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Charles W. White papers, 1933-1987, bulk 1960s-1970s

Creator:
White, Charles, 1918-1979  Search this
White, Charles, 1918-1979  Search this
Subject:
White, Frances Barrett  Search this
Catlett, Elizabeth  Search this
Barthé, Richmond  Search this
Heritage Gallery  Search this
Otis Art Institute  Search this
Belafonte Enterprises  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Scrapbooks
Topic:
African American artists  Search this
Theme:
Diaries  Search this
African American  Search this
Lives of American Artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9350
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211546
AAA_collcode_whitchar
Theme:
Diaries
African American
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211546
Online Media:

Charles W. and Frances White letters and photographs to Melvin and Lorraine Williamson, 1956-1961

Creator:
White, Charles, 1918-1979  Search this
Williamson, Melvin, 1923-1995  Search this
White, Charles, 1918-1979  Search this
Subject:
White, Frances Barrett  Search this
Williamson, Lorraine  Search this
Topic:
African American artists  Search this
African American painters  Search this
Interracial marriage  Search this
Theme:
African American  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)21678
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)398399
AAA_collcode_willimel
Theme:
African American
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_398399
Online Media:

Ruth Jett papers, 1914-2014

Creator:
Jett, Ruth M., 1920-2014  Search this
Jett, Ruth M., 1920-2014  Search this
Subject:
Branch, William B.  Search this
Davis, Ossie  Search this
Hewitt, John H.  Search this
Hewitt, Vivian D.  Search this
Hughes, Langston  Search this
White, Frances Barrett  Search this
White, Charles  Search this
Crichlow, Ernest  Search this
American Society of African Culture  Search this
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace  Search this
Cinque Gallery  Search this
Library of Congress  Search this
Romare Bearden Foundation  Search this
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library  Search this
Type:
Video recordings
Topic:
African American artists  Search this
African American artists  Search this
Theme:
African American  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)17616
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)397362
AAA_collcode_jettruth
Theme:
African American
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_397362
Online Media:

Ruth Jett papers

Creator:
Jett, Ruth M.  Search this
Names:
American Society of African Culture  Search this
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace  Search this
Cinque Gallery  Search this
Library of Congress. Center for the Book  Search this
Romare Bearden Foundation  Search this
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library  Search this
Branch, William B.  Search this
Crichlow, Ernest, 1914-2005  Search this
Davis, Ossie  Search this
Hewitt, John H., 1924-2000  Search this
Hewitt, Vivian D.  Search this
Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967  Search this
White, Charles, 1918-1979  Search this
White, Frances Barrett  Search this
Extent:
7.8 Linear feet
0.242 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Video recordings
Date:
1914-2014
Summary:
The papers of African American arts administrator and director of Cinque Gallery, Ruth Jett, measure 7.8 linear feet and date from 1914 to 2014. The collection contains biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues including William Branch, Vinie Burrows, John and Vivian Hewitt, Langston Hughes, and Charles and Frances White; and administrative and professional files which include material related to the American Society of African Culture, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Cinque Gallery, the Cinque Artists Program at the Romare Bearden Foundation, the Library of Congress Center for the Book, and the Schomburg Corporation. The collection also includes writings, primarily typescript copies of literary works by others, including Langston Hughes and Ossie Davis, as well as notes; printed material such as clippings, exhibition and event announcements, books and magazines, and press releases; and photographic material including photographs, snapshots, negatives, and slides depicting Ruth Jett and other individuals, travel, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace fellows and events, and works of art. Also found is a small amount of artwork including a sketchbook, sketches, a painting, and a print.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of African American arts administrator and director of Cinque Gallery, Ruth Jett, measure 7.8 linear feet and date from 1914 to 2014. The collection contains biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues including William Branch, Vinie Burrows, John and Vivian Hewitt, Langston Hughes, and Charles and Frances White; and administrative and professional files which include material related to the American Society of African Culture, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Cinque Gallery, the Cinque Artists Program at the Romare Bearden Foundation, the Library of Congress Center for the Book, and the Schomburg Corporation. The collection also includes writings, primarily typescript copies of literary works by others, including Langston Hughes and Ossie Davis, as well as notes; printed material such as clippings, exhibition and event announcements, books and magazines, and press releases; and photographic material including photographs, snapshots, negatives, and slides depicting Ruth Jett and other individuals, travel, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace fellows and events, and works of art. Also found is a small amount of artwork including a sketchbook, sketches, a painting, and a print.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged in seven series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1914-2014 (Box 1, OV 9; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1952-2014 (Boxes 1-2; 1.2 linear feet)

Series 3: Administrative and Professional Files, 1954-2009 (Boxes 2-5, OV 9; 3.2 linear feet)

Series 4: Writings, 1949-circa 1990s (Box 5; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1928, 1949-2014 (Boxes 5-7, OVs 9-13; 2.1 linear feet, ER01; .242 GB)

Series 6: Photographic Material, 1947-2010 (Boxes 7-8, OV 14; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 7: Artwork, undated (Box 8, OV 14; 3 folders)
Biographical / Historical:
Ruth Jett (1920-2014) was an art administrator and Director of the Cinque Gallery, New York, N.Y.

