Lynda Roscoe Hartigan research material on Perkins Harnly, 1979-1984

Hartigan, Lynda Roscoe
Curator, Architectural historian
Active in Washington, D.C.

Collection size: 200 items (on 2 microfilm reels)

Collection Summary: In his correspondence with Hartigan (1979-1984), Harnly discusses Cornell, the Levy Gallery, the Index of American Design, his own career, and other artists such as Howard Taft Lorenz. Hartigan's correspondence concerning the exhibition includes letters from Harnly's friend Henry Warshaw. Hartigan's research materials on Harnly include her typed interview questions with Harnly's written responses, newspaper and magazine articles, exhibition catalogs and announcements, copies of the Index of American Design data sheets for Harnly's watercolors, an exhibition history and chronology, Harnly's undated autobiographical notes, two photographs of Harnly, and photographs of works of art by Harnly not included in the NMAA exhibition.

Biographical/Historical Note: Linda Hartigan is an art historian and museum curator; Washington, D.C. Perkins Harnly is best known for his imaginative watercolor renderings of Victorian interiors for the Index of American Design. Harnly grew up in Nebraska. From childhood he was fascinated by the decorative and popular arts, especially by late Victorian design and domestic architecture. Through travel and self-education, he broadened his knowledge of design and developed his skill as a watercolorist. The Index of American Design commissioned him to compose watercolor renderings of American interiors decorated and furnished in the Victorian style. After the dissolution of the Federal Project in 1943, he worked as a sketch artist for the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio in Hollywood.

Collected by Linda Hartigan for the exhibition PERKINS HARNLY: FROM THE INDEX OF AMERICAN DESIGN, which she co-curated with Virginia Mecklenberg, at the National Museum of American Art (1981-1982). Hartigan initially became interested in Harnly because he had exhibited in a three-man show at the Julien Levy Gallery with Joseph Cornell in the early 1930s. After some searching, she found Harnly living in a hotel in Culver City, California, and began a detailed correspondence with him.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reels 4066-4067 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
  • The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.