Files, 1946-1955, 1968-1979; 6) Teaching Files, 1947-1992; 7) Personal and Biographical Files, 1948-2002; 8) Writings by Others, 1950s-1990s; 9) Photographs, 1942, 1953-1970, 1978, 1997, undated; 10) University of Massachusetts, 1968-1992
Biographical Note: Barbara Kerewsky-Halpern:
Barbara Kerewsky-Halpern was born on December 23, 1931 in Mt. Vernon, New York. Her mother, Rose S. Kerewsky, had worked with physical anthropologist Stanley Garn and coauthored a number of papers on dentition. Kerewsky-Halpern attended Barnard College, where she received a B.A. in Geology and Geography in 1953. She later obtained her M.A. in Linguistics (1974) and Ph.D. in Anthropology (1979) at University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
Kerewsky-Halpern married Joel M. Halpern in 1952. In the following year she accompanied him to the field in Orašac, Serbia and assisted him in his research. She was also the illustrator and cartographer for Halpern's monograph A Serbian Village. Over the span of her career, she frequently collaborated with her husband on research projects and coauthored a number of articles. Like her husband, her research focused on peasant communities, specifically on oral traditions and the ethnography of communication. In 1974, she also studied South Slav communities in Ontario.
When she was 44, Kerewsky-Halpern became incapacitated due to multiple sclerosis. Through self-rehabilitation, she was able to regain full motion, but the experience continued to influence her life. Her research interests expanded to include medical anthropology, cross-cultural perspectives on disability, and the anthropology of movement. She also became active in multiple sclerosis associations and became a licensed instructor in the Feldenkrais Method in 1983.
Kerewsky-Halpern and Halpern divorced in 2010.
[Articles about Barbara K. Halpern], Series 9. Personal, Joel Martin Halpern and Barbara Kerewsky-Halpern Papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
Barbara K. Halpern curriculum vitae, Series 9. Personal, Joel Martin Halpern and Barbara Kerewsky-Halpern Papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
Clifford, Joyce and Jeremy Smith. 2010. Finding Aid to Joel Martin Halpern Papers, 1939-2009 (Bulk: 1948-2008). http://www.library.umass.edu/spcoll/ead/mufs001.pdf (accessed December 3, 2012).
Halpern, Joel. 2003. Interview with Joel Halpern [regarding fieldwork in Serbia] conducted by Mirjana Prošić-Dvornić. Emeritus Faculty Author Gallery. Paper 60. http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1059&context=emeritus_sw (accessed December 3, 2012).
Halpern, Joel. August 2007. Curriculum Vitae. http://works.bepress.com/joel_halpern/cv.pdf (accessed July 6, 2012).
Biographical Note: Joel M. Halpern:
Joel Martin Halpern was born on April 8, 1929 in New York City. He attended University of Michigan, where he obtained his B.A. in History in 1950. He had initially intended to major in chemistry but realized that he wanted to pursue a more "adventurous" field that would allow him to travel. While an undergraduate student, he published articles based on his ethnographic, geological, and archaeological research in Alaska, Canada, and Swedish Lapland.
Halpern decided to continue his studies at Columbia University, where he earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1956. Conrad Arensberg was his faculty advisor, while Margaret Mead was on his doctoral committee. Halpern was greatly influenced by Philip E. Mosely, the first director of Columbia University's Institute for Russian Studies. Through Mosely, he met the prominent Serbian ethnologist Milenko Filipović, who also served as his mentor. It was due to Filipovíc that Halpern chose to focus his research on a Serbian village for his dissertation.
In 1953, Halpern and his former wife, Barbara Kerewskey-Halpern, conducted ethnographic field research in Orašac, a village in the Sumadija district of central Serbia, at the time part of former Yugoslavia. This research resulted in Halpern's dissertation, Social and Cultural Change in a Serbian Village, for which he was awarded the Ainsley Award from Columbia University. The dissertation was later edited and published as A Serbian Village (1958). Halpern and his wife would return to Orašac numerous times throughout their career. The documentary The Halperns in Orašac, which aired in Yugoslavia in 1986, focuses on the couple's research in Orašac from 1953 to 1986.
In addition to Serbia, Halpern conducted research in Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Croatia, and Slovenia. A prolific writer, he published and presented a number of papers on peasant communities, historical demography, kinship, and social change in the Balkans. He also co-edited Among the People: Native Yugoslav Ethnography, Selected Writings of Milenko S. Filipovic (1982) and authored and edited works on and by Jozef Obrebski, the pioneering ethnographer of the Balkans, whose papers Halpern helped deposit at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Halpern also published extensively on Laos. He was one of the first American anthropologists to conduct research in the Southeast Asian country. After receiving his doctorate, he had worked on Area Handbook for Laos (1958) as a Research Associate for the Human Relations Area Files office in Washington, DC (1956). When he accepted a position as a Junior Foreign Service Officer (Foreign Service Reserve) with the Community Development Division of the U.S. International Cooperation Administration, he was stationed in Laos in 1957-1958. In 1959 he returned to the country under the sponsorship of Rand Corporation to study the Lao elite. He returned once again in 1969 as chair of the Mekong Seminar of the Southeast Asia Development Advisor Group to study the socio-economic impact of hydro-electrical dams constructed on the Mekong River.
In his later years, Halpern conducted research on the Inuit in Arviat (formerly known as Eskimo Point) and Frobisher Bay in Canada and immigrant populations in the United States. He was particularly interested in Southeast Asian immigrant communities in New England. He co-edited with Lucy Nguyen Far East Comes Near, a compilation of autobiographical essays by his Southeast Asian refugee students at University of Massachusetts. He also studied Jewish ethnic communities in Western Massachusetts and the urban history of the Bronx.
Halpern taught at UCLA (1958-1963) and Brandeis (1963-1965) before joining the Anthropology faculty at University of Massachusetts Amherst (1967-1996). He was also a visiting professor at Albert Ludwigs-Universitat and Arnold Bergstrasser Institute in Frieberg (1970-1971) and University of Graz (Spring 1993, Spring 1994). In addition, he was a National Academy of Sciences Senior Exchange Scientist at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1975) and Serbian Academy of Sciences (1975, 1978).
