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Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers

Rattner, Abraham  Search this
Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Esther Gentle Reproductions  Search this
Kennedy Galleries  Search this
Paul Rosenberg & Co.  Search this
Bedwell, Bettina, 1889-1947  Search this
Biddle, George, 1885-1973  Search this
Boyle, Kay, 1902  Search this
Burlin, Paul, 1886-1969  Search this
Carton, Norman, 1908-1980  Search this
Coates, Robert M. (Robert Myron), 1897-1973  Search this
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964  Search this
De Rochemont, Richard  Search this
Dehn, Adolf, 1895-1968  Search this
Dos Passos, John, 1896-1970  Search this
Gentle, Esther, 1900-  Search this
Gonzalez, Xavier, 1898-1993  Search this
Griffin, John Howard, 1920-  Search this
Guthrie, Ramon, 1896-  Search this
Gwathmey, Robert, 1903-1988  Search this
Hall, William Weeks, 1894-1958  Search this
Hayter, Stanley William, 1901-  Search this
Hiler, Hilaire, 1898-1966  Search this
Hirsch, Joseph, 1910-1981  Search this
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Holty, Carl, 1900-1973  Search this
Hélion, Jean, 1904-1987  Search this
Kronberg, Louis, 1872-1965  Search this
Lebrun, Rico, 1900-1964  Search this
Leepa, Allen, 1919-2009  Search this
Lipchitz, Jacques, 1891-1973  Search this
Ludgin, Earle, 1898-1981  Search this
Malcolm, Thalia Westcott, b. 1878  Search this
Miller, Henry, 1891-  Search this
Miró, Joan, 1893-  Search this
Nordfeldt, Bror Julius Olsson, 1878-1955  Search this
Peake, Channing, 1910-  Search this
Poor, Henry Varnum, 1887-1970  Search this
Ruvolo, Feliz  Search this
Stark, Jack Gage, 1882-1950  Search this
Watkins, Franklin Chenault, 1894-1972  Search this
Weller, Allen S. (Allen Stuart), 1907-1997  Search this
26.3 Linear feet
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
The Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers measure 26.3 linear feet and date from 1891 through the 1980s. The collection documents Rattner's life and career as an artist through interviews, extensive correspondence, gallery files, studio notebooks, writings, notes, date books and diaries, photographs, and works of art.
Scope and Content Note:
Abraham Rattner's papers provide insight into an important time for twentieth century American art and culture. By studying Rattner's papers, the researcher may view the beginnings of Modernism, the cultural change that pushed the boundaries of artistic and literary traditions and provided new ways in which to express ourselves.

The Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers measure 26.3 linear feet and date from 1891 through the 1980s. The collection documents Rattner's life and career as an artist through interviews, extensive correspondence, gallery files, studio notebooks, writings, notes, date books and diaries, photographs, and works of art.

The biographical files contain documents such as Rattner's birth certificate, travel visas, his senior yearbook from 1912 which shows some of his early art work, and some of his awards. His birth certificate is of particular interest since it shows Rattner's birth date to be 1893 instead of the recognized 1895.

The correspondence offers great insight into the thoughts of many American and European artists and writers during the 1930s and 1940s. Rattner, a prolific writer, expressed many of his own thoughts and concerns through his letters, many of which are included in this collection. The vast amount of correspondence include letters from notable figures such as George Biddle, Kay Boyle, Paul Burlin, Norman Carton, Robert Coates, Stuart Davis, Adolph Dehn, Richard de Rochemont, John Dos Passos, Xavier Gonzales, John Howard Griffin, Ramon Guthrie, Robert Gwathmey, Weeks Hall, Stanley W. Hayter, Jean Helion, Hilaire Hiler, Joseph Hirsch, Stefan Hirsch, Carl Holty, Louis Kronberg, Rico Lebrun, Jacques Lipchitz, Earle Ludgin, Thalia Wescott Malcolm, Henry Miller, Joan Miro, Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt, Channing Peake, Henry Varnum Poor, Felix Ruvolo, Waverly Root, Jack Gage Stark, Frank C. Watkins, and Allen Weller, among others.

Rattner was engaged in a wide range of special art projects, and he kept detailed files on these projects. The projects spanned from 1940 through 1973 and included endeavors such as illustrations for Life magazine, stained-glass designs, mosaic and tapestry projects, as well as special paintings such as Victory--Jerusalem the Golden and The Gallows of Baghdad. Rattner's papers also detail the history of a fresco painted by Paul Gauguin entitled Joan d'Arcwhich Rattner purchased in France in 1925.

