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Edward J. Orth Memorial Archives of the New York World's Fair

Collector:
Orth, Edward J.  Search this
Exhibition Collectors Historical Organization  Search this
Names:
New York World's Fair (1939-1940 : New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Extent:
130 Cubic feet (417 boxes, 25 map-folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Souvenirs
Photographs
Pamphlets
Guidebooks
Exhibition posters--1930-1940
Diaries
Ephemera
Film transparencies
Motion picture film
Posters
Place:
Flushing Meadows Park (New York, N.Y.)
New York (N.Y.)
Date:
1835-2000, undated
Summary:
Collection documents the 1939 New York World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. Also includes material relating to other fairs, the Exhibition Collectors Historical Organization (ECHO), New York City tourism and The Walt Disney Company.
Scope and Contents:
Collection primarily documents the conception, planning, construction, management, and operations of the 1939 New York World's Fair located in Flushing Meadows, New York. Materials provide historical context and cultural significance as recorded in publications, artwork, photographs, ephemera, postcards, maps, plans, exhibitor's literature, souvenirs, and motion picture film. Most of the materials were primarily created for people who attended the fair. Some of the materials include scrapbooks created by fair visitors to document their experiences. There is a significant amount of material relating to other fairs, New York tourism, the Exhibition Collectors Historical Organization (ECHO) and the World's Fair Collector's Society. Other forms of entertainment such as festivals, the Olympic games, and Disney World are also found among these materials. There is little information relating to Edward Orth's personal and professional life as a city planner. The collection is arranged into eleven series.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into eleven series.

Series 1, Edward J. Orth Personal Papers, 1915-1989, undated

Subseries 1.1, Correspondence, 1939-1989

Subseries 1.2, Other Materials, 1915-1989, undated

Series 2, Exhibition Collectors Historical Organization (ECHO) and World's Fair Collector's Society, Incorporated Records, 1942-1990, undated

Subseries 2.1, General Information, 1960-1988, undated

Subseries 2.2, Correspondence, 1942-1990, undated

Subseries 2.3, Classified and Wanted Advertisements, 1956-1988, undated

Subseries 2.4, Financial Records, 1976-1989

Subseries 2.5, Newsletters, 1969-1988, undated

Subseries 2.6, Membership Materials, 1970s-1989, undated

Series 3, New York World's Fair, Incorporated Records, 1900-1988, undated

Subseries 3.1, Administrative Files, 1900-1977, undated

Subseries 3.2, Amusement Zone, 1937-1940, undated

Subseries 3.3, Communications and Business Systems Zone, 1939-1965, undated

Subseries 3.4, Community Interest Zone, 1939-1949, undated

Subseries 3.5, Food Zone, 1939-1975

Subseries 3.6, Government Zone, 1939-1940

Subseries 3.7, Production and Distribution Zone, 1939-1940

Subseries 3.8, Transportation Zone, 1939-1940

Subseries 3.9, Ephemera, 1938-1988, undated

Series 4, Photographic Materials, 1939-1968, undated

Subseries 4.1, General, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 4.2, Amusement Area, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 4.3, Business Systems Zone, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 4.4, Communications Zone, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 4.5, Community Interest Zone, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 4.6, Food Zone, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 4.7, Government Zone, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 4.8, Production and Distribution Zone, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 4.9, Transportation Zone, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 4.10, Miscellaneous, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 4.11, Oversize Photographs, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 4.12, Color Slides, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 4.13, Color Transparencies, 1940-1942, undated

Subseries 4.14, Edward Orth, 1967-1968

Series 5, Scrapbooks, 1938-1981

Series 6, Postcards, 1906-1985, undated

Subseries 6.1, Amusement Area, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 6.2, Business Systems Zone, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 6.3, Communications Zone, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 6.4, Community Interest Zone, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 6.5, Food Zone, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 6.6, Government Zone, International, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 6.7, Government Zone, Federal and States, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 6.8, Production and Distribution Zone, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 6.9, Transportation Zone, 1939-1940, undated

Subseries 6.10, General, 1940, undated

Subseries 6.11, By Type, 1906-1985, undated

Series 7, Publications Related to World's Fairs, 1922-1989, undated

Subseries 7.1, Magazines, 1922-1988, undated

Subseries 7.2, Newspaper Articles, 1935-1989, undated

Subseries 7.3, Other Publications, 1937-1989, undated

Subseries 7.4, Other Subjects, 1962-1989

Series 8, Materials Relating to Other Fairs, 1851-2000, undated

Subseries 8.1, Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations or Crystal Palace Exhibition, 1851

