David Berger papers, circa 1939-1986

A Finding Aid to the David Berger Papers, circa 1939-1986, in the Archives of American Art, by Erin Kinhart

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Table of Contents:



Biographical Information

David Berger (1920-1966) was a painter, sculptor, and educator in Boston, Massachusetts. Berger was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and earned a B.S. in education from the Massachusetts College of Art in 1946. In 1950 he received a master of fine arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He was a professor of art at Framingham State College from 1946 to 1957, and a professor of painting and illustration at Massachusetts College of Art from 1957 until his death on November 15, 1966.

Berger had numerous gallery exhibitions and won several awards in juried shows. He was represented in New York by the Cober Gallery, and in 1967 DeCordova Museum held a memorial exhibition of his work. In 1956 he was selected as on of the "100 Outstanding New Talents in U.S.A." by Art in America.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of Massachusetts painter, sculptor, and educator David Berger measure 3.8 linear feet and date from circa 1939 to 1986. His career as an artist and professor are documented through biographical material, personal business records, scattered correspondence, gallery files, exhibition catalogs, news clippings, and other printed material, as well as nine sketchbooks and photographs depicting Berger, his family, and artwork.

Biographical material consists of Veterans Administration records, interview transcripts, student records, diplomas, and documents from the memorial service held for Berger in 1966. Personal business records include of his employment records, scattered financial documents, and files documenting his submissions for juried art exhibitions. Also found here are inventory and sales records for Berger's artwork and documentation on the construction of Berger's house and studio in the late 1950s, designed by architect Marvin E. Goody.

Correspondence is with art galleries, professional organizations, publishers, Cranbrook Academy of Art, and individuals who purchased works by Berger. These letters primarily concern the sale and exhibition of David Berger's artwork as well as his education and teaching career. Gallery files include correspondence, price lists, artwork sales and loan records, exhibition planning documents, notes, and gallery publications.

Printed material consists of news clippings documenting David Berger's career, catalogs and announcements for exhibitions of works by Berger and others, as well as publications from Massachusetts College of Art and Cranbrook Academy of Art. One children's book includes illustrations by David Berger. Photographs depict Berger at art exhibitions and with his wife and daughters at home and in his studio. Also found are numerous photographs of his artwork. Nine sketchbooks contain various figure studies in pencil, ink, pastel, and charcoal.

Many of these files in this collection were maintained by Berger's wife, Ruth, after his death in 1966 and include her correspondence and notes.

Arrangement and Series Description

The 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 terms:

Subjects-Topical:

  • Artists' studios--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Educators--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Painters--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Sculptors--Massachusetts--Boston

Types of Materials:

  • Interviews
  • Photographs
  • Sketchbooks
  • Transcripts

Names:

  • Cranbrook Academy of Art

Provenance

The collection was donated in 2010 by Ellen Berger Rainville, David Berger's daughter.

How the Collection was Processed

The collection was processed in 2012 by Erin Kinhart.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of original papers requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The David Berger 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

David Berger papers, circa 1939-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1939-1966
(Box 1, 5; 0.3 linear feet)

Biographical material consists of Veterans Administration records, student transcripts, enrollment correspondence, diplomas from Massachusetts School of Art and Cranbrook Academy of Art, and other student records. Also found are obituaries and documents from the memorial service held for Berger in 1966. Also of note are a transcript of an interview with Berger and a script for a video on Boston printmakers which features Berger.

Box Folder
1 1 Diplomas, 1946, 1950
(Oversized item housed in box 5, folder 6)
1 2 Interview Transcript, circa 1960s
1 3 Medal, Richard Mitton Memorial Award, 1955
1 4 Medical Records, 1957-1958
1 5 Memorial Service Documents, 1966
1 6 Obituaries, 1966
1 7 Script, "Museum Open House: Boston Printmakers", 1965
1 8 Student Assignments, circa 1946
1 9-10 Student Records, circa 1939-1951
(2 folders)
1 11 Veterans Administration, 1949-1960
Box Folder
5 6 Oversize Diploma, 1950
(Oversized item from in box 1, folder 1)

Series 2: Personal Business Records, 1941-1981
(Box 1, OV 6; 0.6 linear feet)

Personal business records consist of Berger's employment records for his teaching positions, as well as scattered financial documents such as bills, receipts, and royalty statements for book illustrations. Also found are files documenting his submissions for juried art exhibitions, including letters notifying of awards and rejections. Inventory and sales records consist of lists of works, price lists, and documents regarding works sold by galleries. Also included is a separate sales notebook. These records were maintained by Berger's wife, Ruth, after his death. Additional records document the construction of Berger's house and studio in the late 1950s, designed by architect Marvin E. Goody.

Files are arranged alphabetically. Items within each folder are arranged in rough chronological order.

Box Folder
1 12 Banking Records, 1956-1958
1 13 Bills, circa 1960s
1 14-17 Documentation on Berger House, 1955-1958, 1965-1972, 1980
(4 folders; oversized items housed in OV 6)
1 18-20 Employment Records, 1941, 1945-1966
(3 folders)
1 21 Furniture Orders, 1951-1953
1 22-25 Inventory and Sales Records, 1955-1981
(4 folders)
1 26 Letters of Recommendation, 1966
1 27 Notes and Writings, circa 1954-1967
1 28-30 Receipts, 1954-1956
(3 folders)
1 31 Royalty Payments, 1958-1962, 1966
1 32 Sales Notebook, 1954-1978
1 33 Scholarship Fund, circa 1966-1976
1 34-41 Submissions for Juried Exhibitions, 1945-1966
(8 folders)
1 42 Taxes and Insurance Records, 1964-1966
Box
OV 6 Oversize Documentation on Berger House, 1956, 1965
(Oversized items from box 1, folders 14-17)

Series 3: Correspondence, 1945-1986
(Box 1-2; 0.3 linear feet)

Correspondence primarily concerns the sale and exhibition of David Berger's artwork. Early correspondence also concerns his education and teaching career. Correspondence after Berger's death in November, 1966 is addressed to his wife Ruth. Letters are from art galleries, professional organizations, publishers, Cranbrook Academy of Art, and individuals who purchased works by Berger. Also found are a few greeting cards which he designed. Researchers should note that additional correspondence can be found within the gallery files in Series 4 and among the personal business records in Series 2.

