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: email@example.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, The Garden Club of America collection.
A project to describe images in this finding aid received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care Initiative, administered by the National Collections Program.
The papers of art historian and educator Milton Wolf Brown date from 1908 to 1998 and measure 26.0 linear feet and 0.225 GB. The collection documents Brown's career through scattered biographical material, correspondence with friends, publishers, colleagues, artists, museums, and art organizations, travel journals, files for the Prendergast Catalogue Raisonne Project, exhibition, research, teaching, and organization files, printed and digital material, and scattered photographs. A large portion of this collection consists of writings by Brown including notebooks, draft writings for books and other publications, lectures, and his writings as a student.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of art historian and educator Milton Wolf Brown date from 1908 to 1998 and measure 25.8 linear feet and 0.225 GB. The collection documents Brown's career through scattered biographical material, correspondence with friends, publishers, colleagues, artists, museums, and art organizations, travel journals, files for the Prendergast Catalogue Raisonne Project, exhibition, research, teaching, and organization files, printed and digital material, and scattered photographs. A large portion of this collection consists of writings by Brown including notebooks, draft writings for books and other publications, lectures, and his writings as a student.
Biographical material includes academic records, travel documents, financial documents, Brown's military records, and a transcript of a 1997 interview. Correspondence is with students, museums, universities, publishers, art organizations, and others. The bulk of these letters document Brown's professional activities, but also found are scattered letters from friends, artists, and colleagues such as Russell Lynes, Stanley Meltzoff, Louis Lozowick, Erwin Panofsky, and Paul Sachs.
This collection also contains 33 detailed travel journals written primarily by Milton Brown's wife, Blanche, documenting their travels in Europe, the United States, and other parts of the world. Within the writings series are notebooks from the period that Brown was a student and while traveling in Europe in 1959 and 1960; book project files, which include draft writings as well as related correspondence, research material, notes, photographs and other material. Files are found for American Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Decorative Arts, Photography (1979), American Painting, From the Armory Show to the Depression (1955), The Story of the Armory Show (1963, 1988 2nd ed.), and other books. Among the writings are files for lectures written by Brown; essays, articles, and scripts written for various publications; general research notes and student writings; and writings by others sent to Brown for review and feedback.
Brown maintained a set of files documenting his work on the Prendergast Catalogue Raisonne Project, which consist of correspondence, drafts, reports, and research materials, including notes on twenty meetings with Mrs. Prendergast. Exhibition files document Brown's work as curator on several major exhibitions, including a Jacob Lawrence exhibition at the Whitney Museum, and his contributions to others. Also found here are three interviews of Milton Brown and Marcel Duchamp concerning the 50th Anniversary of the Armory Show and anniversary exhibition. Research files include notes, research material, and printed material on various art-related subjects that were maintained by Milton and Blanche Brown for regular use for lectures, teaching, and writing projects. Brown's teaching files contain scattered lecture notes, syllabi, correspondence, faculty records, and other materials from his time at CUNY, Brooklyn College, and other visiting professorships. Organization Files contain correspondence, reports, planning documents, and event materials. These records document his membership or advisory role in various organizations such as the Archives of American Art and Century Association.
This collection also contains printed material, such as exhibition announcements, newsletters, brochures, journals, event programs, and magazine and newspapers clippings compiled by Brown. Scattered photographs include nine photographs of Milton Brown, a few photographs of friends, and photographs of artwork.
The collection is arranged as 11 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1932-1998 (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1908, 1934-1998 (Boxes 1-3; 1.8 linear feet)
Series 3: Travel Journals, 1941-1996 (Boxes 3-4; 1.6 linear feet)
Series 4: Writings, circa 1929-1990s (Boxes 4-13, 25; 8.7 linear feet)
Series 5: Prendergast Catalogue Raisonne Project, circa 1952-1990 (Boxes 13-14, 25; 1.8 linear feet)
Series 6: Exhibition Files, 1962-circa 1997 (Boxes 14-16, 28; 2.0 linear feet, ER01; 0.225 GB)
Series 7: Research Files, circa 1930s-1986 (Boxes 16-19; 3.0 linear feet)
Series 8: Teaching Files, circa 1946-1993 (Boxes 19-21; 2.0 linear feet)
Series 9: Organization Files, 1959-1995 (Boxes 21-22; 1.3 linear feet)
Series 10: Printed Material, 1925-1990s (Boxes 22-24, 26, 27; 3.2 linear feet)
Series 11: Photographs, circa 1956-1990s (Boxes 25, 27; 0.2 linear feet)
Milton Wolf Brown (1911-1998) was an art historian and educator in New York City.
Known to his friends as "Mainey," Brown was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1911. At a young age he intended to be a painter and studied with Louis Lozowick. However, instead of attending art school, he entered New York University to study education and eventually received his master's and doctorate in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts. While there he took courses with Walter Friedlander, Erwin Panofsky, and Mayer Schapiro. He also received fellowships to the Courtauld Institute of Art in 1934 and Brussels in 1937, and studied from 1938-1939 at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University. In 1938 he married fellow student Blanche Levine. After serving in World War II, he began teaching in the art department at Brooklyn College in 1946. There he developed a specialization in American art history and his doctoral dissertation, American Painting from the Armory Show to the Depression, was published in 1955. In 1963 he participated in the fiftieth anniversary exhibition of the 1913 Armory Show. The publication of his book Story of the Armory Show coincided with this event.
In 1971 Brown established the graduate program in Art History at the City University of New York, which became preeminent in the areas of modern art and American art history. During the 1980s he remained a resident professor at CUNY, though he retired in 1979, and he held visiting professorships at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art. From 1983 to 1987 he had a senior fellowship at Williams College for the Prendergast Catalogue Raisonne Project.
Over the course of his career Brown curated exhibitions, including an exhibition on the works of Jacob Lawrence and The Modern Spirit: American Painting and Photography, 1908-1935, and wrote for numerous publications. He also served as an active member of several professional societies. Brown was close friends with art scholars and artists, such as Jack Levine, Moses and Raphael Soyer, Ad Reinhardt, and Paul Strand. In 1991 he returned to painting landscape watercolors, and had the opportunity to exhibit his work before his death in 1998.
Also at the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Milton Wolf Brown, conducted in 1976 by Paul Cummings.
The Milton Wolf Brown papers were donated in 2000 and 2001 by Blanche R. Brown, Brown's widow. Three reel-to reel sound recordings were lent for duplication to cassette and transcript in 1986 by Milton Brown. A cassette copy of the Martha Deane interview was donated in 2006 by Milton Brown's estate, via Naomi Rosenblum. Additional material was donated in 2002 and 2004 by Naomi Rosenblum, executor for the estate of Blanche R. Brown, who died in 2002.
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Art museum curators -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Mary Slusser (1918-2017) was a prominent scholar of Nepalese art, architecture, and cultural history. This collection contains personal files, professional correspondence, research files, travel documents, and photographs. The research files relate to her study of specific subjects and contain mixed media. Photographic materials include prints, slides, negatives, contact sheets, and digital images on compact discs in both color and black and white. Most of the collections are related to her study of Nepal, though other countries are represented including Tibet, Laos, China, and Vietnam. Subjects include firsthand observations of objects and sites; notes on secondary sources; correspondence with fellow scholars; manuscript drafts; and records of her work on the gallery space, and guide to, the Patan Museum. The earliest materials date from 1951 during the beginning of her time living abroad alongside her husband, while both worked for the State Department. The materials continue through 2017, reflecting her dedicated scholarship and travel through the end of her life.
The collection is organized into five series:
• Series 1: Biographical Materials
• Series 2: Correspondence
• Series 3: Research Files
• Series 4: Travel Files
• Series 5: Photographic Materials
Biographical / Historical:
Dr. Mary Slusser (1918-2017) was born as Mary Shepherd in Welland, Ontario to George Percy and Ethel Mary Shepherd. Her family moved to Michigan the following year and Slusser became a naturalized US citizen in 1934. Slusser followed her sister, Dorothy Shepherd (1916-1992), to the University of Michigan, where Mary graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1942. During her studies at Michigan, she met Robert Slusser, whom she would marry in 1944. Slusser moved to New York City in 1942, again following the path of her sister, Dorothy, who had enrolled in graduate school at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. Slusser undertook some coursework at NYU as a part-time student. Slusser would eventually complete her graduate studies at Columbia University, earning a PhD in anthropology in 1950. She completed some of her coursework at Harvard University, while her husband studied at nearby Tufts University. Her dissertation was titled "Preliminary archeological studies of northern Central Chile."
Next, Slusser worked as a research analyst at the US State Department. Her husband also worked at the agency and spent much of his career completing foreign service appointments as an economist with USAID. Slusser accompanied her husband to his various overseas posts, beginning in 1954 in Vietnam. The Slussers would live and work abroad in Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Guinea, Nepal, and Tunisia. Slusser continued to work for the State Department as a field anthropologist. Mary received funding from the Smithsonian to acquire a small collection of Nepalese artifacts. She immediately took to learning about the art and culture of the region. She found a dearth of English-language information on the area and did her own field work and engaged with local scholars to fill in the gaps. She remained in Nepal for five years, contracted by the Smithsonian to write a guide to Nepal. Her research would lead to Nepal Mandala: A Cultural Study of Kathmandu Valley, a two-volume set of text and images, predominantly her own photographs, which was published in 1982.
Robert Slusser retired in 1980, and he and Mary permanently settled in Washington, DC. Her scholarly work took her to museums, first at the Museum of African Art as a curatorial assistant from 1975 to 1978, and then a post-doctoral fellowship at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in 1989. After her fellowship, Slusser was asked to remain at the museum as a research associate, an unpaid position she held for the rest of her career. Slusser continued to publish works on Nepalese art, including the 2010 book, The Antiquity of Nepalese Wood Carving: a Reassessment, co-authored with Paul Jett, a conservator at the museum. Slusser used carbon dating tests to show that many Nepalese wood sculptures were much older than originally thought. Slusser also contributed to the establishment of the Patan Museum in Nepal, which opened in 1997. She served as the museum's cultural advisor and curator and wrote the museum guide and many of the exhibition materials.
Slusser continued to travel to Nepal and other parts of central Asia well into her eighties, often visiting remote sites on foot with the aid of local guides. Slusser stayed active at home, continuing her research work despite declining eyesight and hearing. She died in 2017 at age 98.
