A Finding Aid to the Joseph Cornell Papers,
1804-1986 , bulk 1939-1972, in the Archives of American Art, by Jennifer Meehan
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Getty Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Table of Contents:
- Biographical Information
- Overview of the Collection
- How to Use the Collection
- Detailed Description and Container Inventory
Joseph Cornell, assemblagist, collagist, and filmmaker, was born on December 24, 1903 in Nyack, New York. He was the oldest son of Joseph I. Cornell, a textile salesman and designer, and Helen Storms Cornell, and had two younger sisters, Elizabeth (b. 1905), nicknamed Nell and later Betty, and Helen (b. 1906), and a younger brother, Robert (b. 1910), who suffered from cerebral palsy. Cornell shared close relationships with his siblings, and was especially attached to his brother whom he took care of as an adult. His fondest childhood memories included family Christmas celebrations, outings to Manhattan where he saw vaudeville shows and strolled around Times Square, and trips to Coney Island where he encountered penny arcade machines. These childhood memories, among others, inspired some of the themes later explored in his art work.
After his father's death in 1917, Cornell was sent to study at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He remained there for four years, but left without receiving a diploma. During this time, the family moved from Nyack to Bayside, Queens, where they lived in a series of rented houses. Cornell rejoined his family in 1921, at which time he went to work as a salesman in the Manhattan office of a textile wholesaler, the William Whitman Company. He joined the Christian Science church in the mid-1920s, and in 1929, the family bought a house at 37-08 Utopia Parkway in Flushing, where he resided for the rest of his life, living there with his mother and brother after both his sisters married and moved away.
During the 1920s, Cornell developed his passion for walking the city streets and taking in their sights, sounds, and impressions; browsing in the secondhand bookshops along Fourth Avenue; and collecting material such as books, prints, postcards, and printed and three-dimensional ephemera. He cultivated his growing interest in culture and the arts by attending opera and ballet performances, seeing plays (the 1922 play Rain, which starred Jeanne Eagels, was among his favorites), visiting galleries and museums, reading, and going to the movies.
In 1931, Cornell began to frequent the Julien Levy Gallery, where he encountered Surrealist art for perhaps the first time. Around this time, he created his first works of art - a series of black-and-white collages composed from cutouts of nineteenth-century engravings - inspired by Max Ernst's collages, in particular his collage-novel, La Femme 100 tetes (1929). Cornell went on to create three-dimensional works of art such as pill boxes and a glass bell series (consisting of objects arranged under a bell jar). His work, including several collages and a glass bell, was first exhibited as part of the groundbreaking "Surrealisme" show at the Levy Gallery in January 1932. He also designed the cover of the show announcement. His first one-man show at the gallery, "The Objects of Joseph Cornell," followed in the fall of 1932. (It was seven years before his next solo show.) By this time, Cornell had been laid off from his job at Whitman's. He was out of work for several years before getting a job as a textile designer at the Traphagen Commercial Textile Studio in 1934. During the next several years, he continued to work on his art at night.
Around this time, Cornell began collecting movies and movie stills, and embarked upon various film-related projects. In 1933, he wrote a scenario for a silent movie, Monsieur Phot. A few years later, he made his first film, Rose Hobart (1936), comprised of re-edited footage from the B-movie, East of Borneo (1931), which starred the actress, Rose Hobart. And he began work on a trilogy of collage-films - The Children's Party, Cotillion, and The Midnight Party (circa 1937). He then took a break from making films until the mid-1950s, but continued to collect film-related material, which he began to incorporate into his other art work.
In 1936, Cornell constructed his first glass-fronted shadow box, Untitled (Soap Bubble Set), which was included that same year in the "Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, along with a cabinet box and several glass bells. In creating some of his other early boxes, he began the practice of using photo reproductions of images which he located in books and magazines, or in the Picture Collection at the New York Public Library, among other places. In his tribute boxes to actresses (1930s), he made use of publicity shots, and in the box, Dressing Room for Gilles (1939), he employed a photostat (or stat) of a reproduction of Jean-Antoine Watteau's painting, Gilles (1718).
Over the years, Cornell came into contact with various figures of the art, dance, and literary worlds. In the 1930s and 1940s, he met the artists, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and Salvador Dali, and befriended the artists, Lee Miller and Dorothea Tanning. His formative friendships during 1940s were with the artist, Pavel Tchelitchew, the writers, Charles Henri Ford (founder of the avant-garde periodical, View), Parker Tyler, and Donald Windham, and the balletomane, Lincoln Kirstein (founder of Dance Index). His other friends included the artists, Roberto Matta Echaurren and Robert Motherwell, the dancer and actress, Tilly Losch, and the poets, Mina Loy and Marianne Moore. In the 1950s, he associated with artists from the Abstract Expressionist movement, including Willem de Kooning, Jack Tworkov, and Mark Rothko. Beginning in the mid-1950s, he befriended many young artists, including Lee Bontecou and Carolee Schneeman, and young actresses, including Lois Smith, Gwen Van Dam, and Suzanne Miller, whom he sought to appear in his films. And in the early 1960s, he met the Pop artists, Robert Indiana, James Rosenquist, and Andy Warhol.
Beginning in 1940, Cornell developed a keen interest in dance, particularly ballet. Ballerinas from the Romantic era, such as Marie Taglioni and Fanny Cerrito, especially captured his imagination, inspiring such works as the box, Taglioni's Jewel Casket (1940), and the Portrait of Ondine "exploration," which comprised a portfolio of material relating to Cerrito and her famous role in the ballet, Ondine. Cornell was also fascinated with the modern counterparts of the Romantic ballerinas. In 1940, he befriended the Russian ballet dancer, Tamara Toumanova, and over the years produced many works in homage to her, including swan boxes (inspired by her role in Swan Lake), boxes made with scraps from her costumes, and scrapbooks of clippings, stats, and memorabilia. In 1949, he became enamored of the French dancer, Renee "Zizi" Jeanmarie, after seeing her perform in Carmen and meeting her backstage, and he created several dance-related boxes in her honor. In 1957, he met the ballerina, Allegra Kent. After meeting again in 1964, they became friends, and she served as the subject of several works based on images reproduced from a Parmigianino painting.
In December 1940, Cornell left his job at the Traphagen textile studio to pursue art full-time. He set up a workshop in the basement of the house on Utopia Parkway, which served as a combination studio and storage space. While he spent most days at home, he continued to make regular trips into Manhattan to wander around the city, visit with friends, and hunt for material. Around this time, he began to keep a diary, recording his day-to-day experiences (usually comprising his thoughts, feelings, impressions, ideas) on scraps of paper (including used envelopes, paper bags, napkins, and ticket stubs, among other fragments). He would then type up some of these notes into more formal diary entries, but most of them remained, in his word, "scribblings." Diary keeping eventually became one of his primary activities, along with box construction, collage, research, and collecting.
By this time, his art work was beginning to sell, yet he was not able to live from these sales alone. During the 1940s, he primarily supported himself by doing freelance work for magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Good Housekeeping, supplying illustrations from his picture collection and designing covers and layouts. He also regularly contributed pieces to View and Dance Index. His notable contributions to View included "Enchanted Wanderer: Excerpt from a Journey Album for Hedy Lamarr" (December 1941), "Story Without a Name - for Max Ernst" (April 1942), and "The Crystal Cage [portrait of Berenice]" (January 1943). His projects for Dance Index included various collage-covers, essays, and thematic issues, such as the Summer 1944 issue, which comprised a 22-page tribute to the Romantic ballerinas, Taglioni, Carlotta Grisi, Cerrito, and Fanny Elssler. To supplement his income, Cornell also held brief positions at an electronics plant, the Allied Control Company, Inc. (in 1943), and at a nursery, the Garden Centre (in 1944).
In 1942, Cornell created one of his more memorable works, Medici Slot Machine, embarking upon a large series of Medici boxes in which he utilized reproductions of portraits by Italian Renaissance artists, such as Sofonisba Anguissola and Pinturicchio. His other boxes from this time period explored themes ranging from ballet, as in A Pantry Ballet (for Jacques Offenbach) (1942), to doomed love, as in Paolo and Francesca (1943-48), to nature, as in the Sand Boxes (1940s) and Sand Fountains (1950s). Cornell often created boxes in series, producing variations on a theme with variants that differed significantly or only slightly. Over the years, series included: Pink Palaces, Pharmacies, Habitats, Aviaries, Dovecotes, Hotels, Observatories, and Night Skies, among others.
In late 1945, Cornell joined the Hugo Gallery, which was run by Alexander Iolas, and a year later mounted the show, "Romantic Museum at the Hugo Gallery: Portraits of Women by Joseph Cornell" (December 1946). He designed the exhibition catalog for this show, which consisted of portraits - box constructions, objects, and "dossiers" - of the opera singers, Giuditta Pasta and Maria Malibran, the ballerinas, Taglioni and Cerrito, and the actresses, Eleanora Duse, Jeanne Eagels, Greta Garbo, and Jennifer Jones, and which also featured one of his most famous boxes, Untitled (Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall) (1945-46).
In 1949, Cornell joined the Egan Gallery, which was run by Charles Egan. Around this time, he began creating his series of Aviary boxes, which explored the symbolism of birds and birdcages. He showed twenty-six of these box constructions in his first exhibition at the Egan Gallery, "Aviary by Joseph Cornell" (December 1949-January 1950). He created other series of whitewashed boxes, including the Dovecote series and a small group relating to the poet, Emily Dickinson. He then went on to explore the themes of astronomy and celestial navigation in the Observatory, Night Skies, and Hotel series. Works from these series were featured in his two remaining shows at the Egan Gallery, "Night Songs and Other Work" (December 1950-January 1951) and "Night Voyage" (February-March 1953). In the fall of 1953, sparked by seeing the painting, Figure Seated in a Cafe (1914), Cornell embarked upon a major series of bird constructions dedicated to the Cubist artist, Juan Gris. Notably, these were the only boxes he explicitly dedicated to another artist.
Over the next couple of years, Cornell's work was exhibited across the country. In 1955, he joined the Stable Gallery, which was run by Eleanor Ward. His first one-man show there, in the winter of 1955-56, was "Winter Night Skies," which featured various box constructions based on constellations. During the mid-1950s, he embarked upon a series of Sand Fountains (vertical standing boxes featuring a broken glass and sand that flowed through it when turned upside down), elaborating upon his earlier Sand Boxes (1940s). These boxes along with some of his other latest works, including the Bleriot boxes and the Space Object boxes (which comprised his final box series), were exhibited in his second and last show at the Stable Gallery, "Selected Works" (December 1957).
After leaving the Stable Gallery, Cornell had several dealers handle his work rather than allowing any one to assume too much control. Dealers included Richard Feigen (in Chicago and then in New York) and Irving Blum (in California), among others. Throughout his career, Cornell never liked selling his boxes. He was always reluctant to let his work go and became increasingly uneasy about the growing status of his work as a commodity. He preferred instead to make gifts of his art work to friends and individuals he admired (especially female ones).
In the mid-1950s, Cornell returned to making films. Rather than just splicing together found images as he had in his films of the 1930s, he began to collaborate with others to shoot original footage. He worked with the experimental filmmaker, Stan Brakhage, on two films, one about the Third Ave El which was about to be torn down (Wonder Ring or Gnir Rednow) and the other about an old house in Cornell's neighborhood that was slated for demolition (Centuries of June). Cornell then went on to make nine films with the filmmaker, Rudy Burckhardt, including Aviary, A Legend for Fountains, and Nymphlight, among others. In the late 1960s, he enlisted the help of Larry Jordan, who was also a filmmaker, in completing the trilogy of collage-films that he had begun in the 1930s.
Along with creating works of art and making films, Cornell was involved in a host of other creative endeavors throughout his career as an artist. These included: keeping a diary, which was for him another medium for exploring and expressing the themes, ideas, and concerns recurrent in his art work; carrying out "explorations," which typically involved conducting research, collecting material, and compiling files on persons or topics of interest to him; and other projects, such as publishing pamphlets (or brochures) dedicated to the nineteenth-century opera singers, Malibran and Giulia Grisi. Cornell's "explorations" clearly informed his artwork, but they were also works of art in and of themselves. He continually sought to share this work with an audience and twice had the opportunity to do so, when he exhibited versions of his Portrait of Ondine "exploration" at the Museum of Modern Art in 1945 and at the Wittenborn Bookstore in 1956.
Around the mid-1950s, Cornell returned to making collages as independent works of art. Unlike his earlier ones, which were composed from cutouts of black-and-white engravings, his latest collages were made with color images cut out of contemporary magazines and books. In these collages, he explored many of the same themes and preoccupations of his box constructions, including birds, as in Couleur de Peche (1967) and Untitled (Vierge Vivace) (1970), children's games, as in the Penny Arcade series (1960s), and actresses, as in The Sister Shades (1956). Towards the end of his career, collage became his principal medium.
By this time, Cornell was taking fewer trips into Manhattan. Instead, he spent more time at home or traveled only so far as downtown Flushing, where he frequented the public library, hunted for material in stores, such as Woolworth's, and passed time in the coffee-shops on Main Street. From this time on, he kept his diary with increasing regularity, taking down notations with more frequency and creating entries of greater length.
In 1961, fourteen of Cornell's boxes, including Medici Slot Machine, were exhibited as part of the "The Art of Assemblage" show at the Museum of Modern Art. As his biographer notes, Cornell came to view this show "as a turning point in his creative life," marking the "[fall] off in his work" that took place in the sixties (Solomon 271-2). He continued to work on boxes that he had begun long before, but, after this time, rarely if ever constructed new ones. Instead, he focused on making collages and became increasingly concerned with other projects, such as organizing his basement workshop, for which he hired various "helpers" or assistants (mostly young women) over the years. He also became more and more prone to obsessions (or preoccupations, as he called them) with various young women that he encountered both in fantasy (actresses on stage or in films) and in real life (working girls in the city, "teeners" on Main Street, or his female visitors and "helpers" at home). These preoccupations infused his diary writings, and inspired the keeping of "dossiers" on particular individuals and the creation of various collages dedicated to others, including most notably the Penny Arcade series dedicated to Joyce Hunter (or "Tina," as he referred to her in his writings).
After Robert's death in February 1965, Cornell created a series of collages in his memory, many of which incorporated his brother's drawings of animal characters. In January 1966, he exhibited some of these collages, alongside a selection of Robert's drawings, in a show at the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, "Robert Cornell: Memorial Exhibition." In 1967, there were two retrospective exhibitions of Cornell's work, "An Exhibition of Works by Joseph Cornell" at the Pasadena Art Museum and "Joseph Cornell" at the Guggenheim Museum. By now, Cornell was receiving considerable public recognition for his work. He had received his first profile (by Howard Griffin) in the December 1957 issue of Art News and, ten years later, was treated to a 12-page spread (by David Bourdon) in the December 1967 issue of Life magazine. He was also the recipient of various prizes for his art work, including the M.V Kohnstamm Prize at the Art Institute of Chicago's "62nd American Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture" in 1957 and the winning prize in India's first Triennale of Contemporary World Art in 1968.
In the last years of his life (especially from the time of his mother's death in the fall of 1966), Cornell suffered from severe depression and loneliness, and withdrew even further from the outside world. However, he still maintained relationships with various young friends and artists, who frequently visited Utopia Parkway and/or served as one of his assistants. He became more and more interested in sharing his work with a younger audience and his last two exhibitions in 1972 were expressly for children, "A Joseph Cornell Exhibition for Children" at the Cooper Union School of Art and Architecture and "Joseph Cornell - Collages and Boxes" at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York.
Cornell continued to work until the end of his life, "refurbishing" earlier boxes and creating memorial collages. Following prostate surgery in June 1972, he spent several months recuperating with family in Westhampton before returning to Utopia Parkway in November. He died of heart failure at home on December 29, 1972.
The biographical note draws heavily from Deborah Solomon's biography, Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell (New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 1997), and Diane Waldman's book, Joseph Cornell: Master of Dreams (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2002).
Overview of the Collection
Scope and Contents
The Joseph Cornell papers measure approximately 24.5 linear feet and date from 1804 to 1986, with the bulk of the material dating from 1939-1972. The collection documents the life, work, interests, and creative activities of the self-taught artist, who was best known for his shadow box constructions, assemblages, and collages. Papers include correspondence, diaries, source material, notes, writings, photographs, printed material, two- and three-dimensional ephemera, art works, and books, as well as a limited amount of legal and financial records, and some miscellaneous personal and family papers (which comprise a series of biographical material). The collection also includes the papers of his sister, Betty Cornell Benton, relating to the handling of Cornell's estate and the personal papers of his brother, Robert Cornell.