Rattner's forty year friendship with the writer Henry Miller is chronicled throughout the collection in the forms of correspondence, writings, printed material, phototographs and artwork. Their correspondence ranges from 1938 through 1978 and offers great insight into their relationship. Rattner and Miller's road trip from New York to New Orleans in 1940-1941 is documented in the series entitled Special Projects. Also included in the collection are printed material, such as biographical material on Miller, Miller's writings, literary announcements and reviews; Miller's writings on Rattner; and photographs of Miller.

The gallery files contain correspondence, receipts, and notes regarding the galleries which represented Rattner. Those galleries included the Rosenberg Gallery, the Downtown Gallery, and the Kennedy Gallery. A small series of exhibition files contain material about exhibitions held outside of Rattner's representative galleries.

Rattner's writings proved to be an outlet for his thoughts on painting, his inspirations, frustrations, and sadness. In addition to painting, Rattner was able to express his creativity through writing poetry. Writing also helped him work through his depression over the death of his first wife Bettina Bedwell.

He also kept finely detailed studio notebooks. The original order has been maintained, and they trace the history of almost each painting, drawing, and study attempted by Rattner. The notebooks often provide information regarding whether the work was sent to a gallery or given as a gift. Sometimes they contain correspondence or writings that reveal the inspiration for a work. They have been arranged in chronological order, according to Rattner's own filing system.

Rattner retained receipts for most of his art expenses. Arranged by decade, these receipts show the type of paint, colors, types of paper and brushes that he used.

Rattner also kept many household files and personal financial records. Household files contain insurance records, warranties and rental agreements, while the financial records contain returned checks and bank statements. Some bank statements from Esther Gentle Reproductions are also included. The household files and financial records are not filmed.

The date books and diaries reveal the aspects of daily life and the personal thoughts of Rattner and Esther Gentle. In many cases, Rattner shared his date books and diaries with Gentle. The early diaries are fascinating, especially the 1939 diary that discloses the Rattners' last days in France before escaping Nazism and returning to the United States.

Rettner's scrapbooks span from 1938 to 1952 and contain newspaper and magazine clippings that mention the artist or his work.

The printed material covers a period from 1930s through the 1980s and includes exhibition catalogs, exhibition announcements, clippings, and miscellaneous material such as an autograph book from 1969 and a map of Israel that shows Rattner's travel route. There is a large amount of unfilmed printed material that is listed in the series description.

Writings by others consists of writings on Rattner and other topics.

The collection contains many photographs taken of Rattner and taken by him, as well as photos of family, friends, his studio, travels, and photographs of Rattner's art. Photographs of notable people include Henry Miller, Joan Miro, John Dos Passos, Archibald MacLeish, and Malcolm Cowley, among others.

The amount of Rattner's art work included in the collection is small, but it is significant because it provides examples of his very early work, dating from 1912-1914. Some later studies are also present, as well as a number of random sketches. Color was very important to Rattner, and some of his color studies from the 1940s are also included. Art work by other artists is comprised of some small paintings by Max Weber, a water color by Henry Miller, a painting by Ken Buryd, as well as some work by unknown artists.

In addition to tracing Rattner's life and career, the collection also documents the lives of Rattner's two wives, Bettina Bedwell and Esther Gentle. Both women had profound effects on Rattner's work. Among Bettina Bedwell's papers are her diary, fashion sketches, and correspondence. Esther Gentle's papers include correspondence, writings, as well as papers documenting her business Esther Gentle Reproductions. There are a small amount of papers relating to Allen Leepa, Rattner's stepson with Esther Gentle.

See index for list of correspondents from various series.
The collection is arranged into twenty-four series based primarily on type of document or special project. Though concentrated in its own series, additional correspondence is scattered throughout the collection and may be found in special project files, gallery files, exhibition files, studio notebooks, and scrapbooks. The correspondence has been divided into two subseries, one chronological and the other according to Rattner's subject-oriented filing system. Special art projects have been organized by project, and placed in chronological order. The studio notebooks have also been divided into subseries, and all notebook pages maintain Rattner's original order. The first subseries of notebooks reflects Rattner's numbering system, while the second subseries is arranged chronologically. The vast amount of printed material has been divided into subseries, and all of the unfilmed printed material has been organized chronologically at the end of the series.