Mary Shepherd Slusser papers, circa 1950 – circa 1995, National Museum of National History, National Anthropolgical Archives, NAA.1983.0407
Dorothy Shepard Photographs, National Museum of Asian Art Archives, FSA.A2015.12
Russell Hamilton Postcard and Photograph Collection, National Museum of Asian Art Archives, FSA.A2001.13
Russell Hamilton postcards, between 1900-1909, National Museum of African Art, Eliot Elisophon Photographic Archives, EEPA.2003-001
Collection is open for research.
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the National Museum of Asian Art's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
The records of Midtown Galleries measure 86.82 linear feet and date from 1904 to 1997. The collection documents the operation and general administration of the business and includes artist records, exhibition material, inventories, financial records, photographs, and printed material.
Scope and Content Note:
Records of Midtown Galleries [including the addition], circa 1904-1997, comprise 86.82 linear feet on 117 microfilm reels. Records are sparse for the early years when the gallery was operated as a cooperative. As the business expanded and became profitable, recordkeeping was more systematic and thorough. Records consist of administrative correspondence, 1927-1989 and undated; exhibition records, 1934-1982 and undated; inventories and sales records, 1946-1980 and undated; financial records, 1933-1957; miscellaneous, 1934-1985 and undated; photographs, circa 1925-circa 1980; printed matter, 1932-1982 and undated; personal papers of Alan D. and Mary J. Gruskin, 1932-1983 and undated; and Papers of Francis C. Healey, 1932-1935 and undated An addition, represents scattered material, 1932-1997 and undated, that remained after the gallery closed in 1995. It includes administrative records, 1934-1995 and undated; photographs circa 1938-1988 and undated; artists records, 1932-1993 and undated; exhibitions, 1958-1993 and undated; videotapes, 1977-1988; and oversize printed matter, 1973-1977 and undated Because microfilmimg of the Midtown Galleries records was already underway when this material was received, it could not be integrated with the main portion of the collection.
Administrative correspondence is categorized as General Correspondence, Artists Correspondence, and Artists Applications. General Correspondence is with clients, collectors, museums and galleries, arts organizations, and businesses providing services to Midtown Galleries, and concerns routine business matters. Artists Correspondence contains both personal and business letters since the Gruskins were close friends of many artists represented by Midtown Galleries. Artists Applications consists of correspondence with artists seeking representation by Midtown Galleries. Both accepted and rejected artists are included in this subseries.
Exhibition records includes schedules and general correspondence about cooperative exhibitions and traveling shows. Exhibition files, arranged by title, contain correspondence concerning arrangements for each show.
Inventories include listings by artist and by warehouse location; also, lists of paintings on consignment, paintings returned to artists, loan/shipping log, and "traffic cards." Sales records include "groups totals,: artists account ledger, and sales slips.
Financial records consist of bills paid, banking records, accounting records, and tax returns with related documentation.
Miscellaneous items include manuscripts of Isabel Bishop Catalogue Raisonne and Biography by Karl Lunde and The Art of Philip Guston by Lester D. Longman. Also included are legal documents such as Act of Incorporation, partnership agreement, and leases; 32 guest registers, 1924-1985 and undated, and 15 samples of artist-designed fabrics produced by Onandoga Silk Co., 1946-1947.
Photographs of people include founders Alan D. Gruskin and Francis C. Healey, Mary J. Gruskin (Mrs. Alan D.) and many artists affiliated with Midtown Galleries. Photographs of works of art are by Midtown artists and others. Also, illustrations for Painting in the U.S.A. by Alan D. Gruskin; 2 albums of photographs of the work of Waldo Peirce, circa 1925-1930s (probably compiled by Peirce). Photographs of exhibitions include Midtown Galleries exhibitions and shows elsewhere featuring works by Midtown artists. Miscellaneous photographs include: Gruskin's Department Store (Pa.); models used by artists Julien Binford, Henry Koerner, and Doris Rosenthal; properties owned by Julien Binford and Hans Moeller; Anatol Shulkin's travel pictures of the Soviet Union; store window displays featuring Midtown artists, and fashion models at Midtown Galleries.
Printed matter includes material produced by Midtown Galleries: exhiition catalogs, 1932-1983 and undated; news releases, 1932-1983 and undated; Midtown News, 1965-1970; and miscellaneous items, 1943-1970 and undated Printed matter produced by others includes is comprised of artists files consisting mainly of newsclippings; also, articles about Midtown Galleries and the Gruskins.
Personal papers of Mary J. and Alan D. Gruskin contain biographical information, correspondence, financial records, miscellaneous items, calendars, and writings of Alan D. Gruskin. Correspondence, 1931-1970 and undated, with family and friends concerns personal business; also, letters of condolence on the death of Alan D. Gruskin, 1970. Financial records include personal finances and documentation of gifts of artwork to institutions, with appraisals and tax information. Calendars, 1939-1983, record both personal engagements and some business appointments. Writings of Alan D. Gruskin include manuscripts and drafts of columns, short stories, a screenplay, radio broadcasts, and lecture notes from courses at Harvard.
Papers of Francis C. Healey are comprised of correspondence that relates to both gallery and ersonal business. Also included are scripts and drafts for radio broadcasts, printed matter, press releases, and proposals for radio programs.
Administrative records received with the addition include general correspondence, correspondence with clients, and correspondence regarding gifts, sales and purchases. Records concerning the sale of Midtown Galleries to John Whitney Payson include Gruskin's and Payson's inventories. Also, included is a history of the gallery.
Photographs are of the Gruskins, their friends, and country house; also, views of Midtown exhibitions, openings, artists, and individual works of art.
Artists records are comprised mainly of artists files, largely containing printed matter. Among the artists records are a file of holiday cards by various artists, many with original artwork. Also included are catalogs of group shows featuring Midtown artists at other galleries
Exhibition materials include announcements, news releases, catalogs, miscellaneous printed matter, and a guest book. A small number of these items are dated after Payson's purchase of Midtown Galleries.
Videotapes of William Palmer, Isabel Bishop, and Robert Vickrey, as well as oversize printed matter relating to Midtown artists, complement the artists records.
The collection is arranged into 10 series. A detailed explanation of the arrangement of each series is provided with the series descriptions. Each series is subdivided, often by record type, with categories usually arranged chronologically; exceptions are noted. Administrative correspondence (Series 1) is arranged alphabetically, as are many inventories sales records (Series 3). Photographs of people, exhibitions, and works of art (Series 6) are arranged alphabetically, as are the artists files and exhibition clippings portions of the printed matter (Series 7). The addition is described separately in Appendix A; and, wherever possible, reel and frame numbers of related materials received and filmed with the addition have been included in the main text's series descriptions.
Series 1: Administrative Correspondence, 1927-1989, undated (51 linear ft.)
Series 2: Exhibitions, 1932-1982, undated (4 linear feet)
Series 3: Inventories and Sales Records, 1932-1980, undated (5.3 linear ft.)
Series 4: Financial Records, 1933-1957 (3.5 linear feet)
Series 5: Miscellaneous, 1934-1985, undated (2 linear feet)
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1925-circa 1980 (6.5 linear feet)
Series 7: Printed Matter, 1932-1990, undated (7.25 linear ft.)
Series 8: Personal Papers of Alan D. and Mary J. Gruskin, 1904-1990, undated (4.5 linear feet)
Series 9: Papers of Francis C. Healey, 1932-1935, undated (0.5 linear ft.)
Series 10: Addition, 1932-1997, undated (2.5 linear feet)
Alan D. Gruskin (1904-1970) hoped to become an artist, but while still a student realized that his talents were better suited to art administration than painting. Following graduation from Harvard University, he worked at a New York gallery that specialized in old masters, returning home to Pennsylvania after a year to pursue a writing career that ultimately proved unsuccessful. Gruskin returned to New York and opened Midtown Galleries at 559 Fifth Avenue in 1932. Specializing in work by living American artists, Midtown was one of a rather small number of commercial galleries in New York City that showed contemporary American art. Midtown Galleries represented academic and realist painters, and purposely avoided abstract art.
Founded during the Depression, Midtown Galleries was a shoe-string operation in its early years. Originally operated as a cooperative, Midtown Galleries' participating artists contributed to the costs and work of presenting exhibitions. Between 1932 and 1935, Gruskin served as "Art Director" of the gallery and his business partner, Francis C. Healey was "Publicity Director." Healey appears to have been responsible for weekly broadcasts on NBC radio designed to interest people in visiting the gallery. The 15-minute programs consisted of discussions with museum directors, curators, artists, writers, and musicians about a broad range of cultural topics. Copies of the scripts were offered for a dime, and the payments mailed by radio listeners bought Gruskin's meals. During this period, Gruskin lived in the gallery. After Healey's departure in 1935, Midtown Galleries ceased to be run as a cooperative.
Midtown Galleries usually represented approximately two dozen artists, and many remained with the gallery for decades. They included: Julien Binford, Isabel Bishop, Paul Cadmus, Gladys Rockmore Davis, Emlen Etting, Maurice Freedman, Dong Kingman, Oronzio Maldarelli, William C. Palmer, Waldo Peirce, Doris Rosenthal, Zoltan L. Sepeshy, Frederic Taubes, William Thon, Margit Varga, and Robert Vickrey.
Gruskin worked to educate and interest the public in American art and to promote the artists he represented. In addition to countless reviews, articles, and catalog essays, he wrote three books: Painting in the U.S.A. (1946), The Watercolors of Dong Kingman and How the Artist Works (1958), William Thon: The Artist and His Technique (1964). Gruskin advocated the use of fine art in advertising and industry, obtaining commissions for his artists and at the same time assisting clients in building corporate collections. A prime example is the Upjohn Company which, at Gruskin's urging, included reproductions of paintings in "Your Doctor Speaks," a series of public service announcements. Many of the paintings were purchased subsequently, forming the basis of the Upjohn Collection. A traveling exhibition, The Upjohn Company Collection of Contemporary American Paintings, was circulated by Midtown Galleries and featured in a Life magazine article about fine art and advertising. Another example is the fabric patterns, based on paintings by several of Midtown Galleries' artists, commissioned by the Onandoga Silk Company; the fabrics were used for dresses by popular designers, with fashion shows and window displays of paintings by the participating artists at selected department stores throughout the country. Working closely with architects and interior designers, Gruskin and Midtown Galleries were innovators in the use of domestic and business settings to showcase art with Art In Interiors, a series of exhibitions held annually between 1952 and 1961.