Cornell's correspondence is typically with family, friends, artists, dealers, collectors, galleries, museums, admirers, individuals whom he admired, "helpers," and various charitable institutions. Correspondence generally concerns the creation, exhibition, sale, and reception of Cornell's art work; his "explorations" and other research and collecting activities; his preoccupations with certain individuals and motifs; his usual practices of giving gifts of art work to those he liked or admired and making donations to charities in aid of those less fortunate; and his relationships and shared interests with family, friends, and colleagues. Also found is correspondence between and amongst various other members of the Cornell family, including, most notably, Robert Cornell's letters to his sisters, Elizabeth (typically addressed as Nell) and Helen.
Dating from 1941 to 1972, Cornell's diaries span almost the entirety of his career as an artist, which began in earnest when he left his job at the Traphagen textile studio in 1940 to pursue art full-time and ended with his death in 1972. The diaries record his day-to-day experiences (usually comprising his thoughts, feelings, impressions, and ideas); and reflect on his various art projects (boxes, films, and collages) and creative activities ("explorations," and various other research, collecting, and publishing ventures). They also explore many of the themes and underlying concerns of his art work; and document his intense preoccupations with certain individuals, his wide-ranging interests, and the interconnectedness of his ideas and activities. Cornell's style of writing in the diaries tends to be stream-of-conscious with entries being composed of phrases, rather than complete sentences and with the progression of passages being more poetic and associative than either logical or narrative. He tended to compose by hand, occasionally typing up his notes into more formal entries, and also to use abbreviations for oft-repeated words and initials for individuals. At times, his handwriting can be difficult to read, and his references can be difficult to decipher. It was also common practice for him to review or revisit previous entries at various points in time, often making revisions or comments on them with dated annotations in the margins or on the reverse side of a page.
Cornell's source material is largely comprised of files of newspaper and magazine clippings, cutouts, notes, writings, book excerpts, photostats (or stats), prints, postcards, art reproductions, and other printed material. Some files are devoted to people (ballerinas, actresses, singers, artists, and writers) and topics (astronomy, romantic and modern ballet, birds, films, literature, music, plants, and science, among others). Other files relate to specific art works, "explorations," publishing projects, and exhibitions. Source material documents Cornell's preoccupation with certain individuals (past and present), events, subjects, and motifs; the development of some of his major "explorations" and their influence on his various artistic and commercial projects; and his work on certain box constructions and collages, publishing ventures, and exhibition catalogues. Source material also sheds light on Cornell's efforts to gain access to the past; his interest in the symbolism of images and objects; the linkages he found between seemingly unrelated things; and the connections between his many creative endeavors.
Ephemera and artifacts include various objects, mementos, and items of memorabilia, some of which were accumulated by Cornell (in much the same way that he collected his source material) and some of which are of uncertain origin. For Cornell, items such as these were not merely inanimate objects, but were instead evocative of past worlds and capable of bringing the past into the present (an idea which he often expressed in his diaries as the "metaphysique d'ephemera"). He seems to have used some of these items in a layout he designed for Good Housekeeping. Other items may have been used as source material for some of his box constructions.
The collection also houses photographs of Cornell, his family, art work, other artists, and friends, as well as photographs taken by various individuals and publicity photographs from the New York City Ballet. Also found are scattered works of art, including collage fragments and Rorschachs (or ink blot drawings) by Cornell, collages by Cornell's sister, Betty Cornell Benton, on which he collaborated, and a box by Christine Kaufman, which was a gift to Cornell. The books in the collection most likely comprise the remainder of Cornell's library, which was transferred to the Joseph Cornell Study Center, and include some that seem to have belonged to his sister, Betty. Printed material includes various publications and clippings collected by Cornell apart from that which he collected as source material. Writings about Cornell include an article by the poet, Mina Loy, and copies of various theses, presentations, and articles by graduate students in art history received by Benton (who assisted them in their research).
The Joseph Cornell Estate Papers consist of correspondence relating to Betty Cornell Benton's administration of the part of Cornell's estate for which she was responsible and legal documents relating to her various legal disputes with the executors of the estate, as well as a limited amount of printed material, some of which was originally accumulated by Cornell and subsequently shared with Benton, and miscellaneous papers belonging to Benton and their mother, Helen S. Cornell. Estate Papers provide insight on the exhibition and sale of Cornell art works after his death; the disposition of his belongings (including art work, papers, books, records, and source material); and Benton's efforts to foster and safeguard the memory and legacy of Cornell. The Robert Cornell Papers include correspondence, writings, art works, photographs, printed material, and scattered financial and personal records, documenting the full and creative life Robert led despite being confined to a wheelchair. Their inclusion in the collection suggests the family's effort to foster Robert's memory.
Arrangement and Series Description
The collection is arranged into eleven series:
- Series 1: Biographical Material, 1918-1972, 1975 (Box 1; 0.8 linear feet)
- Series 2: Correspondence, 1909-1982 (Boxes 1-5; 4.2 linear feet)
- Series 3: Diaries, 1941-1973 (Boxes 6-10; 5 linear feet)
- Series 4: Source Material, 1804-1972 (Boxes 11-18, 25-28, OV 29; 8.5 linear feet)
- Series 5: Ephemera and Artifacts, 1858-1946 (Boxes 18, 23; 0.8 linear feet)
- Series 6: Photographs, circa 1905-1972 (Boxes 18, 28; 0.3 linear feet)
- Series 7: Art Works, circa 1966-1971 (Boxes 19, 23; 0.2 linear feet)
- Series 8: Books and Printed Material, 1806-1968 (Boxes 19, 23; 0.5 linear feet)
- Series 9: Writings about Cornell, 1950, circa 1975-1980 (Box 19; 0.3 linear feet)
- Series 10: Joseph Cornell Estate Papers, circa 1911, 1944-1986 (Boxes 19-22; 3.5 linear feet)
- Series 11: Robert Cornell Papers, 1924-1965 (Boxes 24, 28; 0.4 linear feet)
Subjects and Names
This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:
- Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York
- Assemblage (Art)
- Found objects (Art)
- Art, Modern -- 20th century -- United States
- Assemblage artists -- New York (State) -- New York
Types of Materials:
- Works of art
- Benton, Elizabeth Cornell
- Cornell, Robert
The Joseph Cornell papers were donated and microfilmed in several installments from 1974 to 1989 by Joseph Cornell's sister, Betty Cornell Benton. Most, but not all, of the correspondence, which was loaned for microfilming in 1974, was subsequently donated in 1989. Additional material was donated in 2004 by the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.
Separated and Related Materials
The bulk of Cornell's source material resides in the Joseph Cornell Study Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum, along with his library and record collection. Cornell's sister, Betty Cornell Benton, donated a portion of this material directly to SAAM (then known as the National Museum of American Art), occasioning the creation of the Study Center circa 1978. The bulk of the source material and library that she donated to AAA, including approximately 66 linear feet of three-dimensional and non-textual source material and 50 linear feet of books, was transferred to the Study Center in 1994 and 1995.
Originals of loaned material returned to the donor after microfilming include: some unidentified and miscellaneous correspondence; significant correspondence between Joseph Cornell and Helen S. Cornell; significant correspondence between Helen S. Cornell, family members and others; and some of Joseph Cornell's family correspondence and general correspondence from the Robert Cornell papers. The loaned material is available on microfilm reels 1055-1058 but is not described further in the Series Descriptions/Container Listing of this finding aid.
The Archives holds several collections of different provenance that relate to Joseph Cornell, including the small collections of Allison Delarue (comprised of two letters from Cornell, available on reel 2803), Muriel Streeter Schwartz (comprised of two letters from Cornell, available on reel 4283), Wayne Andrews (comprised of letters from Cornell and printed material), and Marion Netter (comprised of items received from Cornell). In addition, photographs of Cornell can be found amongst the Hans Namuth photographs and papers. Also found within the Archives is a transcribed interview of Cornell's sister, Elizabeth Cornell Benton, conducted on April 21, 1976 as part of the oral history program.
How the Collection was Processed
Portions of the collection received a preliminary level of processing at some point after donation. The collection was typically microfilmed in the order in which it was donated on reels 1058-1077, 1315, and 2729, except for the last donation by Benton, comprised of the Joseph Cornell Estate Papers and Robert Cornell Papers, and the additional material donated by the Trust, which were never microfilmed. The entire collection was fully processed, arranged, and described by Jennifer Meehan in 2004 and 2005 and the bulk of it was scanned in 2006 and 2009, with funding provided by the Getty Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.
How to Use the Collection
Restrictions on Use
Use of the original papers requires an appointment.
Ownership & Literary Rights
The Joseph Cornell 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.
The bulk of the collection was digitized in 2006 and 2009 and is available online via AAA's website.. Duplicate material and ephemeral artifacts have not been digitized. Other material not digitized includes printed material such as books, magazines and exhibition catalogs for artists other than Cornell; typically only covers, title pages, and/or relevant pages of these items have been digitized.
How to Cite this Collection
Joseph Cornell papers, 1804-1986, bulk 1939-1972. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Detailed Description and Container Inventory
Biographical Material, 1918-1972, 1975
(box 1; 0.8 linear feet)
Series consists of material relating to some of Cornell's personal and professional dealings apart from his more artistic activities and shedding light on some different aspects of his biography. Included are: a school paper on Harry Houdini and a program from Cornell's days as a student at Andover; miscellaneous family papers (such as typescripts of Helen S. Cornell's writings as a child, a baptism notice for Robert Cornell, and Betty Cornell Benton's notes on family history); various personal papers (including Cornell's psalm book, some notes and jottings exchanged between Cornell and his family, and papers such as notes, correspondence, exhibition announcements, dream writings, ink blot drawings, and other material, which may have been those in his desk at the time of his death); official documents (such as copies of Cornell's birth and death certificates, and social security cards); address books; scattered business records (such as notes and correspondence with galleries, including the Egan Gallery, Stable Gallery, Richard Feigen Gallery, and Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, regarding consignment and sales of art work); scattered financial records (such as notes on income and expenses, receipts, and income tax returns); scattered legal records regarding the estate of Helen S. Cornell; and notes (including copies of Cornell's notes on art work and his "Rationale" most likely collected by Benton, his notes on the Bebe Marie doll, and his notes to his family in case of his death). Related material can be found amongst Cornell's estate papers.
Material is, for the most part, arranged into files according to format or documentary type. Files are arranged alphabetically.
The bulk of this series has been scanned with the exception of routine financial records and receipts.
(boxes 1-5; 4.2 linear feet)
Series is comprised of Cornell's personal and professional correspondence, primarily consisting of letters, postcards, and greeting cards to Cornell from family, friends, artists, dealers, collectors, galleries, museums, admirers, "helpers," and charitable institutions. Also included, to a lesser extent, are letters between and amongst other members of the Cornell family. While Cornell did not usually make copies of his outgoing correspondence, he often wrote various versions of a letter. Several examples of these can be found amongst his correspondence, though it is unclear whether or not they represent letters that were actually sent. Files also include notes and printed material that pertain to various (often notable) individuals and/or institutions. Though most likely not actual correspondents, these individuals and institutions were of interest to Cornell in one way or another, which presumably led him to collect this material. Based upon this collecting activity, there is some overlap between correspondence and source material. Correspondence relating to Cornell and his artwork can be found amongst his estate papers.
In general, the correspondence is heavily annotated by Cornell's sister, Betty Cornell Benton, who prepared his papers for donation to the Archives. In her annotations, Benton often supplies the last name of the correspondent and sometimes the date of the letter when these are not provided. Other times, she provides information about or commentary on the correspondent and his/her relations with Cornell.
According to some of Benton's annotations, it seems likely that Cornell may have originally maintained some, if not all, of his correspondence in chronological files. At some point, correspondence was organized alphabetically according to the surname of the correspondent or name of institution. It is not clear whether this was carried out by Cornell, his sister, or someone in the Archives. The existing alphabetical organization has been maintained since, with so many undated letters, it would be impossible to reconstruct a meaningful chronological order.
In the existing arrangement, general correspondence, family correspondence, and greeting cards were maintained separately in distinct groupings of files. Based upon this, the Correspondence series is arranged as three subseries:
- 2.1: General Correspondence, 1909-1982
- 2.2: Family Correspondence, 1909-1977
- 2.3: Greeting Cards, 1956-1972
This series has been scanned in entirety.
2.1: General Correspondence, 1909-1982
Subseries consists of correspondence between Cornell and friends, artists, dealers, collectors, galleries, museums, admirers, individuals whom he admired or with whom he was especially preoccupied, "helpers," and charitable institutions. Included are letters (in some instances, with photographs or poems enclosed), postcards, and greeting cards, as well as some art work, three-dimensional objects, and artifacts. Also included are some notes and printed material, such as newspaper and magazine clippings, pamphlets, brochures, publications, and publicity material, pertaining to individuals, institutions, and/or topics in which Cornell had a particular interest.
Correspondence documents some of Cornell's activities involved in creating his art work, such as his practice of using multiple copies of a single image in many of his works (as in a letter from John Allen referring to Cornell's order for multiple prints of a Loie Fuller image); his early attempts to advertise his art work (as in letters from the Blaker Advertising Agency, Columbia Records, Inc., and N. W. Ayer and Son); and his later, oftentimes hesitant, transactions with galleries and dealers, including Irving Blum, Charles Egan, Richard Feigen, Julien Levy, Robert Schoelkopf, and Eleanor Ward (See also Series 1). Correspondence relates to the sale of his art work to galleries and individual collectors, and the exhibition of his art work in museums, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum (See Diane Waldman and Tom Messer), Pasadena Art Museum, and Whitney Museum (See also John Baur).
The positive reception of Cornell's art work is documented in many letters from admirers (including poet, Paul Carroll, who wrote two poems about Cornell's art work, the Fourth Grade Class at Murray Avenue School, actress, Eva Marie Saint, and author, Glenway Wescott, among others). The critical reception of Cornell's art work is documented in the many letters from people who have written or express interest in writing an article about Cornell (including Howard Griffin from Art News, David Bourdon from Life magazine, and Brian O'Doherty, author of American Masters: The Voice and the Myth, among others).
Correspondence also concerns some of Cornell's major "explorations," including ones on the singers, Maria Malibran and Giuditta Pasta (as in letters from the English scholar, Richard Coe), and the ballerina, Fanny Cerrito (as in letters from Lillian Moore). Correspondence relates to his other research and collecting activities and includes numerous letters responding to his requests for information and/or material from institutions, such as the Harvard College Library, dealers, such as C. and I. K. Fletcher, and individuals, such as Marian Hannah Winter.
Correspondence documents Cornell's preoccupations with certain dancers (such as Allegra Kent, Tanaquil LeClerq, and Tamara Toumanova), actresses (such as Lois Smith), artists (Lee Bontecou), and other young women; his relationships with other artists, both young and established, including Piero Dorazio, Ray Johnson, Hubert Kappel, Roberto Matta Echauren, Dorothea Tanning, and Pavel Tchelitchew, among others; and his friendships and shared interests with individuals, such as Wayne Andrews, Charles Henri Ford, Parker Tyler, Donald Windham, and Marian Hannah Winter (their letters often entailing an exchange of ideas on topics such as literature, music, dance, art, and the pleasures of collecting). Correspondence also documents his generosity (in terms of gift giving) toward his friends (and their children) and individuals whom he admired (as in letters and notes of thanks for gifts of art work from Valerie Adams, George Bennette, Lee Bontecou, Susan Sontag, Jessica Tandy, and Tamara Toumanova, among others); and his generosity toward institutions providing public services to the less fortunate (as in letters acknowledging and expressing gratitude for donations from the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind and the Bedside Network, among others).
General correspondence is arranged in files according to correspondent and then alphabetically according the surname of the individual or the name of the institution. Items are arranged in rough chronological order within each file. When only a few items (typically less than three) are associated with a correspondent, these are arranged into general alphabetical files. Unidentified and miscellaneous items are arranged into files at the end of the subseries.
