Janice Lowry papers, 1957-2009. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Harrington was a Bureau of American Ethnology ethnologist involved in the study of over one hundred American tribes. His speciality was linguistics. Most of the material concerns California, southwestern, northwestern tribes and includes ethnological, archeological, historical notes; writings, correspondence, photographs, sound recordings, biological specimens, and other types of documents. Also of concern are general linguistics, sign language, writing systems, writing machines, and sound recordings machines. There is also some material on New World Spanish, Old World languages. In addition, there are many manuscripts of writings that Harrington sketched, partially completed, or even completed but never published. The latter group includes not only writings about anthropological subjects but also histories, ranging from a biography of Geronimo to material on the history of the typewriter. The collection incorporates material of Richard Lynch Garner, Matilda Coxe Stevenson, and others. In his field work, Harrington seems sometimes to have worked within fairly firm formats, this especially being true when he was "rehearing" material, that is in using an informant to verify and correct the work of other researchers. Often, however, the interviews with informants (and this seems to have been the case even with some "rehearings") seem to have been rather free form, for there is a considerable intertwining of subjects. Nevertheless, certain themes frequently appear in his work, including annotated vocabularies concerning flora and fauna and their use, topography, history and biography, kinship, cosmology (including tribal astronomy), religion and philosophy, names and observations concerning neighboring tribes, sex and age division, material culture, legends, and songs. The fullness of such materials seems to have been limited only by the time Harrington had to spend with a goup and the knowledge of his informants.
(Some of the titles are tentative). Papers relating to Alaska/Northwest Coast, including (1) Aleut; (2) Tlingit/Eyak; (3) Northern Athapascan (Beaver, Carrier, Chipewyan, Sarsi, Sekani, Cree); (4) Nicola/Thompson; (5) Lummi/Nespelem; (6) Duwamish; (7) Chimakum/Clallam; (8) Makah/Quileute; (9) Quinault/Chehalis/Cowlit; (10) Chinook/Chinook Jargon; (11) "Kwalhioqua-Tlatskanai"; (12) Tillamook, (13) Alsea/Siuslaw/Coos; (14) Southwest Oregon Athapascan (Chasta Costa, Chetco, Upper Coquille, "Gold Beach", Smith River, Tolowa, Tutini, Upper Umpqua), (14) Galice/Applegate; (15) Takelma, general and miscellaneous;
(16) Klamath; (17) Wiyot/Yurok/Mattole; (18) Coast Yuki/Northern and Central Pomo/Kato; (19) Coast Miwok; (20) Lake and Coast Miwok/Southeastern Pomo/Wappo; (21) Nisenan/Northern Sierra Miwok; (22) Southern Pomo/Central Sierra Miwok; (23) Karok/Shasta/Konomihu; (24) Chimariko/Hupo; (25) Achomawi/Atsugewi/Wintu/Yana; (26) Chamariko/Achomawi/Atsugewi/Wintu/Yana; (27) Costanoan (Chocheno, Mutsun, Tumsen); (28) Salinan (Antoinano, Migueleno); (29) Yokuts (Chunut, Tachi, Wikchamni, Yawdanchi, Yawelmani, Koyeti); (30) general and miscellaneous; papers relating to southern California and the Basin area,
including (31) Chumash (Barbareno, Cruzeno, Ineseno, Obispeno, Purisimeno, Ventureno); (32) Chauilla; (33) Chemehuevi; (34) Gabrielino; (35) Juaneno; (36) Kitanemuk; (37) Luiseno; (38) Serrano; (39) Tubatulabal; (40) Diegueno; (41) Mohave/Yuma; (42) general and miscellaneous; papers relating to the Southwest, including (43) Apache; (44) Hopi; (45) Jemez; (46) Acoma/Laguna; (47) Cochiti; (48) Navaho; (49) Pima/Papago; (50) Illeta; (51) Taos; (52) Picuris; (53) Tewa; (54) Zuni; (55) general and miscellaneous; papers relating to the Plains, including (56) Comanche; (57) Caddo/Pawnee/Wichita; (58) Dakota/Lakota; (59) Hidatso/Mandan/Crow;
(92) general and miscellaneous; notes and writings on special linguistic studies, including (93) correspondence; (94) financial records; (95) personal records; (96) poetry; (97) newspaper clippings; (98) printed material/reprints/photostats/microfilm; (99) maps; (100) photographs (101) sound recordings; (102) botanical specimens
Joseph S. Danner, Edward S. Davis, Ella C. Deloria, Frances Densmore, Paul Desiardins, Lydia Dornherr, Harry W. Dorsey, Frederick Huntington Douglas, David C. Dozi, Edward P. Dozi, Robert Drak Aitken), Rose S. Gaffney, David E. Gales, S. H. Gapp, Clark M. Garber, Lucrlson Fenton, Jesse Walter Fewkes, Reginald G. Fisher, Barbara Freire-Marreco (see also Barbara Aitken), Rose S. Gaffney, David E. Gales, S. H. Gapp, Clark M. Garber, Lucretia Garcia, Maria Garcia, Paul Garcia, Walter C. Garwick, William Gates, Ja Gapp, Clark M. Garber, Lucretia Garcia, Maria Garcia, Paul Garcia, Walter C. Garwick, William Gates, James A Geary, Otto William Geist,
Richard H. Geoghegan, Harold S. Gladwin, Pliny Earle Goddard, T. R. Goodwin, Howard W. Gorman, Blanche C. Grant, George Grasty, Louis H. Gray, Alexander Grigolia, Alexandra Gromoff, F. A. Gross, Ruther Gruber, Erwin G. Gudde, Grace Guest, Ralph Gustafson, Berard Haile, Alfred Irving Hallowell, Howard M. Hamblin, Lucile Hamner, Adelaide Harrington, Arthur Harrington, Awona Harrington, Edmund Ross Harrington, Elliot Harrington, Mark Raymond Harrington, Robert Fleming Heizer, Marta Herrera (Orozoco), Melville Jean Herskovits, Edgar Lee Hewett, George Gustave Heye,
Thomas Willing Hicks, Willard Williams Hill, William B. Hill, Philip K. Hitti, Hulda R. Hobbs (Heidel), Frederick Webb Hodge, Robert Hofsinde, W. C. Holden, Nils Homer, R. B. Horsefield, James Hovey, Grace Hudson, John W. Hudson, William Hughes, Edward P. Hunt, George Hunt, Wayne Henry (Wolf Robe) Hunt, Arnold J. Jacobins, Jean Allard Jge, George M. Lamsa, William T. Linkins, Ralph Linton, Alan Lomax, Theodore R. Lonewolf, uis Kroeber, Benjamin T. Kurtz, Walter and Hilda Kurze, Oliver LaFarge, George M. Lamsa, William T. Linkins, Ralph Linton, Alan Lomax, Theodore R. Lonewolf,
Boas Long, Ivan Alexis Lopatin, Robert Harry Lowie, Charles F. Lummis, Phoebe Maddux, Frank Marashulo, Frank Marr, John Marr, Edna P. Marsh, Gordon H. Marsh, William B. Marye, Elizabeth Mason, John Alden Mason, Anna P. Mattinger, Wayne L. Mauzy, William Ralph Maxon, Parker McKenzie, F. Romero Mendez, Clinton Hart Merriam, E. Vigo Mestres, Truman Michelson, Harry E. Miller, Ralph L. Milliken, William S. Mills, Willie Miranda, Albert Mohr, Dionisia Mondragon, Manuel Mondragon, Lucy Montgomery, Harriet Moore, Mildred C. Moore, R. E. Moore, Rosalind Moore, Carlos Morales, Marion Moreno, Sylvanus Griswold Morley, Philip A. Munz, O. J. Murie,
Roy Nash, Mrs. W. J. Nichols, Eugene A. Nida, Frans M. Olbrechts, Cornelius Osgood, Asbjorn P. Ousdal, Charles F. Outland, Henry E. Parmenter, Elsie Clews Parsons, A. W. Payne, Ellen Peace, Elizabeth Wells Pearce, Arthur B. Perkins, Mrs. Rodolphe Petter, Kenneth L. Pike, Arnold R. Pilling, Nellie B. Pipes, I. J. Pitman, J. O. Prescott, Erik Kellerman Reed, Nathaniel Julius Reich, Jane Richardson, Arthur Stanley Riggs, Frank Harold Hanna Roberts, Jr., Helen H. Roberts, Clarence M. Ruth, Everett Sanders, Edward Sapir, Charles F. Saunders, F. H. Saville, Paul Schumacher, Donald Scott, Blanche Seeley, Ettie Seeley, Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant,
A. W. Setychell, Jessie Shaw, Anna O. Shepard, Frank T. Siebert, Rita Siedenberg, Albion M. Sitton, Nich Sivonen, H. D. Skinner, Mrs. N. P. Sloan, Clement Smith, Stella Smith, Jack Snow, Maria Soto, Frank Gouldsmith Speck, Robert F. Spencer, Marjorie Spinks, Waldo C. Spraque, Winifred Stamm, Moses Steinberg Marian Stirling, Matthew Williams Stirling, William Duncan Strong, Edgar Howard Sturtevant, Georgianna Barbara Such, John R. Swanton, Turkey Tayac, Douglass Taylor, Lincoln Thompson, Morjorie L. Tichy, Janet Tietjins, Bennie Tilden, J. R. R. Tolkien, W. Cameron Townsend, George L. Trager, Lovell B. Triggs, Edwin H. Tuttle,
Ruth Underhill, Richard Fowler Van Valkenburgh, Rosendo Vargas, Charles Frederick Voegelin, Paul Vogenitz, James W. Waldo, Paul A. F. Walter, Althea Warren, Fred Washington, Thomas Talbot Waterman, Edith White, Joseph J. White, Leslie A. White, Grace T. Whiting, Robert B. Whitsett, Benjamin Lee Whorf, H. E. Williams, William L. Wonderly, Arthur Woodward, Robert W. Young, and Father Zephyrin of the Santa Barbara Mission.
The John Peabody Harrington papers are open for research
Access to the John Peabody Harrington papers requires an appointment.
John Peabody Harrington papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
The preferred citation for the Harrington Papers will reference the actual location within the collection, i.e. Box 172, Alaska/Northwest Coast, Papers of John Peabody Harrington, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
However, as the NAA understands the need to cite phrases or vocabulary on specific pages, a citation referencing the microfilmed papers is acceptable. Please note that the page numbering of the PDF version of the Harrington microfilm does not directly correlate to the analog microfilm frame numbers. If it is necessary to cite the microfilmed papers, please refer to the specific page number of the PDF version, as in: Papers of John Peabody Harrington, Microfilm: MF 7, R34 page 42.
The Ferargil Galleries records date from circa 1900-1963 and document the activities of this New York gallery that dealt primarily in American contemporary art from shortly after its 1915 founding by Frederic Newlin Price (1884-1963) to it's closure in 1955. 18.7 linear feet of records include incoming and outgoing correspondence with artists, dealers, schools and colleges, and museums and other art institutions; artist files; estate and legal records including papers relating to the Arthur B. Davies estate; gallery business and financial records; printed material; scrapbooks; scattered personal papers of Price; artwork; and photographs of artists, exhibitions and artwork.
