Joan Kron papers, 1959-1971

A Finding Aid to the Joan Kron Papers, 1959-1971, in the Archives of American Art, by Jean Fitzgerald

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Biographical Information

Joan Kron (circa 1928-) is a fashion and style journalist in New York City, but began her career in Philadelphia as an advocate of avante-garde artists and co-founder of The Beautiful Bag Co. which worked with artists to produce commercial household and fashion art products. Kron worked on projects with Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Indiana, among others.

Joan Kron was born circa 1928 in New York. She studied at the Yale University School of Drama from 1946-1948, graduating with a degree in costume design. She married surgeon Dr. Samuel Kron and lived in Philadelphia during the 1960s. For almost a decade, Kron volunteered as chairman of the Arts Council of the Young Men's/Young Women's Hebrew Association of Philadelphia (YM/YWHA.) The YM/YMA Arts Council focused on promoting and hosting new and avant-garde programs in dance, theatre, poetry, crafts, and the visual arts. Under Kron's leadership, the YM/YWHA Arts Council curated Arts1963/A New Vocabulary (1962) and Museum of Merchandise (1967.)

Kron's work with the Arts Council allowed her to build business partnerships with several artists. She partnered with Andy Warhol to produce a line of perfume, "You're In," packaged in silver Coca-Cola bottles, with Robert Indiana for a Love Ring, and other products and projects associated with the exhibitions of the Arts Council. Then, around 1964, she partnered with colleague Audrey Sabol to form The Beautiful Bag and Box Co. and continued to explore commercial products created or designed by artists, including a line of dinnerware "Durable Dishes" designed by Roy Lichtenstein, a series of billboards displaying art work and the Eat Pin, most likely designed by Robert Indiana.

Kron began her career in journalism in the late 1960s by contributing an article about a cannabis harvest in an upscale neighborhood to the Philadelphia magazine in 1969. She continued to write for the magazine until after her divorce. She moved to New York City in 1971 and was hired by New York magazine. She researched and wrote a special issue about the blossoming SoHo art district. Kron then focused the remainder of her career primarily on writing, and worked for a number of magazines and newspapers, and published several books. As of 2010, she was living in New York City and working as contributing editor at large for Cond� Nast's Allure magazine, primarily covering the subject of cosmetic surgery.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of New York City art entrepreneur, curator, and journalist Joan Kron date from 1959 to 1971 and measure 1.4 linear feet. The papers include correspondence, scattered financial records, notes and writings, printed material, photographs, a sound and video recording, and project/exhibition files concerning Kron's involvement in the 1960s with the exhibtions of the Arts Council of the Young Men's/Women's Hebrew Association (YM/WHA)of Philadelphia and her business, the Beautiful Bag and Box Co.

Papers relating to Kron's volunteer chairmanship of the Arts Council of the Young Men's/Women's Hebrew Association (YM/WHA)of Philadelphia include general files concerning the administration and operation of the organization, as well as exhibition files for Art 1963/ A New Vocabulary (1962) and Museum of Merchandise 1967.) Files generally consist of correspondence, clippings and other printed materials, notes and writings, photographs, and financial documents. The exhibition files for Art 1963/ A New Vocabulary include a typescript "Dictionary Suggestions" by Billy Kl�ver which contains slang terms with creative definitions, and photographs of Claes Oldenburg, Billy Kl�ver, Joan Kron, Sam Maitin, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Audrey Sabol, George Segal, Jean Tinguely, and Robert Watts. The files for Museum of Merchandise contain a painting on paper by Geoffrey Hendricks, a drawing by Ray Johnson, a photograph of fabric designer Karl Rosenberg, a photograph of a wedding dress design by Christo, and a 1/2" open reel videotape made by Nam Jun Paik of Kron's appearance on The Tonight Show.

The records of the Beautiful Bag and Box Co., an art entrepreneurial business created by Kron and her colleague Audrey Sabol, include correspondence, a ledger of sales and deposits, income tax records, miscellaneous invoices, notes and writings, clippings, miscellaneous printed material, and photographs. Also found are project/product files for Art Museum Store, Temporary Tattoos, Durable Dishes designed by Roy Lichtenstein, Eat Pin likely designed by Robert Indiana, Art on Billboards, and Stunning Stationery. The file for project Art on Billboards contains postcards from Allan Kaprow and Jim Dine expressing interest in the project, and a photograph of Edwin and Audrey Sabol on a motorcycle posing in front of a billboard designed by Roy Lichtenstein. There is also a 7" audio reel tape recording of a radio program Hey, Look at That containing comments about billboards from Kron, Roy Lichtenstein, architect Robert Venturi, and Evan H. Turner, Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged as 2 series:

Subjects and Names

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

  • Beautiful Bag Co. (Philadelphia,Pa.)
  • Christo, 1935-
  • Dine, Jim, 1935-
  • Hendricks, Geoffrey
  • Indiana, Robert, 1928-
  • Johnson, Ray, 1927-
  • Kaprow, Allan
  • Kl�ver, Billy, 1927-2004
  • Lichtenstein, Roy, 1923
  • Maitin, Sam
  • Oldenburg, Claes, 1929--Photographs
  • Paik, Nam June, 1932-
  • Rosenberg, Karl
  • Sabol, Audrey, 1922-
  • Saint-Phalle, Niki de, 1930-
  • Segal, George, 1924- Photographs
  • Tinguely, Jean, 1925-
  • Turner, Evan H.
  • Venturi, Robert
  • Watts, Robert M., 1923-1988
  • Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association of Philadelphia. Arts Council
  • Arts administrators
  • Curators--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
  • Design, Industrial United States
  • Drawings
  • Ledgers (account books)
  • Paintings
  • Photographs
  • Pop art United States
  • Sound recordings
  • Tonight Show (Television Program)
  • Video recordings
  • Wearable art United States
  • Works of art

Provenance

Joan Kron donated her papers in 1987.

Separated and Related Materials

Additional copies of microfilm reels 4224-4225 are available at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Also found in the Archives are selected papers of the Young Men's/Women's Hebrew Association Arts Council that were loaned by Judith Golden for microfilming, and are now available only on microfilm reels 3898. Another small collection of printed material from the YM/WHA records was donated by Acey Wolgin and microfilmed on reel 4340, and transferred to the Smithsonian American Art Museum Library's vertical files.

How the Collection was Processed

The collection was minimally processed and microfilmed shortly after receipt and a finding aid prepared by Jean Fitzgerald in 2010.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Joan Kron 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 the collection is available on 35 mm microfilm reels 4224-4225 at Archives of American Art offices, and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the collection as described in this finding aid does not reflect the order of the collection on microfilm. Additionally, a reel-to-reel audio tape recording "Hey Look at That" was transferred to CD in 2003.

How to Cite this Collection

Joan Kron papers, 1959-1971. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Arts Council of the YM/YWHA of Philadelphia, 1959-1971
(Box 1-2, OV 3; 0.6 linear feet)

Correspondence, notes and writings, clippings, miscellaneous printed material, photographs, and one video reel (1/2 in.) documenting the general operation of the Arts Council of the YM/YWHA and the organization's exhibitions Art 1963/ A New Vocabulary in 1962 and Museum of Merchandise in 1967.

Box Folder
1 1 Procedures Manual, undated
1 2 Statements of Purpose, 1962-1965
1 3 Minutes of Meetings, 1962-1966
1 4 Typescript "Basis for Public Relations Decisions" by Joan Kron, 1965
1 5 Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1959-1960, undated
1 6 Miscellaneous Clippings, 1965-1967, undated
1 7 Miscellaneous Announcements for Events, 1961-1971, undated
(Oversized Material Housed in Box 2 and OV 3)
1 8 Miscellaneous Brochures, 1959-1967, undated
1 9 Exhibition Art 1963/ A New Vocabulary: Correspondence, 1962-1963
1 10 Exhibition Art 1963/ A New Vocabulary: Miscellaneous Notes, undated
1 11 Exhibition Art 1963/ A New Vocabulary: Typescript "Dictionary Suggestions" by Billy Kl�ver, undated
1 12 Exhibition Art 1963/ A New Vocabulary: Typescript "Chicken: A Happening" by an Unidentified Author, 1962
1 13-16 Exhibition Art 1963/ A New Vocabulary: Scrapbook of Clippings, 1960-1962
(4 folders)
1 17 Exhibition Art 1963/ A New Vocabulary: Miscellaneous Clippings, 1962
1 18 Exhibition Art 1963/ A New Vocabulary: Miscellaneous Clippings, 1963
1 19 Exhibition Art 1963/ A New Vocabulary: Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1962-1963
(Oversized Material Housed in Box 2)
1 20 Exhibition Art 1963/ A New Vocabulary: Photographs, undated
1 21 Exhibition Museum of Merchandise: Correspondence, 1967
1 22 Exhibition Museum of Merchandise: Financial Records, 1967
1 23 Exhibition Museum of Merchandise: Miscellaneous Notes, undated
(Oversized Material Housed in Box 2)
1 24 Exhibition Museum of Merchandise: Art Work by Geoffrey Hendricks and Ray Johnson, 1966, undated
1 25 Exhibition Museum of Merchandise: Clippings, undated
1 26-30 Exhibition Museum of Merchandise: Clippings, 1967
(5 folders)
1 31 Exhibition Museum of Merchandise: Press Releases, 1967
1 32 Exhibition Museum of Merchandise: Posters, 1967
(Oversized Material Housed in Box 2)
1 33-34 Exhibition Museum of Merchandise: Photographs, 1967, undated
(2 folders)
1 35 Exhibition Museum of Merchandise: Kron's Appearance on The Tonight Show, from Nam Jun Paik, 1967
(1 video reel: 1/2 in.)
Box Folder
2 1 Oversized Posters Announcing Miscellaneous Events, 1962-1963, undated,
(from Box 1, Folder 7)
2 2 Oversized Posters Concerning the Exhibition Art 1963/A New Vocabulary, 1962,
(from Box 1, Folder 19)
2 2 Oversized Designs for Advertisements for the Exhibition Museum of Merchandise, undated,
from Box 1, Folder 23
Box
OV 3 Oversized Posters Announcing Miscellaneous Events, 1960-1961, undated,
(from Box 1, Folder 7)
OV 3 Oversized Posters for the Exhibition Museum of Merchandise, 1967,
(from Box 1, Folder 32)

