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May Sarton letter to Polly Thayer

Creator:
Sarton, May, 1912-  Search this
Thayer, Polly, 1904-2006  Search this
Type:
Correspondence
Date:
1941 November 14
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)22804
See more items in:
Polly Thayer (Starr) papers, 1846-2008, bulk 1921-2008
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_22804
Online Media:

Photocopy of "Nursery Rhyme" by May Sarton

Creator:
Sarton, May, 1912-  Search this
Type:
Writings
Date:
undated
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)22818
See more items in:
Polly Thayer (Starr) papers, 1846-2008, bulk 1921-2008
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_22818

Polly Thayer (Starr) papers

Creator:
Thayer, Polly, 1904-2006  Search this
Names:
Copley Society (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Friends General Conference (U.S.)  Search this
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  Search this
Nucleus Club (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Trustees of Reservations (Mass.)  Search this
Vose Galleries of Boston  Search this
Abramson, Doris E.  Search this
Cortissoz, Royal, 1869-1948  Search this
Hofer, Philip, 1898-1984  Search this
Koval, Dorothy  Search this
Sarton, May, 1912-  Search this
Starr, Donald C.  Search this
Thayer, Ethel Randolph, 1870-1953  Search this
Thayer, Ezra Ripley, 1866-1915  Search this
Tudor, Tasha  Search this
Wheelwright, John, 1897-1940  Search this
Yarnall, Agnes  Search this
Extent:
21.6 Linear feet
0.807 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Photographs
Sound recordings
Sketchbooks
Transcripts
Interviews
Sketches
Video recordings
Drawings
Scrapbooks
Date:
1846-2008
bulk 1921-2008
Summary:
The papers of Boston portraitist and painter Polly Thayer (Starr) (1904-2006) measure 21.6 linear feet and 0.807 GB and date from 1846 to 2008, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1921-2008. The papers document Thayer's personal life and career as a painter, portraitist, and pastel artist. Found within the papers are biographical materials, extensive family papers, correspondence with artists and art venues, interviews, writings, subject files, organization files, exhibition files, art inventory records, printed and digital materials, five sketchbooks, artwork, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Boston portraitist and painter Polly Thayer (Starr) (1904-2006) measure 21.6 linear feet and 0.807 GB and date from 1846 to 2008, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1921-2008. The papers document Thayer's personal life and career as a painter, portraitist, and pastel artist. Found within the papers are biographical materials, extensive family papers, correspondence with artists and art venues, interviews, writings, subject files, organization files, exhibition files, art inventory records, printed and digital materials, five sketchbooks, artwork, and photographs.

Biographical material includes a marriage certificate, school records, inventories of possessions, passports, files about the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake in Japan, and a few personal and scattered financial documents such as invoices and receipts for various art related expenses.

Extensive family papers on many of Polly Thayer's immediate and extended family members include obituaries, condolence letters, writings, and printed materials. The most voluminous files are about Polly Thayer's husband Donald Carter Starr, her mother Ethel Randolph Thayer, and her father Ezra Ripley Thayer.

There is limited correspondence with friends and and colleagues, including Royal Cortissoz, Philip Hofer, Tasha Tudor (photocopies), Dorothy Koval, the curator who wrote about Thayer for her first show at Vose Galleries in 2001, as well as two art consultants who helped Thayer inventory her artwork. The bulk of the correspondence is with museums, galleries, and other venues such as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Copley Society of Boston, and Vose Galleries.

Interviews with Polly Thayer include transcripts as well as sound and video recordings. There is also a sound recording of poet and professor Doris Abramson discussing Catherine Sargent Huntington.

Writings include typescript and handwritten drafts of essays, notebooks, and notes on assorted topics. The bulk of the material was written by Thayer, with a few writings by others.

Subject files are found for people and general interests. The "People" files are collected documents about Thayer's friends, colleagues, artists, and portrait subjects. The files include short biographies, articles, obituaries, a few photographs, two videocassettes and one sound recording. The most voluminous files are on Francis DeLancey Cunningham, the Howe family, Rose Nichols, May Sarton, John Brooks Wheelwright, and Agnes Yarnall. Thayer's "Interests" files consist of articles and clippings on various topics such as animals, humor, and pacifism.