Within each series, material is arranged either in chronological order, or in some cases, according to Abraham Rattner's own organizational system.

Oversized materials from various series are housed in oversized folders 33-45 and are noted in the Series Description/Container Listing with see also/see references or in the container columns.

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Files, 1893-1978, undated (box 1; 0.2 linear ft.)

Series 2: Interviews, 1957-1975, undated (box 1; 7 folders)

Series 3: Correspondence Files, 1933-1978, undated (boxes 1-5; 4.3 linear ft.)

Series 4: Special Projects, 1940-1987, undated (boxes 5-6, ovs 33-35; 1.5 linear ft.)

Series 5: -- Joan d'Arc -- Fresco painted by Paul Gaugin, 1925-1963, undated (box 7, ov 36; 12 folders)

Series 6: Gallery Files, 1942-1975 (boxes 7-8; 1.5 linear ft.)

Series 7: Exhibition Files, 1963-1978 (boxes 7, 9; 9 folders)

Series 8: Writings, 1940-1972, undated (box 9; 0.9 linear ft.)

Series 9: Studio Notebooks, 1935-1975, undated (boxes 10-11; 1.9 linear ft.)

Series 10: Art Expenses, circa 1940-1970 (boxes 11-13; 0.7 linear ft.)

Series 11: Household Files, 1940-1970, undated (box 13; 0.8 linear ft.)

Series 12: Financial Records, 1933-1963 (boxes 13-14; 0.7 linear ft.)

Series 13: Notes and Lists, 1936-1972, undated (box 14; 0.5 linear ft.)

Series 14: Address Books, 1939-1977, undated (box 15; 1.0 linear ft.)

Series 15: Date Books/Diaries, 1937-1977, undated (boxes 16-17; 1.6 linear ft.)

Series 16: Scrapbooks, 1938-1952 (boxes 18-22; 1.5 linear ft.)

Series 17: Printed Material, 1920s-1980s, undated (boxes 23-26; 3.6 linear ft.)

Series 18: Writings by Others, 1945-circa 1980, undated (box 26; 20 folders)

Series 19: Photographs, 1891-1970s, undated (boxes 27-29; 1.6 linear ft.)

Series 20: Works of Art by Rattner, 1912-1914, 1940-1967, undated (box 30, ovs 37-44; 2.4 linear ft.)

Series 21: Works of Art by Others, undated (box 30, ov 45; 7 folders)

Series 22: Bettina Bedwell Papers, 1932-1947, undated (box 31; 0.4 linear ft.)

Series 23: Esther Gentle Papers, 1921-1984, undated (boxes 31-32; 1.3 linear ft.)

Series 24: Allen Leepa Papers, 1952-1969, undated (box 32; 8 folders)
Biographical Note:
Abraham Rattner was born in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1895. His parents immigrated to the United States to escape antisemitism in Czarist Russia. He was the second of six children, including his eldest brother Louis, younger brothers Manuel (Manny) and Harry, and his younger sisters Rose and Jennie.

Rattner's parents encouraged him to paint at a young age, and as he grew up, painting became a part of his daily life. He graduated from Poughkeepsie High School in 1912 and left to study architecture at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. At night, he took art courses at the Corcoran School of Art. He soon became a full-time art student, and applied for a scholarship to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He was accepted in 1919 and supported himself by doing illustrations for Philadelphia newspapers.

In 1917, World War I interrupted his studies. Rattner entered the United States Army in France where he became Sergeant of camouflage section, 40th Engineers. Camouflage, reflecting aspects of modern art in its form and pattern, made use of Rattner's artistic skills. During the second battle of the Marne, Rattner injured his back and returned to the States with an ailment that would affect him for the rest of his life.

Rattner returned to the Pennsylvania Academy and was awarded the Cresson scholarship to study art in Europe. He traveled for one year, then settled in Paris for the next twenty years. Those twenty years in Paris became the most formative for Rattner because he was able to study and experiment with Futurism, Cubism, and Expressionism. Post World War I Paris was the center of modern culture for Americans disillusioned by the destruction of the war. Expatriate writers, poets, and artists were searching for a culture that shunned the traditions of the past and exchanged ideas with one another at the lively Paris cafes and salons.

