Zorach family papers, 1900-1987

A Finding Aid to the Zorach Family Papers, 1900-1987, in the Archives of American Art, by Jayna M. Hanson

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Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art

Table of Contents:

Biographical Information

William Zorach (1887-1966) was a modernist painter and sculptor working primarily in New York city, along with his wife Marguerite (1887-1968) who worked as a fauvist painter, printmaker, and textile artist. Their children were painter Dahlov Ipcar (1917-) and art collector Tessim Zorach (1915-1995.)

Born in Lithuania, William Zorach immigrated to the United States where his family settled in Cleveland, Ohio. An early interest in art led to a printmaking apprenticeship. He then moved to New York City and enrolled in the National Academy of Design where he studied painting and drawing. In 1910, Zorach traveled to Paris to study and where he met his wife Marguerite Thompson at the La Palette art school. Marguerite grew up in Fresno, California and studied art at Stanford University. Both artists were heavily influenced by the fauvist and cubist art movements.

Returning to America, Marguerite and William married and both continued to create and experiment with varied media. Their paintings were featured in the 1913 New York City Armory Show and they are credited with being among the first artists to introduce European modernist styles to American modernism. The Zorachs were very close both as a couple and as working active artists.

In the 1920s, Marguerite began to experiment with textiles and created large, fine art tapestries and hooked rugs. Also, she used batik dying techniques on fabrics. William also expanded his genre by creating direct sculpture in 1918, which would become his primary medium.

In 1915, William and Marguerite started a family with their son, Tessim. Two years later, their daughter Dahlov was born. The Zorachs divided the year and lived in New York City, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. In 1923, the family bought a farm on Georgetown Island, Maine where they lived, worked, and entertained friends.

Dahlov and Tessim were exposed to art from an early age. Dahlov showed artistic promise as a child and her parents supported her creativity by allowing her to express herself without formal training. Dahlov pursued painting and later became an illustrator for children's books. Additionally, she wrote fantasy novels and short stories. Dahlov married Adolf Ipcar in 1936. Like the rest of his family, Tessim Zorach developed an interest of art and along with his wife Peggy, he amassed a large private collection of ancient to modern art.

William and Marguerite continued to sculpt and paint until their deaths in 1966 and 1968, respectively.

Together, Dahlov and Tessim established the Collection of the Zorach Children which coordinated donations of their parents' art to many museums throughout the United States and the world. The artwork of both artists is found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Delaware Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Farnsworth Art Museum, Portland Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Philips Collection, and educational institutions such as Colby College, University of Vermont, Williams College, Bowdoin College, and the University of Virginia. In addition William has works associated with many public buildings, among them: Radio City Music Hall, New York City Municipal Court, the U.S. Post Office in Washington D.C. as well as Farleigh Dickinson University.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The Zorach Family papers measure 4.4 linear feet and consist of materials relating to the lives and careers of sculptor and painter William Zorach, his wife painter and weaver Marguerite, and their children, painter and multi-media artist Dahlov Ipcar and collector and art dealer Tessim Zorach. The bulk of the papers consists of letters to Tessim regarding his parent's artwork. Additional materials include scattered letters to William Zorach; writings and notes by William, Marguerite, and Tessim; a sketchbook and drawings by William; prints by Marguerite; Marguerite's scrapbook; printed materials; and photographs of the Zorach family and of William Zorach in his studio and at work.

The majority of correspondence is between Tessim Zorach and various museums and galleries concerning exhibitions and donations of his parents' works of art. There are scattered letters to William Zorach among the correspondence. Business records consist of materials relating to the Collection of the Zorach Children, including lists of works of art by the Zorach's, a file relating to an exhibition of Zorach artwork at the Brooklyn Museum, and photographs of works of art considered for donation.

Writings and Notes include a typescript of an article written by Marguerite Zorach, writings by William Zorach, a typescript of Young Poems by William and Marguerite, as well as articles written by others about the Zorachs. Artwork by Marguerite Zorach includes two prints and a tracing. Also found is one sketchbook, and additional drawings by William Zorach. There is one unsigned lithograph.

The majority of exhibition announcements, catalogs, and clippings concern William and Marguerite Zorach although there are two announcements for Dahlov Ipcar. There is one scrapbook of clippings about Marguerite.