Subseries 8.2, Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, 1853-1853

Subseries 8.3, International Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures, and Products of the Soil and Mine or Centennial International Exhibition, 1876

Subseries 8.4, World's Columbian Exposition or Chicago World's Fair, 1893

Subseries 8.5, Exposition Internationale D'Anvers, Antwerp, Belgium

Subseries 8.6, Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition, 1897

Subseries 8.7, Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, 1898

Subseries 8.8, Expositions, 1901

Subseries 8.9, Louisiana Purchase Exposition, 1906

Subseries 8.10, Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition, 1907

Subseries 8.11, Alaska, Yukon, Pacific Exposition, 1909

Subseries 8.12, Panama-California Exposition, 1915-1916

Subseries 8.13, Bronx International Exposition of Science, Arts, and Industries, 1918

Subseries 8.14, Sesquicentennial Exposition, 1926

Subseries 8.15, Barcelona International Exposition, 1929

Subseries 8.16, L'Exposition Coloniale, Paris, 1931

Subseries 8.17, Olympics, 1932

Subseries 8.18, A Century of Progress International Exposition, 1933

Subseries 8.19, Expositions, 1933-1935

Subseries 8.20, Expositions, 1936-1937

Subseries 8.21, Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne, 1937

Subseries 8.22, Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939

Subseries 8.23, Festival of Britain, Britain, London, United Kingdom, 1951

Subseries 8.24, Milan Fair, 1955

Subseries 8.25, Exposition Universelle et venti Internationale de Bruxelles, 1958

Subseries 8.26, American National Exhibition, 1959

Subseries 8.27, New York's World Fair, 1961-1977, undated

Subseries 8.28, Century 21 Exhibition, 1961-1962

Subseries 8.29, International and Universal Exposition or Expo 67, 1967

Subseries 8.30, Long Beach, California, 1967-1968

Subseries 8.31, HemisFair 68, 1968

Subseries 8.32, Expo 70 or Japan World Exposition, 1970

Subseries 8.33, Expo 74 or International Exposition on the Environment

Subseries 8.34, Expo 75 or International Ocean Exposition, 1975

Subseries 8.35, American Revolution Bicentennial, 1776-1976, 1976

Subseries 8.36, Queen's Bicentennial Festival, 1975-1976

Subseries 8.37, Plovdiv International Exhibition of 1981 or Expo 81

Subseries 8.38, Kobe Port Island Exposition or Portopia 81, 1981

Subseries 8.39, Knoxville International Energy Exposition or 1982 World's Fair, 1982

Subseries 8.40, Louisiana World Exposition, 1984

Subseries 8.41, Games of the XXIII Olympiad, 1984

Subseries 8.42, The International Exposition, Tsukuba, Japan or The International Science Technology Exposition, 1985

Subseries 8.43, Queen's Festival, 1985

Subseries 8.44, 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication or Expo 86, 1986

Subseries 8.45, World Expo 88, 1988

Subseries 8.46, Universal Exposition of Seville or Expo 92, 1992

Subseries 8.47, Expo 2000, 2000

Subseries 8.48, Other Events and Celebrations, 1886-1989

Subseries 8.49, Combined Fairs, 1968-1994

Subseries 8.50, General information about world's fairs, 1964-1980

Series 9, Ephemera, 1892-1989, undated

Subseries 9.1, New York and New York World's Fair, 1892-1989, undated

Subseries 9.2, Other States and Countries, 1835, 1939, undated

Subseries 9.3, Motion Picture Film and Entertainment, 1937-1981, undated

Series 10, Audio Visual Materials, 1939, 1964-1965, undated

Subseries 10.1, Moving Images, 1939, 1964-1965, undated

Subseries 10.2, Sound Recordings, undated

Series 11, Oversize, 1835-1992, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Biographical / Historical

Edward Joseph Orth grew up with a strong interest in history, particularly the history of the 1939 New York World's Fair. Orth's visit to the fair as a twelve-year-old boy led to a life-long passion of collecting. At the time of his death, he had amassed enough materials to fill two homes in California. Orth also collected materials from several other fairs. In addition, he saved some of the records of the Exhibition Collectors Historical Organization (ECHO) and the World's Fair Collector's Society.