In 1924, Abraham Rattner married Bettina Bedwell, an American art student and fashion illustrator. Bettina became the Paris fashion correspondent for the New York News-Chicago Tribune Syndicate. In 1927, Rattner was a member of the Minotaure group, along with Picasso, Miro, Giacometti, Le Corbusier, Braque, Dali, and Reverdy. He also illustrated an article for Jon Dos Passos in Verve magazine in 1931.

Rattner's first one-man show was in 1935 at the Galerie Bonjean in Paris, which was followed by one-man shows at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York, the Arts Club of Chicago, and the Courvoisier Gallery in San Francisco.

The threat of Hitler and Nazism forced Rattner and his wife to flee Paris in 1939. Arriving in New York in early 1940, Rattner agreed to take a trip by car with the writer Henry Miller. Their route took them from New York to New Iberia, Louisiana via the East coast and Southern states. Their mission was to rediscover America, with Henry Miller writing about their experiences and Rattner sketching the scenery. Rattner's friendship with Henry Miller was an important one that lasted throughout his life.

During the 1940s, Rattner's art was widely exhibited. In 1941, he joined the Rosenberg Gallery in New York, and remained with the gallery for fourteen years. He won awards for his work such as the Temple Gold Medal in 1945 and second prize in the Pepsi-Cola Fourth Annual Art Competition in 1946. In 1947, Bettina Bedwell suddenly died due to a kidney infection, sending Rattner into a spiral of grief and depression. To escape depression, from 1947-1949, he taught at the New School for Social Research in New York.

In 1949, Rattner married Esther Gentle, an artist and business woman who ran an art reproductions business. In 1951, the Rattners moved to Rome where he worked as Artist in Residence at the American Academy. The next year, they moved to Illinois where he was the Artist in Residence at the University of Illinois. Ratter was awarded first prize in 1953 at the 23rd Corcoran Biennial Exhibition and also served as Vice-President of Artists' Equity. In 1956, Rattner was the Distinguished Visiting Professor at Michigan State University, and along with his stepson, Allen Leepa, established an art school on Long Island. In 1957, Rattner left the Rosenberg Gallery to join the Downtown Gallery. He felt he would professionally profit from representation by the well-known Edith Halpert; however, the next twelve years reflected a tumultuous relationship between the artist and the gallery owner.

In 1957, Rattner reached out to other forms of art and design. He experimented with mosaic, tapestry and stained-glass. He designed mosaic columns and tapestries for the Fairmont Temple Anche Chesed in Cleveland and a mosaic for a friary and college in Centerville, Ohio. His stained-glass designs were highly celebrated and respected. His most famous stained-glass piece was the window for the Chicago Loop Synagogue. For this piece, Rattner spent two years traveling to Paris to design and supervise every process involved in the design and installation of the window.

Rattner felt that while his paintings during the 1940s and 1950s were romantic and self-reflective, the 1960s marked a new inspirational period in his work. His painting reflected religious comment, bringing Rattner back in touch with his Jewish heritage, as well as reflecting a sense of social protest. In 1968, Rattner exhibited his painting Victory--Jerusalem the Golden to honor the celebration of Israel's twentieth anniversary of independence. It was also in 1968 that Rattner left the Downtown Gallery for the Kennedy Gallery. In 1969, he painted The Gallows of Baghdad series as a protest to the hanging of nine Jews by Iraqi authorities.

The 1970s marked a time of many exhibitions. In 1976, the National Collection of Fine Arts in Washington, D.C. sponsored an exhibition of his designs for stained-glass entitled "...and let there be light". Also, from 1976 through 1977, "Our America" exhibited Rattner's drawings from his 1940 U.S.A. trip with Henry Miller in England and in the United States. In 1977, Michigan State University bestowed upon him the Honorary Degree for Humanity. On February 14, 1978, Abraham Rattner died due to heart failure.

Missing Title

1893 -- Born June 8th in Poughkeepsie, New York.

1912 -- Graduated from Poughkeepsie High School.

1914-1917 -- Student at George Washington University, Corcoran School of Art and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

1917 -- Enlisted in the United States Army in France as Sergeant, camouflage section, 40th Engineers. Fought at Seicheprey, second battle of the Marne, and Chateau-Thierry.

1919 -- Returned to Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Awarded Cresson traveling fellowship to Europe.

1920 -- Traveled in France, Spain, England, Belgium and Holland.

1921 -- Art student in Paris at Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Grand Chaumiere, and Academie Ranson.

1922 -- Lived and painted in Giverny, France.