Midtown Galleries was a pioneer in circulating traveling exhibitions to colleges and art associations in communities distant from major art museums and commercial galleries. Beginning in 1936 and or more than 35 years, Midtown Galleries circulated 8-10 shows throughout the country each year; most were group shows organized around a theme, though occasional solo exhibitions were offered. Other important exhibitions off the premises were the Central Illinois Art Exposition, 1939, and the contemporary American art exhibition at the New York World's Fair, 1964-1965. The 1939 show organized by Gruskin for the Bloomington, Illinois, Art Association was a large exhibition of American art borrowed from a variety of institutions; the very well-publicized show was heavily attended, drawing visitors from a large area of the rural Midwest, many of whom had never visited a museum or seen original art.
1932 -- established as a cooperative gallery at 559 Fifth Ave. by Alan D. Gruskin (Art Director) and Francis C. Healey (Public Relations Director); Midtown Galleries presented programs on contemporary American art broadcast by NBC radio
1934-1935 -- Tudor City Art Galleries at 8 Prospect Place, New York City, featuring works by Midtown Galleries' artists and others, administered by Gruskin and Healey
1935 -- departure of Francis C. Healey; gallery moved to 605 Madison Ave.; gallery ceased to be run as a cooperative
1936 -- began traveling exhibitions to universities, museums, and regional art associations
1939 -- Central Illinois Art Exposition (Bloomington, Ill.)
1946 -- San Francisco branch opened and closed; publication of Painting in the U.S.A. by Alan D. Gruskin
1951 -- gallery moved to 17 East 57th Street
1958 -- publication of The Watercolors of Dong Kingman and How the Artist Works by Alan D. Gruskin
1962 -- gallery moved to 11 East 57th Street
1964 -- exhibition of contemporary American art at the New York World's Fair, organized by Midtown Galleries; shown in American Interiors Pavilion, this was the only exhibit of its kind at the Fair; publication of William Thon: The Artist and His Technique by Alan D. Gruskin
1966 -- loan of Midtown Galleries' records for microfilming by the Archives of American Art; this small selection, along with many other gallery records, was donated by Mary Gruskin to the Archives between 1972 and 1991, with an additional gift in 1997
1970 -- death of Alan D. Gruskin (1904-1970); Mary J. Gruskin assumes position of Director
1972 -- first portion of Midtown Galleries' records donated to the Archives of American Art by Mrs. Gruskin
1985 -- sale of Midtown Galleries to John Whitney Payson; Bridget Moore, Director, and Mary J. Gruskin, Director Emerita
1986 -- majority of Midtown Galleries' records acquired by the Archives of American Art
1990 -- name changed to Midtown-Payson Galleries; gallery moved to 745 Fifth Ave.
1991 -- additional gift of records by Mrs. Gruskin
1992 -- records arranged, described, and prepared for microfilming
1993 -- microfilming began; continued sporadically, in small segments
1995 -- Midtown-Payson Galleries closed
1997 -- additional gift of records by Mrs. Gruskin
1999 -- microfilming completed
Midtown Galleries loaned a small number of records consisting of news releases, 1939-1966, and exhibition schedules to the Archives of American Art for microfilming in 1966. Subsequently, Mary J. Gruskin donated this material, along with many other gallery records, to the Archives in several installments between 1972 and 1991; an additional gift was received in 1997. The portion loaned in 1966 is now integrated with the main records and has been refilmed in sequence. Unfortunately, the addition of 1997 was received in Washington, D.C. after microfilming was well underway. The addition has been microfilmed and described separately as Series 10. Wherever possible, the main text has been annotated with reel and frame numbers for related items contained in the addition.
The collection is open for research. Patrons must use microfilm copy.
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- United States Search this
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State)
Midtown Galleries records, 1904-1997. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
The Myron Bement Smith collection consists of two parts, the papers of Myron Bement Smith and his wife Katharine and the Islamic Archives. It contains substantial material about his field research in Italy in the 1920s and his years working on Islamic architecture in Iran in the 1930s. Letters describe the milieu in which he operated in Rochester NY and New York City in the 1920s and early 1930s; the Smiths' life in Iran from 1933 to 1937; and the extensive network of academic and social contacts that Myron and Katharine developed and maintained over his lifetime. The Islamic Archives was a project to which Smith devoted most of his professional life. It includes both original materials, such as his photographs and notes, and items acquired by him from other scholars or experts on Islamic art and architecture. Smith intended the Archives to serve as a resource for scholars interested in the architecture and art of the entire Islamic world although he also included some materials about non-Islamic architecture.
Scope and Contents:
The Myron Bement Smith Collection consists of two parts, the papers of Myron Bement Smith and his wife Katharine and the Islamic Archives. The papers include some biographic material about Myron but little about his wife. Information on his academic and professional experience is sketchy and his diaries and appointment books often contain only sporadic entries. The papers contain substantial material about his field research in Italy in the 1920s and his years working on Islamic architecture in Iran in the 1930s. Correspondence comprises the largest and most potentially useful part of the papers. Letters describe the milieu in which he operated in Rochester, NY and New York City in the 1920s and early 1930s; the Smiths' life in Iran from 1933 to 1937; and the extensive network of academic and social contacts that Myron and Katharine developed and maintained over his lifetime.
The Islamic Archives, formally entitled The Archive for Islamic Culture and Art, was a project to which Smith devoted most of his professional life. It includes both original materials, such as his photographs and notes, and items acquired by him from other scholars or experts on Islamic art and architecture. Most of the latter consists of photographs and slides. Smith intended the Archives to serve as a resource for scholars interested in the architecture and art of the entire Islamic world although he also included some materials about non-Islamic architecture. The core collection of the Archives consists of Smith's original photographs and architectural sketches of Iranian Islamic monuments made during his field research in the 1930s. He meticulously photographed the interior and exterior of monuments, including their decorative detail. Some of the photographic materials subsequently loaned, purchased, or donated to the Archives may enable scholars to document sites over time but in many cases the materials are poorly preserved or reproduced. A notable exception to this is the glassplate negatives and prints of 19th century Iranian photographer Antoin Sevruguin.
The collection is arranged into 2 major series with further subseries. A third series inventories the outsized and miscellaneous materials.
Series 1: Papers
Subseries 1.1: Biographic Materials
Subseries 1.2: Professional Experience
Subseries 1.3: Notebooks, Journals and Appointment Books
Subseries 1.4: Correspondence
Subseries 1.5: Published and Unpublished Materials
Subseries 1.6: Italy Research 1925, 1927-1928
Subseries 1.7: Iran Research 1933-1937
Subseries 1.8: Katharine Dennis Smith Papers and Correspondence
Series 2: The Islamic Archives
Subseries 2.1: Islamic Archives History, Collection Information
Subseries 2.2: Resource Materials Iran
Subseries 2.3: Resource Materials Other Islamic World and General
Subseries 2.4: Myron Bement Smith Architectural Sketches, Plans and Notes, Iran, 1933-1937
Subseries 2.5: Myron Bement Smith Iran Photographs, Notebooks and Negative Registers
Subseries 2.6: Country Photograph File
Subseries 2.7: Lantern Slide Collection
Subseries 2.8: Myron Bement Smith 35 mm Color Slides
Subseries 2.9: Country 35 mm Color Slide File
Subseries 2.10: Myron Bement Smith Negatives
Subseries 2.11: Country Photograph Negatives
Subseries 2.12: Antoin Sevruguin Photographs
Series 3: Outsize and Miscellaneous Items
Subseries 3.1: Map Case Drawers
Subseries 3.2: Rolled Items
Subseries 3.3 Items in Freezer
Subseries 3.4 Smithsonian Copy Negatives
Myron Bement Smith was born in Newark Valley, New York in 1897 and grew up in Rochester, New York. He died in Washington D.C. in 1970. He showed an early interest in drawing, and after graduation from high school, he worked as a draftsman for a Rochester architect. He served in the US Army Medical Corps in France during World War I and on return again worked as an architectural draftsman. He studied at Yale University from 1922 to 1926, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. During summer vacations, he worked as draftsman or designer for architectural firms in New York City. After graduation, he received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation grant and spent two years in Italy doing research on northern Italian brick and stone work. He used photography as an tool for his research and published several well-illustrated articles. On return he joined an architectural firm in Philadelphia and in 1931 became a registered architect in New York. He enrolled in Harvard University graduate school in 1929 pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree.
In April 1930, Smith was appointed Secretary of the newly created American Institute for Persian Art and Archaeology founded by Arthur Upham Pope and located in New York City. He had no prior academic or work experience in Islamic art or architecture, and his job entailed designing publications, arranging lectures, organizing exhibitions and fund raising. That summer he arranged an independent study course at Harvard University on Persian art and subsequently studied Persian language at Columbia University and attended graduate courses at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. His work and academic credentials enabled him to compete successfully for a research fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies in 1933 to study Iranian Islamic architecture.
Accompanied by his new bride Katharine Dennis, Smith left for Iran in 1933. They suffered a horrendous motor vehicle accident in Iraq en route and required a lengthy recuperation in Lebanon and Cyprus. The Smiths eventually arrived in Isfahan, Iran, where they established their "Expedition House," as Smith called it, in a rented faculty house at Stuart College. Smith's research consisted of meticulous photographic documentation of Islamic monuments and architectural sketches and drawings of many of them. He concentrated on the Isfahan area but also documented monuments elsewhere in Iran. Smith outfitted his station wagon as a combination camper and research vehicle in which he and his staff traveled widely. Katharine sometimes traveled with him but generally she remained in Isfahan managing the household and logistics for the "expedition." The Smiths left Iran in 1937.
Smith published several articles about Iran's Islamic monuments based on his field research and in 1947 completed his PhD thesis for The Johns Hopkins University on the vault in Persian architecture. His professional career from 1938 until his death in 1970 consisted of a series of temporary academic positions, contract work and government or academic sponsored lecture tours and photographic exhibits. He had a long lasting relationship with the Library of Congress where he served as an Honorary Consultant from 1938 to 1940 and again from 1948 to 1970; from 1943 to 1944 he was Chief of the Iranian Section at the Library. Despite his lack of published material, Smith was well-known among academic, government and private citizens who worked, traveled or were otherwise interested Iran and the Islamic world.
Smith developed an extensive network of professional and social contacts that dated from his early student days and increased markedly during his time at the Persian Institute and later in Iran. He kept in touch with them and they touted him to others who were interested in Iran or Islamic art and architecture. This network served him well in realizing his ambition of creating a resource for scholars that relied on photographs to document Islamic architecture. The Islamic Archives began with his own collection of photographs from his Iran research and grew to include all manner of photographic and other materials not only on the Islamic world but also other areas. Creating and managing the Archives became the main focus of Smith's professional life and career. In 1967 he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to revise his PhD thesis as a publishable manuscript but died before he could complete it.
