Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Search Results

Collections Search Center
17 documents - page 1 of 1

Oral history interview with Philip Hofer, 1984 Apr. 24

Interviewee:
Hofer, Philip, 1898-1984  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)11930
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)215690
AAA_collcode_hofer84
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_215690
Online Media:

Polly Thayer (Starr) papers

Creator:
Thayer, Polly, 1904-2006  Search this
Names:
Copley Society (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Friends General Conference (U.S.)  Search this
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  Search this
Nucleus Club (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Trustees of Reservations (Mass.)  Search this
Vose Galleries of Boston  Search this
Abramson, Doris E.  Search this
Cortissoz, Royal, 1869-1948  Search this
Hofer, Philip, 1898-1984  Search this
Koval, Dorothy  Search this
Sarton, May, 1912-  Search this
Starr, Donald C.  Search this
Thayer, Ethel Randolph, 1870-1953  Search this
Thayer, Ezra Ripley, 1866-1915  Search this
Tudor, Tasha  Search this
Wheelwright, John, 1897-1940  Search this
Yarnall, Agnes  Search this
Extent:
21.6 Linear feet
0.807 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Photographs
Sound recordings
Sketchbooks
Transcripts
Interviews
Sketches
Video recordings
Drawings
Scrapbooks
Date:
1846-2008
bulk 1921-2008
Summary:
The papers of Boston portraitist and painter Polly Thayer (Starr) (1904-2006) measure 21.6 linear feet and 0.807 GB and date from 1846 to 2008, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1921-2008. The papers document Thayer's personal life and career as a painter, portraitist, and pastel artist. Found within the papers are biographical materials, extensive family papers, correspondence with artists and art venues, interviews, writings, subject files, organization files, exhibition files, art inventory records, printed and digital materials, five sketchbooks, artwork, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Boston portraitist and painter Polly Thayer (Starr) (1904-2006) measure 21.6 linear feet and 0.807 GB and date from 1846 to 2008, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1921-2008. The papers document Thayer's personal life and career as a painter, portraitist, and pastel artist. Found within the papers are biographical materials, extensive family papers, correspondence with artists and art venues, interviews, writings, subject files, organization files, exhibition files, art inventory records, printed and digital materials, five sketchbooks, artwork, and photographs.

Biographical material includes a marriage certificate, school records, inventories of possessions, passports, files about the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake in Japan, and a few personal and scattered financial documents such as invoices and receipts for various art related expenses.

Extensive family papers on many of Polly Thayer's immediate and extended family members include obituaries, condolence letters, writings, and printed materials. The most voluminous files are about Polly Thayer's husband Donald Carter Starr, her mother Ethel Randolph Thayer, and her father Ezra Ripley Thayer.

There is limited correspondence with friends and and colleagues, including Royal Cortissoz, Philip Hofer, Tasha Tudor (photocopies), Dorothy Koval, the curator who wrote about Thayer for her first show at Vose Galleries in 2001, as well as two art consultants who helped Thayer inventory her artwork. The bulk of the correspondence is with museums, galleries, and other venues such as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Copley Society of Boston, and Vose Galleries.

Interviews with Polly Thayer include transcripts as well as sound and video recordings. There is also a sound recording of poet and professor Doris Abramson discussing Catherine Sargent Huntington.

Writings include typescript and handwritten drafts of essays, notebooks, and notes on assorted topics. The bulk of the material was written by Thayer, with a few writings by others.

Subject files are found for people and general interests. The "People" files are collected documents about Thayer's friends, colleagues, artists, and portrait subjects. The files include short biographies, articles, obituaries, a few photographs, two videocassettes and one sound recording. The most voluminous files are on Francis DeLancey Cunningham, the Howe family, Rose Nichols, May Sarton, John Brooks Wheelwright, and Agnes Yarnall. Thayer's "Interests" files consist of articles and clippings on various topics such as animals, humor, and pacifism.