1929 -- Born April 8, New York, New York
1950 -- Receives B.A. in History from University of Michigan
1952 -- Marries Barbara Kerewsky
1953-1954 -- Conducts fieldwork in Orašac, Serbia for first time
1956 -- Earns Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University
1957-1958 -- Stationed in Laos as a Junior Foreign Service Officer with the Community Development Division of the U.S. International Cooperation Administration
1958-1963 -- Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at University of California, Los Angeles
1959 -- Returns to Laos to conduct research on the Lao elite under sponsorship from Rand Corporation
1963-1965 -- Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Brandeis University
1964 -- Director of Brandeis University Summer Field Program in Bosnia
1967 -- Joins Department of Anthropology faculty at University of Massachusetts, Amherst
1970-1971 -- Visiting Professor, Albert Ludwigs-Universitat and Arnold Bergstrasser Institute, Freiburg, Federal Republic of Germany
1976, 1979 -- Research on Jewish Ethnic Communities in Western Massachusetts
1996 -- Retires from University of Massachusetts
2010 -- Divorce from Barbara Kerewsky-Halpern finalized
The Smithsonian Institution holds additional materials relating to Joel M. Halpern and Barbara Kerewsky-Halpern. Their correspondence can be found in the Conrad M. Arensberg papers at the National Anthropological Archives. Halpern also donated films and video to the Human Studies Film Archives and a collection of Eskimo dolls (Accession # 409953) to the Anthropology Collections division.
The bulk of Joel M. Halpern's papers are at the Special Collections and University Archives of University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The following is a list of other repositories that hold his papers and photographs:
Joel Martin Halpern Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Joel Martin Halpern Papers, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Joel M. Halpern Papers, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Carl A. Kroch Library, Cornell University Library
Joel Martin Halpern Photograph Collection, Jones Library (Amherst, MA Public Library)
Joel Martin Halpern Southeast Europe Collection, University of Alberta Libraries
Joel Martin Halpern Balkan Archive, University of Bradford
Joel Halpern Collection, University of Graz
Joel M. Halpern Laotian Slide Collection, Department of Special Collections
, University of Wisconsin, Madison
The Halpern, Joel Papers, General/Multiethnic Collection, Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Joel Halpern in multiple installments from the 1980s to 2006.
All except Series 9. Photographs is stored off-site. Advance notice must be given to view off-site materials.
Access to materials containing social security numbers; Halpern's students' graded materials; and manuscripts and grant applications sent to Halpern for review is restricted. Additional materials have also been restricted at Halpern's request.
Please note that some of the materials in the collection are copies made by Joel M. Halpern; the originals are most likely deposited at other archives. For these materials, permission will need to be obtained from the repositories where the originals are held. See Related Collections for a list of repositories.
Collection documents proposed development of hydroelectric power on the St. Croix River in Maine by the Hollingsworth & Whitney Paper Company of Boston, Massachusetts.
Collection consists of silver gelatin photoprints mounted in an album. Other materials include correspondence and newspaper clippings, tables, and notes relating to proposed development of hydroelectric power on the St. Croix River in Maine by the Hollingsworth & Whitney Paper Company of Boston, Massachusetts.
Collection arranged into one folder.
Immediate source of acquisition unknown.
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 email@example.com or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
The papers of Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) measure approximately 24.9 linear feet and date from 1804 to 1986 with the bulk of the material dating from 1939-1972. The collection documents the life, work, interests, and creative activities of the self-taught artist, who was best known for his shadow box constructions, assemblages, and collages. Papers include correspondence, diaries, source material, notes, writings, photographs, printed material, two- and three-dimensional ephemera, art works, and books, as well as a limited amount of legal and financial records, and some miscellaneous personal and family papers. The collection also includes the papers of his sister, Betty Cornell Benton, relating to the handling of Cornell's estate and the personal papers of his brother, Robert Cornell.
Scope and Content Note:
The Joseph Cornell papers measure approximately 24.9 linear feet and date from 1804 to 1986, with the bulk of the material dating from 1939-1972. The collection documents the life, work, interests, and creative activities of the self-taught artist, who was best known for his shadow box constructions, assemblages, and collages. Papers include correspondence, diaries, source material, notes, writings, photographs, printed material, two- and three-dimensional ephemera, art works, and books, as well as a limited amount of legal and financial records, and some miscellaneous personal and family papers (which comprise a series of biographical material). The collection also includes the papers of his sister, Betty Cornell Benton, relating to the handling of Cornell's estate and the personal papers of his brother, Robert Cornell.
Cornell's correspondence is typically with family, friends, artists, dealers, collectors, galleries, museums, admirers, individuals whom he admired, "helpers," and various charitable institutions. Correspondence generally concerns the creation, exhibition, sale, and reception of Cornell's art work; his "explorations" and other research and collecting activities; his preoccupations with certain individuals and motifs; his usual practices of giving gifts of art work to those he liked or admired and making donations to charities in aid of those less fortunate; and his relationships and shared interests with family, friends, and colleagues. Also found is correspondence between and amongst various other members of the Cornell family, including, most notably, Robert Cornell's letters to his sisters, Elizabeth (typically addressed as Nell) and Helen.
Dating from 1941 to 1972, Cornell's diaries span almost the entirety of his career as an artist, which began in earnest when he left his job at the Traphagen textile studio in 1940 to pursue art full-time and ended with his death in 1972. The diaries record his day-to-day experiences (usually comprising his thoughts, feelings, impressions, and ideas); and reflect on his various art projects (boxes, films, and collages) and creative activities ("explorations," and various other research, collecting, and publishing ventures). They also explore many of the themes and underlying concerns of his art work; and document his intense preoccupations with certain individuals, his wide-ranging interests, and the interconnectedness of his ideas and activities. Cornell's style of writing in the diaries tends to be stream-of-conscious with entries being composed of phrases, rather than complete sentences and with the progression of passages being more poetic and associative than either logical or narrative. He tended to compose by hand, occasionally typing up his notes into more formal entries, and also to use abbreviations for oft-repeated words and initials for individuals. At times, his handwriting can be difficult to read, and his references can be difficult to decipher. It was also common practice for him to review or revisit previous entries at various points in time, often making revisions or comments on them with dated annotations in the margins or on the reverse side of a page.
Cornell's source material is largely comprised of files of newspaper and magazine clippings, cutouts, notes, writings, book excerpts, photostats (or stats), prints, postcards, art reproductions, and other printed material. Some files are devoted to people (ballerinas, actresses, singers, artists, and writers) and topics (astronomy, romantic and modern ballet, birds, films, literature, music, plants, and science, among others). Other files relate to specific art works, "explorations," publishing projects, and exhibitions. Source material documents Cornell's preoccupation with certain individuals (past and present), events, subjects, and motifs; the development of some of his major "explorations" and their influence on his various artistic and commercial projects; and his work on certain box constructions and collages, publishing ventures, and exhibition catalogues. Source material also sheds light on Cornell's efforts to gain access to the past; his interest in the symbolism of images and objects; the linkages he found between seemingly unrelated things; and the connections between his many creative endeavors.
