- Scope and Contents
Alfred Stieglitz Papers (Series I-VII) The Alfred Stieglitz Papers (Boxes 1-176) have been organized into seven series: Series I. Correspondence (personal, professional, and family letters); Series II. Manuscripts (primarily written for his publishing projects); Series III. Documentary Ephemera (his scrapbooks, clipping files, publications of his galleries, and an autograph collection); Series IV. Photographs (by and of him, his family and associates); Series V. Awards; Series VI. Works of Art (that which O'Keeffe determined was more of a documentary nature, less of fine art); and Series VII. Art Collection Notebooks, which document Stieglitz's art and sculpture collection and record its distribution to museums after his death.
Absent from Stieglitz's papers, however, is much of the other standard ephemera of personal life, such as school records, personal diaries, financial records, passports or medical records. Two account statements from the Shelton Hotel are filed in Series I, and a five-page "journal" from 1873 can be found with his writings in Series II, as can his commonplace book of 1884. A file of miscellaneous receipts can be found at the end of his correspondence files. Perhaps of greater significance, also lacking are any formal business records from his decades of work as a purveyor of photography and art. While some actual financial documents do exist in the correspondence files (account sheets for the firm of George Of, some deposit slips for Guaranty Trust Company, and a few rent receipts from George R. Read, for example), and there is one folder containing cancelled checks (made out to individuals, largely artists) at the end of Series I, there are no official business records such as check registers, ledger books, personnel files or inventories.
These lacunae are real, obvious and unfortunate, particularly for those hoping to be able to create a picture of Stieglitz's business acumen or to document the sales of any particular artist's work. Instead, the correspondence files must be culled to reveal the wealth of information they contain about his financial affairs, and business endeavors and relationships.
Series I. Alfred Stieglitz: Correspondence , (Boxes 1-97), is organized in three subseries: Personal and Business Correspondence; Family Letters; and Stieglitz-O'Keeffe Letters. The Personal and Business Correspondence is in many ways the heart of the Alfred Stieglitz/Georgia O'Keeffe Archive. This highly comprehensive set of letters, arranged in one alphabetical sequence by correspondent, covers all of the strata in Stieglitz's life, from the leaders of the national and international art and photography communities to his housekeepers and friends from his college days. Two decades of successful efforts to collect letters written by Stieglitz means that readers will find two-way correspondence with a number of individuals. In many cases, Stieglitz's original autograph letters were given to the archive; in others, typed transcripts or photocopies of his letters were made and added to existing carbons from his office files.
Although the quantity and quality of the correspondence quite naturally varies, depending on the relationship between the correspondents and the span of time covered, readers will find a wealth of Stieglitz's opinions and feelings, health and daily activities in these letter sets. Both sides of the correspondence exist for, among others: Ansel Adams, Marie Rapp Boursault, Claude Bragdon, Dorothy Brett, Charles Daniel, F. Holland Day, Arthur Dove, Andrew Droth, William Einstein, Claire Goll, Rebecca Strand James, Margaret Rodakiewicz Kiskadden, Benjamin Kopman, Alfred Kreymborg, Heinrich Kühn, Beatrice Lamb, David Liebovitz, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Stanton MacDonald Wright, Lewis Mumford, Clifford Odets, Ida O'Keeffe, Duncan Phillips, Frederick Ringel, Paul Rosenfeld, Carl Sandburg, Herbert Seligmann, Ettie Stettheimer, Paul Strand, Gerald Sykes, Jennings Tofel, Jean Toomer, Horace Traubel, Edward Weston, and Harold Weston.
Compensating somewhat for the lack of business records elsewhere in the archive, a close reading of these extensive correspondence files also reveals a wealth of information about his business operations and dealings with the galleries and artists which made up the "Stieglitz circle." In a letter to Emma Goldman dated January 8, 1915, Stieglitz wrote of his gallery, 291: "I keep no books, or records of any kind. I have done this to keep the place absolutely free." This statement defines the code of conduct -- a system based on trust and personal responsibility -- by which he operated not only 291 but the other exhibition spaces he furnished for artists over the years. The casual and informal way of handling finances is evident throughout the correspondence files. The exhibition spaces, though very definitely orchestrated by Stieglitz in concept and execution, were run not unlike a cooperative. Rent of the "rooms" was paid from a variety of sources, including donations, percentages taken from sales, or Stieglitz's personal income from investments, and that insurance and off-site storage charges were the artists' responsibility. Exhibitions were installed by Stieglitz, and later, O'Keeffe, with other helpers or sometimes by the artists themselves. A cadre of interested parties would mind the gallery to keep the doors open in addition to the hours that Stieglitz himself spent there, often alone, during his months in New York.
The files also are particularly rich in material that documents the cultural tenor of the time. Many of Stieglitz's correspondents were highly creative people and their letters stand as testimony to their descriptive powers, which extended beyond narratives of events and places to tales concerning the situations they encountered or stories of characters they shared in common. In addition, since Stieglitz's sphere of influence extended into so many "circles," the coverage of art, photography and literary movements is remarkable. Through letters written from the scene, readers can take the pulse of the photographic establishment round the world, including that of Great Britain (in the writings of Annan, Bayley, Coburn, Craigie, Davison, Emerson, Evans, Hinton), Europe (Demachy, Eugene, Kühn, Matthies-Masuren, Steichen, Stouffs) and across America, particularly of Philadelphia (Abbott, Bullock, Stirling, Redfield). The artistic climate of the American Southwest figures prominently in the series through the letters of Dorothy Brett, Rebecca James and Mabel Dodge Luhan, among others. Developments in the West are related by Ansel Adams, Anne Brigman and, in southern California, Stanton MacDonald Wright. The working lives of American writers such as Sherwood Anderson, Clifford Odets and the peripatetic Sadakichi Hartmann are well represented, as are those of American painters at home and abroad, including Thomas Hart Benton, Oscar Bluemner, Arthur Dove, Louis Eilshemius, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Edward Steichen, and Abraham Walkowitz.