Orth was born April 19, 1927, to Andrew Joseph Orth and Florence Minnie Gordon Orth in Glendale, New York. In the 1930s, the Orth family lived in several locations in New York including Ridgewood, Brooklyn, Glendale, and Queens. The home that made the most impact in young Orth's life came in 1935 when the family moved to St. Albans, Queens seven miles from Flushing Meadow Park, the future site of the 1939 fair. Sadly in 1939 there were several deaths in the family including three grandparents. The severe loss of life limited family social activities but a drive by the future site of the fair provided Orth a glimpse of the Trylon and Perisphere. He would later remark that the sight appeared to be magic. In the summer of 1939, he went to the fair with his classmates from Public School 136. The next summer Orth and his father purchased a 10-admission ticket from an elementary school in Hollis, Queens, New York. He saved every souvenir and any information he could find about the fair. He filled scrapbooks with images from newspapers and postcards from the Curt Teich and Manhattan Postcard companies. When his family moved from an apartment to a house, he acquired a fair bench which was kept in the backyard.

In 1941, Orth attended Newton High School in Elmhurst, and Queens, New York. The high school offered a college preparatory program with heavy emphasis on mathematics, science, mechanical drawing, and workshop courses. Orth's education and training combined with the knowledge he gained from motion picture films viewed at the fair, including Thomas Edison's "The City of Light," Ford Motor Company's "Road of Tomorrow," "Democracy," and General Motors' "Futurama" provided the foundation and inspiration for a career in architecture and landscaping. He ultimately became a city planner for the state of California. By 1943, Orth was exploring used magazine and bookstores in New York City to acquire more fair materials before enlisting in the United States Army in 1945. Upon his discharge he resumed buying and trading fair postcards. From 1948-1953, Orth attended the University of California and the University of Connecticut where he studied architecture and landscape design. During these years he posted advertisements in various publications in his continued pursue for fair materials.

In March 1953, Mr. Orth moved to Los Angeles, California. There he formed lasting friendships with other collectors. By 1967, Orth and several of his closest friends including Peter Warner, Oscar Hengstler, David Oats, Larry Zim, and Ernest Weidhaas conceived the idea of a fair collector's organization. By the summer of 1968, the group had formally created the Exhibition Collectors Historical Organization (ECHO).

As time passed Orth became increasing concerned about the welfare of his collection. He wanted it to go to a museum rather than be sold in parts. In his will he stipulated that the collection would be given to the Smithsonian Institution upon his death. Jon Zackman, former Smithsonian employee, interviewed Orth's brother George and fair collector Peter Warner. Orth and Warner corresponded and traded objects over many years. Mr. Orth primarily covered the west coast area while Peter Warner was his east coast counterpart. Edward Orth died on September 6,1989 in Los Angeles, California at the age of sixty-two.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

New York World's Fair Collection, NMAH.AC.0134

Landor Design Collection, NMAH.AC.0500

Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Subject Category, World Expos, NMAH.AC.0060

Larry Zim World's Fair Collection, NMAH.AC.0519

Alice R. Hillis World's Fair Film, NMAH.AC.0531

Borden Company 1939 New York World's Fair Collection, NMAH.AC.1063

Memories of the New York World's Fair, NMAH.AC.0592

Archives Center World Expositions Collection, NMAH.AC.0825

Daniel H. Meyerson World's Fair Collection, NMAH.AC.0745

Division of Community Life World's Fairs Collection, NMAH.AC.1132

Princeton University Posters Collection, NMAH.AC.0433

Hills Bros. Coffee Company, Incorporated Records, NMAH.AC.0395

Smithsonian Speech Synthesis History Project, NMAH.AC.0417

Messmore and Damon Company Records, NMAH.AC.0846

Thomas Norrell Railroad Collection, NMAH.AC.1174

William L. Bird Holidays on Display Collection, NMAH.AC.1288

Wurlitzer Company Records, NMAH.AC.0469

Victor A. Blenkle Postcard Collection, NMAH.AC.0200

Materials at Other Organizations

New York Public Library The New York World's Fair 1939 and 1940 Incorporated Records, 1935-1945, MssCol 2233.

New York City 1939 World's Fair architectural drawings, circa 1935. Museum of the City of New York. Museum of the City of New York.

New York City 1939 World's Fair Collection, 1939-1940. Museum of the City of New York. New York World's Fair 1939/40 Collection. Queens Museum.