Ephemera and artifacts include various objects, mementos, and items of memorabilia, some of which were accumulated by Cornell (in much the same way that he collected his source material) and some of which are of uncertain origin. For Cornell, items such as these were not merely inanimate objects, but were instead evocative of past worlds and capable of bringing the past into the present (an idea which he often expressed in his diaries as the "metaphysique d'ephemera"). He seems to have used some of these items in a layout he designed for Good Housekeeping. Other items may have been used as source material for some of his box constructions.
The collection also houses photographs of Cornell, his family, art work, other artists, and friends, as well as photographs taken by various individuals and publicity photographs from the New York City Ballet. Also found are scattered works of art, including collage fragments and Rorschachs (or ink blot drawings) by Cornell, collages by Cornell's sister, Betty Cornell Benton, on which he collaborated, and a box by Christine Kaufman, which was a gift to Cornell. The books in the collection most likely comprise the remainder of Cornell's library, which was transferred to the Joseph Cornell Study Center, and include some that seem to have belonged to his sister, Betty. Printed material includes various publications and clippings collected by Cornell apart from that which he collected as source material. Writings about Cornell include an article by the poet, Mina Loy, and copies of various theses, presentations, and articles by graduate students in art history received by Benton (who assisted them in their research).
The Joseph Cornell Estate Papers consist of correspondence relating to Betty Cornell Benton's administration of the part of Cornell's estate for which she was responsible and legal documents relating to her various legal disputes with the executors of the estate, as well as a limited amount of printed material, some of which was originally accumulated by Cornell and subsequently shared with Benton, and miscellaneous papers belonging to Benton and their mother, Helen S. Cornell. Estate Papers provide insight on the exhibition and sale of Cornell art works after his death; the disposition of his belongings (including art work, papers, books, records, and source material); and Benton's efforts to foster and safeguard the memory and legacy of Cornell. The Robert Cornell Papers include correspondence, writings, art works, photographs, printed material, and scattered financial and personal records, documenting the full and creative life Robert led despite being confined to a wheelchair. Their inclusion in the collection suggests the family's effort to foster Robert's memory.
The collection is arranged into eleven series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1918-1972, 1975 (Box 1; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1909-1982 (Boxes 1-5, OV 31; 4.3 linear feet)
Series 3: Diaries, 1941-1973 (Boxes 6-10; 5 linear feet)
Series 4: Source Material, 1804-1972 (Boxes 11-18, 25-28, OV 29; 8.5 linear feet)
Series 5: Ephemera and Artifacts, 1858-1946 (Boxes 18, 23; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1905-1972 (Boxes 18, 28, OV 30; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 7: Art Works, circa 1966-1971 (Boxes 19, 23; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 8: Books and Printed Material, 1806-1968 (Boxes 19, 23; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 9: Writings about Cornell, 1950, circa 1975-1980 (Box 19; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 10: Joseph Cornell Estate Papers, circa 1911, 1944-1986 (Boxes 19-22; 3.5 linear feet)
Series 11: Robert Cornell Papers, 1924-1965 (Boxes 24, 28; 0.4 linear feet)
Joseph Cornell, assemblagist, collagist, and filmmaker, was born on December 24, 1903 in Nyack, New York. He was the oldest son of Joseph I. Cornell, a textile salesman and designer, and Helen Storms Cornell, and had two younger sisters, Elizabeth (b. 1905), nicknamed Nell and later Betty, and Helen (b. 1906), and a younger brother, Robert (b. 1910), who suffered from cerebral palsy. Cornell shared close relationships with his siblings, and was especially attached to his brother whom he took care of as an adult. His fondest childhood memories included family Christmas celebrations, outings to Manhattan where he saw vaudeville shows and strolled around Times Square, and trips to Coney Island where he encountered penny arcade machines. These childhood memories, among others, inspired some of the themes later explored in his art work.
After his father's death in 1917, Cornell was sent to study at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He remained there for four years, but left without receiving a diploma. During this time, the family moved from Nyack to Bayside, Queens, where they lived in a series of rented houses. Cornell rejoined his family in 1921, at which time he went to work as a salesman in the Manhattan office of a textile wholesaler, the William Whitman Company. He joined the Christian Science church in the mid-1920s, and in 1929, the family bought a house at 37-08 Utopia Parkway in Flushing, where he resided for the rest of his life, living there with his mother and brother after both his sisters married and moved away.
During the 1920s, Cornell developed his passion for walking the city streets and taking in their sights, sounds, and impressions; browsing in the secondhand bookshops along Fourth Avenue; and collecting material such as books, prints, postcards, and printed and three-dimensional ephemera. He cultivated his growing interest in culture and the arts by attending opera and ballet performances, seeing plays (the 1922 play Rain, which starred Jeanne Eagels, was among his favorites), visiting galleries and museums, reading, and going to the movies.
In 1931, Cornell began to frequent the Julien Levy Gallery, where he encountered Surrealist art for perhaps the first time. Around this time, he created his first works of art - a series of black-and-white collages composed from cutouts of nineteenth-century engravings - inspired by Max Ernst's collages, in particular his collage-novel, La Femme 100 tetes (1929). Cornell went on to create three-dimensional works of art such as pill boxes and a glass bell series (consisting of objects arranged under a bell jar). His work, including several collages and a glass bell, was first exhibited as part of the groundbreaking "Surrealisme" show at the Levy Gallery in January 1932. He also designed the cover of the show announcement. His first one-man show at the gallery, "The Objects of Joseph Cornell," followed in the fall of 1932. (It was seven years before his next solo show.) By this time, Cornell had been laid off from his job at Whitman's. He was out of work for several years before getting a job as a textile designer at the Traphagen Commercial Textile Studio in 1934. During the next several years, he continued to work on his art at night.
Around this time, Cornell began collecting movies and movie stills, and embarked upon various film-related projects. In 1933, he wrote a scenario for a silent movie, Monsieur Phot. A few years later, he made his first film, Rose Hobart (1936), comprised of re-edited footage from the B-movie, East of Borneo (1931), which starred the actress, Rose Hobart. And he began work on a trilogy of collage-films - The Children's Party, Cotillion, and The Midnight Party (circa 1937). He then took a break from making films until the mid-1950s, but continued to collect film-related material, which he began to incorporate into his other art work.