The files are also rich in letters with graphics and other forms of decoration. Several of his correspondents (including Bluemner, Bertram Hartman, Odets, Francis Picabia, Steichen, Walkowitz and Charles Zoler) illustrated their words. Marius DeZayas enclosed sketches for covers of the periodical 291 in a 1915 letter. Others embellished their letters with three-dimensional objects (Anita Pollitzer and Ida O'Keeffe sent feathers and leaves, and O'Keeffe created a special "red letter" edged in scarlet fabric from a quilt she was making at the time). Texas photographer Carlotta Corpron mailed in a set of her own "Equivalents" to show Stieglitz the skies around her home in Denton. Angna Enters sent handmade Christmas and valentine cards. Many wrote on found materials: Zoler used ledger book pages and Hartley, in 1923, the verso of thirty million German marks. Some correspondents' letterhead was distinctively personal: Robert Delaunay's paper was hand-painted, while Ernst Juhl's incorporated a photogravure portrait, and Alfred Langdon Coburn's contained a caricature of him by DeZayas (1908). Mabel Dodge Luhan's letterhead changed dramatically with her move from New York to Taos, though her Los Gallos letterhead does not appear in her own letter files but in those of her visitors, including Rebecca Strand James and Cary Ross.
Technical discussions of photographic matters appear in several of the files, including Eastman Kodak Company, Willis & Clements, F.G. Bruckmann and in Steichen's and Strand's letters. Stieglitz wrote out a chemical formula on the verso of a November 1901 letter from Clarence White, one of several of his notations that appear on the backs of letters throughout the archive. Most of the notes are more mundane and consist of lists of names and numbers (like those on the versos of a George Notman letter and one from Spencer Kellogg to Steichen), menus (on the verso of a draft letter by Picabia to C. Max Jacob) or what appears to be Stieglitz's part of a conversation on the verso of a letter from Alfred Horsley Hinton (which might suggest a case of laryngitis) in mid-September 1904. But substantive scrawl can be found too, such as the design for a Picasso exhibition brochure drawn on the back of a 1911 letter in the file of Rogers and Company.
The scope of the correspondence files is impressive considering the quantity of mail Stieglitz received in places other than New York and the number of times he changed addresses within the city. He retained letters from his daughter's doctors Lefferts and Stanton, and schoolmasters Keller and Veltin. He kept mail from the family's hired help, including Ina Beck, Richard Menshausen, Margaret Prosser, Lewis Putnam and Fred Varnum, and the elevator boy at 291 Fifth Avenue, Thomas Bailey. There are letters from the parents of Sheeler, Steichen and Strand, and a small note from Mary Brown, which is accompanied with a note from O'Keeffe stating that Brown was someone Stieglitz "had a great crush on as a youngster." Letters from friends from Stieglitz's school days in New York include Albert Strauss and Frank "Sime" Herrmann, whose correspondence spans nearly 60 years. Friends from his German school days, described by Stieglitz in a letter to Lewis Mumford as "the finest years of my life," include Karl Bauer, whose file includes a "Zeugnis," or letter of introduction and statement of character, and Hans Totzke. As Stieglitz's sanction meant so much to photographers, particularly regional photographers, many sent their work in for his review. His critiques, including those of W. Edwin Gledhill and F. B. Hodges, were honest and unswayable, even when he was badgered by one as persistent as Chicago photographer Louis Lamb. Another interesting document exists in the correspondence files courtesy of Katharine Rhoades, who sent samples of Stieglitz's handwriting to Brooklyn graphologist Alice Howe, and then enclosed Howe's analysis in her letter of January 15, 1930.
Stieglitz's professional enterprises are documented through letters written by his paid assistants and kindred spirits who conducted business on his behalf, including Marie Boursault, Andrew Droth, William Einstein, Dallett Fuget, Paul Haviland, Dorothy Norman, Cary Ross, Herbert Seligmann, Edward Steichen and Joseph Keiley (who, Stieglitz wrote, in a letter to Herbert French in February 1914, was "one of my very best, probably best, friend I ever had"). Because Stieglitz spent significant amounts of time away from New York, their letters to him serve as activity reports and give the kind of detail that would otherwise have gone unrecorded. Letters from third parties to associates such as Steichen and Keiley, when they were functioning as Stieglitz's agents in his absence, were foldered separately and filed with the writer's other letters to Stieglitz. Similarly, letters written on Stieglitz's behalf by Boursault, Einstein, Norman, and others were treated as letters written by Stieglitz, and are not otherwise noted. Cary Ross, Herbert Seligmann, and others worked as typists for Stieglitz, as did Rebecca Strand James in the early 1920s. Their correspondence reveals that he sent manuscripts to James from Lake George, which she would type and return. As with the galleries and other Stieglitz endeavors, there are no specific files relating to the administration of the Photo-Secession group or any of his periodicals. Three folders of letters and order forms from subscribers to Camera Work were incorporated into the alphabetical sequence to join similar material already filed throughout the series; an undated list of Camera Work subscribers can be found in Box 9, Folder 207.