Organization files contain materials related to Polly Thayer's charitable contributions, club memberships and affiliations, including The Chilton Club, Nucleus Club, Religious Society of Friends, and Trustees of Reservations, among others. These files contain seven sound recordings.

Exhibition files contain exhibition catalogs, reviews, clippings, notes, inventory price lists, and other materials about Thayer's solo and group shows.

Art inventory records consist of dismantled binders of inventories that also include photographs of artwork and descriptive information such as the title, medium, and dimensions. There are also photographic inventories of works of art arranged by subject, and several partial art inventories.

Printed materials include two scrapbooks compiled by Polly Thayer's mother containing articles about Thayer, magazines, journals, exhibition catalogs, brochures, exhibition invitations, postcards, clippings, and miscellaneous materials. Digital materials consist of inventories and digitized audio interviews.

Five sketchbooks include figure drawings, portrait sketches, and landscape sketches. Also found are loose drawings of animals, landscapes, and people.

Disbound binders of photographs contain images of works of art that are grouped by subject, including portraits, landscapes, and "mystical/flowers/animals," as well as personal photographs of Polly Thayer and family members, houses, social events, pets, and friends. There is one small disbound photograph album of houses and properties.
Arrangement:
The Polly Thayer papers were organized and inventoried by curator Dorothy Koval and other art consultants prior to arriving at the Archives of American Art, and most likely do not reflect the original order by Polly Thayer. The Archives has maintained the arrangement imposed by Koval for the bulk of the papers. This collection is arranged as 13 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1921-2007 (0.8 linear feet; Box 1, 22, 0.582 GB; ER01-ER02)

Series 2: Family Files, 1846-2006 (2 linear feet; Box 1-3, 22)

Series 3: Correspondence, 1929-2008 (1.3 linear feet; Box 3-5)

Series 4: Interviews, 1995-2004 (0.2 linear feet; Box 5, 0.196 GB; ER03)

Series 5: Writings, 1922-2006 (1.7 linear feet; Box 5-6)

Series 6: Subject Files, circa 1900-2008 (3.3 linear feet; Box 7-10)

Series 7: Organization Files, 1931-2008 (1 linear feet; Box 10-11, 0.029 GB; ER04)

Series 8: Exhibition Files, 1928-2006 (1.9 linear feet; Box 11-13)

Series 9: Art Inventory, circa 1940-1999 (4.6 linear feet; Box 13-17)

Series 10: Printed Material, 1900-2006 (1.8 linear feet; Box 17-19, 22)

Series 11: Sketchbooks, 1930-circa 1970 (0.3 linear feet; Box 19, 23)

Series 12: Artwork, 1927-circa 1990 (0.4 linear feet; Box 19, 23, OV 25)

Series 13: Photographs, 1898-2006 (2.1 linear feet; Box 19-21, 24)
Biographical / Historical:
Polly Thayer (Starr) (1904-2006) was a Boston painter of portraits, landscapes, and still lifes.

Ethel Randolph Thayer, known as Polly, was born in Boston in 1904, the daughter of Professor Ezra Ripley Thayer, also Dean of the Harvard Law School, and Ethel Randolph Thayer, née Clark. Thayer began her drawing lessons at an early age and later attended the Westover Boarding School in Middlebury, Connecticut. Although she signed some of her early paintings Ethel Thayer, by the end of the 1920s she generally signed her work Polly Thayer. She continued to use Polly Thayer as her brush name after she married, although in 1967 she changed her name legally from Ethel Randolph Starr to Polly Thayer Starr.

After graduating from Westover School, Thayer traveled to China, Korea, and Japan with her brother and mother. While in Japan, the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 struck just as their ship was about to leave Yokohama. In the devastation that followed, their ship was used as a hospital and Polly Thayer assisted with nursing the injured.