In 1936, Cornell constructed his first glass-fronted shadow box, Untitled (Soap Bubble Set), which was included that same year in the "Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, along with a cabinet box and several glass bells. In creating some of his other early boxes, he began the practice of using photo reproductions of images which he located in books and magazines, or in the Picture Collection at the New York Public Library, among other places. In his tribute boxes to actresses (1930s), he made use of publicity shots, and in the box, Dressing Room for Gilles (1939), he employed a photostat (or stat) of a reproduction of Jean-Antoine Watteau's painting, Gilles (1718).
Over the years, Cornell came into contact with various figures of the art, dance, and literary worlds. In the 1930s and 1940s, he met the artists, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and Salvador Dali, and befriended the artists, Lee Miller and Dorothea Tanning. His formative friendships during 1940s were with the artist, Pavel Tchelitchew, the writers, Charles Henri Ford (founder of the avant-garde periodical, View), Parker Tyler, and Donald Windham, and the balletomane, Lincoln Kirstein (founder of Dance Index). His other friends included the artists, Roberto Matta Echaurren and Robert Motherwell, the dancer and actress, Tilly Losch, and the poets, Mina Loy and Marianne Moore. In the 1950s, he associated with artists from the Abstract Expressionist movement, including Willem de Kooning, Jack Tworkov, and Mark Rothko. Beginning in the mid-1950s, he befriended many young artists, including Lee Bontecou and Carolee Schneeman, and young actresses, including Lois Smith, Gwen Van Dam, and Suzanne Miller, whom he sought to appear in his films. And in the early 1960s, he met the Pop artists, Robert Indiana, James Rosenquist, and Andy Warhol.
Beginning in 1940, Cornell developed a keen interest in dance, particularly ballet. Ballerinas from the Romantic era, such as Marie Taglioni and Fanny Cerrito, especially captured his imagination, inspiring such works as the box, Taglioni's Jewel Casket (1940), and the Portrait of Ondine "exploration," which comprised a portfolio of material relating to Cerrito and her famous role in the ballet, Ondine. Cornell was also fascinated with the modern counterparts of the Romantic ballerinas. In 1940, he befriended the Russian ballet dancer, Tamara Toumanova, and over the years produced many works in homage to her, including swan boxes (inspired by her role in Swan Lake), boxes made with scraps from her costumes, and scrapbooks of clippings, stats, and memorabilia. In 1949, he became enamored of the French dancer, Renee "Zizi" Jeanmarie, after seeing her perform in Carmen and meeting her backstage, and he created several dance-related boxes in her honor. In 1957, he met the ballerina, Allegra Kent. After meeting again in 1964, they became friends, and she served as the subject of several works based on images reproduced from a Parmigianino painting.
In December 1940, Cornell left his job at the Traphagen textile studio to pursue art full-time. He set up a workshop in the basement of the house on Utopia Parkway, which served as a combination studio and storage space. While he spent most days at home, he continued to make regular trips into Manhattan to wander around the city, visit with friends, and hunt for material. Around this time, he began to keep a diary, recording his day-to-day experiences (usually comprising his thoughts, feelings, impressions, ideas) on scraps of paper (including used envelopes, paper bags, napkins, and ticket stubs, among other fragments). He would then type up some of these notes into more formal diary entries, but most of them remained, in his word, "scribblings." Diary keeping eventually became one of his primary activities, along with box construction, collage, research, and collecting.
By this time, his art work was beginning to sell, yet he was not able to live from these sales alone. During the 1940s, he primarily supported himself by doing freelance work for magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Good Housekeeping, supplying illustrations from his picture collection and designing covers and layouts. He also regularly contributed pieces to View and Dance Index. His notable contributions to View included "Enchanted Wanderer: Excerpt from a Journey Album for Hedy Lamarr" (December 1941), "Story Without a Name - for Max Ernst" (April 1942), and "The Crystal Cage [portrait of Berenice]" (January 1943). His projects for Dance Index included various collage-covers, essays, and thematic issues, such as the Summer 1944 issue, which comprised a 22-page tribute to the Romantic ballerinas, Taglioni, Carlotta Grisi, Cerrito, and Fanny Elssler. To supplement his income, Cornell also held brief positions at an electronics plant, the Allied Control Company, Inc. (in 1943), and at a nursery, the Garden Centre (in 1944).
In 1942, Cornell created one of his more memorable works, Medici Slot Machine, embarking upon a large series of Medici boxes in which he utilized reproductions of portraits by Italian Renaissance artists, such as Sofonisba Anguissola and Pinturicchio. His other boxes from this time period explored themes ranging from ballet, as in A Pantry Ballet (for Jacques Offenbach) (1942), to doomed love, as in Paolo and Francesca (1943-48), to nature, as in the Sand Boxes (1940s) and Sand Fountains (1950s). Cornell often created boxes in series, producing variations on a theme with variants that differed significantly or only slightly. Over the years, series included: Pink Palaces, Pharmacies, Habitats, Aviaries, Dovecotes, Hotels, Observatories, and Night Skies, among others.
In late 1945, Cornell joined the Hugo Gallery, which was run by Alexander Iolas, and a year later mounted the show, "Romantic Museum at the Hugo Gallery: Portraits of Women by Joseph Cornell" (December 1946). He designed the exhibition catalog for this show, which consisted of portraits - box constructions, objects, and "dossiers" - of the opera singers, Giuditta Pasta and Maria Malibran, the ballerinas, Taglioni and Cerrito, and the actresses, Eleanora Duse, Jeanne Eagels, Greta Garbo, and Jennifer Jones, and which also featured one of his most famous boxes, Untitled (Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall) (1945-46).
In 1949, Cornell joined the Egan Gallery, which was run by Charles Egan. Around this time, he began creating his series of Aviary boxes, which explored the symbolism of birds and birdcages. He showed twenty-six of these box constructions in his first exhibition at the Egan Gallery, "Aviary by Joseph Cornell" (December 1949-January 1950). He created other series of whitewashed boxes, including the Dovecote series and a small group relating to the poet, Emily Dickinson. He then went on to explore the themes of astronomy and celestial navigation in the Observatory, Night Skies, and Hotel series. Works from these series were featured in his two remaining shows at the Egan Gallery, "Night Songs and Other Work" (December 1950-January 1951) and "Night Voyage" (February-March 1953). In the fall of 1953, sparked by seeing the painting, Figure Seated in a Cafe (1914), Cornell embarked upon a major series of bird constructions dedicated to the Cubist artist, Juan Gris. Notably, these were the only boxes he explicitly dedicated to another artist.
