Hugo Gellert papers, 1916-1986

A Finding Aid to the Hugo Gellert Papers, 1916-1986, in the Archives of American Art, by Megan McShea

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

Table of Contents:



Biographical Information

Graphic artist, muralist, and activist Hugo Gellert was born Hugo Grünbaum in Budapest, Hungary in 1892, the oldest of six children. His family immigrated to New York City in 1906, eventually changing their family name to Gellert.

Gellert attended art school at Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design. As a student, he designed posters for movies and theater, and also worked for Tiffany Studios. A number of student art prizes with cash awards enabled him to travel to Europe in the summer of 1914, where he witnessed the outbreak of World War I, an experience which helped shape his political beliefs. Aesthetically, he was also influenced by a folk revival among Hungarian artists at the time of his trip, and was more impressed, he later said, with the street advertising in Paris than he was with the cubism he saw in the Louvre.

Returning to the United States, Gellert became involved in the Hungarian-American workers' movement, and contributed drawings to its newspaper, Elöre (Forward). He remained involved in Hungarian-American art and activism throughout his life, including membership in the anti-fascist group, the Anti-Horthy League. When members of the fascist Horthy government unveiled a statue of a Hungarian hero in New York in 1928, Gellert hired a pilot and dropped leaflets on the group, a stunt for which he was arrested. In the 1950s, Gellert served as director of Hungarian Word, Inc., a Hungarian-language publisher in New York.

Gellert's political commitment and art remained deeply intertwined throughout his life, as he continually sought to integrate his commitment to Communism, his hatred of fascism, and his dedication to civil liberties. Throughout the 1910s and 1920s, he contributed artwork to several magazines of the radical left, including Masses and its successors Liberator and New Masses, both of which featured Gellert's artwork on their inaugural issue. Through Masses, he came to know other radicals such as Mike Gold, John Reed, Louise Bryant, Max Eastman, Floyd Dell, Anton Refregier, William Gropper, Harry Gottlieb, Bob Minor, and Art Young, and with them he followed the events of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia with sympathy and growing political fervor.

His brother, Ernest Gellert, also a socialist and activist, was drafted into the military but refused to serve. He died of a gunshot wound under suspicious circumstances while imprisoned at Fort Hancock, New Jersey, as a conscientious objector. Traumatized by this event, Gellert fled to Mexico to avoid conscription. In 1920 to 1922, he taught art at the Stelton School in New Jersey, a radical, utopian community school. He participated in the cultural scene of Greenwich Village, working on set designs, publications, and graphic art for political productions. He founded the first John Reed Club in 1929 with a group of Communist artists and writers including Anton Refregier, Louis Lozowick, and William Gropper. Initially, the group held classes and exhibitions, and provided services for strikes and other working-class activism. Later, John Reed Clubs formed around the country and became a formal arm of the United States Communist Party (CPUSA).

In the late 1920s, Gellert became a member of the National Society of Mural Painters (which, partly due to Gellert's activism in the group, became the Mural Artists' Guild local 829 of the United Scenic Artists Union of the AFL-CIO in 1937. Other members included Rockwell Kent, Anton Refregier, Arshile Gorky, and Marion Greenwood). In 1928, he created a mural for the Worker's Cafeteria in Union Square, NY. Later murals include the Center Theater in Rockefeller Center, the National Maritime Union Headquarters, the Hotel and Restaurant Workers' Union Building, NYC, the interior of the Communications Building at the 1939 World's Fair, and the Seward Park Housing Project in 1961.

In 1932, Gellert was invited to participate in a mural exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and submitted a political mural about the robber barons of contemporary American politics and industry called Us Fellas Gotta Stick Together - Al Capone. The museum attempted to censor the mural, along with the murals of William Gropper and Ben Shahn. Other artists threatened to boycott the exhibition over the censorship and were successful in restoring them to the show.

The cooperation of artists in this controversy foreshadowed a larger protest in 1934, organized by Gellert, Saul Belman, Stuart Davis, and Zoltan Hecht, when Diego Rivera's pro-labor mural was destroyed at Rockefeller Center. After the incident, the group formed the Artists' Committee of Action and continued to fight censorship and advocate for artists' interests and welfare. They also co-published the magazine Art Front with the Artists' Union, a labor organization. Gellert served for a time as editor of Art Front, and chairman of the Artists' Committee of Action.

Gellert was active in producing both art and strategic policy for the cultural arm of the CPUSA, and he worked to mobilize the non-communist left, often referred to as the Popular Front. In 1933 he illustrated Karl Marx's Capital in Lithographs, and in 1935, he wrote a Marxist, illustrated satire called Comrade Gulliver, An Illustrated Account of Travel into that Strange Country the United States of America. Other published graphic works include Aesop Said So (1936) and a portfolio of silkscreen prints entitled Century of the Common Man (1943).

Other artist groups he helped to found and/or run include the American Artist's Congress, a Communist organization founded with Max Weber, Margaret Bourke-White, Stuart Davis, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Harry Sternberg, and others, which held symposia and exhibitions between 1936 and 1942; the Artists' Coordination Committee, an umbrella group of national organizations which sought protections for federally-employed and unionized artists; Artists for Victory, Inc., which formed in 1942 to mobilize artists in support of the war effort; and the Artists' Council, formed after the war to advocate for artists' welfare and employment.

Gellert maintained his loyalty to the Communist party throughout the post-war period despite growing disillusionment in the Popular Front over the actions of Josef Stalin, and despite the intense anti-communist crusades in the late 1940s and 1950s. He was investigated by the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and was nearly deported. He spent a number of years during this period in his wife's native Australia. Returning to the United States in the early 1950s, he threw his efforts into the defense of others who faced prison, deportation, and the blacklist following the HUAC hearings. He established The Committee to Defend V.J. Jerome in 1951 when Jerome, the cultural commissioner of CPUSA, was convicted under the Smith Act. The writer Dorothy Parker was the group's treasurer.

