Gerber Scientific Instrument Company (Hartford, Conn.). Search this
75 Cubic feet (182 boxes)
1911 - 1999
Records document the Gerber Scientific Instrument Company, Hartford, Connecticut, and its four subsidiaries: Gerber Garment Technology, Inc., Gerber Scientific Products, Inc., Gerber Systems Corp., and Gerber Optical, Inc. Gerber Scientific designs, develops, manufactures, markets and services computer aided design and computer aided CAD/CAM systems. The records include correspondence, memoranda, product literature, trade literature, patent records, instruction manuals, proposals, engineering records, photographs, technical reports, drawings, press releases, and newspaper clippings.
Scope and Contents:
The Gerber Scientific Instrument Company Records document the company's designs, development, manufacture, and marketing of computer-aided design and computer-aided CAD/CAM systems. The records are arranged into twelve series and consist of Personal, Corporate Records, Engineering Department Records, Product Literature, Instruction Manuals/User Guides, Proposals, Photographs, Trade Literature, Press Releases and Newspaper Clippings, Patent Records, Lectra Systèmes Litigation Materials, and Audio Visual Materials.
Series 1, David R. Pearl, 1968-1984, contains three volumes of diaries kept by David R. Pearl, President of Gerber Garment Technology. The diaries were maintained by Pearl from July 21, 1968 to June 6, 1977, to document Pearl's and H. Joseph Gerber's activities concerning the development of the technology and the establishment of a business to market computer-controlled fabric cutting devices. One notebook contains some materials later than 1977. There are diary entries for September 12, 1979, February 1, 1980, and October 29, 1984.
Series 2, Corporate Records, 1968-1999, includes administrative records, an Industrial Projects Eligibility Review, annual reports, shareholders reports, newsletters, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) materials, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) materials, Gerber Museum documents, and empty Gerber Scientific Instrument Company binders. The administrative documents consist of a corporate history, mission statement, organizational chart, company map, time line and biographies of key corporate personnel. There are two organizational charts: one for the Engineering Organization (software, mechanical and electrical divisions) from 1987 and one for the subsidiary Gerber Garment Technology, Inc. (Gerber Garment Technology (GGT)), dated 1985. Additional organizational charts can be found with the 1968 annual report. The Industrial Projects Eligibility Review was submitted to the Connecticut Development Authority by Gerber Scientific Intsrument (GSI) to facilitate financing for future expansion of the company. A copy of the company's articles of incorporation are here. The newsletters included in this series are in-house publications for employees only. The newsletter Communiqué, 1960, is in Series 4, Product Literature. The NYSE materials include press releases, photographs, the listing application to the NYSE and printed material about Gerber Scientific, Inc. joining the NYSE in October 1980. Gerber Scientific is traded on the Stock Exchange as GRB. The Securities and Exchange Commission files contain Form S-3, a registration statement and the Annual Report, and Form 10-K for Gerber Scientific, Inc. The Gerber Museum file includes photographs of artifacts and a 1996 memo and fax discussing the establishment of a museum to honor H. Joseph Gerber.
Series 3, Engineering Department Records, 1966-1990, is the largest series and is arranged alphabetically by the engineer's last name and then alphabetically by subject/topic. The records include the files of: Ed LaGraize, David Logan, Bud Rich, Ron Webster, and Ken Wood. The majority of engineering files belong to David Logan. Logan joined Gerber Scientific Instrument in 1957 as a project engineer. From 1959 to 1961, he was chief engineer and then became Vice President of Engineering from 1961 to 1963. From 1963 to 1980, Logan served as Senior Vice President of Engineering. He holds several patents, primarily in the field of plotting devices and control systems. The engineering files contain technical memoranda, correspondence, drawings, product literature, trade literature, notes, and drawings.
Series 4, Product Literature, 1953-1996, contains informational sheets for a variety of products available from Gerber Scientific, Inc. and its subsidiary companies. Gerber Scientific Instrument (GSI) creates designs, manufactures and promotes data reduction equipment of many types. Data reduction equipment allows complex mathematical problems to be solved quickly and accurately. Both analogue and digital systems are offered. The bulk of the product literature falls into the following categories: instruments, data reader systems, recorders, special scanning tables, oscillogram amplitude tabulators, standard system scanners, and plotters. The series is arranged alphabetically by name of product with a few exceptions.
Series 5, Instruction Manuals/User Guides, 1953-1980, undated, is divided into two subseries, Gerber Scientific Instrument Company manuals and other companies' manuals. This series contains instruction manuals, maintenance manuals, and users' guides for a variety of Gerber Scientific, Inc. products. The Gerber System Model 1434, Ultra Precise Artwork Generator which provides precision photo-plotting on photo-sensitive material is well represented among the manuals. The other companies represented include Bendix Industrial Controls and the KOH-I-NOOR Rapidograph, Inc.
Series 6, Proposals, 1961-1980, consists of bound certified and signed technical and bid proposals completed by Gerber Scientific Instrument Company detailing available and actual estimated costs and pricing data for Gerber products. The proposals were assembled for specific companies such as North American Aviation.