1923 -- Returned to Paris.

1924 -- Married Bettina Bedwell, Paris fashion correspondent for the New York News-Chicago Tribune news syndicate. Exhibited at Salon d'Automne and Salon des Independants.

1927 -- Member of the Minotaure group in Paris.

1931 -- Illustrated article, "Fire," by John Dos Passos for Verve magazine.

1935 -- First one-person show at Galerie Bonjean, Paris. French government purchased Card Party for Museum of Impressionism, The Louvre.

1936 -- One-person show at Julien Levy Gallery, New York (also 1939, 1941); Arts Club of Chicago; Courvoisier Gallery, San Francisco (also 1941).

1940 -- Returned to the United States following Nazi invasion of France. Traveled with Henry Miller from New York to New Iberia, Louisiana.

1941 -- One-person shows: Stendahl Gallery, Los Angeles; Faulkner Memorial Art Gallery, Santa Barbara (also 1943); Paul Rosenberg Gallery, New York (also 1942, 1944, 1946, 1948-1950, 1952, 1956); Studio, New York.

1945 -- Awarded the Temple Gold Medal from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Wrote "An American in Paris" for Magazine of Art.

1946 -- Awarded second prize at the Pepsi-Cola Fourth Annual Art Competition.

1947 -- Death of Bettina Bedwell Rattner.

1948 -- Taught at the New School for Social Research, New York.

1949 -- Married Esther Gentle. Visiting artist at Yale University and at the Brooklyn Museum School. Awarded honorable mention at the Carnegie Institute Exhibition of American Painting.

1950 -- Awarded the Purchase Prize at the University of Illinois Biennial Exhibition.

1951 -- Artist in residence at the American Academy in Rome.

1952 -- Artist in residence at the University of Illinois.

1953 -- Awarded first prize at the 23rd Corcoran Biennial Exhibition. Served as Vice-President of Artists' Equity.

1954 -- Taught at the Art Students League. Panelist at the Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado.

1955 -- Exhibited drawings at the Chicago Art Institute.

1956 -- Distinguished Visiting Professor at Michigan State University. Established an art school in East Hampton and Sag Harbor, Long Island.

1957 -- Designed mosaic columns and tapestries for the Fairmont Temple Anche Chesed in Cleveland. One-person show at Downtown Gallery, New York (also 1958-1967).

1958 -- Designed mosaic wall for St. Leonard's Friary and College in Centerville, Ohio. Designed stained-glass windows for the Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan. Began designs for stained-glass window for the Chicago Loop Synagogue. Exhibited with Alexander Calder at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Elected member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Awarded the Butler Memorial Prize at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

1959 -- Retrospective exhibition circulated by the American Federation of Arts. Exhibited at the Whitney Museum of Art.

1964 -- Exhibited at the Edinburgh International Festival in Scotland.

1968 -- Exhibited painting entitled Victory--Jerusalem the Golden at the celebration of Israel's 20th anniversary of independence.

1969 -- One-person shows: Kennedy Galleries, New York; Galerie Weil, Paris ( Baghdad Hangings), Galerie Belgique, Brussels ( Baghdad Hangings).

1970 -- Film commissioned by ABC-TV entitled "The Long Prayer of Abraham Rattner."

1972 -- Beggar's Opera lithographs exhibited at Circle Gallery, Chicago.

1976 -- Displayed stained-glass on religious themes with the National Collection of Fine Arts in Washington, D.C.

1977 -- "Our America" exhibition in England and the United States. Awarded Honorary Degree for Humanity from Michigan State University.

1978 -- Died on February 14th.
Index: List of Major Correspondents in Various Series:
These correspondents will be found in the following series: Correspondence, Special Projects, Gallery Files, Studio Notebooks, and Scrapbooks: Edward Albee, 1928-

John Anderson, 1904-

Bettina Bedwell, 1889-1947

Carl Beiber

George Belmont

George Biddle, 1885-1973

Kay Boyle, 1902-1992

Brassai, 1899-

Paul Burlin, 1886-1969

McClure Capps "Mac"