In 1954, Gellert established the Art of Today Gallery in New York City with Rockwell Kent and Charles White to provide an exhibition venue for blacklisted artists. Exhibitions included Maurice Becker, Henry Glintenkamp, Harry Gottlieb, Kay Harris, and Rockwell Kent. Gellert served as the gallery's secretary until it closed in 1957.

In the 1960s until his death in 1985, Gellert continued his activism through involvement in grassroots political organizations. Unlike many of his radical contemporaries, Gellert lived to see the revival of some of the ideas of the progressive era of the thirties in the countercultural years of the late 1960s and early 1970s. There were retrospectives of his work in Moscow in 1967 and in his native Budapest in 1968, and he appeared in Warren Beatty's film Reds in 1981.

Sources used for this essay include James Wechsler's 2003 dissertation "The Art and Activism of Hugo Gellert: Embracing the Spectre of Communism," his essay "From World War I to the Popular Front: The Art and Activism of Hugo Gellert," (Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts number 24, Spring 2002), and Jeff Kisseloff's biographical essay for the 1986 Hugo Gellert exhibition at the Mary Ryan Gallery.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of graphic artist, muralist, and activist Hugo Gellert measure 6.9 linear feet and date from 1916 to 1986. They document his career as an artist and organizer for the radical left through an oral interview conducted by Sofia Sequenzia, legal papers, financial records, family papers, artifacts, correspondence, writings, organizational records, clippings, exhibition catalogs, various printed materials illustrated by Gellert, pamphlets, periodicals, mass mailings, photographs, and artwork.

Biographical Material includes an audio interview with Gellert; official documents related to memberships, property, and legal matters; financial documents that include bills, receipts, and contracts related to professional activities; papers of Gellert's brothers, Lawrence and Ernest; and artifacts. Correspondence is with other artists, writers, publishers, activists, friends, and family, including Ernest Fiene, Rockwell Kent, Harry Gottlieb, William Gropper, Philip Evergood, Howard Fast, and Jonas Lie. Writings include essays, book projects, notes, and notebooks written by Gellert; and stories and articles by other authors, including typescripts of early twentieth-century Hungarian short stories collected by Gellert.

Organizational Records are related to political and art organizations in which Gellert was an active organizer, officer, and in some cases, a founder. Because of his central role in many of these organizations, records often contain unique documentation of their activities. Records are found for the American Artists Congress, the Art of Today Gallery, the Artists Committee of Action, the Artists Coordination Committee, the Artists Council, Artists for Victory, Inc., the Committee to Defend V.J. Jerome, Hungarian Word, Inc., the National Society of Mural Painters, and other organizations.

Printed materials include a variety of political publications and periodicals with illustrations by Gellert, including New Masses, Art Front, Magyar Szo, and American Dialog; clippings related to his career, exhibition catalogs, political pamphlets, Hungarian literature, and mass mailings received from political organizations. Photographs contain a few personal photographs but are mostly news and publicity photographs, many of which depict prominent Communists and other newsmakers. Artwork includes sketches, drawings, designs, prints, and production elements for Gellert's artwork, as well as prints and drawings by Philip Reisman, Gyula Derkovits, and Anton Refregier.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged into 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' writings
  • Politics in art
  • Graphic artists -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Illustrators -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Authors -- New York (State) -- New York

Types of Materials:

  • Works of art
  • Photographs
  • Interviews

Names:

  • Fast, Howard, 1914-
  • Fiene, Ernest, 1894-
  • Gottlieb, Harry, 1895-
  • Gropper, William, 1897-
  • Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971
  • Evergood, Philip, 1901-1973
  • Lie, Jonas, 1880-1940
  • Refregier, Anton, 1905-
  • Reisman, Philip, 1904-
  • Derkovits, Gyula, 1894-1934
  • Gellert, Lawrence
  • Gellert, Ernest
  • Sequenzia, Sofia
  • Artist's Committee of Action (New York, N.Y.)
  • Artists Coordination Committee (New York, N.Y.)
  • Artists for Victory, Inc
  • National Society of Mural Painters (New York, N.Y.)
  • Art of Today Gallery (New York, N.Y.)
  • Artists Council
  • Committee to Defend V.J. Jerome
  • Hungarian Word, Inc.
  • American Artists' Congress

Provenance

A portion of the papers were donated in 1970 by Hugo Gellert. Additional papers were donated by Gellert and his wife, Livia Cinquegrana, in 1983 and 1986.

Separated and Related Materials

Among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are an oral history with Hugo Gellert from 1984, a recording of a lecture Gellert gave at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1985, and additional records of Artists for Victory, Inc., 1942-1946.

The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at New York University holds additional papers of Hugo Gellert.

How the Collection was Processed

The papers were processed to a preliminary level upon accession in 1970, 1983, and 1986. The first accession in 1970 was also microfilmed reel 2812. The papers were merged, re-processed and described in this finding aid by Megan McShea in 2006, and were digitized in 2007 as part of the Terra Foundation for American Art Digitization Project.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Hugo Gellert 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.

Available Formats

The bulk of this collection was digitized in 2007 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website. A portion of the printed materials and personal bills and receipts have not been scanned.

How to Cite this Collection

Hugo Gellert papers, 1916-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1917-1982
(Box 1 and OV 9; 0.5 linear feet)

Items in this series contain biographical information about Hugo Gellert. Family papers related to his brothers, Ernest and Lawrence Gellert, are also found.

An audio recording of an interview with Hugo Gellert, conducted by Sofia Sequenzia, is found on three hour-long audio cassettes, along with a written questionnaire.