Organization files contain materials related to Polly Thayer's charitable contributions, club memberships and affiliations, including The Chilton Club, Nucleus Club, Religious Society of Friends, and Trustees of Reservations, among others. These files contain seven sound recordings.

Exhibition files contain exhibition catalogs, reviews, clippings, notes, inventory price lists, and other materials about Thayer's solo and group shows.

Art inventory records consist of dismantled binders of inventories that also include photographs of artwork and descriptive information such as the title, medium, and dimensions. There are also photographic inventories of works of art arranged by subject, and several partial art inventories.

Printed materials include two scrapbooks compiled by Polly Thayer's mother containing articles about Thayer, magazines, journals, exhibition catalogs, brochures, exhibition invitations, postcards, clippings, and miscellaneous materials. Digital materials consist of inventories and digitized audio interviews.

Five sketchbooks include figure drawings, portrait sketches, and landscape sketches. Also found are loose drawings of animals, landscapes, and people.

Disbound binders of photographs contain images of works of art that are grouped by subject, including portraits, landscapes, and "mystical/flowers/animals," as well as personal photographs of Polly Thayer and family members, houses, social events, pets, and friends. There is one small disbound photograph album of houses and properties.
Arrangement:
The Polly Thayer papers were organized and inventoried by curator Dorothy Koval and other art consultants prior to arriving at the Archives of American Art, and most likely do not reflect the original order by Polly Thayer. The Archives has maintained the arrangement imposed by Koval for the bulk of the papers. This collection is arranged as 13 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1921-2007 (0.8 linear feet; Box 1, 22, 0.582 GB; ER01-ER02)

Series 2: Family Files, 1846-2006 (2 linear feet; Box 1-3, 22)

Series 3: Correspondence, 1929-2008 (1.3 linear feet; Box 3-5)

Series 4: Interviews, 1995-2004 (0.2 linear feet; Box 5, 0.196 GB; ER03)

Series 5: Writings, 1922-2006 (1.7 linear feet; Box 5-6)

Series 6: Subject Files, circa 1900-2008 (3.3 linear feet; Box 7-10)

Series 7: Organization Files, 1931-2008 (1 linear feet; Box 10-11, 0.029 GB; ER04)

Series 8: Exhibition Files, 1928-2006 (1.9 linear feet; Box 11-13)

Series 9: Art Inventory, circa 1940-1999 (4.6 linear feet; Box 13-17)

Series 10: Printed Material, 1900-2006 (1.8 linear feet; Box 17-19, 22)

Series 11: Sketchbooks, 1930-circa 1970 (0.3 linear feet; Box 19, 23)

Series 12: Artwork, 1927-circa 1990 (0.4 linear feet; Box 19, 23, OV 25)

Series 13: Photographs, 1898-2006 (2.1 linear feet; Box 19-21, 24)
Biographical / Historical:
Polly Thayer (Starr) (1904-2006) was a Boston painter of portraits, landscapes, and still lifes.

Ethel Randolph Thayer, known as Polly, was born in Boston in 1904, the daughter of Professor Ezra Ripley Thayer, also Dean of the Harvard Law School, and Ethel Randolph Thayer, née Clark. Thayer began her drawing lessons at an early age and later attended the Westover Boarding School in Middlebury, Connecticut. Although she signed some of her early paintings Ethel Thayer, by the end of the 1920s she generally signed her work Polly Thayer. She continued to use Polly Thayer as her brush name after she married, although in 1967 she changed her name legally from Ethel Randolph Starr to Polly Thayer Starr.

After graduating from Westover School, Thayer traveled to China, Korea, and Japan with her brother and mother. While in Japan, the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 struck just as their ship was about to leave Yokohama. In the devastation that followed, their ship was used as a hospital and Polly Thayer assisted with nursing the injured.