Series 7, Photographs, 1948-1974, undated, is further divided into three subseries: Product and Client Files, 1966-1974, undated; Gerber Scientific Instrument (Gerber Scientific Intsrument (GSI) Corporate, 1948-1970, undated; and Numerical, 1966-1974, undated photographs. The majority of photographs are 8" x 10" black-and-white prints. The product and client file photographs are arranged alphabetically. The Gerber Scientific Instrument (GSI) corporate photographs include photographs of GSI buildings both interior and exterior shots, employees, employee functions such as banquets, annual meetings, tours, stockholder meetings, and trade shows. The numerical photographs are arranged numerically according to the number assigned on the reverse of the photograph. Some of the numerical photographs are identified by product name, but others are labeled unidentified.
Series 8, Trade Literature, 1947-1992, is arranged alphabetically by company name. The trade literature in this series is from competitors or from companies that used Gerber products.
Series 9, Press Releases and Newspaper Clippings, 1943-1996, is divided into two subseries, Press Releases, 1972-1982 and Newspaper Clippings, 1943-1996. The press releases are arranged chronologically. This series contains information on H. Joseph Gerber, his company and its subsidiaries, and the garment and apparel industry. The newspaper clippings are arranged chronologically and include a wide variety of local Connecticut and United States newspapers and industry specific magazines such as Bobbin and Apparel Industry.
Series 10, Patent Records, 1911-1985, contains copies of patents, correspondence with patent attorneys and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, patent search results, and other legal filings associated with the patenting process. The materials are arranged chronologically with the name of the equipment or instruments being patented noted.
Series 11, Lectra Systèmes Litigation Materials, 1968-1990, contains documents that mainly deal with Lectra (France), but there are documents about patent infringement for Lectra (Japan) and Lectra (United Kingdom). The materials consist of depositions by David Pearl, then president of Gerber Garment Technology, and David Siegelman, then Vice President and General Manager for Lectra Systèmes, Inc., in the United States. Confidential progress reports, memoranda, correspondence, competition reports, drawings and sketches, notes, and other documents summarize events in the litigation history.
Lectra Systèmes was formed on November 12, 1973 at Bordeaux-Cestas (France) by two visionary engineers, Jean and Bernard Etcheparre. They developed a computer system, the LECteur-TRAceur 200, which automatically calculated and plotted all sizes of an item of apparel. The Lectra Systèmes litigation materials document Gerber Garment Technology's claim that Lectra infringed upon Gerber's line of cutting machines. The specific patents being infringed are United States patents: 3,955,458; 4,205,835; and 3,765,289. In September 1986, Lectra introduced a new line of cutting machines that cost roughly half as much as Gerber's top-of-the-line competing system. Gerber Garment Technology filed suit in the United States and France as Gerber Garment Technology, Inc. v. Lectra Systems, Inc. Civil Action No. 1:86-cv-2054CAM. In 1992, Lectra Systems, Inc., appealled the judgment of the United States District Court for the Northern District infringement of Gerber's U.S. Patent No. 3,955,458 ('458 patent) and denied Lectra's claim that Gerber's U.S. Patent No., 4,205,835 ('835 patent) is unenforceable.
Series 12, Audio Visual Materials, 1986-1998, includes 3⁄4" U-matic, 1⁄2" VHS, audio cassettes, BetaCam SP, and one Super 8mm color, silent camera original reversal film. The majority the of audio visual materials cover interviews with H. Joseph Gerber, the National Technology of Medal ceremony, and sales and marketing footage for various Gerber products.
The collection is organized into twelve series.
Series 1: David R. Pearl Materials, 1968-1984
Series 2: Corporate Records, 1968-2002
Subseries 2.1: Administrative, circa 1977-1995
Subseries 2.2: Industrial Projects Eligibility Review, undated (contains articles of incorporation for Gerber Scientific)
Series 9: Press Releases and Newspaper Clippings, 1943-1998
Subseries 9.1: Press Releases, 1972-1998
Subseries 9.2: Newspaper clippings, 1943-1996
Subseries 9.3: Articles, 1969-1991
Series 10: Patent Records, 1911-1985
Series 11: Lectra Systèmes Litigation Materials, 1968-1990
Series 12: Audio Visual Materials, 1986-1998
Biographical / Historical:
Heinz Joseph "Joe" Gerber was born in Vienna, Austria, on April 17, 1924. In 1940, Gerber escaped the Nazis and immigrated to New York City and then to Hartford, Connecticut, with his mother Bertha Gerber, a dressmaker. Gerber's father, Jacob, is presumed to have died in a concentration camp. Gerber attended Weaver High School and graduated in two years (1943). He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York, on a scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering in 1947. As a junior at RPI, Gerber developed the Gerber Variable Scale, his first invention. The earliest version of the variable scale was fashioned from an elastic band removed from a pair of pajamas. Gerber created a rubber rule and scale that could flow with a curve, expand, contract, and turn a corner. The scale allows for direct reading of curves, graphs, and graphical representations, giving direct numerical readings of proportions, spacing and interpolation. The Variable Scale became the building block of what would become Gerber Scientific Instrument Inc.
