American Society of Contemporary Artists records, 1917-1985

American Society of Contemporary Artists (New York, N.Y.), est. 1917
Society
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Collection size: 3.0 linear ft. (partially microfilmed on 4 reels)

Collection Summary: Correspondence, (1951-1970), business records (1917-1980), scrapbooks (1949-1970), and printed material (1933-1985).

REELS D243-D244: Correspondence (1951-1965) concerning the Society's membership, exhibition activities, and related business topics; a cashbook (1918-1921) listing the payment of dues; a guest register records attendance of exhibitions (1949-1955); two notebooks contain minutes of meetings (1917-1965); minutes of the Board of Governors' meetings (1918-1965); a proclamation concerning travelling exhibitions (1957); printed material; and two scrapbooks.

REELS 1708-1709: Correspondence (1965-1970) concerning general Society business topics, exhibitions, and financial topics. Correspondents include prominent members Domenico Facci, Jenny Fohr, Dorothy Paris, Nancy Ranson, Ethel Smul, and John von Wicht. Also, a history of ASCA; membership lists (1956, 1958, and 1969); a notebook containing minutes of meetings (1965-1970); financial reports (1963-1970); and two scrapbooks.

REEL 1817: Photograph of William J. Connelly, manager of exhibits, Public Relations Department, Union Carbide Corporation, receiving the 1973 American Society of Contemporary Artists Award from Mary Ascher, President of the Society. The photograph was previously microfilmed under Photos of Artists II, and has subsequently been scanned and returned to the American Society of Contemporary Artists records.

REEL 2786: Correspondence (1980), primarily letters to members from ASCA president Harold M. LeRoy concerning exhibitions; minutes of meetings, 1973-44, and 1979-1980; a membership list; printed materials, and reports.

UNMICROFILMED: Letters and printed material, 1983-1985.

Biographical/Historical Note: Est. 1917 as Brooklyn Society of Artists. Membership limited to artists living or working in Brooklyn. Exhibitions were held in various galleries including at Abraham and Straus, the Pratt Institute, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and other cultural centers in Brooklyn. In 1919, membership was extended to artists outside Brooklyn and in 1954, the Society held its first travelling exhibition. As membership grew to encompass the entire United States, the Society's name was changed in 1963 to the American Society of Contemporary Artists, or the ASCA.

Records filmed on reels D243-D244 were originally lent August 1965 via Mrs. Elizabeth Erlanger. They were donated along with new material, which was filmed on reels 1708-1709, in June 1973, via Mary Ascher, president. Constance Scharff, recording secretary, donated 12 items in 1979, Harold LeRoy donated 32 items during his presidency in 1980, and in 1985, an additional 0.2 linear feet of material was donated by Edith L. Abrams, who served as ASCA president from 1983-1985. Provenance of photo on reel 1817 unknown, microfilmed in 1980 as part of AAA's Photographs of Artists Collection-Two.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reels D243-D244, 1708-1709, 1817 & 2786 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.