The Antoin Sevruguin Photgraphs
Ernst Herzfeld Papers
Lionel B. Bier Drawings
Lionel D. Bier and Carol Bier Photographs
Gift of Katherine Dennis Smith, transfered from National Anthropological Archives.
Collection is open for research.
Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.
The papers of the portraitist and art theorist William Page and the Page family measure 11.06 linear feet and date from 1815 to 1947, bulk 1843-1892. In addition to the papers of William Page, the papers include documents related to Page's wife's career as a writer and records documenting their personal lives and the lives of their family members. Types of documents found include personal documents and artifacts, correspondence, essays, lectures, diaries, poems, notes and notebooks, financial records, legal records, published works, clippings, catalogs, photographs, and artwork.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of the painter William Page and the Page family measure 11.06 linear feet and date from 1815 to 1947, with the bulk of papers dating from 1843 to 1892. Papers contain records related to the life and career of William Page, president of the National Academy of Design from 1871 to 1873 and prominent portraitist and art theorist of his day. Also found are records related to his wife's career as a writer and records documenting their personal lives and the lives of their family members. Types of documents found include personal documents and artifacts, correspondence, essays, lectures, diaries, poems, notes and notebooks, financial records, legal records, published works, clippings, catalogs, photographs, and artwork.
Correspondence includes the personal and professional correspondence of William and Sophia Page, and their parents, siblings, and children. Significant correspondents include Thomas Hicks, Enoch Wood Perry, William Stark, Theodore Tilton, Lemuel Wilmarth, Wendell Phillips, William Walker Scranton, Francis G. Shaw; James Russell Lowell, Charles Frederick Briggs, George W. Curtis, Charlotte Cushman, Thomas K. Beecher, Mary Olmsted, and Bertha Olmsted.
Writings include the essays and lectures of William Page, as written by him and revised by Sophia Page in the late 1870s, as well as Sophia's writings as a columnist in Europe in the 1850s. Notes, notebooks, diaries, and poems are also found. Personal Business Records include business records related to the sale and exhibition of artwork as well as financial and legal documents. A small number of memoranda and documents related to Page's work at the National Academy of Design are also found. Printed Materials include exhibition catalogs, published works by William and Sophia Page, and clippings and articles about Page.
Photographs consist mainly of portraits, most of them mounted cabinet photographs or cartes-des-visites, some of which appear to have been used as studies for Page's painted portraits. Among those pictured are William Page, James Russell Lowell, Henry Ward Beecher, Reuben Fenton, Wendell Phillips, Charles Sumner, William R. O'Donovan, and William Lloyd Garrison. Many of the photographic portraits are unidentified. Artwork includes sketches, drawings, prints, and a small number of notes made by Page in the course of painting portraits.
The collection is arranged into 7 series. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Series 1: Biographical Materials and Artifacts, 1847-1917 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1815-1942 (Boxes 1-4, 9-10; 3.2 linear feet)
Series 3: Notes and Writings, 1839-1888, 1949 (Boxes 4-5, OV 10; 1.3 linear feet)
Series 4: Personal Business Records, 1848-1932 (Boxes 5 and 9; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 5: Printed Materials, 1845-1938 (Boxes 5-7, 9, OV 11; 1.6 linear feet)
Series 6: Photographs, 1845-1947 (Boxes 7-9, OV 12, MGP 5-6; 1.4 linear feet)
Series 7: Artwork, 1856-1874 (Box 8, OV 13-16, rolled documents 17-19; 0.6 linear feet and 3 rolled documents)
The painter William Page was born in 1811 in Albany, NY. He attended public schools in New York City, and after working briefly in the law firm of Frederick de Peyster, was placed in the studio of the painter/engraver James Herring in 1825, where he received his first formal art training. He took classes at the National Academy of Design the year it was formed, in 1826, under Samuel F.B. Morse, and in 1827 he was awarded one of the National Academy's first annual student prizes.
Page joined the Presbyterian church and attended Phillips Academy and Amherst with the intention of becoming a minister, but his artistic ability won out, and by 1830 he was painting commissioned portraits in Albany, Rochester, and New York. He married Lavinia Twibill in 1833, and they had three daughters between 1834 and 1839. He joined the American Academy and served on its board of directors in 1835. He exhibited at the American Academy, the National Academy of Design, the Boston Athenaeum, and other venues throughout the 1830s. Favorable reviews brought steady portrait commissions, including John Quincy Adams and the New York governor William L. Marcy. He was made a full member of the National Academy in 1837.
In the 1840s, Page's reputation and maturity as a painter grew. His first wife left him around 1840, and in 1843 he married Sarah Dougherty. The couple moved to Albany, Boston, and back to New York seeking portrait commissions and patronage. He became friends with the poet James Russell Lowell and the writer and publisher Charles Frederick Briggs, two writers and editors who helped to promote his artwork in Boston and New York and published his theoretical writings. In 1844, Lowell dedicated his first published book of poetry to Page, and the following year, Briggs published a series of articles by Page in the Broadway Journal, entitled "The Art of the Use of Color in Imitation in Painting." The series described Page's arduous experiments with color and glazes, and his ideas about correspondences between spirituality and the natural world as expressed in art.
In 1850, Page traveled to Florence, Italy, where he painted several copies of the works of Titian in the galleries of the Uffizi and Pitti palaces, studying his use of color and further developing his own experimental techniques. He became friends with the sculptor Hiram Powers, who introduced him to the writings of Emmanuel Swedenborg, a Christian metaphysician whose ideas fueled Page's interest in the spiritual aspects of art. In 1852, Page moved to Rome, a city with an international artists' community and a strong market for art. Page found a loyal following in Rome's large circle of American ex-patriates, including the sculptors Thomas Crawford and Harriet Hosmer, the actress Charlotte Cushman, and the poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, all of whom sat for portraits by Page.
In 1854, Page's second wife left him amidst public scandal, and he sank deep in debt to his bankers at Packenham and Hooker, an English firm that by 1856 had a lien on all the paintings in his studio. That same year Page met Sophia Stevens Hitchcock, an American widow traveling in Rome with Bertha Olmsted, Frederick Law Olmsted's sister. Hitchcock was from Barnet, Vermont and came to Europe after her first husband died in 1852 after only a year of marriage. She traveled to England and Paris, where she wrote regular columns on local customs and events for the New York Tribune that were published under the by-line "An American Woman in Paris." She and Page met in Rome in 1856, and in October 1857, after Page traveled back the United States to obtain a divorce from Sarah Dougherty, he and Sophia married.
The couple stayed in Rome until 1860. His wife's three brothers, all businessmen, helped to promote his artwork in Europe and America. Page's paintings of this period include several Venus subjects, one of which was championed by his most loyal patrons, who raised $3000 by subscription to buy the painting for the Boston Athenaeum. A later Venus painting was rejected from the Paris salon for indecency, a controversy that was later leveraged for publicity in a touring exhibition in the United States.
The Pages returned to the United States in 1860 and settled in Tottenville, New York. They had six children between 1858 and 1870. Page had a studio at Eagleswood, NJ, and later in the Studio Building on 10th Street in Manhattan, where he held a large exhibition in 1867. In the 1860s, he painted a self-portrait and a companion portrait of Sophia set in Rome, as well as a series of civil war heroes including Robert Gould Shaw, Winfield Scott, and David Farragut. Photographs played a consistent part in Page's technique of portraiture, and he is known to have worked with the photographer Matthew Brady, who attended art classes early on with Page, as well as the photographers Sarony and Charles Williamson, who taught classes on drawing from enlarged photo-transparencies. Brady photographs taken for Page include David Farragut and Reuben Fenton.
Page lectured frequently on Titian and Venetian art, a subject in which he was considered an expert, and on painting technique and his philosophical ideas about nature, art, and spirituality. In 1871, Page was elected the president of the National Academy of Design, a post he held until 1873, but his poor health following a collapse in 1872 limited his accomplishments in office. Despite these limitations, he continued to paint, including portraits of General Grant, an idealized portrait of the president based on early photographs and Charles Sumner. He also became interested in portraiture of William Shakespeare around this time, and his studies resulted in a book, Shakespeare's Portraits, a bust based on existing portraiture, and a full-length portrait entitled "Shakespeare Reading," based on Page's measurements of a supposed death mask in Darmstadt, Germany, which he went to inspect against the advice of his doctor in 1874.
In 1877, another collapse left Page incapacitated for the remainder of his life. Sophia Page tried editing and publishing his writings and lectures, but with little success. Page died in 1885. A life marked by personal scandal ended the same, when two of his daughters from his first marriage contested his will, tying up his estate in a lengthy and public probate trial. Their suit was dismissed in 1889, and Sophia Page died in 1892.
This biography relies heavily on Joshua Taylor's William Page: The American Titian (1957).
The Archives of American Art also holds materials lent for microfilming (reel 1091) including letters from Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, Lydia Maria Child, Charlotte Cushman, James Russell Lowell, Charles A. Dana, and others. Lent material was returned to the donor and is This material is not described in the container listing of this finding aid.
A portion of the collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by Mrs. Lesslie S. (Pauline Page) Howell, William Page's grandaughter, in 1963. William S. Page, Pauline Page Howell's nephew, donated additional papers in 1964 and 1973. Pauline Page Howell and William S. Page also loaned a group of letters to the Archives in 1964 which were microfilmed on reel 1091 and then returned to the donors. Mrs. Howell's son, William Page Howell, donated material in 1980.
Letters of Charles F. Briggs to James Russell Lowell (Series 2.2) were a part of Pauline Page Howell's 1963 donation to the Archives of American Art. They had been given to Mrs. Howell by Charlotte Briggs, daughter of Charles F. Briggs, because of her father's lifelong friendship with William Page. Letters from Lowell to Briggs are in the James Russell Lowell papers in Houghton Library at Harvard University.
The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.
Portrait painters -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Portrait painting -- 19th century -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
William Page and Page Family papers, 1815-1947, bulk 1843-1892. 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.
Smithsonian Institution. Anacostia Community Museum Search this
2 Video recordings (open reel, 1/2 inch)
2 Sound recordings (audio cassette)
Anacostia (Washington, D.C.)
