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Paul Cadmus papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 1977

Content Description

This collection contains correspondence, writings, artwork, printed material, photographs, and other papers created by or related to the life and work of Paul Cadmus. The papers document Cadmus's lengthy career; his art practice creating paintings, drawings, murals, and prints; as well as his personal life and relationships with many notable artists and writers of the 20th century.

The lives and work of many friends, family, and associates are also documented in the papers. Of note are Fidelma Cadmus (Paul’s sister) Lincoln Kirstein (his brother-in-law) artist and partner Jared French, artist and friend Margaret French, and Paul Cadmus’s long-time partner, Jon F. Anderson.


  • 1812 - 2019


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Box 95 (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile material. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Paul Cadmus Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the auhors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bequest of Jon Anderson, 2021.


The collection is organized into seven series: I: Correspondence, 1920-2009. II: Personal papers, 1812-2018. III: Paul Cadmus files, 1930-2012. IV: Photographs, 1850-2010. V: Papers of others, 1890-2019. VI: Printed matter, 1930-2009. VII: Artwork, undated.


93.25 Linear Feet (159 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The Paul Cadmus papers, which span from 1812-2019, contain personal papers and files, correspondence, photographs, artwork, papers of others, artwork, address books, printed matter, and other materials that document the life and work of Paul Cadmus.

Paul Cadmus

Paul Cadmus was born on December 17, 1904, to artist parents Egbert Cadmus and Maria Latasa. His sister, Fidelma, was born December 11, 1906.

Paul Cadmus studied drawing and printmaking at the National Academy of Design from 1919 to 1926. While employed as a commercial layout artist in the late 1920s, Cadmus enrolled in classes at the Art Students League where he met fellow student Jared French (1905-1988). The two became romantically involved and began to focus on careers in fine art.

In 1934, Cadmus began working with the Public Works of Art Project, which sponsored a traveling exhibition featuring his painting The Fleet’s In! a work that generated a great amount of response from viewers and raised Cadmus’s public profile. His work in the late 1930s expanded to murals, solo exhibitions, and designs for ballets.

Jared French married the painter Margaret Hoenig (1906-1998) in 1937. French continued his relationship with Paul Cadmus and the three worked and lived in proximity for many years. Their photographic work, focused on images taken at the Hoenig family property in Saltaire, Fire Island, NY was attributed to PaJaMa, a portmanteau formed from PAul, JAred, and MArgaret.

Over the following decades, the lives of the three painters diverged, with Jared French moving semi-permanently to Italy and Margaret French splitting her time between Europe and the United States. Paul Cadmus lived in New York City for much of this period, before moving to Weston, CT in the 1970s in a house built on the property of his brother-in-law, Lincoln Kirstein. (Kirstein and Fidelma Cadmus having married in 1941.) In 1965, Cadmus met Jon F. Anderson, an actor and cabaret artist, who became his life partner and muse for the next 34 years.

The 1980s and 1990s saw a resurgence for Paul Cadmus through monographs dedicated to his work, exhibitions, personal appearances in advertising campaigns, and a documentary feature.

Paul Cadmus died on December 12, 1999. Jon F. Anderson, who had later married Philis Raskind, passed away on October 21, 2018. Jared French died January 8, 1988. Margaret French died November 18, 1998.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Paul Cadmus Papers
In Progress
by Rosemary K. J. Davis, Jessica Tai, and Timothy G. Young
June 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.