Toumanova, Tamara, 1941-1945, 1967, undated
Includes pieces of material from Toumanova's Firebird, Giselle, and Capricio costumes, as well as a dried flower from her garden and a St. Christopher pin.
|4||2||Tyler, Parker, 1939-1955, 1967, undated|
|4||3||T, 1933-1960, undated|
|4||5||Victor, Joan Berg and Daniel, 1964-1972, undated|
|4||6||V, 1934-1971, undated|
|4||7||Wade, Jane, 1959-1972, undated|
|4||8||Waldman, Diane (Guggenheim Museum) and Paul, 1967, undated|
|4||9||Whitney Museum of American Art, 1962-1963, 1966|
|4||10||Windham, Donald, 1946-1970, undated|
|4||11||Winter, Marian Hannah, 1948-1952|
W, 1934, 1951-1972, undated
Includes letters from: Glenway Wescott, Monroe Wheeler (Museum of Modern Art), Trevor Winkfield, Jerome Paul Witkin, Worcester Art Museum, and actress Fay Wray.
|4||14||Young, Vivienne, 1966-1970|
|4||15||Z, 1963, undated|
|4||16||Unidentified Collage Letters, undated|
|4||17||Unidentified and Miscellaneous Letters, 1944-1971, undated|
2.2: Family Correspondence, 1909-1977
Subseries consists of correspondence between Cornell and various members of his immediate family, including his mother, Helen S. Cornell, his sisters, Betty Cornell Benton (often addressed as Nell) and Helen Jagger, his nieces, Sissy (Jagger) Batcheller and Jean (Jagger) Plitt, and various cousins. Some printed material, primarily clippings sent to Cornell by his mother while she was living in Westhampton during her last years, can also be found. Subseries also consists of correspondence between and amongst other members of the family, including many of those listed above, as well as Cornell's brother, Robert (subseries includes only correspondence from him), his father, Joseph I. Cornell, and his cousins, Grace Sayres and Janet (Voorhis) Traphagen. Correspondence received by Robert Cornell can be found amongst his papers in Series 11.
Cornell's family correspondence documents his close and on-going relationships with his mother, sisters, and nieces; the large role that his family played in both his personal and creative life; the many interests he shared with his siblings, including art, literature, music, and Christian Science; and his collaborative work on collages with his sister, Betty. The one important family relationship not explicitly documented in the correspondence is Cornell's relationship with his brother, Robert. Since they lived together up until the month before Robert died, they did not exchange letters in a regular fashion. Some cards and notes between the two are scattered amongst Cornell's personal papers and diaries, as well as amongst Robert's papers. To a certain extent, Cornell's diary entries also document his relationship with his brother.
Family correspondence files are arranged alphabetically according to the surname of the correspondent. Items within the files are arranged in rough chronological order.
|4||18||Batcheller, Sissy (to and from Cornell), 1963-1970, undated|
|4||19||Benton, Betty Cornell (to and from Cornell), 1948-1972, undated|
|4||20||Benton, Betty Cornell (to and from other family members), 1919-1925, undated|
Cornell, Helen S. (to and from Cornell), circa 1920, 1953, 1963-1967, undated
Includes letters from Cornell while he was a student at Andover.
|4||22||Cornell, Joseph I. (to and from other family members), 1909, 1916|
Cornell, Robert (to Nell and Jack Benton), 1921-1965, undated
Cornell, Robert (to Nell and Jack Benton), Postcards, 1934-1958
Cornell, Robert (to Nell and Jack Benton), Greeting Cards, 1942-1965, undated
Cornell, Robert (to Nell and Jack Benton), Greeting Cards, 1942-1965, undated
|5||5||Cornell, Robert (to Helen S. Cornell), Greeting Cards, 1961, undated|
|5||6||Cornell, Robert (to Helen, Archie, and Sissy Jagger), 1935-1941, 1958|
|5||7||Cornell, Robert (to Emma Storms), 1920-1925, undated|
|5||8||Hand, Ray (to Cornell), 1966, undated|
Jagger, Helen (to and from Cornell), 1960-1971, undated
|5||12||McMonegal family (to Cornell), 1945-1971, 1977, undated|
|5||13||Plitt, Jean (to and from Cornell), 1946-1971, undated|
Sayres, Grace (to other family members), 1950-1971, undated
Includes letters to Helen S. Cornell (dating from 1950 to 1964) and to Betty Cornell Benton and siblings (dating from 1966 to 1971).
|5||18||Storms, Ethel (to Cornell), undated|
|5||19||Traphagen, Janet (to Cornell and his mother), 1965-1966, undated|
2.3: Greeting Cards, 1956-1972
Subseries consists of holiday and birthday greeting cards to Cornell from family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, as well as some greeting cards that were signed by Cornell but never sent.
Greeting cards are arranged in general alphabetical files according to correspondent. Unidentified, miscellaneous, and unsent cards are arranged in files at the end of the subseries.
|5||20||A, 1968-1971, undated|
B, 1962-1972, undated
|5||25||C, 1960-1972, undated|
|5||26||D, 1957-1970, undated|
|5||27||E, 1956-1971, undated|
|5||28||F, 1968-1969, undated|
|5||29||G, 1968-1970, undated|
|5||30||H, 1966-1970, undated|
|5||31||I-J, 1965-1969, undated|
|5||32||K-L, 1960-1970, undated|
|5||33||M, 1957-1971, undated|
|5||35||P, 1960-1972, undated|
|5||36||R, 1962, undated|
|5||37||S, 1956-1971, undated|
|5||38||T, 1966-1972, undated|
|5||39||U, 1957-1972, undated|
|5||40||W, 1962-1972, undated|
|5||41||Unidentified and Miscellaneous, 1966-1969, undated|
|5||42||Unsent Cards, 1968-1970, undated|
(boxes 6-10; 5 linear feet)
Series is comprised of Cornell's diaries, which are unconventional in form, consisting of entries, notes, and writings recorded on loose sheets and scraps of paper, as well as in the margins of newspapers, on the backs of used envelopes, on creased paper bags, napkins, labels, train tickets, library slips, blank telegram forms, calling cards, and parts of bakery boxes. Included are other items, such as TV Guide pages, dried leaves and flowers, cutouts, plastic and metal objects, and a part of a whisk broom, collected by Cornell presumably because they related, in one way or another, to what he was recording.
Diaries record Cornell's day-to-day experiences (sometimes in very minute detail), with allusions to: the books he read, the music he listened to, the films he watched, and the many "sparkings" he received from them; his various finds ("trouvailles") while hunting for material; his thoughts and practices relating to Christian Science; the meals and snacks he ate; the places he went and the sights he saw during his city wanderings; the evocations brought on by ordinary, everyday things; the tensions at home; the people who visited him; the "teeners," "fees," and other women who captured his imagination; his dreamings and awakenings; and his thoughts, feelings, impressions, and ideas during the course of a day.
Diaries also record and reflect on Cornell's various art projects, with references to particular box constructions, box series, collages, and films on which he is working, and to ideas and inspirations for new projects, as well as some commentary on his chosen mediums, the creative process, and the final products. They explore many of the themes that recur in Cornell's art work, including, among others, his fascination with actresses and ballerinas of the past and present, and his abiding appreciation of birds, the night sky, and nature. They also reflect on many of the ideas and concerns underlying his art work and other creative activities, such as his preoccupation with the past, his notions of "metaphysique d'ephemera" (the metaphysical aspects of ephemera) and "the beauty of the commonplace," and his concern to recapture past experiences in his art works and other projects.
Diaries record and reflect on Cornell's wide-ranging "explorations," ranging from GC 44 (with references to his initial experiences during the time he was working at the Garden Centre nursery, and to his subsequent and on-going attempts to recreate the flavor and atmosphere of those days) to Portrait of Ondine (with references to the early inspirations of discovering a portrait of Fanny Cerrito and of seeing a vision of her in a warehouse window, and to his later efforts to compile and create an "unauthorized biography" of the ballerina). They also refer to his many other creative activities, including various research and collecting ventures, such as regular browsing in secondhand book stalls and stores, visits to the library, accumulating material and compiling files on people and topics; and various publishing ventures, such as his contributions to Dance Index and View, and his self-publications, Maria and Bel Canto Pet. They comment on the act of keeping a diary, expressing many times over some of Cornell's deepest concerns about the necessity and difficulty of trying to capture experience "before it fades" and the discrepancy between the original experience and the "cataloguing" of it in writing.
Diaries document Cornell's on-going preoccupations with certain historical and cultural figures, such as the ballerinas, Marie Taglioni and Fanny Cerrito, the singers, Maria Malibran and Raquel Meller, various composers (from Mozart to Satie), the author, Gerard de Nerval, the artists, Delacroix and Vermeer, and various actresses of stage and screen (from Jeanne Eagels to Claire Bloom). Later diaries are taken up with Cornell's episodic preoccupations with various young women he encountered along Main Street (waitresses and shopgirls) or at home ("helpers," young artists, and friends).
Distinguishing between consistently dated material that was organized into chronological files and mostly undated material that was organized into bulk files, the Diaries series is arranged into two subseries:
This series has been scanned in entirety.
3.1: Diary Entries, 1941-1972
Subseries consists of files of consistently dated entries, notes, writings, and other material. The files, which comprise the vast majority of the series, are arranged chronologically according to how Cornell likely accumulated, maintained, and used them. The bulk of the entries are hand-written, though typed entries are common during the period from the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s. The extent of the diaries, both in number and length of entries, increases with each year Cornell kept them. In the later diaries, it is not uncommon to find several entries for a given day.
The file descriptions below are meant to provide researchers with some sense of the contents of Cornell's diary entries, but are by no means exhaustive.
Includes references to: Ondine box, Fanny Cerrito, and article on Hedy Lamarr for View magazine; various entries for 1944 written in 1947; as well as writings, "Windows and Fanny Cerrito, Discovery - 1940" and "Fanny Cerrito Album" (with some comments by Marianne Moore).
Includes references to: a phone conversation with Mina Loy, Bacall box, "Clowns, Elephants and Ballerinas" project for Dance Index, 3rd swan box, principle of "metaphysique d'ephemera," Christian Science (abbreviated as C.S.), and meeting with Salvador Dali.
Includes references to: owl box, natural history boxes, Lauren Bacall box, Jennifer Jones Clown Box, reminiscences and evocations (instances when one thing reminds him of another thing), and "the beauty of the commonplace."
Includes references to: Soap Bubble Set series, Homage to Romantic Ballet, C.S. treatment, Gerard de Nerval, GC 44, meeting with Louise Bourgeois in the library, "Aeolus" perfume spread for Vogue, and parrot box; as well as entries for 1944.
Includes references to: "lattice" bird box, Bacall box, fixing up cellar for a workshop, Jean Cocteau's film La Belle et la Bete, C.S., and GC 44; as well as writings, "A White Crested Cockatoo (for Blanche DuBois)," dedicated to Tennessee Williams, and "The Sign of the Sparrow," reminiscencing about Mr. Goldsmith's bookshop.
Includes references to: Raquel Meller (Spanish singer of Gypsy love songs), Rose Hobart film, GC 44, and Hans Christian Andersen.
Includes references to: Vermeer, a "mechanism" for the new "hotel" windows, Dove Cote #2, de Kooning's statement about the "architecture" of the bird boxes, work space, parakeet box, Aviary series, Raquel Meller, new Soap Bubble Sets, Parmigianino box, work for Vogue, "Moutarde Dijon" box, Night Songs exhibition, and windowed constellation boxes.
Includes references to: Night Songs exhibition, bird boxes, the Ondine experience of years ago, Sand Fountains, Figaro cover for Vogue, Garden Center, dream (night of April 16th), GC 44, "Windows and Fanny Cerrito," and the habit of accumulating.
Includes references to: new Hotel box, bird box, Ondine, "Hotel Pelican," Vermeer box, Chocolate Menier, Gozzoli box, trip to Westhampton (September), "Hotel de l'Univers," "Hotel Observatoire," GC 44, observations of the night sky, Matta letter, and Lesson Sermons.
Includes references to: "compartment" letter to Matta, Adirondack vacation of 1921 or 1922, "Sonia Sekula box," Colombier box, Sailor's star box, "Hotel Savoi" cockatoo, "Hotel de l'Univers #2," "Hotel s. Lumiere (Gozzoli de Medici)," "Hotel Observatoire," and variant of Medici Slot Machine; as well as a version of letter to de Kooning and an article excerpt, "No Artist Can Be His Own Universe" by Sidney J. Harris (copied by Cornell).
Includes references to: Giuditta Pasta (19th-century Italian opera singer), feelings about romantic ladies of the past, show at the Egan Gallery, Mozart, Schumann, and Beethoven.
Includes references to: Westhampton Fall '51 entries, works in progress like Portrait of Ondine, Crystal Cage, and The Floral Still Life, GC 44 experiences, and the "ephemera of faces seen but once."
Includes references to: making cellar into a more dignified workroom, a discovery in the bookshop, Colombier wooden balls, sand fountains, and The Celestial Aviary; as well as writing, "Dog-Day Jottings."
Includes references to: the Cerrito album, "wandering," and the living present as an antidote to too much speculation about the past.
Includes references to: new versions of Rose Hobart film, trip to Westhampton; as well as a version of letter to Elizabeth Pollett.
Includes references to: Night Sky box, evocations of former train trips to the city, Nostalgia of Sea collage, Bird with Shoe-Button Eyes, Little Dancer, reading Emily Dickinson (abbreviated as E.D.), and time of "Climate of Eden" activity; as well as an entry labeled "non-diary."
Includes references to: rediscovery of E.D., GC 44, Nedick's store windows, the "Aviary" experiences, Night Voyage exhibit, "Figurehead Soap Bubble Set," Claire Bloom box, and new Medici box; as well as a version of letter to Geraldine Page.
Includes references to: diary keeping, "delight in the commonplace," working on Pinturicchio Boy, dream of Zizi Jeanmarie, the New York Public Library, Antiques Fair, Delacroix, and Rothko.
Includes references to: Pasta, the opera "Cenerentola" (Cinderella), the Raquel Meller period, the Somnambula LP, Magritte's "Empire of Lights," inspiration for developing boxes of the architectural type with poster walls and heads of youth, preoccupation with working in another medium or format, work on Medici prince, "find" of Racine (1808), Bibliomania project, and diary keeping.
Includes references to: wanderlust, "pull" between working on boxes and "explorations," "Sylphide-Apotheose (for Giuditta Pasta)," "Colombier Dove-cotes," and Elizabeth Bowen; version of letter to Mr. Huth regarding his (Cornell's) influences; version of thank-you letter to record company for Somnambula recording.
Includes references to: windows (boxes, the outlook from the Westhampton cabin, and views from subway door-opening), need for recording the present mood and impossibility of capturing the "exact flavor of days," Celestial Theater, Adelaide Crapsey, De Severac-Chabrier preoccupations, and 2nd trip to Westhampton.
Includes references to: going over Rilke's letters, GC 44 and Cerrito 1940 experiences, new Parmigianino box, Valerie dossier, Auriga box, a visit to the Morgan Library, and "a Parrot for Juan Gris."
Includes references to: GC 44, Little Dancer, Berenice experiences, Dickinson poem, Adolphe Adams (composer), "Gris" cockatoo, and Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite.
Includes references to: Julie Harris in Mademoiselle Colombe, GC 44 experience, work in cellar on Medici Princess, "cellar mood," and backyard scene of birds in the quince tree.
Includes references to: Maria Malibran, Pauline Viardot-Garcia, the Cerrito experiences, sense of the past coming to life via books and experiences with browsing, deep desire to reach young people through art work, Dessert du Roi box, and the film, Children of Paradise.
Includes references to: Audrey Hepburn preoccupation and the effect of extreme temperatures.
Includes references to: sorting newspaper clippings, "The Caliph of Bagdad" heard over the radio, the "dragging McCarthy hearings," Auriga, Andromeda, GC 44, and Vermeer box.
Includes references to: 2 Juan Gris cockatoos, music (including "Caliph of Bagdad," Fourth Symphony of Mahler, Schubert octet, Haydn "Bird" quartet, and Beethoven #1 Quartet), GC 44 and Lawrence homestead "pilgrimmages," Ludwig suitcase material, Soap Bubble sets, and Raquel Meller.
Includes references to: reading Ondine by Giraudoux, appreciation of Ondine experiences via Cerrito-Fourth Ave., "coincidence" of working on Dovecote and listening to "Somnambula," new collage application to Gozzoli "Prince," Berenice and GC 44 experiences, refurbishing the yellow Vermeer box, and Pink Girl and Donkey on Corona billboard; as well as commentary on the relationship between diary keeping and box construction.
Includes references to: modus operandi of listening to music, burning desire to reach young people, more flexible modus operandi of images vs. objects (boxes), C.S., and leg ailment.
Includes references to: "Maria" brochure, Berlioz, Beethoven, Little Dancer dream of GC 44; commentary on the creation process and the finished product.
Includes references to: Sun box, experiences in browsing, three-dimensional work and other projects in progress, Cockatoo box, Corona girl and donkey, windfall of scrapbook material from Brousseau, Juan Gris, family tension, and Malibran period.
Includes references to: Ann - a memory by De Quincey, bird boxes, city wanderings of Whitman period, Dovecote Colombier, Julie Lespinasse, E.D. and inspiration for the Dovecote series, "harvesting" in secondhand bookstores, "warm atmosphere" of cellar workroom, Nicolas Berdyaer's Dream and Reality, and "explorations" such as Cerrito, Pasta, and Malibran.