Scope and Contents:
Dr. Sterling A. Brown talks about his experiences and teachers, including Anna J. Cooper, at M Street High School (later known as Dunbar High School); and education and segregation, which was fought by Cooper and Mary Church Terrell. He provides a short history and legacy of Cooper, who he considers a role model; and reads prose by Anna J. Cooper which highlights her educational philosophy and her views regarding education and the roles of teachers. Brown talks about his education and academic career; reminiscences his teaching experiences particularly at Virginia Theological Seminary and College, and living in Lynchburg, Virginia; and reads a few of his own poems, which focus on black life experiences in the Southern United States. Ophelia Settle Egypt, a friend of Sterling Brown, reminiscences about her experiences attending Howard University and adventures with Brown and his wife, Daisy: their resentment of Jim Crow and riding on a segregated bus. Mr. Muhammad reads his poems in tribute of Sterling Brown and "for everyone in the struggle of identifying what is what and who is who and what we need to do about it." Zora Martin-Felton introduces the speakers throughout the lecture series.
Lecture, and poetry and prose reading. AV003057 and AV003051: video. AV001053 and AV001353: audio only. Part of Anna J. Cooper: A Voice from the South Audiovisual Records. AV003057, AV003051, and AV001053: undated. AV001353: dated 19810426.
Biographical / Historical:
The collection, Anna J. Cooper: A Voice from the South Audiovisual Records, contains sound and video recordings of exhibit tours, gallery talks, and lectures associated with an exhibition, Anna J. Cooper: A Voice from the South. The exhibition presented the life and times of Washington, D.C. black educator and author Anna Julia Haywood Cooper through historical documents, photographs, memorabilia, and re-creations of her home and classroom settings. It was organized by the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum and held there from February 1981 to September 1982; Louise Daniel Hutchinson served as curator. The exhibition was based on an unpublished manuscript by the late Dr. Leona Gable, Smith College; and titled after Cooper's written work, A Voice from the South: By a Black Woman of the South.;Educator, author, and speaker Anna Julia Haywood Cooper (1858-1964) was born into slavery and educated at Saint Augustine's Normal School and Collegiate Institute in Raleigh, North Carolina. While teaching at St. Augustine's, she married George A. C. Cooper, who died two years later. After her husband's death, Cooper moved to Washington, D.C., attended Oberlin College, taught at Wilberforce College and M Street High School, and later went on to earn her Ph.D. from the University of Paris-Sorbonne. Cooper taught Greek, Latin, geometry, and science; and created a path for African Americans to attend Ivy League schools. Although she taught and served as principal (1902-1906) of the M Street High School (now Dunbar High School) in Washington, D.C., her role and influence extended beyond its boundaries. Cooper was an advocate of human rights who lectured on a broad range of topics that affected blacks and women, including race relations, poverty, and gender inequality; a feminist of her day. She was a contributor to the District of Columbia's Colored Settlement House; served as president of Frelinghuysen University, which offered affordable liberal arts and professional courses for working African Americans; and wrote A Voice from the South by a Black Woman of the South, the first book-length volume of black feminist analysis in the United States.;Professor, poet, and literary critic Dr. Sterling A. Brown (1901-1989) was born and raised in the Washington, D.C area. He grew up on a farm in Howard County, Maryland; and attended Waterford Oaks Elementary, Dunbar High School, Williams College in Massachusetts, and Harvard University. He married Daisy Turnbull in 1927. Brown taught at Howard University, Fisk University, Vassar College, New York University, Atlanta University, Yale University, and Virginia Theological Seminary and College in Lynchburg, Virginia. His studies and poetry focused on black history and culture of the Southern United States.;Originally named Preparatory High School for Colored Youth and later known as M Street High School, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, located in Washington, D.C., was the first black public high school in the United States. During the first half of the twentieth century, Dunbar was an academically elite public school with many of its teachers holding master and doctorate degrees. By the 1950s, the school was sending 80 percent of its students to college. During the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century, Dunbar struggled to keep its prestigious reputation and high standards. As with many troubled urban public schools, Dunbar standards fell and some students struggle with basic reading and math. The Dunbar Legacy Lecture Series, which was held at the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum in the early 1980s, consisted of lectures by and about people associated with Dunbar High School.
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Some items are not accessible due to obsolete format and playback machinery restrictions. Please contact the archivist at email@example.com.
The Historical Records of the Barnett-Aden Gallery showcases one of the first galleries owned and operated by African Americans. The work of the Gallery was invaluable as they opened the exhibition space to established and unknown artists regardless of race or gender.
Scope and Contents:
The Historical Records of Barnett-Aden Gallery collection includes historical background materials on the gallery, its founders James V. Herring and Alonzo Aden as well as Adolphus Ealey, its steward after its closure in 1969. The materials include correspondence, business records, photographs, exhibition catalogues, and clippings.
The materials in this collection have been kept at the folder level and separated into four series. The materials have been ordered and organized based on the content. Within each series and subseries, the folders are organized as close to the collection's original order as when it was acquired.
The Barnett-Aden Gallery, suggested to be the first African American privately-owned gallery in the U.S, open its doors on October 16, 1943. The gallery was founded by artist and scholar James V. Herring alongside his protegee, curator Alonzo Aden. The gallery was housed in a private home that they shared, located on 127 Randolph Street NW in Washington, DC. These men aimed to create an art gallery that provided a venue for underrepresented artists of all races and genres. It was this partnership that laid the foundation for the shift in African American representation in modern art. Aden stated that the gallery's aims were to help foster new talent while also bringing "art of superior quality" to the community. Throughout its history, the gallery held almost 200 exhibitions and showcased the work of over 400 artists.
James Vernon Herring was born on January 7, 1887 in Clio, South Carolina to an African American mother, Alice Herring (1860-1942), and white father, William Culbreth. As a young man, he moved to Washington, DC for better educational opportunities. Herring was educated at the Howard Academy, a preparatory high school located at nearby Howard University campus. Herring received his undergraduate degree from Syracuse University and completed graduate studies at Columbia and Harvard Universities. Trained in art and classical studies with a focus on French impressionism, Herring was initially brought on Howard University's faculty as architecture instructor in 1920. This experience inspired Herring to create the Department of Art at the university where he convinced former home economics student and future prominent visual artist, Alma Thomas to be the art school's first graduate in 1924. Herring continued to mentor and discover young artists as was the case with Alonzo Aden.
Alonzo Aden was born on May 6, 1906 in Spartanburg, South Carolina to Naomi Barnett (1883-1956) and Ephraim Aden (1859-1917). His working-class parents wanting more for their eldest son, decided to send him to live with relatives in Washington, DC for greater educational opportunities. Aden did well academically and completed some studies at Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) before finally entering Howard University in 1927. The following year, Herring opened the Howard University Gallery of Art and installed Aden as its first curator. Aden initially pursued a career as an educator but became more interested in art history and after his graduation from Howard in 1933, he pursued studies in museum and curatorial work.
Recent scholarship has suggested that Herring and Aden were in a romantic as well as working relationship. Working together in the Howard Gallery of Art, they sought to provide a space for art students, local artists and other relatively unknown artists from around the world. Living together since 1929, Herring supported Aden's post-graduate pursuits including his studies of African arts and crafts in galleries across Europe as well as his curatorial work at the American Negro Exposition in Chicago in 1940. Aden returned to Washington to great acclaim and continued his work with Herring at the Howard Gallery of Art.
The Gallery was housed in a Victorian townhouse located in the then middle-class African American neighborhoods of LeDroit Park and Logan Circle (present-day Bloomingdale). Research notes that the house was purchased during the late 1920s by Herring with some assistance of artist Alma Thomas (or vice versa). Both were listed as owners of the property until 1933 when Aden was listed as the co-owner. In 1943, Aden resigned as head of the Howard Gallery for unknown reasons which led Herring and Aden to open a gallery in their home. The gallery was named after Aden's mother Naomi, who also served as an early benefactor of the gallery giving $1,000 in support. It was the support of various benefactors alongside Herring's salary as a Howard professor and Aden's several "government jobs" that kept the gallery afloat during its time in the home. The first floor of the gallery consisted entirely of exhibition space with the second-floor space interchanged between exhibition, study, and living spaces over the years. Herring's library, also located on the upper floors, was used for research by students and local scholars. Herring and Aden never saw the gallery as a truly profitable venture but instead wanted to offer avenues for the artists to showcase their work. As policy, each artist retained all money earned from sales but were required to donate at least one work of art to the Barnett-Aden collection.
The gallery, the first of its kind in Washington at the time, exhibited works of artists regardless of race; African American artists displayed alongside their more notable white peers. Notable artists featured in the gallery include Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, and M.C. Escher were exhibited alongside notable African American artists Richmond Barthé, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Charles White, Selma Burke as well as many others. Several Howard professors who went on to have notable art careers also exhibited their work at the gallery including James Porter, Lois Mailou Jones, and James Lesesne Wells. Many of the artists featured in the gallery were also greatly involved in the operations. Alma Thomas served gallery's vice president before she began exhibiting her work there in 1950s. Artist and scholar, David Driskell served as the associate director of the gallery after Aden's death.
The gallery held five to eight exhibitions every year including a special annual anniversary exhibition. In 1944, the gallery opened a show featuring Brazilian modern artist, Candido Portinari, who had previously completed a mural at the Library of Congress, that sparked great interest at the gallery. The exhibition opening brought in visitors from all over Washington including members of the president's cabinet, foreign ambassadors and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. This renewed interest created a somewhat hectic pace in keeping up with the work of the gallery. This pace coupled with the full-time jobs and other ventures including a gift shop enabled the gallery to act as a luminary of the African American and local arts community in Washington.
In 1961, while preparing for the annual anniversary exhibition, Alonzo Aden died suddenly. Herring with aid of his friends and students took on the management of the gallery after his partner's death but was unable to keep the pace of Aden's work and the attendance declined. In 1969, Herring died in the home leaving behind a formidable legacy. The home and its contents including the gallery's art collection was sold in order to settle the debts of Herring's estate. The collection was divided amongst three individuals. Artist and former Herring student, Adolphus Ealey inherited the bulk of the collection that featured 250 significant works. Herring's books, graphic drawings, and prints were given to Herring associate and friend, Dr. Felton J. Earls, while the sculptures went to art collectors and friends Dr. and Mrs. Cecil Marquez.
