United States -- Economic conditions, 1918-1945 -- Washington (State)
The papers of artist, photographer, museum director, anthropologist, and writer Robert Bruce Inverarity are dated circa 1840s-1997 and measure 12.7 linear feet. Biographical information, correspondence, writings and notes, subject files, art work, scrapbooks, sound recordings, printed material and photographs are found within the papers. They document Inverarity's work as Director of the Federal Art Project in Seattle and Director of the Art and Craft Project for the State of Washington, as well as his other professional work. Nineteenth century material consists of a Japanese print, printed material, and photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of artist, photographer, museum director, anthropologist, and writer Robert Bruce Inverarity are dated circa 1840s-1997 and measure 13.8 linear feet. Biographical information, correspondence, writings and notes, subject files, art work, scrapbooks, sound recordings, printed material and photographs are found within the papers. They document Inverarity's work as Director of the Federal Art Project in Seattle and Director of the Art and Craft Project for the State of Washington, as well as his other professional work. Nineteenth century material consists of a Japanese print, printed material, and photographs.
Among the biographical information are awards and certificates, biographical and genealogical notes, and educational records. Correspondence concerns Inverarity's activities as Director of the WPA Federal Arts Project in Washington State, 1936-1941. Additional personal and professional correspondence, 1929-1993, documents his activities as a museum director, consultant, collector, and writer. Among the friends and colleagues with whom he corresponded are: Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning, Rockwell and Sally Kent, Stanton MacDonald-Wright, Wolfgang Palen, Juliet and Man Ray, Mark Tobey, Edward Weston, and various individuals associated with the WPA.
Manuscripts of a few of Inverarity's many articles on topics such as anthropology, museology, and information storage and retrieval are among his writings and notes. Also included are the manuscript of an unpublished book, Tobey Remembered, along with drafts, notes, correspondence, research materials, and photocopies of Tobey's letters to him and others. Other writings consist of book reviews, children's books, a catalog of the Inverarity Collection, and a copy of his 1946 master's thesis, "The Social-Economic Position of the American Artist." Several journals, 1928-1966, survive, including one that records his 1932 trip to study the Haida Indians of the Queen Charlotte Islands.
Subject files include general subjects such as "Folk Art" and "Preservation." Files on the museums where Inverarity was the director contain some official records as well as general information. Art work by Inverarity includes eight volumes of sketch books, 1928-1942, commercial work for Boeing, notes and drawings for book designs. Among the work by other artists are drawings, paintings and prints by friends. Of particular interest are display panels for a small exhibit on airbrush stencil prints produced by the Washington State WPA Federal Art Project. Other noteworthy items are pencil sketches and a watercolor by Mark Tobey, and prints by Hiroshige and Jan Matulka.
Five scrapbooks, 1928-1979, contain newspaper clippings, miscellaneous printed items, and a small number of photographs and letters. Three volumes document his career as an artist and museum director. One consists of biographical information and items designed by Inverarity, and another concerns publication and marketing of his monograph Art of the Northwest Coast Indians.
Sound recordings consist of interviews and conversations. An extensive interview with Inverarity about his life and career was conducted by Craig Gilborn in 1990. Bruce and Jane Inverarity in conversation with former colleague Ernie Johnson and his wife Helen about his departure from the Museum of International Folk Art were recorded in 1980. Also included is a 1981 conversation with Grace T. Stevenson containing references to Mark Tobey and Morris Graves.
Printed material includes many items about or produced by the WPA Federal Art Project. Among the items written by Inverarity are many articles on a wide variety of topics, his book Art of the Northwest Coast Indians, and two published portfolios. Printed material by other authors includes articles, books and reports about or mentioning Inverarity, and books designed or illustrated by him. Among the miscellaneous printed items are catalogs and brochures of the schools where Inverarity taught and studied, and a few ephemeral items designed by him.
Photographs are of art work, people, places, the Washington State WPA Federal Art Project, and miscellaneous subjects. All photographs known to be by Inverarity are clearly marked. Art work includes views of Inverarity's collection of his own work and that of other artists hanging in his home. Photographs of people include artists, friends, colleagues, and various groups. Of special interest are Inverarity's portraits of artists, among them Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Morris Graves, Hilaire Hiler, Rico Le Brun, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Man Ray, Dorothea Tanning, and Mark Tobey. Photographs of places include the museums where Inverarity was director, places in which he lived, and travel pictures. Of note are a large group of photographs (copy prints) taken in 1932 while studying the Haida Indians in British Columbia. Nineteenth century photographs of family homes, Europe, and South America may have been taken by his father. Photographs of the Washington State WPA Federal Arts Project are of individual works of art, exhibition installations, mosaic procedures and local art centers. Many, probably intended for display, are mounted in groups on large cardboard panels. Miscellaneous subjects include art photographs by Inverarity and the microreader he invented.