Norman Carton, 1908-1980

Jack Chapman

G. Alan Chidsey

Frederick Childs

Robert Coates, "Bob" 1897-1973

Malcolm Cowley, 1898-1989

Salvador Dali 1904-1989

Paul Damaz

Bernard Davis

Stuart Davis, 1894-1964

Adolph Dehn, 1895-1968

Richard de Rochemont

John Dos Passos, 1896-1970

Armand and Suzi D'usseau

Rene Lefebore Foinet

Gisele Freund, 1912-

Emily Genauer, 1911-

Esther Gentle, 1905-1984

Alberto Giacometti, 1901-1966

Xavier Gonzales, 1898-1993

John Howard Griffin

Ramon Guthrie, 1896-1973

Robert Gwathmey 1903-1988

Weeks Hall

Edith Gregor Halpert, 1900-1970

Stanley W. Hayter, 1901-1988

Nathan Hecht

Jean Helion, 1904-1987

William H. Henrick

Henry Herschkvitz

Hilaire Hiler, 1898-1966

Joseph Hirsch "Joe," 1910-1981

Stefan Hirsch, 1889-1964

Carl Holty, 1900-1973

Etienne Hubert

Arno Hummucher

Frederick I. Kann "Fred," 1886-

L.J. Konigsberg "Leib"

Louis Kronberg, 1872-1965

Alexandra Laks

Rico Lebrun (Fredrico), 1900-1964

Allen Leepa, 1919-

Isadore Levy

Julian Levy, 1906-1981

Jacques Lipchitz, 1891-1973

Ward Lockwood, 1894-1963

Jean Louste

Earle Ludgin, 1898-1981

Thalia Wescott Malcolm, 1888-

Reginald Marsh, 1898-1954

Archibald McLeish, 1892-

Henry Miller, 1891-1980

Joan Miro, 1893-1983

Gloria Nardin

Anais Nin, 1903-1977

Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt "B.J.O.," 1878-1955

Hugh O'Neill

Channing Peake, 1910-1989

Gabor Peferdi

Irving Penn

Peter Pollack, 1911-1978

Henry Varnum Poor 1888-1970

Andre Raizorkacs

Robert Rey

Maurice Reynal

Raymond Reynal

Hans Richter, 1888-1976

Edward Roditi

Shelden Rodman, 1909-

Waverly Root, 1903-1982

Felix Emmanuele Ruvolo, 1912-

Frank Sedlak

Paul Shapiro

Jack Gage Stark, 1882-1950

Barrie Stavis

Ike Stoeffle

Benjamin Ellis Tepper

David Turnbull

Alfredo Valente

Siegfried Wang

Frank C. Watkins (Franklin Chenault), 1894-1972

Allen Weller, 1907-
Separated Materials note:
Loaned material, including notebooks, writings, and some correspondence, were returned to Abraham Rattner after microfilming. This material is now part of the Abraham Rattner notes collection at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at St. Petersburg College. Loaned material is available on reels D203-D205, D205A-D205B, and reel 1212, but is not described in this finding aid.
The collection was given to the Archives of American Art in stages by Abraham Rattner 1972-1983, by Esther Gentle 1986-1987, and by Gene Allen in 1992. The donated material that was previously filmed has been integrated and refilmed includes reels D203 and D205C-D205D. The material found on reels D205A-D205B was loaned by Rattner and the material found on reel 1212 was loaned by his sister, Jennie Allen.
The collection is open for research. Use of unmicrofilmed portion requires an appointment.
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Artist couples  Search this
Painters -- France -- Paris  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching -- France -- Paris  Search this
Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers, 1891-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
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Abraham Rattner and Esther Gentle papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
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Robert Scofield Condon Engineering Papers

Condon, Robert B.  Search this
Condon, Robert Scofield, 1896-1973 (engineer)  Search this
Continental Can Co.  Search this
Fibre Can Machinery Corp. (Rutland (Vt.)  Search this
3 Cubic feet
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Professional papers
Photographic prints
circa 1924-1973
Scope and Contents:
The approximately 3 cubic feet of material contain copies of patents issued to Robert Scofield Condon for pencil lead pointers, pencil sharpeners, milling machines, gear cutting machines, and similar devices, as well as correspondence related to the patents from the United States Patent Office and with attorneys. Photographs depict Condon designs and inventions. The collection includes a very interesting example of Condon's actual pencil sharpener attached to a photograph, showing the pencil sharpener in use.
The collection is divided into six series.