Scope and Content Note:
The Ferargil Galleries records date from circa 1900-1963 and document the activities of this New York gallery that dealt primarily in American contemporary art from shortly after its 1915 founding by Frederic Newlin Price (1884-1963) to it's closure in 1955. 18.7 linear feet of records include incoming and outgoing correspondence with artists, dealers, schools and colleges, and museums and other art institutions; artist files; estate and legal records including papers relating to the Arthur B. Davies estate; gallery business and financial records; printed material; scrapbooks; scattered personal papers of Price; artwork; and photographs of artists, exhibitions and artwork.
Correspondence is both incoming and outgoing and documents the day-to-day activities of the galleries, primarily from the 1920s to the 1950s. Significant correspondence with, or relating to, many of the artists represented by Ferargil Galleries can be found here including correspondence with Bartlett Arkell, Thomas Hart Benton, Randall Davey, Hunt Diedrich, Ernest Lawson, Agnes Potter Lowrie, Luigi Lucioni, Barse Miller, Maxfield Parrish, John Pike, Paul Sample, Wells M. Sawyer, Theodore van Soelen and many others.
Artist files consist primarily of material compiled about artists represented by Ferargil Galleries, including biographical information, press releases for exhibitions, and scattered price lists and information about individual works of art.
Estate and legal records include estate inventories for the estates of Lizzie P. Bliss, Arthur B. Davies, and Dan Fellows Platt, and document several legal actions involving Ferargil Galleries. Of particular significance are the records documenting Price's involvement with the estate of Arthur B. Davies, including correspondence with Davies's wife, Virginia, and sales and inventory records for Davies's artwork at Ferargil Galleries and elsewhere.
Business and financial records date primarily from the 1920s and document inventories, sales, insurance, shipping, and taxes for the bulk of the gallery's operating years.
Printed material contains Ferargail Galleries exhibition catalogs and announcements from 1918 to the 1950s in addition to scattered printed material from other galleries and one folder relating to Arthur B. Davies.
Scrapbooks provide a more comprehensive and detailed history of the gallery's exhibitions, through multiple news clippings of press coverage, in addition to catalogs, announcements, and photographs. Of particular note is a circa 1908 photograph of Arthur B. Davies taken by Gertrude Kasëbier.
Scattered personal records of Frederic Newlin Price document Price's work with the Benjamin West Society at Swarthmore College and further reveal Price's interests through an inventory of his art collection and drafts and copies of his writings on artists such as Arthur B. Davies, and on changing trends and tastes in the art world.
A small series of artwork includes 6 pencil sketches, a print, 3 plans, and an Arthur B. Davies exhibition catalog mock-up with pencil sketches, all by unidentified artists.
Gallery photograph files include some photos of artists such as Emil Carlsen, Leon Dabo, Lloyd Parsons, Natalie Van Vleck and Lois Williams, in addition to 13 folders of photos relating to collections and exhibitions, and photographs of artwork.
The collection is arranged as 9 series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1920s-1963 (Boxes 1-15; 6.0 linear ft.)
Series 2: Artist Files, circa 1920s-1950s (Boxes 16-17; 0.7 linear ft.)
Series 3: Estate and Legal Records, circa 1925-circa 1939 (Boxes 17-18; 0.3 linear ft.)
Series 4: Business and Financial Records, 1919-1956 (Boxes 18-21; 1.2 linear ft.)
Series 5: Printed Material, circa 1900-1956 (Boxes 21-22; 0.7 linear ft.)
Series 6: Scrapbooks, circa 1920s-1950s (Boxes 23-34, 40, OV 41; 5.4 linear ft.)
Series 8: Artwork, circa 1920s-circa 1950s (Box 34, OV 41; 2 folders)
Series 9: Photographs, circa 1920-1950s (Boxes 35-39, OV 40; 4.4. linear ft.)
Frederic Newlin Price (1884-1963) opened Ferargil Galleries in 1915 at 24 East 49th Street and 607 Fifth Avenue in New York City. Art critic W. Frank Purdy (1865-1943)was the President of the Art Alliance of America in 1918 and director of the School of American Sculpture worked at the galleries as director of sculpture.
Named from a combination of "fer" (ferrous-iron) and "argil" (clay), Ferargil Galleries dealt in wrought iron, sculpture, paintings and prints, and focused on exhibitions of work by American artists such as George Bellows, Thomas Hart Benton, Emil Carlsen, John Steuart Curry, Arthur B. Davies, W. Hunt Diederich, Thomas Eakins, Edward Hicks, Ernest Lawson, Albert P. Ryder and Grant Wood. Ferargil was also known for its representation of a group of contemporary watercolorists including Charles Dickinson, Phil Dike, Hardie Gramatky, Barse Miller, and Paul Sample.
In 1927 the business moved to 37 East 57th Street (later 63 East 57th Street) and housed a print room, a sculpture gallery with a fountain, and the main painting galleries.
In 1931 Price became the Director of the newly-formed Benjamin West Society at his alma mater, Swarthmore College. There, he promoted the arts at Swarthmore through annual lectures and exhibitions by contemporary artists and also acquired artwork for the college, primarily by Benjamin West. Price served as President of the American Art Dealers Association in the early 1930s and published a number of books and articles on artists including Arthur B. Davies, Walter Griffin, Eric Hudson, Ernest Lawson, Arthur P. Ryder and Horatio Walker.
Price closed Ferargil Galleries in 1955.
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reels D321-D322, and N68-14-N68-15) including personal and business correspondence with artists and other records. Lent materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
In 1958, Frederic Newlin Price donated circa 70 letters to the Archives of American Art and loaned material for microfilming on reels D321-D322. The remaining records were donated anonymously in 1968.
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Art, American -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
United States of America -- Maryland -- Carroll County -- Westminster
United States of America -- Maryland -- Carroll County -- Marston
United States of America -- Maryland -- Carroll County -- New Windsor
Papers documenting the farming and family life of the Robinson family of Prince George's County and after 1975, Charles County, Maryland. Papers documenting the farming and family of the Via family of Greene County, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Prince George's and Calvert Counties, Maryland, by 1949.
Scope and Contents:
An extensive and comprehensive collection of papers relating to family, farming, and the Southern Maryland tobacco culture, the Robinson and Via Family Papers cover many aspects of family and farm life. The papers are particularly important in regard to the tobacco culture that defined Southern Maryland for generations. The papers concern two distinct family groups, the Robinson and Via families who are connected through the marriage of Franklin A. Robinson and Adina Mae Via. The papers consist of material generated by the Robinson and Via families in their personal and working lives and as farm owners and operators.
The papers are especially strong in 20th century material. They consist of various types of farm records: account books, bills, receipts, tenant farming agreements, ephemera, land rental and purchase agreements, insurance policies, photographs and 8mm and 16mm films of farming practices and procedures, equipment and landscapes, related to the farming of tobacco, small grains, and livestock. The personal records include diaries, letters both personal and business, greeting cards, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, high school yearbooks, baby books, house plans, recipe books, photographs and 8mm films of birthdays, holidays, weddings, baptisms, family occasions, and family travel, oral histories, and funeral ephemera including photographs, and transcription discs. Of particular interest are the "Serenity Farm Tobacco Production Photographs" documenting the crop year 1999-2000 and the films detailing agricultural practices. There is a memorandum book for Black Walnut Thicket, 1885-1901, the Baden farm in Baden, Prince George's County.
This collection includes a comprehensive range of 8mm and 16mm films and photographs documenting farming practices and landscapes as well as family gatherings, birthdays, holidays, and vacations. The researcher is alerted to the fact that in some cases with the memorandum and account books, books printed for a given year were often saved and used for subsequent years, some were dated, some were not.
The collection is divided into seven series arranged by subject and most often chronologically at folder level within each series.
The collection is divided into seven series:
Series 1: Ferndale Farm (Potomac Landing), Prince George's County, Maryland, 1861-1973, undated
Subseries 1.1: Farm papers, bill, and receipts, and publications, 1861-1973, undated
Subseries 1.2: Farm papers, bill, and receipts, 1945-1960, undated
Subseries 1.3: Farm papers, bills, and receipts, 1960-1965, undated
Series 2: Robinson Family, 1845-2017, undated
Subseries 2.1: Family Papers and Publications, 1845-1993, undated
The Robinson family is thought to be of Scottish origin and appear in the records of Prince George's County, Maryland by the early 18th century. The line has been definitively traced to James Robinson (?-1849). James' father was probably Benjamin Robinson (?-1810), of Prince George's County, Maryland. (Will Book TT1, pg. 15, Records of Prince George's County, Maryland, Maryland State Archives (MSA))
James Robinson and Sarah Wynn were issued a marriage license on February 28, 1802 in Prince George's County, Maryland. (Marriage Records of Prince George's County, Maryland) Eleven children lived to maturity (not listed in birth order); Thomas Wells (1803-1869), Ann, Priscilla, James Monroe, Benjamin (1813-1882), John C. (1819-1895), Mary Sophia, Thomas Stanley (1800-1874), Alfred, Sarah Ann, Matilda, and Rebecca Maria.
James worked as a farm manager for Benjamin Oden near Upper Marlborough, Prince George's County. (Oden Papers, Maryland Historical Society) The Robinsons and their children, moved to Wood County, Virginia (now West Virginia) by April 18, 1818 where James acted as Oden's land agent (Deed Book 6, pg. 123, Land Records of Wood County, West Virginia). They brought with them three enslaved described in the above reference as, "Kate a woman 45 years of age very black; Colonel a boy aged 8 years yellow complexion: and George a boy aged six years of a dark brown complexion." They settled on part of what was known as the "Burnt Mill" tract in the general area where the Hughes River meets the Little Kanawha River. (Deed Book 9, pg. 110 and Deed Book 14, pg. 40, Land Records of Wood County)
Thomas Wells Robinson may not have accompanied his family to Virginia as he has a presence in Prince George's County prior to 1822 and was employed as a farm manager for Benjamin Oden at least until 1832. He married Elizabeth J. Richards on December 15, 1829 (Robinson Family Bible). They had nine children; Richard Thomas (1831 1906), Rebecca Maria (1832-1895), Mary Wynn (1834-1916), James George (1835-1883), Virlinda Victoria (1837-1838), Elizabeth Ann (1839-1916), Sarah Ann Sophia (1840-1874), Franklin Alexander (1841-1905) and John Alfred (1843); seven lived to maturity. (Robinson Family Bible) Elizabeth died on August 17, 1843 from complications in childbirth. She was buried in the graveyard of Page's Chapel (later known as St. Thomas Episcopal Church), Croom, Prince George's County.