Family papers include the drawings and prison testimony of Ernest Gellert, Hugo's brother who died in a military prison in the United States while imprisoned for insubordination as a conscientious objector in 1917. Also found are lyrics, notes, and a photocopied article related to the work of Lawrence Gellert, who traveled throughout the Southeast United States transcribing and recording folk songs and stories.

Other documents related to Hugo Gellert include Communist Party and International Worker's Order (IWO) membership cards and other licences and ID's. Financial records in this series include professional bills, receipts, and contracts related to Gellert's work as an artist, organizer, and publisher; personal bills and receipts; and various official documents related to property, loans, insurance, and legal issues. The legal issues documented in these records primarily relate to personal debts.

Personal bills and receipts have not been scanned.

Box Folder
1 1 Audio Interview of Gellert by Sofia Sequenzia and Questionnaire, 1981, 1982
(Contains 3 hour-long audio cassettes)
1 2 Blueprints of Gellert Property, 1928
(See OV 9)
1 Family Papers
1 3 Ernest Gellert WWI Drawings and Prison Testimonial, 1917
1 4 Lawrence Gellert Collected Folksong Lyrics and Notes, circa 1930-1939
1 5 Identification, Membership Cards, and Licences, circa 1923-1958
1 6-9 Professional Bills, Receipts, and Contracts, circa 1930-1949
(4 folders)
1 10-17 Personal Bills and Receipts, 1928-1962
(8 folders; not scanned)
1 18-20 Deeds, Mortgages, Insurance Policies, and Legal Records, circa 1942-1959
(3 folders)
1 Artifacts
1 21 Artists' Spatula and Ceramic Tile Samples, undated
1 22 Buttons, Rubber Stamps, and Typography Calculator, undated
1 23 Eyeglasses and X-Ray, 1953, undated
(X-ray not scanned)
Box
9 (OV) Oversized Blueprints of Gellert Property (See Box 1, f2)

Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1920-1986
(Boxes 1-2, 8; 0.8 linear feet)

This series contains the correspondence of Hugo Gellert. Most of the correspondence is of a professional nature, related to Gellert's activities as an artist, political organizer, and activist. Correspondents include artists, friends, family members, Communist Party and Popular Front leaders, labor union leaders, federal art programs personnel, writers, historians, publishers, Hungarian cultural and political figures, and fellow activists. Significant correspondents in this series include Maurice Becker, William Patterson, Floyd Dell, Philip Evergood, Howard Fast, Mike Gold, Robert Gwathmey, and Rockwell Kent.

Letters from individuals involved in leftist political organizations and activities are common throughout the series. In addition to Gellert's fellow Communists and Socialists, a wide variety of political groups are represented, including those concerned with artists' employment and welfare issues, anti-fascist organizations, organized labor, watchdog groups and defense committees for civil liberties during the McCarthy era, advocates for jailed Mexican artist David Siqueiros, and American civil rights groups. Also found is correspondence with editors of publications for which Gellert supplied illustrations, and letters concerning exhibitions and murals.

Noteworthy items found in correspondence include a lengthy letter written by John Dos Passos enclosed with a circa 1930s letter from Carlo Tresca, a draft of an essay by Carl Sandburg with a 1942 letter, and an original New Year's card by Gellert for 1951. Drafts of outgoing letters from 1946 contain a number of sketches of Australian landscapes by Gellert.

Letters received are interfiled with drafts of outgoing letters in chronological order. Undated correspondence that can be estimated within a decade is filed at the end of each decade with "circa" dates. Additional undated correspondence is filed at the end of the series. Outgoing drafts are common in correspondence and often have estimated dates.

Additional correspondence is found in the Organizational Records series. Additional cards made by Gellert are filed with Artwork. See series description for further details.

See index for names of selected individuals, organizations, and publications found in the correspondence series.

Box Folder
1 Correspondence
1 24 circa 1920-1929
1 25 1930-1931
(See also Box 8)
1 26 1932-1933
1 27 1934
1 28 1935
1 29 1936-1937
1 30 1939
1 31 circa 1930-1939
1 32 1940-1941
1 33 1942
1 34 1943
1 35 1944
1 36 1945
1 37 1946
1 38 1947-1948
1 39 1949
1 40 circa 1940-1949
1 41-42 1950
(2 folders)
1 43 1951
1 44-45 1952
(2 folders)
1 46-47 1953
(2 folders)
1 48-49 1954
(2 folders)
1 50-52 1955
(3 folders)
Box Folder
2 1 1956
2 2-3 1957
(2 folders)
2 4 1958
2 5-6 1959
(2 folders)
2 7 circa 1950-1959
2 8-9 1960
(2 folders)
2 10 1961
2 11 1962, 1968
2 12 circa 1960-1969
2 13 1971-1979
2 14 1980-1983
2 15 1984-1986
2 16 circa 1980-1989
2 17-18 undated
(2 folders)
Box
8 (sol) Oversized Item from Correspondence (See Box 1, f25)

Series 3: Writings, 1916-1970
(Box 2; 0.7 linear feet)

This series includes essays, short stories, notes, lists, notebooks, and a play. Most writings are by Hugo Gellert. Articles and stories by other authors, particularly Hungarian are also found.

Gellert's writings include two full-length typescripts, for Baron Munchausen, His Famous 'Mein Kampf', and Comrade Gulliver, An Illustrated Account of Travel into that Strange Country the United States of America. Other prose writings by Gellert include brief essays on a wide array of historical, political, and biographical topics, as well as writings related to exhibitions. Most of these writings are untitled, but examples of titles that are present include "Siqueiros in Jail," "War," The Role of the Communist Artist," and "Charles White, His Portfolio." Prose writings in the Hungarian language are filed separately.