With financial assistance from Abraham Koppleman, a newspaper and magazine distributor in Hartford, Gerber and Koppleman formed a partnership and incorporated Gerber Scientific Instrument Company in 1948. Gerber served as president, Koppleman as treasurer, and Stanley Levin as secretary. The manufacture of Variable Scale was jobbed out and the distribution was conducted from Hartford. Gerber also worked as a design analytical engineer for Hamilton Standard Propellers of United Aircraft and for Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. Shares of Gerber Scientific Instrument Company were eventually sold to the public in 1961, and in 1978, the company changed its name to Gerber Scientific, Inc. In the 1960s and 1970s, Gerber developed the first series of precision, computer-driven cutting systems for the apparel industry called the Gerber Cutter. The cutters introduced automation to the garment industry. In 1967, Gerber realized that the U.S. garment industry, due to a lack of automation, was faced with increasing overseas competition. Gerber's solution was to engineer the GERBERcutter S-70, a machine that cuts apparel quickly and effectively while using less cloth.
Gerber holds more than 600 United States and foreign patents. Many of his patents relate to the United States apparel industry. In 1994, Gerber was awarded the National Medal of Technology by President Clinton for helping to revolutionize the optical, garment, automotive, and other industries. His pioneering achievements include:
-a generation of data readers (electromechanical devices that converted graphical data directly into computer readable format);
-projection systems that interactively converted information from aerial photographs for use in computers;
-devices that plotted digital output data from computer cards or tape;
-digital numerically-controlled drafting machines which verify the accuracy of the cutting path of numerical machine tools;
-a photoplotter (drafting machine configured with a unique light source to directly draw high accuracy layouts of printed circuit board masters on photographic film or glass with light beams); and
-systems with laser technology to draw at high speeds.1
Subsequent subsidiaries of Gerber Scientific, Inc., were: Gerber Garment Technology, Inc. (GGT); Gerber Scientific Products, Inc. (GSP); Gerber Systems Corp. (GSC), and Gerber Optical, Inc., (GO). GGT makes computer-controlled cutting and design equipment for apparel, automotive, aerospace and other industries. GSP produces systems for sign-making and graphic arts industries. GSC makes production systems for printing, industrial machinery and other industries. GO makes equipment for the optical-lens manufacturing industry.2
In 1954, Gerber married Sonia Kanciper. They had a daughter, Melisa Tina Gerber, and a son, David Jacques Gerber. H. Joseph Gerber died on August 9, 1996, at the age of 72.
1 National Medal of Technology, 1994.
2 W. Joseph Campbell, "High Tech and Low Key as Gerber Scientific Mounts a Recovery Philosophy that Reflects Innovative Founder," Hartford Courant, May 16, 1994.
Materials in the Archives Center
Gerber Fabric Cutter Video Documentation, February 1996 (AC0609)
This videohistory documents the inventor, engineers, assembly workers, operators and other technicians who worked with the computer-controlled fabric cutter.
Heinz Joseph Gerber Papers (AC1336)
This collection documents Joseph Gerber's personal life including his highschool and college years, correpondence with family and friends, and speeches given by Gerber throughout his life.
The collection was donated by David Gerber, son of H. Joseph Gerber, on December 23, 2006.
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Ellington, Mercer Kennedy, 1919-1996 (musician) Search this
Strayhorn, Billy (William Thomas), 1915-1967 Search this
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Musical History Search this
400 Cubic feet
New York (N.Y.) -- 20th century
Harlem (New York, N.Y.) -- 20th century
Washington (D.C.) -- 20th century
1903 - 1989
The collection documents Duke Ellington's career primarily through orchestrations (scores and parts), music manuscripts, lead sheets, transcriptions, and sheet music. It also includes concert posters, concert programs, television, radio, motion picture and musical theater scripts, business records, correspondence, awards, as well as audiotapes, audiodiscs, photographs, tour itineraries, newspaper clippings, magazines, caricatures, paintings, and scrapbooks.
Scope and Contents:
Dating approximately from the time Duke Ellington permanently moved to New York City in 1923 to the time the material was transferred to the Smithsonian Institution in 1988, the bulk of the material in the Duke Ellington Collection is dated from 1934-1974 and comprises sound recordings, original music manuscripts and published sheet music, hand-written notes, correspondence, business records, photographs, scrapbooks, news clippings, concert programs, posters, pamphlets, books and other ephemera. These materials document Ellington's contributions as composer, musician, orchestra leader, and an ambassador of American music and culture abroad. In addition, the materials paint a picture of the life of a big band maintained for fifty years and open a unique window through which to view an evolving American society.