Includes references to: Malibran, "Corona house," sense of the past in the present, and his frustration with the medium of boxes.
Includes references to: mobile effects in Bird Boxes, smile of counter girl (E.D. type), and "Night Songs" exhibition at Egan Gallery in 1950.
Includes references to: Schumann's Spring Symphony, Andromeda, "Aviary" follow-up, Zizi's canary, Lesson Sermon, and the Iolas Gallery; as well as reflections on diary keeping.
Includes references to: "Maria" brochure, Tilly Losch, Vermeer, Fourth Avenue, Lucile Grahn, making film with Stan Brakhage, and "Little Malibran" sighting.
Includes references to: Lucile Grahn, Berenice feeling, Cerrito "findings," Corona backyards seen from the El, GC 44 bike rides, Hotel de L'Etoile, Hotel Du Bon Port, Andromeda, and "Le Caliph of Bagdad" cockatoo box (for Boieledieu-Adam); as well as reflections on diary keeping.
Includes references to: "Hotel Andromeda," Eluard sparking, Carlotta Grisi, Einstein, Corona houses, Cerrito popping off the page of an old Harvard catalogue on theater, working in cellar with urge for town, and reaction to panorama over Flushing Creek.
Includes references to: Hotel Andromeda, Juan Gris Cockatoo, sorting and preparing "Maria" brochures, Vermeer boxes, "secrets of childhood" box, and dismantling of Parmigianino box; as well as dried flowers.
Includes references to: "Paul and Virginia" box, work on Cerrito, Lucile Grahn white wall box, and "foreign feeling about boxes."
Includes references to: "Eurydice" at counter, Pasta cockatoo, preoccupation with "Bel Canto Pet," Cerrito filing, exhibition at Stable Gallery, Gwen Van Dam, "owl for Gwendoline," Motherwell call, and Lesson Sermon.
Includes references to: gallery presentation of Vermeer boxes, metamorphosis of Soap Bubble Set, Hurricane Connie and its aftermath, "Nostalgia of the Sea," Room 43 experience of first meeting Gwen, compartment work in jetsam pharmacy, assembly of "L'Humeur Vagabonde," Sheree North, visit by Stan Brakhage, and "Midsummer Portrait" scenario.
Includes references to: cellar work, "The Typewriter" (play starring Gwen Van Dam), windfall of books and LPs, Durer box, Jeanne's box, Parmigianino girl, Gwen's planet box, "Dien Bien Phu," "Cote d'Emerande," domestic tension, GC 44, Third Avenue El project with Stan Brakhage, and Lucile Grahn.
Includes references to: sun boxes, Dukas box, encounter with Botticellian girl, Fanny Cerrito, and "Eurydice" in Bickford's.
Includes references to: the urge to do more with color, Pasta cockatoo, GC 44 College Point diner experience, home tension, film shooting in Union Square, Spanish teenagers evoking Raquel Meller and Malibran, Suzanne Miller, Chopin sparking, and "The Lamp-Maker."
Includes references to: talks with Suzanne and evocation of old buildings from William Whitman days.
Includes references to: butterfly collage of Jackie, Whitney Colombier, Haydn's "Lark" Quartet, working on film Aviary, apricot fee, "Lampmaker" parrot, and Little Durer compartment.
Includes references to: 1940 Malibran extravaganzas, disappearance of Third Avenue El, cellar jotting, generous payment for "Christmas Research" for Vogue, golden days of gallery trotting, appreciation of stars, frustration with "explorations," Mahler #7, and Morgan Library.
Includes references to: apricot fee, orange dahlia (for Sheree North), Delacroix, Vermeer, check from Stable Gallery, film work with Rudy Burckhardt, reviewing box of Cerrito material, working on bird boxes, Lois Smith sparking, and dream about Andover.
Includes references to: creative listening, "correspondence" between Satie music and bird box, Portraits of Women, Cocteau clipping file, Acadian Songs and Dance, and Julie de Lespinasse.
Includes references to: Ondine, Linda Howard, Satie, Antiques Fair, Pasta experience in Woolworth's, Children's Room (NYPL), Rilke, and Fanny Cerrito "exploration"; as well as commentary on diary keeping.
Includes references to: Suzanne Miller and film Fable for Fountains, Satie music, bus to College Point, GC 44, Schubert #3, lamp maker parrot, and Grahn.
Includes references to: Allegra Kent, Taglioni's "Le Papillon," new Lucile Grahn box, Fifene experience, cellar mood vs. city wanderlusting, Cockatoo for Pasta, seeing the film La Strada, Allegra box, and "Le Retour de la Sylphide."
Includes references to: Joseph Weitz visit to cellar, Lois Smith, Portraits of Women, Frumkin visit, Etchika Choureau (French actress), evocation of Lawrence homestead and GC 44, phenomenon of overemotionalism, Chopin "Etudes," Wanamaker's demolition, Bird Room project, "find" in biography of Merrimee about 12 year-old ballerina, Sylvia Lijou, clue to Cerrito experience, and Pasta and cabbages.
Includes references to: box for Holderlin, "grand tour" of the book stalls and "trouvaille" of three old French books, Hotel Salamander, Hotel Valencia, many Cerrito NYC experiences, and GC 44.
Includes references to: bike ride, Hotel Valencia alias Salamander, Grahn, St. Saens Egyptian piano concerto, intangible "visitations," and "holidays of the mind."
Includes references to: work on collage, Jackie, "Alpine Game," film work with Rudy Burckhardt, and work on Aviary film.
Includes references to: reminder of girl and donkey on poster in Corona Houses folio, dream of Nyack, Jackie Lane (English starlet), new variant of Forgotten Game, Hummingbird collage, "Little Malibran," "Andromeda," and difficulty of reaching people through exhibiting art work in galleries.
Includes references to: constellations, Helen Keller on TV, revision of sun image box, work on new cube box, Rose Fried (art dealer), Pepys sun diary sparking, Melissa Hayden in "The Nutcracker," Delacroix warmth, and Debussy.
Includes references to: Bird Box, consolation of Liszt, cellar working, Medici Princess, new kind of collage, sparkings from clippings, appreciation of Jackie butterfly collage, new owl box, dream of Broadway during William Whitman days, cellar carpentry on Medici boxes, Pinturicchio Boy, reading of "Ruth" by Claire Bloom, Dukas, Pasta's Parrot, new night skies and small Colombier, Durer box, new "spirit-level" Soap Bubble Set, and creative reading in Night Songs folder.
Includes references to: Pasta Parrot, Grahn, Claire Bloom, Jackie collages, Sun Box, diary entries, increasing difficuly of overcharged emotions, feeling for reaching young people through art work, Chamber Street fee, grace de fee teenager, and the new Vermeer girl.
Includes references to: Judy Tyler, Vermeer girl, Oswaldo box "Il Signor il Sole," Sheree North, Judy Tyler box #2 "Suzy's Sun," and Schumann.
Includes references to: fee d'or, Jackie butterfly, "Little Loredana," sailor's wife inspiration for Humeur Vagabonde, Gerard de Nerval, "atelier working," and working through tedium; as well as commentary on diary keeping.
Includes references to: Pasta, "Fable" film, impact of last movement of Gerschwin's Concerto in F, neighborhood "teener" as "little Cerrito," inordinate love of city, and appreciation of film work done; as well as commentaries on boxes and scribblings.
Includes references to: Gozzoli, GC 44 sorting, Pasta and cabbages, new global box called Trade Winds, the impact of familiar faces, breaking the gallery "slavery," and feeling of emptiness in readying for Stable exhibit.
Includes references to: scribblings, "Le Dame Blanche" of Boieldieu, new series of Colombier, depression about Robert and others like him, the image of the apricot fee, the maiden with the crossed hands, sylphide hunt in photo magazines, dream of Mary Baker Eddy, Union Square shootings with Rudy, and film The Children's Party.
Includes references to: the maiden with the crossed hands, former obsession with church attendance, Dukas "search," carpentry on new compass boxes, Little Durer box, beautiful "trouvaille" on 4th Avenue, Judy Tyler, "Le Seigneur des Enseignes" collage, Rose Fried, sense of "audience" to reach, and B. Voohr.
Includes references to: "Hotel de L'Etoile," fresh views of Seurat, Bonnard model, Joan Collins in "Land of the Pharoahs," being in collage mood and difficulty of achieving spontaneity in boxes, rabbit collage, Mary Welch, and new reworking of cockatoo and fish collage.
Includes references to: Pinturicchio Boy, Medici Princess, a Pasta Parrot off to C.H. Ford, Rubber Mouse King (one of Robert Cornell's creations), Matta, Vermeer girl, break-up of J. Tyler "mourning," box carpentry for new Moon Chart with Portuguese glasses, and much "traveling" in thoughts.
Includes references to: love for own work and obsession with boxes, Sheree North working, Gerard de Nerval, GC 44, "Miss Melon," star boxes, feeling of being close to a "world of Novalis," American Gothic, Parmigianino, refurbished Whitney Annual "Orion" which became Andromeda, and the girl with folded hands.
Includes references to: refurbishing Durer box, artificiality of boxes, attic working with Dennis, Oswaldo inspiration, and how little of real life gets into boxes.
Includes references to: Serafina's Garden shooting, Nostalgia of the Sea, Sailor's Children, Linda Vandal, France Nuyen (actress) in The World of Suzie Wong on Broadway, swan collage, Little Durer waiting to go into Whitney Annual, Jenny Jones in Love Letters, Juan Gris "frog serenade," and "revelations" peculiar to work in boxes.
Includes references to: hunger for human touch on Main Street, France Nuyen "Voyageur's" Hotel, personal feeling of working with old wood for boxes, Sun Box, College Point diner, GC 44, diversity of experience, Beguin collage, new Sand Fountain with mirror effect, seeing Allegra Kent in Hildebrand's, Shirley MacLaine "exploration," mail to Aaron Siskind, E.D. "illumination," new Hotel Colombier, Brereton reading, and jottings.
Includes references to: Brereton's "French Poets," "Berenice tenement," gulls for Grahn, Forgotten Game, Mylene Demongeot (French actress), Global Parrot, and Ondine "exploration"; reflections on process of box making and final product of boxes.
Includes references to: collage "headquarters" (8th Ave + 43rd St), seeing France Nuyen walking up 8th Ave, Debussy coming to life, dream with strong flavor of GC 44, fees aux lapins, sister phenomena of being asleep and awake, Ridgewood bus ride of a year ago, "la fee aux tenebres," doll box, new Sand Fountain box, and cellar working with an "atelier" feeling.
Includes references to: Renata Scotto debut as "the young Malibran," Berlioz sparking, two cascades sand box for Paul Valery, Claire Bloom, Debussy world of "Pelleas," cellar stalemate, creative filing, and sparkings from objects and brochures.
Includes references to: routine meals as "mystique d'appetit," Sun Box for Judy, urge for presenting projects to the young, Duchamp, Claire Bloom, Mylene Demongeot, new "Scarlatti Parrot," new type of "Colombier," dream about Raquel Meller 1925, and resumption of collage work after months of dormancy.
Includes references to: dream of France Nuyen, Judy Tyler Sun, Elsa Martinelli box, Vermeer, changing the Scarlatti Parrot #2, changed frame of mind about "the past," "The Peering Maiden," preoccupation with Grahn dossier, Duse box, Hotel Pelican, and working on new Dien Bien Phu and Pasta bird box.
Includes references to: Ludwig II box, Irving Blum visit, Grahn, and Shirley MacLaine; as well as incomprehensible writings.
Includes references to: Shirley MacLaine collage work, Trade Winds box, "slumbering" works, Ristori biography found at Weiser's, Cerrito, Pasta file, catching up the Ondine trail, "Hotel Tudor" Sun Box renamed "Cherubino," appreciation of diverse moods in a single day, Ostend Sun box, L'Humeur Vagabonde '55, Sailor's Children, the "Cherubino" experience, another box in the chain of Space Boxes started for Ferus Gallery, sparking to work with children more, and "ringside" seat by the window in diner.
Includes references to: bringing back the feeling of GC 44, Robert's example of courage, brand new compartment box, Demongeot, Gerard de Nerval, Sheree North experience, sailor's children, mother and two children, an obsession to reach people, aftermath writing, Robert's drawing of a horse, "The Candle Lantern" for Shirley MacLaine, and Cerrito as an important kind of technique.
Includes references to: Edwin Bergman's purchase of his art work, Grahn, Cherubino (sometimes abbreviated as Cher.), Stern collage, inspiration of Magritte's "Empire of Lights," Gwen, Feigen and Jean Wade.
Includes references to: trouvaille of Caroline von Gunderode, "second sleeps," Cherubino experience, Valery renewal, Mozart #19, star hotel, Hotel Bon Port, and Irving Blum visit.
Includes references to: a dream of Gerard de Nerval, pock-marked girl providing "drama," "the once seen," romantic character of "La Boheme," "angel scribble" episode involving stationery girl, "teener" librarian, Little Durer, review of maiden with the crossed hands, Judy Barsky from Bennington College, Juan Gris, Golding's book on Cubism, and bewilderment over refusal of Xmas gift by counter girl.
Includes references to: Cerrito, Rimbaud sparking, Mylene Demongeot, Sheree North, Basch color portrait, death of Albert Camus and a possible Homage, loneliness as being necessary to produce certain phenomena, obsessive desire to do an "In Memoriam" with boxes, sparking to get beyond boxes, "L'Ete" sea piece at the Stable Gallery, Pascale Petit (for Cherubino), maiden with clasped hands, Vermeer girl, Constable's sketches and their implications for his own work, new Andromeda box, and lighted Bird box.
Includes references to: "fee aux lapins," lavender fee, rainbow fairy, Cherubino, newly fixed Uccello box, "creative library" supplementing boxes, journals of Delacroix, sources of inspiration, and the drying up of happy hunting grounds.
Includes references to: "Coppelia" as an archetype of fragile youth (Jane Fonda type), reminder of E.D. "readymade," Cherubino, Parmigianino #2 (Allegra), cellar working on Andromeda Sand Fountain, interest in all types of "teeners," and the "Kneeling Maiden"; as well as commentary on boxes and naturalness of work.
Includes references to: Debussy file, Cherubino and her boyfriend, "M.M." experience, Voohr collage, Beatrix collage, Fischer Beer's experience of last fall, remembering "Nymph-light," and first attempt at recalling Daphne Dream of 2/23/59.
Includes references to: blooming of M.M., fee aux lapins, phone call from Ed Bergman (collector), and gently drawing in the net of memory "before it fades."
Includes references to: set of dreams, Juan Gris, Debussy guitar music, remembrance of encounter with fee aux lapins, Carlotta experience, Yvette Mimieux, Feigen visit, "Hotel des Etrangers" box, and missed opportunities to reach young people because of home situation.
Includes references to: Betty Biehn experience, Caroline von Gunderode, the curious "Carlotta" turn in the Cerubino experience, and "teeners."
Includes references to: going through Vermeer books, starting tiny sun box, picking out Hartley Coleridge from garage overflow of books, "creative browsing," remembered joy of a particular find, Little Malibran in diary notes and connection to new Cherubino experience, and "Maria" brochure; as well as commentary on diary keeping.
Includes references to: Debussy's obsession with objects, Little Durer file, scraping new Durer from Judy Tyler discard, GC 44, Mozart horn concerto, and Dutch Still Life.
Includes references to: Cinderella in Fisher Beer's, coincidence of bird sunset collage and tree catching last sun in storm setting, collage shopping, the "light of other days," the "once seen," Cherubino, being waited on by Cassiopeia, and jaunt to College Point.
Includes references to: new Grand Hotel de l'Observatoire, GC 44 Floral Still Life, experiences of Cherubino, lack of feeling for working on boxes, scribblings in the small hours, and the "in and out" of daily demands.
Includes references to: the Whitney Annual, William Whitman days of wandering, difficulty of catching multi-colored experience with "cataloging," glass cutting, attic review, regret over piece let go to Feigen, "Portraits of Youth," Val, Suzanne Miller, E.D. flavoring in cellar, and Debussy "Preludes."
Includes references to: GC 44 experiences, the feeling in acquiring things, Hydra (Durer) plate, Elizabeth Moran (helper), M.M. (not Marilyn), Le Grande Meaulnes (by Alain Fournier), blond "teener" in "Il Sole" store, "fee aux lapins" experience again, speaking to Cherubino for the first time since refusal of gift, and finding little of the glow of former times in review of Ondine; as well as commentaries on art work and scribbling.
Includes references to: futility of ever getting down experience on paper, "Jenny Jones" schoolgirl on bus, Cerrito/Ondine thread, postcard from Matta, "missing child" collage, Crystal Tower, and the little "all or nothing" dramas of the commonplace.