After returning home, Thayer began her formal studies at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts from 1923 to 1925 where she took painting classes taught by Philip Hale. She eventually left the Boston Museum and began private painting lessons with Hale. While working under Hale, she painted a large nude, Circles, which was awarded the National Academy of Design's coveted Julius Hallgarten Prize in 1929. She also spent the summer of 1924 in Provincetown studying with Charles Hawthorne and traveled to Europe where she studied at the Académie Colarossi in Paris. She later studied in Madrid and, from 1930-1933, at the Art Students League in New York City.

Thayer's first solo exhibition was held on New Year's Eve, 1930 at the Doll & Richards gallery in Boston. The Globe reviewer declared it "surely settles her status as one of the foremost painters in the country." The success of the exhibition led to numerous portrait commissions --any of them exhibited at Wildenstein gallery in New York City --and launched Thayer's career as a portrait artist. Her portrait subjects include Judith Anderson, Jacques Barzun, Maurice Evans, Lewis Galantiere, Robert Hale, May Sarton, John Wheelwright, and Agnes Yarnall, among others. Additional galleries that subsequently gave Thayer solo shows were the Sessler Gallery in Philadelphia; Contemporary Arts and Pietrantonio Galleries in New York; and in Boston the Guild of Boston Artists, Grace Horne Galleries, Child's Gallery, The Copley Society, the St. Botolph Club and the Boston Public Library.

In 1933, Polly Thayer married Donald Starr, a Boston lawyer and avid sailor. They married in Italy and honeymooned in Paris while he took a break from a sailing trip around the world on his schooner "Pilgrim." They had two daughters, Victoria and Dinah. In 1942 Thayer joined the Society of Friends (Quakers) which became an important part of her life and identity. She was active in many educational, charitable and cultural institutions and local clubs. Thayer had long been fascinated by the dynamics, meaning and variety of visual experience. In 1981 the Friends Journal published her essay "On Seeing," a paper she continued to refine until she was ninety-seven.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Polly Thayer began focusing more on landscapes and still lifes and continued to be prolific artist, exhibiting in numerous solo and group exhibits in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. In her later years she renewed an early affiliation with Vose Galleries which she maintained for the rest of her life. In 2001, she was the only living artist whose work was included in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibition "A Studio of Her Own" and a banner of her portrait of May Sarton hung over the entrance to the Museum.

Polly Thayer (Starr) died on August 30, 2006.
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds an oral history interview of Polly Thayer conducted May 12, 1995-February 1, 1996, by Robert F. Brown.

The Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust holds archival materials and artwork by Polly Thayer.
Provenance:
The Polly Thayer (Starr) papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Polly Thayer in 1998 and again in 2008 by Thayer via Stephanie S. Wright, executor. A notebook was donated in 2016 by Dinah Starr, daughter of Polly Thayer (Starr) and merged with the rest of the collection.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Portrait painters  Search this
Topic:
Painters -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Kanto Earthquake, Japan, 1923  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Sound recordings
Sketchbooks
Transcripts
Interviews
Sketches
Video recordings
Drawings
Scrapbooks
Citation:
Polly Thayer (Starr) papers, 1846-2008, bulk 1921-2008. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.thaypoll
See more items in:
Polly Thayer (Starr) papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-thaypoll
Online Media:

Worden Day papers

Creator:
Day, Worden, 1916-1986  Search this
Names:
Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts  Search this
Montclair Art Museum  Search this
State University of Iowa  Search this
Barnet, Will, 1911-2012  Search this
Bourgeois, Louise, 1911-2010  Search this
Dehner, Dorothy, 1901-1994  Search this
Fish, Alice  Search this
Foster, Betty  Search this
Fuller, Sue (1914-2006)  Search this
Hofmann, Hans, 1880-1966  Search this
Lasansky, Mauricio, 1914-  Search this
Minewski, Alex, 1917-1979  Search this
Moy, Seong  Search this
Peterdi, Gabor  Search this
Rupprecht, Edgar A.  Search this
Rupprecht, Isabell  Search this
Sarton, May, 1912-  Search this
Schrag, Karl  Search this
Thurn, Ernest  Search this
Vytlacil, Vaclav, 1892-1984  Search this
Zigrosser, Carl, 1891-  Search this
Extent:
3.5 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Interviews
Motion pictures (visual works)
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Sketchbooks
Sound recordings
Video recordings
Woodcuts
Date:
circa 1935-1992
Summary:
The papers of sculptor, painter and printmaker Worden Day (1916-1986) measure 3.5 linear feet and date from circa 1935-1992. The collection consists of biographical material, correspondence, writings, printed material, scrapbooks, photographic material, sketchbooks, and audiovisual material.