The approximate four hundred cubic feet of archival materials have been processed and organized into sixteen series arranged by type of material. Several of the series have been divided into subseries allowing additional organization to describe the content of the material. For example, Series 6, Sound Recordings, is divided into four subseries: Radio and Television Interviews, Concert Performances, Studio Dates and Non-Ellington Recordings. Each series has its own scope and content note describing the material and arrangement (for example; Series 10, Magazines and Newspaper Articles, is organized into two groups, foreign and domestic, and arranged chronologically within each group). A container list provides folder titles and box numbers.
The bulk of the material is located in Series 1, Music Manuscripts, and consists of compositions and arrangements by Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and other composers. Series 6, Sound Recordings also provides a record of the performance of many of these compositions. The materials in Series 2, Performances and Programs, Series 3, Business Records, Series 8, Scrapbooks, Series 9, Newspaper Clippings, Series 11, Publicity and Series 12, Posters provide documentation of specific performances by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra. Ellington was a spontaneous and prolific composer as evidenced by music, lyrical thoughts, and themes for extended works and plays captured on letterhead stationery in Series 3, Business Records, in the margin notes of individual books and pamphlets in Series 14, Religious Materials and Series 15, Books, and in the hand-written notes in Series 5, Personal Correspondence and Notes.
During its fifty-year lifespan, Duke Ellington and His Orchestra were billed under various names including The Washingtonians, The Harlem Footwarmers and The Jungle Band. The soloists were informally called "the band", and Series 3 includes salary statements, IOU's, receipts and ephemera relating to individual band members. Series 1, Music Manuscripts contains the soloists' parts and includes "band books" of several soloists (for example; Harry Carney and Johnny Hodges) and numerous music manuscripts of Billy Strayhorn. The changing role of Strayhorn from arranger hired in 1938 to Ellington's main collaborator and composer of many well-known titles for Duke Ellington and His Orchestra including "Take The A' Train" and "Satin Doll" can be traced in these music manuscripts. Series 7, Photographs and Series 2, Performances and Programs contain many images of the band members and Strayhorn. This Collection also documents the business history of Duke Ellington and His Orchestra. Series 3, Business Records contains correspondence on letterhead stationery and Series 11, Publicity contains promotional material from the various booking agencies, professional companies, and public relations firms that managed the Orchestra.
The materials in the Duke Ellington Collection provide insight into public and institutional attitudes towards African Americans in mid-twentieth-century America. The business records in Series 3 beginning in 1938 and published sheet music in Series 1 depict Duke Ellington's progression from an African-American musician who needed "legitimization" by a white publisher, Irving Mills, to a businessmen who established his own companies including Tempo Music and Duke Ellington, Incorporated to control his copyright and financial affairs. Programs from the segregated Cotton Club in Series 2, Performances And Programs and contracts with no-segregation clauses in Series 3: Business Records further illustrate racial policies and practices in this time period. The public shift in perception of Duke Ellington from a leader of an exotic "Jungle Band" in the 1930s to a recipient of the Congressional Medal Of Freedom in 1970 is evidenced in Series 2, Performances And Programs, Series 12, Posters, Series 7, Photographs and Series 13, Awards. Reviews and articles reflecting Ellington's evolving status are also documented in Series 8, Newspaper Clippings, Series 9, Scrapbooks, Series 10, Newspaper and Magazine Articles.
The materials in the Duke Ellington Collection reflect rapid technological changes in American society from 1923-1982. Sound recordings in Series 6 range from 78 phonograph records of three minutes duration manufactured for play on Victrolas in monaural sound to long-playing (LP) phonograph records produced for stereo record players. Television scripts in Series 4, programs in Series 2 and music manuscripts (for example, Drum Is A Woman) in Series 1 demonstrate how the development of television as a means of mass communication spread the Orchestra's sound to a wider audience. The availability of commercial air travel enabled the Ellington Orchestra to extend their international performances from Europe to other continents including tours to Asia, Africa, South America and Australia and archival material from these tours is included in every series.
Series 4, Scripts and Transcripts and Series 6, Audio Recordings contain scripts and radio performances promoting the sale of United States War bonds during World War II, and Series 7, Photographs includes many images of Duke Ellington and His Orchestra's performances for military personnel revealing the impact of historic events on Duke Ellington and His Orchestra. Series 2: Programs and Performances, Series 9, Newspaper clippings and Series 8, Scrapbooks document the 1963 Far East tour aborted as a result of President John F. Kennedy's assassination.
The Duke Ellington Collection contains works by numerous twentieth-century music, literature, and art luminaries. Series 1, Music Manuscripts contains original music manuscripts of William Grant Still, Eubie Blake, Mary Lou Williams, and others. Series 4, Scripts and Transcripts contains a play by Langston Hughes, and Series 12, Posters contains many original artworks.
