Agnes Rindge Claflin papers concerning Alexander Calder, 1936-circa 1970s

A Finding Aid to the Agnes Rindge Claflin Papers Concerning Alexander Calder, 1936-circa 1970s , in the Archives of American Art, by Margaret J. Hughes

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Biographical Information

Agnes Rindge Claflin (1900-1977) was an arts administrator, collector, and educator who spent the majority of her career at Vassar College as a professor and serving as director of its art gallery for 28 years.

Claflin was born Agnes Millicent Rindge in Grand Rapids, Michigan on May 19, 1900. She graduated from the Madeira School in 1917, attended Mount Holyoke College for two years, and graduated magna cum laude from Radcliffe College. Afterwards, Claflin briefly taught at Vassar College before returning to Radcliffe and earning her M.A. and Ph.D. She rejoined the Vassar College faculty in 1928 and served as the director of the Vassar Art Gallery from 1934-1962. Claflin published Sculpture in 1929 and in the 1930s she began writing articles for several different publications. At the request of Alfred Barr, she joined the Advisory Committee for the Museum of Modern Art in 1941 and became the Assistant Executive Vice President from 1943-1944. Claflin held a number of other positions in art organizations such as the Commission on Arts of the American Association of Colleges (1939), Art in America (1940-1943), Art Division of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (1941-1942), American Federation of Arts (1944-1945), and Committee on Fellowships of the College Art Association (1945-1948). She married Philip W. Claflin, a captain in the U.S. Army, in 1945. Throughout her career, Claflin lectured at organizations and universities across the United States, including the Chicago Art Institute, Columbia University, New York University, Yale University, and many others. Agnes Claflin died on June 12, 1977.

Claflin and Calder were colleagues and friends. In 1942, the Vassar Art Gallery hosted a Calder exhibition installation. The following year, Claflin wrote and narrated a short film, "Alexander Calder: Sculpture and Constructions," which was presented with the Museum of Modern Art's Calder exhibition of the same year.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of arts administrator, collector, and educator Agnes Rindge Claflin concerning Alexander Calder are comprised of 28 items and date from 1936-circa 1970s. Included are five letters and one postcard from Alexander Calder to Claflin, two of which are illustrated; two handwritten manuscripts by Calder, one untitled and "A Propos of Measuring a Mobile," 1943; an invitation to a Calder exhibition at Galerie Maeght, Paris, 1952; and 14 photographs of Calder, of Calder and Claflin in Calder's studio, of Calder's art work, and of a Calder exhibition installation at Vassar Art Gallery, 1942. One photograph depicting an event is possibly the opening of the Calder exhibition at Vassar Art Gallery, 1942. Also included are two polaroid photographs most likely from the 1970s. Transcriptions of three of the letters and both manuscripts are also included.

Arrangement and Series Description

Due to the small size of the collection, items are organized into one series of 23 folders:

Subjects and Names

This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:

Subjects:

  • Calder, Alexander, 1898-1976
  • Vassar College -- Art Gallery

Subjects-Topical:

  • Art -- Collectors and collecting
  • Arts administrators -- New York (State)

Types of Materials:

  • Illustrated letters
  • Manuscripts
  • Photographs
  • Potcards

Names:

  • Calder, Alexander, 1898-1976

Provenance

The collection was donated in 1981 by Philip W. Claflin, widower of Agnes Rindge Claflin.

Separated and Related Materials

The Archives of American Art holds several collections related to the Agnes Rindge Claflin papers concerning Alexander Calder, including the Alexander Calder papers which have been fully digitized; Alexander Calder letters and photographs microfilmed on reel 4781; Alexander Calder letter microfilmed on reel 2787, frames 963-970; and an oral history interview with Alexander Calder, October 26, 1971, available as a transcript online.

How the Collection was Processed

The collection was microfilmed upon receipt on reel 2520. It was fully processed and described by Margaret J. Hughes in 2010.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of original papers requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Agnes Rindge Claflin papers concerning Alexander Calder are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

Available Formats

The collection was digitized in 2010 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website.

How to Cite this Collection

Agnes Rindge Claflin papers concerning Alexander Calder, 1936-circa 1970s. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Agnes Rindge Claflin Papers Concerning Alexander Calder, 1936-circa 1970s
(Box 1; 23 folders)

If a document has a transcription, it can be found in the same folder as the original document. This collection has been scanned in its entirety.

Box Folder
1 1 Letter, circa 1930s-1950s
1 2 Letter, 1936, June 6
1 3 Letter, 1942, March 30
1 4 Letter, 1942, May 7
1 5 Letter, 1945, March 13
1 6 Letter, 1954, December 23
1 7 Manuscript about Sculpture, undated
1 8 "A Propos of Measuring a Mobile" Manuscript, 1943
1 9 Exhibition Invitation, Galerie Maeght, 1952
1 10 Photograph of Event, 1942
1 11 Photograph of Calder/Miro Exhibition at Vassar Art Gallery, 1942
1 12 Photograph of Calder/Miro Exhibition at Vassar Art Gallery, 1942
1 13 Photograph of Calder/Miro Exhibition at Vassar Art Gallery, 1942
1 14 Photograph of Calder/Miro Exhibition at Vassar Art Gallery, 1942
1 15 Photograph of Calder/Miro Exhibition at Vassar Art Gallery, 1942
1 16 Photograph of Mobile Sculpture, circa 1942
1 17 Photograph of Calder's Studio, circa 1942
1 18 Photograph of Calder & Claflin, circa 1942
1 19 Photograph of Calder & Claflin in Calder's Studio, circa 1942
1 20 Photograph of Calder & Claflin in Calder's Studio, circa 1942
1 21 Photograph of Calder & Claflin, circa 1942
1 22 Polaroid Photograph of Sculpture, circa 1970s
1 23 Polaroid Photograph of Package, circa 1970s