Hundreds of the letters in the archive are intensely personal in nature. Stanton MacDonald Wright, on July 24, 1920, wrote to Stieglitz that he was "the father confessor to us all," an opinion that was apparently held by many. The archive is populated by minor characters, especially female admirers such as Beatrice Lamb, Frances Levitt and Elsie Stilwell, who wrote volumes about their own lives, and major characters Rebecca James, Ida O'Keeffe and Katharine Rhoades, who did so as well. Some sent their personal poetry, sonnets and paeans: Melville Cane, Helen Freeman, Joseph French, David Litchfield, Sylvan Seligman, Clara Steichen and William Zorach sent verse and free verse along with copious notes on their daily lives and thoughts. Alma Frank and Clara Steichen used Stieglitz as a sounding board, from whom they sought advice and moral support as their marriages were coming undone. Ida O'Keeffe described the elegant house and grounds, and the affluent lifestyle of the Stoeckel family in great detail, in a series of letters written during the summer of 1925, when she worked in their home in Norfolk, Connecticut, as a private nurse.
The Family Letters subseries is primarily letters written to Alfred Stieglitz from his parents, siblings, wife, daughter, grandson, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews. Boyhood letters from Stieglitz to his parents include a note written to his mother in New Jersey from the Catskills in the summer of 1874, and a letter of December 1877 to his father in which he confesses to telling a lie. There is considerable, often times moving correspondence between Stieglitz and his wife Emmeline and daughter Katherine ("Kitty") Stieglitz Stearns. Emmy's early letters are newsy accounts of her social and daily activities while on vacations in Germany, Paris and other cities in Europe, New Jersey and New England, and provide a good view of the world of upper-middle class leisure and materialism. Her later letters, written a decade after their divorce, are amicable and brief, but poignant, reports of her visits to Kitty, who was institutionalized following the birth of her son in 1923. Letters from Kitty begin with happy juvenile writings and progress through a chronicle of her educational experiences and the dynamic of her parents' breakup, ending with simple notes to her father to thank him for gifts he had sent. Writings from Stieglitz to Emmy and Kitty are few and consist mostly of drafts of letters, including one to Kitty in 1919, written in the form of a book dedication, which was the genesis of a story published as "Who Am I" some twenty years later (Twice a Year, no. 5-6, 1940-41).
The subseries of Stieglitz-O'Keeffe Letters is divided into three sections: letters written by Stieglitz to O'Keeffe; letters written by O'Keeffe to Stieglitz; and Third-Party Correspondence. The first two sections are arranged in chronological order within each section.
Series II. Alfred Stieglitz: Manuscripts , (Boxes 98-101), is organized in four subseries: Stories by Stieglitz; Writings by Stieglitz; Writings by Others; and Writings by Unidentified Authors. Some of the writings were formerly kept in numbered files of unorganized "Manuscripts." Most were culled directly from the correspondence files, although personal poetry and narratives remained in the files (Hart Crane and Donald Litchfield poems, for example) when they were clearly part of the correspondence.
Stories by Stieglitz contains first-person anecdotal accounts composed by Stieglitz. As evidenced by their correspondence, Stieglitz sent the manuscripts to Rebecca Strand James to be typed. These are separated from Writings by Stieglitz, because they were isolated in earlier arrangements and because an identical set of carbon typescripts was given for the archive by Paul Strand in 1975. Writings by Stieglitz contain the more polished and thoughtful essays as well as a five-page "Journal" from 1873. As with the Stories by Stieglitz, the publication of his essays is unverified.
Writings by Others consists of essays prepared by a number of Stieglitz's colleagues. Many of the manuscripts were intended for publication in one of the serials or exhibition catalogues Stieglitz edited or published. Some were just sent for his perusal, while others (such as the two exhibition catalogues heavily annotated and illustrated by Oscar Bluemner and Sadakichi Hartmann's "Who Did It! A Mystery Play in Two Exposures Dedicated to the Photo-Secession") were clearly for Stieglitz's enjoyment. Citations have been provided when publication in one of the Stieglitz journals could be readily verified. Many of the essays in the subseries were solicited for the special issue of Camera Work (no. 47, 1914) devoted to the question "What is 291?" and for MSS number 2 (1922) which considered the question, "Can a photograph have the significance of art?." Over half of the sixty-eight manuscripts are present for the Camera Work issue, as are nearly half of the thirty-one texts for MSS number 2. Writings by Unidentified Authors contains various works without any attribution and, in some cases, title.
Series III. Alfred Stieglitz: Documentary Ephemera , (Boxes 102-120), is arranged in six subseries: Scrapbooks, Clipping Files, Clipping Boards, Publications of Stieglitz's Galleries, and Stieglitz's Autograph Collection. As with the Stieglitz correspondence files, the material in this series has a mixed provenance: the scrapbooks, autograph collection and bound volume of 291 announcements and catalogues descended directly from Stieglitz, but the remainder of the files contain additional material acquired up through 1980.
The eight Scrapbooks were kept by Stieglitz and feature his annotations and occasional editorial comments. Two of the volumes are personal in nature, and the remaining six cover his professional life and concerns. Volumes 1-6 contain material on Stieglitz, his galleries, Camera Work and the Photo-Secession, including clipped articles, reviews, announcements, exhibition catalogues and some correspondence. (All of the latter has been photocopied and the copies interfiled in the correspondence files in Series I.) The volumes also include general articles on photography and art movements, by Stieglitz and his colleagues such as Sadakichi Hartmann and John Nilsen Laurvik.