In 1843, Thomas purchased the plantation of Dr. Benjamin B. Hodges for $10,000 or approximately $15 an acre. Hodges was a brother-in-law of Benjamin Oden. The deed dated September 7, 1843 describes the parcel as containing, "Six hundred and twenty nine acres of land more or less and constitute that plantation or Estate of the said Benjamin Oden heretofore commonly called "Brown's Quarter Place" being the Land tracts and parcels of land sold by the said Benjamin Oden to the said Benjamin B. Hodges and by deed bearing date the tenth day of December eighteen hundred and thirty five and recorded in Liber AB no. 10 folio 162 also one of the land Records of the County aforesaid". (JBB no. 3 pgs. 312 314, Land Records of Prince George's County) The land was level to rolling bordered on the north by a tributary of Piscataway Creek and generally termed "white oak land". Underlying the whole property was a large strata of gravel and sand. The entire parcel went by the name, Potomac Landing.
Thomas supplemented his land holdings with later purchases. With the exception of twenty acres purchased from Sarah Talbert in 1844, (JBB no. 3 pg. 475, Land Records of Prince George's County) and the purchase of lot #3 consisting of 195 acres, part of the estate of John Townshend in 1856, these purchases were not contiguous to Potomac Landing. By the time of his death in 1869 these non-contiguous parcels had been sold. Thomas sold eighty-six acres of Potomac Landing and Jeffries to Edward Eversfield in October of 1843. (JBB no. 3, pg. 198, Land Records of Prince George's County) On January 13, 1846 Thomas married the widow Martha Ann Walls, daughter of George and Martha Naylor Walls. They had two sons; Benjamin Wells (1848-1849) and Robert Henry (1851-1937).
In addition to his sons, Thomas owned enslaved. The number varied from six in 1849 (JBB 6, folio 186, Land Records of Prince Georges' County) to eleven as noted in the census for 1850, and finally six as noted in the census of 1860. The 1867 Maryland Slave Statistics noted that, "at the time of the adoption of the Constitution of Maryland, in the year 1864, . . ." Thomas owned six enslaved, their names and ages being; Isaac Franklin age 31, Alfred West age 19, Susan West age 17, Margaret Franklin age 14, Fannie Franklin age 12, and Peter Franklin age 9. All were noted as being in good physical condition. (Prince Georges' County Slave Statistics 1867 1869, C 1307 1, MdHR:6198, page 185, MSA)
Thomas's financial problems began in the mid-1800s when Deeds of Trust appear in the county records securing outstanding loans. In 1856 and 1857 Thomas joined with others as bondsman for his son, Richard who was serving as "Collector of the State and County Taxes" for the 4th collection district, making he and the other signatories liable for any uncollected taxes. This, coupled with poor investments, led to his almost being "sold out" in 1859-1860 by J.W. & E. Reynolds of Baltimore to pay his debts. He executed three drafts on Penn & Mitchell, also of Baltimore, to pay off J.W. & E. Reynolds. (Equity Case #597, Prince Georges' County) Thomas was in poor health and his son James managed the farm in 1857 and 1858, and again from 1861 to October of 1862 (Equity Case #873, Prince Georges' County)
In October of 1862 Thomas' two sons, James and Franklin, traveled to Richmond to join the Confederate States Army. James enrolled in the 5th Battalion, Local Defense Arsenal and Franklin enrolled in the 5th Virginia Infantry, the Stonewall Brigade. (CSA Military Records, National Archives) James visited home frequently but was captured by the Union Army in St. Mary's County, Maryland on May 15, 1864 and spent the remainder of the war in Point Lookout Prison Camp. He was released on May 14, 1865. Franklin was not able to visit home at all during the war but survived to return home in 1865.
In 1865, Thomas surveyed a parcel of 172 acres for his daughter Rebecca Maria. Rebecca had married her second cousin, William B. Robertson, on November 18, 1855. He made a gift of fifty acres, and Rebecca agreed to purchase the remainder. The Robertsons named this parcel Holly Grove. In Equity Case #849 (1872) filed after Thomas' death, his widow Martha and Samuel H. Berry, as executrix and executor, sought to recover payment for this land. At that time, William B. Robertson described this 172 acres of Potomac Landing: "There was no fences on the line which separated this land from the old gentleman's land, but he was to put a fence on it which he agreed to do before we agreed to come there. The land was thin, unimproved, with gullies and scrubby pine. If witness had been a judge of land he would not have given five dollars for it. All the improvements were one comfortable quarter the other indifferent with a poor oak shingle roof, worn out which made it not tenantable." Further along in his testimony, William gave an account of a conversation, "In a few days my father in law Thos. W. Robinson came to Washington and told me there his children had returned from the South, his two sons, that his debts were small and he was a happy man." Rebecca and William built a house on the property, a side-hall, double parlor plan that most likely her brother James was builder. They also built accompanying farm structures. (Records of Prince George's County, Maryland, Equity Case #849, MSA)
Thomas' son, Franklin, managed the farm after the War. In December 1868 Thomas entered into a sharecropping agreement with Edward Hanson, an African-American. After about a year-long illness, on May 16, 1869, Thomas died, deeply in debt. He was buried beside Elizabeth in the graveyard at St. Thomas' Church. He named as executrix his wife, Martha, and his friend and lawyer, Samuel H. Berry, as executor. His will divided the farm into thirds, one third going to his wife and their son Robert Henry, one third to his son James, and one third to his son Franklin. The land was surveyed according to the will. His personal property was sold but not enough profit was realized to pay off his creditors. The Commissioners of Prince George's County sued the estate on behalf of Thomas' creditors. The outcome was that in 1876 the property was sold at public auction. The Notice of Sale dated September 1, 1876 in the local county newspaper, The Prince Georgian, describes the farm as, "containing 514 2/3 acres More or less. The Improvements consist of a SMALL DWELLING, Three Barns, Stabling, and other necessary outbuildings. It is well wooded and watered, and the soil of fair quality. It has recently been divided into three lots and will be offered in lots, a description of which will be given at the time of sale." The sale was held on September 27, 1876, Lot No. 1 was purchased by Robert for $6.00 an acre, Lot #2 was purchased by Franklin for $5.00 an acre and Lot #3 was purchased by James for $4.00 per acre. Robert and Franklin eventually paid off their mortgage, but James defaulted on his purchase and later moved to St. Mary's County, Maryland. His portion later came to be owned by the Hawkins family, some members who had worked on the Robinson farm. (Equity Case #873, Prince Georges' County, MSA)
Lot #1, purchased by Robert from his fathers' estate, consisted of 177-1/3 acres, including the dwelling and farm buildings. On July 24, 1872, he married Amanda Malvina Baden (1849-1940), daughter of Robert W. G. and Margaret Caroline Early Baden. The Baden and Early families were both prominent south county families. Robert and Amanda had eight children; Caroline Early (1873 1967), Lucy Tennent (1875 1958), Albert Henry (1878 1914), Martha Perry (1880 1961), Robert Gover (1882 1882), Frank Alexander (1883 1970), Margaret Baden (1886 1956) and Grace Malvina (1889 1965).
By 1880 Robert had paid off his debt on the property and was fully engaged in farming. Unlike his father, or perhaps because of his father, Robert did not add to his land holdings, choosing to remain relatively debt free for his lifetime. The only land transactions he participated in were the sales of 79-3/4 acres in 1921 of Amanda's inheritance from her father and her interest in two smaller parcels of her father's land sold in 1894 and 1928 respectively. In 1928 he transferred 3.09 acres to his son Frank.
As late as the Federal census of 1880, Franklin was living with Robert and his household, both men engaged in farming. Sometime after 1880, Franklin took up residence on his part of Potomac Landing. His brother James most likely built the side-hall double parlor house that copied the main house at Potomac Landing. On February 18, 1897, Martha Robinson, died at the age of ninety. She was buried in the graveyyard of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden, Prince George's County.
Robert continued cultivation of tobacco and small grains as his father before him. The first reference to the farm being named Ferndale is found in the "Communion Record" of Robert's daughter, Martha Perry "Pattie", dated 1896. (Robinson and Via Family Papers) The exact origin or reason for this new name is lost but perhaps the name Potomac Landing held such bitter memories of debt and hardship that, as a symbolic break with the past, a new name was found. It also may have simply been a way to distinguish this portion of Potomac Landing from the others. The farm continued to be listed on tax bills as Potomac Landing well into the 20th century, but was known to the general public and businesses as the Ferndale Farm. (Robinson and Via Family Papers)
Robert served as deputy inspector at the State Tobacco Warehouse in Baltimore for eight years under W.B. Bowie. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Brandywine. In July of 1905, Franklin died, a bachelor farmer. He was buried facing south in the graveyard of the Church of the Atonement, Cheltenham, (a chapel in St. Thomas' Episcopal Parish) where he had served as vestryman, treasurer, and cemetery custodian. Franklin died intestate and a lengthy process of dividing his estate began. This resulted in the sale of his part of Potomac Landing (Lot #2) in July 1908 to William E. Boswell. The court declared Robert ineligible for any inheritance due to his being " . . . a brother of the half blood." The Boswell family later sold the property to the Billingsley family of St. Mary's County. (Equity Case 3209, Prince George's County)
In 1910, after living in the farm's original home for approximately sixty seven years, the Robinson family built a new home. It was described in a 1956 insurance policy as, "2 story, frame, metal roof, 16x43, wing 14x28, 9 rooms." (Robinson and Via Family Papers) The house design was a simple Victorian with plastered walls, and lit by carbide gas. Electrical lighting was installed in 1951. The house was built with monies from Robert and Amanda, and their son Frank, who served as builder and contractor.
On Tuesday March 9, 1937, "During a celebration in honor of his wifes birthday anniversary, Mr. Robinson collapsed at the table and died immediately without a word or a sigh." (Robinson and Via Family Papers) Robert was buried beside his mother in the cemetery at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden.
At Robert's death, Ferndale Farm was valued at $30.00 an acre, the total acreage, 174 acres, being valued in the whole at $5,220.00. Robert died intestate, again the fate of the land was in question. He left eight heirs, his widow, Amanda, six of his children and his son Albert Henry's only surviving child, R. Henry Robinson. Rather than have the farm sold and his mother's life disrupted, Frank purchased the estate and personal property from the heirs. Before this could take place, a deed had to be granted the heirs for the property since one had never been recorded after the 1876 sale. Equity case 873 was reopened sixty-two years after its supposed resolution. Frank testified, "over a period of about thirty years I would on a number of occasions, talk about the fact that he had purchased and paid for this property and that a deed had never been executed to him and [he] kept saying he was going to have someone straighten this matter out for him." It was discovered that Robert had fully paid for his part of Potomac Landing. On February 14, 1938 the farm was deeded from Amanda along with Robert''s heirs to Frank. (Book 499, page 334, Land Records of Prince George's County) According to the deed and a 1937 fire insurance policy the farm consisted of 177 1/3 acres, "1 two story dwelling, one tenant house, 1 barrack, 1 tobacco barn, 1 corn house & cow stable, 1 Stable, and 1 Granary & Stable." (Robinson and Via Family Papers)
Frank A. Robinson, now the sole owner of Ferndale Farm, was born August 17, 1883. He learned farming and in addition took up the trade of builder and contractor. As a young man, he worked in the general store of his uncle Robert Baden. He was the contractor for the first Bank of Brandywine and many homes in and around the town of Brandywine, including the home of his cousin Robert E. Baden, DDS. He was secretary of the Building Committee for construction of the Chapel of the Incarnation in Brandywine, a mission chapel for St. Thomas' Episcopal Parish. His success in the building trade gave him disposable income that he invested in land. His first purchase was in August, 1915 of a 2-9/100 acre of land in Brandywine that was being sold by the Board of County School Commissioners; the purchase price was $300. In March 1916 he purchased 38.09 acres of his Uncle Franklin's farm. This property adjoined Ferndale Farm.