After returning home, Thayer began her formal studies at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts from 1923 to 1925 where she took painting classes taught by Philip Hale. She eventually left the Boston Museum and began private painting lessons with Hale. While working under Hale, she painted a large nude, Circles, which was awarded the National Academy of Design's coveted Julius Hallgarten Prize in 1929. She also spent the summer of 1924 in Provincetown studying with Charles Hawthorne and traveled to Europe where she studied at the Académie Colarossi in Paris. She later studied in Madrid and, from 1930-1933, at the Art Students League in New York City.

Thayer's first solo exhibition was held on New Year's Eve, 1930 at the Doll & Richards gallery in Boston. The Globe reviewer declared it "surely settles her status as one of the foremost painters in the country." The success of the exhibition led to numerous portrait commissions --any of them exhibited at Wildenstein gallery in New York City --and launched Thayer's career as a portrait artist. Her portrait subjects include Judith Anderson, Jacques Barzun, Maurice Evans, Lewis Galantiere, Robert Hale, May Sarton, John Wheelwright, and Agnes Yarnall, among others. Additional galleries that subsequently gave Thayer solo shows were the Sessler Gallery in Philadelphia; Contemporary Arts and Pietrantonio Galleries in New York; and in Boston the Guild of Boston Artists, Grace Horne Galleries, Child's Gallery, The Copley Society, the St. Botolph Club and the Boston Public Library.

In 1933, Polly Thayer married Donald Starr, a Boston lawyer and avid sailor. They married in Italy and honeymooned in Paris while he took a break from a sailing trip around the world on his schooner "Pilgrim." They had two daughters, Victoria and Dinah. In 1942 Thayer joined the Society of Friends (Quakers) which became an important part of her life and identity. She was active in many educational, charitable and cultural institutions and local clubs. Thayer had long been fascinated by the dynamics, meaning and variety of visual experience. In 1981 the Friends Journal published her essay "On Seeing," a paper she continued to refine until she was ninety-seven.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Polly Thayer began focusing more on landscapes and still lifes and continued to be prolific artist, exhibiting in numerous solo and group exhibits in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. In her later years she renewed an early affiliation with Vose Galleries which she maintained for the rest of her life. In 2001, she was the only living artist whose work was included in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibition "A Studio of Her Own" and a banner of her portrait of May Sarton hung over the entrance to the Museum.

Polly Thayer (Starr) died on August 30, 2006.
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds an oral history interview of Polly Thayer conducted May 12, 1995-February 1, 1996, by Robert F. Brown.

The Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust holds archival materials and artwork by Polly Thayer.
Provenance:
The Polly Thayer (Starr) papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Polly Thayer in 1998 and again in 2008 by Thayer via Stephanie S. Wright, executor. A notebook was donated in 2016 by Dinah Starr, daughter of Polly Thayer (Starr) and merged with the rest of the collection.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Polly Thayer (Starr) papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Painters -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Kanto Earthquake, Japan, 1923  Search this
Portrait painters  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Sound recordings
Sketchbooks
Transcripts
Interviews
Sketches
Video recordings
Drawings
Scrapbooks
Citation:
Polly Thayer (Starr) papers, 1846-2008, bulk 1921-2008. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.thaypoll
See more items in:
Polly Thayer (Starr) papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-thaypoll
Online Media:

Della trasportatione dell'obelisco vaticano : et delle fabriche di Nostro Signore papa Sisto V / fatte dal cavallier Domenico Fontana ... ; intagliato da Natal Bonifatio da Sibenicco

Author:
Fontana, Domenico 1543-1607  Search this
Bonifacio, Natale 1538-1592  Search this
Former owner:
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984 DSI  Search this
Donor:
Burndy Library DSI  Search this
Subject:
Sixtus V Pope 1520-1590  Search this
Physical description:
[4], 108 [i.e. 113], [4] leaves : ill., port. ; 43 cm. (fol.)
Type:
Electronic resources
Place:
Vatican City
Date:
1590
Topic:
Obelisks  Search this
Call number:
DT62.O2F6 1590X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_322803

