Arthur Sinclair Covey papers, 1882-1960

A Finding Aid to the Arthur Sinclair Covey Papers, 1882-1960, in the Archives of American Art, by Jean Fitzgerald

Download PDF Version of this page [Download PDF Version]

Table of Contents:



Biographical Information

Arthur Sinclair Covey was born June 13, 1877 in Leroy, Illinois, son of Byron and Emeline Edwards Covey. His boyhood was spent in various small towns in Missouri and Kansas. As a teenager in 1893, Covey "made the run" to claim land at the opening of the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma.

From 1895 to 1896, Covey attended Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, followed by three years of study under Frank Duveneck, among others, at the Chicago Art Institute, from which he graduated in 1899. From 1900 to 1901, he worked as a staff artist and art editor for the Indianapolis Press and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. For the next two years, he taught at the Chicago Art Institute and established his own studio.

In 1904, Covey traveled to the Royal Academy in Munich where he was a student of Karl Marr, and, from 1905 to 1908, served as assistant to British mural painter Frank Brangwyn and taught at the London School of Art. In 1908, Covey returned to New York and married Mary Dorothea Sale, with whom he had two children, Margaret Sale Covey and Laird Fortune Covey.

Covey received official recognition for his artwork when he assisted Robert Reid and Jules Guerin on murals for the 1914-1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition and received the Bronze Medal. The following year, Covey completed his first commission to paint murals for the Wichita, Kansas, Library, and continued to work steadily on mural projects for the rest of his career.

Following the death of his wife in 1917, Covey married children's book illustrator Lois Lenski in 1921. They had a son, Stephen John Covey.

In 1925, Covey received the Architectural League's Gold Medal of Honor in Painting for his murals at the Kohler Company. From 1926 to 1929, he served as President of the national Mural Painters Society, and from 1929 to 1942, he taught pictorial composition at the National Academy Schools in New York. From 1938 to 1939, Covey created pierced brass on redwood murals for the exterior of the Contemporary Arts Building at the New York World's Fair. In 1939, he decorated the dome and globe of the Land Plane Building at La Guardia Airport in New York.

In the 1950s, Lois Lenski Covey's failing health required that the couple move permanently to Florida's warmer climate.

Arthur Sinclair Covey died on February 5, 1960, in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Return to top


Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of mural painter and illustrator Arthur Sinclair Covey measure 5.7 linear feet and date from 1882 to 1960. Found within the papers are biographical material; correspondence with art institutions, patrons, and colleagues; scattered business and financial records; notes and writings by Covey and others, including a transcript of an interview with Covey by a radio station; art work and sketchbooks by Covey and his colleagues including Paul Bransom, Harvey Dunn, and Edward Penfield; project files concering Covey's mural projects; a scrapbook of clippings; additional printed material; and photographs of Covey, family members, colleagues, and art work.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged into nine series according to type of material and further arranged in chronological order. Oversized material from various series has been housed in Boxes 6-8 and Oversized Folders 9-12, and is noted in the Series Descriptions/Container Listing section at the appropriate folder title with see also/see references.

Subjects and Names

This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following index terms. People, families and organizations are listed under "Subjects" when they are the topic of collection contents and under "Names" when they are creators or contributors.

Subjects-Topical:

  • Mural painting and decoration -- Buildings
  • Painters
  • Illustrators -- Connecticut
  • Muralists -- Connecticut

Types of Materials:

  • Works of art
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Sketchbooks
  • Sketches

Names:

  • Lenski, Lois, 1893-
  • Dunn, Harvey, 1884-1952
  • Penfield, Edward, 1866-1925
  • Bransom, Paul, 1885-

Provenance

The Arthur Sinclair Covey papers were donated from 1961 to 1965 by the artist's widow, Lois Lenski Covey.

How the Collection was Processed

The papers were processed in May 2006 by Jean Fitzgerald.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Arthur Sinclair Covey papers 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.

