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Warren M. Robbins Papers

Topic:
African Art in American Collections (Monograph : 1989)
African Art in American Collections (Monograph : 1966)
Creator::
Robbins, Warren M.  Search this
Extent:
83.1 cu. ft. (80 record storage boxes) (4 12x17 boxes) (2 16x20 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Manuscripts
Brochures
Clippings
Newsletters
Floor plans
Maps
Color photographs
Black-and-white photographs
Black-and-white negatives
Black-and-white transparencies
Color transparencies
Color negatives
Glass negatives
Audiotapes
Artifacts
Place:
Cameroon
Date:
circa 1927-2009
Descriptive Entry:
These papers document the life and work of Warren M. Robbins, covering a wide swath of his life, from his early career in the Foreign Service to his work in cross cultural communications and African art. A prolific writer, Robbins correspondence with such people as Maya Angelou, Ernie Barnes, Saul Bellow, Eliot Elisofon, Otto Fried, Buckminster Fuller, Francoise Gilot, Chaim Gross, S. I. Hayakawa, Harry Holtzman, Frances Humphrey Howard, Herbert H. Humphrey, Ben Shahn, and Margaret Mead document the close relationships he had with a wide range of people as well as reveal his personality and character.

The papers also include Robbins subject files and reveal his interests in African art, Piet Mondrian, and semantics among other things. Also included are records related to the creation and administration of the Museum of African Art, the work it took to get it included as part of the Smithsonian, its transfer, and the difficulties and conflicts Robbins experienced as a result. The records provide extensive coverage of the work involved in keeping the MAA a vibrant center of education, as well as documents the acquisition of collection material and the production of exhibitions.

The papers also contain materials related to publications, including Robbins' African Art in American Collections, both the 1966 and 1989 editions. Also included are materials related to his writings, lectures, and introductions of which he was known for. Of interest are the materials prepared by Roulhac Toledano in preparation for an unpublished work: Before and After the Smithsonian, The Legacy of Warren Robbins, Founder, National Museum of African Art: A Biography of Letters and Essays.

Other highlights include audio recordings from the dedication of the Museum of African Art on September 21, 1966, as well as recordings of lectures and interviews; records regarding the return of the Afo-A-Kom to the Kom people of Cameroon; records related to the acquisition of the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives; transcripts of oral history interviews; and the numerous awards and honors received by Robbins including the Joseph Henry Medal.

Materials include correspondence, memoranda, invitations, publications, articles, reports, images, sound recordings, transcripts, awards, clippings, newsletters, brochures, scrapbooks, pamphlets, mailings, maps, and floor plans. Some materials are in German and French.
Historical Note:
A graduate of the University of New Hampshire, BA, 1945 and the University of Michigan, MA, 1949, Warren Murray Robbins started his career as a secondary school teacher. He later served in the United States Foreign Service, holding a variety of educational and curatorial posts in Germany and Austria. After returning to the United States, Robbins established the Center for Cross Cultural Communication (CCCC) in 1962 to serve as an educational institute integrating, popularizing and utilizing the insights and perspectives of the social sciences and the arts to foster international and interracial understanding as well as communication between the academic world and a broader public audience.

Once of first major projects of the CCCC was the creation in 1964 of the Museum of African Art (MAA). The museum was the extension of an interest in African art that Robbins developed while in Europe. The museum was originally located in the Washington, DC residence of Frederick Douglass and became part of the Smithsonian Institution in1979 and was later renamed the National Museum of African Art (NMAfA) in 1981.

During the 15 years that the MAA was in operation, the CCCC operated under the Museum's name. Following the Museum's inclusion as part of the Smithsonian it reverted back to its original corporate name with the inclusion of Robbins' name in the title to become the Robbins Center for Cross-Cultural Communication.

From 1964 to 1982, Robbins was the Director of the MAA, later becoming the Founding Director Emeritus and Senior Scholar from 1982-1995. In June of 1995, the Smithsonian eliminated Robbins position as Founding Director Emeritus/Senior Scholar because of budgetary reasons. Subsequently Robbins sued the Smithsonian, but ultimately lost and was not able to be reinstated.

After leaving the Smithsonian, Robbins continued his work at the Robbins Center for Cross Cultural Communications to apply the perspectives and insights of the social sciences and the arts in public education with particular emphasis on interracial understanding. Robbins passed away on December 4, 2008.
Chronology:
September 4, 1923 -- Born - Worcester, Massachusetts

1928-1937 -- Midland Street Elementary School

1938-1941 -- Classical High School

1941-1945 -- University of New Hampshire, Durham - BA English

1945-1949 -- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor - MA History

August 1949-September 1950 -- Teacher, High School, Department of the Army, Dependent School System - Bremerhaven, Germany

September-December 1950 -- Teacher, High School, Department of the Army, Dependent School System - Nurnberg, Germany

January 1951-November 1951 -- Visiting Expert, Public Affairs Program, Department of State - Hicog, Germany

1951-1955 -- Education Officer, American Embassy, Department of State -Vienna, Austria