The personal books, Numbers 7 and 8, contain cast lists cut from programs of operas, concerts, plays and other performances Stieglitz attended between the years 1877 and 1902. The first volume is primarily from opera performances in New York and Berlin, though additional entertainments and European cities are well represented. While the second scrapbook covers performances from 1888, it opens with the invitation, dinner menu and newspaper announcement from Stieglitz's 1893 wedding to Emmeline Obermeyer, perhaps placed there by him to explain the change in tenor for the rest of the volume. The cast lists in this later volume include opera performances, but they are far out-numbered by those for plays, musicals, comedies and recitals. A more detailed description of the contents of the scrapbooks may be found in Appendix One of this register.
Clipping Files is arranged in two sections: Clippings about Stieglitz; and Clippings About the Stieglitz Circle. The former consists of a set of chronologically filed clippings followed by a set of subject files on his publications, galleries and the disbursement of his art collection. The latter contains files on artists, photographers, friends and Stieglitz's colleagues, along with those on art movements and exhibitions. The Clipping Boards are two portfolios of newspaper pages and assorted clippings which were dry mounted to pieces of pulpboard, presumably under Stieglitz's direction and certainly prior to their arrival at the library. They hold mainly feature articles and reviews of exhibitions (arranged in no discernible order), in addition to material on the Armory Show and art movements. A listing of the works present on each board can be found in Appendix Two of this register.
Publications of Stieglitz's Galleries are arranged in chronological order, from the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession/291 (1905-17) through An American Place (1930-50). Exhibition announcements, check lists, and catalogues for the Little Galleries/291 are bound in one volume. Similar materials for the Anderson Galleries - Room 303, the Intimate Gallery, and An American Place are arranged in chronological order within folders. Many of the pieces in this subseries were formerly classified and shelved along with other imprints, and described in the library's card catalog for printed works. As a general rule, sets of serials published under Stieglitz's oversight (Camera Notes, Camera Work, 291, and MSS) remain classified and shelved with the library's book collections. A special set of 291, annotated by Stieglitz and containing issues hand colored by the artists DeZayas, Marin and Picabia, as well as a photogravure proof of "Steerage" printed under Stieglitz's supervision, all in the original slip case, is included in Series III.
Exhibition catalogues and checklists for non-Stieglitz gallery shows, which included work by Stieglitz or artists affiliated with him, remain classified as printed works and are housed separately. They can be located though the library's online catalog, under the call number Za St499.
Series III also contains Alfred Stieglitz's Autograph Collection. There is no documentation as to the origin of this group of letters, postcards, fragments, and albums, but it appears to be largely a collection assembled by Stieglitz during his college years in Berlin. The bulk of the assemblage is in the form of full or fragmentary letters and documents signed by renowned (predominantly German) individuals in the fields of literature, theater, art, music, science, politics, and the military. These include a signed wash drawing and a note in the hand of the Berlin architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, two letters by the poet Moritz Saphir, poems by Lugwig Gleim and Johann Peter Eckermann, and a note by archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann. Many of the pieces are mounted on paper board, some grouped together because of a common connection: one board holds autographs of Karl August, Amelie, E. A. Constantin, and Ernst August, all of Weimar. Among the few non-European items is one letter from James Garfield.
Stieglitz acquired a number of the autographs by sending self-addressed postcards to notables, asking for information or commentary. The collection contains a number of these, including responses from composer Ernest Meissonier, artist Carl Jutz (who decorated his with a pencil drawing), and writer Emile Zola. Stieglitz also collected stage door autographs, as evidenced by one from opera singer Minnie Hauk, obtained after an 1878 New York appearance. Other autographs of stage stars can be found in Series IV (Box 148, folder 2775) on their commercial studio photographs. A small number of custom-printed storage folders came with the autographs; the insides of these wrappers bear names (in Stieglitz's hand) of autographs which are no longer present, and their whereabouts unknown.
Four albums complete the autograph collection. The earliest (1874) is a homemade booklet of ruled paper in which Stieglitz gathered signatures and glued fragments of paper signed by friends and family. The second, a commercially produced juvenile album, contains signatures of his grammar school friends. Another book, Erkenne Dich Selbst!, contains questionnaires filled in by Stieglitz, his family and friends, which ask contributors to list their favorite composers, painters, writers, names and foods, and provide descriptions of their own character and a personal motto. A final volume, Ghosts of My Friends, was kept by Kitty Stieglitz and includes ink-blot images made by the wet signatures of family and friends.
Series IV. Alfred Stieglitz: Photographs , (Boxes 121-151), contains just over one thousand images by and of Stieglitz, his family and his associates, arranged in six subseries: Photographs by Alfred Stieglitz; Photographs of Alfred Stieglitz; Photographs of Family and Friends; Collections of Personal and Study Photographs; Photographs by Stieglitz's Associates; and Exhibition Installation Photographs. The first, Photographs by Alfred Stieglitz, contains 214 paper prints, photogravures, autochromes and lantern slides, which came to the archive from a variety of sources. The majority of the paper prints are exhibition-quality works printed and mounted by Stieglitz, which were specifically selected for the archive by Georgia O'Keeffe in her effort to document his work and world. These images include fine portraits of Stieglitz associates such as Marie Boursault, Marsden Hartley, O'Keeffe, Paul Haviland, and Paul Rosenfeld, as well as representative images of Lake George, early and late New York, and a dozen Equivalents. Two additional prints, from the 1890s and still in their original frames, which were the gift of Mrs. Duncan Somerville, granddaughter of John Aspinwall, have been added to those chosen by O'Keeffe.
