Charles Searles papers, 1953-2010

A Finding Aid to the Charles Searles Papers, 1953-2010, in the Archives of American Art, by Sarah Mundy

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Table of Contents:



Biographical Information

Charles Robert Searles (1937-2004) was a sculptor, painter and muralist in Philadelphia, Pa. and New York, N.Y. Searles attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1972. He was influenced by African art after traveling to Nigeria on the Ware Memorial Traveling Scholarship during his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. During his career he participated in over 100 exhibitions in Denmark, Nigeria, and throughout the United States.

Searles taught art at several institutions including the Pratt Institute, the University of the Arts (Philadelphia College of Art), and the Philadephia Museum of Art. He also completed commission work for Newark Station, PATCO (Port Authority Transit Corporation), and MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority).

Searles moved to New York, NY in 1978 where he spent most of his career. He was married to artist Kathleen Spicer until his death on November 27, 2004.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of sculptor and painter Charles Searles measure 3.9 linear feet and date from 1953 to 2010. The collection documents his career through scattered biographical material, correspondence, personal business records, printed material, artwork, photographs, and a scrapbook.

Scattered biographical material includes legal papers, address books, transcripts, and awards. Correspondence includes correspondence with galleries, museums, and organizations. Personal business records consist of Searles' files on commissions, exhibitions, workshops and programs, and employment contracts. Printed material includes exhibition announcements, exhibition catalogs, as well as printed material of interest to Searles, but not directly documenting his career. Artwork consists of sketches, designs, flyers, a portrait of Kathleen Spicer by Russell Gordon, and a portrait of Searles by K. Spicer. Photographs depict Searles, Searles' artwork, and artist Walt Edmonds. Scrapbooks consist of news clippings and loose material that was originally inserted in between the pages in no particular order.

Arrangement and Series Description

This collection is arranged as 7 series.

Subjects and Names

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

  • Edmonds, Walt
  • Gordon, Russell Talbert, 1936-
  • Spicer, Kathleen
  • Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Muralists--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
  • Painters -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Painters -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Sculptors--New York (State)--New York
  • Sculptors--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
  • Sketches
  • Transcripts

Provenance

Donated in 2012 by Kathleen Spicer Searles, Charles Searles' widow.

Separated and Related Materials

Also at the Archives of American Art is an interview with Charles Searles conducted on June 13, 1991, by Cynthia Veloric, for the Archives of American Art Philadelphia Project.

How the Collection was Processed

The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Mundy in 2014. The collection has been minimally rearranged and retains the existing/original folder titles when possible. All materials have been rehoused in archival folders and boxes for long-term stability, but often staples and other fasteners have not been removed. Materials within folders have not been rearranged.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of original papers requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Charles Searles 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

Charles Searles papers, 1953-2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1963-2004
0.5 Linear feet; Boxes 1, 6

Biographical material includes two address books, interview transcripts, artist statements and writings by Searles, academic papers on Searles' artwork, certificates and awards, blueprints and documents for Searles' home in upstate New York, and legal documents pertaining to disputes between the tenants of 640 Broadway and management.

Box Folder
1 1-2 Address Books, undated
1 3 Interview Transcripts, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1973-1974
1 4 Academic Papers, Artist Statements, Notes, circa 1973
1 5 Certificates and Awards, 1963-2003
Oversize material housed in Box 6, Folder 7.
1 6-7 House Upstate N.Y., 1990-1999, 2000-2004
1 8 640 Rental Agreements, 1984-1985
1 9-10 Legal, 640 Broadway Loft Board, circa 1984-2003
1 11-16 Lawsuits, 640 Broadway, circa 1990-2000
1 17-18 Lawsuits, 640 Broadway Leak, 2002
1 19 Heller Realty Documents, 2000-2004
1 20 Legal, City of Philadelphia, 1985-1991
Box Folder
6 7 Oversize Certificates and Awards from Box 1, Folder 5, 1972

Series 2: Correspondence, 1956-2004
5 Folders; Box 1

Correspondence consists of letters regarding exhibitions, teaching, and art related subjects. Searles maintained a separate file for gallery and museum correspondence, but correspondence with galleries and musuems can also be found in the general correspondence.

Box Folder
1 21-24 General Correspondence, 1956-2004
1 25 Galleries and Museums, 1975-1998

Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1968-2007
1.2 Linear feet; Boxes 1-2, 6

Personal business records document Searles' commissions, exhibitions, workshops, employment contracts, and other activities. Records are filed by name of organization, museum, gallery, or project and may include correspondence, notes, printed materials, contracts, and invoices.