Proposals and applications consist mainly of biographical information about Gellert and one page of an application for Robert Gwathmey. Notes include lists of names, agendas, supplies, recipes for art media, and expenses. Some of the notes are in Hungarian, and scattered notes in handwriting other than Gellert's are also found. Sketches are common throughout the notes. Notebooks contain contacts, appointments, writings, sketches, and other records.

Writings by other authors include articles in English and stories in Hungarian by various authors, filed alphabetically by author. These writings are typically typescripts, and include seven stories by the Hungarian realist writer Zsigmond Móricz. The unsigned typescripts filed at the end of the series may or may not be by Hugo Gellert.

Additional writings are found in the Organizational Records and Artwork series, including an autobiographical essay in a 1950 sketchbook.

Box Folder
2 Writings by Hugo Gellert
2 19 Baron Munchausen: His Famous Tale ??Mein Kampf,?? circa 1930-1939
2 20-21 Comrade Gulliver: An Illustrated Account of Travel into that Strange Country, the USA, 1935
(2 folders)
2 22-26 Prose Writings in English, circa 1930-1970
(5 folders)
2 27-30 Prose Writings in Hungarian, undated
(4 folders; see also Box 8, sol)
2 31 Proposals and Applications, circa 1936-1953
2 32 Lists of Artwork, circa 1930-1960
2 33-42 Notes, circa 1930-1969
(10 folders; see also Box 8, sol)
2 Notebooks
2 43 circa 1941
(Contains sketches)
2 44 circa 1949
2 45 circa 1955
(Contains sketches)
2 Writings by Others
2 46-47 Articles, circa 1962, 1970 and undated
(2 folders)
(Includes "Jo Davidson" by Van Wyck Brooks, "China Report" by John Chen, an article on the sentence of David Alfaro Siqueiros and Filomeno Mata by Victor Rico Galan, "Second Culture" by Gaylord C. LeRoy, "The Ballad of Gheorghe Doja" by Constantin Palade, and "Facts on New York Labor" by Victor Perlo)
2 48-50 Stories in Hungarian, 1916, undated
(authors include Jenö Heltai, Zsigmond Móricz, and István Tömörkény)
2 Unsigned Typescripts
2 51 Prose Writings in English, undated
(Includes "Chalcography in Hungary," "Political Indifference - Political Death," and untitled essays on the federal art program, artist Robert Minor, and fragments of an essay on the John Reed Club)
2 52 Prose Writings in Hungarian, undated
2 53 Untitled Three-Act Play in English, circa 1930-1939
Box
8 (sol) Oversized Writings (See Box 2, f27 and f39)

Series 4: Organizational Records, circa 1920-1977
(Boxes 3, 8, and OV 9; 1 linear foot)

This series contains documents related to political and art organizations for which Gellert was an active organizer, officer, and in some cases, a founder. Because of his central role in many of these organizations, records often contain unique documentation of their activities.

Typical records found include incoming and outgoing correspondence, membership records, petitions, reports, open letters to public figures in multiple drafts, accounting records, records related to exhibitions, publicity in various forms, meeting agendas and minutes, and Gellert's original notes and writings. Documents are arranged by organization, with records for each organization filed roughly in chronological order. Names of significant correspondents found in this series are listed in a note under the folder heading in which it appears.

Printed material related to organizations for which no original records are found are filed in the Printed Material series.

Box Folder
3 American Artists Congress
3 1-3 circa 1936-1937, 1942
(3 folders)
(Includes letters of Grace Clements, G. Merangel, Stuart Davis, Thomas Parker, and a 1936 pamphlet of cartoons defending the Works Progress Administration)
3 4 Conference Proceedings, First American Artists Congress against War and Fascism, 1936
3 Art of Today Gallery
3 5-14 1954-1958
(10 folders)
(Includes letters of Rockwell Kent, Sally Kent, Hilda Simpson, John Kingsbury, Robert Shinn, Clark Foreman, Emil Zinn, and Eleanor Brown)
3 15-16 Gallery Log Books, 1955-1956
(2 folders)
3 17 Amalgamated Bank Book and Receipt Book, 1955-1957
3 18-23 Artists Committee of Action, circa 1934-1935
(6 folders)
(Includes letters of A. Alfred DeVito, Zoltan Hecht, Josephine Droege, Frederick Detwiller, Samuel Henning, Theo. H. Kleffel, Nathaniel Pousette-Dart, Carla Zimmerman, Madeleine Gray, Leo Mansoni, Victor Frisch, Archie Abraham, Constance Clarke, Lionel S. Reiss, Else Mevis, R.A. Griffith, Edith Bryan, S.A. Sliflein, Basil Marros, Lewis Rubin, Rose Hecht, Irving Bulback, Maurice Rawson, Adam A. Sanders, J.J. Lankes, Ralph Pearson, Max Weber, Joseph Lemarzi, Mrs. Henry Breckinridge, Lillian Cohen, Harry Hoffman, Marion Walton, Frannie Engle, R. Pringle, and Olivia Agee)
3 24-35 Artists Coordination Committee, circa 1935-1941
(12 folders; see also OV 9)
(Includes letters of Harold Friedman, George Biddle, George Picken, Marion Bauer, Audrey McMahon, Michael Loew, Henry Lead, E. Nye, Frances M. Pollak, Stuart Davis, Harry Gottlieb, Ruth St. Denis, Ed B. Rowan, Michael Kiss, William C. Palmer, George Horowitz, Maurice Heaton, Paul Bird, Ethel Katz, Fred Knight, J. Scott Williams, Rockwell King, Alfred Barr, Elmer Rice, Nan Golden, Ellen Woodward, Joy Pride, Elizabeth Litchfield, Josephine Droege, Bianca Todd, A. Conger Goodyear, Philip Stein, Algot Stenbery, Arthur Emptage, Letteris Calapari, Ralph Mayer, Ernest Marbury, Corrington Gill, Daniel Cotton Rich, Joseph A. Danysh, Florence Kerr, Howard Lee Irwin, Adrian Dornbush, Hardinge Scholle, and F. Ballard Williams)
3 36 Artists' Council, U.S.A., circa 1945-1946
(Includes letters of Max Weber, José de Creeft, Thomas Hart Benton, and Carol Janeway)
3 37-41 Artists for Victory, Inc., 1941-1946
(6 folders; see also Box 8, sol)
(Includes letters of Rockwell Kent, Chester Price, John Taylor Arms, Marie Kirkwood, Jim Eglern, Thomas C. Parker, and Erwin Barrie)
3 Committee to Defend V. J. Jerome
3 42-44 circa 1951-1956
(3 folders)
(Includes letters of Joseph North, Philip Evergood, Sara Gottlieb, and Rockwell Kent)
3 45 Bank Records, 1951-1954
3 46 Published Writings by Jerome, 1947, 1951-1953
(Includes article "Let Us Grasp the Weapon of Culture," and booklet "Culture in a Changing World, a Marxist Approach")
3 47 Communist Party, circa 1931-1977
3 48-49 Hungarian Word, Inc., 1953-1962, 1977
3 50 Independent Voters Committee of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions (ASP), circa 1944-1954
(see also Box 8, sol)
3 51 John Reed Clubs, circa 1929-1934
("Proposals for Activities of John Reed Clubs")
3 52-55 National Society of Mural Painters (Mural Artists Guild), circa 1936-1941
(4 folders)
3 56 New York City Art Commission, 1939
(Carbon copies of meeting minutes)
3 57 New York City Council for Art Week, 1940
3 58 United American Artists (formerly the Artists' Union), circa 1930-1940
3 59 Other Organizations' Records, circa 1934-1962
Box
8 (sol) Oversized Organizational Records (See Box 3, f41 and f50)
Box
9 (OV) Oversized Organizational Records (See Box 3, f31)