The collection of photogravures was formed by O'Keeffe to document Stieglitz's contribution to that process. There are ten examples housed in mats, and eighty-four images, printed in a range of formats on a variety of papers, bound into two volumes. An inventory of the volumes can be found in Appendix Three of this register. The twenty-three autochromes include images of family members, friends, and Oaklawn, and were given for the archive by O'Keeffe and Dorothy Schubart. Also included is a set of images of paintings by Katharine Rhoades and Marion Beckett, probably made at the time of their 291 exhibition, which feature portraits of Emmeline Stieglitz, the Steichen family and Rhoades. At the time the autochromes were given to the library, they were recorded as having been made by Stieglitz. Further study has suggested that some of the images might instead be the work of Edward Steichen and Frank Eugene, so an attribution to all three has been given in this finding aid. A collection of forty lantern slides by Stieglitz, carefully labeled and housed in his own slide box, completes the survey of photographic work arranged by format. Images here include family members, friends and landscapes in Europe and at Lake George, and a series taken of shipboard companions.
The Photographs of Stieglitz subseries contains 188 portraits of the photographer taken by his peers, his friends, and studio photographers in New York and Europe. They range in style and format from early tintypes, studio albumen prints, and a few candid snapshots (such as Stieglitz's first airplane ride, captured by Herbert Seligmann) to formal portraits taken by noted photographers Cecil Beaton, Anne Brigman, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Imogen Cunningham, Arnold Newman, Edward Steichen, and Clarence White. Multiple portraits can be found by Frank Eugene, Paul Strand, and Carl Van Vechten. The subseries includes over twenty photographs of Stieglitz and An American Place by Ansel Adams, and a portfolio of informal portraits taken at Lake George by Lusha Nelson. The final item in the subseries (in Box 142) is listed as "Unidentified photographer," but might well be the work of Stieglitz, according to a modern print made from a Stieglitz negative by Todd Webb (see Box 147, folder 2726).
Photographs of Family and Friends includes formal and informal portraits arranged in two sections, those by Stieglitz and those by other photographers. The forty-two photographs by Stieglitz in this subseries are classified as study prints to distinguish them from the exhibition-quality works found at the start of Series IV (a determining factor, among others, being that he did not mount them on boards). They were given by O'Keeffe for the archive because of their subject matter and documentary value. The subseries starts with Stieglitz's photographs of his parents, aunt, first wife, daughter, and other family members, mostly taken at Lake George. There are several photographs of Kitty Stieglitz, one of which (Box 143, Folder 2648) was issued in Camera Work Number 12. Two unusual and unique prints by Stieglitz are counted among the Personal Photographs in this subseries: views of his sister Selma's wedding gifts as they were displayed in the family's home on East 60th Street in New York. The Friends category includes images of Stieglitz circle members Demuth, Walkowitz, and Zoler, as well as one of Sophie Raab ("Miss S.R.").
The section entitled Photographs by Other Photographers contains primarily work by commercial studio photographers, such as carte-de-visite studio portraits of Stieglitz's comrades from his Berlin student days, an album of photographs recording the outing (and antics) of Stieglitz and his friends to Freienwalde on July 4, 1886, and a commercially produced carte-de-visite view of the Fort William Henry Hotel on Lake George, where the family vacationed prior to owning Oaklawn. Snapshots which were removed from the correspondence files will be found here as well. For example, Emmy Stieglitz and Milton Stearns sent Stieglitz pictures of Kitty from their visits to her in later years, and Georgia Engelhard Cromwell included images of activity at the Farmhouse at Lake George in her letters.
Collections of Personal and Study Photographs contains six special sets of Stieglitz images. First, Georgia O'Keeffe's personal "Waste Basket Collection" of photographs she either retrieved from the trash after Stieglitz had discarded them (hence her name for the collection), received from him enclosed in a letter, or kept as good portraits of him by other photographers. O'Keeffe felt that the prints were of value to scholars, and formed a study collection of 187 photographs by mounting them for the archive in forty-two metal frames. The frames include proofs and experimental prints as well as full images from which now-familiar details had been abstracted (for instance, in Frame 4, the full street scene containing "Spring Showers"). There are a few vintage photographs among many others printed in the 1920s and 1930s from older negatives. Dates given in the register reflect those inscribed on the folders or mounts Stieglitz made for the photographs. Because he did not intend these particular prints to have an audience beyond O'Keeffe, these prints may never be exhibited or reproduced according to a restriction set by O'Keeffe.
