Katharine Lane Weems papers, 1865-1989

Weems, Katharine Ward Lane, b. 1899 d. 1989
Sculptor
Active in Mass.

Collection size: 14.4 linear ft.
3 rolled docs.

Collection Summary: Biographical material, extensive diaries, correspondence, notes, writings, business records, sketchbooks and drawings, project files, scrapbooks, printed materials, photographs and slides, motion picture film, and videotape relating to Weem's education and career as a sculptor. Also included are ca. 1 foot of papers of Weems' aunt, watercolorist Katharine Ward Lane (1862-1893), including letters, diaries, sketchbooks and photographs.

REEL 724: Biographical sketch, 1974; letters from Frederic Bartlett, George Demetrios, Walker Hancock, Leon Kroll, Lee Lawrie, Moissaye Marans, Adolph Alexander Weinman, and others; four sketchbooks, 1954-1965, containing pencil drawings of animals; a scrapbook of clippings, 1924-1941; and printed material.

UNMICROFILMED: Biographical material includes sketches and documents, and biographical information on Weems grandfather, Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve, and father, Gardiner Lane. Diaries (74 v.), 1906-1983, contain entries relating to art studies and her development as a sculptor; some include clippings and photographs. Correspondence, 1898-1989, includes letters from Gifford Beal, Margaret French Cresson, Charles Grafly, John Gregory, Walker Hancock, Malvina Hoffman, Anna Hyatt-Huntington, Paul Manship, Brenda Putnam, Gurdon Tarbox, and Adolph Weinman, discussing Weems' work and participation in various sculpture organizations. There are four notebooks on art history; recipes for clay and plaster; notes on patinas for bronze; lecture notes; lists of Weems' works and exhibitions; an exhibition guest book, 1931-1957; poems, 1933-1981; invoices and receipts, 1919-1981; copyright records, 1928-1978; and art work, including 15 v. of sketchbooks, 1913-1964, drawings and tracings of animal figures. and a copper printing plate mounted on a wood block.

Fourteen project files contain letters, drawings, photographs, and printed material on: an enlarging machine, the Saltus Medal for Merit, the frieze and Rhinoceros sculpture for the Biological Laboratories at Harvard, 1930-1942, including 7 reels of 16mm motion picture film (with script transferred to VHS), the Lotta Fountain, 1939-1974, Legion of Merit Medal, 1949-1952, War Department project, 1946, Goodwin Medal, 1949-1952, Wallace Goodrich Plaque, 1954, Hospital Teaching Clinic, 1955, Boston Museum of Science, 1964-1965, "Dolphins by the Sea" for the New England Aquarium, 1969-1979, Heredities Limited, 1971-1974, and the Museum School, 1977.

Included are two scrapbooks, one of clippings about the work of other artists and one containing poems, clippings of landscapes, animals, works by others, and autographed photographs of actresses Katharine Cornell and Anna May Wong and sculptor Brenda Putnam. Printed material includes clippings, 1911-1989; exhibition announcements and catalogs, 1922-1981; bulletins, programs, brochures on artists, organizations, Brookgreen Gardens, and supplies; reproductions of art works, and the books, Odds Were Against Me (1985, Weems autobiography, and Enrique Monjo (1955), inscribed by Mongo.

Photographs and slides, 1902-1988, are of Weems, family members, artists Charles Grafly, Walker Hancock, and Anna Hyatt-Huntington, Weems' house "The Chimneys," her studio, gardens, animals, works of art by Weems and others, exhibit installations, and views of New York City, Washington, D.C., Monticello, the University of Virginia, and Brookgreen Gardens. Nine albums, 1920-1980, contain photographs of an art class, Weems in her studio, her home, her friends, scenic views, and works of art. Videos and film include a videotape (5 min., U-matic) of an interview of Weems; a video, "Clay to Bronze," showing the creation of Weems' sculpture "Dark Warrier (VHS); 4 reels of 16 mm motion picture film of "Rhinoceros" compiled and transferred to digi-beta, VHS and DVD, and a 16mm motion picture of a day at the beach.

The papers' of Weems' aunt, Katharine "Kitty" Ward Lane (d. 1893), include Lane's letters, 1898-1893, to her brother (Weems' father) and to other family members; a travel diary from Germany, 1886; notes; financial records, 1891-1892; 10 sketchbooks; printed material; and photographs, 1865-1893, of Lane, early views of Saranac Lake, and 9 views of the Columbia Exposition, 1893.

Biographical/Historical Note: Sculptor; Boston, Mass. Died 1989. Specialized in animal sculpture. Studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston under Charles Grafly, Anna Hyatt-Huntington, George Demetrios, and Brenda Putnam. She married F. Carrington Weems in 1947. Named after her aunt, watercolor painter Katharine Ward Lane, who died in 1893.

Material on reel 724 lent for microfilming by Weems, 1974. The four sketchbooks on reel 724 were subsequently donated in 1989. Unmicrofilmed papers were donated 1975 and 1982 by Weems, and in 1989 by her estate. Eighteen diaries (1961-1965, 1967-1976 [1969 not included], 1978, and 1981-1983) and an apppointment book for 1966 donated by the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, 1991.

Funding for the preservation and transfer of motion picture film provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reel 724 available 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.
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.

Also in the Archives