1939 New York World's Fair Postcards, Identifier: 1972-320, Audiovisual Collections Repository, Hagley Museum & Library
Separated Materials:
Materials at the National Museum of American History

Artifacts from the collection include several thousand souvenirs and examples of memorabilia commemorating the fair to include buttons and badges, ceramics, glassware, clothing, costume jewelry, coins and medals, commemorative spoons and flatware, toys and games, and philatelic material which are all part of the Division of Home and Community Life's holdings (now Division of Cultural and Community Life).
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audio-visual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow. Viewing film portion of collection requires special appointment, please inquire. Do not use when original materials are available on reference video or audio tapes. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Exhibitions -- 1930-1940 -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
World's fairs  Search this
Amusement parks--History  Search this
Amusement parks--New York (State)--History  Search this
Architecture--Exhibitions  Search this
Architecture--New York (State)--New York  Search this
Architecture--United States--Designs and plans  Search this
Burlesque shows--New York (State)--New York--1930-1940  Search this
Business history Business enterprises--United States--History  Search this
Chicago's Century of Progress  Search this
Construction and civil engineering  Search this
Construction industry--United States--Management--History  Search this
Corporate culture--History  Search this
Corporate culture--United States  Search this
Engineering--History--20th century  Search this
Exhibition buildings – New York (State) – New York  Search this
Exhibition buildings--1920-1940  Search this
Exhibitions -- Design  Search this
Fairs -- New York (State) -- New York -- History  Search this
Fashion--History--20th century  Search this
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park (New York, N.Y.)--History  Search this
Food in popular culture--New York (State)--New York  Search this
Graphic arts--United States--History--20th century  Search this
International exhibitions  Search this
International Exhibitions Bureau  Search this
Lighting, Architectural and decorative--History--20th century  Search this
Technology -- United States -- History -- 20th century  Search this
Transportation--New York Metropolitan Area--Planning  Search this
Transportation--New York (State)  Search this
United States --Foreign relations --1933-1945  Search this
Urban parks--United States--History  Search this
Urban design  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Economic aspects -- United States  Search this
Consumerism  Search this
Consumers--History--20th century  Search this
General Motors Corporation  Search this
Grand Central Parkway extension  Search this
Organizational behavior--United States--History  Search this
Public relations--History  Search this
New York World's Fair Commission  Search this
Queens (New York, N.Y.) Buildings, structures, etc.  Search this
Genre/Form:
Souvenirs -- 1930-1940
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1930-1940
Pamphlets -- 1930-1940
Guidebooks -- 1930-1940
Exhibition posters--1930-1940
Diaries
Ephemera -- 20th century
Film transparencies
Motion picture film
Posters -- 1930-1940
Citation:
Edward J. Orth Memorial Archives of the New York World's Fair, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0560
See more items in:
Edward J. Orth Memorial Archives of the New York World's Fair
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep808504c62-92bb-48b1-8a76-f9d279516c33
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0560
Online Media:

Leon Polk Smith papers, 1921-1997

Creator:
Smith, Leon Polk, 1906-1996  Search this
Smith, Leon Polk, 1906-1996  Search this
Subject:
Johnson, Ray  Search this
Humblet, Claudine  Search this
Jamieson, Robert  Search this
Galloway, David D.  Search this
Gego  Search this
Buck, Robert T.  Search this
Danto, Arthur Coleman  Search this
Meyers/Bloom Gallery  Search this
Wilhelm-Hack-Museum  Search this
Brooklyn Museum  Search this
Washburn Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
East Central Oklahoma State University  Search this
Galerie Denise René  Search this
Butler Institute of American Art  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Transcripts
Video recordings
Scrapbooks
Essays
Interviews
Topic:
Painting, Abstract -- United States  Search this
Native American artists  Search this
Cherokee  Search this
Theme:
Lives of American Artists  Search this
Native American  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)6162
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)216395
AAA_collcode_smitleon
Theme:
Lives of American Artists
Native American
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_216395
Online Media:

Leon Polk Smith papers

Creator:
Smith, Leon Polk, 1906-1996  Search this
Names:
Brooklyn Museum  Search this
Butler Institute of American Art  Search this
East Central Oklahoma State University  Search this
Galerie Denise René  Search this
Meyers/Bloom Gallery  Search this
Washburn Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Wilhelm-Hack-Museum  Search this
Buck, Robert T.  Search this
Danto, Arthur Coleman, 1924-  Search this
Galloway, David D.  Search this
Gego  Search this
Humblet, Claudine, 1946-  Search this
Jamieson, Robert  Search this
Johnson, Ray, 1927-  Search this
Extent:
7.2 Linear feet
Culture:
Cherokee  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Transcripts
Video recordings
Scrapbooks
Essays
Interviews
Date:
1921-1997
Summary:
The papers of New York abstract painter Leon Polk Smith measure 7.2 linear feet and date from 1921 to 1997. The papers consist of biographical material, business and personal correspondence, interview transcripts and an interview video recording, writings, financial records for the corporate entity Leon Polk Smith, Inc., printed material, photographic material, and a scrapbook of newspaper clippings.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of New York abstract painter Leon Polk Smith measure 7.2 linear feet and date from 1921 to 1997. The papers consist of biographical material, business and personal correspondence, interview transcripts and an interview video recording, writings, financial records for the corporate entity Leon Polk Smith, Inc., printed material, photographic material, and a scrapbook of newspaper clippings.