How to Cite this Collection

Arthur Sinclair Covey papers, 1882-1960. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Return to top

Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1925-1960, undated
(Box 1, 6; 4 folders)

Biographical Material consists of genealogical charts, membership cards and certificates, and an award certificate from the Architectural League of New York.

Box Folder
1 1-2 Genealogical Information, 1957-1960, undated
(2 folders)
1 3 Membership Cards and Certificates, 1927-1959
(See Also Box 6)
1 4 Award Certificate, 1925
Box
6 (sol) Three Oversize Membership Certificates, 1930-1953
(See Box 1, F3)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1915-1960, undated
(Box 1, OV 9; 28 folders)

Correspondence is primarily with art institutions, patrons, and includes scattered letters from colleagues including George Bellows, Edwin Howland Blashfield, Frank Brangwyn, Dean Cornwell, Gordon Grant, John Guerin, and Ezra Winter.

Box Folder
1 5-6 Correspondence, undated
(2 folders)
1 7 Correspondence, 1915-1921
1 8 Correspondence, 1922
1 9 Correspondence, 1923
1 10 Correspondence, 1924-1925
1 11 Correspondence, 1926-1927
1 12 Correspondence, 1928
(see also OV 9)
1 13 Correspondence, 1929
1 14 Correspondence, 1930
1 15 Correspondence, 1931-1932
1 16 Correspondence, 1933
1 17 Correspondence, 1934-1935
1 18 Correspondence, 1937
1 19 Correspondence, 1938-1939
1 20 Correspondence, 1940-1946
1 21 Correspondence, 1947
1 22 Correspondence, 1948
1 23 Correspondence, 1949
1 24 Correspondence, 1950-1951
1 25 Correspondence, 1952-1954
1 26 Correspondence, 1955
1 27 Correspondence, 1956
1 28 Correspondence, 1957
1 29 Correspondence, 1958
1 30 Correspondence, 1959
1 31 Correspondence, 1960
Box
OV 9 Oversized Christmas Card from Charles and Ada Chapman, 1928
(See Box 1, F12

Series 3: Business Records, 1915-1958, undated
(Box 1; 14 folders)

Business records include insurance and miscellaneous financial material. Business letters from Floyd Covey reflect the management of Arthur Covey's financial dealings by his younger brother.

Box Folder
1 32 Insurance Records, 1922-1927
1 33-34 Accounts Ledger, 1919-1937
(2 folders)
1 35 Income Tax Records, 1922-1937
1 36 Mohawk Asbestos Slate Co., Inc. Letters and Receipts, 1928
1 37-42 Business Letters from Floyd Covey, 1941-1949
(6 folders)
1 43 Price Lists, 1954, undated
1 44 Miscellaneous Receipts, 1920-1958
1 45 Miscellaneous Business Records, 1915-1928, undated

Series 4: Notes and Writings, 1923-1958, undated
(Box 1; 10 folders)

Notes and writings include a transcript of a radio interview with Covey, miscellaneous lists, typescripts, and poems by William Adams Delano.

Box Folder
1 46 Transcript of Interview of Covey by Radio Station WNYC, 1937
1 47 Membership Lists, 1938, undated
1 48 Minutes from Clearwater Art Museum Round Table on Modern Art, 1948
1 49 Guestbook, 1951
1 50 List of Guests, 1954
1 51 Miscellaneous Notes, 1937, undated
1 52 Manuscript "Some Notes on a Six Month's Stay in Europe" by Covey, 1923
1 53 Typescript of Speech by Covey at the Dixie Cooley Memorial Exhibition, 1957
1 54 Typescript "A Close-Up Commentary on Sir Frank Brangwyn" by Covey, 1958
1 55 Poems by William Adams Delano, 1938-1948

Series 5: Art Work, 1921-1957, undated
(Box 1, 6, OV 9-10; 23 folders)

This series consists of drawings, paintings, and prints by Covey and his colleagues including noted illustrators Paul Bransom, Harvey Dunn, George Hill, A. P. Keller, Frank Leyendecker, Howard McCormick, Alice Harold Murphy, Edward Penfield, William Traher, and Ezra Winter.