Born and raised in Alabama, Ruth Jett attended Miles College in Birmingham before moving with her mother and some siblings to Harlem, New York. In the early 1950s, Jett worked with the Committee for the Negro in the Arts, overseeing early productions by several Black playwrights including William Branch, Alice Childress, Ossie Davis, and Julian Mayfield. From the 1950s until her retirement in 1978, Jett held a variety of positions at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, notably managing the Fellowships in Diplomacy program for a number of years.

After she retired from the Carnegie Endowment, Ruth Jett worked with a number of cultural and arts organizations, including the Library of Congress Center for the Book, the Schomburg Corporation/ Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Friends of the Symphony of the New World.

Ruth Jett served on the Cinque Gallery Board of Directors beginning in 1981. She was appointed Executive Director in 1989 and served in that position until the early 2000s. When the gallery closed in 2004, she then worked with the Romare Bearden Foundation on the Cinque Artists Program to continue the gallery's legacy and commitment to supporting artists.
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds the Cinque Gallery records, 1959-2010, bulk 1976-2004.
Provenance:
The Ruth Jett papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in 2018 by Juan Rodriguez, a friend of Jett.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Archival audiovisual recordings must be digitized for research access. Researchers may access digitized audiovisual materials in the Archives' Washington, D.C. or New York, N.Y. Research Centers by appointment. Contact Reference 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:
Arts administrators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
African American artists  Search this
African American artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Video recordings
Citation:
Ruth Jett papers, 1914-2014. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.jettruth
See more items in:
Ruth Jett papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-jettruth

Charles W. White papers

Creator:
White, Charles, 1918-1979  Search this
Names:
Belafonte Enterprises  Search this
Heritage Gallery  Search this
Otis Art Institute  Search this
Barthé, Richmond, 1901-1989  Search this
Catlett, Elizabeth, 1915-2012  Search this
White, Frances Barrett  Search this
Extent:
12.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Interviews
Sound recordings
Scrapbooks
Date:
1933-1987
bulk 1960s-1970s
Summary:
The papers of Los Angeles painter, printmaker, and educator, Charles W. White, measure 12.9 linear feet and date from 1933 to 1987, with the bulk of the material dating from the 1960s to the 1970s. The collection contains biographical material, including a sound recording of an interview with White; personal and professional correspondence; writings by White and others about his philosophy of art, his life, and career; professional files documenting White's participation in a variety of boards, committees, juries, symposiums, professional projects, and commissions; teaching files documenting White's tenure at Otis Art Institute; extensive printed material charting White's career from the 1930s until his death; scrapbooks primarily documenting his early career; and a small series of photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Los Angeles painter, printmaker, and educator, Charles W. White, measure 12.9 linear feet and date from 1933 to 1987, with the bulk of the material dating from the 1960s to the 1970s. The collection contains biographical material including a sound recording of an interview with White; personal and professional correspondence; writings by White and others about his philosophy of art, his life, and career; professional files documenting White's participation in a variety of boards, committees, juries, symposiums, professional projects, and commissions; teaching files documenting White's tenure at Otis Art Institute; extensive printed material charting White's career from the 1930s until his death; scrapbooks primarily documenting his early career; and a small series of photographs.

Biographical material includes documentation of awards received by White, biographical notes, resumes, White's high school report cards, interview transcripts and a sound recording of an interview, and records related to Elizabeth Catlett from the 1940s.

Correspondence includes scattered letters from family and friends but is primarily professional. White's correspondence was often conducted by Benjamin Horowitz and, occasionally, by Frances White, although some scattered original drafts of letters by White can also be found in this series. The series documents many aspects of White's career including: his relationship with Horowitz and Heritage Gallery as his representative; sales, loans, and exhibitions of White's artwork at many museums, galleries, and art institutions; the publication of his work in journals, magazines, and books, and it's use in the film and music industries; and his relationships with others in the arts and the entertainment industry including Richmond Barthé, Margaret Burroughs, Bing Davis, David Driskell, Lorraine Hansberry, and Harry Belafonte's company, Belafonte Enterprises.