There is a 1.0 linear foot additon, circa 1951-1992, donated in 2020 containing further papers of Worden Day.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of sculptor, painter and printmaker Worden Day (1916-1986) measure 3.5 linear feet and date from circa 1935-1992. The collection consists of biographical material, correspondence, writings, printed material, scrapbooks, photographic material, sketchbooks, and audiovisual material.

Included are biographical material consisting of resumes and an address book. Correspondence is with colleagues, curators, and museum directors including Will Barnet, Carl Zigrosser, May Sarton, Dorothy Dehner, Louise Bourgeois, Sue Fuller, among others. Writings by Day are about sculpture and painting, among them four unpublished manuscripts "Pop Art as an American Cultural Phenomenon," "What is a Print," "The Found Dimension- Aspects in the Development of Modern American Sculpture," and "New Expressions of Woodcut," and reviews for exhibitions written by Day for Art News. Also found in the collection are printed materials; scrapbooks; photographs of Day, her works and photograph albums; and three sketchbooks. Audiovisual material is arranged with biographical material and includes a taped interview on audio cassette with Day and one reel of motion picture film (also available as digital files), "Printmakers," presented by United States Information Service, 1961, showing American printmakers Mauricio Lasansky, Day, Karl Schrag, Seong Moy and Gabor Petredi at work and students in the School of Graphic Arts at the State University of Iowa, founded by Lasansky. Also arranged with biographical material is a file relating to an exhibition on the work of painter Vaclav Vytlacil organized by Day in 1975 at the Montclair Art Museum containing correspondence; letter fragments from Alex Minewski; writings by Vytlacil regarding his career and work with Hans Hofmann; an audio cassette; photographs of Vytlacil, Hofmann teaching in Munich, Ed and Isabell Rupprecht, Ernest Thurn, Betty Foster, and Alice Fish at the Hofmann School of Fine Arts, Munich; and the exhibition catalog.

There is a 1.0 linear foot additon, circa 1951-1992, donated in 2020 containing further papers of Worden Day.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as eight series

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1960-1986 (Box 1, FC6; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1953-1977 (Box 1; 1 folder)

Series 3: Writings, 1955-1985 (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 4: Printed Material, 1949-1983 (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 5: Scrapbooks, 1940-1984 (Boxes 1, 4; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 6: Photographic Material, 1935-1986 (Boxes 2-3; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 7: Sketchbooks, 1960-1986 (Boxes 3, 5; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 8: Unprocessed Addition, circa 1951-1992 (Box 7; 1.0 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Worden Day (1916-1986) was a sculptor, painter, printmaker and curator in Montclair, New Jersey. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Day graduated from Randolph-Macon College in 1934. She then moved to New York City, and over the next few decades, studied drawing with Maurice Sterne and George Grosz; drawing, painting, and printmaking with William Von Schlegell, Harry Sternberg, Hans Hofmann, Will Barnet, and Vaclav Vytlacil at the Art Students League; and etching with Stanley William Hayter at the New School for Social Research. After earning her M.A. from New York University in 1966, Day taught as an instructor and lecturer in color theory, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, design, collage, American art history, modern art theory, and women artists. Her written reviews and essays were featured in publications such as Art News, Art Voices, and Impressions, and she had solo exhibitions throughout the United States, including at the Smithsonian Institution, Baltimore Museum of Art, Cincinnati Art Museum, and Montclair Art Museum.
Provenance:
The papers were donated to the Archives of American Art from 1972-1983 by Worden Day. Additional material was donated in 2017 by Constance Duhamel, Day's friend. Additional material was donated in 2020 by the Maier Museum of Art at Randoph College via Constance Duhamel.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Landscape painters -- Massachusetts -- Provincetown  Search this
Art museum curators  Search this
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Prints -- Technique  Search this
Painters -- New Jersey  Search this
Printmakers -- New Jersey  Search this
Sculptors--New Jersey  Search this
Sculpture  Search this
Art, Modern  Search this
Painting  Search this
Pop art  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Motion pictures (visual works)
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Sketchbooks
Sound recordings
Video recordings
Woodcuts
Citation:
Worden Day papers, 1935-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.dayword
See more items in:
Worden Day papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-dayword