Box Folder
1 56 Sketchbook 1, undated
1 57 Sketchbook 2, undated
1 58 Sketchbook 3, undated
1 59 Sketchbook 4, undated
(see also Box 6)
1 60 Sketchbook 5, undated
(see also Box 6)
1 61-63 Designs for Stencils to be Cut in Metal for a Residential Lamp, undated
(3 folders)
1 64-65 Miscellaneous Drawings by Covey, undated
(2 folders; see also Box 6)
1 66 Oil Sketches and Prints by Covey, undated
(See Also Box 6 and OV 9)
1 67 Woodcut by Unidentified Artist and Drawing by a Child, 1957, undated
1 68 Drawing by Frank Leyendecker, undated
1 69 Wood Engraving by Howard McCormick, undated
1 70 Etching by Alice Harold Murphy, 1935
1 71 Art Work by Edward Penfield including booklet "Spanish Ways" containing original drawings, undated
(See Also Box 6 and OV 10)
1 72 Lithograph by William Traher, 1934
Box
6 (sol) Oversize Sketcbook 4, undated
(See Box 1, F59)
6 (sol) Oversize Sketchbook 5, undated
(See Box 1, F60)
6 (sol) Fifteen Oversize Miscellaneous Drawings by Covey, undated
(See Box 1, F64-65)
6 (sol) Oversize Scrapbook of Drawings by Covey, undated
(See Box 1, F64-65)
6 (sol) Three Oversize Oil Sketches, Six Etchings, undated
(See Box 1, F66)
6 (sol) Six Lithographs by Covey, undated
(See Box 1, F66)
6 (sol) Oversize Drawings by Ade de Bethune, Paul Bransom, George Hill, A. P. Keller, and Ezra Winter; an Oil Sketch by Harvey Dunn; and Three Silk-Screened Posters by Edward Penfield, 1921-1957, undated
Box
OV 9 Oversize Lithograph Opening of the Cherokee Strip by Covey, undated
(See Box 1, F66)
Box
OV 10 Three Oversize Posters by Edward Penfield, undated
(See Box 1, F71)

Series 6: Project Files, 1916-1959
(Box, 1-2, 6, OV 9-12; 68 folders)

Project files contain contracts, correspondence, receipts, notes, art work, printed material, and photographs documenting Covey's various mural painting projects. The file concerning the New York World's Fair includes a cut-out paper design for one of the pierced brass murals used to decorate the Community Arts Building, and booklets "New York World's Fair Bulletin" and "Futurama."