The collection is arranged as nine series. Correspondence is in chronological order, Biographical Information and Subject Files are arranged alphabetically by folder title. Other series have been organized into subseries and arrangement is as described in the Series Descriptions/Container List below. Unless noted otherwise, material within folders is arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Biographical Information, 1934-1997, undated (Box 1, OV 18; 0.25 linear ft.)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1928-1993, undated (Box 1; 0.75 linear ft.)
Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1928-1993, undated, (Boxes 2-3; 1.5 linear ft.)
Series 4: Subject Files, 1938-1990, undated (Boxes 3-6, OV 19-20; 2.5 linear ft.)
Series 5: Art Work, circa 1840s-1969, undated (Boxes 6, 12, 16, OV 21; 1.3 linear ft.)
Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1928-1991, undated (Boxes 7-8; 1.1 linear ft.)
Series 7: Sound Recordings, 1980-1990 (Box 8; 3 folders)
Series 8: Printed Material, 1902-1995, undated (Boxes 8-13, OV 22; 3.4 linear ft.)
Series 9: Photographs, circa 1870s-1990, undated (Boxes 11, 14-17, OV 23; 3.0 linear ft.)
Robert Bruce Inverarity (1909-1999) showed artistic leanings as a boy, and from an early age was fascinated by puppetry and Northwest Coast native culture. During much of his youth, Inverarity's family lived in Canada, but returned to their native Seattle when he was a teenager. After graduating from high school, he made a 500 mile journey on foot along the coasts of the Vancouver Islands, collecting Indian artifacts and studying the area's tribal legends.
He studied briefly with Mark Tobey in Seattle, where the two shared a studio; when Tobey departed for Chicago, Inverarity succeeded him as an art teacher at the Cornish School. He spent the next few years in California working as an artist, exhibiting, and occasionally teaching. From there, he moved to Vancouver where he was Director of the School of Creative Art. In 1932, Inverarity made a three month trip to the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, for the purpose of studying the Haida Indians.
Upon his return to the United States in 1933, Inverarity joined the University of Washington Drama School as a puppetry instructor; in 1938 he published a highly regarded Manual of Puppetry. During 1936-37, he took a leave of absence from the university to assume the position of State Director of the Federal Art Project, where he remained until 1939. He then became State Director of the Art and Crafts Project (1939-1941). The U.S. Navy appointed Inverarity Chief of Design for Camouflage (1941-1943) and he later served as an Official Navy War Artist (1943-1945).
During his early years as a teacher and administrator, Inverarity continued making art and participated in a wide variety of exhibitions. He published a portfolio, 12 Photographs by R. B. Inverarity (1940). In the following year, Movable Masks and Figures of the North Pacific Coast Indians, a portfolio of his watercolors reproduced as silkscreen prints, appeared. Although Inverarity stopped exhibiting in 1941, he continued to produce art; notable work of this period includes photographic portraits of a number of artist friends (Max Ernst, Dorothea Tanning, Marcel Duchamp, and Man Ray).
After World War II, Inverarity completed his formal education. He earned a Bachelor's degree in art and anthropology from the University of Washington (1946), and then studied with Hilaire Hiler at Freemont University in Los Angeles, where he was awarded a Master's degree in fine arts (1947) and a Ph.D. (1948).
Inverarity began his museum career in 1949 when he was appointed the first director of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a position that combined his interest in, and knowledge of, anthropology and art. While in Santa Fe, he published Art of the North West Coast Indians (1950). During his five year tenure as director, the museum participated in a pilot study for coding visual files, a project of the anthropological group, Human Resources Area Files, Inc. When Inverarity was dismissed from the Museum of International Folk Art in 1954, most of the staff resigned in protest, and the American Association of Museums investigated the situation.
Inverarity then became the first director of the Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake, New York, where he remained for eleven years. In addition to planning the museum's building, and developing collections and programs, Inverarity continued his involvement with the visual files project of the Human Resources Area Files, Inc., studying information storage and retrieval, developing a "microreader," and publishing Visual Files Coding Index (1960). In addition, he published many articles on a variety of topics and was active in organizations for anthropologists and museum professionals.
After his 1965 departure from the Adirondack Museum, Inverarity went to California and worked as an illustrator and book designer at the University of California Press. He returned to the east coast in 1969 to assume the directorship of the Philadelphia Maritime Museum. During this period, he remained active in professional associations and traveled to study museums abroad. He retired in 1976 and moved to La Jolla, California.
Robert Bruce Inverarity died in 1999.
Originals of most of the drawings and sketches loaned by Mr. Inverarity were returned to him after filming and were not subsequently donated. This material is available on 35 mm microfilm reel D/NDA/I, frames 392-409.
Robert Bruce Inverarity donated his papers to the Archives in several installments between 1965 and 1993. Additional papers were received from his estate in 1999. He also loaned a small number of additional drawings and sketches for microfilming which were returned to him. A few of these drawings were included with the papers he subsequently donated to the Archives of American Art.