William Theo Brown papers

Creator:
Brown, William Theo, 1919-2012  Search this
Names:
Anderson, Eugene Newton  Search this
Bachardy, Don, 1934-  Search this
Barber, Samuel, 1910-  Search this
Barton, Betsy  Search this
Beaton, Cecil Walter Hardy, Sir, 1904-  Search this
Broughton, James  Search this
Callahan, Harry M.  Search this
Callery, Mary, 1903-1977  Search this
Carson, Josephine, 1919-  Search this
Coke, Van Deren, 1921-  Search this
Craft, Robert  Search this
Davis, Charles H. (Charles Harold), 1856-1933  Search this
De Kooning, Elaine  Search this
DeFeo, Jay, 1929-1989  Search this
Diebenkorn, Richard, 1922-1993  Search this
Donovan, Richard  Search this
Golschmann, Vladimir, 1893-1972  Search this
Hamilton, George Heard  Search this
Hess, Thomas B.  Search this
Hindemith, Gertrud, 1900-1967  Search this
Hindemith, Paul, 1895-1963  Search this
Hockney, David  Search this
Holloway, Sterling  Search this
Howard, Bart  Search this
Inge, William  Search this
Isherwood, Christopher, 1904-  Search this
Jenkins, Dorothy  Search this
Johnson, Frank  Search this
Kiesler, Frederick  Search this
Kiesler, Lillian, 1910?-2001  Search this
Lambert, Gavin  Search this
Lathwood, Jo  Search this
Loomis, Amy  Search this
Masselind, Ben  Search this
McLaughlin, John, 1898-1976  Search this
Meeks, Everett, 1879-1954  Search this
Oliveira, Nathan, 1928-2010  Search this
Park, David, 1911-1960  Search this
Petty, Mary  Search this
Poulenc, Francis, 1899-1963  Search this
Rukeyser, Muriel, 1913-  Search this
Saint, Eva Marie, 1924-  Search this
Sarton, May, 1912-  Search this
Schrade, Leo, 1903-1964  Search this
Sekula, Sonja, 1918-1963  Search this
Shaw, Robert  Search this
Simonds, Bruce  Search this
Stone, Helen, 1903-  Search this
Stravinsky, Igor, 1882-1971  Search this
Stravinsky, Vera  Search this
Swift, Richard, 1927-  Search this
Tardos, Anne, 1943-  Search this
Thiebaud, Wayne  Search this
Wonner, Paul, 1920-2008  Search this
Zajac, Jack, 1929-  Search this
Extent:
1.3 Linear feet ((on 4 microfilm reels))
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1845-1971
Scope and Contents:
Scrapbooks, photograph albums, sketchbooks, correspondence, manuscripts, and printed material reflect Brown's work as a painter, and his ties with contemporary musical and literary figures.
REEL 877: Four scrapbooks, 1946-1972, containing: photographs of composers Igor Stravinsky and Paul Hindemith, artist Don Bachardy and Brown; letters and notes to Brown from musicians Stravinsky, Hindemith, John Cage, and Samuel Barber; drawings and photographs of works by Brown; clippings; and manuscript material by John Cage and Francis Poulenc.
REEL 921: Eight photograph albums, 1941-1971, including photos of Brown's work; photos of Brown at MacDowell Colony working on a series of self-portraits; of Brown, friends, and other artists, including Paul Wonner, Sonia Sekula, John McLaughlin, Jack Zajac, Sterling Holloway, Richard Diebenkorn, Mary Callery, David Park, Robert Shaw, poet May Sarton, playwright William Inge, composers Igor Stravinsky and Paul Hindemith, author Christopher Isherwood, and others.
REELS 1095 and 1116 (photographs only): Correspondence, ca. 1923-1974; with artists, musicians, writers, composers, and others; privately published letters of Brown's grandfather; sketchbooks, including two from his early years, 1926 and 1930-1934, and six done in Europe, 1945; one sketch by Brown and one each by Paul and Gertrude Hindemith; manuscripts; photographs of family, friends, and associates; photographs of drawings; catalogs and announcements; printed papers; legal documents; and 2 clippings relating to Igor Stravinsky.
REEL 1095: Correspondents include: Eugene Anderson, Cecil Beaton, James Broughton, Van Deren Coke, Robert Craft, Jay DeFeo, Elaine De Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Richard Donovan, Vladimir Golschmann, George H. Hamilton, Thomas B. Hess, Gertrude Hindemith (36 letters), Paul Hindemith, David Hockney, Bart Howard, William Inge, Christopher Isherwood, Dorothy Jenkins, Frank Johnson, Gavin Lambert, Jo Lathwood, Amy Loomis, Ben Masselind, Everett Meeks, Nathan Oliveira, Mary Petty, Josephine Carson Rider, Muriel Rukeyser, Eva Marie Saint, Leo Schrade, Bruce Simonds, Helen Stone, Vera Stravinsky, Richard Swift, Ann Tardos and Wayne Thiebaud; many are represented with only one letter.
Biographical / Historical:
Painter; San Francisco, Calif. Associated with the late 1950s movement of Bay Area figurative painting. Had particularly close ties with contemporary musical and literary worlds.
Provenance:
Material on reels 877 and 921 lent for microfilming and remainder donated 1974 by William T. Brown. Catalogs on reel 1095 were transferred to NMAA/NPG Library after microfilming.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Occupation:
Composers  Search this
Painters -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area  Search this
Topic:
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area  Search this
Composition (Music) -- 20th century  Search this
Music -- 20th century  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.browwilt
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-browwilt