Series 1: Correspondence, 1936-1942, 1961-1962

Series 2: Patents, 1931-1973

Series 3: Subject Files, 1955-1965

Series 4: Bills and receipts, 1946-1948

Series 5: Articles, 1924-1927

Series 6: Photographs, 1945
Biographical / Historical:
Robert Scofield Condon, born in Bloomington, Illinois, March 5, 1896, attended Bloomington, Ill., Normal School, and was a schoolteacher for several years to earn money for college tuition; he was graduated as a mechanical engineer from the University of Illinois, 1924. He married Catherine Behren in 1924, but she died in 1958. Condon was employed by the Kearney & Trecker Corp., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1924-1929, then the Gleason Gear Works, Rochester, New York, 1929-1936. He was one of eighty engineers when he joined the engineering department of the Gleason Gear Works, but was one of only two remaining in 1934. The Condons spent fifteen years in Rutland, Vermont (1936-1946), where he was a founder of the Fibre Can Machinery Corp., which was later sold to the Continental Can Co. He was employed by the Continental Can Corp. from 1946 to 1960 (the Rutland plant closed in the early 1950s, but Condon continued working for the firm in other locations). After his retirement in 1960, he continued to work on projects and did consulting work. His last project was the small "Marvel" pencil pointer (sharpener). Documents in the papers bear the name and address, "Robert S. Condon Laboratories, 112 Cindy Lane, Berlin, Connecticut 06037."

Condon's second wife was Ilza de Souza. He died on April 22, 1973, leaving his son, Robert B. Condon, and two grandchildren.* The professional papers in this collection apparently were in Robert S. Condon's possession until his death, when his son acquired them and donated them to the Smithsonian in 1991.

* An obituary appeared in the Bennington Banner, April 26, 1973. The donor provided notes from this obituary, with additional biographical material and a collection inventory
Related Materials:
Objects accompanying these archival materials were acquired by the Division of Mechanical and Civil Engineering (now Division of Work and Industry) , also donated by the inventor's son.
Collection donated by Robert Condon November 5, 1991.
Collection is open for research.
Rights situation needs clarification.
Pencil sharpeners  Search this
Engineers -- 1920-1980  Search this
Pencil pointers  Search this
Mechanical engineering -- 1920-1980  Search this
Professional papers -- 20th century
Photographic prints
Photographs -- Black-and-white negatives -- Acetate film
Photographs -- 20th century
Robert Scofield Condon Engineering Papers, ca. 1924-1973, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
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Robert Scofield Condon Engineering Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Charles Adler, Jr. Collection

Adler, Charles, Jr., 1899-1980 (engineer, inventor)  Search this
6 Cubic feet (15 boxes)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Patent applications
Baltimore (Md.) -- 20th century
1899 - 1980
The collection contains correspondence, news clippings, photographs, patents, and printed materials documenting the inventive career of Charles Adler, Jr. Adler is best known for his development of the first traffic actuated signal light in 1928.
Scope and Contents:
The collection contains biographical information about Adler and his career. Materials relating to his professional activities include newspaper clippings, photographs and other memorabilia; his published writings include articles in periodicals and newspapers. In addition, there are patent applications, royalty receipts and correspondence, as well as lengthy descriptions of various safety devices Adler invented. Many photographs are not captioned, including images of devices Adler invented, as well as images of aircraft, automobiles, and trains. There are portraits of family members, Adler, and his associates.
The collection is arranged into six series.

Series 1, Biographical Material, 1899-1980

Series 2, Scrapbooks and Clippings, 1920-1989

Series 3, Correspondence, 1928-1975

Series 4, Patents and Inventions, 1929-1980

Series 5, Photographs and Scrapbooks, circa 1920-1930

Series 6, Publications, 1952-1980
Biographical / Historical:
Charles Adler, Jr. (1899-1980), a professional engineer and inventor was a life-long resident of Baltimore, Maryland. He began his career as an inventor at age 14, receiving a patent on an electric automotive brake. After attending Johns Hopkins University, he served briefly in the Army during World War I and worked at several jobs before being associated in 1919 with the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad, where he developed a series of safety devices. In 1928 he developed and installed in Baltimore the first traffic actuated signal light. In 1937 he became a consultant to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, continuing to invent safety and signal devices for automobiles, trains and aircraft. He was granted over sixty United States patents. He was a licensed pilot and a member of numerous professional engineering societies. From 1953-1959, Adler served on the Maryland State Aviation Commission and he was a member of the Maryland Traffic Safety Commission from 1952 until his death in 1980.
This collection was donated by Charles Adler, Jr.'s daughter, Mrs. Amalie Adler Ascher on September 15, 1989.
The collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Engineers -- 1920-1980  Search this
Inventions -- 20th century  Search this
Railroads -- 20th century  Search this
Inventors -- 20th century  Search this
Aeronautics and state -- 20th century  Search this
Traffic signs and signals -- 1920-1980  Search this
Traffic engineering -- 20th century  Search this
Patent applications
Clippings -- 20th century
Correspondence -- 20th century
Photographs -- 20th century
Receipts -- 20th century
Charles Adler, Jr. Collection, 1899-1980, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Charles Adler, Jr. Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Online Media:

The Bell System technical journal

American Telephone and Telegraph Company  Search this
Physical description:
v. ill., ports. maps (part fold.) diagrs. 24 cm
Telecommunication  Search this
Electrical engineering  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

Metal Train Button & Fragment

R. K. Harris  Search this
Donor Name:
R. K. Harris  Search this
Maximum Diameter - Object:
2 cm
Object Type:
Various Counties, Texas, United States, North America
Accession Date:
19 Mar 1986
Collection Date:
1924 To 1980
Archaeology  Search this
Accession Number:
USNM Number:
See more items in:
Data Source:
NMNH - Anthropology Dept.

[Trade catalogs from Page Engineering Co. (Chicago)]

Variant company name:
Est. 1903 ; Denver, CO  Search this
Company Name:
Page Engineering Co. (Chicago)  Search this
Notes content:
1920s-1980s booklets ; digging equipment and components ; automatic dragline buckets ; walking draglines ; alloy chain ; sockets ; links ; buckets ; clevises ; wedgebak ; hoist tooth points ; electric walking dragline ; sand and gravel ; diesel engine ; Page Diesel Engine ; Page manganese steel wire rope sockets ; "Page 1903-1951: Serving the Excavating Industry from the Turn of the Century"
Trade catalog and histories
Black and white images
Color images
Physical description:
49 pieces; 1 box
Type of material:
Trade catalogs
Trade literature
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Topic (Romaine term):
Construction and earth-moving machinery  Search this
Engineering consultants and contractors  Search this
Engines and motors: steam; oil; gas; etc.  Search this
Iron and steel products (castings; sheet steel; steel wire; wire rope; pig iron and structural steel products )  Search this
Mining machinery; equipment and supplies  Search this
Road building machinery and equipment  Search this
Construction equipment  Search this
Consulting engineers  Search this
Earthmoving machinery  Search this
Engineers  Search this
Engines  Search this
Iron industry and trade  Search this
Mining machinery industry  Search this
Motors  Search this
Road machinery  Search this
Roads -- Design and construction  Search this
Steel industry and trade  Search this
Record ID:
Trade Literature at the American History Museum Library
Smithsonian Libraries Trade Literature Collections
Data source:
Smithsonian Libraries

Aircraft engineering

Physical description:
v. ill., diagrs. 35 cm
Aeronautics  Search this
Call number:
TL501 .A2993
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

Engineering journal. Revue de l'ingénierie

Revue de l'ingénierie
Engineering Institute of Canada  Search this
Physical description:
v. : ill. ; 30 cm
Engineering  Search this
Call number:
TA1 .E54
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

Modern American locomotive : construction and operation / by Frederick J. Prior

Prior, Frederick John 1858-  Search this
Physical description:
xv, 291 p. : ill. ; 20 cm
United States
Locomotives--Design and construction  Search this
Locomotives--History  Search this
Call number:
TJ635 .P95 1925a
TJ635.P95 1925a
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

Curious mechanical movements / Gardner D. Hiscox

Hiscox, Gardner Dexter 1822?-1908  Search this
Physical description:
412 p. : ill. ; 22 cm
Mechanical movements  Search this
Mechanical engineering  Search this
Call number:
TJ181 .H67 1986
TJ181.H67 1986
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

Bell Laboratories record

Bell Telephone Laboratories  Search this
Findley, Paul Bruce  Search this
Physical description:
v. ill., ports., diagrs. 26 cm
Telephone companies--Employees--Periodicals  Search this
Electrical engineering  Search this
Call number:
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

R-Mac Publications presents, The automobile fire apparatus operator / by Robert H. McNeish

Automobile fire apparatus operator
McNeish, Robert H  Search this
Marvin, Robert B  Search this
Physical description:
2 v. : ill ; 23 cm
Fire engines  Search this
Call number:
TH9377 .M3 1989
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

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