Series 5: Printed Materials, circa 1920-1986
(Boxes 4-6, 8, and OV 9; 3 linear feet)

This series contains newspaper clippings, exhibition catalogs, magazines, maps, pamphlets, greeting cards, brochures, mailings, flyers, posters, and books. Printed materials with artwork or writings by Hugo Gellert are filed under his name, as are documents promoting his public appearances and other activities. The remainder of the series is filed by type of material. Although the bulk of the printed materials series has been scanned, some clippings, announcements, invitations, maps, pamphlets, printed short stories, and publicity and mailings were not. Not scanned or partially scanned material is noted at the folder title.

Gellert's illustrations are found in a wide variety of publications such as books, magazines, pamphlets, flyers, and publicity for various organizations. These materials are arranged by title, type of document, or organization. Serial publications that Gellert helped to produce are filed under the heading "Gellert periodicals." Photocopied clippings contain additional published Gellert illustrations and cartoons.

Exhibition catalogs, announcements, and invitations are primarily for exhibitions in which Gellert was not a participant. Pamphlets are mostly political tracts. Multiple pamphlets are filed by publisher, and single instances are filed chronologically under a miscellaneous heading. Multiple periodicals are filed by title, with single instances filed chronologically as well.

Publicity and mailings received by Gellert are arranged chronologically and include mass mailings such as form letters, flyers, newsletters, bulletins, announcements, circulars, press releases, reports, and other printed materials related to various labor, political, and art organizations. Some of the issues addressed in this material include the Spanish Civil War, advocacy for victims of McCarthyism, May Day demonstrations, civil rights, Soviet-American friendship, Cuba, organized labor, and education. Also found here are scattered programs for cultural events.

Printed materials related to organizations in which Gellert was a principal organizer are found in the Organizational Records series. Exhibition catalogs for the Art of Today Gallery are also found with Organizational Records.

