Jacob Kainen papers, 1905-2008, bulk, 1940-2001

Kainen, Jacob, b. 1909 d. 2001
Curator, Painter, Printmaker
Active in Washington, D.C.; New York, N.Y.

Collection size: 27.3 linear feet

Collection Summary: The papers of painter, printmaker, and curator Jacob Kainen measure 27.3 linear feet and date from 1905 to 2008, with the bulk of the material from 1940-2001. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence/subject files including personal correspondence to and from friends and family members and professional correspondence and records concerning Kainen's activities as an artist, curator, teacher, and art collector. The collection also contains biographical material, writings, diary and journal entries, calendars, inventories, interview and "dialog" transcripts, printed material, photographs, works of art by other artists, and nine scrapbooks.

Biographical/Historical Note: Jacob Kainen (1909-2001) was a painter, printmaker, and curator who worked primarily in Washington, D.C.

The papers were donated in multiple accretions between 1981-2007 by Jacob and Ruth Kainen, and in 2009 from the estate of Ruth Kainen via executor Teresa Covacevich Grana. Also in 2003 eight photographs of Jacob and Ruth Kainen were transferred from the National Portrait Gallery to the Archives of American Art. Prior to the donations, the Kainens loaned papers for microfilming, the bulk of which was included in the later donations.

How to Use this Collection

  • Read the Finding Aid for this collection
  • The loaned materials, much of which were subsequently donated, are available on microfilm reels 565, 2147-2149, and 2200. The microfilm is available for interlibrary loan.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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Also in the Archives

Related Materials

Papers were loaned by Jacob and Ruth Kainen from 1973 to 1981 for microfilming on reels 565, 2147-2149, and 2200, and then returned to the Kainens. The loaned materials included correspondence, writings by Kainen, and papers relating to the Smithsonian Institution Loyalty Board's investigation of Jacob Kainen from 1942-1954. Most, but not all, of the loaned materials were included in the papers later gifted by the Kainens between 1981-2000. The microfilm is available for use at Archives of American Art offices and film repositories and also available for interlibrary loan. The microfilm is not further described in this finding aid.
Found among the holdings of the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview of Jacob Kainen conducted by Avis Berman in 1982 for the Archives' "Mark Rothko and His Times" oral history project. Also found are microfilm copies of Bertha Kainen's correspondence with Avis Berman regarding Berman's essay about Jacob Kainen.