Oral history interview with Polly Thayer

Interviewee:
Thayer, Polly, 1904-2006  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Names:
Cox, Gardner, 1906-1988  Search this
Hale, Philip Leslie, 1865-1931  Search this
Hawthorne, Charles Webster, 1872-1930  Search this
Hofmann, Hans, 1880-1966  Search this
Hopkinson, Charles, 1869-1962  Search this
Littlefield, William Horace, 1902-1969  Search this
Saltonstall, Nathaniel, 1903-1968  Search this
Sarton, May, 1912-  Search this
Van Ness, Beatrice Whitney, 1888-1981  Search this
Wickey, Harry  Search this
Extent:
89 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1995 May 12-1996 February 1
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Polly Thayer (Starr) conducted 1995 May 12-1996 February 1, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Thayer talks about her childhood in an upper class Boston family, thriving on drawing in charcoal from casts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, under tutelage of Beatrice Van Ness; her social debut, 1921-1922; a trip in the summer of 1922 to the Orient with her mother and brother where she was caught in the Tokyo earthquake; Philip Hale's method of teaching drawing at the Museum School in Boston, 1923-1924, and, later, privately; Eugene Speicher's urging her to free herself from Hale's teaching; the difficulty of making the transition to painting; and winning of the Hallgarten Prize of National Academy of Design, 1929.
Studying with Charles W. Hawthorne in Provincetown, Massachusetts in the summer of 1923-1924, which countered the rigidity of her training at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston School; travels in Spain and Morocco in early 1929, at the time her large painting of a nude, "Circles," won the Hallgarten Prize; the importance to her of a letter in 1929 from the critic, Royal Cortissoz, urging her to not fall into the trap of the Boston School and become formulaic in her work; her first one-person show at Doll and Richards, Boston, which resulted in 18 portrait commissions; her ease with which she did self-portraits early in her career, but not so later; and her difficulty in holding the attention of portrait sitters.
Studying with Harry Wickey at the Art Students League, who taught her by boldly re-working her drawings for "plastic" values, which Starr quickly achieved; sketching medical operations and back-stage at theatres, which gave her the dramatic subject matter she sought in the early 1930s; her portraits; getting married in 1933 and the affect on her work; and her work at the Painter's Workshop in Boston with Gardner Cox and William Littlefield. She recalls May Sarton whose portrait she painted in 1936, Charles Hopkinson, and Hans Hofmann.
The distractions from painting brought about by marriage, children, acting, an active social life and much travel; her increased involvement in social concerns through her conversion to Quakerism; the simplification of her paintings beginning in the late 1930s and her steady execution of portrait commissions, which took less time; her exhibitions in Boston and New York through the 1940s and the rarity of them after that; being a board member of the Institute of Modern Art, Boston, and its co-founder, Nathaniel Saltonstall; her approach to painting which amounts to seeking the invisible in the visual world; and the onset of glaucoma which has ended her painting career.
Biographical / Historical:
Polly E. Thayer (1904-2006) was a painter from Boston, Massachusetts.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 44 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Painters -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- Interviews  Search this
Topic:
Women painters -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.thayer95
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-thayer95