Box Folder
4 1 Clippings, circa 1934-1955
4 2 Clippings (Photocopies of originals dated 1923-1982), circa 1986
4 3-9 Exhibition Catalogs, Announcements, and Invitations, circa 1932-1985
(8 folders; partially scanned; see also Box 8, sol)
4 10 Gellert Appearances and Publicity, circa 1930-1955
4 11 Gellert Article on Art Young in ALA News, 1944
4 Gellert Illustrations
4 Miscellaneous Gellert Illustrations
4 12 circa 1927-1959
(partially scanned)
4 13 Halftone Printing Block, undated
4 14 Proofs, circa 1920-1959
4 15 Aesop Said So and Comrade Gulliver, circa 1935-1936
(See also Box 8, sol)
(Proofs of illustrations for books by Gellert)
4 16 Elore, 1921
(See box 8, sol; partially scanned)
(Hungarian-language Newspaper)
4 17 Fasizmus, undated
(partially scanned)
(Anti-Horthy League Pamphlet)
4 18 The Fraternal Outlook, 1939
(magazine cover)
4 19 Greeting Cards, circa 1937-1960
4 20 "Lionel Atwill in The Outsider", circa 1929
(theater handbill)
4 21 Jefferson School of Social Science Catalogs, 1952-1956
4 22 Magyarok Amerikában, 1951
(partially scanned)
4 23 May Day Committee, 1951-1959
(partially scanned)
4 24 Mindentudó Kalendárium, 1955
(partially scanned)
4 25 New World Review, 1951
(partially scanned)
4 26 New York World, circa 1926-1927
(See also OV 9)
4 27 Pearson's, 1922-1923
(magazine covers)
4 28 The President's Speech Illustrated by 19 Artists, 1944
4 29 Tavasz a Dunán, 1956
(partially scanned)
4 30 The Worker, 36 Years, Drawings, 1960
(partially scanned)
4 Gellert Periodicals
4 31-32 American Dialog, 1964-1972
(partially scanned)
4 33 Art Front, 1934-1936
(See Box 8, sol; scanned in entirety except duplicates)
4 34 Magyar Szó (Hungarian Word), 1953-1959, 1963
(See Box 8, sol; partially scanned)
4 35 New Masses, 1926, 1933-1945
(See also Box 8, sol; partially scanned)
4 36 Greeting Card Series, circa 1933
4 37 Hungarian Short Stories, 1953, undated
(not scanned)
4 38 List of Artist Contributors to The Masses, Liberator, or New Masses, undated
4 39 Maps, circa 1950
(not scanned)
4 Pamphlets
(Covers only scanned)
4 40-43 1935-1979
(4 folders)
Box Folder
5 1 American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born, circa 1953-1959
5 2 Artists' Equity Association, 1961
5 3 Communist Party, circa 1948-1950
5 4 Foreign Languages Publishing House (Moscow), 1956-1957
5 5 Hungarian Bulletin, 1949-1954
5 6 National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, circa 1943-1962
5 7-8 New Century Publishers, 1945-1961
(2 folders)
5 9 United Committee of South Slavic Americans, circa 1943-1946
5 10 Workers' Library Publishers, 1935-1943
5 11 Union-related Pamphlets, 1937-1985
5 12-13 United States Government, 1935-1941, 1945
5 Periodicals
(Covers only scanned)
5 14-20 1918-1962
(7 folders)
5 21 American Contemporary Art, 1944
5 22 Amnesty Trumpet, 1954
5 23 Bulletin of the World Council of Peace, 1956-1963
5 24 The Lamp, 1952-1959
5 25 Latin American Facts, 1951
5 26 The Masses, 1916
(See Box 8, sol)
5 27-29 Masses and Mainstream, 1950-1954
(3 folders)
5 30 Mainstream, 1958, 1961
5 31 New Hungary, 1953-1955
5 32-36 Publicity and Mailings, circa 1930-1940
(5 folders; not scanned)
Box Folder
6 1-26 Publicity and Mailings, 1941-1986, undated
(26 folders; not scanned)
6 27 Song books and Song sheets, circa 1932-1958
Box
8 (sol) Oversized Printed Materials (See Box 4, f9, f15-16, f33-35, and Box 5, f26)
Box
9 (OV) Oversized Printed Materials (See Box 4, f26)

Series 6: Photographs, circa 1920-1959
(Boxes 6-7; 0.5 linear feet)

This series consists of personal photographs, news and publicity photographs, and photographs of works of art. Most of the personal photographs are snapshots, and most are unidentified. There are also two sets of group portraits with Gellert pictured, but other individuals are unidentified.

The bulk of the photographs are publicity and news photographs, including photos from news agencies and file photos of public figures. Public figures include well-known American communists such as Earl Browder, Tom Mooney, Eugene Debs, Upton Sinclair, and Paul Robeson, as well as famous industrialists and mainstream politicians such as J.P. Morgan, Dwight Eisenhower, Herbert Hoover, and Robert Moses. Some of the photographs appear reproduced in the various publications Gellert helped to produce. Several news photographs are marked "D.W." or "Daily Worker." A few of those pictured were also subjects of Gellert's murals and illustrations. Others remain unidentified. Subjects with multiple photographs are listed in the folder headings, and single instances are filed in miscellaneous files.

Photographs of works of art include murals by Gellert at Seward Park, a mural by Pablo O'Higgins in Mexico, and Philip Guston's mural for the 1939 World's Fair. Set pieces with illustrations by Gellert are shown during a performance, which may have taken place at the 1945 San Francisco conference of the United Nations.

Box Folder
6 Personal Photographs
6 28 Group Portraits with Gellert Pictured, circa 1930, circa 1950
6 29 Family, circa 1938
6 30 Unidentified People, circa 1930-1959
6 31 Unidentified Buildings, circa 1957-1958
6 Publicity and News Photographs
6 32 Earl Browder, circa 1930-1940
6 33 Ben Davis, 1943-1948
6 34 John Gates, circa 1940-1950
6 35 Tom Mooney, circa 1934-1942
6 36 Paul Robeson, circa 1928-1950
6 37 Upton Sinclair, circa 1930-1939
6 38 Harry Winston, circa 1940-1950
6 39-41 Miscellaneous Public Figures, circa 1920-1959
(3 folders)
(Pictured are Bernhard Stern, Walter Lowenfels, George Morris, Robert Moses, Al Smith, Eugene Debs, Julius Rosenberg, William Z. Foster, Irving Kaufman, Karl Marx, Maxim Gorky, B.W. Atwood, Jan Bratiano, Herbert Hoover, Walter S. Gifford, Eleanor Roosevelt, Edward R. Murrow, Dwight Eisenhower, Fred Seaton, Maud Barger-Wallach, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Otto Kahn, J.P. Morgan, Pierre duPont, George Baker, Jr., J.D. Rockefeller, Jr., and Eugene Meyer)
6 42-43 Miscellaneous Public Figures, Unidentified, circa 1920-1959
(2 folders including negatives; negatives not scanned)
6 44 Unidentified People, undated
6 45 Australian Livestock, circa 1950-1959
(not scanned)
6 46-49 Eastern European Culture, circa 1950-1959
(4 folders)
Box Folder
7 1 Seward Park Slum Clearance Project, circa 1957
7 2 Theater Production of E. Chodorov's Decision, 1944
7 Photographs of Works of Art
7 3 Gellert's Seward Park Murals, circa 1961
7 4 Theater Performance with Gellert Set Pieces, circa 1945
7 Works of Art by Others
7 5 Murals 1933, 1939
7 6 Sculpture and Paintings circa 1920-1959
(not scanned)

Series 7: Artwork, 1927-1981
(Box 7, OV 10; 0.4 linear feet)

Artwork includes silkscreen prints, lithographs, woodcuts, sketches, drawings, doodles, designs, sketchbooks, layouts for printed materials, and other print production elements. Artwork is by Hugo Gellert and others, including Philip Reisman, Gyula Derkovits, Anton Refregier.