Series 1: Music Manuscripts, circa 1930-1981, undated
Series 2: Performances and Programs, 1933-1973, undated
Series 3: Business Records, 1938-1988
Series 4: Scripts and Transcripts, 1937-1970
Series 5: Personal Correspondence and Notes, 1941-1974, undated
Series 6: Sound Recordings, 1927-1974
Series 7: Photographs, 1924-1972, undated
Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1931-1973
Series 9: Newspaper Clippings, 1939-1973, undated
Series 10: Magazine Articles and Newspaper Clippings, 1940-1974
Series 11: Publicity, 1935-1988
Series 12: Posters and Oversize Graphics, 1933-1989, undated
Series 13: Awards, 1939-1982
Series 14: Religious Material, 1928-1974
Series 15: Books, 1903-1980
Series 16: Miscellaneous, 1940-1974
Biographical / Historical:
A native of Washington, DC, Edward Kennedy Ellington was born on April 29, 1899. Edward was raised in a middle-class home in the Northwest section of Washington described by his sister Ruth--younger by sixteen years--as a "house full of love." Ellington himself wrote that his father J.E. (James Edward) raised his family "as though he were a millionaire" but Edward was especially devoted to his mother, Daisy Kennedy Ellington. In 1969, thirty-four years after his mother's death, Ellington accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom with these words, "There is nowhere else I would rather be tonight but in my mother's arms." Both his parents played the piano and Ellington began piano lessons at the age of seven, but like many boys he was easily distracted by baseball.
In his early teens, Ellington sneaked into Washington clubs and performance halls where he was exposed to ragtime musicians, including James P. Johnson, and where he met people from all walks of life. He returned in earnest to his piano studies, and at age fourteen wrote his first composition, "Soda Fountain Rag" also known as "Poodle Dog Rag." Ellington was earning income from playing music at seventeen years of age, and around this time he earned the sobriquet "Duke" for his sartorial splendor and regal air. On July 2, 1918, he married a high school sweetheart, Edna Thompson; their only child, Mercer Kennedy Ellington, was born on March 11, 1919. Duke Ellington spent the first twenty-four years of his life in Washington's culturally thriving Negro community. In this vibrant atmosphere he was inspired to be a composer and learned to take pride in his African-American heritage.
Ellington moved to New York City in 1923 to join and eventually lead a small group of transplanted Washington musicians called "The Washingtonians," which included future Ellington band members, Sonny Greer, Otto Hardwicke and "Bubber" Miley. Between 1923 and 1927, the group played at the Club Kentucky on Broadway and the ensemble increased from a quintet to a ten-piece orchestra. With stride pianist Willie "The Lion" Smith as his unofficial guide, Ellington soon became part of New York's music scene; Smith proved to be a long-lasting influence on Duke's composing and arranging direction. At the Club Kentucky, Ellington came under the tutelage of another legendary stride pianist, "Fats" Waller. Waller, a protege of Johnson and Smith, played solos during the band's breaks and also tutored Ellington who began to show progress in his compositions. In November 1924, Duke made his publishing and recording debut with "Choo Choo (I Got To Hurry Home)" released on the Blu-Disc label. In 1925, he contributed two songs to Chocolate Kiddies, an all-black revue which introduced European audiences to black American styles and performers. By this time Ellington's family, Edna and Mercer, had joined him in New York City. The couple separated in the late 1920's, but they never divorced or reconciled.
Ellington's achievements as a composer and bandleader began to attract national attention while he worked at the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City, from 1927 to 1932. The orchestra developed a distinctive sound that displayed the non-traditional voicings of Ellington's arrangements and featured the unique talents of the individual soloists. Ellington integrated his soloists' exotic-sounding trombone growls and wah-wahs, their high-squealed trumpets, their sultry saxophone blues licks and Harlem's street rhythms into his arrangements. In the promotional material of the Cotton Club, the band was often billed as "Duke Ellington and His Jungle Band." With the success of compositions like "Mood Indigo," and an increasing number of recordings and national radio broadcasts from the Cotton Club, the band's reputation soared.
The ten years from 1932 to 1942 are considered by some major critics to represent the "golden age" for the Ellington Orchestra, but it represents just one of their creative peaks. These years did bring an influx of extraordinary new talent to the band including Jimmy Blanton on double bass, Ben Webster on tenor saxophone, and Ray Nance on trumpet, violin and vocals. During this ten year span Ellington composed several of his best known short works, including "Concerto For Cootie," "Ko-Ko," "Cotton Tail," "In A Sentimental Mood," and Jump For Joy, his first full-length musical stage revue.
Most notably, 1938 marked the arrival of Billy Strayhorn. While a teenager in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Strayhorn had already written "Lush Life," "Something To Live For" and a musical, Fantastic Rhythm. Ellington was initially impressed with Strayhorn's lyrics but realized long before Billy's composition "Take the A' Train" became the band's theme song in 1942 that Strayhorn's talents were not limited to penning clever lyrics. By 1942, "Swee' Pea" had become arranger, composer, second pianist, collaborator, and as Duke described him, "my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brain waves in his head, and his in mine." Many Ellington/Strayhorn songs have entered the jazz canon, and their extended works are still being discovered and studied today. Strayhorn remained with the Ellington Organization until his death on May 30, 1967.