Includes references to: Mylene, Pamela Bianco, the endlessly mysterious processes of the mind and workings of the spirit, renewing acquaintances with Barr, Pernas, and Porter from the Museum of Modern Art, fee encounter, "Deer in Landscape," Judy and Amy working in cellar, and the "figurehead" collage.
Includes references to: first church attendance in months, air crash in Africa, Cherubino experience, sparking of "Old Fashioned Flowers," book browsing, Pascale Petit, Ferus "space box," Juan Gris #7, "The Iris Nest" collage, Tina (fairy princess) collage, Mylene file, and cellar workings with Basch theme color portrait.
Includes references to: "The Pleides," recollection of first meeting Gwen in 1955, and gratitude for dove pipes from Gwen; as well as commentary on diaries.
Includes references to: Coulter girl, Cherubino, Alfred Goldsmith dream, "angel scribbler," Mahler #4, Wordsworth's insights into nature, feelings of inadequacy, a "Book of Hours," Jackie collage, new Space Box, and Diana collage.
Includes references to: often needless indulgence in magazines, bewilderingly diverse worlds being opened up by a certain young miss, childhood scene "pushing through," sparking for a December show combining Cherubino and Cassiopeia, and David Herbert visit.
Includes references to: being waited on by Cassiopeia (often abbreviated as Cass.), array of material for another Aviary, The Balcony (play), M.M. and her sister throng, collage browsing, and the Bickford waitress becoming "the maiden."
Includes references to: Cass., E.B. Ward, too much "cataloging," the death of Maya Deren, recurrent images from old Fourth Ave browsing days, Antiques Fair, "corrected" sense of people, Assemblage exhibit, compartment boxes, and so-called Humeur Vagabonde series.
Includes references to: Crystal Cage Palace, Schubert, Mahler, Goethe, stars at midnight evoking Cass. and Cher., and Robert's beautiful mood at home.
Includes references to: the Rose Teener, overemotionalism with books in Woolworth's, yield from a volume on mineral rocks, "milking" each December day for the Christmas spirit, collage creation, healing truth of C.S., Lee Bontecou (sometimes abbreviated as L.B.), and first visit to Castelli gallery.
Includes references to: Tina experiences, the stars, Nathalie Bontecou's first visit to cellar, explaining the "explorations" to Lee, recorded music experienced as life, Magritte inspiration for collage, and "atelier" dream; as well as a version of letter to Lee Bontecou.
Includes references to: variant of Trade Winds, another L.B. "muse" accomplishment, and "reflections in a mirror."
Includes references to: Laurent LeSage, Medici variant in Whitney Annual, "Penny Arcade," one month anniversary of Tina, lost opportunity with Lee, Castelli visit, dream of Tina, Patty Duke in the play, Isle of Children, and inspiration for new boxes for Duke and her co-star.
Includes references to: Patty Duke thank you note, cataloging, "The Penny Arcade" (for Deidre) (Duke's character in the play), symbolism of penny arcade, miserable encounter with Cherubino, and call from Eleanor Ward at the Stable Gallery.
Includes references to: "The Language of Flowers," astronaut nude collage, and piano solo by Shearing.
Includes references to: Lee and Nathalie Bontecou, Beethoven, Mahler, "Little Malibran," impossibilty of putting down experince, "sun-pipe" box, category of "filles," Tina visiting via Gerard de Nerval, and Robert and Prince Pince (one of Robert's creations).
Includes references to: Parrot Box, "doe-eyed fee," Kandinsky color and poems, Miss Universe on TV, Cassiopeia, Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker, Raquel Meller, nostalgia in dreams, and attitude towards the feminine muse culminating in Cerrito, Malibran, Pasta, Berenice, and "once-seens."
Includes references to: Rose Fried file, Dukas, Cass. and Cher., Space Boxes, Science and Health, Lesson Sermons, "single sheet" entries as suggested by Delacroix, Jeanne Eagels, Rainbow collage, and M.M.
Includes references to: M.M., writing Carson McCullers, Bronx Zoo incident with father circa 1909, Suzi (often abbreviated as SZ or Szi), Cher., Tina, and Jackie dream.
Includes references to: Dore Ashton, fine burst in cellar, original Cerrito experiences, "explorations," sunset collage for Whitney Annual 1963, dream of being in Paris, Cuban crisis, blue figure constellation box sent off to Ferus Gallery, Lois Smith's "sister," the "miracle of the unexpected," and "Holderlin-Home" collage.
Includes references to: workshop glints, being in the midst of dream and reality, "twilight searcher," "lb. cake fee," evocations of GC 44 period with its rides, recalling coffee shop "friends," Tina, Sheree North, Nedick's closing, Cher., M.M. passing, and new moon collage.
Includes references to: Moses Soyer exhibition, cataloging, Parmigianino girl, "Little Malibran," "la fee aux lapins," "The Fairy Garden," spirituality of Tina experience, "girl in blue," dipping into Nerval, penning to SZ, camaraderie of fee, and Loie Fuller (dancer); as well as a version of letter to Kress Store manager regarding gift for salesgirl.
Includes references to: "la fee ignorante" (in the sense of unknowing), Ondine/Cerrito, "the elusive ineffable," dipping into La Loie Fuller via Frank Kermode, "crossroads" experience, E.D. quality in "hummingbird moon" collage, onus of Robert with no help forthcoming, present "fee" Joni, Corinne Marchand in Chloe from 5 to 7, "girl in blue" integrated into own experience, and penning that denotes a "clearing."
Includes references to: Rose Fried, Sheila Jordan, M.M. being overdone, Joni "business," bringing Tina from the ashes of Joyce, Julie Andrews cellar playing, Sue Everett, showgirl Marilyn Miller, Deidre world teeming again, and phenomenon of seeming to be in two worlds at once.
Includes references to: "A Happening," Cass., Columbine (whose name is Lou), neighbor children Clara and Malcolm, dubious practice of cataloging on the spot en route, "Caliph of Bagdad," Rose Fried visit for box, Corona houses, El rides, feeling nothing for cellar working, Jules Pascin, and Juan Gris color.
Includes references to: recurrent dream phenomenon, deer-sylph, Tina visit, Patty Duke, Borges book, first call from Lee in long time, S. de Maria visit, Freud, hypothesis that life experience in waking hours can be equated with the dream state, the fairyland disappearing with the coffee shop, Robert Henri's "Nude in Movement," 50th Anniversary of Armory Show, first time own films being shown as a group, "Arches of the Sky," Pasta, Mary Badham in To Kill a Mockingbird, and Gerard de Nerval.
Includes references to: Dante, the influx of grace imparted by a counter girl, waitress, or face in the crowd, Robert's "Mouse King," Columbine (Valerie Borges), "girl in blue" as a state of mind, letter from Baur at Whitney, thoughts about Robert relative to his condition, and Cerrito.
Includes references to: Columbine, Marilyn M., "story in search of a title," "dark Coppelia," the Space-sylph, visit by C.H. Ford, Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, and James Rosenquist, and revelations of the commonplace.
Includes references to: Debussy Etruscan dream, Soap Bubble Space box for the Columbine girl, "cat dream", De la Mare's observation about dreams needing to be recorded at once, Proust, Sun Box Cass #3, "new abstract" boxes, "L'Abeille" nursery box, Cerrito, "guises of the sylph," "the little world" of the cellar, the past becoming the present, cloud christening of the Oswaldo Sun Box, and "Picasso" by Gertrude Stein.
Includes references to: hopeless atelier working, "arches of the sky" from "bel canto" days, sparking to work in romantic mood of dark starried blue glass and/or collage, collage for Jeanne Eagels (played by Kim Novak in TV movie), "missing girl," "Dutch Still Life," and "Ice" collages, Joni, Jeanne Eagels "spell," Perriton Maxwell, "How to Make a Rainbow" on a rainy day, recalling the so-called Tina experience, "having to get away" feeling from home, and Bamboo collage for Sadie Thomspon (Eagels's character in the play, Rain).
Includes references to: Jeanne Eagels preoccupation, Portrait of Tina, Joni - Cass. - girls sans nom - Columbine, "the new girl gone," Peggy, working on the Tina "Coiffure" collage, difficulty of filing business on account of difficuly of life experience, "the movie palace" dream, the empty room locomotive of Magritte, and obsession with nostalgia.
Includes references to: collating Christian Science Monitors, Lesson Sermon sheet, refurbishing original "hummingbird" collage, and Columbine.
Includes references to: J.E. esprit missing, letter to Stan, "Novembral for Peggy," Dore Ashton, "commonplace" coincidences piling up, assassination of President Kennedy, and "Daphne" collage.
Includes references to: "Star Hotel," "nymph-basin," "swimmer's sister," The Chinese Vase, "Hommage a Mme. Lespinasse," Juan Gris, and "girl in blue."
Includes references to: Morgan Library librarian, Camelopardalis, Auriga, Cassiopeia, Strand Bookstore, "naiads of sunset," Lucile Grahn, The Movies in the Age of Innocence by Edward Wagenknecht, thinking back to Assemblage exhibit, domestic situation slowing down work, and Carolee.
Includes references to: the 'garden center' world of 1944, Tony Curtis visit, carp poem, new Whitney Museum possibility, development of "explorations," and shift into Pasta from Malibran via Delacroix "Journals."
Includes references to: Althea Hayter, Rose Fried, Terrain Vague, Joni, Lou, Leontyne Price, Diane Waldman, and "confidante."
Includes references to: Debussy paperback, evening with confidante, collage working, "girl in yellow room," "Miss Thompson," reading Hawthorne, and desire to communicate in notes made on the spot in "crowded" state of mind.
Includes references to: Diary of a Madman by Gogol, confidante, fee ignorante, Tina's sister, Christine (Kaufman), being in semi- or complete retirement, and dipping into Panofsky Iconology.
Includes references to: "rapport" with confidante, Terry Schutte visit, check from Ferus, first day of working with Henry Widmer, Jr., and "Penny Arcade" collage.
Includes references to: Jeanne Eagels Experience (Autumnal), finding fees in oriental philosophy, "Signor Contrapuncto," "Sparrows in a Basket" collage, and distance between boxes and life.
Includes references to: appearance of new girl (Josephine Raymond Tina-type), dispatch of "sun" book to confidante, "Tina" turmoil, moon landing a week ago, and "Joni" business.
Includes references to: the "bamboo" collage awaiting Mr. Baur via David Solinger, the so-called Jeanne Eagels autumnal, the "miracle of the unexpected," Anna Moffo, and a kind of GC 44 mood.
Includes references to: a touch of Rimbaud in Robert's recount of dream, catching up the "Pleiades" thread, "The Burning Window" collage, and rapport with new collage "Where Does the Sun Go at Night?"
Includes references to: being in court for dismissal of Joyce, Pat Lewis, Durer Times Square collages, and Penny Arcade.
Includes references to: new check-out girl in Dilbert's as Cassiopeia, Blum, and Joyce.
Includes references to: "The Sylph" and Tina.
Includes references to: bewilderment of Tina experience, Robert, Mother, and Helen, and Allan Stone and Claire Chester taking six boxes for show.
Includes references to: Joyce, "eterniday," Prince Pince, relationship between Joyce's and Robert's passing, the impact of the painting "St. Dorothy and the Christ Child," "miracle of grace," Joyce's martyrdom, Memorial Collection, and Jeanne Eagels.
Includes references to: trip to Westhampton, Satie, Dukas, "Hotel of the Golden bee," putting dove holes into Durer game, working on Robert's violin players (mice), Robert's services in Nyack, and Joyce's dependency during trial.
Includes references to: overemotionalism, Joyce's plot, familar phenomenon of see-sawing, and "The Umbrella."
Includes references to: Allan Stone, Diane Waldman, Susan Harrison, "Don Pascale," "rapport" with Alex, "Room at the Foot of the Waterfall," and Robert's metaphysical work from the other side.
Includes references to: Beethoven, "oceanic" collage, "Arcadian" awakening, "Etruscan" sparking, encountering maiden with crossed hands dossier, collating material for collage, and cartes-de-visite of Edouard de Reszke (19th-century Polish opera singer).
Includes references to: call from Mr. Copeland, "Galuppi," "lunch with R," Jeanne Eagels, Japanese ceramics, trip to Westhampton, failure of connecting with young audience, sense of Robert's presence, and recovery of Robert's drawings in cabin.
Includes references to: building of the Jeanne Eagels mythos, Anna Moffo, visit with Mr. Copeland, different appearances of Joyce in baby blue dress, Emily Dickinson, "Colombier," and American Gothic.
Includes references to: visit to Flushing Cemetery with Larry Jordan and phenomenon/mystique that explains the Tina/Joyce business.
Includes references to: Mr. Offergold, Xmas Memorial at Schoelkopf Gallery, "Penny Arcade," Mylene phenomenon, Walter Hopps, appreciation of strange rapport with Joyce, curious working of the dream process, Ingrid Thulin in The Silence, Edith Wharton short stories edited by Wayne Andrews, and "voyage" from Westhampton.
Includes references to: Robert Schoelkopf's visit, Pat Lewis, working on "Pascal's triangle" variant of l'Abeille, dream of Mother and her lady friends, S.S. business as a dream that is told, Sontag novel, confidante, one year anniversary of the tragedy of Joyce, calls to Carolee and Sontag, and call from Yayoi.
Includes references to: Jean-Paul Belmondo as Cerrito's great-great-grandson, Carolee, Sontag, "eterniday" as being always one day ahead of conventional time, "Penny Arcade" sun motif, Sontag's book of essays Against Interpretation, Sontag's novel The Benefactor, Andre Breton, Henrietta Sontag lithos, working on Tournesol, "L'Invitation en Voyage," Giacometti, and Julien Levy.
Includes references to: "A Valentine" for Susan Sontag, David's collage, Joyce file, Sharon Lewis, GC 44, "veilleuses" - croup lamp, and objet donne; as well as versions of letter to Susan Sontag.
Includes references to: S.S., Jeanne Moreau, Sontag's citation of Henrietta Sontag, silver bracelet in "matrix" Juan Gris box, "Bibliomania," and use of "Hamadryad" in "Figurehead" collage.
Includes references to: wheel and birds collage, working with plate glass from Queensboro Mirrors, "girl in blue smock," Jacques Brel (Belgian singer and songwriter), Sand Fountain, Cerrito, Ondine, "Tina-time," "Nocturne of Faure" by Evelyne Crochet (pianist), call to Christine and Tony Curtis, The Floral Still Life, and "Francesca" collage.
Includes references to: "dark Coppelia," collage sparking in new vein beyond S.S.S., Francesca (often abbreviated as FR), call from Walter Hopps, R's passing 15 months ago, Bellini find, and Bellini touches in "Penny Arcade."
Includes references to: Bellini's rabbit, beautiful dream of A., collage development, Mahler, FR "exploration," Allan Stone call, shock of Kress closing, new leads "of angelic" child collage, working on Colombier, Copeland visit, Nancy as Mahler #3 girl, and Joyce "night" owl collage.
Includes references to: Danish Romantic Ballet, "clock" collage, the first "Seven Angelic" collages, witnessing Suzi + Joyce + Christine "incidents" July 4th weekend, Barbara and Sheldon Roskin visit, reluctance to pen, business of "hours slipping by," Claudia Cardinale (Italian actress), the "Pleiades," Hammerklavier, and being in a double-state.
Includes references to: Szi "business," FR, "girl with feather," instinctive sense of Robert's closeness, "Cocoon" collage, framing R's mouse king, FR. crisis, Rimbaud, Hans Christian Andersen, loss of wallet, trip to Westhampton, and "Medici Boy" for Whitney grand opening.
Includes references to: Allan Stone visit, many-faceted aspects of FR., cognizance of body in shower, Frances posing under the quince tree for Hubert, Penny Arcade series stemming from Bellini, fading of Susan Sontag preoccupation, and bailing out Joyce in fall of 1964.
Includes references to: visit of Leila Smitters and daughter, "Cocagne," Wayne Andrews, FR, being in Westhampton during the time Mother is in hospital, writing with Mother's pen, sense of presence in her room, "signs," "eterniday," "skittish dreaming," Debussy dream, Nyack rites for Mother, will proceedings, dream of Mother's stroke, and the so-called Francescan business, Piero della Francesca, Francesca Cerrito.
Includes references to: Mother's interest in Keats, Monroe Wheeler, the sense of "eterniday," volume of Beatrix Potter, and Thanksgiving with Allegra.
Includes references to: The Professionals with Claudia Cardinale and Burt Lancaster, "bank teller," "Copenhagen" Pops record, record player in cellar, "(Sleeping) Beauty for Ashes" for Allegra and Bert, FR, and "The Exquisite Enigma."