Over the next fifty-four years of his life, Frank bought and sold many pieces of real estate. Perhaps his most significant purchases were: 18-1/3 acres purchased from The German American Colonization Land Company of Maryland in October 1915 (Book 115, pg. 140, Land Records of Prince George's County); 147.99 acres purchased from August and Wilhelmina Noltensmeir in December 1917 (Book 129, pg. 263, Land Records of Prince George's County) and 320 acres called the Vineyard purchased from William M. Wilson in March 1928. Frank used these three parcels as collateral for other purchases. Never once did he mortgage Ferndale Farm, insuring that no matter what financial stormy seas might blow, his home was secure. Over the course of his life, especially in the case of the Noltensmeir farm, when cash was needed a parcel of land would be surveyed off and sold. He inherited his grandfather Thomas' love of land but had fortunately developed a shrewd business sense to go along with it.
On November 20, 1929, he married Elizabeth Freeland Bourne, daughter of Joseph Blake and Maria Gantt Bourne of Calvert County, Maryland. They had three children: Mary Elizabeth (1930-2009), Franklin Alexander (1932-2023), and Robert Lee (1935-1997). In addition to his construction business he continued farming, raising tobacco, hay, and small grains. He engaged in sharecropping with tenants on his various properties. He was active in community affairs serving on the Board of The Maryland Tobacco Growers Association (MTGA), the Vestry of St. Thomas Parish, and as sheriff of Brandywine. On January 9, 1940 Amanda Baden Robinson died. She was buried next to her husband at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden. In February 1958, Frank and Elizabeth conveyed 1.57 acres of Ferndale Farm to son Franklin where he and his fiancée, Adina M. Via, were building their new home prior to their marriage in July of that same year.
The booming economy and suburbanization of the Washington metropolitan area in the early 1960's led to the high quality gravel lying beneath Ferndale into becoming a valuable commodity. In October 1962, Franklin and his parents granted a three-year lease to William C. Nolte for mining sand and gravel on the Ferndale Farm at .174 per yard. (Book 2747, pg. 11, Land Records of Prince George's County) From now until 1975 when the property was sold, gravel would be mined from under the farm by various companies. In November 1962, Elizabeth and Frank transferred to Franklin the 38.09 acres Frank had purchased from Fitzhugh Billingsley in 1916. (Book 2754, pg. 99, Land Records of Prince George's County) That same year they transferred 6.754 acres, part of the Vineyard, to son Robert and his wife Lois, (Book 2765, pg. 201, Land Records of Prince George's County)
On December 28, 1965, Frank and Elizabeth participated in a land exchange/purchase of the farm of Ralph W. and Cordelia H. Brown located along the Patuxent River in Benedict, Charles County, Maryland. Franklin had rented this farm the year before and was impressed enough by its location and arability to work out a purchase. Frank and Elizabeth traded 65.9920 acres that would eventually become Franklin's under Frank's will. On February 21, 1966 they deeded the Charles County farm to Franklin and Adina. Adina named this property Serenity Farm. The property consisted of 480.66 acres. (Liber 179, page 708 etc., Land Records of Charles County)
On February 5, 1970, after a short illness, Frank died at Cafritz Memorial Hospital. He was buried at St. Paul's Episcopal Church near his parents. In his will, probated March 4, 1970 he left thirty acres of the property purchased from the German American Land Company and A. Noltensmeir to Elizabeth. He willed forty acres of the same parcel to daughter Mary Robinson Conner. The remainder of Ferndale Farm was willed to Franklin and the remaining acreage of the Vineyard was left to Robert Lee.
Franklin Alexander Robinson was born August 13, 1932 at the Garfield Hospital in Washington, D.C.. He received his schooling in the public school system of Prince George's County, graduating from Gwynn Park High School in June 1951. He was a charter member of Gwynn Park's chapter of The Future Farmers of America. He was extremely active in FFA, achieving the Degree of Maryland Farmer in 1950 and their highest award, the Degree of American Farmer at their convention in Kansas City, Missouri in October 1953. He obtained his private pilots license in 1954. He entered the United States Army in February 1955 and went through basic training at Camp Gordon, Augusta, Georgia. After basic training he was transferred to Camp Hanford, Washington State. There he worked part time on the farm of Dick and Theresa Laurent during his off duty hours and began a lifelong friendship with them. He returned home to farming on an agricultural discharge in October of 1956. On July 27, 1958 he married his high school sweetheart, Adina Mae Via, daughter of Robert Milton and Virginia Woods Via. They had three children: Franklin Alexander (1959), Robert David (1962), and Adina Theresa (1963).
Franklin continued expanding and improving the farming operation by modern methods and means. At times, he farmed over one thousand acres, both owned and rented. On February 21, 1966, his parents deeded their purchase of the Ralph W. and Cordelia H. Brown farm in Benedict to he and Adina, later known as Serenity Farm Franklin and Adina engaged an architect to draft house plans for an anticipated new residence. A small A frame vacation home was built on the property so the family could spend weekends there.
On December 14, 1966, after a long illness, Adina died from complications associated with Hodgkin's Disease. She was buried in Trinity Memorial Gardens, Waldorf, Charles County. Franklin married Margaret Walker Lennox (nee Tallen, known as Rita) on August 21, 1970 (Marriage Records of Prince George's County, Maryland). This marriage ended in divorce in 1977. There were no children from this marriage.
On July 14, 1975 the Robinson family, Franklin, his second wife, Margaret, her daughter Margaret W. Lennox, Franklin, Jr., R. David, A. Theresa and Elizabeth B. Robinson, moved to Serenity Farm. On July 17, 1975 Franklin and Elizabeth sold the remaining acreage of Ferndale Farm to Brandywine Sand and Gravel, thus ending 131 years of ownership by the Robinson family. Elizabeth Bourne Robinson died on July 15, 1976 and was buried beside her husband at St. Paul's Church, Baden. Franklin married Hiltrud (Ceddie) Harris (nee Sedlacek) on July 15, 1978. (Robinson Family Bible) This marriage ended in divorce in 1986. There were no children from this marriage. Franklin married Diedre Gale Merhiage on April 19, 1989; this marriage ended in divorce in 1997. There were no children from this marriage. He married Remelda Henega Buenavista on January 13, 2007.
The Robinson family continue day-to-day operations of Serenity Farm. The land is well suited to the growing of tobacco and small grains, which crops, (with the exception of tobacco) along with a flock of sheep, are cultivated there to the present time. After the crop year 2001 the Robinson family took the tobacco buyout program offered by the state of Maryland and ceased growing tobacco. Franklin is active in farming and community affairs having served on the vestry of St. Thomas Episcopal Parish, the Board of Directors of the Maryland Tobacco Growers Association (MTGA), the Board of the Production Credit Association, the Boards of three schools, Holy Trinity Day School, Queen Anne School, and Calverton School, and numerous other organizations. Currently the farm consists of approximately 275 acres. In 1981 a state agricultural land preservation district of 222.755 acres was created. This was the first such district in Charles County and one of the first in the state of Maryland.
The Via family traces its origins to the colony of Virginia, where the probable progenitor of the line, Amer Via, a French Huguenot, settled in Manakin Town, Albemarle County between 1670-1700. It is impossible to trace the Via line definitively due to the loss of Virginia county records during the Civil War.
The Via family line covered in this collection can be definitively traced to William Via of Fredericksville Parish, Louisa (later Albemarle) County, Virginia. The William Via family lived west of the present day town of Whitehall at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, an area commonly known as Sugar Hollow. William Via III served in the Virginia Line during the Revolutionary War. He married Mary Craig, daughter of Thomas Craig and Jane Jameson, on March 17, 1784. William died on June 27, 1836, in Albemarle County (Rev. War Pension Appl. 6363, National Archives). His son Thomas married Sally, widow Griffin, on January 1, 1811 (Albemarle County Marriage Records). Their son, Hiram Karl Via (1812-1893), married Harriet Ardenia Naylor by license dated March 7, 1836 (Albemarle County Marriage Records).
Hiram and Harriet's son, Robert St. Clair Via (1844-1925), served as a private in Company I, 7th Virginia Infantry of the Confederate States Army (CSA Military Service Records, National Archives). After the war he married his first cousin, Mary Frances Naylor, daughter of Samuel Chapman Naylor and Eliza Jane Gardner, on April 3, 1866 in Rockingham County (Rockingham County, Virginia, Marriage Records). Sometime between 1870 and 1872, they moved to Linn County, Missouri, and settled about seven miles from the town of Bucklin. Their son, Hiram Chapman Via (1872-1933), was born there. In 1893, the family returned to Virginia, and settled on a farm in Greene County near the town of Stanardsville.
Hiram Chapman Via operated a mill as well as a farm. On March 15, 1899, he married Adina Eleanor Eusebia Runkle, daughter of Milton D. L. Runkle and Roberta A. Beadles (Greene County, Virginia, Marriage Records). They had three children: Bernice Olive (1902-1999), Robert Milton (1906-1983), and Deward Daniel (1909-1977).
Robert moved to Washington, D.C.. In December 1927 he began employment with the Capitol Traction Company as a streetcar conductor (Robinson and Via Family Papers). During the early 1930s, Robert rented a townhouse at 715 A St., SE, where he lived with his sister Bernice V. McMullan and her son, William C. McMullan; his brother and sister in law, and his parents. Next door, at 717, lived the Moses Albright family, including Moses's stepdaughter Ida Virginia Woods (1914-2010), daughter of Jesse Lee Woods (1894-1918) and Donna Mae Barker (1896-1928) of Frederick County, Maryland. Robert and Virginia began a courtship and on September 3, 1932 were married in Frederick, Frederick County, Maryland (Frederick County, Maryland, Marriage Records).
After their marriage, Robert and Virginia lived in various locations in the Washington metropolitan area. Their first child, Robert Delano, was born on March 24, 1933, and their second child, Adina Mae, was born on April 12, 1937. Virginia was employed outside the home while her children were in school. Her first job before her marriage had been with Woolworth's in Martinsburg, WV working the candy counter and then before the birth of her son at The Hecht Company on F St. in Washington, D.C.. After her marriage she worked briefly for the United States Postal Service in Capitol Heights, Maryland. Beginning in the 1950s, she worked first at the Hecht Company department store on 7th Street in the District and later for Charles of the Ritz as a receptionist in their beauty salon located in Woodward & Lothrop's F Street store in Washington, D.C.. She also worked as salon manager at the Charles of the Ritz salons in the Woodward & Lothrop stores in Seven Corners, Virginia, and Chevy Chase, Maryland. She retired due to health reasons in 1973.