The second special set is fifty-six prints made for the archive in 1963 by Todd Webb, who O'Keeffe commissioned to print a group of Stieglitz's slashed negatives in her possession. These include images of 291 exhibitions, Lake George scenes, and a series of portraits of John Marin. A third personal set is a collection of eighty 4 x 5 inch prints made by Stieglitz and Ida O'Keeffe at Lake George in the early 1920s, and kept by Ida O'Keeffe; they were given to the library by Georgia O'Keeffe in 1976. Twenty-one of the prints are black and white photographs mounted in folders or on cards, and inscribed by Stieglitz to O'Keeffe; the remaining fifty-nine images are faded proof prints made on printing-out paper. Both include portraits of the people and landscape at the Farmhouse, Lake George, featuring the O'Keeffe sisters, Stieglitz, Arnold Ronnebeck, and Donald Davidson. Stieglitz's set of some of these images can be found in Box 140. Two "Equivalents" mailed by Stieglitz to his sister Selma (and removed from her letters) form another special group. Two sets of copy negatives in the subseries were part of the early archive shipments (i.e., those received by the library between 1949 and 1953). They include images for which original prints are in Series IV, as well as copy negatives of original prints whose whereabouts are unknown. A small set of Theatrical Portraits, consisting of seven studio portraits of opera, dance, and theater stars collected by Stieglitz in the 1880s, completes the series.
Photographs by Stieglitz Associates is a subseries of works which do not logically fit into the above categories. Some were sent to Stieglitz in correspondence (reference photocopies of these images remain with their accompanying letter), and others are of unknown origin. Many of them are of interest for their documentary value, such as the pictures friends sent of their homes: the Paris apartment and painting studio of Edward Steichen (who annotated the verso of prints to describe the colors, fabrics and materials he used); the studio of Oscar Maurer (who wrote that it was "a model of convenience and very attractive"); the boldly labeled "HAUS HEINRICH KUEHN INNSBRUCK-SAGGEN;" and the houseboat of George Davison afloat on the Thames (which makes an appearance in J. Craig Annan's "The White House" in Camera Work Number 32). They also document Stieglitz and his friends at leisure: both Miriam Beckett and Katharine Rhoades sent snapshots taken at Agnes Meyer's picnic in Mt. Kisco; the Zorach family made a photo of their campsite in Yosemite in 1920; Maria Chabot took candid pictures of Georgia O'Keeffe on a camping expedition to The Black Place in 1944. An unknown photographer captured Brancusi standing in snow on the deck of a ship, and Stieglitz labeled this snapshot "Rec'd from Brancusi at Intimate Gallery on his arrival from Europe." Fine work by Stieglitz's contemporaries can be found here, such as a small print of Coburn's "The White Bridge - Venice" (inscribed "First Photogravure Made and printed by Alvin Langdon Coburn December MCMV. To Alfred Stieglitz Esq. With kindest regards."), Frederick Evans's "York Minster - A Study in Light", and Paul Strand's portraits of Marin, Picabia, and of the 291 Fifth Avenue building.
A small collection of Exhibition Installation Photographs completes Series IV. These documentary shots of exhibition galleries include scenes of one Photo-Secession show, three at An American Place, and one each at the art museums in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Additional installation photos can be found in the "Waste Basket Collection" (frame number 17) and in the group of photographs printed by Todd Webb from Stieglitz's slashed negatives (Box 147).
Series V. Alfred Stieglitz: Awards , (Boxes 152), contains medals Stieglitz won in competitions, either for his own work or that of the Photochrome Engraving Company. Many of the medals are not engraved to verify the recipient, and might possibly have been awarded to Stieglitz on behalf of the Photo-Secession group. Included here, too, is the Townsend Harris Medal for Notable Achievement awarded to Stieglitz by his alma mater, City College of New York, in 1937.
Series VI. Alfred Stieglitz: Works of Art , (Boxes 153-161) consists of paintings, drawings, and prints that were given by O'Keeffe and others for the archive. When O'Keeffe distributed Stieglitz's art collection to museums around the country (see Series VII), she retained a number of objects for the Stieglitz archive because, as she put it, they were "more archive than Art." Key pieces include portraits of Stieglitz made over his lifetime by well-known artists (e.g., William Merritt Chase, John Marin, and Man Ray) as well as friends such as Frances O'Brien, Fedor Encke, and Wilhelm Hasemann. The series contains four notable "Poster Portraits" made of Stieglitz's colleagues by Charles Demuth, and eleven works on paper by Pamela Colman Smith, the first painter whose work was shown at Stieglitz's gallery, 291. There are works with family associations, such as Julius Gerson's trompe l'oeil watercolor created for Stieglitz's thirteenth birthday, and a quick still life executed by Max Weber as part of a painting lesson given to Kitty Stieglitz one summer (see also his lesson notes in Series I, Box 51, folder 1227). A subseries, Work by Children includes Kitty's still life paintings from that time, as well as a number of other pieces by children which were exhibited at 291 in 1912.
Series VII. Alfred Stieglitz: Art Collection Notebooks , (Boxes 162-176), were created by the estate during the early 1950s, to preserve a visual catalogue of Stieglitz's personal art collection. Doris Bry completed the work begun by Dorothy Dudley Harvey, compiling two sets of photographs and worksheets documenting the paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures in the collection. The first set is arranged alphabetically by the name of the artist, and within, chronologically by the date of the work. The second set is arranged alphabetically by the institution which received the works and divided within by American artists and foreign artists. Thereafter, they are arranged alphabetically by artist's name.
Georgia O'Keeffe Papers (Series VIII-X)
The Georgia O'Keeffe Papers (Boxes 177-240) is organized into three series and is composed of correspondence files, clipping files and other documentary ephemera, and awards and medals.