Biographical material includes official affidavits, certificates, passports, expense receipts, and a travel expense notebook. A curriculum vitae, family history, and medical records are also included in the series.

Correspondence, both business and personal, comprises the bulk of the collection. This includes correspondence between Smith and his life companion, Robert Jamieson; art critics Arthur C. Danto, Claudine Humblet, and David Galloway; and artists Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt) and Ray Johnson. Business correspondence relates to Smith's various gallery and museum exhibitions, loans, and sales. There is extensive correspondence between Smith and the Brooklyn Museum, Butler Institute of American Art, Di Laurenti Gallery, Edition and Galerie Hoffmann, Galerie Denise Rene, Meyers/Bloom Gallery, Washburn Gallery, and the Wilhelm-Hack Museum. The business subseries also includes correspondence between Smith and his alma mater, East Central University, formerly known as Oklahoma State University.

Interviews consist of six typewritten transcripts of interviews conducted with Smith over the course of his professional career from 1950 to 1993, a 1995 video interview of museum director Robert T. Buck discussing the Brooklyn Museum's exhibition of Leon Polk Smith for the television program National Arts, and a 1965 interview transcript with gallery owner Lucile Horsley.

Writings include sixteen published and unpublished scholarly essays on Smith and his work. The series also includes notes and a brief artist's statement by Smith regarding the pros and cons of modern art galleries.

Financial records are 1978-1989 federal income tax filings and routine tax preparation and payment receipts for the corporate entity Leon Polk Smith, Inc. Smith's personal filing records from 1987-1989 are also included in this series.

Printed material consists of two books, including the Brooklyn Museum's monograph Leon Polk Smith: American Painter, newspaper clippings reviewing Smith's work, and exhibition announcements and catalogs of Smith's museum and gallery shows from 1941 to 1997.

A scrapbook contains newspaper clippings documenting Smith's years as an educator and artist in Oklahoma in the 1930s and 1940s.

Photographs are of Smith and his acquaintances circa 1920-1960, and a representative selection of photographs and color slides of Smith's artwork from 1939 to 1960.
Arrangement note:
The collection is arranged as 8 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1938-1994 (Box 1, OV 10; 11 folders)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1939-1997 (Boxes 1-5, 9, OV 10; 5 linear feet)

Series 3: Interviews, 1950-1995 (Boxes 5-6; 8 folders)

Series 4: Writings, 1963-1996 (Box 6; 13 folders)

Series 5: Financial Records, 1979-1990 (Box 6; 15 folders)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1941-1997 (Boxes 6-7, 9; .5 linear feet)

Series 7: Scrapbook, 1930-1940 (Box 8; 1 folder)

Series 8: Photographic Material, 1920-1990 (Box 8; 8 folders)
Biographical/Historical note:
Leon Polk Smith (1906-1996) worked primarily in New York City as a painter, educator, and lecturer. He is considered one of the founders of the hard edge style of minimalist abstract art.

Smith was born in Chickasha, Indian Territory one year before its formal incorporation into the Oklahoma Territory. Both of his parents were of Cherokee ancestry and he was raised in a small farming community that included Cherokee and Choctaw Indians. After receiving his teaching degree in 1934, Smith worked as an educator in rural Oklahoma communities and, at the same time, took the opportunity to introduce arts programs to local schools. In 1936, he enrolled in Columbia University's Teachers College to pursue a graduate degree in arts education and began painting full time. That summer, he visited the Albert E. Gallatin Gallery of Living Art at New York University, where he was first introduced to the work of the European modernists Constantin Brancusi, Jean Arp, and most importantly, Piet Mondrian.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Smith accepted university teaching positions at Rollins College in Florida, and New York University and Mills College of Education in New York. During this time, Smith moved beyond his early explorations of neo-plasticism and began to paint in a more hard edge style, typified by geometric lines, curving shapes of color, and the use of tondo (disk shaped) canvases. In 1958, Betty Parson's Section Eleven Gallery showcased his new work in two one-man exhibitions, which introduced him to a wider audience of museum curators and art collectors. In the 1960s, Smith's work was included in two of his most important group exhibitions, The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art (1965) and Systemic Painting at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1966). In 1995, the Brooklyn Museum curated Leon Polk Smith: American Painter, a retrospective exhibition of Smith's career.