Writings by White include two addresses made to the Annual Conference of Negro Artists, statements on his philosophy of art, and an autobiographical essay. Writings by others include drafts of Benjamin Horowitz's book Images of Dignity:The Drawings of Charles White.

White's professional activities are further documented through records related to the many boards, committees, and exhibition and art contest juries he served on, as well as lectures he delivered, and panels and symposiums he participated in. White's professional files also contain records relating to fellowships he received and document projects such as designs for books, films, and magazines.

White's teaching files primarily relate to Otis Art Institute and contain some records related directly to his work there as well as general faculty and board material. The records document, to some extent, White's role as spokesperson for the faculty and students during the transfer of the Otis charter to Parsons School of Design in 1979. Documentation of White's association with Howard University is minimal and includes letters related to his appointment and resignation in 1978-1979.

Gallery and exhibition files document specific solo and group exhibitions and include records on two visits White made to Germany in 1974 and 1978.

Printed material includes announcements, exhibition catalogs, articles in journals, magazines, and news clippings, and publications with artwork by White that provide extensive coverage of White's career from the 1930s to his death. Also found is printed material collected by White on other artists, and on subjects of interest to him.

Three disbound scrapbooks provide compilations of printed material and occasional letters further documenting White's career. A small series of photographs includes holiday card photos of White, Frances White, and their two children, and photos of White and others taken at a workshop in 1969.

Throughout the collection there are folders containing notes written by Frances White, circa 1980-1981, which provide important contextual information about people, organizations and subjects in the collection, and sometimes highlight the racism White encountered, particularly during his early career. The dates of these notes are not included in folder dates.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as nine series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1934-1979 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1937-1984 (Boxes 1-4, 13; 3.64 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, 1936-circa 1981 (Boxes 4-5; 0.45 linear feet)

Series 4: Professional Activities, circa 1942-1982 (Boxes 5-6, 13, OV 15; 1.81 linear feet)

Series 5: Teaching Files, 1950-1979 (Boxes 6, 13; 0.72 linear feet)

Series 6: Gallery and Exhibition Files, 1946-1980 (Box 7, Box 14; 0.98 linear feet)

Series 7: Printed Material, 1933-1987 (Boxes 8-14, OVs 15-17; 4.8 linear feet)

Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1936-1970s (Box 12; 0.15 linear feet)

Series 9: Photographic Material, 1940-1976 (Box 12; 0.15 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Painter, printmaker, and educator, Charles W. White (1918-1979), was a prominent figure in the Chicago Black Renaissance and became one of the most celebrated and influential African American artists of the twentieth century. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, White lived and worked in California beginning in 1956, and taught at the Otis Art Institute from 1965 until his death.

White began painting at a young age, earning first prize in a nationwide high school art contest. He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he was awarded a full scholarship, from 1937-1938. After graduating from the school, White worked as a muralist for the Illinois Federal Arts Project sponsored by the Works Progress Administration from 1939 to 1940. He then received two fellowships from the Julius Rosenwald Foundation in 1942 and 1943 and created the mural The Contribution of the Negro to American Democracy at the Hampton Institute. From 1943-1945 he taught at the George Washington Carver School in New York City, and was artist-in-residence at Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1945.

White's first marriage to Elizabeth Catlett ended in divorce and he married Frances Barrett in 1950. The couple relocated to Los Angeles where White was represented by Benjamin Horowitz's Heritage Gallery. White was widely exhibited in Los Angeles, and at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Newark Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and elsewhere. Working primarily in black and white or sepia and white drawings, paintings, and lithographs, White's artwork was primarily figurative and depicted African American history, socio-economic struggles, and human relationships.

Charles White received a number of awards and honors and in 1972 he was the third African American artist to be elected a full member of the National Academy of Design.
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds the Charles W. and Frances White letters and photographs to Melvin and Lorraine Williamson, the Lucinda H. Gedeon research material on Charles W. White, and an oral history interview with Charles W. White conducted by Betty Hoag, March 9, 1965.
Separated Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of loaned materials (reels LA7 and 3099). Reel LA7 includes photographs of White, his work, and a career resume. Reel 3099 contains 31 items consisting of three travel diaries kept by Frances White, photographs and a recording of their trip to Russia in 1950, and 11 record album covers designed by Charles White. Loaned materials were returned to the lenders after microfilming and are not described in the collection container inventory.

