The collection measures 10.3 linear feet, dates from 1890 to 1959, and documents the career of early twentieth century sculptor Adolph A. Weinman. Found within the papers are scattered biographical materials; project files for Weinman's sculpture and commissions; correspondence with colleagues, friends and family, and letterpress books containing copies of letters concerning specific sculpture commissions; files concerning Weinman's membership in the National Sculpture Society and the National Academy of Design; records concerning works of art held by dealers and in exhibitions and other miscellaneous financial materials; notes and a notebook; writings and speeches by Weinman; sketches and sketchbooks; printed materials; photographs and glass negatives. This material not only reflects the diversity of projects executed by this prolific sculptor, but illustrates the process of creation for many of his more important works.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of American sculptor Adolph Weinman measure 10.3 linear feet and date from 1890 to 1959. Found within the collection are scattered biographical materials; project files for Weinman's sculpture and commissions; correspondence with colleagues, friends and family, and letterpress books containing copies of letters concerning specific sculpture commissions; a substantial body of files concerning Weinman's membership in the National Sculpture Society and the National Academy of Design; records concerning works of art held by dealers and in exhibitions and other miscellaneous financial materials; notes and a notebook; writings and speeches by Weinman; sketches and sketchbooks; printed materials; photographs and glass negatives. This material not only reflects the diversity of projects executed by this prolific sculptor, but illustrates the process of creation for many of his more important works.
Much of the collection (6.0 linear feet) consists of project files documenting many of Weinman's sculpture and commissioned public and architectural pieces through correspondence, contracts, financial records, notes, drawings, printed material, and photographs. A complete list of each project or sculpture file is found in the Container Listing. Also found are scattered biographical materials, general correspondence, files relating to Weinman's membership in the National Sculpture Society and the National Academy of Design, scattered financial files, notes and writings, art work, printed materials, and photographs.
Most materials have been arranged in chronological order, except for artwork and photographs which are arranged primarily according to subject matter. Glass plate negatives from the Project Files Series and Photographs Series have been removed and housed separately in Boxes 10-13 and are so noted in the Series Description/Container Listing Section at the appropriate folder title. Oversized material from various series has been housed in Box 14 and OV folders 15-22 and are listed with each appropriate series.
Series 5: Notes, 1918-1952 (Box 3; Reel 5887; 14 folders)
Series 6: Writings, 1929-1952 (Box 3; Reel 5887; 14 folders)
Series 7: Artwork, 1892-1933 (Boxes 3, 14, OVs 16-19; Reels 5887-5888; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 8: Project Files, 1896-1955 (Boxes 3-8, 10-14, OVs 15-22; Reels 5888-5891; 6.0 linear feet)
Series 9: Printed Material, 1891-1959 (Box 8, OV 21; Reel 5892; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 10: Photographs, 1903-1950 (Boxes 9, 13, OV 21; Reel 5892; 0.2 linear feet)
American sculptor, Adolph Alexander Weinman was born on December 11, 1870 in Germany and came to New York City in 1880. At the age of fifteen, he attended evening classes at Cooper Union. He later studied at the Art Students League. When he was twenty years old, he entered the studio of Philip Martiny and later worked with Olin Warner, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Charles Henry Niehaus, and Daniel Chester French. In 1904, Weinman opened his own studio, and in the same year created the Destiny of the Red Man for the St. Louis Exposition. In 1923, he moved his studio to Forest Hills, New York, where he lived until his death.
Among Weinman's more notable sculpture commissions are the General Alexander Macomb Memorial in Detroit, Michigan, Alexander Johnston Cassatt and Samuel Rea for the Pennsylvania Railroad Terminal in New York City, the Seated Lincoln for Hodgenville, Kentucky, and sculptural group Riders of the Dawn at Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina. In 1915, he designed The Rising Sun and Descending Night fountains for the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. In the following year he designed the "Mercury" dime and "Walking Liberty" half dollar for the U. S. Mint. Weinman also created friezes for the U. S. Supreme Court building, and pediments for the National Archives building, the U. S. Post Office Department Building, and for the Jefferson Memorial, all in Washington, D. C.
Weinman was a member of many organizations, including the National Sculpture Society, of which he was president from 1927 to 1930, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the National Academy of Design, and the New York City Art Commission.
Adolph A. Weinman died on August 8, 1952, in Port Chester, New York.
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of materials lent for microfilming. Reel 283 contains biographical materials, a contract, correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, and miscellaneous materials, dating 1888-1952. Reel 414 includes correspondence exchanged between Weinman and the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Medallic Art Company between 1930 and 1952. Lent materials were returned to the lenders and are not described in the collection container inventory.
In 1971 and 1972, Adolph Weinman's sons, Howard and Robert A. Weinman, lent the Archives of American Art material for microfilming. Howard Weinman also donated material in 1972 and Robert A. Weinman gave papers in 1976.
A digitized version of the microfilm of this collection is available online via the Archives of American Art website.
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Adolph A. Weinman papers, 1890-1959. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the digitization of the microfilm 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.
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift from the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Gift of the Society of Medalists) The Corcoran Gallery of Art, one of the country’s first private museums, was established in 1869 to promote art and American genius. In 2014 the Works from the Corcoran Collection were distributed to institutions in Washington, D.C.