Includes references to: Mozart, first time speaking to Susan Sontag in months, "The Cut on the Nose," FR, pondering the spread of diaries on the kitchen table, and Pasadena show.
Includes references to: being in a new phase of life, Jeanne Eagels collages, Joyce type, Mother, Robert, Gwen (Van Dam) Smillie, 5 year anniversary of Val., and regrettable scribbling.
Includes references to: flavor of LP records, a "new/old" day, first visit to Guggenheim Museum, Diane Waldman, elusiveness of satisfactory recording, dreamings and awakenings, Geraldine Farrar, "Maria" and "Bel Canto Pet," and Raquel Meller.
Includes references to: Waldman, Guggenheim, impersonal corporation aspects of Museums, Alberniz, Robert, and strong sense of "visitation."
Includes references to: Vale of Hyacinth collage, feelings stemming from Robert's original drawings, short-lived energies, consciousness of getting down nothing with so much penning, Confidante, and "Dream of Gerontius."
Includes references to: last time to Guggenheim for own show, "The Crystal Candle-Stick," "awakening" sequence, Cockatoo Hyacinth, review of magazines, new context of life, serene cellar atmosphere, torture of communication, Demongeot, Jeanne Eagels, The Alchemy/Chemistry of Collage, and collage as "language."
Includes references to: Czech-sun stamp collage, living room files, "Penny Arcade (Little Girl Lost)," collation in "mystical state," "Bandit's Galop," the death of Vivien Leigh, J.E. experience, and Robert's drawings.
Includes references to: "Indo-Hollandaise-Hotel" box, traveling Guggenheim exhibit, Ravel/Robert rapport, Mother, and dream of Robert.
Includes references to: Loretta and her mother, cellar burst, Malibran preoccupation, Columbine, "halfway" dream, Jeanne Eagels, and justification of the J.E. "autumnal."
Includes references to: Prince Pince-Nez, cognizance of diary entries being misinterpreted, Susan Sontag's new novel, "the child of the high seas," Cherubino period, Caroline, "Loretta" #2, "Rabbit-Collage," neighborhood children, collage burst, the new "Ravel-Rabbit" series, John Ashbery, and hallucinative dreaming.
Includes references to: hallucination in sleep, neighborhood child being struck in the face by a toy, Borges collage for Carolyn, dream of Mother, Marilyn Monroe sparking, "Cat's tear," "clock time" collage, and neighbor known as S's sister.
Includes references to: merciful hallucination, Guggenheim exhibit becoming more a hindrance than a help, "Fee aux lapins," "Child of the High Seas," phenomenon of "time," "The Christmas Angel," difficulty of this notation business, and going in and out of states too difficult to record.
Includes references to: Velasquez, Laurence Whistler poems, "Enigma" file, Castor and Pollux, Gemini, dream of Robert, Sandburg reading, Cousin Ethel Storms's funeral in Nyack, Howard Hussey's notes on Robert's drawings, Diane Waldman, and new "Rabbit" collage.
Includes references to: the so-called T experience, Sofonisba "Medici" version of the Infanta "blues," receiving gold medal in India Triennale, penning "pattern," "Rabbit" collage becoming "Mushroom Omelette" collage, and Leila.
Includes references to: new context of life, Ravel paperback, fascination of the hallucinatory, call from Don Windham, Diane Waldman, the new "Saltimbanque girl" collage, Satie, Debussy, Inez Garson visit, "Ravel-Satie Rabbit," and "bathrobe journeying."
Includes references to: "catharsis" penning, "Pleides" file, Chamfort, evening dreamings, "The Foundling," Diane Waldman, Guggenheim, and these very difficult times (Martin Luther King's assassination and the protracted war in Vietnam).
Includes references to: New Delhi award, quince tree, visit to Mother's birthplace (Kent St.), addiction to records, Columbine, "The Offering," trip to Asbury Park about 1914, and "Tina" experience.
Includes references to: sense of treasure in the commonplace, Robert's "toy pony" drawings, shooting of Andy Warhol, assassination and funeral of Robert Kennedy, complex situation of numerous boxes being on loan in various areas, "Ravel-Rabbit" collage, "Petit Poucet," sparking to put down distant memories before they fade, Rossini, Penny Arcade, and J. Eagels.
Includes references to: Robert Schoelkopf visit, record buying, "Mushroom Omelette," trying to remember Fanny, "Penny Arcade" concept, "difficult diary," Eagels "exploration," and present states of perplexity.
Includes references to: new cubist collage, Barbara Feldon, Satie, Sadie Thompson, "the child with the cat's tear," Mother's birthday, Kay Francis obituary, living in eternity, "Moon" collage, and Schumann.
Includes references to: Sassetta's "Journey of the Magi," Ed Halper (collector) visit, "Un Suspiro," "modus operandi," Floral Still Life section of GC 44, "penny arcade," and Mylene Demongeot.
Includes references to: John Ashbery, passing of Marcel Duchamp, "Penny Arcade," living alone, constellations, Schubert, Judy Joy, Hilton Kramer, Petit Poucet, kitchen table penning, dreaming, bringing FR up to date, J.E., and Ruth and Charles Henri Ford.
Includes references to: cellar working phenomenon, Dorothy Coulter visit, "states of mind," eterniday, Gemini, "Anne of Cleves" collage, election of Nixon, Violette le Duc film, the point of this scribbling business, dream "business," "constructive dreaming," and "petering out" with the file collecting.
Includes references to: Suzanne de M., Basch's "Prodigal Son," Leila, and semi-hallucinatory kind of dreaming.
Includes references to: perplexity regarding diary, book-keeping for box, wanderlusting, Rimbaud, inspiration to construct a new vertical box, uselessness of penning, West Side Story, Debussy cello, and a kind of "mental montage."
Includes references to: Carolyn, conversation with Duchamp, hero-worship of Delacroix, object as phenomenon in its own right, "King of Bavaria" from Swann's Way, salient aspects of clearing, new Moon piece, and collage as biographical document.
Includes references to: "The Soubrette," "Aurigola" snip-collage, head business, depressing war news, Jeanne Eagels file, "Storm That Never Came" collage, Giraudoux, the pull between cellar work and TV, Eve Propp ("helper," often abbreviated as E. or E.P.) visit, new figurehead boxes, and dreaming in great detail.
Includes references to: Sartre's Nausea, Albert Camus, ancient Peruvian clay toy collage, Sue Raney, Arturo B. Michelangeli, "Lunga Durata," Susannah Amanda, and Salamandre film.
Includes references to: E.P., "Semester Sunrise" TV show, putting pen to paper with a difference, "back-stage" to dream, "Crystal Palace," "Voyage to the Vermilion Tower," marathon penning, and "Portrait of E."
Includes references to: Schubert, Rimbaud, dreams of a spiritual nature, E's Wednesday visits, hallucinatory dreaming, "Spanish Journey," "The Shipwrecked Bouquet," and couch-dreaming.
Includes references to: Claire Bloom, summer constellations, Auriga box, E collage, new phase of rapport, "Don't Blow Yr Cool," and "Spanish Journey."
Includes references to: E's queries about too many things, "girl without a name," reading in Christian Science Reading Room, "back-yard/cellar window" collage, "under the quince tree" business, Allegra Kent visit, "Chirico Coffee-Pot" collage, Mother's birthday, and visit of Hans Namuth and Anita Tiburzi.
Includes references to: "atmosphere" being flavored by mental state, Allegra experience and its aftermath in creativity, visit of P. Adams Sitney, "sleep throughs," "The All-Surprising Light," Howard Hussey, finishing touches on "Little Bear" box, backyard penning, "Tower of Pisa" dream (originally filed in December 1972 file), and Eve.
Includes references to: Jan and Eve, Sir Walter Scott's The Bride of Lammermoor, "Little Bear Space Box," two spates of hallucinations, Philippa box, Eve's perceptiveness about Robert's drawing, and bedside penning.
Includes references to: "deep well" of the psyche, Brian O'Doherty, Ashbery visit, the Rorschachs, Betsy von Furstenberg, "The Uses of Infinity," and Jeanne Eagels.
Includes references to: "flash of Perseus" business, Sunrise Semester, the so-called "nil" experiences, Don Windham visit, Betsy file, "Double Portrait-Winter," Susan Sontag dream, Elizabeth Thode, Joni, and the miracle of Leila.
Includes references to: de Severac, Ashbery gift, sensitivity to business world or city scene, Rorschachs, "Jack Dempsey's little girl," Harry Roseman, Leila, and broken connection with Eve.
Includes references to: Medici Boy, GC 44 exhumed from the garage, "eye of Nil," Brian O'Doherty, "The Music Box Aviary," Francesca recalled, L. preoccupation, and hallucinatory dreaming.
Includes references to: the movie The Chalk Garden, L. visit deferred, Francesca, "Isle of safety," and H. Roseman working.
Includes references to: Leila, pensees "green," post-hallucinative state, being in two states at the same time, and Penny Arcade.
Includes references to: Eagels, Betsy's voice, Tina in Woolworth's, breaking the "siege," Delacroix, Mallarme, and "reluctant" diary.
Includes references to: bizarre hallucination and disorientation of time and space, clutter piled up, Robert's drawings, relationship to past, workings of the psyche, and Carol.
Includes references to: Robin, Teeny, Don Windham, "Hotel Abeille," Pasta Parrot, Robert Offergeld, Louis Gottschalk, a new kind of time, and Samson.
Includes references to: cabin in Westhampton, passing of Frances Farmer, Dream and Reality, Sandy Simmons, mystical aspect of the girl, and la mignonne.
Includes references to: the Dukas phenomenon, "tocque" imagery of L., "The Healer of Hallucinations," Lois Smith, Solways visit, business of "explorations" being broken, Pasta, and Satie.
Includes references to: "The Mushroom Omelette," notes needing to be unscrambled, appeal of commonplace faces in the crowd, armchair astronomics, "The White Doe," and Nyack house dream.
Includes references to: image of Leila, "The Case/Dream of the Marvelous/Fabulous Fortune-Teller," Jackie Lane, "recouvrements" (concept of retrieving the irretrievable), and "(The) Slim Margin of Paradise."
Includes references to: Betsy, "The Cinnamon Screen," finding Weber/Debussy/Seroff in Joni file like Xmas present, passing of Dorothy Sayer, and bed musing.
Includes references to: Leila, Sitney and Mekas visit, hallucinations of a type that could be remembered, and neurotic sensibility (making of almost every decent moment a pretext for scribbling it down).
Includes references to: Corianne Marchand in Chloe from 5 to 7, "the sea in the veins," Marge Barker, and a finding in the Yeats book about Baudelaire.
Includes references to: "Schubert" dreaming, an immense soul-searching morning, discoveries for/regarding Leila, "headquarters" by stove, and the crows and the orange skin.
Includes references to: Harry Torczyner visit, "Char." returning to the fold, "Chariot d'Or," mixed hallucination, Leila, and cardinal.
Includes references to: Eagels "peace," Laurel/Ophelia, nasty hallucination, Robert's "Rabbit," marathon muddling through, the so-called "Laurel" ramblings, and Gabriel Faure.
Includes references to: futility of attempts at "making sense" in copy, honoring Robert, the past serving the present and the future, "too-muchness" of memory/nostalgia, and Ophelia's "owl."
Includes references to: "a new heaven and a new earth," revelation in Breslin's, Betsy's "no-o," the Ostend, Bonnie Mirasola, "acrobate" context, the first "oeuf a la Russe" Rorschach, Brian O'Doherty, sun and moon collage, "a dress the color of time," Cygnus, "La Prestidigitateuse," "The Violinist," "Suzy Wong" file, Gogol "dreams," and a past immersed in books.
Includes references to: Rimbaud, Mother's letters, heritage of the quince, "Tea for the Tillerman" by Cat Stevens, Leila's arranging and sorting, Mother's birthday, the "edge of August," Rorschach ink drawings, "la funambule" (tightrope walker), new context of life, dwelling in "eterniday," St. Sebastian collage, Judith Richheimer, catharsis penning, and constellations.
Includes references to: being "stabbed by youth," Jackie Bisset file, Dulcinea passages from Don Quixote, "girls on bicycles," Judith as "la funambule," visit by Judith and her mother, Giraudoux, phenomenon of dreaming in context, obsessive craving for sweets, "Leo-Garden" collage, working in the "deep well," John Lennon and Yoko Ono on Dick Cavett, and Judith as "La Prestidigitateuse."
Includes references to: "The Sign of Jonah," "Arches of the Sky," dream sorting and arranging, workings of the mind, Picasso, and Queens College Life Class.
Includes references to: Anne Baxter in The Razor's Edge, Virginia Dorazio visit, caches of material stashed around to draw upon, sudden "yield" of Mother's Xmas cards, Cooper Union, "Auriga" box in Beckman collection, "a dream of pennies," and resistance of life experience to recording.
Includes references to: "The Landscape," Leila's call, Egan's 1949, visit of Octavio Paz with his wife and Dore Ashton, Caroline, devastating poignancy about condition of life, visit of Miss Thode, Joni dreaming, and "The Velvet Gentleman."
Includes references to: Artemis, 1st Xmas with family in 4 years, rolling back the years in an incredible surprise renewal, dream of Mary Baker Eddy, exhaustively reviewing Betsy (Laurel) material, Francesca, and mounting Robert's "Rabbit" and "Standing Bear."
Includes references to: "Penny Arcade exploration," "erotic" dreaming, "Famagouste," "in and out" of experience, equating hallucinations with "spirits" (with small "s"), Suzanne, a sudden inspiriting, "Mushroom Omelette," "Oeuf a la Russe," "Artemis" experience, organization of diaries, and "The Story of A."
Includes references to: purity of the "fille" aspect, recalling the "Sailor's Wife" of circa 1953, Mouse King Rorschach, preoccupation with "jeune fille" phenomenon, and a "borderline" atmosphere.
Includes references to: Lois, sequence of dream images after hour-long conversation with L., Lenke Hancock Wood, Aviary, a group of young people putting kitchen in order, and Helen Schiavo.
Includes references to: "Awake Dreaming," "A Confidence for Kittens," and going to dictionary and getting stuck on the "O"s.
Includes references to: Dream and Reality, Dorothy Dream context, conversation with a confidante, inner chambers of imagery, Edmund Wilson obituary, and "les dechirees - torn-ups - things torn up right and left."
Includes references to: Raymond Roussel, "acrobat" dream, first day of locust song, impossibility of "coherency" in this state, "oeufs a la Russe," prospect of the body restored after operation, and staying in Westhampton.
Includes references to: "amnesiac" feeling, Grandfather's letters, mixed happenings, "old story, but new situation," Dorothy, Bibliomania, Assemblage Greeting in Collage, "post-op" context, and Allegra.
Includes references to: J "taking over" from Laurel, Edith Wharton, Wayne Andrews, "The Grassy Slope," and "deus ex machina" type of dreaming.
Includes references to: arrival from Westhampton, trip to Northport, Lois, Gwen and family, status quo of art work, "Girl by a Tree" collage, Laurel, Marion Davies biography, Chaplin biography, "The Roving Gondola," and Allegra.
Includes references to: Lois, "a Cheeseburger for Paula," bottom falling out of dream business, Leila "storms," Daniel file (Joni), and "Caprice d'Ecureuil."
Includes references to: "Tower of Pisa" dream of 9/13/69, first bus trip to Main St. since May, "The Harvest of Memory," Chirico revealed in the Ondine (Cerrito) "exploration," Nancy Grove, dream-haunting, memory-haunting, secondhand book locales of long ago, and the ad infinitum of dreaming.
3.2: Diary Notations, 1941-1973
Subseries consists of files of mostly undated notes, writings, and other material. The material in these files was most likely created at the same time and in the same way as the more formal diary entries. However, over time, this material came to be maintained separately in bulk files due to the lack of dates or consistent dating. Also included are a notebook, in which Cornell jotted down some notes, and some of Betty Cornell Benton's notes about the diaries, written while she was preparing Cornell's papers for donation.