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
United States -- Economic conditions -- 1918-1945 -- Washington (State)
United States -- Social conditions -- 1933-1945 -- Washington (State)
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence, press releases, and miscellaneous publications, chiefly relating to Savery's work as chairman of Art Week and related activities with the National Council for Art Week in Washington state.
Biographical / Historical:
Savery was chairperson of National Art Week for the state of Washington, Seattle, Washington. National Art Week was an attempt by the Federal Art Project to cultivate a greater cultural and consumer awareness of the arts across America. It lasted only 2 years, 1940 and 1941.
Lent for microfilming by, Richard Berner, 1964. Berner is affiliated with the University of Washington in Seattle.
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
Selected records from the United States National Archives and Records Administration of the Federal Art Project (FAP) of the Work Projects Administration. Records cover a broad range of topics. The bulk are from the Central Files, "States" and "General Subject" series, 1935-1944. Also microfilmed are materials from series Federal Art Project, Federal Project #1, WPA, among them records related to the Index of American Design; and records of the Chicago Field Finance office relating to allocations of works of art.
General Subject Files is comprised of correspondence, memoranda, receipts, reports, and business files. Found on reels DC44-DC49 are correspondence and memoranda of the the FAP; materials relating to Art for the Millions published during the WPA; receipts for loans of works of art.and other correspondence, memoranda, business records, reports, and lists of artists. Found on reels. DC45, and DC49-DC50 are materials relating to the two National Art Weeks of 1940 and 1941; regional correspondence, 1939; reports, 1939; and papers relating to exhibitions held for WPA artists.
Central Files, "States", on reels DC62-DC111, is comprised of general correspondence, memoranda, telegrams, reports, and records of FAP activities at the state level. Much of the material is between state administrators and national directors. There are occasional occurrences of letters from individual citizens seeking assistance. Topics covered include FAP, Federal Writers' Project, Federal Theater Project, Federal Music Project, Index of American Design, and other projects under Federal Project # 1 of the WPA. New York City has its own separate file.
Federal Art Project, Federal Art Project #1, series appears on reels DC51-DC61 are broken down into "General Correspondence File", reels DC51-DC59, consisting of ca. 80 files with a variety of titles, for example Artist's oil paints, Congressional correspondence, Index of American Design (mostly reel DC53), Museum of Modern Art, News releases, Salary increases, etc.; and "Regional Correspondence Files," reels DC60-DC61, for Ohio, Washington state, and California; publicity and exhibition material; and "Regional and State Correspondence Files," Alabama to Michigan. Among the persons represented are Holger Cahill, Lawrence Morris, Thomas C. Parker, Russell C. Parr, and Constance Rourke.
Chicago Field Finance office records relating to allocations of works of art are found on reels DC129-DC130 and include requests for allocations of funds, requests for loans, receipts for allocations of works of art, shipping receipts, miscellaneous forms and correspondence.
Microfilm reels DC44-50: General Subject Files. Reels DC51-61: Federal Art Project, Federal Project #1, WPA. Reels DC62-DC111: Central Files: "States" (reel DC53 is exclusively related to the Index of American Design). DC129-DC130: Chicago Field Finance office records relating to allocations of works of art. Most series are arranged alphabetically by subject, artist, state, territory, and district. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the records on microfilm reflects the order and arrangement as existed during the microfilming project, 1964-1966, and may not correspond to the original order of the records currently maintained by the National Archives in Record group 69,
Biographical / Historical:
The Federal Art Project (FAP) fell under the jurisdiction of Federal Project No. 1 of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to aid unemployed artists, following the precedent set by the Public Works of Art Project and other Treasury department art relief projects. Holger Cahill was appointed director of the FAP and remained in that position throughout its existence. The WPA was established in May 1935 specifically as a work relief program for the millions of individuals left unemployed during the Depression. Its name changed to the Work Projects Administration in 1939 when it fell under the administrative hand of the newly created Federal Works Agency.
The FAP projects included a broad range of events and activities which generated the various publications and materials found in the central files of the general subject series. ART FOR THE MILLIONS was a publication project about the accomplishments of the FAP consisting of a series of articles by Project workers. In addition to creating work for artists, the FAP sought to increase art appreciation as well as art sales among the general public. In doing so it devised a plan which created National Art Week. National Art Week was observed in both 1940 and 1941, and although the scale was grand and participation by the public impressive, the financial return on both occasions was minute, putting an end to plans for future National Art Weeks.
Series and files microfilmed by AAA were selected from the National Archives record group 69, records of the Work Projects Administration. Additional records of the WPA are preserved at the National Archives. FAP series and files not microfilmed by AAA include: additional records of the Federal Art Project (FAP), National Archives boxes, 27-58 and records of the FAP in Ohio, ca. 1937-1940; Division of Information, "Primary File" of the FAP and National Art Week; and photographic prints and negatives in the Still Picture Division, National Archives Building.
The Archives does not own the original records. Use is limited to microfilm copy.