Series 2: Beautiful Bag and Box Co., 1963-1969
(Box 1-2; 0.8 linear feet)

Correspondence, financial records, notes and writings, clippings, miscellaneous printed material, and photographs concerning the general operation and projects/products of the company, including Art Museum Store, Temporary Tattoos, Durable Dishes, Eat Pin possibly designed by Robert Indiana, Art on Billboards, and Stunning Stationery. The file for Eat Pin project contains a photograph of Kron and Sabol. The file for the Art on Billboards project contains postcards from Allan Kaprow and Jim Dine, a photograph of Edwin and Audrey Sabol on a motorcycle posing in front of a billboard designed by Roy Lichtenstein, and a radio program Hey, Look at That on one sound tape reel containing comments about billboards by Kron, Roy Lichtenstein, and others.

The radio program has been digitized for research access.

Box Folder
1 36 Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1963-1964
1 37 Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1965-1967
1 38 Ledger of Sales and Deposits, 1963-1965
1 39 Income Tax Records, 1963
1 40 Income Tax Records, 1964
1 41 Income Tax Records, 1965
1 42 Income Tax Records, 1966
1 43 Income Tax Records, 1967
1 44 Income Tax Records, 1969
1 45 Miscellaneous Invoices, 1963-1965
1 46 Miscellaneous Invoices, 1966
1 47 Miscellaneous Invoices, 1967
1 48 Miscellaneous Notes and Writings, 1964-1967, undated
1 49 Miscellaneous Designs, undated
1 50 Miscellaneous Clippings, 1963-1968
1 51 Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1965-1967, undated
1 52-53 Miscellaneous Photographs, 1965, undated
(2 folders)
1 54 Project Art Museum Store, 1964
1 55 Project Temporary Tattoos: Correspondence, 1965
1 56-57 Project Temporary Tattoos: Correspondence, 1966
(2 folders)
1 58-59 Project Temporary Tattoos: Notes, 1965-1966
(2 folders)
1 60 Project Temporary Tattoos: Clippings, 1965-1966
1 61 Project Durable Dishes (Designed by Roy Lichtenstein): Correspondence, 1966-1967
1 62 Project Durable Dishes (Designed by Roy Lichtenstein): Financial Records, 1966
1 63 Project Durable Dishes (Designed by Roy Lichtenstein): Miscellaneous Notes, undated
1 64 Project Durable Dishes (Designed by Roy Lichtenstein): Clippings, 1965-1968
1 65 Project Durable Dishes (Designed by Roy Lichtenstein): Brochures, undated
1 66 Project Durable Dishes (Designed by Roy Lichtenstein): Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1966-1967, undated
(Oversized Material Housed in Box 2)
1 67 Project Durable Dishes (Designed by Roy Lichtenstein): Photographs, undated
1 68-70 Project Eat Pin: Correspondence, 1965
(3 folders)
1 71 Project Eat Pin: Correspondence, 1966-1967
1 72 Project Eat Pin: Miscellaneous Invoices, 1965-1966
1 73 Project Eat Pin: Miscellaneous Notes, 1965-1967
1 74 Project Eat Pin: Miscellaneous Designs, undated
1 75 Project Eat Pin: Clippings, 1965, undated
1 76 Project Eat Pin: Catalogs for Miniature Batteries, undated
1 77 Project Eat Pin: Catalogs for Miniature Light Bulbs, 1964, undated
1 78 Project Eat Pin: Photographs, 1965-1967
1 79 Project Eat Pin: Miniature Light Bulbs, undated
1 80 Project Art on Billboards: Correspondence, 1966-1967
1 81 Project Art on Billboards: Press Releases, 1967
1 82 Project Art on Billboards: Miscellaneous Notes, 1965-1967
1 83 Project Art on Billboards: Clippings, 1967-1968
1 84 Project Art on Billboards: Photographs, 1967, undated
1 85 Project Art on Billboards: Radio Program Hey, Look at That, 1967
(1 original sound tape reel, 1 duplicate sound disc: CD)
1 86 Project Stunning Stationery: Letters and Invoices, 1967
(Oversized Material Housed in Box 2)
1 87 Project Stunning Stationery: Miscellaneous Notes, undated
1 88 Project Stunning Stationery: Miscellaneous Designs, undated
1 89 Project Stunning Stationery: Clippings and Brochure, 1968, undated
1 90 Project Stunning Stationery: Samples of Stationery, undated
Box Folder
2 3 Oversized Galley Proofs for the Project Durable Dishes (Designed by Roy Lichtenstein), 1967,
(from Box 1, Folder 66)
2 3 Oversized Letters Concerning the Project Stunning Stationery, 1967,
(from Box 1, Folder 86)