Includes references to: "A Valentine for Susan Sontag," Jackie "exploration," Shirley MacLaine file, Carlotta Grisi, Cerrito, Gerard de Nerval, Dorazio, passing of Marilyn Monroe, C.S., Taglioni, sense of "eterniday," "Le Pays de Cocagne" collage, Pasadena exhibit, quince tree, St. Saens, Tilly Losch, "Hotel de l'Etoile" collage, Colombier annex to "Aviary," "Night Skies," "Nebula, the Powdered Sugar Princess Ballet," T. Toumanova, David Sontag, Carolee, Science and Health, Novalis, Swiss box, "the bird with the shoe-button eyes," Robert Indiana, Christine and Tony Curtis, secondhand books, all manner of bibliomania, the "funambule," and "Secret Life of a Sister of Tina."
|10||41||Notes in Theme Tablet, 1969-1970|
|10||42||Betty Cornell Benton's Notes on the Diaries, 1973|
Source Material, 1804-1972
(boxes 11-18, 25-28, OV 29; 8.5 linear feet)
Series consists of Cornell's two-dimensional and textual source material and is largely comprised of files of clippings, notes, writings, stats, cutouts, and other printed material, stemming from his various artistic, research, writing, collecting, and collating activities. Some files are devoted to people and topics. Other files relate to specific art works, publishing projects, and exhibitions, as well as to his "explorations" in dance, music, art, science, and nature, among other topics, and his more personal "explorations" based on particular experiences and dreams. His typical practice involved accumulating massive amounts of material and information, which he would then collate into files, portfolios, or albums, continually adding to and refining them. Cornell seems to have used his source material as both raw material and inspiration for various creations, ranging from boxes and collages to design layouts for magazines and announcements for exhibitions of his work.
Source material sheds light on Cornell's preoccupations with certain people, events, subjects, and motifs. It documents his work on certain art works, publishing ventures, and exhibition catalogues, as well as the evolution of some of his major "explorations" from original experience or idea to the completion of one or more art works, and the various stages of other "explorations" that may or may not have resulted in a finished product. Source material also documents the influence of his preoccupations and "explorations" on his various artistic and commercial projects, as well as some of the major themes that recur in his art work. Source material reflects Cornell's efforts to gain access to the past and bring it into the present; his wide-ranging interests and the linkages he found between seemingly unrelated ideas and things; his real and imaginary relationships with historical and contemporary figures (such as artists and ballerinas); his abiding interest in the symbolism of images and objects; and the interconnectedness of his many artistic and creative endeavors.
The bulk of Cornell's source material, especially three-dimensional and non-textual material, can be found in the Joseph Cornell Study Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum, along with his library and record collection. Related material can also be found in Series 5: Ephemera and Artifacts.
In the source material found amongst Cornell's papers, a distinction can be made between his files on people and topics, as well as between the files and portfolios. While he variously referred to his files as "dossiers," "compilations," "source files" "portfolios," and "albums" (among other terms), he seems to have primarily used the term "dossier" to refer to his files on people and the term "source files" more generally; in addition, his use of the term "portfolio" seems to refer more particularly to the material maintained in portfolio cases. Distinguishing between the different types of files and material while retaining some of Cornell's own terminology, the Source Material series is arranged into three subseries:
The bulk of this series has been digitized with the exception of books, magazines and exhibition catalogs for artists other than Cornell; typically only covers, title pages, and/or relevant pages of these items have been digitized.
4.1: Dossiers, 1941-1971
Subseries is comprised of Cornell's files ("dossiers") on people, including those in whom he had a particular interest and those with whom he identified or felt some sort of connection, whether real or imagined. People typically include historical and contemporary dancers (especially ballerinas), stage and film actresses, singers, artists, and writers. Dossiers are devoted to a particular individual and consist primarily of notes, writings, book and typed excerpts, prints, stats, clippings, correspondence, art work, and printed material.
Dossiers generally relate to Cornell's "explorations" in ballet, music, art, literature, film, and theater, and to his particular preoccupations with ballerinas and opera singers from the Romantic era (including Marie Taglioni and Maria Malibran, respectively), with contemporary ballerinas and singers (including Renee "Zizi" Jeanmarie and Anna Moffo, respectively), with stage and film actresses (including Claire Bloom, Patty Duke, Jeanne Eagels, and Jennifer Jones), and with the work of other artists (including Johannes Vermeer) and writers. Dossiers document the development of these and other preoccupations, which typically began with some sort of encounter (such as seeing Duke perform in the play, Isle of Children, reading about Taglioni's performance in the ballet, La Sylphide, or coming across a reproduction of a Vermeer painting in a book or on a postcard) and came to involve extensive contemplation and writing. Dossiers also relate to certain art works and other creative projects arising from these particular "explorations" and preoccupations, including the various boxes and collages he made in tribute to Duke, Jeanmarie, Tilly Losch, and others, his self-publications (Maria and Bel Canto Pet) dedicated to the opera singers, Malibran and Grisi, and the planned brochure (La Retour de la Sylphide) dedicated to the ballerina, Taglioni.
Dossiers document his personal contact with certain individuals with whom he was preoccupied (such as meeting Jeanmarie in her dressing room after a show and getting her autograph), and his imaginary involvement with others (such as the connection he felt with Bloom after discovering that, as a young girl, she had lived with her family in Forest Hills, New York during the same time period that he was working nearby). Dossiers also concern his relationships with other artists, including Lee Bontecou, Dorothy Coulter, Piero Dorazio, Yayoi Kusama, Tilly Losch (who was primarily known as a dancer and actress), and Robert Motherwell, as well as his relationship with the actor, Tony Curtis and his wife, Christine Kaufman. Many of these relationships are also documented in Cornell's correspondence.
Files are arranged alphabetically according to the individual's surname.
4.2: Portfolios, 1831-1957
Subseries is comprised of portfolios devoted to two of Cornell's on-going "explorations," "Ondine (Cerrito)" and "Romantic Ballet." Portfolios consist of oversized and document-sized material, including notes, book and typed excerpts, stats, clippings, lithograph portraits, prints, sheet music, writings, and other printed material. Portfolio titles are drawn from the inscriptions on the outside of each portfolio case. Cornell more than likely compiled this material in much the same way as that in his other files, though he ended up storing and maintaining it separately due perhaps to the size of certain items.
The "Ondine (Cerrito)" Portfolio represents some of the material that Cornell created and accumulated in the course of working on Portrait of Ondine, his "exploration" (or "unauthorized biography") of Fanny Cerrito and her famous role in the ballet, Ondine. Portfolio includes material, such as exhibition text and notes, relating to the exhibitions of versions of Portrait of Ondine at the Museum of Modern Art in 1946 and at the Wittenborn Bookstore in 1956 (See also Subseries 4.3); and notes indicating Cornell's desire and/or intention to present this "exploration" in another format. Portfolio also includes material on Marie Taglioni, and other material (such as a typed manuscript of Cornell's essay on Hedy Lamarr for View) that may or may not correspond to the same "exploration."
The "Romantic Ballet" Portfolio consists of material on ballet dancers, Marie Taglioni and Tamara Toumanova, and opera singers, Maria Malibran, Pauline Viardot-Garcia, and Giuditta Pasta. It is unclear whether all the material relates directly to the Romantic Ballet "exploration," but it seems possible that Cornell was able to find linkages between Romantic and contemporary ballerinas, as well as between ballerinas and opera singers. The name of 'Gautier' inscribed on the portfolio suggests that the figure of Theophile Gautier may have been a thread linking this broad exploration. Portfolio includes material relating to a proposed "Taglioni-Poe project," which Cornell at one point intended to publish in the avant-garde periodical, Possibilities (See also the Motherwell dossier for correspondence mentioning the project); a version of his Toumanova Ballet Scrapbook and swan prints that seem to relate to the Swan Lake shadow boxes he made in tribute to her; and writings on Viardot-Garcia that trace a "Turgenev-St. Saens thread" and establish a connection between the opera singer and his box, Parrot for Juan Gris.
Dossiers and Subject Source Files include files relating to some of the same people and topics, as well as to some of the same, or similar, projects.
For preservation purposes, material has been removed from the original portfolio cases, which have been preserved as well. Portfolios are arranged alphabetically according to title.
"Ondine (Cerrito)" Portfolio, 1883, 1946-1956, undated
(2 folders, 1 item)
"Romantic Ballet" Portfolio, 1831-1957, undated
"Romantic Ballet" Portfolio, 1831-1957, undated
(6 folders, 1 item)
4.3: Subject Source Files, 1804-1972
Subseries is comprised of Cornell's files on various subjects, including topics of interest to him, themes, "explorations," art and publishing projects, and exhibitions. Some files are organized according to format, such as clippings, notes and writings, and stamps. Files typically consist of material that Cornell used in creating particular boxes, collages, and other works (design layouts and exhibition announcements, among others), and from which he drew ideas and inspiration for projects. Material typically includes magazine and newspaper clippings, cutouts, notes, writings, book and typed excerpts, stats, prints, postcards, art reproductions, and other printed material.
Subject source files range from slender files containing only clippings and cutouts of a particular subject (such as Butterflies, Food, and Statues) to files of assorted printed material seemingly related to some sort of titled, but not easily identifiable, project (such as "Animals in the News," "Earth Before the Flood" Box, and "La Malaga") to voluminous files relating to a particular topic, which Cornell explored in depth, or to an on-going project, which may or may not have resulted in a finished product (such as "Celestial Theater" and "GC 44"). Some files are more comprehensive than others; some files relate directly, and others only indirectly, to particular projects; and some files are so general and/or incomplete that it is not entirely clear how they relate to Cornell's projects or interests.
Certain subject source files relate to Cornell's "explorations" on such diverse topics as astronomy, ballet, literature, and music. Ones on astronomy include "Cassiopeia" (sparked by his musings on the constellation and his preoccupation with a young waitress) and "Celestial Theater" (an unfinished project on sky-gazing). Ones on ballet and literature include "Portrait of Ondine (Cerrito)" and the Bibliomania projects, respectively. And ones on music include "The Caliph of Bagdad" (sparked by hearing the opera by Francois-Andrien Boieldieu and leading to the creation of one or more Cockatoo boxes), "Famagouste" (inspired by the opera, "La Pisanella" by Ildebrando Pizzetti), and "Rossiniana" (involving a proposed "feuilleton-project" on the composer, Rossini).
Other subject source files relate to particular "explorations" based on Cornell's personal experiences. Most notable among these is "GC 44," which stemmed from events during the period when he worked at the Garden Centre nursery in Flushing. The extensive "GC 44" files document the core experiences of this "exploration," which included visits to "The Old Farm" (Lawrence Homestead), a dream of "the little dancer," many trips to the "house on the hill" (where Cornell gathered dried grasses which were used in his Habitat boxes), and a particular sighting of a delivery truck "with its enseigne of the fish and smoking meats" which inspired "The Floral Still-Life" musings. Also documented are Cornell's overriding concerns to recapture and recreate what was for him "one of the high tides of inspiration" and to share the experience with others. Though he exchanged ideas and shared some of this material with others (See letter from Donald Windham to Betty Cornell Benton in Series 10), the project, as he imagined it, was never completed.
Some subject source files relate to particular art projects and stem from Cornell's work researching, planning, and/or creating certain box constructions, box series, and collages. While by no means comprehensive or complete, files on art projects variously document the origin of certain box series (such as the Aviary and Juan Gris series) and/or stages in the development of particular boxes and collages (such as the "Nostalgia of the Sea" box, and the Rabbit and "Tina" collages). Files on art projects also suggest the way in which Cornell's preoccupations influenced his art work, as in the box, "The Bird with the Shoe-Button Eyes," which stemmed from his preoccupations with literature in general and with the French author, Gerard de Nerval, in particular and which he seems to have conceived as a means to bring the rather obscure author to the attention of a wider audience.
Certain subject source files relate to particular publishing projects and stem from Cornell's work designing covers and illustrations, writing articles, and planning entire issues for various commercial and avant-garde periodicals (See Subseries 4.1 for his work on self-publications). Notable publishing projects documented, in part, here include "The Crystal Cage [portrait of Berenice]," and various pieces for Dance Index, including ones on "blackface ballerinas," children and ballet, and dancing animals, as well as the thematic issue, "Clowns, Elephants, and Ballerinas" (1946).
Subject source files on exhibitions stem primarily from Cornell's work on catalogues for the "Objects by Joseph Cornell" exhibition at the Copley Gallery (September 1948), the "Night Voyage" exhibition at the Egan Gallery (February 10-March 28, 1953), and the "Romantic Museum at the Hugo Gallery: Portraits of Women" exhibition (December 1946), and they document, to a certain extent, his involvement in the presentation, exhibition, and sale of his art work.
It is unlikely that Cornell maintained these files in alphabetical order. Betty Cornell Benton's correspondence indicates that she organized some of his papers (See Series 10), so it seems likely that this order was imposed by her. At this point, it is difficult to surmise what, if any, Cornell's original organization may have been. Therefore, files have been left in alphabetical order.
"1956 Scrapbook Miscellany," 1944-1956
(See Box 27)
|11||43||"A" [Allegra Kent] File, 1969, undated|
|11||44||Advertisements, Turn-of-the-Century, 1887-1902, undated|
|11||45||Album Pages, undated|
|11||46||"Allegory of Faith" (painting by Giovanni Battista da Bologna), 1969, undated|
Ancient Art and Culture, undated
|11||49||Animal Engravings, undated|
Animals, 1938-1960, undated
|11||53||"Animals in the News," 1941-1954, undated|
Printed Material and Notes, Miscellaneous, 1848, 1944-1972, undated
Publishing Project, "Americana," 1872-1952, undated
Publishing Project, "Clowns, Elephants, and Ballerinas," 1812-circa 1859, 1946, undated
(See Box 28)
Publishing Project, "The Crystal Cage [portrait of Berenice]" (See also Towers), 1942-1945, undated
|17||23||Publishing Projects, Dance Index, 1946, undated|
|17||24||Publishing Project, "Women Painters," 1855, 1948-1953, undated|
Publishing Project, "Women Painters," Subjects, 1851, 1949-1961, undated
|17||27||Rabbit Collage, 1954-1963, undated|
|17||28||Mlle. Raisin, 1957, undated|
Rossiniana, 1867-1954, undated
Science, 1953-1967, undated
Script, "The Holy Ghost" by Allan Codd, 1970
|18||1||Sewing, 1970, undated|
|18||2||"The Stag," 1961-1966, undated|
|18||3||Stamps, 1863-1871, 1952-1965, undated|
Stats (photostats), undated
Statues, 1942-1964, undated
Sunsets, 1959-1968, undated
|18||10||"Tina" Collage, 1965, undated|
|18||11||Towers ("The Crystal Cage [portrait of Berenice]"), undated|
|18||13||Van Eyck Altarpiece, 1949|
Varia, 1947-1964, undated
"War Plant 1943," 1943, undated
|18||19||"Westhampton 1952-1953," 1953-1969, undated|
Oversized, "1956 Scrapbook Miscellany," 1944-1956, undated
(See Box 11, F42)
Oversized, Architectural Drawings (German Book), 1819
(See Box 12, F8)
Oversized, Art Book, 1953
(see Box 12, F10)
Oversized, Birds (engraving), undated
(See Box 12, F36-37)
Oversized, Container (partial box with lid), undated
(See Box 14, F7)
Oversized, Music, Liner Notes, 1961, undated
(see Box 16, F9)
Oversized, Publishing Project, "Clowns, Elephants, and Ballerinas," 1812-circa 1859, 1946, undated
(3 folders; see Box 12, F20)
Oversized, Box Construction (part), undated
(See Box 12, F39)
Ephemera and Artifacts, 1858-1946
(boxes 18, 23; 0.8 linear feet)
Series consists of various items of ephemera and memorabilia, and various artifacts. Included are Victorian cards, an album of remembrance with entries by various individuals who were friends and acquaintances of the original owner, an autograph book, cartes-de-visite, dried flowers from Lawrence farm, cabinet cards (including one of Fanny Ward), hat pins, leather post cards, tobacco cards, boxes with cloth scraps and dried flowers from Ulysses S. Grant's funeral (which were mementos belonging to Cornell's grandparents), a papier-mache pull-toy horse, a shell box, sheet music, plastic dolls, match boxes, stuffed bird figures, metal pendants, clockhands, wood and cork pieces, beads, and other material. Most, if not all, of this material was accumulated by Cornell in the course of his regular collecting activities. Some of the objects are of uncertain origin and may have belonged to his brother, Robert.
Cornell seems to have used some of these items, including the tobacco cards, sheet music, hat pins, leather post cards, cartes-de-visite, autograph book, and miniature rug samples, in a layout he designed for Good Housekeeping magazine. Other items, including the shell box, papier-mache pull-toy horse, and memento boxes from General Grant's funeral, seem to have been part of the 1982 exhibition, "Joseph Cornell: An Exploration of Sources," at the National Museum of American Art, which presented a select group of boxes and collages in the context of his source materials. (See Series 10 for a letter from the Acting Director of NMAA identifying these materials.)