The papers include photographs of Marguerite and William Zorach, their parents, baby photos of Tessim and Dahlov, family pictures of the Zorachs, and of Marguerite and William in their studios. There are several folders of William Zorach working in his studios and additional photos of him carving a relief sculpture and a sculpture for the Southwest Bank. Most of these photographs contain detailed annotations written by William Zorach about the work. There is one folder of photographs of William in France in 1910-1911, including one of Zorach in Roi Partridge's studio. There is one photograph of Zorach taken by Ansel Adams in Yosemite, a photo of Zorach working by Arnold Newman, and several taken by Imogen Cunnigham.

Other photographs are of works of art, most of which depict William's works.

Artifacts include Marguerite's batik tools and approximately fifty commercially made printing blocks.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged into 9 series:

Subjects and Names

This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:


  • Partridge, Roi, 1888-1984
  • Art Students League (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn Museum


  • Art, American
  • Art -- Collectors and collecting -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Artist couples
  • Artists' studios -- Photographs
  • Painters -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Women painters -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Weavers


  • Articles
  • Drawings
  • Interviews
  • Notes
  • Photographs
  • Prints
  • Scrapbooks
  • Sketchbooks
  • Works of art
  • Writings


  • Adams, Ansel, 1902-1984
  • Cunningham, Imogen, 1883-1976
  • Ipcar, Dahlov Zorach, 1917-
  • Newman, Arnold, 1918-2006
  • Zorach, Marguerite, 1887-1968
  • Zorach, Tessim
  • Zorach, William, 1887-1966


Tessim Zorach donated the Zorach Family papers to the Archives of American Art in 1982.

Separated and Related Materials

William Zorach loaned some papers for microfilming to the Archives of American Art in 1959. These papers were microfilmed onto reels NY59/1-NY59/4, and NY59/19 and returned to the artist. They are not included in the container list of this finding aid.

The Archives of American Art holds the Dahlov Ipcar papers, 1906-1997. Also found is one oral history interview with William Zorach conducted by by John D. Morse on April 2, 1959 and an oral history interview with Dahlov Ipcar conducted by Robert F. Brown on November 13, 1979.

The bulk of William Zorach's papers are held by the Library of Congress.

How the Collection was Processed

The Zorach Family papers were arranged and microfilmed in 1994. They were reprocessed by Jayna Hanson in October 2008 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of originals requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Zorach Family papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

Available Formats

The collection is available on 35 mm microfilm reels 4957-4961 at Archives of American Art offices, and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the order of the collection on microfilm may not match the order of the originals as described in the finding aid.

Location of Originals

The originals of the materials loaned for microfilming are most likely part of William Zorach's papers at the Library of Congress.

How to Cite this Collection

The Zorach Family papers, 1900-1987. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Biographical Information, circa 1907-1969
(Box 1, 6; 3 folders)

Scattered biograpical and personal materials include an architectural plan for William Zorach's memorial, a proposed plan for the Kiener Memorial Fountain in St. Louis, a certificate, and short biographies. Biographical information for Marguerite Thompson Zorach consists of a record from Fresno High School in California.

Box Folder
1 1 William Zorach, circa 1930s-1960s, 1964
(See also OV6)
1 2 Marguerite Thompson Zorach, circa 1907
1 3 Tessim Zorach, 1969 January 14
(See also OV6)
6 (OV) Oversized William Zorach, 1964
(See Box 1, F1)
6 (OV) Oversized Tessim Zorach, 1969 January 14
(See Box 1, F3)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1922-1982
(Box 1-2; 1.75 linear feet)

The majority of correspondence consists of letters written to Tessim Zorach regarding his parents' works and exhibitions from various scholars, galleries, and museums. Included are scattered letters written to William Zorach. Also found is a photocopy of a letter by Marguerite Zorach to Jessica Dismorr.