Theatre des instrumens mathematiques & mechaniques / de Iaques Besson dauphinois, docte mathematicien ; avec l'interpretation des figures d'iceluy, par François Beroald

Author:
Besson, Jacques (Mathematician)  Search this
Béroalde de Verville 1556-  Search this
Illustrator:
Androuet du Cerceau, Jacques active 1549-1584  Search this
Boyvin, René approximately 1525-approximately 1598  Search this
Former owner:
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984 DSI  Search this
Physical description:
[40] pages, 60 leaves of plates : illustrations ; 41 cm (fol.)
Type:
Early works to 1800
Date:
1578
Topic:
Mechanical engineering  Search this
Machinery  Search this
Call number:
TJ144 .B464tZ
TJ144 .B55 F1578
TJ144.B464tZ
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_245609

Work of W.A. Dwiggins

Artist:
Dwiggins, W. A (William Addison) 1880-1956  Search this
Writer of preface:
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Papermaker:
Fairbanks, Thomas Nast  Search this
Book designer:
Ruzicka, Rudolph 1883-1978  Search this
Publisher:
American Institute of Graphic Arts  Search this
Host institution:
Architectural League of New York  Search this
Binder:
J.F. Tapley Co.  Search this
Printer:
Pynson Printers  Search this
Collotyper:
Meriden Gravure Company  Search this
Subject:
Dwiggins, W. A (William Addison) 1880-1956  Search this
Physical description:
39 pages, 47 unnumbered leaves of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 23 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Collotypes (prints)
Line blocks
Exhibition catalogs
Case bindings (Binding)
Decorated paper bindings (Binding)
Date:
1937
Topic:
Book design  Search this
Book ornamentation  Search this
Printing  Search this
Call number:
Z116.A3 D8X 1937
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1108837

The universal penman, engraved by George Bickham, London, 1743

Author:
Bickham, George 1684?-1758?  Search this
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Physical description:
[5], 212 p. illus. 36 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1941
[1941]
Topic:
Penmanship  Search this
Business  Search this
Call number:
Z43 .B58 1743a
Z43 .B58 1743a
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_197039

The courtly tradition in Japanese art and literature : selections from the Hofer and Hyde collections / John M. Rosenfield, Fumiko E. Cranston, Edwin A. Cranston

Author:
Rosenfield, John M  Search this
Cranston, Edwin A. 1932-  Search this
Cranston, Fumiko E  Search this
Art Institute of Chicago  Search this
Fogg Art Museum  Search this
Japan House Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Eccles, Mary Hyde Art collections  Search this
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984 Art collections  Search this
Hyde, Donald Frizell 1909-1966 Art collections  Search this
Physical description:
316 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 22 x 28 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1973
Topic:
Arts, Japanese  Search this
Call number:
709.52 .R62
NX584.A1R67X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_843181

Ten color reproductions of paintings / by Andrew Wyeth

Author:
Wyeth, Andrew 1917-2009  Search this
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Subject:
Wyeth, Andrew 1917-2009  Search this
Physical description:
1 portfolio ([4] leaves, [10] fold. leaves of plates) : col. ill. ; 68 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1956
Call number:
N40.1.W97 H6
N40.1.W97H6
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_302380

The universal penman, engraved by George Bickham, London, 1743

Author:
Bickham, George 1684?-1758?  Search this
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Physical description:
6 p. l, facsim. (212 numb. l. illus.) 35 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1941
1743
Topic:
Calligraphy  Search this
Penmanship  Search this
Business  Search this
Call number:
Z43.B58 1743aX
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_352103