Smith produced works exploring shapes and lines, minimalist use of color, and modularity well into the 1990s and exhibited at a number of affiliated galleries, including the Stable Gallery, Galerie Chalette, Galerie Denise Rene, Washburn Gallery, and ACA Galleries. Smith died in 1996 in his home in Manhattan, at the age of 91.
Provenance:
The papers of Leon Polk Smith were donated by the artist's partner, Robert Jamieson, in 1998 and 2002.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Educators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Painting, Abstract -- United States  Search this
Native American artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Transcripts
Video recordings
Scrapbooks
Essays
Interviews
Citation:
Leon Polk Smith papers, 1921-1997. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.smitleon
See more items in:
Leon Polk Smith papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw949ddcac6-68cb-4837-a23f-a9606981815b
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-smitleon
Online Media:

The California Shop Records

Creator:
California Shop.  Search this
Kemp, Helen Misch, 1894-1948 (store owner/manager)  Search this
Kemp, Barbara  Search this
Extent:
1 Cubic foot (2 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Scrapbooks
Clippings
Photographs
Place:
California -- Fashion -- 1930-1940
New York (N.Y.) -- Fashion -- 1930-1940
Date:
1938-1942
Summary:
The records of the California Shop, a shop specializing in West Coast decorative arts located in New York City, New York.
Scope and Contents note:
Collection consists of a bound volume used as both a log of visitors to the shop and a scrapbook containing newspaper clippings, ephemera, magazine articles, announcements, and invitations to fashion shows. The first few pages of the volume are the guest book. The remaining pages were used as the scrapbook and is in reverse chronological order. There are also loose pages from the volume and its wooden covers, with a portion of a map of the Audencia of Guadalajara used as the cover illustration. Of particular interest are the typewritten manuscripts documenting Kemp's ideas for starting the California Shop. In addition, there are photographs of the shop, possibly in 1941, and Helen Kemp.
Arrangement:
Materials are arranged as a single series.
Biographical / Historical:
Helen Misch Kemp opened the California Shop on November 15, 1938 at 677 Madison Avenue in New York City. Kemp was born April 22, 1894 in New York to Moses and Jennie Misch but had moved to California in 1936 where she worked in the women's clothing trade. Some time later she moved back to New York and noticed a distinction between the clothing and merchandise created in California as opposed to what was being offered in New York. California was also gaining a reputation in the fashion industry for its women designers who were combining chic styles, comfort, and unique colors for the American female market. Armed with a keen eye for fashion and shrewd business sense Kemp opened her shop to provide California craftsmanship to an eastern market. Kemp took annual trips to California to select what she considered was the best for her customers. While the California Shop sold mostly women's clothing it also offered products such as preserves, copper household utensils, cookware, trays, wastebaskets, spice jars, wall pockets, flower containers, pottery, and jewelry. On October 15, 1940, the shop moved to 674 Madison Avenue, where it occupied a larger space. Kemp closed her shop in 1942 due to war time difficulties in getting merchandise from California. Helen Kemp died on February 13, 1948, at the age of fifty-four.
Related Materials:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Collections relating to women in business and fashion industry

Estelle Ellis Collection (AC0423)

Brownie Wise Papers (AC0509)

Dorothy Shaver Papers (AC0631)

NW Ayer Advertising Agency Records (AC0059)

Division of Costume Audiovisual Collection (AC0801)

Warshaw Collection of Business Americana (AC0060)

Ming-Ju Sun Garfinckel's Fashion Drawings (AC0897)

Carolyn and Donald Grepke Paper Doll Collection (AC752)

Virginia "Jimmie" Booth Collection (AC0729)

Joseph Magnin Poster Collection (AC0355)
Provenance:
Barbara Kemp
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Women in business -- 1930-1940  Search this
Women -- Employment  Search this
Women -- History -- 1930-1940 -- New York  Search this
advertising -- 1930-1940 -- California  Search this
advertising -- Clothing and dress -- 1930-1940  Search this
advertising -- Clothing trade -- 1930-1940  Search this
advertising -- Fashion -- 1930-1940  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks -- 20th century
Clippings -- 1930-1950
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1930-1940
Citation:
The California Shop Records, 1938-1942, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of Barbara Kemp.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0572
See more items in:
The California Shop Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8a5184ea9-93d5-4637-8da2-3239b2d20434
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0572
Online Media:

Alexander Alland, Sr., Photoprints

Creator:
Ostroff, Eugene, d. 1999 (NMAH Curator)  Search this
Salo, Matt, Dr.  Search this
Haberstich, David E., 1941-  Search this
Ahlborn, Richard E., 1933-2015  Search this
Alland, Alexander, Sr. (Alexander Landschaft), 1902-1989  Search this
Names:
China Daily News -- 1930-1940 -- New York N.Y.  Search this
China Daily News -- Photographs  Search this
United States. Works Progress Administration  Search this
Davis, Earl  Search this
Kaslov, Steve, ca. 1888-1949 (King of the Red Bandanna Romany Gypsies )  Search this
Extent:
0.25 Cubic feet (4 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Oral history
Interviews
Audio cassettes
Place:
Virgin Islands -- 1930-1940
New York (N.Y.) -- 1930-1940
Bowery (New York, N.Y.) -- 1930-1940
Chinatown (New York, N.Y.) -- 1930-1940
St. Thomas (Virgin Islands) -- 1930-1940
Date:
1985 - 1986
1930 - 1943
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains 273 silver gelatin photoprints (Series 1), most of which apparently were made during the 1930s and early 1940s, contemporaneously with the original negatives. All are 8" x 10" or slightly smaller, unmounted except for flush mounted linen on the backs of some prints. The photographs were made primarily in two locations, New York City and the Virgin Islands. The Virgin Islands pictures were made as part of a special documentary project in 1939, as described above, whereas the New York photographs stem from Mr. Alland's largely self assigned documentation of various ethnic and religious groups in New York from approximately 1932 to 1943. The projects include photographs of the "Red Bandanna" Romany Gypsy group in the Bowery, a black Jewish congregation, Mohawk Indians in Brooklyn, and other groups, which required extensive exploration, research, and photographing over periods of many days or weeks. A variety of miscellaneous ethnic and religious groups are covered in the general "Other Religions" and "Nationalities" folders. The contents of the "Judaism" folder include primarily New York sites and people, but there are also additional views of a synagogue from the Virgin Islands project.

Series 2 of the collection contains four cassette tape recordings of two interviews with Mr. Alland, three made by Richard Ahlborn (with Eugene Ostroff and Matt Salo) in 1985, and one by David Haberstich and Richard Ahlborn, June 2-3, 1986 (at which time the photographs were donated). The tapes include readings from his autobiography, personal reminiscences on his experiences as an immigrant and a photographer, and commentary on the photographs.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into two series.

Series 1: Photoprints, 1930-1943

Series 2: Audiotape Cassettes, 1985-1986

The photographs are arranged topically and by nationality.
Biographical / Historical:
Alexander Alland, Sr., was born in Sevastopol, Crimea (formerly in the Soviet Union) on 6 August 1902. His last name originally was Landschaft, but he legally changed it to Alland following the birth of his son. Alland's interest in photography began at the age of twelve, when he helped a local photographer with darkroom work. He constructed his own camera from cardboard with a simple meniscus lens and exposed glass plate negatives with the device.

Toward the end of the Civil War in Russia in 1920, Alland relocated in Constantinople, Turkey, where he was hired as an apprentice by a graduate of the Vienna Academy of Photography. When the Union Nationale des Combatants Francais went on a pilgrimage to Gallipoli, a former battle zone on the Dardanelles, he was asked to accompany them in order to document events. After having his request for a pay increase refused, he left his employer two years later and opened his own portrait studio, "Photo d'Art Russe." When civil unrest threatened Constantinople in 1923, he decided to emigrate to the United States.

During his first years in the United States he worked in photo finishing businesses while engaged in home portraiture independently. He married in 1929 and a son, Alexander, Jr., was born. In the 1930s he became one of the best known photographers portraying the life of immigrants and various ethnic groups in New York. (1) In 1936 he was appointed supervisor of the Photo Mural section of the W.P.A. Federal Art Project, and worked as a free lance photographer for magazines and periodicals featuring the activities of various ethnic groups living in New York City. He specialized in making photomurals with montage techniques. (2)

In 1937 Alland became photography instructor at the American Artists' School and joined the American Artists Congress. In 1939, his first book, Portrait of New York, was published and he became president of the "Exploration Photo Syndicate" and went to the U.S. Virgin Islands as part of a project to produce a pictorial record of the West Indian Islands. His photographs appeared in publications and were exhibited at the New School for Social Research and at the Schomberg Collection. In 1942 he joined the staff of Common Ground magazine as photography editor and was appointed by the National Youth Administration to supervise their photography workshop. His book American Counterpoint appeared in 1943 and was selected as "One of the Fifty Best Books of the Year." The original prints from that book were exhibited at the Museum of the City of New York, which also exhibited a portfolio of his work on American Gypsies. In 1944 he became director of an agency, "Pictures for Democracy," and in 1945 his book The Springfield Plan was proclaimed another "One of the Fifty Best Books of the Year."

