Bitter, Karl Theodore Francis, b. 1867 d. 1915
Active in New York, N.Y.
Collection size: 2.6 linear feet
Collection Summary: Biographical material, correspondence, writings, photographs, artwork, a scrpabook, printed material, and medals documenting the career of Karl Theodore Francis Bitter as a sculptor.
Biographical materials includes family documents and tributes to Bitter following his death. Correspondence includes mostly letters from Bitter to his wife Marie Schevill, including letters describing work as chief of the Department of Sculpture for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, and other world expositions he worked on; describing an accidental meeting with Louis Sullivan; and discussing the cooperative artists' studios on 59th and 77th Sts. in New York. He also discusses his experiences with public officials, architects, designers, and other associates in the construction of public monuments. Writings include a diary kept on Bitter's return to Austria.
Photographs (many made from lantern slides) and photograph albums are of Bitter, his family, his studios in New York and Weehawken, and his camp and studio in the Adirondacks and his artwork, including machettes, finished and unfinished sculptures for projects including the Dewey Arch (formerly Manhattan), New York, N.Y., the Biltmore Mansion, Asheville, N.C., the Cuyahoga County Courthouse and the Cleveland Trust Company, Cleveland, Ohio, the Pennsylvania Railroad Depot, Philadelphia, Penn., and the Astor Memorial Door, Trinity Church, New York, N.Y. Subjects depicted include Thomas Jefferson, James Burrill Angell, Thomas Lowry, Fritz Sigel, Rebecca Salome Foster, Carl Schurz, and Henry Philip Tappan.
Artwork includes sketchbooks with sketches of male figures and a signed and dated pencil sketch on paper of allegorical figures by Bitter, 1914. A scrapbook kept on his honeymoon in France and Germany, contains notes, sketches, postcards, and photographs. Printed material includes articles relating to Bitter and the relocation of his sculpture.
Also included in the collection are commemorative medals presented to Bitter by the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, the Columbian Exposition, the Pan-American Exposition, the Exposition Universelle Internationale, South Carolina Interstate and West Indian Exposition, and the Architectural League.
Biographical/Historical Note: Karl Theodore Francis Bitter (1867-1915) was a sculptor in New York, N.Y. Bitter immigrated to the U.S. in 1889 from Vienna, Austria.
A majority of the material donated and lent 1969-1973 by Mrs. Walter Abel, Bitter's daughter. Material donated in 2010 was originally on deposit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art but later donated to the Archives of American Art by Michael and Lt. Col. Jonathon Abel, Bitter's grandsons. All medals donated 1975 by Walter Hancock, a friend of Bitter's son, Francis.
How to Use this Collection
- Microfilm reels N70-8, N70-35, N70-40, & 673 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
- Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information. CLOSED FOR PROCESSING AND DIGITIZATION
- For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.