Elizabeth McCausland papers, 1838-1995, bulk 1920-1960

McCausland, Elizabeth, b. 1899 d. 1965
Art critic, Educator, Author
Active in New York, N.Y.

The papers of Elizabeth McCausland in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2008 and 2015. The bulk of the papers have been scanned and total 52,884 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art

Collection size: 45 linear feet

Format: Works of art and calendars cataloged separately.

Collection Summary: The papers of art critic, writer, and historian Elizabeth McCausland measure approximately 45 linear feet and date from 1838 to 1995, with the bulk of the material dating from 1920 to 1995. The collection provides a vast accumulation of data on various artists and aspects of American art, especially the early American modernists and the Federal Arts Projects. Papers include McCausland's extensive research and writing files, particularly on Marsden Hartley, E. L. Henry, Lewis Hine, George Inness, and Alfred H. Maurer. McCausland's correspondence with artists includes a substantial amount with Arthur Dove and Alfred Stieglitz. Her collaborative work with Berenice Abbott on the "Changing New York" book and series of photographs is well-documented within the collection. Also found are general writings, subject files, files relating to exhibitions, teaching, and committees, photographs, art work, personal papers, and printed material. Additional McCausland material from the estate of Berenice Abbott include biographical materials, project files, writings, and printed materials.

Biographical/Historical Note: Elizabeth McCausland, the art critic and writer, was born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1899. Taught at Barnard College, New School for Social Research, and Sarah Lawrence College; art critic for Springfield Sunday Union and Republican, late 1920s; author of text for Berenice Abbott's "Changing New York" (1939), "The Life and Work of Edward Lamson Henry, N.A., 1841-1919" (1945), "A. H. Maurer" (1951), "George Inness, An American Landscape Painter" (1946), "Charles W. Hawthorne, an American Figure Painter" (1947), "Careers in the Arts, Fine and Applied" (1950), "Art Professions in the United States," and other books, articles and catalogs. Organized Lewis Hine exhibition, 1939. She spent the last fifteen years of her life extensively researching painter Marsden Hartley.

Elizabeth McCausland donated the bulk of her papers in several installments from 1956 to 1961. An unknown donor, perhaps her literary executor, donated additional papers sometime after her death in 1965. It appears that McCausland originally donated her research files on Marsden Hartley, measuring 10 linear feet, to the Whitney Museum, who then lent them to the Archives for microfilming in 1966, and donated them sometime thereafter. McCausland originally donated files of newspaper clippings and offprints of her articles to the The New York Public Library, who gave them to the Archives in 1968. Additional McCausland material from the estate of Berenice Abbott was donated to the Archives in 2009.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

How to Use this Collection

  • Read the Finding Aid for this digitized collection
  • The bulk of this collection was digitized in 2008 and 2015 and is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
    Materials generally not scanned include some news clippings and publications that were either too fragile or not relevant, although some publications that appeared to be of interest to her were scanned. Other items that typically were not scanned include McCausland's student records, auction catalogs, proofs and multiple drafts of published articles, copy prints and negatives of photographs made by the Archives, photographs of works of art (except for those in the catalogue raisonne files of the Marsden Hartley series), duplicate material, and any published material that is widely available elsewhere. In some cases, only the cover and title pages for publications were scanned.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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Also in the Archives

Related Materials

Material separated from the collection includes some issues of Camera Work (Vol. 30, 47, 49/50), which were combined with other issues in an artificial collection created by the Archives at some earlier point.
Related material found in the Archives includes a sound recording from a symposium on Marsden Hartley, of which McCausland was a participant, held at the Portland Museum of Art in 1961. The Frank Kleinholz papers contain a recorded interview of McCausland done in 1944-1945 for radio station WNYC. Some of McCausland's correspondence is found in the G. Alan Chidsey papers; Chidsey served as a trustee of the Marsden Hartley estate.