Box Folder
1 73 Lord & Taylor Murals, New York, New York, 1916-1925
1 74 William Filene & Sons Mural, Boston, Massachusetts, 1920-1923
1 75 Orthopedic Hospital Murals, Orange, New Jersey, 1921-1922
1 76-78 Kohler Company Industrial Murals, Kohler, Wisconsin, 1923-1926
(3 folders)
1 79-93 Norton Company Murals and Windows, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1925-1959
(15 folders; see also OV 11)
Box Folder
2 1 Lasalle and Koch Company Murals, Toledo, Ohio, 1926-1927
(see also Box 6)
2 2 Kohler Company Showroom Murals, Kohler, Wisconsin, 1927-1929
2 3 Textile High School Murals, New York, New York, 1928-1929
2 4 Willys Overland Company Auditorium Murals, Toledo, Ohio, 1929
2 5-8 John Brown Post Office Mural, Torrington, Connecticut, 1929-1938
(4 folders; see also OV 12)
2 9 Squibb Building Ceiling Mural, New York, New York, 1930-1931
2 10-14 War Memorial Auditorium Murals, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1930-1938
(5 folders)
2 15 Post Office Murals, Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1935
2 16-17 Guaranty Trust Bank Mural, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1936-1941
(2 folders)
2 18-29 New York World's Fair Community Arts Building Pierced Brass Mural, New York, New York, 1937-1940
(12 folders)
2 30-33 North Beach (La Guardia) Airport Rotunda Mural and Globe Design, New York, New York, 1938-1939
(4 folders)
2 34 Post Office Mural, Anderson, South Carolina, 1939-1940
2 35 George Jeppson Residence Mural, Brookfield, Massachusetts, 1939-1941
2 36-37 Horace Mann School Library Mural, Riverdale, New York, 1945-1947
(2 folders)
2 38-44 Trinity Lutheran Church Ceiling Mural, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1947-1957
(7 folders; see also OV 9)
2 45-46 Wisconsin Centennial Display Murals, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1948
(2 folders; see also Box 6)
2 47 Kohler Company Showroom Plaques, Kohler, Wisconsin, 1955-1956
Box
6 (sol) Sixteen Oversize Photographs of Art Work for Lasalle and Koch Company Murals Project File, 1926-1927
(See Box 2, F1)
6 (sol) Sixteen Oversize Reproductions of Art Work for Wisconsin Centennial Display Murals Project File, 1948
(See Box 2, F45-46)
Box
OV 9 Two Oversize Drawings and Three Blueprints for Trinity Lutheran Church Ceiling Mural Project File, 1947-1957
(See Box 2, F38-44)
Box
OV 11 Thirteen Oversize Lithographs for Norton Company Murals and Windows Project File, 1925-1959
(See Box 1, F79-93)
Box
OV 12 Five Oversize Drawings for John Brown Post Office Mural, Torrington, Connecticut Project File, 1929-1938
(See Box 2, F5-8)

Series 7: Scrapbook, 1914-1960
(Box 8; 1 folder)

A scrapbook contains clippings, booklets, printed invitations, and 2 photographs of an exhibition.

Box Folder
8 (sol) 1 Scrapbook, 1914-1960

Series 8: Printed Material, 1882-1959, undated
(Box 2-4, 7; 2.4 linear feet)

Printed material consists of clippings, including some issues of Scribner Magazine, exhibition announcements and catalogs for Covey and others, prospectuses, reproductions of art work, a program, printed souvenirs from a trip to Italy, miscellaneous brochures and booklets, including Color Studies of the Exposition City, World's Fair (Chicago) in Pictures and Magic in the Night concerning the Golden Gate International Exposition. Books concern art-related topics including four about the work of Frank Brangwyn.