Artwork that is part of identifiable, titled projects is filed first, including sketches for Gellert's 1934 book Karl Marx's Capital in Lithographs, and a set of silkscreen prints that he issued as a portfolio entitled Century of the Common Man in 1943. General files for sketches, sketchbooks, layouts, and prints filed after them. Sketches, drawings, and designs include a wide variety of material, from loose sketches and doodles to finished drawings, as well as text design, technical drawings, and floor plans. Notes and writings are common among the sketches and sketchbooks, and the sketchbook dated 1950 also contains a handwritten, autobiographical essay.

Layouts and prints production elements include sketches, prints, typography, brownprints, photostats, and prints in various states.

Box Folder
7 7 "American Student Delegation to Russia," Silkscreen Poster, 1927
(See OV 10)
7 8-9 Karl Marx??s Capital in Lithographs, Sketches, circa 1933-1934
(2 folders)
7 10 Unidentified Portrait, 1937
7 11 Century of the Common Man, Silkscreen Prints, circa 1943
(See also OV 10)
7 12 Monoprints, undated
(partially scanned)
7 13-16 Sketches, Drawings, and Designs, circa 1939-1981
(4 folders; see also OV 10)
7 17-18 Sketchbooks, 1950, undated
(3 volumes in 2 folders)
7 19-20 Layouts and Print Production Elements, circa 1940-1954
(2 folders; see also OV 10)
7 Artwork by Others
7 21 "Stones" by Philip Reisman, circa 1933
7 22 "1514," Woodcuts by Gyula Derkovits, circa 1928-1929
7 23 "Sword into Plowshare," Woodcut by Anton Refregier, circa 1933
7 24 Unsigned Prints, 1937, undated
(The first print is by Charles White, the last print is by Alexander Stavenitz)
Box
10 (OV) Oversized Artwork (See box 7, f7, 10-11, 16, and 19)

Selected Index to Series 2: Correspondence

The following is an index to selected individuals, publications, and organizations represented in the Correspondence in Series 2. This index is not comprehensive.

Additional correspondence is found with Series 4, Organizational Records, and is described in the container listing for that series. Letters which were mass mailings from dozens of political organizations can also be found in Series 5, Printed Materials.

