Leslie Cheek papers, 1940-1983, (bulk 1940-1942)

Cheek, Leslie, b. 1908 d. 1992
Arts administrator
Active in Va.

Collection size: 4.2 linear ft. (partially microfilmed on 1 reel)

Collection Summary: REEL 4885: Papers, 1940-1942, concerning the proposed exhibition, "For Us the Living," designed by Cheek with text written by Lewis Mumford for the Trustees of the Museum of Modern Art. The exhibit was never installed. Included are correspondence with Mumford, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Nelson Rockefeller, Alfred Barr, and others; draft "scenarios" or exhibition narratives; sketches; and blueprints. Also included is Cheek's 1983 correspondence with American Heritage magazine regarding a proposed article about the exhibition.

UNMICROFILMED: Papers, ca. 1938-1988, including files kept during his tenure as director at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 1939-1942, as editor at "Architectural Forum" magazine, 1945-1947, "House Beautiful" magazine, 1947-1942, and as head of the U.S. Army Camouflage Training Unit, 1942-1945. Also included are files related to projects he undertook from 1968 to 1988, following his tenure as Director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Biographical/Historical Note: Museum director, editor. Died 1992. Cheek studied Fine Arts and was trained in architecture and stage design. His work as director of the Baltimore Museum of Art was marked by innovative and theatrical exhibitions, and led to his selection by the trustees of the Museum of Modern Art as curator for a planned exhibit "For Us The Living," regarding the rise of Nazism and fascism in Europe.

Material on reel 4885 was lent for microfilming, 1993, by Mary Tyler Cheek, widow of Leslie Cheek. She donated the unmicrofilmed material, 1993. Mrs. Cheek deposited additional papers in the College of William and Mary (where Cheek had founded the Fine Arts Department in 1936), the Virginia State Library, and the Museum of Modern Art.

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  • Microfilm reel 4885 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
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