Over the next couple of years, Cornell's work was exhibited across the country. In 1955, he joined the Stable Gallery, which was run by Eleanor Ward. His first one-man show there, in the winter of 1955-56, was "Winter Night Skies," which featured various box constructions based on constellations. During the mid-1950s, he embarked upon a series of Sand Fountains (vertical standing boxes featuring a broken glass and sand that flowed through it when turned upside down), elaborating upon his earlier Sand Boxes (1940s). These boxes along with some of his other latest works, including the Bleriot boxes and the Space Object boxes (which comprised his final box series), were exhibited in his second and last show at the Stable Gallery, "Selected Works" (December 1957).
After leaving the Stable Gallery, Cornell had several dealers handle his work rather than allowing any one to assume too much control. Dealers included Richard Feigen (in Chicago and then in New York) and Irving Blum (in California), among others. Throughout his career, Cornell never liked selling his boxes. He was always reluctant to let his work go and became increasingly uneasy about the growing status of his work as a commodity. He preferred instead to make gifts of his art work to friends and individuals he admired (especially female ones).
In the mid-1950s, Cornell returned to making films. Rather than just splicing together found images as he had in his films of the 1930s, he began to collaborate with others to shoot original footage. He worked with the experimental filmmaker, Stan Brakhage, on two films, one about the Third Ave El which was about to be torn down ( Wonder Ring or Gnir Rednow) and the other about an old house in Cornell's neighborhood that was slated for demolition ( Centuries of June). Cornell then went on to make nine films with the filmmaker, Rudy Burckhardt, including Aviary, A Legend for Fountains, and Nymphlight, among others. In the late 1960s, he enlisted the help of Larry Jordan, who was also a filmmaker, in completing the trilogy of collage-films that he had begun in the 1930s.
Along with creating works of art and making films, Cornell was involved in a host of other creative endeavors throughout his career as an artist. These included: keeping a diary, which was for him another medium for exploring and expressing the themes, ideas, and concerns recurrent in his art work; carrying out "explorations," which typically involved conducting research, collecting material, and compiling files on persons or topics of interest to him; and other projects, such as publishing pamphlets (or brochures) dedicated to the nineteenth-century opera singers, Malibran and Giulia Grisi. Cornell's "explorations" clearly informed his artwork, but they were also works of art in and of themselves. He continually sought to share this work with an audience and twice had the opportunity to do so, when he exhibited versions of his Portrait of Ondine "exploration" at the Museum of Modern Art in 1945 and at the Wittenborn Bookstore in 1956.
Around the mid-1950s, Cornell returned to making collages as independent works of art. Unlike his earlier ones, which were composed from cutouts of black-and-white engravings, his latest collages were made with color images cut out of contemporary magazines and books. In these collages, he explored many of the same themes and preoccupations of his box constructions, including birds, as in Couleur de Peche (1967) and Untitled (Vierge Vivace) (1970), children's games, as in the Penny Arcade series (1960s), and actresses, as in The Sister Shades (1956). Towards the end of his career, collage became his principal medium.
By this time, Cornell was taking fewer trips into Manhattan. Instead, he spent more time at home or traveled only so far as downtown Flushing, where he frequented the public library, hunted for material in stores, such as Woolworth's, and passed time in the coffee-shops on Main Street. From this time on, he kept his diary with increasing regularity, taking down notations with more frequency and creating entries of greater length.
In 1961, fourteen of Cornell's boxes, including Medici Slot Machine, were exhibited as part of the "The Art of Assemblage" show at the Museum of Modern Art. As his biographer notes, Cornell came to view this show "as a turning point in his creative life," marking the "[fall] off in his work" that took place in the sixties (Solomon 271-2). He continued to work on boxes that he had begun long before, but, after this time, rarely if ever constructed new ones. Instead, he focused on making collages and became increasingly concerned with other projects, such as organizing his basement workshop, for which he hired various "helpers" or assistants (mostly young women) over the years. He also became more and more prone to obsessions (or preoccupations, as he called them) with various young women that he encountered both in fantasy (actresses on stage or in films) and in real life (working girls in the city, "teeners" on Main Street, or his female visitors and "helpers" at home). These preoccupations infused his diary writings, and inspired the keeping of "dossiers" on particular individuals and the creation of various collages dedicated to others, including most notably the Penny Arcade series dedicated to Joyce Hunter (or "Tina," as he referred to her in his writings).
After Robert's death in February 1965, Cornell created a series of collages in his memory, many of which incorporated his brother's drawings of animal characters. In January 1966, he exhibited some of these collages, alongside a selection of Robert's drawings, in a show at the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, "Robert Cornell: Memorial Exhibition." In 1967, there were two retrospective exhibitions of Cornell's work, "An Exhibition of Works by Joseph Cornell" at the Pasadena Art Museum and "Joseph Cornell" at the Guggenheim Museum. By now, Cornell was receiving considerable public recognition for his work. He had received his first profile (by Howard Griffin) in the December 1957 issue of Art News and, ten years later, was treated to a 12-page spread (by David Bourdon) in the December 1967 issue of Life magazine. He was also the recipient of various prizes for his art work, including the M.V Kohnstamm Prize at the Art Institute of Chicago's "62nd American Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture" in 1957 and the winning prize in India's first Triennale of Contemporary World Art in 1968.
In the last years of his life (especially from the time of his mother's death in the fall of 1966), Cornell suffered from severe depression and loneliness, and withdrew even further from the outside world. However, he still maintained relationships with various young friends and artists, who frequently visited Utopia Parkway and/or served as one of his assistants. He became more and more interested in sharing his work with a younger audience and his last two exhibitions in 1972 were expressly for children, "A Joseph Cornell Exhibition for Children" at the Cooper Union School of Art and Architecture and "Joseph Cornell - Collages and Boxes" at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York.
Cornell continued to work until the end of his life, "refurbishing" earlier boxes and creating memorial collages. Following prostate surgery in June 1972, he spent several months recuperating with family in Westhampton before returning to Utopia Parkway in November. He died of heart failure at home on December 29, 1972.
The biographical note draws heavily from Deborah Solomon's biography, Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell (New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 1997), and Diane Waldman's book, Joseph Cornell: Master of Dreams (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2002).
