Selected records of the PWAP include the following series: Central Office (Washington, D.C.) Correspondence and Related Records, including progress reports, minutes of meetings, and finance records (reels DC1-3); Correspondence and Personal Files of Edward P. Rowan, Technical Director (reels DC3-4); Central Office Correspondence With Artists (reels DC5-7); Central Office Files and Publicity Materials, including correspondence of project director Edward Bruce (reel DC8); Newspaper Clippings (reels DC8-9); Correspondence and Related records of Cecil Jones, Business Director (reels DC9-12); Final Reports on Projects, Report Materials and Project Issuances (reel DC12); Regional Office Records (reels DC12-13); and selected Correspondence of the New York Regional Office (Region 2) With Artists concerning administrative details of employing artists (DC 112-115).
Biographical / Historical:
The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), the first of the New Deal art programs, was established under the Department of the Treasury in December 1933 to assist unemployed artists by enabling them to work on the decoration of non-federal public buildings. Although it lasted only until the following summer, it engaged nearly 4,000 artists in all parts of the country and served as an important precedent for subsequent federal art programs, such as the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration. Later art projects administered under the Department of the Treasury were the Section of Fine Arts, originally the Section of Painting and Sculpture, and the Treasury Relief Art Project, both of which served to employ artists to decorate federal buildings across the United States.
AAA has filmed, and described separately, selected records of the Treasury Relief Art Project (reels DC14-38) and the Section of Fine Arts (reels DC38-43) from record group 121. In addition, selected records of the WPA Federal Art Project (National Archives record group 69) were also filmed (reels DC44-DC111 and DC129-130).
Series microfilmed by AAA were selected from the National Archives record group 121, Records of the Public Buildings Service. Additional records of the PWAP are preserved at the National Archives. Series which were not microfilmed include: correspondence of L.W. Roberts, assistant secretary of the Treasury; the central file of the Advisory Committee and the Project; card lists of allocated paintings and other works of art; and receipt cards for works of art.
Series consists of Marsh's personal and professional correspondence. Among the correspondents are vaudeville performers and producers, artists, museums, galleries, publishers, greeting card companies, government officials, admirers, and former students, as well as family and friends. Correspondence largely concerns Marsh's career as a painter and illustrator, and his relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.
Correspondence documents his work as a vaudeville reviewer for the New York Daily News from 1922 to 1925; the sale and exhibition of his art work; the publication of his illustrations and caricatures in various magazines; his book illustrations; and the reproduction of his art work on greeting cards produced by American Artists Group and Living American Art, Inc. There are also extensive files (which also contain scattered business, financial, and travel documents) relating to his work on two federal art projects, murals in the Post Office Department, Washington, D.C. (1935) and the Customs House in New York (1937), and his assignment as an artist correspondent in Brazil during the Second World War (1943). Similar materials are also found amongst the business and financial papers in Series 7.
Correspondence documents his relationships with his father, Fred Dana Marsh, his first wife, Betty Burroughs, and his second wife, Felicia Meyer Marsh, as well as his relationships with friends and colleagues, including the English writer, Llewelyn Powys, the artists, Yasuo and Katherine Kuniyoshi, and the U.S. Senator (and former Yale classmate), William Benton, who ended up being one of the largest collectors of Marsh's work.
Letters from artists, such as Edward Laning, and curators, such as Lloyd Goodrich, provide some sense of Marsh's methods and techniques for creating art work (especially his use of the "Maroger medium") and his views on art and current art movements (especially Abstract Expressionism). Correspondence pertaining to the award competition for the U.S. Building at the New York World's Fair, which includes versions of Marsh's letters to and letters from Edward Bruce of the Treasury Department Section of Painting and Sculpture, is especially suggestive of Marsh's strong feelings of "despair" over the lack of originality in contemporary art.
General correspondence is typically arranged in chronological files, interspersed with files named according to correspondent. Letters are typically to Marsh, unless otherwise noted. Project correspondence is arranged according to the name of the project on which Marsh worked or to which correspondence pertains. Envelopes, which had at some earlier point been separated from correspondence, and greeting cards are arranged in files at the end of the series. An appendix of significant correspondent's names from the chronological files is included in this finding aid.
See Appendix for a list of selected correspondents from Series 2.
Appendix: Selected Correspondents from Series 2:
This list represents only a selection of correspondents and does not include names of family.
University of Rochester, College of Arts and Sciences: 1940
Weyhe Gallery (E. Weyhe): 1943
Whitney Museum of American Art: 1944, 1953, 1954
Wilder, Thornton: 1923
Worcester Art Museum: 1951
Wyeth, Andrew: 1952, 1953
Project CorrespondenceBiddle, George: 1935, 1943
Bruce, Edward: 1938
Dows, Olin: 1935, 1936
Jones, Cecil H.: 1936, 1937, 1938
Nordmark, Olle: 1935, 1936, 1937, 1941, 1942
Owen, William B.: 1936
Rowan, Edward B.: 1935, 1936
Sharkey, Alice M.: 1936
Watson, Forbes: 1936, 1937
The bulk of the collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Use of material not digitized requires an appointment.
Reginald Marsh papers, 1897-1955. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
1 Microfilm reel (21 items on partial microfilm reel)
United States -- Social conditions -- 1933-1945
United States -- Economic conditions -- 1918-1945
Scope and Contents:
This microfilm collection of the Kenneth Miller Adams papers consists of a letter, dated December 1933, from a Public Works of Art Project official on a routine matter, and a letter, dated May 1933, from Cecil H. Jones of the Treasury Relief Art Project in which Jones tells Adams he is trying to have him transferred to the WPA Federal Arts Project. Also included is correspondence, 1936-1937, with Edward Rowan and others of the Section of Fine Arts regarding Section mural competitions. This correspondence includes contracts for two murals painted by Adams – one in Goodland, Kansas (1936) depicting a scene with a figure and a buggy, and one in Deming, New Mexico (1937) entitled Mountains and Yucca. A photograph of each of the murals is also included.
Biographical / Historical:
Kenneth Miller Adams (1897-1966) was a painter, muralist, and lithographer in New Mexico. Born in Topeka, Kansas, he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League before serving in World War I. In 1924 he moved to Taos, New Mexico and joined the Taos Society of Artists. In 1933 he worked for the Treasury Relief Art Project and the Public Works of Art Project. He moved to Albuquerque in 1938 and later taught at the University of New Mexico until he retired in 1963. Adams was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1961.
The Archives of American Art also holds the oral history interview with Kenneth M. Adams, 1964 April 23 conducted by Sylvia Glidden Loomis.
Lent for microfilming 1964 by Kenneth Miller Adams.
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
Letters, memoranda, and telegrams sent by the Chief of TRAP, Olin Dows, and others in his office and by the advisor, including business manager, Cecil H. Jones. The records concern all phases of work conducted during the project, including discussion of individual works of art and their installation in Federal buildings. Included in the correspondence are discussions of Project activities; correspondence with the state director or supervisor; correspondence with the State director of the Works Progress Administration; correspondence concerning individual projects; and correspondence with regional directors from California and New York.
Arranged alphabetically by state, including the district, and by territory; thereunder, chronologically.
Arranged alphabetically by state, including the District of Columbia and Territories; thereunder chronologically.
The materials filmed are selections from a series of the National Archives record group 121. Each entry selected from the series was filmed in its entirety.