On September 10, 1941, Robert and Virginia purchased Lot #43 in Woodlane subdivision in Prince George's County. (Book 619, pg. 12, Land Records of Prince George's County) A house was designed for them for this lot by Clyde E. Phillips. They did not construct a home on this property due to the outbreak of World War II. Robert, due to his employment in public transportation, did not serve with the Armed Services in World War II. On October 18, 1946, they purchased approximately thirty acres bordering on Burch's Creek near the towns of Clinton, also know as Surrattsville, and T.B. in Prince George's County from Joseph H. and M. Pauline Blandford. (Book 873, pg. 483, Land Records of Prince George's County) Over the next three years, hiring private contractors, doing work themselves, and with the help of Robert's brother Deward, they built the two story house designed by Phillips in 1941. They moved to the farm from Capitol Heights in 1949. Robert raised hogs, small grains and a crop of tobacco yearly on this farm and also maintained his job with Capitol Transit (formerly Capitol Traction).
In 1954, Robert and Virginia purchased a farm of approximately 150 acres in Island Creek, Calvert County, Maryland. The intention was for Robert and his son to enter into a full time farming operation on expanded acreage. Robert D. Via, known as Delano, graduated from Gwynn Park High School in June 1951. Delano was a part-time farmer and pursued a career as a country and western singer with Bashful Bob and the Rhythm Rangers, he being Bashful Bob. He was employed in various jobs, and began a tour in the Army in 1953. By the time the Via family moved to Calvert County in 1956, he decided to pursue careers other than farming. He eventually traveled and worked in various parts of the United States. He married first Delores Cooper, second Gloria J. Irick, and finally Candice Marinelli in December 1974, they had two children, Robert Marin (1975) and Kirstin Marin (1976).
On June 1, 1956 Robert resigned from his position at Capitol Transit due to health reasons. He and his family moved to the farm in Island Creek, Calvert County where he began full time farming. He and Virginia sold the thirty-acre farm in Prince George's County on June 21, 1956 to Melvin C. and Geraldine H. Rardia. (Book 2003, pg. 564, Land Records of Prince George's County) Virginia continued her employment with Charles of the Ritz. Adina, now a graduate of Gwynn Park High School, was employed by the USAF at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, Maryland. They both commuted daily from Calvert County to their places of employment.
Robert farmed in Calvert County, raising hogs, cattle, small grains and tobacco. Over the course of the next twenty-seven years, Robert and Virginia sold smaller parcels off the farm. In 1974, Robert and Virginia built a small retirement home designed for them by Calvert Masonry Contractors. Robert died on December 22, 1983. He was buried beside his daughter Adina in Trinity Memorial Gardens. At the time of Robert's death, the farm consisted of 28.694 acres. In 1998, Virginia deeded the remainder of the farm, then less than six acres, to her grandson, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr. who sold all but a one-acre lot in April 1999.
Virginia continued to live on the farm in Calvert County, maintaining a small herd of cattle. In the fall of 1989 Franklin, Jr. went to live with her. In 1993, the onset of Alzheimer's Disease required her to move to Serenity Farm and take up residence with her granddaughter A. Theresa. Virginia participated in various studies on Alzheimer's Disease conducted by the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland beginning in 1992. She was profiled in the September 1997 issue of Washingtonian Magazine. In October of 1998 she moved to All American Senior Care in Brandywine, Maryland and in 1999 she moved to Morningside, an elderly care facility in Waldorf, Maryland. In 2002, she moved to St. Mary's Nursing Center in Leonardtown, Maryland. The remainder of the farm was sold in 1999 and 2002. She died January 14, 2010 and was buried at Trinity Memorial Gardens in Waldorf.
Adina Mae Via was born April 12, 1937 at the Homeopathic Hospital in Washington, D.C.. Adina grew up in Washington, D.C. attending public schools. She moved with her family to the Burch's Creek farm, Prince George's County, in 1949. She enrolled in the Prince George's County school system, and graduated from Gwynn Park High School in June of 1955. After graduation, she was employed by the USAF at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs.
In July of 1956, she moved with her family to the Via farm in Island Creek, Calvert County. On July 27, 1958 she married Franklin A. Robinson at the Chapel of the Incarnation. They had three children: Franklin Alexander (1959), Robert David (1962) and Adina Theresa (1963). In the fall of 1958, she and Franklin took up residence in the home they had built on Ferndale Farm. She resigned from her position with the USAF in 1959.
On December 14, 1966, at Providence Hospital in Washington, DC, Adina died from complications due to Hodgkin's Disease. She had been battling this disease for many years prior to her death. She was buried in Trinity Memorial Gardens, Charles County.
Materials at Other Organizations
The Maryland Historical Society holds items (costume, farming related implements) related to the Robinson and Via families.
Materials at the National Museum of American History
The Division of Work and Industry (Agriculture Collection) holds agricultural implements and artifacts associated with both the Robinson farms and the Via farm; the Division of Home and Community Life holds clothing, textiles (crib quilt), jewelry, cosmetics and Adina M. Robinson's sewing box and dress patterns; (Costume and Textiles Collection). See accession numbers: 1989.0688, 1990.0394, 1991.0010; 1991.0722, 1992.0184, 1992.0283, 1992.0321, 1992.0474, 1992.3106, 1994.0064, 1994.0304, 1997.0327, 1998.0038, 1998.0129, 2001.0196, 2002.0087, 2003.0015, 2005.0009.
Division of Armed Forces History (now Division of Olitical and Military History, National Numismatics Collection) holds the Robert M. Via Trolley Token Collection.
The collection was donated to the National Museum of American History, Archives Center, by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., in November 1993.
Collection is open for research but negatives and audiovisuial materials are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Some papers of living persons are restricted. Access to restricted portions may be arranged by request to the donor. Gloves required for unprotected photographs. Viewing film portions of the collection and listening to LP recording requires special appointment. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
The Archives Center does not own exclusive rights to these materials. Copyright for all materials is retained by the donor, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.; permission for commercial use and/or publication may be requested from the donor through the Archives Center. Military Records for Franklin A. Robinson (b. 1932) and correspondence from Richard I. Damalouji (1961-2014) are restricted; written permission is needed to research these files. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
The André Emmerich Gallery records and André Emmerich papers measure 311.4 linear feet and date from 1929 to 2009. The collection documents the business of the André Emmerich Gallery as well as André Emmerich's life and activities related to the business of selling art. Gallery records include correspondence; appointment books; administrative and subject files; exhibition files; artist files and accounts; inventory, sales, purchase, and consignment records; chronological files; financial and legal records; printed materials; original artwork; photographic and audiovisual materials. Also found are personal papers and records relating to André Emmerich. A small addition received in 2014 includes general correspondence, administrative files, exhibition files, artists' files, inventory records, consignment records, printed material, photographic materials, and André Emmerich personal papers and records.
Scope and Content Note:
The André Emmerich Gallery records and André Emmerich papers measure 311.4 linear feet and date from 1929 to 2009. The collection documents the business of the André Emmerich Gallery as well as André Emmerich's life and activities related to the business of selling art. Gallery records include correspondence; appointment books; administrative and subject files; exhibition files; artist files and accounts; inventory, sales, purchase, and consignment records; chronological files; financial and legal records; printed materials; original artwork; photographic and audiovisual materials. Also found are personal papers and records relating to André Emmerich.
The records document the gallery's daily business operations, exhibitions, and relationships with artists, dealers, clients, galleries, and museums. Artists particularly well-represented throughout the collection include Anthony Caro, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, David Hockney, Hans Hofmann, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, and Beverly Pepper.
Records pre-dating the gallery's establishment in 1954 are primarily newspaper and magazine clippings related to artists, personal photographs and photographs of artists, an original etching, and some of André Emmerich's personal records including biographical materials, correspondence, writings, and legal and financial records. Records post-dating the gallery's closure in 1998 are primarily residual business records related to the final disposition of artwork, clippings, photographs of André Emmerich and gallery staff, biographical materials, personal correspondence, writings, legal and financial records, and condolences received by Emmerich's wife upon his death in 2007.
Correspondence is primarily with galleries, museums and clients about business matters. Correspondence files also cover topics such as appraisals, authentications, offers of sale, artists seeking representation, image requests, job applications and recommendations. Also included are the New York gallery's copies of correspondence between the New York staff and the Zurich staff.
André Emmerich's appointment books document appointments, notes, and reminders about Emmerich's business and personal activities. Four appointment books relating to the birth of Emmerich's three sons and second marriage were kept by the family. The appointment books are access restricted and require written permission to use.
Administrative files include corporate records establishing the Andre Emmerich gallery's structure, records documenting the gallery's daily operations, advertising and publicity material, and records about the Sotheby's acquisition. There are also materials related to Top Gallant Farm, from its establishment to its closure. Travel records relate to André Emmerich's business trips and vacations along with some files on the travels of a several staff members at the gallery. Files about the operations of the Galerie André Emmerich in Zurich, Switzerland are included in the series as well.
Subject files relate to Emmerich's gallery business as well as personal and political interests, such as antiquities, art fairs and exhibitions, lecture research, art associations, and sculpture parks. There are several files on the art critic Clement Greenberg and former president of Gay Men's Health Crisis, Nathan Kolodner, who was also an art dealer and director of the Andre Emmerich Gallery.
Exhibition files contain numerous exhibition catalogs and printed materials related to exhibitions held or organized by the André Emmerich Gallery in Manhattan and Galerie André Emmerich in Zurich. The files contain materials ranging such as exhibition invitations, posters, printed materials, press releases, and guest books. Photographs of exhibitions can be found in the Photographic Materials series.
Artist files include biographical materials, clippings, correspondence, mailing lists, price lists, printed materials, and occasionally lectures, writings, and audiovisual materials for many of the artists represented or shown by André Emmerich Gallery. The General Correspondence files might contain duplicates or expanded versions of some of the correspondence. Photographs of artists can be found in the Photographic Materials series.
Artist accounts comprise account statements prepared periodically by the gallery documenting each artist's expenses and sales. Ledgers and general accounting files can be found in the Other Financial and Legal Records series.
Inventory records include inventory cards describing artwork entering and leaving the gallery and files containing various gallery inventories. Artist inventory cards, representing artists from both the New York and Zurich galleries, list the artist, title, date, media and measurements of an artwork. The cards also indicate whether the work was ultimately sold, returned to the artist, consigned, etc., and divided into categories accordingly. Inventory files show various gallery inventories.
Sales records document gallery sales and include paid invoices, records relating to Zurich sales, general sales records such as price lists and canceled sales, and Sotheby's Parke-Bernet auction reports. There are gaps in sales invoices in 1961-1964 and 1969-1971.
Purchase records include correspondence and invoices related to purchases and offers; annotated invoices for works of art bought by the gallery; André Emmerich, Inc. related purchase records; "Non-Modern" art related purchase records.
Consignment records include correspondence and consignment agreements documenting consignments to and from the André Emmerich Gallery; consignments from other galleries to André Emmerich, Inc.; and general consignment records.