The Archives holds several collections of different provenance that relate to Joseph Cornell, including the small collections of Allison Delarue (comprised of two letters from Cornell, available on reel 2803), Muriel Streeter Schwartz (comprised of two letters from Cornell, available on reel 4283), Wayne Andrews (comprised of letters from Cornell and printed material), and Marion Netter (comprised of items received from Cornell). In addition, photographs of Cornell can be found amongst the Hans Namuth photographs and papers. Also found within the Archives is a transcribed interview of Cornell's sister, Elizabeth Cornell Benton, conducted on April 21, 1976 as part of the oral history program.
The bulk of Cornell's source material resides in the Joseph Cornell Study Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum, along with his library and record collection. Cornell's sister, Betty Cornell Benton, donated a portion of this material directly to SAAM (then known as the National Museum of American Art), occasioning the creation of the Study Center circa 1978. The bulk of the source material and library that she donated to AAA, including approximately 66 linear feet of three-dimensional and non-textual source material and 50 linear feet of books, was transferred to the Study Center in 1994 and 1995.
Originals of loaned material returned to the donor after microfilming include: some unidentified and miscellaneous correspondence; significant correspondence between Joseph Cornell and Helen S. Cornell; significant correspondence between Helen S. Cornell, family members and others; and some of Joseph Cornell's family correspondence and general correspondence from the Robert Cornell papers. The loaned material is available on microfilm reels 1055-1058 but is not described further in the Series Descriptions/Container Listing of this finding aid.
The Joseph Cornell papers were donated and microfilmed in several installments from 1974 to 1989 by Joseph Cornell's sister, Betty Cornell Benton. Most, but not all, of the correspondence, which was loaned for microfilming in 1974, was subsequently donated in 1989. Additional material was donated in 2004 by the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.
Use of the original papers requires an appointment.
Houghton Garden in the Webster Conservation Area (Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts)
United States of America -- Massachusetts -- Chestnut Hill
Scope and Contents:
The folder includes work sheet, 1997 Trail Guide of Houghton Garden, copy of history, 1936 nursery receipt, plant list, and a 1979 trail map.
Biographical / Historical:
Martha Houghton, garden designer, was one of the founders of the American Rock Garden Society.
The garden is a woodland garden originally part of a 26-acre estate. It was transformed to a public "stroll" garden, when, in 1968, the garden was purchased by the City of Newton. Work on the Houghton's garden and dam began in 1906. Azaleas and broad leafed evergreens were planted around the dammed pond. A professional survey prior to 1932 helped to evolve small hills, valleys, and winding paths, which connected the path bordering the water-course. The alpine garden, where Reginald Farrer (author of The English Rock Garden) died years before, was begun in 1919.
Persons associated with the garden include: Mr. and Mrs. Clement S. Houghton (former owners, 1906-1956); City of Newton (owners, 1968-present); Chapman & Frazer (architects of house, 1906); Warren M. Manning (landscape architect, 1906); Prof. Charles Sargent (plant dispersements, 1910-1920); and Martha Houghton (garden designer, 1906-1958).
Houghton Garden in the Webster Conservation Area related holdings consist of 2 folders (34 35 mm. slides)
Access to original archival materials by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: email@example.com.
The collection consists primarily of glass plate slides (negative and positive), photo prints, and stereographs documenting the work undertaken by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth from 1910 to 1924 in the fields of motion study, shop efficiency, and factory organization. Also included are slides dcoumenting the Gilbreth Family, their travels, residences, and friends. The collection also contains the film "The Original Films of Gilbreth The Quest for the One Best Way," 1968 by James S. Perkins.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists primarily of glass plate slides (negative and positive), photo prints, and stereographs documenting the work undertaken by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth from 1910 to 1924 in the fields of motion study, shop efficiency, and factory organization. As scientific managers, the Gilbreth's introduced new techniques to analyze work, the workplace, and work practices with the goal of eliminating waste to maximize productivity. The collection illustrates these new techniques and their application to a wide variety of studies. The collection is diverse and provides insight into understanding how Gilbreth approached his studies. Also included are slides documenting the Gilbreth Family, their travels, residences, and friends. The collection also contains the film "The Original Films of Gilbreth The Quest for the One Best Way," 1968 by James S. Perkins.
Series 1, Background Information, 1892-1997, includes biographical materials about Frank B. Gilbreth; copies of some of Frank Gilbreth's patents, 1892-1916; and printed materials, 1907-1997, that contain articles, newspaper and magazine clippings about Frank and Lillian Gilbreth and time and motion study generally. Black-and-white photo prints of Gilbreth or work Gilbreth documented from collections held at Purdue University and Ohio State University are included.
Series 2, Glass plate stereo slides, 1910-1924, consists of approximately 2,250 glass stereo slides photographed by Frank B. Gilbreth and others and intended for viewing through an optical viewing machine. Some are positive black and white, positive color, and negative black and white. The subject matter of the slides covers the work undertaken by Frank Gilbreth from 1910 to 1924 in the fields of motion study, shop efficiency, and factory organization. Many of the images serve as documentation for the studies the couple performed as they were hired by firms in an attempt to provide solutions to the problems of inefficiency. Also included are the Gilbreth Family, their travels, residences, and friends.
The slides are numbered sequentially. For example, a glass plate slide numbered 318949.001 will have a corresponding photoprint 318949.001 in Series 3, Photoprints of glass plate slides. Note: not all glass plate slides have corresponding photoprints. Additionally, there are Office of Photographics Services, Smithsonian Institution negative numbers assigned to many of the photo prints.
Some subject categories include:
Frank B. Gilbreth: working in motion laboratories, on factory inspections, seated in offices, with family and friends, in World War I uniform, watching and monitoring shop operations.
Lillian M. Gilbreth: with family, during university graduation ceremonies, traveling and working with Frank and observing office workers.
Gilbreth Family: family on the road in an automobile, at home seated around the dinner table, in the parlor, in the garden, and with friends and relatives.
Gilbreth ship travel: contains views on steamer voyages to Europe, deck scenes, arrivals, departures, ship officers and crew, and other passengers.
Automobile assembly study: internal and external views of a warehouse/factory, including large piles or rows of metal car frames and other parts.
Benchwork study: images of a male worker standing or sitting in a chair while filing an object secured in a vice at a workbench.
Betterment: images of efforts whcih contributed to industrial betterment (the Gilbreth chair, employee library, and the home reading box).
Bricklaying study: view of men wearing overalls and caps, shoveling, and men laying bicks.
Business and apparatus of motion study: views of lectures, meetings, film showings, demonstrations, charts, drawings, motion models, charts amd some equipment.
Disabled study: views of partially blind World War I veterans, amputees using special tytpewriter, assembling machinery, use of cructhes, and a one armed dentist.
