Rockwell Kent papers, [circa 1840]-1993, bulk 1935-1961

Kent, Rockwell, b. 1882 d. 1971
Painter, Author, Illustrator

This site provides access to the papers of Rockwell Kent in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2008 from 106 reels of microfilm. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 160,404 images.


Collection size: 89.8 linear feet
1 rd

Format: Papers suffered significant water damage after being rescued from the fire that destroyed the Kent home in 1969. A small percentage could not be salvaged, and a few items (particularly letters written in fountain pen) are faded or smeared to the point of illegibility.

Collection Summary: The Rockwell Kent papers measure 88 linear feet and date from circa 1840 to 1993 with the bulk of the collection dating from 1935 to 1961. The collection provides comprehensive coverage of Kent's career as a painter, illustrator, designer, writer, lecturer, traveler, political activist, and dairy farmer.

Biographical/Historical Note: Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) was a painter, printmaker, illustrator, designer, and commercial artist. Kent also pursued careers as as a writer, professional lecturer, and dairy farmer. He travelled extensively, and was a political activist who supported the causes of organized labor, civil liberties, civil rights, anti-Fascism, and peace and friendship with the Soviet Union.

Donated 1969 and 1971 by Mr. and Mrs. Rockwell Kent, and in 1996 by Shirley (Sally) Kent Gorton. Funding for the processing, microfilming, and publication of the finding aid was provided by The Henry Luce Foundation. Additional photos, art works and writings were donated 2001 by the Shirley Gorton Johnstone estate.

Funding for the processing, microfilming, and publication of the finding aid was provided by The Henry Luce Foundation.
In 2008, the microfilm was digitized with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

How to Use this Collection

  • Read the Finding Aid for this digitized collection
  • The microfilm of this collection was digitized in 2008 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website. Researchers should note that the legibility of some materials is poor due to the microfilm quality.
  • Permission to quote, reproduce or publish may be needed from Plattsburgh State University of New York art museum.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.

Also in the Archives

Related Materials

Additional Rockwell Kent papers, also located at: Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.
Additional and possibly duplicate Rockwell Kent material located at Plattsburgh State University of New York art museum. Researchers are advised to check with Plattsburgh for before publishing Kent material found in the Archives of American Art.