Box Folder
1 4 1922, 1947, 1950, 1955-1956
1 5 1960, 1963-1964
1 6 1966
1 7-9 1967
(3 folders)
1 10-12 1968
(3 folders)
1 13-15 1969
(3 folders)
1 16-18 1970
(3 folders)
1 19-20 1971
(2 folders)
1 21-22 1972
(2 folders)
1 23-24 1973
(2 folders)
1 25 1974
Box Folder
2 1 1974
2 2-3 1975
(2 folders)
2 4-5 1976
(2 folders)
2 6-7 1977
(2 folders)
2 8-9 1978
(2 folders)
2 10-12 1979
(3 folders)
2 13-14 1980
(2 folders)
2 15-16 1981
(2 folders)
2 17 1982
2 18 circa 1960s-1970s

Series 3: Business Records, 1967-1971, circa 1960s-1970s
(Box 2-3; 0.3 linear feet)

This series consists of the records of the art Collection of the Zorach Children, managed by Dahlov Ipcar and Tessim Zorach. Included are lists of watercolors and drawings, exhibition files from a Zorach show at the Brooklyn Museum, photos of works of art considered for gifts by the Zorach Collections, and a page from a ledger showing artists account.

Box Folder
2 19 Artist Account 1971
2 20 Brooklyn Museum Exhibition, 1967-1968
2 21 Zorach Collection Forms, circa 1970s
2 22 Photos of Works of Art- Considered as Gifts, circa 1970s
2 23-24 Lists of Works of Art, 1968
(2 folders)
Box Folder
3 1 Lists of Works of art, 1968

Series 4: Writings and Notes, circa 1930s-1966, 1987
(Box 3; 8 folders)

Writings and notes are by William, Marguerite, and Tessim Zorach. Found are William Zorach's explaination of the symbolism of his sculpture at the Second National Bank in Houston, Texas, typescripts of Marguerite's "The Holy Land," and Young Poems edited by Carl M. Schmalz, Jr., and a speech given by Tessim in 1987.

Box Folder
3 2 Symbolism of Zorach Sculpture--Second National Bank, Houston, Texas, circa 1940s
3 3 "The Holy Land" by Marguerite Zorach, circa 1930s
3 4 Young Poems by William and Marguerite Zorach, edited by Carl M. Schmalz, Jr., 1966
3 5 "Reminiscences of Provincetown" by Tessim Zorach, 1987 July 6
3 6 "Zorach's Carved Sculpture," by Roberta Tarbell, 1972-1976
3 7 Unidentified Writings, circa 1960s
3 8 Unidentified Notes, circa 1930s-1960s

Series 5: Artwork, 1900-circa 1920s,
(Box 3, 6; 12 folders)

Artwork includes a sketchbook and drawings by William Zorach, two prints and a tracing by Marguerite Zorach, and an unsigned lithograph.

Box Folder
3 9 Sketchbook by William Zorach, 1900
3 10-14 Drawings by William Zorach, circa 1900
(5 folders)
3 15 Prints by Marguerite Zorach, circa 1920s
(2 prints)
3 16 Tracing by Marguerite Zorach, circa 1910s
(See also OV6)
3 17 Unsigned Lithograph, circa 1900
6 (OV) Oversized Tracing by Marguerite Zorach, circa 1910s
(See Box 3, F16)

Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1922-1953
(Box 3; 1 folder)

There is one scrapbook of clippings relating to Marguerite Zorach.

Box Folder
3 18 Marguerite Zorach Scrapbook, 1922-1953

Series 7: Printed Material, 1912-1982
(Box 3; 0.25 linear feet)

Clippings, articles, brochures, program, exhibition announcements and catalogs, newsletters, and press releases are about Marguerite and William Zorach and their daughter Dahlov Ipcar. Printed articles from the Fresno Morning Republican in which Marguerite describes her time spent traveling through Asia. Also found are printed reproductions of artwork by William and Marguerite Zorach.