The portion of the collection owned by Ealey was described as the preeminent selection from the gallery's collection. The size and ongoing upkeep of the collection was significant which caused the collection to be moved several times over the years. The collection which out of necessity was originally stored in Ealey's Southwest Washington apartment then moved a to a house in LeDroit Park and then to another space in the Washington neighborhood of Fort Lincoln. Ealey collaborated with colleagues and institutions to have it exhibited in various locations but also bid to find the collection a permanent home. During the 1970s, the collection was featured at the Museum of Afro-American Culture and History in Philadelphia, the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum (now the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum) and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
Unable to find an institutional home for the collection, Ealey was forced to sell the collection in 1989 to the Florida Endowment Fund for Higher Education. Ealey stipulated that collection must remain intact but also that the new owners had to develop educational and outreach programs focused on African Americans in the arts. Failing to find consistent opportunities to exhibit the collection, the owners were forced to sell the collection. In 1998, Robert L. Johnson, then chairman and founder of the television channel, Black Entertainment Television (BET), purchased the collection. The collection went on a national tour then was displayed for some time at the BET headquarters in Washington. In 2015, Johnson donated selections from the gallery collection to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in an effort to preserve the legacy of the Barnett-Aden Gallery and the tireless work of James V. Herring and Alonzo Aden for generations to come.
1897 -- James Vernon Herring was born January 7 in Clio, South Carolina.
1906 -- Alonzo James Aden was born May 6 in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
1914-1916 -- While attending Syracuse University, Herring taught summer classes at Wilberforce University in Ohio for two summers.
1917 -- Herring graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelors of Pedagogy in Art degree.
1917-1920 -- Herring served as YMCA secretary for the YMCA in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and then Camp Lee, Virginia. Herring also held teaching positions at Straight College in New Orleans and Bennett College in North Carolina
1920 -- Alonzo was sent to Washington, D.C. to live with his uncle, James Aden, and his wife Laura.
1921 -- Herring was initially hired as architectural drawing instructor at Howard University and after negotiations established Department of Art later that same year.
1927 -- Herring organized an exhibition of Howard U. students' artwork that toured the Deep South U.S. Aden enrolled in Howard University in pursuit of an education degree.
1930 -- The Howard University Gallery of Art formally opened on April 7. Aden was hired as gallery assistant.
1933 -- Aden received his Bachelor of Arts in Education; Herring added Aden's name as co-owner of the 127 Randolph Place home.
1934-1939 -- Aden engaged in post-graduate study and museum curatorial work around the U.S. and Europe.
1940 -- Aden served as art curator for the American Negro Exposition (the "Negro's World Fair") in Chicago
1943 -- Aden resigned his position at the Howard University Gallery of Art for undisclosed reasons. The Barnett-Aden Gallery was founded by James V. Herring and Alonzo Aden. The first exhibition, "American Paintings for the Home" featured Elizabeth Catlett, Lois Mailou Jones, Malvin Gray Johnson, James Lesesne Wells, Jacob Lawrence, and many others.
1944 -- First anniversary exhibition featuring artist Candido Portinari, Brazilian artist who was already known in Washington from his mural for the Library of Congress. It was attended by the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. Exhibition, "The Negro in Art" and "American Paintings for the Home" featuring Catlett, James A. Porter, Wells, Jones, Richmond Barthé, Hale Woodruff, Betsy Graves Reyneau and others.
1946 -- Exhibition, "Paintings by Lois Mailou Jones" and featured paintings of Jacob Lawrence for Third Anniversary exhibition.
1947 -- Fourth Anniversary Exhibition, "Recent Paintings by Charles White". Exhibition of Elizabeth Catlett, "Paintings, Sculpture, and Prints of The Negro Woman".
1948 -- Exhibition, "Paintings and Drawings by James A. Porter".
1949 -- Exhibition, "Sylvia Carewe".
1950 -- "Exhibition of Six Washington Artists" featuring Romare Bearden, Samuel Bookatz, Bernice Cross, Robert Gates, Norma Mazo, and James A. Porter. "Exhibition "Paintings and Prints by James Lesesne Wells."
1951 -- Exhibition, "Three Washington Artists" featuring Richard Dempsey, Sam Herman, and Jack Perlmutter Exhibition, "Herman Maril: Paintings in Retrospect, 1931-1951"
1953 -- Tenth Anniversary Exhibition, "Eighteen Washington Artists" featuring Sarah Baker, Samuel Bookatz, William Calfee, Bernice Cross, Robert Franklin Gates, Jacob Kainen, Marjorie Phillips, James Porter, and James Lesesne Wells.
1954 -- Exhibition "Six Washington Painters" featuring Theresa Abbott, Gabriel Cherin, Gloria Besser Green, Alma W. Thomas, and Anita Wertheim.
1955 -- Twelfth anniversary exhibition focused on "Jack Perlmutter".
1957 -- Exhibition, "David C. Driskell: Exhibition of Paintings"
1958 -- Exhibition "Norman Lewis: Paintings"
1959 -- Sixteenth Anniversary Exhibition of "Paintings by Pietro Lazzari, Helen Rennie, Alma Thomas, Andrea De Zerega". Exhibition of "Religious Paintings and Prints by James L. Wells and Sculpture by Selma Burke"
1962 -- Alonzo Aden died suddenly at the age of 56 on October 13 in Washington D.C. Herring solely inherits the Gallery collection.
1969 -- Herring dies at age 84 in Washington, DC. on May 29. Artist Adolphus Ealey inherits the bulk of the gallery collection along with Dr. Felton J. Earls and Dr. and Mrs. Cecil Marquez.
1974 -- Two exhibitions of the collection at the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
1989 -- Collection sold to Florida Endowment Fund for Higher Education.
1998 -- Robert Johnson, founder and former CEO of Black Entertainment Television (BET) purchased the entire collection and serves as administrators over the collection.
Acquired through a purchase by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Collection is open for research. Access to collection materials requires an appointment.
The NMAAHC Archives can provide reproductions of some materials for research and educational use. Copyright and right to publicity restrictions apply and limit reproduction for other purposes.
These papers reflect the professional lives of Alice Cunningham Fletcher (1838-1923), an ethnologist with the Peabody Museum of Harvard and collaborator with the Bureau of American Ethnology, and Francis La Flesche (1856-1923), an anthropologist with the Bureau of American Ethnology. Due to the close professional and personal relationship of Fletcher and La Flesche, their papers have been arranged jointly. The papers cover the period from 1874 to 1939. Included in the collection is correspondence, personal diaries, lectures, field notes and other ethnographic papers, drafts, musical transcriptions, publications by various authors, maps and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
These papers reflect the professional lives of Alice Cunningham Fletcher (1838-1923), an ethnologist with the Peabody Museum of Harvard University and collaborator with the Bureau of American Ethnology, and Francis La Flesche (1856-1923), an anthropologist with the Bureau of American Ethnology. Due to the close professional and personal relationship of Fletcher and La Flesche, their papers have been arranged jointly. The papers cover the period from 1874 to 1939. Included in the collection is correspondence, personal diaries, lectures, field notes and other ethnographic papers, drafts, musical transcriptions, publications by various authors, maps and photographs.
The papers have been divided into three general categories: the papers of Alice Cunningham Fletcher, the papers of Francis La Flesche, and the ethnographic research of Fletcher and La Flesche. The first two categories represent personal and professional materials of Fletcher and La Flesche. The third section holds the majority of the ethnographic material in the collection.
Of primary concern are Fletcher and La Flesche's ethnological investigations conducted among the Plains Indians, particularly the Omaha and Osage. Fletcher's Pawnee field research and her allotment work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs among the Omaha, Nez Perce, and Winnebago are represented in the collection. A substantial portion of the ethnographic material reflects Fletcher and La Flesche's studies of Native American music. Much of the correspondence in the papers of Fletcher and La Flesche is rich with information about the situation of Omaha peoples in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Also included in the collection are documents related to Fletcher's work with the Archaeological Institute of America and the School for American Archaeology. Additionally, substantial amounts of Fletcher's early anthropological and historical research are found among her correspondence, lectures, anthropological notes, and early field diaries. La Flesche's literary efforts are also generously represented.
The collection is divided into the following 3 series: 1) Alice Cunningham Fletcher papers, 1873-1925; 2) Francis La Flesche papers, 1881-1930; 3) Papers relating to the anthropological research of Alice Fletcher and Francis La Flesche, 1877-1939.
Series 1: Alice Cunningham Fletcher papers is divided into the following 10 subseries: 1.1) Incoming correspondence, 1874-1923 (bulk 1882-1923); 1.2) Outgoing correspondence, 1873-1921; 1.3) Correspondence on specific subjects, 1881-1925; 1.4) Correspondence between Fletcher and La Flesche, 1895-1922; 1.5) Publications, 1882-1920; 1.6) Organizational records, 1904-1921; 1.7) General anthropological notes, undated; 1.8) Lectures, circa 1878-1910; 1.9) Diaries, 1881-1922; 1.10) Biography and memorabilia, 1878-1925.
Series 2: Francis La Flesche papers is divided into the following 6 subseries: 2.11) General correspondence, 1890-1929; 2.12) Correspondence on specific subjects, 1881-1930; 2.13) Publications, 1900-1927; 2.14) Literary efforts, undated; 2.15) Personal diaries, 1883-1924; 2.16) Biography and memorabilia, 1886-1930.
Series 3: Papers relating to the anthropological research of Alice Fletcher and Francis La Flesche is divided into the following 12 subseries: 3.17) Alaska, 1886-1887; 3.18) Earth lodges, 1882, 1898-1899; 3.19) Music, 1888-1918; 3.20) Nez Perce, 1889-1909; 3.21) Omaha, 1882-1922; 3.22) Osage, 1896-1939; 3.23) Pawnee, 1897-1910; 3.24) Pipes, undated; 3.25) Sioux, 1877-1896; 3.26) Other tribes, 1882-1922; 3.27) Publications collected, 1884-1905, undated; 3.28) Photographs, undated.
Biographical / Historical:
Alice Cunningham Fletcher (1838-1923) was an ethnologist with the Peabody Museum of Harvard and collaborator with the Bureau of American Ethnology. Francis La Flesche (1856-1923) was an anthropologist with the Bureau of American Ethnology.