Ellington had often hinted of a work in progress depicting the struggle of blacks in America. The original script, Boola, debuted in Carnegie Hall in November of 1943, retitled Black, Brown and Beige. The performance met with mixed reviews, and although Ellington often returned to Carnegie Hall the piece was never recorded in a studio, and after 1944 was never performed in entirety again by the Ellington Orchestra. Nonetheless, it is now considered a milestone in jazz composition.
After World War II the mood and musical tastes of the country shifted and hard times befell big bands, but Ellington kept his band together. The band was not always financially self-sufficient and during the lean times Ellington used his songwriting royalties to meet the soloists' salaries. One could assign to Ellington the altruistic motive of loyalty to his sidemen, but another motivation may have been his compositional style which was rooted in hearing his music in the formative stage come alive in rehearsal. "The band was his instrument," Billy Strayhorn said, and no Ellington composition was complete until he heard the orchestra play it. Then he could fine tune his compositions, omit and augment passages, or weave a soloist's contribution into the structure of the tune.
In 1956, the American public rediscovered Duke and the band at the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island. The searing performances of tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves on "Diminuendo and Crescendo In Blue," his premiere soloist, alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges on "Jeep's Blues", and the crowd's ecstatic reaction have become jazz legend. Later that year Duke landed on the cover of Time magazine. Although Ellington had previously written music for film and television (including the short film, Black and Tan Fantasy in 1929) it wasn't until 1959 that Otto Preminger asked him to score music for his mainstream film, Anatomy of a Murder, starring Jimmy Stewart. Paris Blues in 1961, featuring box-office stars Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier in roles as American jazz musicians in Paris, followed.
Ellington's first performance overseas was in England in 1933, but the 1960s brought extensive overseas tours including diplomatic tours sponsored by the State Department. Ellington and Strayhorn composed exquisite extended works reflecting the sights and sounds of their travels, including the Far East Suite, 1966. They wrote homages to their classical influences; in 1963, they adapted Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and celebrated Shakespeare's works with the suite Such Sweet Thunder in 1957. With Ella Fitzgerald, they continued the Norman Granz Songbook Series. Ellington also began to flex his considerable pianist skills and recorded albums with John Coltrane (1963), Coleman Hawkins (1963), Frank Sinatra, and Money Jungle (1963) with Charles Mingus and Max Roach. The First Sacred Concert debuted in San Francisco's Grace Cathedral in 1965. In his final years, Ellington's thoughts turned to spiritual themes and he added a Second (1968) and Third (1973) Concert of Sacred Music to his compositions.
In his lifetime, Duke received numerous awards and honors including the highest honor bestowed on an American civilian, the Congressional Medal Of Freedom. In 1965, Ellington was recommended for a Pulitzer Prize to honor his forty years of contribution to music but the recommendation was rejected by the board. Most likely he was disappointed, but his response at the age of sixty-six was, "Fate is being kind to me. Fate doesn't want me to be famous too young."
Ellington never rested on his laurels or stopped composing. Whenever he was asked to name his favorite compositions his characteristic reply was "the next five coming up," but to please his loyal fans Ellington always featured some of his standards in every performance. Even on his deathbed, he was composing the opera buffo called Queenie Pie.
Duke Ellington died on May 24, 1974 at seventy-five years of age. His funeral was held in New York's Cathedral of St. John The Divine; he was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. His long-time companion Beatrice "Evie" Ellis was buried beside him after her death in 1976. He was survived by his only child, Mercer Kennedy Ellington, who not only took up the baton to lead the Duke Ellington Orchestra but assumed the task of caring for his father's papers and his legacy to the nation. Mercer Ellington died in Copenhagan, Denmark on February 8, 1996, at the age of seventy-six. Ruth Ellington Boatwright died in New York on March 6, 2004, at the age of eighty-eight. Both Mercer and Ruth were responsible for shepherding the documents and artifacts that celebrate Duke Ellington's genius and creative life to their current home in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.
Materials in the Archives Center
William H. Quealy Collection of Duke Ellington Recordings (AC0296)
Rutgers University Collection of Radio Interviews about Duke Ellington (AC0328)
Duke Ellington Oral History Project (AC0368)
Duke Ellington Collection of Ephemera and realated Audiovisual Materials (AC0386)
Annual International Conference of the Duke Ellington Study Group Proceedings (AC0385)
Robert Udkoff Collection of Duke Ellington Ephemera (AC0388)
Frank Driggs Collection of Duke Ellington Photographic Prints (AC0389)
New York Chapter of the Duke Ellington Society Collection (AC390)
Earl Okin Collection of Duke Ellington Ephemera (AC0391)
William Russo Transcription and Arrangement of Duke Ellington's First Concert of Sacred Music (AC0406)
Ruth Ellington Collection of Duke Ellington Materials (AC0415)
Music manuscripts in the Ruth Ellington Collection complement the music manuscripts found in the Duke Ellington Collection.