Correspondence is arranged chronologically.

Box Folder
1 43-47 Correspondence, 1945-1965
(5 folders)
Box Folder
2 1-4 Correspondence, 1966-1986
(4 folders)
2 5 Undated Correspondence, circa 1950s-1970s
2 6 Cards Designed by David Berger, circa 1950s-1960s

Series 4: Gallery Files, 1953-1985
(Box 2; 0.6 linear feet)

Gallery files include correspondence, price lists, artwork sales and loan records, exhibition planning documents, notes, and gallery publications. After Berger's death in 1966, files were maintained by his wife Ruth and include her notes and correspondence with galleries.

Files are arranged alphabetically by gallery name. Documents are arranged in rough chronological order within each folder.

Box Folder
2 7 Art for Industry, circa 1963-1965
2 8 Casdin Gallery, 1965-1966
2 9-13 Cober Gallery, 1959-1969
(5 folders)
2 14 Daniel Frishman Gallery of Art, 1975
2 15 De Cordova Museum, 1955-1956, 1967-1971
2 16 Galerie Irla Kert, 1962-1963
2 17 Harold Ernst Gallery, 1974-1977
2 18 Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged, 1964-1966
2 19-22 Horizon Gallery, 1963-1971
(4 folders)
2 23 I. F. A. Galleries, 1962-1966
2 24 Impressions Graphic Workshop, 1962-1963
2 25-26 The Little Studio, 1953-1958
(2 folders)
2 27 North Truro Art Gallery, 1961-1967
2 28 Pace Gallery, 1961-1964, 1981
2 29 Temple Beth Am, 1965-1973
2 30-31 Weeden Gallery, 1963-1967
(2 folders)
2 32 Wenniger Graphics, 1976-1985
2 33 Witte Memorial Museum, 1967
2 34 Wright Designs and Associates, 1964-1972

Series 5: Printed Material, 1943-1975
(Box 2-3, 5; 1.1 linear feet)

Printed material consists of magazines, newsletters, and news clippings documenting David Berger's career, as well as catalogs and announcements for exhibitions of works by Berger and other artists. Also found are newsletters, handbooks, programs, and other publications from Massachusetts College of Art and Cranbrook Academy of Art. One children's book includes illustrations by David Berger.

Material is arranged by type. Items are arranged in rough chronological order within each folder.

Box Folder
2 35-37 Boston Arts Festival Programs, 1953-1964
(3 folders)
2 38 Children's Book, Swing Me Swing Tree, Illustrated by David Berger, 1959
2 39-40 Cranbrook Academy of Art Publications, 1947-1973
(2 folders)
2 41 Exhibition Catalogs and Announcements, 1945-1949
Box Folder
3 1-17 Exhibition Catalogs and Announcements, 1950-1968, 1975
(17 folders)
3 18 Magazines, 1962-1969
(Oversized items housed in box 5, folder 7)
3 19-20 Massachusetts College of Art Publications, 1943, 1948, 1961-1967
(2 folders; oversized items housed in box 5, folder 8)
3 21-24 News Clippings, 1950s, 1960-1967
(4 folders)
3 25 Newsletters, 1964-1968
3 26-27 Miscellaneous Printed Material, circa 1950s-1960s
(2 folders)
Box Folder
5 7 Oversize Magazines, 1962-1963
(Oversized items from box 3, folder 18)
5 8 Oversize Massachusetts School of Art Publications, 1966
(Oversized items from box 3, folder 19)

Series 6: Photographs, circa 1949-1960s
(Box 3-5; 0.6 linear feet)

Photographs depict David Berger at art exhibitions and with his wife and daughters at home and in his studio. Also found are numerous photographs of his artwork.

Box Folder
3 28-30 Photographs of David Berger and Family, circa 1950s-1960s
(3 folders; oversized items housed in box 5, folder 9)
3 31-32 Photographs of Artwork, circa 1950s-1960s
(2 folders)
Box Folder
4 1-3 Photographs of Artwork, circa 1950s-1960s
(3 folders)
4 4 Negatives, circa 1950s-1960s
4 5 Slides, circa 1949-1960s
Box Folder
5 9 Oversize Photographs of David Berger and Family, 1960s
(Oversized items from box 3, folders 28-30)

Series 7: Sketchbooks, circa 1956-1960s
(Box 4-5; 0.3 linear feet)

Nine sketchbooks contain various figure studies in pencil, ink, pastel, and charcoal.

Box Folder
4 6 Sketchbook, circa 1956
4 7 Sketchbook, 1959-1960
4 8 Sketchbook, 1961
4 9 Sketchbook, 1960s
Box Folder
5 1 Sketchbook, 1960s
5 2 Sketchbook, 1960s
5 3 Sketchbook, 1960s
5 4 Sketchbook, 1960
5 5 Sketchbook, 1961