Box Folder
1 26 2nd World Black-African Festival Program, 1973-1976
1 27 Afro-American Historical Museum Exhibition, 1976-1977
1 28 Balch Institute Exhibition, circa 1976
1 29-30 Brooklyn Sculpture Commission, 1993-1997
1 31 Bryn Mawr College, 1971-1972
1 32 Commission Proposals, circa 1990-1995
1 33 Dallas Museum of Art Exhibition, 1989-1991
Oversize material housed in Box 6, Folder 8.
Box Folder
2 1 Dempsey Center Harlem Commission, 1988-1990
2 2 First District P.A. Commission, 1990-1995
2 3 G.S.A. Mural Contract-Commission, 1975-1977
2 4 Herbert Johnson Museum N.Y. Exhibition, 1974
2 5 Howard Univ., D.C. Exhibition, 1973-1975
2 6 Ile-Ife Museum, 1972-1975
2 7 June Kelly Gallery Exhibition, 1993-2007
2 8 Kentucky State Univ., Frankfort, K.Y. Exhibition, 1974-1975
2 9 Mallory Playground Mural Commission, 1976-1977
2 10 Merabash Museum, Henderson, N.J. Exhibition, 1973-1974
2 11 Miscellaneous Art Organizations, 1971-1980
2 12 Miscellaneous Universities, 1969-1989
2 13 MTA Jamaica St. Commission, 1995-2001
2 14 National Center of Afro-American Artists Exhibition, 1974-1976
2 15 National Conference of Artists Membership, circa 1973-1977
2 16-18 Newark Station Arts Commission, 1980-1985
2 19 PATCO Commission, 2000-2004
2 20 Pennsylvania Academy of Art, 1971-1972
2 21 Philadelphia College of Art, Employment Contracts, 1973-1994
2 22 Philadelphia Museum of Art, Div. Education, 1970-1975
2 23 Philadelphia Museum of Art, Urban Outreach, 1971-1974
2 24 Playground P.A. Richert Commission, circa 1990
2 25 Ryno Fab, circa 1992-1997
2 26 Sande Webster Gallery Exhibition, 1984-2004
2 27 State Museum, Harrisburg, P.A. Exhibition, 1994-1996
2 28 Studio Museum, Harlem, N.Y., 1968-1974
2 29 U. of South Alabama, Sales, 1970-1973
2 30 West Philly Library Commission, 1983-1984
2 31 Whitney Museum, N.Y. Exhibition, 1971-1977
2 32-33 Workshops and Programs, circa 1980-1988, 1989-1992
Box Folder
6 8 Oversize Dallas Museum of Art Exhibition from Box 1, Folder 33, 1989

Series 4: Printed Material, 1953-2010
1.4 Linear feet; Boxes 3-4, 6

Printed materials consists of flyers, calendars, magazines and journals, exhibition announcements, posters, and catalogs that were of interest to or feature Searles. Printed material also includes a collection of published cartoons by Gerald 2X compiled by Searles, Bebe's Kids Teleplay by Reginald Hudlin, and memorabilia.

Box Folder
3 1-4 Exhibition Announcements, circa 1973-2010
3 5 Exhibition Posters, 1984, 1990
3 6-12 Exhibition Catalogs, 1969-2009
3 13 Flyers, circa 1978-1992
3 14 Calendars, 1989, 1993
Oversize material housed in Box 6, Folder 9
3 15 Bebe's Kids Teleplay, 1990
3 16 Memorabilia, circa 1953-1982
Box Folder
4 1-4 Magazines and Journals, 1968-1979, 1990, 1992-2005
4 5 Cartoons by Gerald 2X, 1967-1969
Box Folder
6 9 Oversize Calendar from Box 3, Folder 14, 1992

Series 5: Artwork, circa 1980-2000
9 Folders; Box 5

Artwork consists of pencil and ink drawings, flyers, doodles, designs, mixed media works, and reproductions of works by Searles. Artwork includes a pencil drawing of Searles by K. Spicer, and a pencil drawing of Kathleen Spicer by Russell Gordon.

Box Folder
5 1 Pencil Drawing of Charles Searles by K. Spicer, 1984
5 2 Pencil Drawing of Kathleen Spicer by Russell Gordon, undated
5 3 Ink Drawings, undated
5 4 Pencil Drawings, undated
5 5 Designs, undated
5 6 Doodles, circa 1980-1989
5 7 Mixed Media, 1983, 1989
5 8 Flyers by Charles Searles, circa 1980-1989
5 9 Reproductions, circa 2000

Series 6: Photographs, 1964-2000
3 Folders; Box 5

Found here are two photographs of Searles, one group photograph with Searles at the University of Pennsylvania in 1964, a small group of photographs of Searles' artwork, and one photograph of artist Walt Edmonds.

Box Folder
5 10 Photographs of Charles Searles, circa 1964-2000
5 11 Photographs of Artwork, 1974, 1995
5 12 Photograph of Walt Edmonds, 1987

Series 7: Scrapbook, 1970-2005
0.3 Linear feet; Box 6

One scrapbook consists of 21 pages that were removed from a binder as well as loose material that was originally inserted in between the scrapbook pages in no particular order. The scrapbook consists mainly of newspaper and magazine clippings documenting Searles' career.

Box Folder
6 1-4 Scrapbook, circa 1970-1999
6 5-6 Loose Material from Scrapbook, circa 1970-2005