1955-1957 -- Cultural Affairs Officer, American Consulate General, United States Information Agency - Stuttgart, Germany

1957-1958 -- Public Affairs Officer, American Consulate General, United States Information Agency - Stuttgart, Germany

1958-1960 -- Deputy Chief, Cultural Centers and Program Unit, American Embassy - Bonn, Germany

1960-1961 -- Staff, U. S. Advisory Commission on Educational and Cultural Relations

1961-1962 -- Assistant to Deputy Assistant of State for Educational and Cultural Relations, Department of State

1962-1963 -- Course Chairman, Foreign Service Institute, Department of State

1962-2010 -- Founder and Director, Center for Cross Cultural Communications (CCCC) and later the Robbins Center for Cross Cultural Communications

1964 -- Museum of African Art founded as a part of CCCC

1964-1982 -- Founder and Director, Museum of African Art/National Museum of African Art

1966 -- Establishment of the Frederick Douglass Institute for Intercultural Understanding

1978 -- President Carter signs bill authorizing the transfer of MAA to the Smithsonian

1979, August 13 -- Museum of African Art officially becomes part of the Smithsonian

1981 -- Museum of African Art changed names to the National Museum of African Art

1982 -- Sabbatical to Africa

1982-1995 -- Founding Director Emeritus and Senior Scholar, National Museum of African Art

1987 -- National Museum of African Art building opens in the Quadrangle on the National Mall

1995, June -- Terminated from National Museum of African Art

2008, December 4 -- Warren M. Robbins passes away
Oversize:
This collection contains oversize material.
Topic:
Museums -- Management  Search this
Museum directors  Search this
Museums -- Collection management  Search this
Museum techniques  Search this
Museums -- Educational aspects  Search this
Museum exhibits  Search this
Museum attendance  Search this
Museum finance  Search this
Museums -- Public relations  Search this
Museums and community  Search this
Art, African  Search this
Afo-A-Kom (Statue)  Search this
Kom (African people)  Search this
Cultural relations  Search this
Communication  Search this
Museum publications  Search this
Semantics  Search this
Museums -- Acquisitions  Search this
Genre/Form:
Manuscripts
Brochures
Clippings
Newsletters
Floor plans
Maps
Color photographs
Black-and-white photographs
Black-and-white negatives
Black-and-white transparencies
Color transparencies
Color negatives
Glass negatives
Audiotapes
Artifacts
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 11-001, Warren M. Robbins Papers
Identifier:
Accession 11-001
See more items in:
Warren M. Robbins Papers
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-fa11-001

A conservation dilemma over African royal art in Cameroon

Author:
Nkwi, Paul Nchoji  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Type:
Articles
Place:
Cameroon
Cameroon Grassfields
Date:
1996
Topic:
Kom sacred object--Repatriation  Search this
Antiquities  Search this
Cultural property--Protection  Search this
Afo-A-Kom (Statue)  Search this
Sculpture, Kom  Search this
Call number:
DT352.4 .P55 1996X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_549249

Afo-A-Kom : sacred art of Cameroon / by Fred Ferretti

Author:
Ferretti, Fred  Search this
Physical description:
145 p. : ill. ; 27 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Cameroon
Date:
1975
C1975
Topic:
Afo-A-Kom (Statue)  Search this
Art thefts  Search this
Sculpture, Kom  Search this
Call number:
NB1255.C17 F47X
NB1255.C17F47X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_59917

Les rois sculpteurs au Cameroun : le pouvoir en répresentation

Author:
Perrois, Louis  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Type:
Articles
Place:
Cameroon
Cameroon Grassfields
Date:
1999
Topic:
Afo-A-Kom (Statue)  Search this
Kom sculptors  Search this
Sculpture  Search this
Sculptors  Search this
Sculpture, Kom  Search this
Call number:
N7391.65 .C654
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_761717

Bryce P. Holcombe photographs

Photographer:
Holcombe, Bryce P.  Search this
Extent:
67 slides (photographs) (color, 35 mm.)
Container:
Item 1
Culture:
Kom (African people)  Search this
Bamileke (African people)  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Slides (photographs)
Photographs
Place:
Africa
Date:
1984
Summary:
Photographs taken by Bruce P. Holcombe in Cameroon in 1984. The images are from the Kingdoms of Kom, Bamum and Bandjoun. Prominent among the images are the Kom and Bamileke peoples.
Arrangement note:
Images indexed by negative number.
Biographical / Historical:
Bryce Holcomb (1942-1984) earned a B.A. from Berkely and an M.A. in Art History from UCLA circa 1972. He was an instructor of Art History at the University of Southern California, Davis.
Restrictions:
Use of original records requires an appointment. Contact Archives staff for more details.
Rights:
Permission to reproduce images from the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives must be obtained in advance. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Identifier:
EEPA.1998-005
Archival Repository:
Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, National Museum of African Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-eepa-1998-005

Assembling a royal stage : art from the Kom Kingdom

Author:
McClusky, Pamela  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Type:
Articles
Place:
Cameroon
Cameroon Grassfields
Date:
2002
Topic:
Art  Search this
Art, Kom  Search this
Cameroon Grassfields court art  Search this
Afo-A-Kom (Statue)  Search this
Call number:
N7391.65 .M28 2002X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_750679