Chronology of the Life of Alice Cunningham Fletcher
1838 March 15 -- Born in Havana, Cuba
1873-1876 -- Secretary, American Association for Advancement of Women
1879 -- Informal student of anthropology, Peabody Museum, Harvard University
1881 -- Field trip to Omaha and Rosebud Agencies
1882 -- Assistant in ethnology, Peabody Museum, Harvard University
1882 -- Helped secure land in severalty to Omaha Indians
1882-1883 -- Begins collaboration with Francis La Flesche on the Peabody Museum's collection of Omaha and Sioux artifacts
1883-1884 -- Special Agent, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Omaha Agency
1886 -- Bureau of Education investigation of Alaskan native education
1887-1888 -- Special Disbursing Agent, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Winnebago Agency
1889-1892 -- Special Agent for allotment, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Nez Perce Agency
1890-1899 -- President, Women's Anthropological Society of America
1891-1923 -- Mary Copley Thaw Fellow, Peabody Museum, Harvard University
1892-1893 -- Department of Interior consultant, World's Columbian Exposition
1896 -- Vice-President, Section H, American Association for the Advancement of Science
1897 -- Collaborator, Bureau of American Ethnology
1899-1916 -- Editorial board, American Anthropologist
1900 -- Published Indian Story and Song from North America
1901-1902 -- Advisory committee, Anthropology Department, University of California at Berkeley
1903 -- President, Anthropological Society of Washington
1904 -- Published The Hako: A Pawnee Ceremony with James Murie
1908-1913 -- Chair, Managing Committee of School of American Archaeology
1911 -- Honorary Vice-President, Section H, British Association for Advancement of Science
1911 -- Published The Omaha Tribe with Francis La Flesche
1913 -- Chair Emeritus, Managing Committee of School of American Archaeology
1915 -- Published Indian Games and Dances with Native Songs Arranged from American Indian Ceremonials and Sports
1923 April 6 -- Died in Washington, D.C.
Chronology of the Life of Francis La Flesche
1857 December 25 -- Born on Omaha Reservation near Macy, Nebraska
1879 -- Lecture tour, Ponca chief Standing Bear
1881 -- Interpreter, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
1881-1910 -- Clerk, Bureau of Indian Affairs
1891 -- Informally adopted as Fletcher's son
1892 -- LL.B., National University Law School
1893 -- LL.M., National University Law School
1900 -- Published The Middle Five: Indian Boys at School
1906-1908 -- Marriage to Rosa Bourassa
1910-1929 -- Ethnologist, Bureau of American Ethnology
1911 -- Published The Omaha Tribe with Alice Fletcher
1921 -- Published The Osage Tribe, Part One
1922 -- Member, National Academy of Sciences
1922-1923 -- President, Anthropological Society of Washington
1925 -- Published The Osage Tribe, Part Two
1926 -- Honorary Doctor of Letters, University of Nebraska
1928 -- Published The Osage Tribe, Part Three
1932 -- Published Dictionary of the Osage Language
1932 September 5 -- Died in Thurston County, Nebraska
1939 -- Posthumous publication of War Ceremony and Peace Ceremony of the Osage Indians
Additional material related to the professional work of Fletcher and La Flesche in the National Anthropological Archives may be found among the correspondence of the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE) and the records of the Anthropological Society of Washington.
Sound recordings made by Fletcher and La Flesche can be found at the Library of Congress. The National Archives Records Administration hold the Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), including those relating to allotments in severalty for the Nez Perce by Alice Fletcher. The Nebraska Historical Society has diaries, letters and clippings regarding the La Flesche family, including correspondence of Francis La Flesche and Fletcher. The Radcliffe College Archives holds a manuscript account of Alice Fletcher's four summers with the Nez Perce (1889-1892). Correspondence between Fletcher and F. W. Putnam is also located at the Peabody Museum Archives of Harvard University.
Ethnographic photographs from the collection have been catalogued by tribe in Photo Lot 24.
Glass plate negatives from the collection have been catalogued by tribe in the BAE glass negatives collection (Negative Numbers 4439-4515).
The papers of Alice Cunningham Fletcher and Francis La Flesche have been received from an undocumented number of sources. Portions of Fletcher's ethnographic papers were donated to the archives by Mrs. G. David Pearlman in memory of her husband in 1959.
The Alice Cunningham Fletcher and Francis La Flesche papers are open for research.
Access to the Alice Cunningham Fletcher and Francis La Flesche papers requires an appointment.
Alan Harwood is a Professor Emeritus at University of Massachusetts, Boston in the Anthropology Department. Trained in social anthropology he has studied illness and healing in Tanzania and communities in New York City and Boston. Harwood was the founding editor of Medical Anthropology Quarterly (new series, 1986-1991) and series editor of Cambridge Studies in Medical Anthropology (1999-2004) The bulk of this collection is composed of Alan Harwood's 1962-1964 ethnographic research among the Safwa in Tanzania (then known as Tanganyika); his research on health beliefs and medical practices of residents in a low-income area of the Bronx, New York (1967-1970); and his research in Boston, Massachusetts on different ethnic groups' conceptions of health (1994-1995). Also among his papers are materials from his involvement in the Centers for Disease Control and American Anthropological Association (AAA) Workgroup on "The Use of Race & Ethnicity as Scientific Categories" at the 1994 AAA meeting.
Scope and Contents:
The bulk of the collection is composed of Alan Harwood's ethnographic research among the Safwa in Tanzania (then known as Tanganyika); his research on health beliefs and medical practices of residents in a low-income area of the Bronx, New York; and his research in Boston, Massachusetts on different ethnic groups' conceptions of health. The few photographs in the collection are aerial views of Isyesye, where he conducted his Safwa research, and images from Utengule taken by White Fathers and dating from the 1940s. The collection also contains Harwood's linguistic recordings of Kimalila and of Kisafwa and Kinyiha spoken in various dialects. In addition, the collection contains sound recordings of Safwa ceremonies and an audio letter from Harold Conklin, Mario Bick, Georgeda Buchbinder Bick, and Michiko Takaki. Also among his papers are his correspondence as the editor of Medical Anthropology Quarterly and of Ethnicity and Medical Care; materials from his involvement in the Centers for Disease Control and American Anthropological Association (AAA) Workgroup on "The Use of Race & Ethnicity as Scientific Categories" at the 1994 AAA meeting; and letters of recommendation (restricted until 2056) that Harwood wrote for students and colleagues. In addition, the collection contains Harwood's course notes as an undergraduate student at Harvard and as a graduate student at University of Michigan and Columbia University. The collection also contains Harwood's research notes on North Luzon as Conklin's student research assistant at Columbia University. Harwood's correspondence is spread throughout the collection and filed by project. Among his notable correspondents are Harold Conklin and Joseph Greenberg. Their letters can be found with the Safwa materials.
Arranged into 8 series: (1) Safwa Research, 1961-1970; (2) Bronx Research, 1957-1986; (3) Boston Research, 1993-1996; (4) Professional Activities, 1975-2001; (5) Student Files, 1953-1962; (6) Microfilm; (7) Photographs, circa 1940s & 1963; (8) Sound Recordings, 1962-1964
Alan Harwood was born on March 20, 1935 in Tarrytown, New York. He earned his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, in Social Relations from Harvard University in 1957 and attended the London School of Economics on a one year fellowship the following year. When he returned to the United States, he began his graduate studies in anthropology at the University of Michigan, earning his M.A. in 1960. He went on to Columbia University for his doctorate, which he was awarded in 1967.
Under a pre-doctoral fellowship funded by the Social Science Research Council, Harwood conducted ethnographic research on the Safwa of the southwestern region of Tanganyika (now known as Tanzania). From September 1962 to 1964, Harwood carried out his research mainly in the village of Isyesye, near Mbeya, Southern Highlands Region. At the time, witchcraft accusations were common, and it thus became the subject of his dissertation, Witchcraft, Sorcery, and Social Categories among the Safwa, later published in 1970.
In 1967, Harwood was hired by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Health Center (formerly called the Neighborhood Medical Care Demonstration) in Bronx, New York. From 1967 to 1970, he directed a study on the health, illness, and medical beliefs and practices of residents in a low-income area of the south Bronx. One of the articles produced from this research was Harwood's "The Hot-Cold Theory of Disease: Implications for Treatment of Puerto Rican Patients" (1971). Harwood also looked at spiritism among the Puerto Rican community, which led to his publication, Rx: Spiritist as Needed: A Study of a Puerto Rican Community Mental Health Resource (1977).
From 1994 to 1995, Harwood was the co-principal investigator of a study conducted under the Tufts New England Medical Center on conceptions of health and well-being among 4 ethnic groups in Boston: African Americans, Mandarin-speaking Chinese Americans, Irish Americans, and Puerto Ricans. Harwood led the group studying Irish Americans.
In addition to his research, Harwood was the founding editor of Medical Anthropology Quarterly (new series, 1986-1991) and series editor of Cambridge Studies in Medical Anthropology (1999-2004) and of Studies in Medical Anthropology (2004-2006). He also edited Ethnicity and Medical Care (1981), a book geared towards health professionals.
In 1971, Harwood spent a year in New Zealand as a visiting senior lecturer at the University of Auckland. From 1972 to 2002, he was a professor of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. During his tenure, he also served as adjunct professor in the Department of Psychology (1993-2002) and as associate dean for Undergraduate Education, College of Arts and Sciences (1998-2001). In addition, he was a lecturer in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School (1992-present).
In 1982, Harwood was honored with the Wellcome Medal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland for Research in Anthropology as Applied to Medical Problems. He is also a Fellow of the American Anthropological Association and of the Society for Applied Anthropology.
Materials that identify the participants in Harwood's Bronx and Boston studies are restricted until 2056.
The papers of Ralph S. and Rose L. Solecki, 1904-2017 (bulk 1951-1999) primarily document their archaeological excavations and subsequent analysis of sites in Southwest Asia including Shanidar Cave and Zawi Chemi Shanidar in northern Iraq; Yabroud, Syria; and Nahr Ibrahim and El Masloukh, Lebanon primarily during the 1950s-1980s. The papers also include their work at other sites throughout the Near East and North America and files relating to the professional careers at the Smithsonian Institution, Columbia University, and Texas A&M University. The collection consists of field notes, data and analysis, manuscript drafts, publications, correspondence, illustrations and maps, photographic prints, negatives, slides, and recorded film.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Ralph S. and Rose L. Solecki document their archaeological excavations and subsequent analysis of sites in Southwest Asia including Shanidar Cave and Zawi Chemi Shanidar in northern Iraq; Yabroud, Syria; Nahr Ibrahim and El Masloukh, Lebanon primarily during the 1950s-1980s. The papers also reflect their academic careers as students and faculty at Columbia University, staff at the Smithsonian Institution, and adjunct faculty at Texas A&M University.