Chronological files include copies of invoices or cover letters documenting the movement of artwork into and out of the gallery through sales, consignments, loans, and approvals. Records dating January through August 1968, January through March 1969, and September 1969 through July 1971 are missing.
Financial and legal records include client and partner account statements, resale and exempt organization certificates, accounting ledgers, and legal files related to disputes involving or of interest to the gallery.
Printed materials include auction catalogs and reports, books, and clippings describing André Emmerich, the galleries in New York and Zurich, Top Gallant Farm, and the art world. Also included is a large scrapbook created by the gallery containing clippings and gallery announcements dated 1955-1958. Clippings relating to particular artists can be found in the Artists Files series.
There are two pieces of original artwork in the collection. One is a 1974 print of a 1933 composite etching by Esther Dick Gottlieb, Adolphe Gottlieb, Edgar Levy, Lucille Corcos Levy, David Smith, and Dorothy Dehner Smith. The second is a 1998 lithograph by Louise Bourgeoise, called The Face of the Critic. The artist gave the lithograph as a gift in honor of Robert Hughes and the Archives of American Art and is numbered 61 out of a series of 300.
Photographic materials include prints, slides, negatives, and transparencies. Subjects include artists, André Emmerich, gallery installations, Top Gallant Farm, events, artists' studios, gallery staff, gallery space, and artwork. Photographs which show André Emmerich are indicated as such in the finding aid.
Audiovisual materials includes videocassettes and one audiocassette related to the art world. Videocassettes related to specific artists can be found in the Artists Files series. Videocassettes related to André Emmerich can be found in the André Emmerich Personal Papers and Records series. Videocassettes related to Top Gallant Farm and Sotheby's can be found in the Administrative Files series.
Personal papers and records relating to André Emmerich include biographical materials, personal correspondence, writings and lectures, and legal and financial records. The biographical materials include an address book, interviews and identifying documents. Writings include articles, edits, dissertations, lectures, etc. There are also some miscellaneous correspondence which is organized chronologically.
The small addition received in 2014 includes general correspondence, administrative files, exhibition files, artists' files, inventory records, consignment records, printed material, photographic materials, and André Emmerich personal papers and records.
The collection is arranged as 19 series:
Series 1: General Correspondence Files, 1958-2006 (boxes 1-18, OV 314-315; 18.2 linear feet)
Series 2: André Emmerich Appointment Books, 1954-2007 (boxes 19, 325, 326; 1.7 linear feet)
Series 3: Administrative Files, 1954-2003 (boxes 20-31, 306, OV 314, OV 316-319; 11 linear feet)
Series 4: Subject Files, 1958-1967, 1971-2000 (boxes 31-32, 306, OV 318, OV 320; 2 linear feet)
Series 5: Exhibition Files, circa 1954-1998 (boxes 32-40, 306, 307, OV 318-322; 8.5 linear feet)
Series 6: Artists Files, 1929-1932, 1938-2007 (boxes 40-68, 307, 308, OV 320-323; 28 linear feet)
Series 7: Artist Accounts, 1958-1998 (boxes 68-81; 13.5 linear feet)
Series 8: Inventory Records, circa 1954-2000(boxes 82-128; 46.5 linear feet)
Series 9: Sales Records, 1959-1998 (boxes 128-168; 40 linear feet)
Series 10: Purchase Records, 1961-1966, 1972-1994 (boxes 168-170; 2 linear feet)
Series 11: Consignment Records, 1961-2002 (boxes 170-177; 7.7 linear feet)
Series 12: Chronological File of Incoming and Outgoing Artwork, 1968-1998 (boxes 178-185; 8 linear feet)
Series 13: Other Financial and Legal Records, 1956-1999 (boxes 186-202; 16.5 linear feet)
Series 14: Printed Materials, 1955-1960, 1965-2008 (boxes 202-204, 308, 309; 3 linear feet)
Series 15: Original Artwork, 1933, 1974, 1998 (box 205, 310; 0.7 linear feet (2 folders))
Series 16: Photographic Materials, circa 1930-1935, 1941-1998, circa 2005 (Boxes 205-296, 311-313, OV 324; 92.8 linear feet)
Series 17: General Audio and Video Recordings, 1985, 1990-1995 (Boxes 297-298; 1.3 linear feet)
Series 18: André Emmerich Personal Papers and Records, 1937-1940, 1946-2008 (Boxes 298-305, OV 321, OV 323; 7.7 linear feet)
Series 19: Addition to the The André Emmerich Gallery records and André Emmerich papers, 1956-2009 (Boxes 328-329, OV 330; 2.1 linear feet)
André Emmerich (1924-2007) was one of America's most noted contemporary art dealers and opened the André Emmerich Gallery in New York in 1954. The gallery showcased contemporary art, particularly Color Field painting and monumental sculpture.
André Emmerich was born on October 11, 1924 in Frankfurt, Germany. From age 7 he was raised in Amsterdam before emigrating with his family to New York City in 1940. He studied at Oberlin College and developed an interest in pre-Columbian art and antiquities. After graduation, he spent ten years in Paris working as a writer and editor before returning to New York. He married Constance Emmerich and the couple had three sons, Adam, Noah, and Toby.
In 1954 Emmerich opened the André Emmerich Gallery at 18 East 77th Street and initially specialized in contemporary American and European art and pre-Columbian antiquities. In 1956, the gallery moved to 17 East 64th Street, and in 1959 to the Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street. Emmerich wrote two books about pre-Columbian art, Art Before Columbus in 1963 and Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon: Gold and Silver in Pre-Columbian Art in 1965.
In 1961, Emmerich learned that French and Company, a gallery advised by art critic Clement Greenberg, was closing its department of contemporary art. French and Company had represented Color Field painters Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and Jules Olitski. Emmerich immediately invited Louis and Noland to be represented by his gallery. In 1966 he extended the invitation to Olitski as well, and Helen Frankenthaler joined soon after. The gallery's reputation as one of the earliest and most important promoters of Color Field painters was launched.
In addition to Color Field painters, the gallery represented, among others, Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Milton Avery, Herbert Ferber, Sam Francis, John Graham, Al Held, David Hockney, Hans Hofmann, John Hoyland, Judy Pfaff, Miriam Schapiro, and Anne Truitt.
Until January 1983, sales of pre-Columbian art primarily went through an entity called André Emmerich Inc. (AE Inc.), while sales of contemporary went through the André Emmerich Gallery Inc. (AEG). In 1983, the two entities were merged and operated under the name André Emmerich Gallery Inc.
In 1971, Emmerich began operating a downtown gallery at 420 West Broadway, in SoHo, in space shared with Leo Castelli, Virginia Dwan, and Ileana Sonnabend. In 1972, Emmerich opened a branch of his gallery in Zurich. He incorporated the Galerie André Emmerich Gmbh primarily for the purpose of leasing gallery space in Zurich. Until February 1974, sales of Pre-Columbian art in Zurich were made by an entity called André Emmerich Gallery Inc., New York Filiale Zurich. The Galerie André Emmerich Gmbh was officially liquidated in May 1982. The Filiale was formally closed in October 1996. Galerie André Emmerich also enjoyed a short-lived joint venture with Gimpel & Hanover.
André Emmerich served as president of the Art Dealers Association of America from 1972-1974 and again from 1991-1994.
Emmerich opened a private 150 acre sculpture park, Top Gallant Farm, on his estate in Pawling, New York, in 1982, where he stored and exhibited monumental sculptures by artists his gallery represented including Anthony Caro, Beverly Pepper, Alexander Liberman, Alexander Calder, Mark di Suvero, George Rickey, and Keith Haring. David Hockney painted waves onto floor of the property's swimming pool in 1986. Emmerich operated the sculpture park until 1996.
Emmerich sold his gallery to Sotheby's in 1996. He continued to be affiliated with the gallery until Sotheby's closed the gallery in 1998. Emmerich then began work on his memoir, My Life With Art, excerpts of which have been published in Art News, the Wall Street Journal, and The New Criterion.
Andre Emmerich died in New York 2007 and is survived by his second wife, Susanne Emmerich.
Among the holdings of the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with André Emmerich conducted by Mona Hadler on January 18, 1993.
The André Emmerich Gallery records and André Emmerich papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by André Emmerich in eight accretions between 1999 and 2002. Two additional accretions were donated by Emmerich's wife Susanne in 2008 and 2009; and by James Yohe, executive director (1990-1999), in 2009 and 2014.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Access of diaries and appointment books required written permission.
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. A fragile original scrapbook is restricted. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Authorization to publish, quote or reproduce requires written permission from Katherine Kaplan Degn, Kraushaar Galleries. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Kraushaar Galleries records, 1877-2006. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Getty Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care Fund.
The papers of Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) measure approximately 24.9 linear feet and date from 1804 to 1986 with the bulk of the material dating from 1939-1972. The collection documents the life, work, interests, and creative activities of the self-taught artist, who was best known for his shadow box constructions, assemblages, and collages. Papers include correspondence, diaries, source material, notes, writings, photographs, printed material, two- and three-dimensional ephemera, art works, and books, as well as a limited amount of legal and financial records, and some miscellaneous personal and family papers. The collection also includes the papers of his sister, Betty Cornell Benton, relating to the handling of Cornell's estate and the personal papers of his brother, Robert Cornell.
Scope and Content Note:
The Joseph Cornell papers measure approximately 24.9 linear feet and date from 1804 to 1986, with the bulk of the material dating from 1939-1972. The collection documents the life, work, interests, and creative activities of the self-taught artist, who was best known for his shadow box constructions, assemblages, and collages. Papers include correspondence, diaries, source material, notes, writings, photographs, printed material, two- and three-dimensional ephemera, art works, and books, as well as a limited amount of legal and financial records, and some miscellaneous personal and family papers (which comprise a series of biographical material). The collection also includes the papers of his sister, Betty Cornell Benton, relating to the handling of Cornell's estate and the personal papers of his brother, Robert Cornell.
Cornell's correspondence is typically with family, friends, artists, dealers, collectors, galleries, museums, admirers, individuals whom he admired, "helpers," and various charitable institutions. Correspondence generally concerns the creation, exhibition, sale, and reception of Cornell's art work; his "explorations" and other research and collecting activities; his preoccupations with certain individuals and motifs; his usual practices of giving gifts of art work to those he liked or admired and making donations to charities in aid of those less fortunate; and his relationships and shared interests with family, friends, and colleagues. Also found is correspondence between and amongst various other members of the Cornell family, including, most notably, Robert Cornell's letters to his sisters, Elizabeth (typically addressed as Nell) and Helen.