Box Folder
2 48 Clippings, undated
(see also Box 7)
2 49 Clippings, 1896
2 50 Clippings, 1897
2 51 Clippings, 1902
2 52 Clippings, 1905
2 53-55 Clippings, 1906
(3 folders)
2 56-57 Clippings, 1907
(2 folders)
2 58 Clippings, 1910-1912
2 59 Clippings, 1914
2 60 Clippings, 1920-1922
2 61 Clippings, 1923-1925
2 62 Clippings, 1926-1927
2 63 Clippings, 1928
2 64 Clippings, 1929
2 65 Clippings, 1930
Box Folder
3 1 Clippings, 1931
3 2 Clippings, 1932
3 3 Clippings, 1933
3 4 Clippings, 1934
3 5 Clippings, 1935
3 6-8 Clippings, 1936
(3 folders)
3 9 Clippings, 1937
3 10 Clippings, 1938
3 11 Clippings, 1939
(see also Box 7)
3 12 Clippings, 1940-1948
3 13 Clippings, 1952-1955
3 14 Clippings, 1956
3 15 Clippings, 1957-1958
3 16-24 Exhibition Announcements and Catalogs for Covey, 1925-1958, undated
(9 folders)
3 25-36 Exhibition Announcements and Catalogs for Others, 1912-1959, undated
(12 folders)
3 37 Prospectuses, 1938-1941
3 38-39 Reproductions of Art Work by Covey, 1908-1911, undated
(2 folders; see also Box 7)
3 40 Reproductions of Art Work by Frank Brangwyn, undated
(see also Box 7)
3 41-43 Reproductions of Art Work by Others, 1882-1938, undated
(3 folders; see also Box 7)
3 44 Program for the Victory Dinner and Dance of the Division of Pictorial Publicity, 1919
3 45 Printed Souvenirs from Travel to Italy, 1954
3 46-47 Miscellaneous Brochures, 1895-1936
(2 folders)
3 48-55 Miscellaneous Booklets, 1915-1960 undated
(8 folders)
Box Folder
4 1 Book History of Illustration, undated
4 2 Book Paintings and Illustrations by Edwin Austin Abbey, undated
4 3 Book The Art of the Exposition by Eugen Neuhaus, 1915
4 4 Book New Salmagundi Papers, 1922
4 5 Book Art and Industry, 1923
4 6 Book Modern Masters of Etching: Frank Brangwyn, 1925
4 7 Book Frank Brangwyn and His Work by Walter Shaw-Sparrow, 1925
4 8 Book The Beaux-Arts Boys on the Boulevards, 1931
4 9 Book The British Empire Panels by Frank Brangwyn, R.A., 1937
4 10 Book Century Memorials, 1939, 1940
4 11 Book National Gallery of Art Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture, 1941
4 12 Book Works of Art, Silver, and Furniture Belonging to the Century Association by Charles Downing Lay and Theodore Bolton, 1943
4 13 Book The Water-Colours of Frank Brangwyn, R.A., 1867-1956 by Cyril G. E. Bunt, 1958
Box
7 (sol) Two Oversize Clippings, 1939, undated
(See Box 3, F11)
7 (sol) Oversize Reproductions of Art Work by Covey, 1908-1911, undated
(See Box 3, F38-39)
7 (sol) Oversize Reproductions of Art Work by Frank Brangwyn, undated
(See Box 3, F40)
7 (sol) Oversize Reproductions of Art Work by Others, 1913-1925, undated
(See Box 3, F41-43)
7 (sol) Oversize Book The Historical paintings in the Hall of the Worshipful Company of Skinners, 1909

Series 9: Photographs, 1891-1959, undated
(Box 5, 7-8; 21 folders)

Photographs are primarily of Covey, family members, colleagues, art-related events, and art work. Album 1 contains photographs of Covey family members and Frank Brangwyn with his art class. Album 2 contains photographs of Covey in his studio and a drawing for the New York World's Fair murals. Albums 3 and 4 contain photographs of Covey's murals. There are also photographs of Sir Alfred East, Morris Henry Hobbs, Charles Battell Loomis, Alfred Loomis, Fred Dana Marsh, Clarence Millet, John Norton, Eugene Savage, Edward Trumbell, and group photographs of Salmagundi Club Dinners for Charles S. Chapman and for Vincent A. Svoboda.

Box Folder
5 (hol) 1-4 Photograph Album 1, 1891-1959, undated
(4 folders)
5 (hol) 5 Photographs of Colleagues, 1905-1948, undated
(See Also Box 7)
5 (hol) 6 Photographs of Models, undated
5 (hol) 7 Photograph Album 3, 1939, undated
5 (hol) 8 Photograph Album 4, 1946
5 (hol) 9 Photographs of Art Work by Covey, undated
5 (hol) 10-14 Photographs of Art Work by C. Y. Turner, undated
(5 folders)
5 (hol) 15-16 Miscellaneous Photographs of Art Work by Others, undated
(2 folders; see also Box 7)
5 (hol) 17 Travel Photographs, undated
5 (hol) 18 Photographs of an Unidentified Building, undated
Box
7 (sol) Three Oversize Photographs of Colleagues, 1930-1938
(See Box 5, F5)
7 (sol) Miscellaneous Oversize Photographs of Art Work by Others, undated
(See Box 5, F15-16)
Box Folder
8 (sol) 2 Photograph Album 2, 1906-1957, undated