The papers of sculptor, painter, and printmaker John Henry Bradley Storrs measure 20.44 linear feet and date from 1790-2007, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1900 to 1956. The collection contains biographical material, correspondence, personal business records, forty-eight diaries of John Storrs, a few diaries of other family members, additional writings, printed material, photographs of Storrs and his family and friends, artwork, scrapbooks, estate records, and video recordings. Correspondence includes that of John Storrs, Marguerite Storrs, and the Storrs family.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of sculptor, painter, and printmaker John Henry Bradley Storrs measure 20.44 linear feet and date from 1790 to 2007, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1900 to 1956. The collection documents Storrs' career as an artist and his personal life through biographical material, correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues, personal business records, forty-eight diaries and other writings, printed material, photographs of Storrs and his family and friends, artwork, scrapbooks, estate records, and video recordings. There is also a substantial amount of Marguerite Storr's correspondence as well as scattered correspondence of other members of the Storr's family.
Biographical material consists of chronologies detailing the life of John Storrs, identification records, certificates, Storrs family documents, and records of John and Monique Storrs' French resistance activities during World War II.
Correspondence within this collection is divided into John Storrs Correspondence, Marguerite Storrs Correspondence, and Storrs Family Correspondence. The bulk of correspondence is John Storrs with friends, colleagues, art critics, patrons, art organizations and galleries. Correspondents of note include artists, architects, and writers such as Hendrick Andersen, Sherwood Anderson, Edward Bennett, George Biddle, Jerome Blum, Georges Braque, Louise Bryant, William Bullitt, Alexander Calder, Walter Cole, Paul Phillippe Cret, Katherine Dreier, Marcel Duchamp, Max Eastman, R. Buckminster Fuller, Marsden Hartley, Jane Heap, Jean Helion, Fernand Leger, Jacques Lipchitz, Man Ray, Charles Sheeler, Gertrude Stein, Joseph Stella, Maurice Sterne, Alfred Stieglitz, Leopold Survage, and William and Marguerite Zorach. There are also many letters to his wife Marguerite.
Marguerite Storrs' correspondence is with friends, family, colleagues, and others, including many letters to her husband. The letters are about general and family news, social activities and invitations, her work as a writer, and her husband's career. Storrs' family correspondence includes John and Marguerite's extensive correspondence with their daughter Monique as well as Monique's correspondence with others. Additional family correspondence is between John, his sister Mary ("Mae") and their parents David William and Hannah Storrs, much of it dating from 1900 to 1913.
Personal business records include address books, records regarding the sale and loan of Storrs' artwork, commission files regarding major public sculptures by Storrs, contracts, appraisals, financial records, and other documents regarding his professional activities. Of note are several files documenting Downtown Gallery's representation of Storrs' work during the 1960s, including correspondence between Edith Halpert and Monique Storrs. Various other documents include records of the Ecole de la Loire artists group (all in French.) Additionally there are records relating to Chateau de Chantecaille, an estate purchased by Storrs in the early 1920s as his primary residence and studio.
Forty-eight diaries contain scattered documentation of John Storrs' daily activities. Other writings by Storrs include four volumes of his memoirs that detail family history and his life from birth to 1906, notebooks, poetry, and personal accounts including the death of Auguste Rodin. Writings by others include poetry by Jessie Dismorr, essays by Zoltan Hecht and Maurice Raynal, and notebooks belonging to Storrs family members.
Printed material consists of books, art bulletins, brochures, invitations, announcements, and programs for art and social events. Also found are catalogs for exhibitions of Storrs' work and work by other artists; magazines, including a bound volume of the first ten issues of The Liberator; and clippings which include news about Storrs, his family, and friends.
Photographs depict John Storrs, his family, friends such as Arthur Bock and Gertrude Lambert, travels, and residences. Included are photographs of Storrs in his studio and in art classes. Also found are four photograph albums, primarily documenting his time in Europe from 1905 to 1907, exhibition photographs, and numerous photographs of his artwork.
Original artwork includes a portfolio of artwork created by Storrs as a youth, loose sketches, one sketchbook, 31 lithographs, and drawings for mural projects.
Four scrapbooks and a portfolio kept by John and Marguerite Storrs contain newspaper and magazine clippings of articles and illustrations as well as printed material from exhibitions, social events, and professional activities. Also found is a portfolio containing scattered items regarding the publication of Song of Myself with original wood engravings by John Storrs. One additional scrapbook was created by John Storrs around 1945 for his daughter, Monique Storrs, to document her service as a nurse in World War II.