Factory bench work: table-top machines assembly operations, hand tools, orderly arrangement of parts prior to and during assembly and a variety of bench vises.
Factory documentation: various images of the interior and edterior of factories including heavy machinery.
Golfing study: various cyclegraphs of a man swinging a golf club.
Grid boards: back drops used by Gikbreth to isolate and measure worker motions. This includes walls, floors, desktops, and drop cloths divided into grids of various densities and scales.
Handwriting and cyclegraphs: finger lights moving in patterns of script.
Ladders: include step ladders and painters' ladders shown in use near shelving.
Light assembly study: wide variety of images ranging from cyclegraphs of women working, to the factory floor as well as tools and machinery.
Materials handling study: different angles of an empty cart, a cart oiled high with boxes, and a man pushing a cart illustrating different body positions.
Military study: illustrate work on the Army foot meausring machine, gun parts, men holding a rifle.
Motion models: images of simple wire motionmodels.
Needle trade study: views of textile machinery and workers.
Office study: various shots inside of an office with tables, desks, drawers, files, and typewriters. Some of the images are cyclegraphs of femal and male workers performing tasks, such as writing, both tin the context of an office as well as in front of a grdidded background. There are several close-ups of an organizer containing penciles, paperclips, pins and rubberbands.
Packing: methods of placing and arranging goods in boxes, such as soap packing.
Panama-Pacific Exposition 1915: contains views of statuary, fountains, and architecture of the exposition held in San Francisco.
Pure light cyclegraphs: no workers or grids visible only finger lights in motion.
Rubber stamping study: hand movements and access to ink pads and stamps.
Scenic views: views of buildings, landscapes, street scenes, and fountains from around the world documenting Gilbreth's travels.
Shoe making study: laboratory studies of shoe assembly operations with an emphasis on workers access to component pieces.
Shop machinery: various shots of machines and workers working with machines.
Signage: include organizational flow charts, shop floor plans, route maps, office layouts, numbering systems, exhibit display boards illustrating Frank Gilbreth's efficiency studies and techniques.
Stacking: views of the art and science of stacking boxes, clothing, equipment, containers, and vertical storage without shelves.
Stock bins: consists of storage pips, paper, other raw materials, shelves, and corridoe shots.
Storage: images illustrate contrast between old techniques and new.
Surgical and dental studies: thester views of surgeons, assistants, nurses, hand motions in grasping, placing surgical instruments, dental work and self inspection of teeth.
Tool cribs: storage of hand tools in shops with an emphasis on easy access and easy inventorying.
Typing study: various views of femaile s under observation using Remington typewriters.
Series 3, Photoprints of glass plate slides, 1910-1924, consist of black and white photoprints of the glass plate slides depicting the fields of motion study, shop efficiency, and factory organization. Also included are the Gilbreth Family, their travels, residences, and friends.
Series 5, Stereographs,1911-1914,
Series 6, Audio Visual Materials, 1968, 2000, and undated, is divided into three subseries: Subseries 1, Audio visual documentation, 1968 and undated; Subseries 2, Moving Images, 1968 and undated; and Subseries 3, Audio Recordings, 1980, 1990,. 2000 and undated. The series contains several formats: 7" open reel-to-reel audio tape, 1/2" VHS, Beta Cam SP, DVD, audio cassette, one inch audio tape, and 16 mm film.
Subseries 1, Audio visual documentation, 1967-1968 and undated, consists of supplemental documentation for the film, "The Original Films of Gilbreth The Quest for the One Best Way." Specifically, there are brochures and other printed materials detailing what the film is about and how copies may be obtained. This subseries also contains a copy of the book Cheaper by the Dozen, 1948. The book was written by Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey and tells the biographical story of Frank Bunker Gilbreth and Lillian Moller Gilbreth, and their twelve children. The book was adapted to film by Twentieth Century Fox in 1950.
Subseries 2, Moving Images, 1967, consists of one title, "The Original Films of Gilbreth The Quest for the One Best Way." The film materials consist of the film's production elements: 16 mm black and white negative A-roll; 16mm black-and-white negative B-roll; and the optical track negative. Each is 800 feet in length.
The film presents a summary of work analysis films which were taken by Frank B. Gilbreth between 1919 and 1924 showing a number of industrial operations from which the motion study was developed. Demonstrates motion and fatigue study, skill study, plant layout and material handling, inventory control, production control, business procedures, safety methods, developing occupations for the handicapped, athletic training and skills, military training, and surgical operations as researched and developed by Gilbreth. Points out that Gilbreth created entirely new techniques on how to improve industrial efficiency, while at the same time significantly improving conditions for the workers. The film was produced by James S. Perkins in collaboration with Dr. Ralph M. Barnes and with commentary by Liilian M. Gilbreth and James S. Perkins. The film was presented on December 3, 1968 at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Annual Meeting in New York. The formats for this title include: 16 mm, Beta Cam SP, and DVD. Additionally, there is a one inch audio tape recording for the film.
Subseries 3, Audio Recordings, 1980, 1990, 2000 and undated consist of a Smithsonian radio program titled "Inside the Smithsonian, Cheaper by The Dozen," from 1980 and an recording of Ernestine Gilbreth Casey discussing Gilbreth Family photographs from 2000. Hosted by [Ann Carroll?], "Inside the Smithsonian, Cheaper by The Dozen," featured Fred and Bill Gilbreth discussing their parents Frank and Lillian, Gilbreth, and the book Cheaper by the Dozen. The radio program coincided with the 100th Anniversary of the American Society of Mechancial Engineers (founded 1880)of which Lillian Gilbreth was the Society's first female member and showcased a single case exhibition at the Museum of History and Technology (now the National Museum of American History) titled "Frank and Lillian Gilbreth: Motion Engineers." Inside Smithosnian Radio was a weekly program produced by the Office of Telecommunications. The recording of Ernestine Gilbreth Carey was recorded on July 9, 2000 and documents Ms. Carey's identification and discussion of Gilbreth Family photographs. David Ferguson assisted in the discussion. A hard copy index to the photographs Ms. Carey discusses is available.
The collection is arranged into six series.