  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): 1935 (Lucille Milner)
  • American Committee Against Fascist Oppression in Germany: 1934 (Louis Gibarti)
  • American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born: 1962 (Annette Provinzano)
  • American League against War and Fascism: 1937 (Albert Prentis)
  • American Magazine: 1935
  • American Russian Institute: 1952 (Irene Miller, Holland Roberts)
  • Americans for Democratic Action: 1956 (Edward D. Hollander)
  • An American Group: 1940 (to Clifton Woodrum)
  • Aptheker, Herbert: 1959
  • Arms, John Taylor: 1952 (see also Series 4)
  • Artists Conference of the Americas: 1939
  • Artists League of America: 1942 (Dan Koerner)
  • Artists' Cooperative Group: 1943 (B. Nuno)
  • Association des Ecrivants et Artistes Revolutionnaries: 1933 (R. Ginsburger)
  • Balch, Earle: 1932
  • Bauch, Solomon "Stan": 1941
  • Becker, Maurice: 1951-1953, 1961, undated
  • Berkowitz, Harry: 1954
  • Bonnett, Clarence E.: 1937
  • Bramer, Nan: 1952
  • Breines, Simon: 1947, 1971
  • Bromsen, Archibald: 1940 (labor lawyer)
  • Brook, Alex: 1939
  • Buck, Pearl: 1953
  • Caswell, Edward: 1960
  • Chiostergi, Alessandro L.: 1937
  • Citizen's Committee for Constitutional Liberties: 1962 (Miriam Friedlander)
  • Citizens Emergency Defence Committee: 1953 (Sam Kanter)
  • Civil Rights Congress: 1953 (William L. Patterson)
  • Committee for Social Re-Education: 1934 (Jose Vallon)
  • Committee to End Sedition Laws: 1955 (Allan D. McNeil)
  • d'Harnoncourt, Rene: 1946
  • Davidson, Jo: 1944, 1945 (Independent Voters Committee of Artists, Writers, and Scientists)
  • Davis, Ben Jr.: 1942, undated
  • Decker, W.J.: 1956
  • Dell, Floyd: 1930
  • Dinnerstein, Harvey: 1960 (catalog)
  • Direction: 1942 (Marguerite Tjader Harris)
  • Dorner, Hannah: 1943
  • Dos Passos, John: circa 1930s
  • Dow, Hume: 1947
  • Durus, Alfred (a.k.a. Alfred Kemeny): 1935-1936
  • Einhorn, Nat: 1955
  • Ellis, Ethel: 1959 (re: Fred Ellis)
  • Emergency Civil Liberties Committee: 1957-1958
  • Engel, Michael: 1962 (Audobon Artists)
  • Evergood, Philip: 1955, 1961 (See also Series 4)
  • Fast, Howard: 1951, 1954, 1955
  • Fiene, Ernest: 1939
  • Fine Arts Federation, NY: 1935
  • Fitelson, H. William: 1934 (entertainment lawyer, artists guilds)
  • Foreman, Clark: 1958
  • Fossum, Sydney: 1943
  • Friedlander, Miriam: 1962
  • Gainer, Morris: 1955
  • Garabedian, John: 1962 (Hudson Guild Theater Workshop)
  • Garcia, J. Uriel: 1943
  • Garst, Robert: 1951
  • Gibarti, Louis: 1934
  • Ginsburger, R.: 1933
  • Gold, Mike: see Granich, Mike
  • Granich, Grace: 1954
  • Granich, Mike (a.k.a. Mike Gold, born Irving Granich): 1956
  • Greenbaum, Dorothea: 1940 (Sculptor's Guild)
  • Gropper, William: 1951
  • Gwathmey, Robert: 1959, undated
  • Hall, Rob: 1952
  • Hardy, Lewis: 1955
  • Harris, Marguerite Tjader: 1942
  • Hars, Laszlo: 1953, 1955
  • Hartley, Paul: 1944 (National Art Foundation)
  • Hecht, Rosa: 1955
  • Henri Barbusse Memorial Committee: 1937
  • Hollander, Edward D.: 1956
  • International Bureau of Revolutionary Artists: 1935-1936 (Alfred Durus, a.k.a. Alfred Kemeny)
  • Joint Committee to Defend WPA Workers: 1941, 1942 (Ronald Shilen)
  • Jones, Alec: 1955, 1958
  • Kantor, Sam: 1953
  • Karolyi, Michael, Count: 1941, 1946
  • Kauffer, Edward McKnight: 1945
  • Kent, Rockwell: 1937, 1944, 1952-1953 (See also Series 4)
  • Klonsky, Bob: 1955
  • Koerner, Dan: 1942
  • Kohn, Robert D.: 1935 (architect)
  • Kovalski, Stanislaw: 1955 (Polish embassy)
  • Ksnyik, Andras: 1978
  • Laffitte, Jean: 1955
  • Lie, Jonas: 1939
  • Lorber, Dr. Herman "Harry": circa 1930s
  • Mabry, Thomas D.: 1942 (Graphics Div, Office of War Information)
  • Macagy, Jermayne: 1955
  • Magyar Jövo (Hungarian Daily Journal): 1952 (Alex Rosner), 1953
  • Mainstream: 1962
  • Maldonado, R.: 1978 (Smithsonian Labor History Project)
  • Manship, Paul: 1939, undated
  • Marceau, Henri: 1946
  • Marquardt, Virginia: 1978
  • Maruki, Toshiko and Iri: 1960
  • Masses and Mainstream: 1952 (Samuel Sillen), 1954 (Joe)
  • McNeil, Alan D: 1955
  • Michelson, Herman: 1934
  • Milner, Lucile: 1935
  • Moore, Sam: 1953
  • Nagy, Janos: 1956
  • National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors: 1940 (Bianca Todd)
  • National Council of American Soviet Friendship: 1943 (Hannah Dorner)
  • National Council of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions: 1952 (Nan Bramer)
  • National Maritime Union: 1944 (Louis Oguss, M. Hedley Stone)
  • New Masses: 1934 (Sean, Herman Michelson)
  • New World Review: 1952 (Jessica Smith)
  • New York Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born: 1955 (Alec Jones)
  • Nuno, B.: 1943
  • Oguss, Louis: 1944
  • Oldham, John and Ray: circa 1930s
  • Ottley, Roi: 1943 (National CIO Committee)
  • Patrás, Pal: 1955
  • Patterson, William L.: 1953-1954
  • People's World: 1956 (W.J. Decker)
  • Perlo, Ellen: 1984
  • Perrot, Paul: 1960 (Corning Museum)
  • Philadelphia Forum of Social Sciences: 1955 (Bob Klonsky)
  • Popper, Lilly: 1953-1954
  • Prentis, Albert: 1937
  • Provisional Workers and People's Committee for May Day: 1955 (Morris Gainer), 1960 (Max Rosen)
  • Putnam and Sons: 1935 (Quintin Rossi)
  • Reed, Alman: 1955
  • Reisman, Philip: 1962, circa 1960s
  • Rickey, George: 1937
  • Rosen, Max: 1955
  • Rosner, A.: 1952, 1959
  • Rosner, Deak: 1955
  • Rossen, John: 1955
  • Rossi, Quintin: 1935
  • Royce, Edward: 1955
  • Sandburg, Carl: 1942
  • Sapiro, Aaron: 1932
  • Schappes Defense Committee: 1941 (Morris U. Shappes)
  • Schoen, Eugene: 1932, 1934
  • Schwartz, Morris: 1951
  • Selsam: 1951
  • Sequenzia, Sofia: 1983
  • Shields, T.A. "Art": 1959
  • Shillen, Ronald: 1942
  • Siegelbaum, Portia: 1978
  • Sillen, Samuel: 1952
  • Smith, Jessica: 1952
  • Soglow, Otto: 1942
  • Solomon: Dave: 1954 (New Talents Gallery), 1956
  • Starobin, Joseph: 1955
  • Steffens, Lincoln: 1934 (journalist)
  • Stone, M. Hedley: 1944
  • Street, Julian Jr.: 1940
  • Tandy, W. Lou: 1953
  • Time: 192-
  • Todd, Bianca: 1940 (See also Series 4)
  • Tresca, Carlo: circa 1930s (anarchist)
  • Turner, Jeannette S.: 1957-1960
  • Tyler, Hugh: 1939 (WPA)
  • Vallon, Jose: 1934
  • Van Rensselaer, Sylvia: 1944 ("Portrait of America Competition" report)
  • Weber, Max: 1953 (See also Series 4)
  • Weyhe Gallery: 1947
  • Wilson, Steve: 1959 (Progressive Lithographers)
  • The Worker: 1952 (Rob Hall)
  • World Council of Peace: 1955 (Jean Laffitte)
  • World: 1925
  • Zigrosser, Carl: 1937
  • Zorach, Bill: 1942
  • Zundel, Eugenia: 1957, 1959
  • Zurier, Rebecca: 1984, circa 1980s