Dating from 1941 to 1972, Cornell's diaries span almost the entirety of his career as an artist, which began in earnest when he left his job at the Traphagen textile studio in 1940 to pursue art full-time and ended with his death in 1972. The diaries record his day-to-day experiences (usually comprising his thoughts, feelings, impressions, and ideas); and reflect on his various art projects (boxes, films, and collages) and creative activities ("explorations," and various other research, collecting, and publishing ventures). They also explore many of the themes and underlying concerns of his art work; and document his intense preoccupations with certain individuals, his wide-ranging interests, and the interconnectedness of his ideas and activities. Cornell's style of writing in the diaries tends to be stream-of-conscious with entries being composed of phrases, rather than complete sentences and with the progression of passages being more poetic and associative than either logical or narrative. He tended to compose by hand, occasionally typing up his notes into more formal entries, and also to use abbreviations for oft-repeated words and initials for individuals. At times, his handwriting can be difficult to read, and his references can be difficult to decipher. It was also common practice for him to review or revisit previous entries at various points in time, often making revisions or comments on them with dated annotations in the margins or on the reverse side of a page.
Cornell's source material is largely comprised of files of newspaper and magazine clippings, cutouts, notes, writings, book excerpts, photostats (or stats), prints, postcards, art reproductions, and other printed material. Some files are devoted to people (ballerinas, actresses, singers, artists, and writers) and topics (astronomy, romantic and modern ballet, birds, films, literature, music, plants, and science, among others). Other files relate to specific art works, "explorations," publishing projects, and exhibitions. Source material documents Cornell's preoccupation with certain individuals (past and present), events, subjects, and motifs; the development of some of his major "explorations" and their influence on his various artistic and commercial projects; and his work on certain box constructions and collages, publishing ventures, and exhibition catalogues. Source material also sheds light on Cornell's efforts to gain access to the past; his interest in the symbolism of images and objects; the linkages he found between seemingly unrelated things; and the connections between his many creative endeavors.
Ephemera and artifacts include various objects, mementos, and items of memorabilia, some of which were accumulated by Cornell (in much the same way that he collected his source material) and some of which are of uncertain origin. For Cornell, items such as these were not merely inanimate objects, but were instead evocative of past worlds and capable of bringing the past into the present (an idea which he often expressed in his diaries as the "metaphysique d'ephemera"). He seems to have used some of these items in a layout he designed for Good Housekeeping. Other items may have been used as source material for some of his box constructions.
The collection also houses photographs of Cornell, his family, art work, other artists, and friends, as well as photographs taken by various individuals and publicity photographs from the New York City Ballet. Also found are scattered works of art, including collage fragments and Rorschachs (or ink blot drawings) by Cornell, collages by Cornell's sister, Betty Cornell Benton, on which he collaborated, and a box by Christine Kaufman, which was a gift to Cornell. The books in the collection most likely comprise the remainder of Cornell's library, which was transferred to the Joseph Cornell Study Center, and include some that seem to have belonged to his sister, Betty. Printed material includes various publications and clippings collected by Cornell apart from that which he collected as source material. Writings about Cornell include an article by the poet, Mina Loy, and copies of various theses, presentations, and articles by graduate students in art history received by Benton (who assisted them in their research).
The Joseph Cornell Estate Papers consist of correspondence relating to Betty Cornell Benton's administration of the part of Cornell's estate for which she was responsible and legal documents relating to her various legal disputes with the executors of the estate, as well as a limited amount of printed material, some of which was originally accumulated by Cornell and subsequently shared with Benton, and miscellaneous papers belonging to Benton and their mother, Helen S. Cornell. Estate Papers provide insight on the exhibition and sale of Cornell art works after his death; the disposition of his belongings (including art work, papers, books, records, and source material); and Benton's efforts to foster and safeguard the memory and legacy of Cornell. The Robert Cornell Papers include correspondence, writings, art works, photographs, printed material, and scattered financial and personal records, documenting the full and creative life Robert led despite being confined to a wheelchair. Their inclusion in the collection suggests the family's effort to foster Robert's memory.
The collection is arranged into eleven series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1918-1972, 1975 (Box 1; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1909-1982 (Boxes 1-5, OV 31; 4.3 linear feet)
Series 3: Diaries, 1941-1973 (Boxes 6-10; 5 linear feet)
Series 4: Source Material, 1804-1972 (Boxes 11-18, 25-28, OV 29; 8.5 linear feet)
Series 5: Ephemera and Artifacts, 1858-1946 (Boxes 18, 23; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1905-1972 (Boxes 18, 28, OV 30; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 7: Art Works, circa 1966-1971 (Boxes 19, 23; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 8: Books and Printed Material, 1806-1968 (Boxes 19, 23; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 9: Writings about Cornell, 1950, circa 1975-1980 (Box 19; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 10: Joseph Cornell Estate Papers, circa 1911, 1944-1986 (Boxes 19-22; 3.5 linear feet)
Series 11: Robert Cornell Papers, 1924-1965 (Boxes 24, 28; 0.4 linear feet)
Joseph Cornell, assemblagist, collagist, and filmmaker, was born on December 24, 1903 in Nyack, New York. He was the oldest son of Joseph I. Cornell, a textile salesman and designer, and Helen Storms Cornell, and had two younger sisters, Elizabeth (b. 1905), nicknamed Nell and later Betty, and Helen (b. 1906), and a younger brother, Robert (b. 1910), who suffered from cerebral palsy. Cornell shared close relationships with his siblings, and was especially attached to his brother whom he took care of as an adult. His fondest childhood memories included family Christmas celebrations, outings to Manhattan where he saw vaudeville shows and strolled around Times Square, and trips to Coney Island where he encountered penny arcade machines. These childhood memories, among others, inspired some of the themes later explored in his art work.
After his father's death in 1917, Cornell was sent to study at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He remained there for four years, but left without receiving a diploma. During this time, the family moved from Nyack to Bayside, Queens, where they lived in a series of rented houses. Cornell rejoined his family in 1921, at which time he went to work as a salesman in the Manhattan office of a textile wholesaler, the William Whitman Company. He joined the Christian Science church in the mid-1920s, and in 1929, the family bought a house at 37-08 Utopia Parkway in Flushing, where he resided for the rest of his life, living there with his mother and brother after both his sisters married and moved away.
During the 1920s, Cornell developed his passion for walking the city streets and taking in their sights, sounds, and impressions; browsing in the secondhand bookshops along Fourth Avenue; and collecting material such as books, prints, postcards, and printed and three-dimensional ephemera. He cultivated his growing interest in culture and the arts by attending opera and ballet performances, seeing plays (the 1922 play Rain, which starred Jeanne Eagels, was among his favorites), visiting galleries and museums, reading, and going to the movies.
In 1931, Cornell began to frequent the Julien Levy Gallery, where he encountered Surrealist art for perhaps the first time. Around this time, he created his first works of art - a series of black-and-white collages composed from cutouts of nineteenth-century engravings - inspired by Max Ernst's collages, in particular his collage-novel, La Femme 100 tetes (1929). Cornell went on to create three-dimensional works of art such as pill boxes and a glass bell series (consisting of objects arranged under a bell jar). His work, including several collages and a glass bell, was first exhibited as part of the groundbreaking "Surrealisme" show at the Levy Gallery in January 1932. He also designed the cover of the show announcement. His first one-man show at the gallery, "The Objects of Joseph Cornell," followed in the fall of 1932. (It was seven years before his next solo show.) By this time, Cornell had been laid off from his job at Whitman's. He was out of work for several years before getting a job as a textile designer at the Traphagen Commercial Textile Studio in 1934. During the next several years, he continued to work on his art at night.
Around this time, Cornell began collecting movies and movie stills, and embarked upon various film-related projects. In 1933, he wrote a scenario for a silent movie, Monsieur Phot. A few years later, he made his first film, Rose Hobart (1936), comprised of re-edited footage from the B-movie, East of Borneo (1931), which starred the actress, Rose Hobart. And he began work on a trilogy of collage-films - The Children's Party, Cotillion, and The Midnight Party (circa 1937). He then took a break from making films until the mid-1950s, but continued to collect film-related material, which he began to incorporate into his other art work.
In 1936, Cornell constructed his first glass-fronted shadow box, Untitled (Soap Bubble Set), which was included that same year in the "Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, along with a cabinet box and several glass bells. In creating some of his other early boxes, he began the practice of using photo reproductions of images which he located in books and magazines, or in the Picture Collection at the New York Public Library, among other places. In his tribute boxes to actresses (1930s), he made use of publicity shots, and in the box, Dressing Room for Gilles (1939), he employed a photostat (or stat) of a reproduction of Jean-Antoine Watteau's painting, Gilles (1718).
Over the years, Cornell came into contact with various figures of the art, dance, and literary worlds. In the 1930s and 1940s, he met the artists, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and Salvador Dali, and befriended the artists, Lee Miller and Dorothea Tanning. His formative friendships during 1940s were with the artist, Pavel Tchelitchew, the writers, Charles Henri Ford (founder of the avant-garde periodical, View), Parker Tyler, and Donald Windham, and the balletomane, Lincoln Kirstein (founder of Dance Index). His other friends included the artists, Roberto Matta Echaurren and Robert Motherwell, the dancer and actress, Tilly Losch, and the poets, Mina Loy and Marianne Moore. In the 1950s, he associated with artists from the Abstract Expressionist movement, including Willem de Kooning, Jack Tworkov, and Mark Rothko. Beginning in the mid-1950s, he befriended many young artists, including Lee Bontecou and Carolee Schneeman, and young actresses, including Lois Smith, Gwen Van Dam, and Suzanne Miller, whom he sought to appear in his films. And in the early 1960s, he met the Pop artists, Robert Indiana, James Rosenquist, and Andy Warhol.
Beginning in 1940, Cornell developed a keen interest in dance, particularly ballet. Ballerinas from the Romantic era, such as Marie Taglioni and Fanny Cerrito, especially captured his imagination, inspiring such works as the box, Taglioni's Jewel Casket (1940), and the Portrait of Ondine "exploration," which comprised a portfolio of material relating to Cerrito and her famous role in the ballet, Ondine. Cornell was also fascinated with the modern counterparts of the Romantic ballerinas. In 1940, he befriended the Russian ballet dancer, Tamara Toumanova, and over the years produced many works in homage to her, including swan boxes (inspired by her role in Swan Lake), boxes made with scraps from her costumes, and scrapbooks of clippings, stats, and memorabilia. In 1949, he became enamored of the French dancer, Renee "Zizi" Jeanmarie, after seeing her perform in Carmen and meeting her backstage, and he created several dance-related boxes in her honor. In 1957, he met the ballerina, Allegra Kent. After meeting again in 1964, they became friends, and she served as the subject of several works based on images reproduced from a Parmigianino painting.
In December 1940, Cornell left his job at the Traphagen textile studio to pursue art full-time. He set up a workshop in the basement of the house on Utopia Parkway, which served as a combination studio and storage space. While he spent most days at home, he continued to make regular trips into Manhattan to wander around the city, visit with friends, and hunt for material. Around this time, he began to keep a diary, recording his day-to-day experiences (usually comprising his thoughts, feelings, impressions, ideas) on scraps of paper (including used envelopes, paper bags, napkins, and ticket stubs, among other fragments). He would then type up some of these notes into more formal diary entries, but most of them remained, in his word, "scribblings." Diary keeping eventually became one of his primary activities, along with box construction, collage, research, and collecting.