Georgia O'Keeffe: Correspondence , (Series VIII, boxes 177-234), primarily contains letters written to O'Keeffe by her friends and representatives of institutions which held her work in their collections. Unlike Alfred Stieglitz, O'Keeffe did not save many of the letters she received during her decades of transience, so the series is weighted heavily towards the period from 1950 onward, when her life was settled in New Mexico. It is divided into four subseries: Personal and Business Correspondence; Subject Files; Fan Mail; and Rights and Reproductions Correspondence. The first subseries holds little two-way correspondence, but both sides do exist for Alon Bement, Dorothy Brett, Russell Vernon Hunter, Margaret ("Peggy") Kiskadden, Anita Pollitzer, Clara Rossin, and Ettie Stettheimer. Correspondence from O'Keeffe's sisters appears in the files for Catherine Klenert, Claudia O'Keeffe, and Anita Young, and there is a limited amount of material from Ida O'Keeffe. The letters from Claudia follow her throughout her teaching career, including an interesting assignment she took at a Texas reform school in 1919. There are a few copies of letters written by Georgia in her sisters' files, notably one to Claudia in 1951 describing a trip to Mexico, and a dozen letters to Anita covering a 1959 trip to the Far East.
Letters from old friends include several folders of letters from Henwar Rodakiewicz, many written in regard to his work on the film "The Southwest" ["Land of Enchantment"] which featured O'Keeffe; also included are letters to O'Keeffe from the filmmaker's second wife, Olga, who worked to mend the rift between her husband and the painter following the release of the film. The "circle" nature of O'Keeffe's correspondence is not as encompassing as that of Stieglitz's Series I files, but there are occasional engaging discussions of people, events, and personal dynamics in Series VIII as well, for example, Felix Greene's report on party at the Stettheimer residence, and O'Keeffe description of the pace of life at Lake George in a 1925 letter to Ettie Stettheimer. O'Keeffe imparted her recollections of fellow painter Oscar Bluemner in a letter to a curator at the National Museum of American Art. There are letters from an ardent admirer, Gerard Hale (from O'Keeffe's time at a Lake George painting school), and others from Arthur MacMahon. In her letters, Christine Sayre Eno claims credit for naming O'Keeffe "Patsy," a nickname used by Anita Pollitzer and other friends from the Art Students League. O'Keeffe also maintained close friendships with museum curators and directors, among them "Tim" Clapp, Daniel Rich, James Johnson Sweeney, and Alan Priest, and their extensive correspondence records their fondness for her. The Rich and Sweeney family members visited her in New Mexico and wrote to her as well; Alan Priest's file holds photographs of his burial ceremony in Japan.
Many letters from grade school and college friends, as well as former neighbors in Wisconsin and Virginia, can be found in this subseries. Several of these individuals were prompted to send accounts of their memories of O'Keeffe by a subsequent event connected with the painter, such as the 1977 WNET documentary, or coverage of a one-woman exhibition. Most of these letters are single letters, and are filed in the alphabetic general folders, along with similar writings from people who had relationships with her, or Stieglitz, from the 291 period. For example, Alice Holtman, the former secretary at An American Place, kept in contact, as did old friends "Mike" Harding and "Wick" Moore. Letters from unidentified writers are filed at the end of the alphabetical arrangement; letters from "Gus", an unidentified admirer who refers to their past relationship, are foldered separately.
A subseries of Subject Files preserves the filing order from O'Keeffe's home. Folders of correspondence and treatment reports from conservators who worked on her paintings, either for O'Keeffe or institutions, are followed by random biographical writings and material prepared for publication. Like essays can be found in the correspondence subseries as well, but those found in Box 222 were isolated when the files came to the library. A small group of material related to Alfred Stieglitz follows, containing a file of condolence notes written to O'Keeffe upon his death.
A sizable portion of the correspondence in Series I, however, came to O'Keeffe from people who were admirers, students, former friends (from Wisconsin and Virginia), people who claimed to own paintings of hers, and even non-related O'Keeffes who were hoping to find a family connection. The subseries of Fan Mail remains much as it was received by the library, but the files were combed for letters from anyone who had a direct personal relationship with the painter (as distinct from letters from people who only knew of O'Keeffe from seeing her work in a museum or publication) and those more substantive letters moved to the first subseries of correspondence. Fans in this section include museum security guards, a former elevator operator at the Sheldon, many art students, and even a mounted policeman from New York City. They asked O'Keeffe for autographs, opinions on their own work, advice on moving to New Mexico, and actual oil paintings. In exchange, and hoping to bond with her, they sent rocks, photographs of themselves and their families, and snapshots of their own works of painting and sculpture. From notes made on the incoming letters, it appears that O'Keeffe responded to a remarkable number of these writers. A few fan letters were removed to the correspondence subseries because of their special contents. Salvatore Bacigalufo, an Italian self-described "master of supertankers" working for Texaco, would visit museums while on layovers in port cities, and sent O'Keeffe his modern-day versions of the traditional sailors' valentines made of pressed flowers. Lorraine Bubar held annual O'Keeffe birthday celebrations at her home, and sent photographs of O'Keeffe-inspired cakes, decorations, and partygoers. Groups of paintings, drawings, essays, and poems sent to her by school children were also removed and filed with correspondence in the first subseries.
The contents of Boxes 223-233 are filed by year, and are in no order within each year, as are those of box 234, Rights and Reproductions Correspondence, which deals with requests to reproduce, borrow, or lend O'Keeffe works, as well as requests for donations of paintings, posters, and books and permission to make documentary films about her. Further rights and reproductions letters appear in the first subseries, in the files of museums which held her work, notably the Metropolitan and Philadelphia museums of art.