Charles White's "Black Experience Archive," originally received with the papers, was donated to Howard University's Moorland-Springarn Research Center in 1985 at the request of Frances White.
Provenance:
Photographs on reel LA7 and material on reel 3099 were lent to the Archives of American Art for microfilming in 1965 and 1982, by Benjamin Horowitz, White's dealer, and by Frances White. Material on reel 2041 was donated by the George Arents Research Library, Syracuse University, 1976, who had originally received it from Horowitz. The remainder of the papers were donated by Charles White, 1975-1978, and after his death by Frances White and Benjamin Horowitz, 1981-1989.
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 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:
Painters -- California -- Los Angeles  Search this
Printmakers -- California -- Los Angeles  Search this
Educators -- California -- Los Angeles  Search this
Topic:
African American artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Scrapbooks
Citation:
Charles W. White papers, 1933-1987. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.whitchar
See more items in:
Charles W. White papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-whitchar
Online Media:

Charles W. and Frances White letters and photographs to Melvin and Lorraine Williamson

Creator:
White, Charles, 1918-1979  Search this
Williamson, Mel  Search this
Names:
White, Frances Barrett  Search this
Williamson, Lorraine, 1926-2018  Search this
Extent:
0.2 Linear feet
0.2 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1956-1961
1956-1961
Summary:
The Charles W. and Frances White letters and photographs to Melvin and Lorraine Williamson measure 0.2 linear feet and date from 1956 to 1961. The collection includes twenty-eight letters written by Charles and Frances White to Melvin (Mel) and Lorraine Williamson shortly after their arrival in California. Approximately half of the letters are written by Charles, the other half by Frances, and two letters are written jointly. Most are signed from "Chas & Fran." Also included in the collection are photographs that Charles and Frances sent the Williamsons of their home and Charles' studio, and printed material including clippings and exhibition brochures.
Scope and Contents:
The Charles W. and Frances White letters and photographs to Melvin and Lorraine Williamson measure 0.2 linear feet and date from 1956 to 1961. The collection includes twenty-eight letters written by Charles and Frances White to Melvin (Mel) and Lorraine Williamson shortly after their arrival in California. The letters refer to financial and personal struggles, as well career triumphs and current events. In addition to their shared Chicago background, both the Whites and Williamsons were interracial couples. The letters include references to racial and social dynamics, especially comparing California to New York. Approximately half of the letters are written by Charles, the other half by Frances, and two letters are written jointly. Most are signed from "Chas & Fran."

The collection also contains photographs, negatives, and slides depicting Charles and Frances with friends, their home, and Charles' studio. Many photographs include explanatory notes. Also included are clippings and exhibition brochures for Charles White's 1958 exhibition at ACA Gallery, as well as Anton Refregier's Recent Paintings exhibition.
Arrangement:
This collection is arranged as one series.
Biographical / Historical:
Painter, printmaker, and educator, Charles W. White (1918-1979) was a prominent figure in the Chicago Black Renaissance and became one of the most celebrated and influential African American artists of the twentieth century. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, White lived and worked throughout the country, settling in California in 1956. He taught at the Otis Art Institute from 1965 until his death. White's artwork was primarily figurative and depicted African American history, socio-economic struggles, and human relationships.

Charles and Frances Barrett White (1926-2000) married in 1950. They relocated to Los Angeles in 1956. Frances Barrett White was a social worker and educator who spent her early years in New York City. In 1994, she published a book, Reaches of the Heart: A Biography of Charles White.

Melvin Williamson (1923-1995) was an artist, author, and the art director of Viking Press. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to New York.

Lorraine Rosen Williamson (1926-2018) was an educator and a docent at the Jewish Heritage Museum in New York City.
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds the Charles W. White papers, the Lucinda H. Gedeon research material on Charles White, and an oral history interview with Charles W. White conducted by Betty Hoag, March 9, 1965.
Provenance:
The Charles W. and Frances White letters and photographs to Melvin and Lorraine Williamson were donated to the Archives of American Art in 2019 by Lisa Rosenburg, Melvin and Lorraine Williamson's daughter.
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.
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:
Painters -- California -- Los Angeles  Search this
Printmakers -- California -- Los Angeles  Search this
Educators  Search this
Art directors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
African American artists  Search this
African American painters  Search this
Interracial marriage  Search this
Citation:
Charles W. and Frances White letters and photographs to Melvin and Lorraine Williamson, 1956-1961. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.willimel
See more items in:
Charles W. and Frances White letters and photographs to Melvin and Lorraine Williamson
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-willimel
Online Media:

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