Carter Harman Collection of Interviews with Duke Ellington (AC0422)
Betty McGettigan Collection of Duke Ellington Memorabilia (AC0494)
Dr. Theodore Shell Collection of Duke Ellington Ephemera (AC0502)
Edward and Gaye Ellington Collection of Duke Ellington Materials (AC0704)
Andrew Homzy Collection of Duke Ellington Stock Music Arrangements (AC0740)
John Gensel Collection of Duke Ellington Materials (AC0763)
Al Celley Collection of Duke Ellington Materials (AC1240)
Materials at Other Organizations
Institute of Jazz Studies
Artifacts related to this collection are in the Division of Culture and the Arts (now Division of Cultural and Community Life) and include trophies, plaques, and medals. See accessions: 1989.0369; 1991.0808; 1993.0032; and 1999.0148.
The collection was purchased through an appropriation of Congress in 1988.
Collection is open for research but the original and master audiovisual materials are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at email@example.com or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Copyright restrictions. Consult the Archives Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
Paul Ellington, executor, is represented by:
Richard J.J. Scarola, Scarola Ellis LLP, 888 Seventh Avenue, 45th Floor, New York, New York 10106. Telephone (212) 757-0007 x 235; Fax (212) 757-0469; email: email@example.com; www.selaw.com; www.ourlawfirm.com.
The papers of painter, political activist, and educator Leon Golub are dated 1930s-2009 and measure 16.5 linear feet and 4.13 GB. His career as a painter and educator – and, to a far lesser extent, his personal interests and activities – are documented by correspondence, interviews, writings by Golub and other authors, subject files, printed and digital material, and audiovisual recordings. Also included are biographical materials, personal business records, and photographs of Leon Golub and wife Nancy Spero. Posthumously dated items are mostly condolence letters, obituaries, printed material, and inventories of his work.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of painter, political activist, and educator Leon Golub are dated 1930s-2009 and measure 16.5 linear feet and 4.13 GB. His career as a painter and educator – and, to a far lesser extent, his personal interests and activities – are documented by correspondence, interviews, writings, subject files, printed and digital material, and audiovisual recordings. Also included are biographical materials, personal business records, and photographs of Leon Golub and his art work. Posthumously dated items are mostly condolence letters, obituaries, printed material, and inventories of his work.
Biographical materials consist largely of video documentaries about Leon Golub and his work, obituaries, and information about his 2004 memorial service and a larger memorial tribute held later. Also found are educational records, passports, curricula vitae.
Correspondence is mostly of a professional nature, focusing on exhibitions, projects, collectors, articles submitted for publication, Golub's work, speaking engagements, awards, gifts of artwork, studio visits, and travel arrangements. Correspondents include dealers, curators, art historians, critics, collectors, writers, and editors. Scattered throughout are a small number of letters concerning personal business and politics.
Interviews with Leon Golub and joint interviews with Leon Golub and Nancy Spero were conducted for a variety of purposes. They are preserved as transcripts, video, and sound recordings. Writings by Golub include manuscripts and notes for articles, catalog essays, and miscellaneous writings. Notes and texts for talks, lectures, and panel discussions, include some transcripts and recordings. Among the writings by other authors are a dissertation, a thesis, academic papers, notes, texts of speeches, and a recording of a lecture by an unidentified speaker.
Subject files reflect Golub's professional and personal activities, interests and relationships. Of note are many files of "Images (source material)" used for a variety of artwork and projects. Personal business records documenting Golub's artistic output include many inventories and lists, and a comprehensive register of work, information about consignments, loans, photo permissions, and gifts or donations. Also found are extensive mailing lists.
Printed material includes clippings, exhibition catalogs and announcements, and a variety of miscellaneous printed items. Most material is about/mentions Golub, and/or includes reproductions of his work. Scattered throughout are items concerning topics of interest to Golub, and articles written by him.
The majority of the photographic materials are color digital prints of Golub's artwork. There are photographs of Leon Golub and Nancy Spero, family members, and friends and colleagues at exhibition events. Also found are a few photographs of Golub's plexibox sculptures.
The collection is arranged in 8 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1930s-2006 (Boxes 1-2; 1.4 linear feet, ER01-ER02; 3.82 GB)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1955-2004 (Boxes 2-3; 0.9 linear foot)
Series 3: Interviews, 1967-2004 (Boxes 3-4; 0.8 linear foot)
Series 4: Writings, 1948-2003 (Boxes 4-5, 21; 1.1 linear foot, ER03; 0.098 GB)
Series 5: Subject Files, 1959-2005 (Boxes 5-11, OV 18; 6.2 linear feet, ER04-ER06, 0.213 GB)
Series 6: Personal Business Records, 1965-2009 (Boxes 11-12; 1.4 linear feet)
Series 7: Printed Material, circa 1950s-2009 (Boxes 12-16, 21, OV 19; 3.9 linear feet)
Series 8: Photographs, 1940s-2004 (Boxes 16-17, OV 20; 0.6 linear foot)
Biographical / Historical:
Leon Golub (1922-2004) was a painter in New York City known for figurative work with political content, an anti-war activist, and professor of art at Rutgers University.