Beverly Hallam papers

Creator:
Hallam, Beverly, 1923-2013  Search this
Names:
Ogunquit Art Association (Ogunquit, Me.)  Search this
Sarton, May, 1912-  Search this
Smart, Mary, 1915-  Search this
Extent:
24.2 Linear feet
2.73 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Video recordings
Motion picture film
Interviews
Sound recordings
Sketchbooks
Date:
1899-2013
Summary:
The papers of painter, printmaker, photographer, and educator Beverly Hallam measure 24.2 linear feet and 2.73 Gigabytes, and date from 1899-2013. The collection includes biographical material, correspondence, personal business records, writings, journals, teaching materials, printed material, photographs, film, video, and sound recordings, guest books, and artwork.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of painter, printmaker, photographer, and educator Beverly Hallam measure 24.2 linear feet and 2.73 Gigabytes, and date from 1899-2013. The collection includes biographical material, correspondence, personal business records, writings, journals, teaching materials, printed material, photographs, film, video, and sound recordings, guest books, and artwork.

Biographical material includes family histories for both Hallam and Mary-Leigh Smart, as well as Hallam's family estate management, in addition to résumés and travel documents. Correspondence is both professional and personal, including extensive letters with the writer May Sarton. Personal business records include gallery and exhibition records, including some consignments, loans and price lists, as well as donation records. Writings include a master's thesis, artist statements, articles and lectures by Beverly Hallam, as well as student assignments and writings by others. Hallam's journals include travel and artwork journals, as well as heavily annotated and interleaved yearly planners. Teaching materials date back to Hallam's earliest lessons delivered while obtaining her bachelor's degree of education Massachusetts College of Art, and include her work at Lassell Junior College and her tenure teaching at Massachusetts College of Art.

The printed material series includes extensive clippings regarding Hallam's career as well as family history and the careers of notable friends and colleagues, in addition to those regarding regional artists and the art scene in Maine. Also included are invitations and catalogs for Beverly Hallam's exhibitions, and early research into polyvinyl acetate. Photographs include those of Beverly and her friends and family, as well as artwork and albums documenting installations for exhibitions throughout Hallam's career. Some albums more closely document the homes and estates of Surf Point belonging to Hallam and Smart, as well as Wild Knoll belonging to May Sarton. Also included are photographs Hallam created as illustrations for writing projects by Sarton.

The film, video, and audio recording series includes numerous home movies documenting Hallam's family life and her home at Surf Point, as well as some reels documenting her artwork and exhibitions and a few audio recordings most likely of artist talks. Guest books document attendance for select exhibitions in Hallam's career, as well as of her various homes. The artwork series is comprised of sketchbooks including those detailing Hallam's airbrush works, holiday cards drawn and designed by Hallam, and prints of later computer-generated works.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged in eleven series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1899-2012 (1.0 linear foot: Box 1; 0.349 GB: ER01)

Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1930s-2013 (4.3 linear feet: Boxes 2-6; 0.376 GB: ER02-ER11)

Series 3: Personal Business, circa 1952-2012, circa 1952-2012 (0.7 linear feet: Box 6; 0.066 GB: ER12-ER14, ER16)