During World War II Alland did technical photography for the War Department, receiving a commendation for this work. After another book My Dog Rinty was published, he left New York City to establish a school of photography, combined with a school of dance directed by his wife, Alexandra, a professional dancer and choreographer. (3) He then began to exhibit his own photographs and to collect glass plate negatives and vintage prints by significant photographers. He is perhaps best known for locating a collection of Jacob Riis negatives and making them available. In 1974 Aperture published his biography, Jacob A. Riis: Photographer and Citizen4. Because of his efforts in providing the Riis negatives to the Museum of the City of New York, that institution awarded a special commemorative medal to him in 1973. The Riis book was followed by two more studies of photographers, Jessie Tarbox Beals, First Woman News Photographer (5) and Heinrich Tonnies, Cartes de Visite Photographer Extraordinaire. (6)

Retrospective exhibitions of Alland's work were held in two major Danish museums in summer 1979 and he was honored for contributions to the cultural history of Denmark. In 1991 studies for his photomural work were included in an historical survey exhibition of American photomontage at the University of Maryland at College Park. (7).

Sources

1. My text is based upon the biographical information recorded on my taped interviews with Mr. Alland in this collection, but see also Bonnie Yochelson, The Committed Eye: Alexander Alland's Photography. New York: The Museum of the City of New York, Inc., 1991.

2. Merry A. Foresta, "Art and Document: Photography of the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project," in Official Images: New Deal Photography (essays by Foresta, Pete Daniel, Maren Stange, and Sally Stein), Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1987, p. 153, based on an interview with Alland, January 1987.

3. Photographic historian Anne Peterson, contractor for three Archives Center photographic collection projects between 1986 and 1982, reports that she studied ballet as a child with Mrs. Alland.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid

7. See catalog by Cynthia Wayne, Dreams, Lies, and Exaggeration: Photomontage in America. The Art Gallery, University of Maryland at College Park, 1991 (exhibition at the gallery Oct. 21 Dec. 20, 1991).
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Carlos de Wendler Funaro Gypsy Research Collection (AC0161)

Contains additional Alland photographs. De Wendler Funaro also photographed Steve Kaslov, his family, and his Bowery coppersmith workshop.
Provenance:
Collection donated by Alexander Alland, June 3, 1986.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Copyrighted material: photographs may not be reproduced without written permission from the Estate of Alexander Alland, Sr.
Topic:
Synagogues -- Photographs -- 1930-1940 -- New York, N.Y.  Search this
Newspapers -- Photographs -- 1930-1940 -- New York N.Y.  Search this
Muslims -- Photographs -- 1930-1940 -- New York N.Y.  Search this
Minorities -- Housing -- 1930-1940 -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Minorities -- Housing -- 1930-1940 -- Virgin Islands  Search this
Judaism -- Customs and practices  Search this
Housing -- Photographs -- 1930-1940 -- New York N.Y.  Search this
Immigrants -- 1930-1940 -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Housing -- 1930-1940 -- Virgin Islands  Search this
Buddhism -- Photographs -- 1930-1940 -- New York N.Y.  Search this
Catholic Church -- Liturgy  Search this
Chinese drama -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Churches -- Photographs -- 1930-1940 -- New York N.Y.  Search this
Clergy -- 1930-1940 -- United States  Search this
Coppersmiths -- 1930-1950  Search this
Ethnic costume  Search this
Ethnic groups -- Photographs -- 1930-1940 -- New York N.Y.  Search this
Falashas -- 1930-1940 -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Fortune-tellers -- Gypsies -- 1930-1940 -- United States  Search this
Pluralism  Search this
Poverty -- Photographs -- 1930-1940 -- Virgin Islands  Search this
Printing -- Photographs -- 1930-1940 -- New York N.Y.  Search this
Protestant churches -- Photographs -- 1930-1940 -- New York N.Y.  Search this
Religious and ecclesiastical institutions -- Photographs -- 1930-1940 -- New York N.Y.  Search this
Singers -- 1930-1950  Search this
Synagogues -- 1930-1940 -- Virgin Islands  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 1900-1950
Oral history -- 1980-1990
Interviews -- 1980-2000
Audio cassettes -- 1980-1990
Citation:
Alexander Alland, Sr., Photoprints, 1932-1943, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of the artist.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0204
See more items in:
Alexander Alland, Sr., Photoprints
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8795050c9-502c-4bfa-afa7-3554b2c036d7
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0204
Online Media:

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