Chicago native Leon Golub studied art history at the University of Chicago (BA 1942) before serving as a cartographer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Europe during World War II. Upon returning home, Golub became identified with Monster Roster, a group of Chicago artists who believed art must be grounded in real events in order to be relevant to the viewer and society, an idea he held throughout his life. At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Golub pursued his interest in painting (BFA 1949, MFA 1950) and met fellow student Nancy Spero whom he married in 1951. After graduation he began teaching at local colleges, exhibited in Chicago and New York, and served as chair of "Exhibition Momentum" (1950). The couple and their two sons lived in Italy from 1956-1957. In 1959 they moved to Paris and, while there, a third son was born. Upon returning to New York City in 1964, Golub became actively involved with the Artists and Writers Protest Against the War in Vietnam, other anti-war groups, and civil liberties organizations. While his painting style changed with time, Golub continued to explore power, violence and conflict, often working in series with titles such as Combats, Napalm, Mercenaries, Interrogation, and Riot.
He first participated in a group show with other veterans at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1947, and soon was included in group and solo exhibitions throughout the United States and in Europe, including the Guggenheim Museum's influential national traveling exhibition "Younger American Painters" (1954-1956). Golub and Spero exhibited their work in tandem and collaborated on installations. He continued to participate in group shows including "Documenta IX" (2002). Golub's work is included in the permanent collections of museums throughout the world.
Golub began his teaching career soon after graduation, first at a junior college in Chicago. In the later 1950s he served briefly on the faculties of Illinois Institute of Technology School of Design and Indiana University; in the 1960s at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, and Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. He began a long tenure at Rutgers University, School of Visual Arts in 1970 and retired in 1991. In the early 1990s, both Golub and Spero were affiliated with Sommerakademie in Salzburg. Golub wrote and spoke on art, politics, and social issues; he also published many articles, statements, and book reviews, as well as contributing introductions and essays for exhibition catalogs.
Awards and honors included the Skowhegan Medal for Painting (1988), Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights Award (1989), Dickinson College Arts Award (1992), National Foundation of Jewish Culture Visual Arts Award (1995), and Hiroshima Art Prize shared with Nancy Spero (1996). Golub was awarded honorary doctorates of Fine Arts by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1982), Swarthmore College (1985), College of St. Rose (1995), Trinity College (1999), and Pratt Institute (2000). He was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2002).
Leon Golub died in New York City August 8, 2004 from complications following surgery.
Also among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are oral history interviews with Leon Golub conducted for the Archives of American Art by Bruce Hooten 1965 and Irving Sandler 1968 October 28-November 18. The Nancy Spero papers, 1940s-2009, bulk 1970-2009, include documentation of many of the couple's collaborative projects, joint exhibitions, their family, and shared interests.
The Leon Golub papers were donated by Leon Golub in 1978; the majority of the papers were given in 2013 by The Nancy Spero and Leon Golub Foundation for the Arts via their sons Stephen, Philip and Paul Golub. Material loaned for microfilming in 1969 is included with the 2013 donation.
Use of original materials requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
An interview of Ira Spanierman conducted June 6-12, by James McElhinney, for the Archives of American Art, in the Spanierman Gallery, New York, New York. Spanierman speaks of growing up and living in New York City his whole life; the influence of working in his father's antique store; studying English at Syracuse University; how he got involved in the art business; becoming an auctioneer at Savoy Gallery working with silver and arms and armor; his collecting preferences; the influence of the Internet and technology; changes in the art market among buyers and collectors; the development and growth of art auctions; opening his first gallery and what kind of art he showed; interest in dealing 19th and 20th century American art; the kind of clientele he attracted; the Spanierman Gallery catalogues and publication program; publishing and distributing the catalogue raisonné; working and collaborating with other institutions like the Cooper-Hewitt; working with a panel of scholars to identify work that was fraud; the various kinds of collectors he has dealt with in the past and what kind of collectors he prefers to work with; opening a contemporary and modern wing to the gallery and the motivation behind that; relationships with artists; exhibiting members of the Ashcan School, the Ten, and the Hudson River School; trying to find artists that have been overlooked in the past and promoting a re-emergence of these figures and their work; a number of mentors in his life including Abe Adler and Roy Leroy; advice for younger collectors; what he sees in the future for the art market; a shift in privately owned art being turned over to museums; the educational aspect of his gallery; future goals of his gallery; the role of the museum today; what he has contributed to the art world; and how he would like to be remembered and thought of in the future. Spanierman also recalls Peter Wilson, Gene Thaw, Lloyd Goodrich, Abigail Gerds, Peter Poskas, Hans Heinrich, Daniel Terra, Jack Warner, Diane and Bruce Halles, Daniel and Rita Fraad, Barbara Newington, Robert Noortman, Ian Woodner, Barbara Novak, Roy Leroy, Abraham Adler, Norman Hirsch and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Ira Spanierman is a gallery owner from New York, New York. James McElhinney (1952- ) is a painter and educator from New York, New York.
Originally recorded on 2 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 21 min.
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.