Series 4: Writings, circa 1920s-2006 (1.4 linear feet: Boxes 7-8, 22; 0.001 GB: ER15)

Series 5: Journals, circa 1941-1999 (2.7 linear feet: Boxes 8-10)

Series 6: Teaching Material, circa 1944-1962 (0.7 linear feet: Box 11)

Series 7: Printed Material, circa 1920s-2010 (4.3 linear feet: Boxes 11-15, 22)

Series 8: Photographs, circa 1900-2013 (4.7 linear feet: Boxes 15-20; 1.95 GB: ER17-ER30)

Series 9: Film, Video, and Sound Recordings, circa 1970s-1990 (2.6 linear feet: Box 17, FC25-FC47)

Series 10: Guest Books, 1954-2004 (0.8 linear feet: Boxes 17, 21)

Series 11: Artwork, circa 1940s-2008 (1.0 linear foot (Boxes 21, 23-24)
Biographical / Historical:
Beverly Linney Hallam (1923-2013) was a painter, photographer, printmaker, and art educator in York, Maine. Hallam was born in Lynn, Massachusetts to parents Alice Linney Hallam and Edwin Hallam, who was an engineer. Beverly Hallam gravitated toward art making at a young age, and pursued a bachelor's degree in education from the Massachusetts College of Art. Shortly after graduation Hallam accepted a position at Lasell Junior College where she was Chairman of the Art Department until 1949. In 1948 she attended a summer study program at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. In 1953 she received her M.F.A. at Syracuse University where she wrote her thesis on the use of polyvinyl acetate as an artistic medium. For this and other early efforts she would be known as a pioneer for the medium of acrylic paint, which polyvinyl acetate would come to be known. From 1949-1962 Ms. Hallam was professor at the Massachusetts College of Art from 1949-1961 where she taught Painting, Drawing and Design, and Photography. She is particularly well known as a printmaker, and especially for her large-scale airbrush paintings of flowers.

Around the early 1960s with Hallam's departure from teaching, she relocated permanently to Ogunquit, Maine where she kept a studio and home known as Stonecrop, which is currently an art gallery by the same name. In 1971 Hallam and lifelong friend and companion Mary-Leigh Smart completed the construction of Surf Point, which served as both a home as well as a studio for Hallam. Surf Point was situated near the property known as Wild Knoll which was home to Hallam's close friend and correspondent, the poet and writer May Sarton, who lived there from 1974-1995. Sarton and Hallam Smart was a founder of The Barn Gallery, under the Ogunquit Art Association, for which both Hallam and Smart were board members. Smart also was also a collector and art consultant, passionate about Maine regional artists. In 1988 Mary-Leigh Smart established a Trust that would ensure their home and surrounding land would be turned into an artist residency upon their deaths, known as the Surf Point Foundation, modelled after the MacDowell Colony.
Related Materials:
The originals of some letters from May Sarton, 1954, and 1966-1994, included in this collection as photocopies, appear in the May Sarton papers held at New York Public Library's Archives and Manuscripts.
Provenance:
Material on reel 1428 was lent for microfilming in 1978. The majority of the collection was donated in 1992 and 1996 by Beverly Hallam, and in 2014 by the Beverly Hallam estate via executor Mary-Leigh Smart.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Educators -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Painters -- Maine -- York  Search this
Photographers -- Maine  Search this
Printmakers -- Maine  Search this
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Acrylic painting  Search this
Airbrush art  Search this
Genre/Form:
Video recordings
Motion picture film
Interviews
Sound recordings
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Beverly Hallam Papers, 1899-2013. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.hallbeve
See more items in:
Beverly Hallam papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-hallbeve

May Sarton : a biography / Margot Peters

Author:
Peters, Margot  Search this
Subject:
Sarton, May 1912-1995  Search this
Physical description:
xi, 474 p. : ill. ; 25 cm
Type:
Biography
Place:
United States
Date:
1997
20th century
Topic:
Women authors, American--Biography  Search this
Feminists  Search this
Lesbians  Search this
Call number:
CT275.S26 P48 1997
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_599882

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