This collection also includes records of John Storrs' estate immediately following his death in 1956, as well as records of several galleries that represented the estate in managing Storrs' artwork from the 1970s to 2002.
Three videocassettes, transferred from an unknown reel format, contain footage of Storrs' family life at Chantecaille and in Chicago, Illinois, in the 1930s.
The collection is arranged as 11 series.
Some box and folder numbers in the container listing intentionally display out of sequence. An accretion was added in 2012 and integrated into the intellectual order, but not into the physical container order. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1837, 1860-1984 (Box 1, 20, 25, OV 23; 0.6 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1857-2007 (Box 1-7, 25; 5.8 linear feet)
Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1790, 1855-1987 (Box 7-9, 25, OV 24, 28; 2.9 linear feet)
Series 4: Diaries, 1874-1955 (Box 9-10; 0.9 linear feet)
Series 5: Writings, 1888-1989 (Box 10-11, 25; 1.1 linear foot)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1867-1987, 2005 (Box 11-14, 25, OV 24; 3.6 linear feet)
Series 7: Photographs, circa 1885-1980 (Box 14-16, 18, 20-22, 25, MGP 1, MGP 2, MGP 5, MGP 6; 3.2 linear feet)
Series 8: Artwork, 1895-1935 (Box 18, 20, OV 23; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 9: Scrapbooks, 1895-1963 (Box 18-21, 25; 0.7 linear feet)
Series 10: Estate Records, 1956-2002 (Box 26; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 11: Video Recordings, circa 1980s (Box 26-27; 0.2 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
John Henry Bradley Storrs (1885-1956) worked primarily in Chicago, Illinois, and Mer, France, as a sculptor, painter, and printmaker.
John Storrs was born in 1885 in Chicago, Illinois, to David William Storrs, an architect, and Hannah Bradley Storrs. Upon completing his schooling in 1905 he went to Berlin with the intention of studying music, but instead chose to study sculpture with the Arthur Bock in Hamburg, Germany. He also spent time in Paris and traveled throughout Europe, Turkey, and Egypt, returning to the US in late 1907. Storrs took night classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, followed by periods of study at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, with Bela Pratt, and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with Charles Grafly. In 1912 he returned to Paris where he studied at the Académie Julian and with the famous sculptor Auguste Rodin. During this period his work was greatly influenced by cubism and futurism. In 1914 he married French writer Marguerite Deville-Chabrol. After briefly returning to the US to exhibit his work, Storrs worked at a hospital in Paris throughout World War I and in 1918 his daughter Monique was born. He and his family settled in Mer, France, at the Chateau de Chantecaille in 1921.
The following two decades were very productive for Storrs and he frequently travelled between the US and France to exhibit and create work. He showed in many notable exhibits such as the Société Anonyme's International Exhibition of Modern Art in New York in 1926, and he completed several commissions such as a statue for the Chicago Board of Trade in 1929. During this time Storrs completely moved away from representational work and refined his non-objective, machine-like sculpture. Besides sculpture, he also produced many paintings, woodcuts, lithographs, and other works on paper. He created works for the Century of Progress International Exposition in 1933 and also worked for the Public Works of Art Project in 1934.
During World War II Storrs was twice arrested and imprisoned by the German occupation forces, once for six months from 1941 to 1942 and again in 1944 along with his daughter Monique who was part of the French Resistance. These events greatly impacted his health and he produced very little work in the late 1940s and 1950s. He continued to exhibit his work and was also president in 1954 of the Ecole de la Loire, a group of 75 artists working in the Loire Valley. John Storrs died in 1956.
Also available at the Archives of American Art is the Noel Frackman research material on John Henry Bradley Storrs, 1972-2003. In addition, Archives of American Art microfilm reels 1463 and ND/S-1 contain the John Henry Bradley Storrs scrapbook and studio book, 1909-1972.
The Booz family also loaned approximately 1,000 drawings by John Storrs and select family photographs for microfilming. Loaned material is available for viewing on reel 1555, but is not described in this container listing of this finding aid.
The John Henry Bradley Storrs papers were donated in several installments from 1979 to 1987 by Storrs' daughter, Monique Storrs Booz, and her daughter, Michelle Storrs Booz. A portion of these papers were loaned for microfilming in 1977 and subsequently donated in 1980. Additional papers were donated by Michelle Storrs Booz in 2011.
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and not served to researchers.
John Henry Bradley Storrs papers, 1890-2007, bulk 1900-1956. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.