Mildred Baker papers, 1882-1997, bulk, 1923-1997

Baker, Mildred, b. 1905 d. 1998
Arts administrator
Active in New York, N.Y.

Collection size: 2.7 linear feet (partially microfilmed on 3 reels)
Addition (1999): 1.4 linear feet

Collection Summary: Material relating to Baker's work as an art administrator on the Federal Art Project, Salons of America and First Municipal art exhibitions, 1934, at the Newark Museum, and elsewhere. Files are on the Index of American Design, community art centers, the Newark Museum, exhibitions, and general files containing correspondence, photographs, drafts of reports and speeches, notes, surveys and statistics, technical guides, articles, and clippings; correspondence with Francis O'Connor and others; diaries; writings; phonograph records; and sales ledger sheets, presumably kept by Baker, of the First Municipal Art Exhibition, 1934 (reel 4982) indicating: artist, catalog number, title, medium, price, gallery, salesman, date billed, date check received, purchaser's name and address, and date of sale.

Also included are an exhibition catalog, "New York No-Jury Exhibition-Salons of America, Inc., Sponsored by the Honorable Fiorello H. La Guardia, Mayor of the City of New York, From April 9, to May 6, 1934" (70 p. + suppl.) and a photograph (reel 1817) taken at the time of the installation by Peter A. Juley & Son, of the staff, artists and friends. Among those pictured are: Mildred Holzhauer (Baker), Theresa Bernstein, Jonas Lie, Concetta Scaravaglione, Dorothy Miller, Gaston Longchamp,Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Emile Branchard, Mrs. Emile Branchard, Holger Cahill, Jack Sparrow, Waldo Peirce, Leon Hartl, Jimmie Burke, Ben Benn, Arnold Friedman, Henry McBride, Wood Gaylor, Robert Laurent, Adelaide Lawson, Augustus Goertz, and others (unidentified).

Biographical/Historical Note: Baker (Holzhauer) was an assistant Holger Cahill, who served as director on the Federal Art Project and organizer of several art exhibitions in New York. Baker also worked for the College Art Association and a gallery on 57th Street. Baker's early role in FAP was to scout directors for regional programs in Ohio, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. She later was involved in FAP exhibitions and community art centers.
In 1934, she assisted Cahill in organizing two important exhibitions. The First Municipal Art Exhibition was organized by the Municipal Art Committee under Cahill's direction, and was held at Rockefeller Center, February 28-March 31, 1934. When a Diego Rivera mural, commissioned for Rockefeller Center, was destroyed on February 9 by building officials because of its content, many artists withdrew from the exhibition in protest. Ensuing publicity resulted in record attendance of 20,000 people in one week. 937 works by 401 artists were exhibited. The Salons of America New York No-Jury Exhibition, the largest exhibit of its kind, displayed over 4,500 works between April 9 to May 6 at The Forum, RCA Building Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y.

Material on reel D110 lent for microfilming by Baker 1963. Baker donated the Juley photograph on reel 1817 in 1971, portions of the unmicrofilmed material in 1976, and the Salons catalog and 1st Municipal sales ledger in 1993. Additional material, which included several items previously microfilmed on reel D110, was received in 1999 by Patricia Haskell, Exectuor of the Baker estate.

How to Use this Collection

  • Summary reports, magazine reprints, and an exhibition catalog, and a FAP progress report by Holger Cahill, Feb. 16, 1936, "The Works Program.": microfilm reel D110 available for use in AAA offices and through interlibrary loan.
    First Municipal Art Exhibition sales ledger: microfilm reel 4982 (fr. 1380-1386) available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
    Photograph by Peter A. Juley & Sons of Salons of America staff and artists: microfilm reel 1817 (fr. 1333) available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
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