Series 1: Background Materials, 1892-1997
Subseries 1.1: Frank B. Gilbreth, undated
Subseries 1.2: Frank B. Gilbreth patents, 1892-1916
Subseries 1.3: Printed Materials, 1907-1997
Series 2: Glass Stereo Slides (Positive), 1910-1924 and undated
Series 3: Photo prints of glass stereo slides, 1910-1924 and undated
Subseries 3.1: Photo Print Books, 1-9, undated
Subseries 3.2: Photo prints (duplicates), undated
Series 4: Stereo Autochromes, undated
Series 5: Stereograph Cards, 1911-1914
Series 6: Audio Visual Materials, 1968, 1990, 2000 and undated
Subseries 6.1, Audio visual documentation, 1968 and undated
Subseries 6.2: Moving images, 1968 and undated
Subseries 6.3: Audio recordings, 1980, 1990, 2000, and undated
Biographical / Historical:
Frank Gilbreth is best known for his work on the efficiency of motion. Working with his wife and professional partner Lillian Moller Gilbreth, he applied modern psychology to his work with management. His innovative motion studies were used on factory workers, typists and people with disabilities. Gilbreth established the link between psychology and education to be succesful management.
Frank Gilbreth was born in Fairfield, Maine on July 7, 1868. His parents, John and Martha Bunker Gilbreth were New Englanders. John Gilbreth ran a hardware business, but died when Frank was only three. Bearing the responsibilty of raising her children alone, Martha moved the family twice in search of quality education for her children. Ultimately she decided to school the children herself. In 1885, Frank graduated from English High School in Boston. Despite gaining admission into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Frank opted to enter the work world immediately as a bricklayer's apprentice with Whidden and Company, building contractors in Boston.
Smart and skilled, Gilbreth worked his way up in the company. He learned the trade quickly and soon was promoted to supervisor, foreman, and finally to the position of superintendent. To further his edcuation, he went to night school to study mechanical drawing.
At the age of 27, Gilbreth embarked upon his first business venture. He started his own contracting firm. His firm developed a fine reputation for quality work at a very rapid pace. He invented tools, scaffolding, and other contraptions to make the job easier. His company goals included the elimination of waste, the conservation of energy, and the reduction of cost. His work included canals, factories, houses, and dams. His clients came from all parts of the United States, and he performed some work in England.
In 1903, Frank Gilbreth met Lillian Moller (1903-1972) and married her on October 19, 1904. Lillian graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA (1900) and MA (1902). She later earned a Ph.D from Brown University (1915), earning a dissertation titled The Psychology of Management. Lillian's academic work, large family and integral role in Frank's consulting business kept her busy. Her contributions to the business led to a greater understanding of an individual's welfare in the work world. This becamme a key idea to increasing productivity through scientific management techniques.
Working together, the couple became leaders in the new field of scientific management. They published books, gave lectures, and raised tweleve children together: Anne, Mary (1906--912), Ernestine, Martha, Frank Jr., William, Lillian, Frederick, Daniel, John, Robert and Jane. Some of Gilbreth's books include Fields System (1908); Concrete System (1908); Bricklaying System (1909; Motion Study (1911); and Primer of Scientific Management (1911). Gilbreth co-authored with Lillian: Time Study (1916); Fatigue Study (1916); Applied Motion Study (1917); and Motion Study for the Handicapped (1919).
It wasn't long before Gilbreth moved away from construction. Together with his wife, they focused on the link between psychology and motion. With her strong psychological background, and his interest in efficiency, the Gilbreth's opened the School of Scientific Management in 1913. The school was in session for four years. Numerous professional attended the school, and soon the Gilbreth's had established a reputation as consultant's to the new field of scientific management.
In 1912, Frank won a contract with the New England Butt Company in Providence, Rhode Island. There he installed his system of scientific management in a factory setting for the first time. Contracts with the Hermann-Aukam handkerchief manufacturing company in New Jersey and the Auergessellschaft Company in Germany followed. Using motion study, Gilbreth studied and reoganized the factories, attempting to find "the one best way" to do work.
Gilbreth traveled to Germany to continue his work was a scientific manager. He visited factories and hospitals, working to improve procedures and eliminate waste. Using micro-motion study and the chronocyclegraph procedure, he analyzed and dissected motion, discovering therblings, the seventeen fundamental units of any motion. World War I slowed Gilbreth's progress abroad, so he focused his consulting business on firms n the United States.
After World War I, Gilbreth's business thrived. in 1920, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers instituted its Management Division, something Gilbreth had been demanding for years. He was now a famous American engineer, gaining financial rewards as as professional honors.
Frank Gilbreth died suddenly of a heart attack on June 14, 1924, still in the middle of three contracts. He was honored after his death in 1944 by the American Society of Engineers and the American Management Association with the Gant Gold Medal. After Frank's death, Lillian moved the family to California where she continued to work on efficiency and health in industry issues. She was a respected buiness woman and was hired by several companies to train employees, study working conditions, and reduce fatigue. She lectured at several universities (Newark College of Engineering and the University of Wisconsin), and joined the faculty at Purdue University in 1935 as the first woman professor in the engineering school.
Frank and Lillian Gilbreth often used their large family (and Frank himself) as guinea pigs in experiments. Their family exploits are lovingly detailed in the 1948 book Cheaper by the Dozen, written by Frank Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
Material in Other Institutions
Purdue University, Archives and Special Collections
Frank and Lillian Gilbreth papers, 1869-2000
The Gilbreth Papers documents the professional and personal lives of Frank Gilbreth and Lillian Gilbreth. The collection consists of personal papers, letters, correspondence, photographs, and other memorabilia that Lillian Gilbreth collected during her life regarding her youth, marriage, family, and career.
Collection of materials related to Lillian Gilbreth, 1964-2006
One folder of items relating to the life of Lillian Gilbreth, and her family, collected by her granddaughter, Lillian (Jill) Barley and Nancy Weston. Materials include clippings relating to the Lillian Gilbreth postage stamp (1984); obituaries and memorial programs for Peter Barney, Ernestine Carey, Lillian Gilbreth, Anne Gilbreth Barney, Charles Carey, and Frank Gilbreth Jr.; programs and photographs relating to Lillian Gilbreth's visit to Athens in 1964; and biographical information on Lillian Gilbreth.
Cornell University, Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives
Frank Gilbreth Papers on Microfilm, Collection Number: 5424 mf
Selected papers pertaining to industrial engineering. Original materials are held by Purdue University. Microfilm copied purchased from Purdue University in April 1968.
The collection materials were donated by several individuals: New Jersey Institute of Technology (1975); Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr., (1980); Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (1995); Daniel B. Gilbreth (1998); and James Secor Perkins in 2001.
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Series 2: Glass Stereo Slides are restricted. Boxes 3-9 were digitized in 2021. Researchers must use digital copies. 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 copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.