By this time, his art work was beginning to sell, yet he was not able to live from these sales alone. During the 1940s, he primarily supported himself by doing freelance work for magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Good Housekeeping, supplying illustrations from his picture collection and designing covers and layouts. He also regularly contributed pieces to View and Dance Index. His notable contributions to View included "Enchanted Wanderer: Excerpt from a Journey Album for Hedy Lamarr" (December 1941), "Story Without a Name - for Max Ernst" (April 1942), and "The Crystal Cage [portrait of Berenice]" (January 1943). His projects for Dance Index included various collage-covers, essays, and thematic issues, such as the Summer 1944 issue, which comprised a 22-page tribute to the Romantic ballerinas, Taglioni, Carlotta Grisi, Cerrito, and Fanny Elssler. To supplement his income, Cornell also held brief positions at an electronics plant, the Allied Control Company, Inc. (in 1943), and at a nursery, the Garden Centre (in 1944).
In 1942, Cornell created one of his more memorable works, Medici Slot Machine, embarking upon a large series of Medici boxes in which he utilized reproductions of portraits by Italian Renaissance artists, such as Sofonisba Anguissola and Pinturicchio. His other boxes from this time period explored themes ranging from ballet, as in A Pantry Ballet (for Jacques Offenbach) (1942), to doomed love, as in Paolo and Francesca (1943-48), to nature, as in the Sand Boxes (1940s) and Sand Fountains (1950s). Cornell often created boxes in series, producing variations on a theme with variants that differed significantly or only slightly. Over the years, series included: Pink Palaces, Pharmacies, Habitats, Aviaries, Dovecotes, Hotels, Observatories, and Night Skies, among others.
In late 1945, Cornell joined the Hugo Gallery, which was run by Alexander Iolas, and a year later mounted the show, "Romantic Museum at the Hugo Gallery: Portraits of Women by Joseph Cornell" (December 1946). He designed the exhibition catalog for this show, which consisted of portraits - box constructions, objects, and "dossiers" - of the opera singers, Giuditta Pasta and Maria Malibran, the ballerinas, Taglioni and Cerrito, and the actresses, Eleanora Duse, Jeanne Eagels, Greta Garbo, and Jennifer Jones, and which also featured one of his most famous boxes, Untitled (Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall) (1945-46).
In 1949, Cornell joined the Egan Gallery, which was run by Charles Egan. Around this time, he began creating his series of Aviary boxes, which explored the symbolism of birds and birdcages. He showed twenty-six of these box constructions in his first exhibition at the Egan Gallery, "Aviary by Joseph Cornell" (December 1949-January 1950). He created other series of whitewashed boxes, including the Dovecote series and a small group relating to the poet, Emily Dickinson. He then went on to explore the themes of astronomy and celestial navigation in the Observatory, Night Skies, and Hotel series. Works from these series were featured in his two remaining shows at the Egan Gallery, "Night Songs and Other Work" (December 1950-January 1951) and "Night Voyage" (February-March 1953). In the fall of 1953, sparked by seeing the painting, Figure Seated in a Cafe (1914), Cornell embarked upon a major series of bird constructions dedicated to the Cubist artist, Juan Gris. Notably, these were the only boxes he explicitly dedicated to another artist.
Over the next couple of years, Cornell's work was exhibited across the country. In 1955, he joined the Stable Gallery, which was run by Eleanor Ward. His first one-man show there, in the winter of 1955-56, was "Winter Night Skies," which featured various box constructions based on constellations. During the mid-1950s, he embarked upon a series of Sand Fountains (vertical standing boxes featuring a broken glass and sand that flowed through it when turned upside down), elaborating upon his earlier Sand Boxes (1940s). These boxes along with some of his other latest works, including the Bleriot boxes and the Space Object boxes (which comprised his final box series), were exhibited in his second and last show at the Stable Gallery, "Selected Works" (December 1957).
After leaving the Stable Gallery, Cornell had several dealers handle his work rather than allowing any one to assume too much control. Dealers included Richard Feigen (in Chicago and then in New York) and Irving Blum (in California), among others. Throughout his career, Cornell never liked selling his boxes. He was always reluctant to let his work go and became increasingly uneasy about the growing status of his work as a commodity. He preferred instead to make gifts of his art work to friends and individuals he admired (especially female ones).
In the mid-1950s, Cornell returned to making films. Rather than just splicing together found images as he had in his films of the 1930s, he began to collaborate with others to shoot original footage. He worked with the experimental filmmaker, Stan Brakhage, on two films, one about the Third Ave El which was about to be torn down ( Wonder Ring or Gnir Rednow) and the other about an old house in Cornell's neighborhood that was slated for demolition ( Centuries of June). Cornell then went on to make nine films with the filmmaker, Rudy Burckhardt, including Aviary, A Legend for Fountains, and Nymphlight, among others. In the late 1960s, he enlisted the help of Larry Jordan, who was also a filmmaker, in completing the trilogy of collage-films that he had begun in the 1930s.
Along with creating works of art and making films, Cornell was involved in a host of other creative endeavors throughout his career as an artist. These included: keeping a diary, which was for him another medium for exploring and expressing the themes, ideas, and concerns recurrent in his art work; carrying out "explorations," which typically involved conducting research, collecting material, and compiling files on persons or topics of interest to him; and other projects, such as publishing pamphlets (or brochures) dedicated to the nineteenth-century opera singers, Malibran and Giulia Grisi. Cornell's "explorations" clearly informed his artwork, but they were also works of art in and of themselves. He continually sought to share this work with an audience and twice had the opportunity to do so, when he exhibited versions of his Portrait of Ondine "exploration" at the Museum of Modern Art in 1945 and at the Wittenborn Bookstore in 1956.
Around the mid-1950s, Cornell returned to making collages as independent works of art. Unlike his earlier ones, which were composed from cutouts of black-and-white engravings, his latest collages were made with color images cut out of contemporary magazines and books. In these collages, he explored many of the same themes and preoccupations of his box constructions, including birds, as in Couleur de Peche (1967) and Untitled (Vierge Vivace) (1970), children's games, as in the Penny Arcade series (1960s), and actresses, as in The Sister Shades (1956). Towards the end of his career, collage became his principal medium.
By this time, Cornell was taking fewer trips into Manhattan. Instead, he spent more time at home or traveled only so far as downtown Flushing, where he frequented the public library, hunted for material in stores, such as Woolworth's, and passed time in the coffee-shops on Main Street. From this time on, he kept his diary with increasing regularity, taking down notations with more frequency and creating entries of greater length.
In 1961, fourteen of Cornell's boxes, including Medici Slot Machine, were exhibited as part of the "The Art of Assemblage" show at the Museum of Modern Art. As his biographer notes, Cornell came to view this show "as a turning point in his creative life," marking the "[fall] off in his work" that took place in the sixties (Solomon 271-2). He continued to work on boxes that he had begun long before, but, after this time, rarely if ever constructed new ones. Instead, he focused on making collages and became increasingly concerned with other projects, such as organizing his basement workshop, for which he hired various "helpers" or assistants (mostly young women) over the years. He also became more and more prone to obsessions (or preoccupations, as he called them) with various young women that he encountered both in fantasy (actresses on stage or in films) and in real life (working girls in the city, "teeners" on Main Street, or his female visitors and "helpers" at home). These preoccupations infused his diary writings, and inspired the keeping of "dossiers" on particular individuals and the creation of various collages dedicated to others, including most notably the Penny Arcade series dedicated to Joyce Hunter (or "Tina," as he referred to her in his writings).
After Robert's death in February 1965, Cornell created a series of collages in his memory, many of which incorporated his brother's drawings of animal characters. In January 1966, he exhibited some of these collages, alongside a selection of Robert's drawings, in a show at the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, "Robert Cornell: Memorial Exhibition." In 1967, there were two retrospective exhibitions of Cornell's work, "An Exhibition of Works by Joseph Cornell" at the Pasadena Art Museum and "Joseph Cornell" at the Guggenheim Museum. By now, Cornell was receiving considerable public recognition for his work. He had received his first profile (by Howard Griffin) in the December 1957 issue of Art News and, ten years later, was treated to a 12-page spread (by David Bourdon) in the December 1967 issue of Life magazine. He was also the recipient of various prizes for his art work, including the M.V Kohnstamm Prize at the Art Institute of Chicago's "62nd American Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture" in 1957 and the winning prize in India's first Triennale of Contemporary World Art in 1968.
In the last years of his life (especially from the time of his mother's death in the fall of 1966), Cornell suffered from severe depression and loneliness, and withdrew even further from the outside world. However, he still maintained relationships with various young friends and artists, who frequently visited Utopia Parkway and/or served as one of his assistants. He became more and more interested in sharing his work with a younger audience and his last two exhibitions in 1972 were expressly for children, "A Joseph Cornell Exhibition for Children" at the Cooper Union School of Art and Architecture and "Joseph Cornell - Collages and Boxes" at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York.
Cornell continued to work until the end of his life, "refurbishing" earlier boxes and creating memorial collages. Following prostate surgery in June 1972, he spent several months recuperating with family in Westhampton before returning to Utopia Parkway in November. He died of heart failure at home on December 29, 1972.
The biographical note draws heavily from Deborah Solomon's biography, Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell (New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 1997), and Diane Waldman's book, Joseph Cornell: Master of Dreams (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2002).
The Archives holds several collections of different provenance that relate to Joseph Cornell, including the small collections of Allison Delarue (comprised of two letters from Cornell, available on reel 2803), Muriel Streeter Schwartz (comprised of two letters from Cornell, available on reel 4283), Wayne Andrews (comprised of letters from Cornell and printed material), and Marion Netter (comprised of items received from Cornell). In addition, photographs of Cornell can be found amongst the Hans Namuth photographs and papers. Also found within the Archives is a transcribed interview of Cornell's sister, Elizabeth Cornell Benton, conducted on April 21, 1976 as part of the oral history program.
The bulk of Cornell's source material resides in the Joseph Cornell Study Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum, along with his library and record collection. Cornell's sister, Betty Cornell Benton, donated a portion of this material directly to SAAM (then known as the National Museum of American Art), occasioning the creation of the Study Center circa 1978. The bulk of the source material and library that she donated to AAA, including approximately 66 linear feet of three-dimensional and non-textual source material and 50 linear feet of books, was transferred to the Study Center in 1994 and 1995.
Originals of loaned material returned to the donor after microfilming include: some unidentified and miscellaneous correspondence; significant correspondence between Joseph Cornell and Helen S. Cornell; significant correspondence between Helen S. Cornell, family members and others; and some of Joseph Cornell's family correspondence and general correspondence from the Robert Cornell papers. The loaned material is available on microfilm reels 1055-1058 but is not described further in the Series Descriptions/Container Listing of this finding aid.
The Joseph Cornell papers were donated and microfilmed in several installments from 1974 to 1989 by Joseph Cornell's sister, Betty Cornell Benton. Most, but not all, of the correspondence, which was loaned for microfilming in 1974, was subsequently donated in 1989. Additional material was donated in 2004 by the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.
Use of the original papers requires an appointment.