Other items in this series, such as the wood and cork pieces, the clockhands, and wooden beads, could also constitute some of the found objects that Cornell collected and often used in many of his box constructions. Items, such as dried flowers from Lawrence farm and even the memento boxes of Grant's funeral, could constitute those objects that Cornell often collected as souvenirs and memorabilia relating to a particular event or idea. The dried flowers, for instance, seem to relate to the GC 44 "exploration," of which Cornell's visits to Lawrence farm played a part.
As far as possible, material is arranged in chronological order. For storage and preservation purposes, loose objects that cannot be housed in folders are housed together within smaller boxes, which are then housed in an archival box. For descriptive purposes, loose objects are treated as one file with an item list (provided below).
The bulk of this series has been scanned with the exception of loose objects.
|18||20||Album of Remembrance, 1858-1860|
|18||22||Autograph Book (mostly blank), circa 1893|
|18||23||Sheet Music, "Summer Girl Song," 1896|
|18||24||Leather Postcards, 1906, undated|
|18||25||Dried Bouquet, circa 1940|
|18||26||Dried Flowers from Lawrence Farm, 1946|
|18||27||Cabinet Cards, undated|
|18||28||Hat Pins, undated|
|18||29||Miniature Rug Samples, undated|
|18||30||Song Recording (broken), undated|
|18||31||Tobacco Trade Cards and Designs, undated|
|18||32||Victorian Cards, undated|
|18||33||Victorian Valentine Card, undated|
Loose Objects, undated
(3 small boxes and 1 item; not scanned)
First small box contains:
Photographs, circa 1905-1972
(boxes 18, 28; 0.3 linear feet)
Series consists of artist and art work photographs, family photographs, photographs by and of various individuals, and publicity photographs from the New York City Ballet. Artist photographs include photocopies of ones of Cornell and ones of the sculptor, Lee Bontecou, taken by Hans Namuth. Namuth's photographs of Cornell, including some of the photocopied ones found here, were featured in the book, American Masters: The Voice and the Myth by Brian O'Doherty. Art work photographs include a photograph of one of Cornell's commercial projects (Still Life for Good Housekeeping), and stats of Robert Cornell's drawings, some of which Cornell may have used in the series of memorial collages he created after Robert's death. Family photographs include childhood images of Cornell with various members of his family, an image of Cornell as a student, a childhood image of Robert Cornell and photographs of Robert as an adult and his train collection, photographs of Cornell's mother later in life, and what seem to be various photographs of nieces and nephews. Also found are photographs taken by friends and acquaintances of Cornell, including Wayne Andrews, David Gahr, Harry Roseman, and Terry Schutte, as well as photographs of various friends, including Marcel Duchamp, Tilly Losch, and Mina Loy.
Unidentified photographs are arranged in a file at the end of the series. Additional photographs can be found amongst correspondence and subject source files.
This series has been scanned in entirety.
Oversized, Artist Photographs, Cornell by Hans Namuth, 
(See Box 18, F34)
Oversized, Artist Photographs, Lee Bontecou by Hans Namuth, undated
(See Box 18, F35)
Oversized, Art Work Photographs, Still Life by Cornell for Good Housekeeping, 1952
(See Box 18, F36)
Oversized, Family Photographs, Helen S. Cornell and children, circa 1905
(See Box 15, F39)
Oversized, Photograph Album Page, "Froelich Homestead," circa 1955
(See Box 18, F47)
Art Works, circa 1966-1971
(boxes 19, 23; 0.2 linear feet)
Series consists of several unfinished collages and Rorschachs (or ink blot drawings) by Cornell, two collages by his sister, Betty Cornell Benton (who signed her work as Betty Voohr), on which Cornell collaborated by adding images, and a box by Christine Kaufman (wife of the actor, Tony Curtis), which was a gift to Cornell.
Some art work can also be found amongst correspondence. For Walter De Maria's portfolio, Chicago Project, 1968, see the Walter De Maria correspondence file.
This bulk of this series has been scanned with the exception of the box by Christine Kaufman.
Unfinished Collages, 1971, undated
Includes note by Benton, and some annotations by both Cornell and Benton.
|19||2||Rorschachs (Ink Blot Drawings) (See also Series 4), 1968-1971, undated|
Collages by Betty Voohr with additions by Cornell, undated
Box by Christine Kaufman (Curtis), circa 1966
Books and Printed Material, 1806-1968
(boxes 19, 23; 0.5 linear feet)
Series consists of several books, and various publications and clippings collected by Cornell apart from that which he accumulated as source material.
The books found here most likely comprise the remainder of Cornell's library, which was transferred to the Joseph Cornell Study Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum. They reflect some of Cornell's wide-ranging interests, including Christian Science, astronomy, and literature. Notable ones include a copy of Nevertheless, inscribed to Cornell and signed by the author, Marianne Moore; a copy of New Testament - Psalms, which appears to have been a gift to Cornell from his mother; and a copy of Sylvie - Recollections of Valois by the French author, Gerard de Nerval, whose writing had a tremendous influence on Cornell. Some of the books actually seem to have belonged to Cornell's sister, Betty Cornell Benton, including one of the copies of Christian Science and Its Discoverer, and Christina Rossetti's Poems, which appears to have been a gift from Cornell.
Printed material includes booklets and publications that likewise reflect Cornell's interest in Christian Science, as well as his interest in art and ballet. Found are magazines with articles on other artists and a copy of Allison Delarue's privately-printed monograph on Henry Wikoff, the impressario who brought the Austrian dancer, Fanny Elssler, to America in the 1840s. Printed material also includes clippings and press releases relating to exhibitions of Cornell's art work at New York University (1963) and the Guggenheim Museum (1967), as well as a copy of the December 1957 issue of Art News, which featured an article on Cornell and which includes his annotations indicating his negative reaction to how he was portrayed.
Books and printed material are arranged chronologically. For descriptive purposes, books are treated as one file with a list of titles (provided below).
This series is partially scanned. Books have not been digitized and only covers, title pages and/or relevant pages of other printed materials have been scanned.
Books 1806-1967, undated
|19||5||Christian Science Booklets, 1904-1966|
|19||6||Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1946, 1964, undated|
|19||7||Magazines, Articles on Other Artists, 1948, 1965|
|19||8||Art News, Article on Cornell, 1957|
|19||9||Cornell Exhibit at New York University, 1963|
Cornell Exhibit at Guggenheim Museum, 1967, undated
Includes handmade card from Paul Waldman (See also Series 2).
|19||11||The Chevalier Henry Wikoff, Impresario 1840 by Allison Delarue, 1968|
Writings about Cornell, 1950, circa 1975-1980
(box 19; 0.3 linear feet)
Series consists of writings about Cornell's art work. Included is an article by the poet, Mina Loy (who was a friend and admirer), which represents a writing by one of Cornell's contemporaries. It is not clear where, or even whether, this article was published. The copy found here is a typescript which Loy appears to have shared with Cornell, containing revisions (perhaps by Cornell) in pencil. Other writings include copies of various theses, presentations, and articles stemming from research on Cornell conducted by several graduate students in art history. These individuals were in contact with Betty Cornell Benton in the process of doing their research (See Series 10 for their correspondence), and they ended up sending her copies of the final products. These graduate student writings represent some early examples of Cornell scholarship in the field of art history.
Files are arranged chronologically. This series has been scanned in entirety.
Joseph Cornell Estate Papers, circa 1911, 1944-1986
(boxes 19-22; 3.5 linear feet)
Series is comprised primarily of correspondence, legal documents, and printed material created and accumulated by Betty Cornell Benton in her role as residuary legatee of Cornell's estate, as well as some miscellaneous family papers. Estate papers relate to Benton's administration of the part of Cornell's estate for which she was responsible and her various legal disputes with the executors of the estate. They shed light, to a certain extent, on the exhibition and sale of Cornell art works, as well as on the disposition of Cornell material, during the period of time after his death and up until the mid-1980s. Estate papers document Benton's efforts to safeguard the memory of Cornell and to foster the memory of their brother, Robert, who was often wrongly portrayed as being mentally disabled; to carry on Cornell's legacy by contributing to charitable institutions and donating art works to museums and universities; and to organize and appropriately dispose of Cornell's papers, books, records, and source material. They also document the relationships Benton forged with some of Cornell's friends and acquaintances, as well as with curators, museum directors, collectors, dealers, and artists.
The Joseph Cornell Estate Papers series is arranged as four subseries:
- 10.1: Correspondence, 1954-1986
- 10.2: Legal Files, 1966-1968, 1973-1983
- 10.3: Printed Material, 1944-1982
- 10.4: Miscellaneous Family Papers, circa 1911, 1944-1964
The bulk of this series has been scanned with the exception of printed materials such as books, magazines and exhibition catalogs for artists other than Cornell; typically only covers, title pages, and/or relevant pages of these items have been digitized.
10.1: Correspondence, 1954-1986
Subseries consists of correspondence sent and received by Benton in the administration of Cornell's residual estate, as well as some printed material and photographs that were accumulated in the same files. Correspondents include: lawyers, collectors, dealers, galleries, museums, curators, scholars, writers, art critics, artists, admirers of Cornell, the executors of Cornell's estate, and charitable institutions, as well as some of Cornell's former "helpers," friends, and acquaintances.
Correspondence generally relates to the exhibition, loan, appraisal, auction, and sale of Cornell art work. It documents, in particular, Cornell exhibitions at the ACA Galleries, Art Institute of Chicago, Castelli Feigen Corcoran Gallery, Hopper House, Washburn Gallery, and Washington University in St. Louis; and the major Cornell retrospectives, "Joseph Cornell" at the Museum of Modern Art (November 1980-January 1981) and "Joseph Cornell: An Exploration of Sources" at the National Museum of American Art (November 19, 1982-February 27, 1983). Correspondence also relates to the disposition of Cornell material and art work, including donations of his papers, books, records, and/or source material to various cultural institutions (such as the Anthology Film Archives, Museum of Modern Art, Archives of American Art, and National Museum of American Art, among others), and gifts of art work to various museums and galleries (such as Meadow Brook Art Gallery at Oakland University, Mead Art Gallery at Amherst College, and Williams College Museum of Art, among others). Correspondence also concerns Benton's gifts of art work (particularly, collages and book objects), source material, memorabilia, and copies of some of Cornell's papers to various individuals.
Correspondence documents Benton's many efforts to continue Cornell's legacy and to preserve his memory, including her monetary donations to charitable institutions in memory of her brothers; her attempts to correct misinformation and misrepresentations of Cornell and his family published in various articles (as in a letter to New York Magazine correcting a mistake about the nature of Robert's handicap in an article written by Thomas Hess); and her concern to have the right person do a "Cornell book" (as reflected in correspondence with Wayne Andrews, Dore Ashton, Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, Diane Waldman, and Don Windham). Correspondence also documents her role in facilitating research on Cornell, including that of graduate students, such as Sherry Friend and Helen Haroutanian (See also Series 9), and that of scholars such as David Porter; her work organizing and cataloging Cornell's papers and source material; and the various requests she fielded for information about or authentication of certain Cornell works.
Benton organized the correspondence into files according to correspondent, and the files in alphabetical order according to name of institution or surname of individual. Items in each file were typically accumulated in reverse chronological order. When only a few items were associated with a correspondent, Benton organized these into general alphabetical files. The existing organization has, for the most part, been maintained.
10.2: Legal Files, 1966-1968, 1973-1983
Subseries is comprised of Benton's files pertaining to various legal matters that arose in the course of administering Cornell's residual estate. Files primarily consist of copies of correspondence sent and received by Benton's lawyer, Dennis Hurley (of the firm, Behringer, Hurley and Hurley), on her behalf; copies of legal documents such as briefs, exhibits, court reporter's minutes, petitions, affidavits, and compromise agreements; and copies of income tax returns.
Files primarily relate to the legal dispute between the executors of Cornell's estate (Richard Ader and Wayne Andrews) and members of Cornell's family (namely, Benton and her niece, Helen Batcheller). The main issue of dispute was the ownership of Cornell art works in the possession of family members. Also at issue was the ownership of the non-Cornell art works owned by Cornell, as well as whether or not certain Cornell material (such as source material and ephemera) was to be considered art work (since art works went to the Trust and remaining material went to Benton as part of the residual estate). Files also relate to the case in United States Tax Court, determining whether the value of the works transferred to Benton and Batcheller were includable within the gross estate of Cornell for federal estate tax purposes.
To a lesser extent, files (especially correspondence) also relate to the estate tax proceedings of the Helen S. Cornell estate (See also Series 1); the issue of ownership of the Bebe Marie doll (which initially belonged to Cornell's cousin, Ethel Storms, and was subsequently used by Cornell in the box, Untitled (Bebe Marie), in the 1940s); the charitable trust, the C and B (Cornell and Benton) Foundation, that Benton established as part of the compromise agreement with the executors; payment of gift taxes on works owned by Batcheller; and the appraisal, insurance and loan of Cornell works owned by Benton.
Files are arranged, more or less, chronologically. Material in the files is arranged in rough reverse chronological order as that seems to have been how Benton typically compiled it.
Helen S. Cornell Estate Papers, 1966-1968
Case Re: Joseph Cornell Estate, 1973-1974
10.3: Printed Material, 1944-1982
Subseries is comprised of printed material, some of which was most likely collected by Cornell and either shared with his sister during his lifetime or bequeathed to her along with the rest of his papers, and some of which was created and/or accumulated by Benton during the time she was administering Cornell's residual estate.
Printed material collected by Cornell includes various clippings, a legal publication, issues of National Geographic magazine (with pages cut out), and stamps. It is possible that some of this printed material (particularly the magazines) constitutes part of Cornell's source material, which he may have used in his own box constructions and collages or shared with Benton for her to use in her collages.
Printed material collected by Benton includes announcements and catalogs for exhibitions of Cornell works; clippings on or related to Cornell; publications (such as Architectural Digest and Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago) with articles on or referencing Cornell or his art works; lists (created by Benton) of Cornell material given to the Anthology Film Archives and of Cornell's record collection (parts of which seem to have been given to different institutions, including the Lighthouse Music School, the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind, and Southampton College, among others); and a brief biography of Robert Cornell written by Lynda Roscoe Hartigan for the International Year of Disabled Persons at the Smithsonian Institution.
Files are arranged in chronological order.
10.4: Miscellaneous Family Papers, circa 1911, 1944-1964
Subseries consists of fragments of the papers of Betty Cornell Benton and Helen S. Cornell.
Betty Cornell Benton's papers include kindergarten art work, a printed inventory of Robert Cornell's train collection (which she compiled in collaboration with Robert during the time period from 1962 to 1963), and notes. Some of Benton's notes concern Cornell's biography and magazine collection, and may relate to certain activities in handling his estate.
Helen S. Cornell's papers include printed material on Flushing and the World's Fair (which took place in Flushing in 1939), as well as some writings. The printed material, collected and oftentimes annotated by Mrs. Cornell, documents some of the interests she shared with her son and relates to certain formative experiences shared by the family (such as their repeated visits to the World's Fair, which seems to have been a special time for all).
Beyond the fact that they were stored together, it is unclear how the rest of these fragments relate to Cornell's estate papers. Related papers can be found amongst biographical material, family correspondence, and Robert Cornell's papers.
Robert Cornell Papers, 1924-1965
(boxes 24, 28; 0.4 linear feet)
Series consists of the personal papers of Cornell's younger brother, Robert, nicknamed Snicky. Even though he suffered from cerebral palsy and was confined to a wheelchair for most of his life, Robert led an active and creative life, pursuing hobbies such as drawing, train collecting, and short wave radio, and sharing many of Cornell's interests such as music, films, and Christian Science. Stemming from his creative activities and interests, and his close relationships with family members, his papers include correspondence received by him (See Series 2 for correspondence written by him), writings, art works, printed material, photographs, notes, QSL cards (which are traded amongst amateur radio operators), financial material such as his financial diary and receipts, address book, and his last will and testament.
It is possible that either Cornell kept Robert's papers amongst his own or that Benton placed Robert's papers in with Cornell's in the course of preparing them for donation. However Robert's papers came to be included amongst Cornell's, it most likely is not an accident. Both Cornell and Benton were concerned with how Robert would be remembered. This concern is reflected in Cornell's use of Robert's drawings in his series of memorial collages and in Benton's expressed tendency to include one of Robert's drawings (usually a copy) when loaning or donating Cornell art works (See copy of letters to Aline Porter in Subseries 10.1). The fact that Robert's papers can be found amongst Cornell's can be interpreted as part of the family's effort to foster Robert's memory.
The Robert Cornell Papers are arranged alphabetically according to format. The bulk of this series has been scanned; typically only covers, title pages, and/or relevant pages of printed material such as magazines and exhibition catalogs for artists other than Cornell, have been scanned.
Oversized, Art Work, "Coin de Chambre" (framed watercolor), circa 1963
(See Box 24, F2)