The bulk of the collection consists of materials relating to the Soleckis' archaeological excavations at Shanidar Cave and Zawi Chemi Shanidar in northern Iraq (1951-1960); Yabroud, Syria and locations in Turkey as part of the Columbia University Near East expeditions (or C.U.N.E.) (1963-1965, 1981, 1987-1988); Nahr Ibrahim and El Masloukh, Lebanon (1969-1973). These materials include field notebooks, excavation catalogs, research notes, data analysis, manuscript drafts, publications, correspondence, illustrations, maps, photographs, slides, sound recordings, and film. Similar materials from other expeditions and projects include aerial photography projects in the 1950s-1960s; expeditions to Alaska in 1949 and 1961; expeditions to Sudan (as part of the Columbia University Nubian Expedition, also abbreviated C.U.N.E.) and Iran in the 1960s-1970s; Rose's work in Peru and Afghanistan in the 1950s; and various archaeological projects elsewhere in North America such as Ralph's work with the River Basin Surveys in the 1940s-1950s contain similar materials.
The papers also contain research and teaching files in the form of annotated publications, course materials, student theses, and other files from their time as students and faculty at Columbia University, staff at the Smithsonian Institution, and adjunct faculty at Texas A&M University. Correspondence and administrative files such as grant applications, daybooks, and departmental forms and files from their professional careers are also within the collection. Personal files, while sparse, are also represented.
Please note that the collection contains images of human remains.
The Ralph S. and Rose L. Solecki papers are divided into 7 series:
• Series 1: Shanidar Cave and Zawi Chemi Shanidar, Iraq, 1947-2017 (bulk 1951-1990)
• Series 2: Yabroud, Syria and Other Localities, 1950-2017 (bulk 1964-1988)
• Series 3: Nahr Ibrahim and El Masloukh, Lebanon, 1968-2008 (bulk 1969-1973)
• Series 4: Other Expeditions and Projects, 1930-1986, 2006
• Series 5: Research and Teaching Files, 1912-2012 (bulk 1950-2000)
• Series 6: Correspondence and Administrative Files, 1937-2020 (bulk: 1950-2000)
• Series 7: Personal Files, 1902-2014 (bulk: 1950-2000)
Biographical / Historical:
Ralph S. Solecki (1917-2019) and Rose L. Solecki (b. 1925) are archaeologists that worked in the Near East at Shanidar Cave and Zawi Chemi Shanidar in northern Iraq (1951-1960); Yabroud, Syria (1963-1965, 1981, 1987); and Nahr Ibrahim and El Masloukh in Lebanon (1969-1973). Ralph Solecki also conducted archaeological field work in North America at sites in Nebraska, Alaska, and New York as well as with the Smithsonian Institution's River Basin Surveys. From 1958-1988, Ralph Solecki was a professor of anthropology at Columbia University. The Soleckis became adjunct faculty at Texas A&M University.
Stefan Ralph Solecki was born on October 15th, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from Newtown High School in 1936, he attended the City College of New York from 1936-1941 and received a B.S. in Geology in 1942. Solecki then served in the US Army and fought in World War II. He was discharged in 1945. In 1946, Solecki enrolled at Columbia University to study Anthropology, and he received a M.A. degree in 1950. During this time, Solecki worked for the River Basin Surveys at the Smithsonian Institution. He also accompanied a geological survey to northern Alaska in 1949 (and later in 1961). In 1951, he became an associate curator of archaeology at the Smithsonian Institution. In that same year, he traveled to Iraq to survey prehistoric sites and began Season I of excavation at Shanidar Cave. Solecki then received a Fulbright fellowship to return to Iraq in 1953-1954 to continue excavations at Shanidar Cave (Season II) and conduct research at the Iraq Museum in Baghdad. In 1958, he received his PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University and accepted a faculty position within the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. Following the final two seasons of excavation at Shanidar Cave (see below for details on Season III and IV), Solecki led a number of Columbia University expeditions to various locations around the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. He also spent three seasons (1963-1964, 1981, 1987) surveying and excavating the site of Yabroud in Syria and three field seasons excavating the sites of Nahr Ibrahim (1969, 1970, 1973) and El Masloukh (1969) in Lebanon. Solecki retired from Columbia University in 1988.
Rose Muriel (née Lilien) Solecki was born on November 18th, 1925 in New York City, New York. She completed her undergraduate studies in Anthropology from Hunter College in 1945, and she went on to receive her M.A. and PhD degrees in Anthropology from Columbia University. While at Columbia, she joined the American Museum of Natural History's 2nd expedition to Afghanistan in 1950. She also studied under William Duncan Strong and joined Strong's excavations in Peru from 1952-1953. Rose Solecki acted as a research associate within the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University until Ralph Solecki's retirement in 1988.
Ralph and Rose met at Columbia University as students and married in 1955. In 1956-1957, both Ralph and Rose Solecki travelled to Iraq, where Ralph conducted a third season of excavation at Shanidar Cave and Rose excavated the nearby Zawi Chemi Shanidar village site. In 1960, the Soleckis returned for a fourth and final field season of excavation at Shanidar Cave and Zawi Chemi Shanidar, where they were accompanied by Smithsonian Institution curator of Physical Anthropology, T. Dale Stewart. Ralph and Rose Solecki both held positions at Columbia University until Ralph's retirement in 1988. In 1990, Ralph and Rose served as adjunct professors at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. In 2000, they left Texas A&M University and moved to South Orange, New Jersey.
Ralph Solecki died in Livingston, New Jersey on March 20, 2019.
Chronology of the Life of Ralph S. Solecki
1917 October 15 -- Born in Brooklyn, New York, USA
1942 -- B.S. in Geology from City College of New York
1942-1945 -- Served in the United States Army during World War II
1948 -- Started working with the Smithsonian Institution's River Basin Surveys
1948-1949 -- Accompanied a United States Geological Survey party to the upper Kokpowruk and Kokolik rivers at the Brooks Range in northwestern Alaska
1950 -- M.A. in Anthropology from Columbia University
1951 -- First field season at Shanidar Cave, Iraq
1953-1954 -- Fulbright fellowship to conduct fieldwork in Iraq Second field season at Shanidar Cave, Iraq Shanidar Child skeleton discovered
1955 -- Married Rose M. Lilien
1956-1957 -- Third field season at Shanidar Cave, Iraq Shanidar I, II, and III skeletons discovered
1958 -- Appointed Associate Curator of Archaeology at the Smithsonian Institution PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University Accepted post at Columbia University as Associate Professor of Anthropology
1960 -- Fourth field season at Shanidar Cave Shanidar IV, V, VI, VII (or IV-VII), and VIII skeletons discovered
1961-1962 -- Columbia University Nubian Expedition to Sudan
1963 -- Columbia University Near East (C.U.N.E.) Expedition to Seberde, Turkey and Yabroud, Syria
1964-1965 -- Columbia University Near East (C.U.N.E.) Expedition to Yabroud, Syria
1969-1973 -- Three field seasons at Nahr Ibrahim and El Masloukh, Lebanon
1971 -- Authored Shanidar: The First Flower People
1981 -- Archaeological survey at Yabroud, Syria
1987-1988 -- Field season at Yabroud, Syria
1988 -- Retired from Columbia University
1990-2000 -- Served as Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Texas A&M University
2004 -- Coauthored The Proto-Neolithic Cemetery in Shanidar Cave with Rose L. Solecki and Anagnostis P. Agelarakis
2019 March 20 -- Died in Livingston, New Jersey
Chronology of the Life of Rose L. Solecki
1925 November 18 -- Born in New York City, New York
circa 1945 -- B.S. in Anthropology at Hunter College
1946 -- Enrolled at Columbia University
1950 -- Joined the American Museum of Natural History's Second Archaeological Expedition to Afghanistan
1952-1953 -- Field season in Peru under William Duncan Strong
1956 -- PhD from Columbia University
1956-1957 -- First field season at Zawi Chemi Shanidar, Iraq
1960 -- Second field season at Zawi Chemi Shanidar, Iraq
1990-2000 -- Served as Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Texas A&M University
2004 -- Coauthored The Proto-Neolithic Cemetery in Shanidar Cave with Ralph S. Solecki and Anagnostis P. Agelarakis
The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History's Department of Anthropology contains archaeological and ethnological collections relating to the work of Ralph and Rose Solecki including accession numbers 187539, 187542, 189439, 202536, 209544, 217009, 220078, 220920, 224347, 224956, 228740, 232170, 242336, 249217, 356696. Accession 220078 contains archaeological and archaeobiological material excavated by Ralph and Rose Solecki at Shanidar Cave and Zawi Chemi Shanidar. An accretion transferred in 2016 was cataloged as part of the Ralph S. and Rose L. Solecki Papers and Artifacts Project (2017-2019) and cross-references excavation and artifact analysis within the Solecki papers.
The NMNH Department of Anthropology's Collections also holds uncatalogued material from the Yabroud sites as well as material from Turkey potentially excavated during the 1963 field season; the Nahr Ibrahim and El Masloukh sitesin Lebanon in 1969, 1970, and 1973; Europe including material from France, Poland, England, Denmark, and Belgium in the 1960s; and from Sudan during the Columbia University Nubian Expedition (CUNE) to Sudan and Egypt in 1961.
The Iraq Museum in Baghdad holds archaeolgical material from the Shanidar Cave and Zawi Chemi Shanidar sites excavated by Ralph and Rose Solecki.
Archaeological material excavated by Ralph Solecki from the Yabroud sites in Syria is held at the National Museum of Damascus in Syria.
Texas A&M University's Anthropology Research Collections holds material excavated by the Soleckis from the Nahr Ibrahim and El Masloukh sites and possibly material from Shanidar Cave.
Records relating to the American Museum of Natural History's Expeditions to Afghanistan may be found in the Special Collections of the American Museum of Natural History's Research Library as well as a collection titled "Field diary, Second Afghan Expedition, American Museum of Natural History, 1950-08 - 1951-02" at the Harvard University Library.
Artifacts and archival material excavated and created by the Soleckis from the 1968 field season at the Tepe Seavan site in Iran can be found at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Archaeological and archival material related to the Soleckis work in New York and surrounding localities are housed at the American Museum of Natural History and other local historical societies.
Materials containing personally identifiable information (PII) and born digital materials have been separated, and research access is restricted. In some instances, documents have been copied and redacted; however, in other cases, the entire file has been restricted. Please contact the repository for more information about restricted materials.
Photographs of anthropologists were also separated and added to Photo Lot 92-35.
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Ralph and Rose Solecki and their sons, John and William, in 2016, 2018, and 2019.