Fra Luca de Pacioli of Borgo S. Sepolcro / by Stanley Morison

Author:
Morison, Stanley 1889-1967  Search this
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Grolier Club  Search this
Donor:
Burndy Library DSI  Search this
Subject:
Pacioli, Luca approximately 1445-1517 De divina proportione  Search this
Physical description:
[2], vii, [3], 105, [3] p., 1 leaf of plates : ill., port. ; 32 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1933
Topic:
Alphabets  Search this
Lettering  Search this
Call number:
NK3615 .M67 1933
NK3615.M67 1933
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_353624

A catalogue of an exhibition of the Philip Hofer bequest in the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts

Author:
Harvard College Library Department of Printing and Graphic Arts  Search this
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Subject:
Hofer, Philip 1898- Library  Search this
Harvard College Library Department of Printing and Graphic Arts  Search this
Physical description:
xiv, 218 p. : ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
Massachusetts
Cambridge
Date:
1988
Topic:
Book design  Search this
Graphic arts  Search this
Printing--History  Search this
Fine books  Search this
Books--History  Search this
Manuscripts--Library resources  Search this
Call number:
Z116.A3H37 1988X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_373664

Drawings for book illustration : the Hofer Collection / David P. Becker

Author:
Becker, David P  Search this
Houghton Library  Search this
Subject:
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Physical description:
71 p., [55] p. of plates : ill. ; 22 x 25 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1980
Topic:
Illustration of books--Exhibitions  Search this
Drawing  Search this
Artists' preparatory studies  Search this
Call number:
NC961.C3H683X 1980
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_229660

The Japanese courtier : painting, calligraphy, and poetry from the Fogg Art Museum, the Philip Hofer collection / organized by John M. Rosenfield, with a complementary selection of lacquers and other arts of Japan from the collection of F. Bailey Vanderhoef, Jr. ; catalogue written by faculty, graduate students, and museum staff members of Harvard University ; [photos. by Photographic Department, Fogg Art Museum]

Author:
Fogg Art Museum  Search this
Rosenfield, John M  Search this
Subject:
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984 Art collections  Search this
Vanderhoef, F. Bailey (Francis Bailey) 1914- Art collections  Search this
Physical description:
iii, 84 p. : ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
Japan
Date:
1980
Topic:
Art objects, Japanese  Search this
Arts, Japanese  Search this
Lacquer and lacquering  Search this
Call number:
NX584.A1 H37 1980X
759.952 .H35
NX584.A1H37 1980X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_134208

A book of ornaments engraved by Simon Gribelin II in the year MDCCIV and now partially reprinted in collotype facsimile with an introduction by Philip Hofer and technical comment by Rudolph Ruzicka

Author:
Gribelin, Simon 1661 or 2-1733  Search this
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Ruzicka, Rudolph 1883-1978  Search this
Physical description:
13 p., 1 l. illus. (facsim.) plates. 21 x 27 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1941
Topic:
Engraving  Search this
Decoration and ornament  Search this
Call number:
NE2700.G7X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_185100

Approaches to drawings [by] a collector: Philip Hofer; a curator: Jacob Bean [and] an artist: Gabor Peterdi

Author:
Drawing Society  Search this
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Physical description:
69 p. illus., ports. 23 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1963
Topic:
Drawing  Search this
Call number:
NC720 .D76
NC720.D76
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_25710

Edward Lear as a landscape draughtsman

Author:
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Subject:
Lear, Edward 1812-1888  Search this
Physical description:
x, 79, 109 p. illus. (part col.), port. 19 x 26 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1967
Call number:
N40.1.L435 H6
N40.1.L435H6
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_25937

Baroque book illustration; a short survey from the collection in the Department of Graphic Arts, Harvard College Library

Author:
Hofer, Philip 1898-1984  Search this
Harvard University Library Department of Graphic Arts  Search this
Physical description:
43 p. 149 illus. 30 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1951
17th century
Topic:
Illustration of books  Search this
Engraving--History  Search this
Illustrated books--History  Search this
Call number:
NC960 .H6X
NC960.H6X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_40247

Modify Your Search







or


Narrow By