Collection size: 1.1 linear feet
Collection Summary: Ca. 300 letters, ca. 1940-1968, to Brooks; notebooks, ca. 1950s (7 v.) kept by Brooks, containing drafts of letters, favorite quotations, and notes on English grammar; and exhibition catalogs, a tape-recorded interview of Brooks (date and interviewer yet to be determined), and photographs of Brooks' portraits, including one of Anna de Noailles and several unidentified. The material was gathered by Meryle Secrest in preparation for her biography of Brooks. The letters, written after Brooks' most productive painting period, contain few references to her portraits. Instead, they include insight into her small circle of friends and give oblique references to her health, her long-term relationship with Natalie Barney, and her seasonal trips between her villa in Fiesole and her apartment in Nice. The bulk of the letters are from Uberto Strozzi, 1951-1967 (although none refer to Brooks' portrait of Strozzi painted in 1961). Other correspondents are Sir Harold Acton, Alda Anrep, Laura Dreyfus Barney (Natalie Barney's younger sister), Mme Berthe (Natalie Barney's housekeeper), Yvon Bizardel, Jean-Pierre Castelnau, Louis Gauthier-Villars, Janine Lahovary, Edward MacAvoy, Nicky Mariano, Charles de Noailles, and Alan Searle, and staff from the National Collection of Fine Arts (now the National Museum of American Art)- -Adelyn Breeskin, Donald R. McClelland, David W. Scott, and Richard P. Wunder, regarding the acquisition of her work.
Biographical/Historical Note: Portrait painter; France.
Donated 1999 by Meryle Secrest, author of Between Me and Life: A Biography of Romaine Brooks (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1974). Secrest received the letters and notebooks directly from Brooks' estate, and compiled the remainder.
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