Series IX. Georgia O'Keeffe: Documentary Ephemera , (Boxes 235-237), contains Clipping Files, a small selection of invitations filed as Exhibition Ephemera, and Miscellaneous Ephemera found among her correspondence files. Clipping Files document O'Keeffe's life, work, and exhibitions, and include articles on people and topics of interest to her. The files include clippings kept by Stieglitz (some of which have citations and dates in his hand), which were merged with those received with O'Keeffe's papers in 1992.
Series X. Georgia O'Keeffe: Awards and Medals , (Boxes 238-240), contains diplomas, certificates, and medals awarded to O'Keeffe during her lifetime, as well as photographs documenting the ceremonies. They include a number of honorary degrees from prominent universities and colleges, awards bestowed by the Governors of her home and adopted states, and one of the country's highest honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The series is arranged in alphabetical order by the institution or organization giving the award.
Stieglitz Family Papers (Series XI)
Stieglitz Family Papers (Series XI), (Boxes 241-245), is arranged into two subseries: Edward and Hedwig Stieglitz Papers; and Other Family Papers. The first and largest subseries consists mainly of the personal correspondence of Alfred Stieglitz's parents, Edward and Hedwig Stieglitz, with a few business-related letters interspersed. Many of the letters in this series are written in Deutscher schrift (Sütterlin), and a few in Yiddish. Translations were made for several randomly selected family letters before the series was given to the library; these have been interfiled with the originals. The Family Correspondence includes a number of letters written to Edward Stieglitz from his brothers during his Civil War service, and added on to by other family members and friends (see also a file of "Group letters" at the end of the section). It also contains a significant set of reports sent almost daily from Hedwig to her husband while he was away from home on two summer trips, one in 1872 when he and eight-year-old Alfred went to take the waters at Sharon Springs, New York, and then to see Niagara Falls, and a second journey the two made a year later to the great tourist hotels in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and Lake George, Saratoga Springs and the Catskill Mountains in New York State. These letters to Edward and Alfred were family efforts, jointly written by Hedwig and her two sisters Rosa and Ida, with additional notes added by the Stieglitz children. Also prominent in Hedwig's letters to her husband are those from her 1889 trip to Los Angeles to await the birth of their first grandchild; the subsequent and tragic death of their daughter Flora, following the delivery of her stillborn baby, is recorded in a series of letters and telegraphed reports as her body was brought home to New York for burial.
The files of Personal and Business Correspondence contain letters from family friends as well as Edward Stieglitz's business partner Hermann Hahlo and other colleagues. Hahlo's letters include financial statements of their company's business dealings during the years that Stieglitz served in the army and was traveling overseas. The artists Fedor Encke and Moses Ezekiel were regular correspondents. Ezekiel, an American sculptor, lived and worked in Italy. In a series of letters from 1879 and 1880, he describes his life there and includes snapshot photographs of local scenery and the interior of his studio.
Personal Papers contains an assortment of ephemeral items such as invoices made by Alfred Stieglitz of money owed him by his father in 1873 and 1874, and business and calling cards; among the latter group is Hedwig Werner and Edward Stieglitz's Velobungskarten, a special calling card which marked their engagement. A file of printed ephemera contains curiosities such as a ship passenger track chart for an 1881 Atlantic crossing, a label for wine imported by Stieglitz and a 19th-century facsimile of the April 15, 1865, New York Evening Express which carries news of Abraham Lincoln's assassination. A few miscellaneous documents from Stieglitz's army days are foldered together, among them a receipt from the substitute he paid to fulfill his service requirement. Also filed here is an accounting of Levi Stieglitz's estate and a variety of records for the Stieglitz's household and personal expenses, including a detailed invoice for furnishings purchased in 1872 for their new home on East 60th Street in New York.
The section entitled Drawings consists of a small collection of works by Edward Stieglitz, most drawn after the paintings of Wilhelm Hasemann, a noted German artist and family friend. Hasemann's own work is well represented in a fine album containing a series of careful pencil drawings of German landscapes and local residents, which he made on standard-issue postal cards. Mailed to the Stieglitz family over a period of three years, 1882-85, each is signed and dated, and many are inscribed with notes and news from the artist as well as any Stieglitz family members with him at the time. A third artist whose drawing can be found here is Anton Brioschi, a Viennese painter known for his work in scenery for the theater, opera, and ballet.
The second subseries, Other Family Papers, contains two folders of letters written by the paternal and maternal grandfathers of Alfred Stieglitz: one from Levi Stieglitz to his daughter Pauline; and one from Abraham Werner to his wife Flora.
- Language of Materials
Chiefly in English, many letters in German.
- Conditions Governing Access
Boxes 104-105: Restricted fragile material. Microfilm is available. Consult Access Services for further information.
Box 146: Restricted material. May not be seen without the permission of the appropriate curator.
Box 146: for research use only. May not be duplicated.
Boxes 247-256: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.
Box 257: Restricted fragile material. All material has been digitized. For further information consult the appropriate curator.
- Conditions Governing Use
The Alfred Stieglitz/Georgia O'Keeffe Archive is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.
- Immediate Source of Acquisition
Acquired as gifts and purchases from the Stieglitz Estate and the Stieglitz family, Georgia O'Keeffe, the O'Keeffe Estate, and other parties. For further information, please see the History of the Archive.
- Majority of material found within 1880 - 1986
- 168 Linear Feet ((259 boxes) + 2 broadside folders, 6 art)
- Related Names
- Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946
- O'Keeffe, Georgia, 1887-1986
- Language of Materials
- Language of Materials
- Language of Materials