The Kom Palace : its foundation, growth and significance

Author:
Nkwi, Paul Nchoji  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Type:
Articles
Date:
1985
Topic:
Kings and rulers--Dwellings  Search this
Kom royal palaces  Search this
Kom compounds (Housing complexes)  Search this
Call number:
CB3 .P142
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_752965

Exploding lakes and maleficent water in Grassfields legends and myth

Author:
Shanklin, Eugenia  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Type:
Articles
Place:
Cameroon
Nyos, Lake (Cameroon)
Oku, Lake (Cameroon)
Date:
1989
Topic:
Natural disasters--Folklore  Search this
Lakes--Folklore  Search this
Migrations  Search this
Folklore  Search this
Call number:
QE521.5 .J86
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_755452

The simplified, compressed, and greatly reduced track of the boa / Eugenia Shanklin

Title:
Track of the boa
Author:
Shanklin, Eugenia 1939-  Search this
Physical description:
[35], 2 leaves ; 28 cm
Type:
Manuscripts
Place:
Cameroon
Date:
1983
1983]
Topic:
Folklore  Search this
History  Search this
Tales  Search this
Call number:
GR351.2.K65 S53 1983a
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_604871

The track of the python : a West African origin story

Author:
Shanklin, Eugenia 1939-  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Type:
Articles
Date:
1990
Topic:
Tales, Kom  Search this
Pythons in literature  Search this
Origin  Search this
Call number:
GR705 .S57 1990X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_663313

Catholic mission, colonial government and indigenous response in Kom (Cameroon) / Jacqueline de Vries

Author:
Vries, Jacqueline de  Search this
Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden Afrika-Studiecentrum  Search this
Subject:
Catholic Church  Search this
Physical description:
vii, 126 p. : maps ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Cameroon
Date:
1998
Topic:
Missions  Search this
Christianity  Search this
Colonial influence  Search this
Politics and government  Search this
Call number:
BX1682.C3 V75 1998
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_682888

The path to Laikom : Kom Royal court architecture / Eugenia Shanklin

Author:
Shanklin, Eugenia 1939-  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Type:
Books
Place:
Cameroon
Laikom
Date:
1985
Topic:
Architecture, Kom  Search this
Dwellings  Search this
Kings and rulers--Dwellings  Search this
Kom royal palaces  Search this
Kom compounds (Housing complexes)  Search this
Royal palaces  Search this
Call number:
CB3 .P142
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_697735

Installation rites in Kom royal compounds

Author:
Shanklin, Eugenia 1939-  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Type:
Articles
Date:
1990
Topic:
Kings and rulers  Search this
Call number:
CB3 .P142
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_548812

The odyssey of the Afo-A-Kom

Author:
Shanklin, Eugenia 1939-  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Type:
Articles
Place:
Cameroon
Cameroon Grassfields
Date:
1990
Topic:
Afo-A-Kom (Statue)  Search this
Art thefts  Search this
Cultural property--Protection  Search this
Portraits  Search this
Call number:
N1 .A258
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_555229

Rites of passage in the Western Grassfields : Kom

Author:
Nsom, Jerome  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Type:
Articles
Place:
Cameroon
Cameroon Grassfields
Date:
1993
Topic:
Rites and ceremonies  Search this
Birth customs  Search this
Names, Kom  Search this
Kom children  Search this
Call number:
DT569.5 .R612 1993
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_557949

Ludwig Brandl's historical notes on the Kingdom of Kom (Cameroon) / Christraud Geary

Author:
Geary, Christraud M  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Subject:
Brandl, Ludwig  Search this
Type:
Articles
Date:
1980
Topic:
History  Search this
Call number:
CB3 .P142
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_599042

"Becoming Foyn" among the Kom of the Cameroon Western Grassfield

Author:
Nkwi, Paul Nchoji  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Type:
Articles
Date:
1990
Topic:
Kings and rulers  Search this
Rites and ceremonies  Search this
Call number:
GN645 .A258 1989
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_489431

Installation rites in Kom royal court compounds

Author:
Shanklin, Eugenia 1939-  Search this
Type:
Articles
Date:
1990
Topic:
Kings and rulers  Search this
Rites and ceremonies  Search this
Kom coronations  Search this
Call number:
GN645 .A258 1989
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_489433

Celebrating the achievements of Nyangabo : the funeral of a Kom elder (photo essay)

Author:
Schneider, Gilbert D  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Type:
Articles
Place:
Kom masquerades
Date:
1995
Topic:
Funeral rites and ceremonies  Search this
Call number:
N1 .A258
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_494932

Traditional government and social change : a study of the political institutions among the Kom of the Cameroon Grassfields / Paul Nchoji Nkwi

Author:
Nkwi, Paul Nchoji  Search this
Physical description:
233 p. : 24 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1976
Topic:
Politics and government  Search this
Call number:
DT570.N577X 1976
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_256930

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