Royal Cortissoz papers
Scope and Contents
Series I, Cortissoz Correspondence and Manuscripts , is housed in boxes 1-12. The material is arranged alphabetically by author, with "Letter General" files for each letter preceding files devoted to individual correspondents. Letters by Cortissoz himself, as well as drafts of articles, research notes, and other personal material, are found listed alphabetically by type of material and then by subject or addressee under the entry for Cortissoz.
Major correspondents include the sculptor Henry Bacon; art critic Bernard Berenson; muralist Edwin Blashfield; art dealer Joseph Duveen; art collector Clarence Mackay; editor and author Edmund Clarence Stedman; drama critic William Winter; Whitelaw Reid; and the author Katharine Prescott Wormeley. Typical subjects include the state of contemporary art; opinions of various painters and their works; discussion of articles and books in progress; professional societies and meetings; personal and family news, and plans for social engagements and travel.
Material concerning the artist John La Farge is located in Box 7, folders 281-291, and includes four folders of letters from LaFarge to Cortissoz, many expressing his appreciation for favorable comments and reviews; four folders of notes and memoranda on La Farge used by Cortissoz in preparing his biography; and a small sketchbook of La Farge's containing pencil sketches of figures and notes for larger works.
Folders 85-110 contain notes for and drafts of various addresses and pieces planned by Cortissoz, including several on American art and artists; folders 110-163 contain letters by Cortissoz. These include some retained carbons, but are mostly originals or photostats added to the papers by Davenport West, Cortissoz's executor, who solicited them from their recipients for inclusion in the collection. It should also be noted that many of the individual files in this series contain correspondence from West, particularly self-addressed reply postcards, requesting participation in this project. These requests were not uniformly successful: Ogden Reid, for example, responded that "The letters that I have from 'Uncle Bob' are of a personal nature and therefore in my opinion not suitable for the Yale University collection" (Box 9, folder 364).
Series II, Printed Material , is arranged in five subseries. The first three contain printed copies of works by Cortissoz: Addresses by Cortissoz; Articles by Cortissoz; and Book Reviews by Cortissoz. Contents include the text of his speech at the dedication of the Henry Bacon Memorial, articles on landscape art, Japanese painting, and Whistler; and reviews of several biographies.
The remaining two subseries, Articles about Cortissoz and Other Printed Material, contain biographical articles, including fiftieth anniversary tributes; memorial tributes to friends of Cortissoz; and programs, including the program for the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in 1922 and a program for a musical evening signed by Rachmaninoff, Kreisler, Stravinsky, and Damrosch, among others.
Oversize material is housed in Box 14.
- 1864 - 1955
- Majority of material found within 1920 - 1955
Conditions Governing Access
Restricted Fragile in boxes 15-16 may only be consulted with permission of the appropriate curator. Preservation photocopies or photographic prints for reference use have been substituted in the main files.
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
7.76 Linear Feet (16 boxes)
Language of Materials
Also included are notes, memoranda and a sketchbook by John La Farge, collected by Cortissoz in the course of research.
ROYAL CORTISSOZ, 1869-1948
In 1897 he married Ellen Mackay Hutchinson, co-editor with Edmund Clarence Stedman of The Library of American Literature and an author herself. His fiftieth anniversary with the Herald-Tribune was celebrated by many colleagues and admirers. Royal Cortissoz died in New York City on October 17, 1948. At the time of his death, Henry McBride noted his dislike of modern art, but added: "These innovators could not have asked for a fairer opponent. They will miss him. He created the argument and when there is no argument a movement lies flat."
- Art criticism -- United States
- Art critics -- United States
- Art, American -- 20th Century
- Bacon, Henry, 1866-1924
- Berenson, Bernard, 1865-1959
- Blashfield, Edwin Howland, 1848-1936
- Cortissoz, Royal, 1869-1948
- Dewing, Thomas Wilmer, 1851-1938
- Duveen, Joseph Duveen, Baron, 1869-1939
- La Farge, John, 1835-1910
- Mackay, Clarence H. (Clarence Hungerford), 1874-1938
- Platt, Charles A. (Charles Adams), 1861-1933
- Reid, Whitelaw, 1837-1912
- Stedman, Edmund Clarence, 1833-1908
- Winter, William, 1836-1917
- Wormeley, Katharine Prescott
- Zigrosser, Carl, 1891-1975
- Guide to the Royal Cortissoz Papers
- Under Revision
- by Beinecke Staff
- January 2001
- Description rules
- Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
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.