Box Folder
3 19 Articles by Marguerite Zorach, 1913-1914
3 20 Brochures, circa 1930, 1967, 1974
3 21 Clippings, 1912, 1930-1939
3 22 Clippings, 1943-1949
3 23 Clippings, 1953-1954, 1957
3 24 Clippings, 1960-1969
3 25 Clippings, 1970-1979
3 26 Clippings, 1980-1981
3 27 Clippings, circa 1930s-1940s
3 28 Event Programs, 1972-1979
3 29-32 William Zorach Exhibition Announcements and Catalogs, 1936-1981
(4 folders)
3 33 Marguerite Zorach Exhibition Announcements and Catalogs, 1923-1981
3 34 Dahlov Ipcar Exhibition Announcements and Catalogs, 1974, 1977
3 35 General Exhibition Announcements and Catalogs, 1969-1981
3 36 Newsletters, 1968-1982
3 37 Press Releases, 1960
3 38 Reproductions of Works of Art, circa 1967

Series 8: Photographs, 1908-1966
(Box 3-5; 1.0 linear feet)

Photographs are of the Zorach family, including William, Marguerite, Tessim, and Dahlov, and the parents of William and Marguerite. Some photographs of the Zorach family were taken at their home in Maine, Yosemite Valley, and Europe. Other photos are of Marguerite and William in their studios in Paris and New York. Also found are a series of photographs depicting William carving a relief sculpture and making a plaster cast. Most of these photographs contain detailed annotations written by William Zorach about the work. There are photographs of models and friends of the Zorach family including Gaston and Isabella Lachaise, Bertram Harman, Elmer Brubeck, and Alex Warshawsky. Photographers of Zorach include Ansel Adams, Imogene Cunningham and Arnold Newman. Also found are photographs of works of art by William Zorach.

Box Folder
3 39 William Zorach and His Parents, 1908, circa 1910s
3 40 William Zorach in France, 1910-1911
(Includes one photograph of Zorach in Roi Partridge's studio)
3 41 William Zorach, 1913-1914, 1920
(Includes one small photograph of Zorach in Yosemite taken by Ansel Adams)
3 42 William Zorach At Work, 1930, 1943
(See also Box 5)
(Includes photograph by Arnold Newman)
3 43 William Zorach At Work, circa 1940s
3 44 William Zorach At Work, circa 1940s-1950s
(Depicts the stages of Zorach carving a relief sculpture; many of the photographs are annotated by Zorach)
3 45 William Zorach, 1950-1955
3 46-47 William Zorach At Work, circa 1955
(2 folders)
(Depicts the stages of Zorach creating a sculpture for the Bank of the Southwest; many of the photographs are annotated by Zorach)
3 48 William Zorach, 1956
(See also Box 5)
(Photographs taken by Imogene Cunningham)
3 49 William Zorach, circa 1950s
(See also Box 5)
(Steps in Making a Plater Cast; annotated)
3 50 William Zorach, 1956-1966
3 51 Marguerite and William Zorach, circa 1928
(Zorachs with Isabelle and Gaston Lachaise on a picnic)
3 52 Marguerite Zorach and Thompson Family, 1908-1911
3 53 Marguerite Zorach, 1912-1913, 1966
Box Folder
4 1 Zorach Family, 1915-1920
4 2 Zorach Family and Friends, 1929, circa 1950s
4 3 Friends, 1910-1912, 1915, 1920
4 4 Models, circa 1940s
(See also Box 5)
4 5 Houses and Studios, circa 1930s
4 6 Travel, circa 1920s
4 7 Exhibition Installations 1943, 1960, 1967-1968
4 8 Art-Related Events, 1962, circa 1960s
4 9-19 Sculpture by William Zorach, circa 1950s
(11 folders)
4 20 Works of Art by William Zorach, circa 1950s
4 21 Works of Art by Marguerite Zorach, circa 1930s-1960s
4 22 Unidentified Photographs, circa 1960s
5 (sol) Oversized William Zorach by Arnold Newman, 1943
(See Box 3, F42)
5 (sol) Oversized William Zorach by Imogene Cunningham, 1956
(See Box 3, F48)
5 (sol) Oversized William Zorach Making a Plaster Cast, circa 1950s
(See Box 3, F49)
5 (sol) Oversized Models, circa 1940s
(See Box 4, F4)

Series 9: Artifacts, circa 1910s, circa 1950s
(Box 4; 0.5 linear feet)

Artifacts include printing blocks depicting William Zorach creating a relief sculpture and of Marguerite Zorach's etchings; some are unidentified. Also found are Marguerite's batik tools.

Box Folder
4 23 Commercial Printing Blocks, circa 1950s
4 24 Marguerite Zorach's Batik Tools, circa 1910s