The Berryman family papers measure 11.4 linear feet and date from 1829 to 1984, with the bulk of the material dating from 1882 to 1961. The collection presents a good overview of the careers of Washington Star cartoonist Clifford Berryman, his daughter, Star art critic, Florence, and to a lesser extent, son Jim Berryman.
Scope and Content Note:
The Berryman family papers measure 11.4 linear feet and date from 1829 to 1984, with the bulk of the material dating from 1882 to 1961. The collection presents a good overview of the careers of Washington Star cartoonist Clifford Berryman, his daughter, Star art critic, Florence, and his son, Jim Berryman, though the latter's career is not as well represented. The papers also contain material relating to Kate Berryman, including a scrapbook and diaries.
The collection contains biographical material, correspondence, business records, notes and writings, scrapbooks, printed material, photographs, and artwork by Clifford and Jim Berryman and others.
The collection is arranged into three series according to individual family members; each series is arranged into subseries and material within each subseries is arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Clifford and Kate Berryman papers, 1829-1963, undated (boxes 1-7, 11-12, OVs 14-15, 7.9 linear ft.)
Series 2: Florence Berryman Papers, 1902-1984, undated (boxes 8-10, 13, 2.3 linear ft.)
Series 3: Jim Berryman Papers, 1919-1964, undated (boxes 10, 13, 1.1 linear ft.)
The patriarch of the Berryman family, Clifford Kennedy Berryman, was born in Versailles, Kentucky, in 1869. His first job was in the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, D.C. He became a cartoonist for the Washington Post in 1891. From 1907, until his death in 1949, Clifford Berryman was political cartoonist for the Washington Star, earning a reputation as the "Dean of American Cartoonist," and winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1944. His cartoon of Theodore Roosevelt, "Drawing the Line in Mississippi," 1902, began the American Teddy Bear craze, and created Berryman's cartoon trademark. He was also the first cartoonist to become president of the Gridiron Club. His wife, Kate, was an avid member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Their daughter, Florence Berryman, 1900-1992, abandoned her study of music because of a loss of hearing and turned her attention to art. In the 1920s, she became a free-lance local art critic, writing articles for newspapers. She later assisted Leila Mechlin, as an art critic for the Washington Star. In 1946, Florence Berryman succeeded Mechlin and worked for the Star until her retirement in 1961. She also served as editor for the American Federation of Arts until 1944.
Clifford and Kate Berryman's son, James Thomas Berryman, 1902-1976, attended George Washington University and the Corcoran School of Art. He worked as a reporter for the New Mexico State Tribune, until his return, in 1923, to Washington, D.C. because of his mother's illness. He worked at the Washington Star, as an editorial artist and illustrator, until 1933, when he became a sports cartoonist. When his father suffered a storke in 1935, Jim intermittently drew political cartoons for the STAR. Jim Berryman also won a Pulitzer Prize for his political cartoons.
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reel D111) including a scrapbook of memorabilia, 1905-1945, collected by Kate Berryman regarding her husband. The scrap book includes letters from Bernard Baruch, William Jennings Bryan, Harry Flood Byrd, Jay Darling, John Nance Garner, Herbert Hoover, Henry Cabot Lodge, Harry Truman, and Woodrow Wilson; clippings; cartoons; printed material; and photographs of Clifford, family members, William Jennings Bryan, John Nance Garner, Brenda Putnam, and William Howard Taft. Though some items in the scrapbook were subsequently donated, lent materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Portions of the Berryman family papers were donated in 1965 by Florence Berryman, and in 1992 by her estate. The latter donation included portions of a scrapbook of memorabilia which had previously been lent for filming (reel D111) by Florence Berryman in 1962. The whearabouts of the other items in the scrapbook which were donated is unknown.
The collection is open for research. Patrons must use microfilm copy.
Administrative files, correspondence, exhibition files, and financial records documenting the activities of the Society of Washington Artists. A small portion of the collection also contains files on the Washington Arts Club and printed material regarding the Artists Equity Association.
Biographical / Historical:
The Society of Washington Artists (established 1890) was organized in Washington, D.C. at a meeting of the Art Students League of Washington. The Society was officially established in order to promote the exhibition of its members' art work. By 1898 the Society had its own gallery space at 1020 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., but its annual exhibitions were primarily held in the Corcoran Gallery at 17th Street and New York Avenue, Washington, D.C.
A small portion of the collection was donated by Joyce Field, the publicity director (1951-1954) and president (1954-1955) of the Society of Washington Artists. A majority of the collection was donated 2015 by the Corcoran Gallery of Art via David Julyan, representative for the trustees of the Corocoran Gallery of Art.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.