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Abraham Joel Tobias papers, 1913-2000

Contents and Arrangement

The collection is arranged as 8 series:

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  • To request an appointment to view materials, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reading Room" button. Please note, you will receive the full box.
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Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1913-1996
0.3 linear feet
Boxes 1, 4

Among the biographical materials are curriculum vitae, military records, awards and certificates, obituaries and condolence letters, a scrapbook documenting Tobias's early artistic career and personal financial records.
DescriptionContainer
Curriculum Vitae and Biographical Notes, 1943, undated
1
1
Birth Certificate, 1913
1
2
Certificates and Awards, 1943, 1980-1983, 1995
1
3
Financial Records, 1949-1959, 1961-1964
1
4
Employment Applications, Federal and United Nations, 1944-1945
1
5
Military Records and Awards, 1943-1944, 1948, undated
1
6
Death Certificate, Obituaries, and Condolence Letters, 1996
1
7
Scrapbook, 1935-1939
1 volume
4
Enlarged Copy of Tobias's Signature, 1960
photocopy
4

Series 2: Correspondence, 1933-1997
0.4 linear feet
Box 1

General correspondence contains letters, drafts, and carbon copies of letters sent by Tobias regarding proposed mural commissions with responses from various trade unions and public institutions. There is scattered correspondence with museums such as the Brooklyn Museum, Guggenheim Museum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, The Jewish Museum, North Carolina Museum of Art, and Seattle Art Museum. Correspondence with the National Museum of American Art concerns the acquisition of Tobias's shaped canvas,
Sky Formation
(1935); other letters concern the donation of two life drawings to the National Gallery. Also found are letters of recommendation written on Tobias's behalf.
This series is organized chronologically. Project and exhibition files (Series 3) contain additional correspondence.
DescriptionContainer
General Correspondence, 1933-1997, undated
9 folders
1
8-16
The Fine Arts Federation of New York, 1988-1995, undated
1
17

Series 3: Project and Exhibition Files, 1938-2000
1.6 linear feet
Boxes 1, 2, 4, OV 5

Project and exhibition files contain varying combinations of the following: correspondence, photographs, publicity material, legal documents, and proposals. Printed material includes announcements catalogs, and clippings. Some material is in Russian.
The project file for
Science
and
Engineering
(1958) contains a patent certificate for striated plastic, a material that Tobias employed in two murals. Other material of interest is correspondence with the Harmon Foundation regarding a documentary film on Tobias's use of ethyl silicate for outdoor murals.
This series is organized chronologically by mural commission, followed by project proposals, and exhibition files.
DescriptionContainer
Murals
They Cleared the Land and Planted Cotton
(1943), Clarendon, Arkansas, Post Office, 1941-1988, undated
2 folders
18-19
The Triumph of Science Over Charlatanism
(1943), Midwood High School, Brooklyn New York, 1943-1996
2 folders
1
20-21
The Student
(1946), Founders Library, Howard University, Washington, D.C., 1938-1959, undated
1
22
The Sacrifice of Youth for Democracy
and
The Fulfillment of Youth Under Democracy
(1952), James Madison High School, Brooklyn, New York, 1947-1958, 1988, undated
1
23
Untitled Mural (1953), Charles H. Silver Clinic, Beth Israel Hospital, New York City, 1953-1992, undated
4 folders
Oversized material housed in Box 4 and OV 5
1
24-27
Untitled Mural (1955), Domestic Relations Court Building, Brooklyn New York, 1955-1993, undated
Oversized material housed in Box 4
2
1
Science
and
Engineering
(1958), Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, New York, 1954-1970, undated
6 folders
Oversized materials housed in Box 4
2
2-7
The History of Science
(commissioned 1962, unfinished), Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, New York, 1957-2000
2
13
Teacher and Pupil
(1960), Public School 134, Henrietta Szold School, New York City, 1959-1960, undated
5 folders
2
8-12
The Arts
(1966), Adelphi College, Garden City, New York, 1945-1967, undated
2 folders
2
14-15
Proposals
Freedom Monument (1976), Gateway National Park, Brooklyn, New York, 1953-1954, 1975-1976, undated
2
16
Various Projects, circa 1947-1958, undated
oversized material housed in OV 5
2
17
Various Exhibitions, 1949-1997, undated
2 folders
2
18-19
Untitled Mural (1953), Charles H. Silver Clinic, Beth Israel Hospital, New York City, 1953-1955, undated
from Box 1, folders 24-27
4
Untitled Mural (1955), Domestic Relations Court Building, Brooklyn, New York, 1955, undated
from Box 2, folder 1
4
Science
and
Engineering
(1958) Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, New York, 1957-1958
2 folders
from Box 2, folders 2-7
4
Untitled Mural (1953), Charles H. Silver Clinic, Beth Israel Hospital, New York City, undated
from Box 1, folders 24-27
OV 5
Various Projects, undated
from Box 2, folder 17
OV 5

Series 4: Writings, circa 1928-1992
0.1 linear feet
Box 2

All writings are by Tobias. Essays include "The Coexistence of Science and Art," "Thoughts on Mural Painting," and "The Statue of Liberty and Public Art."
DescriptionContainer
Essays, 1952-1986, undated
2
20
Poems, circa 1928-1932
2
21
Miscellaneous Notes and Writings, 1970, 1992, undated
2
22

Series 5: Printed Material, 1913-1999
0.3 linear feet
Boxes 3, 4

Exhibition catalogs include:
Abraham Tobias
(1939), Delphic Studios, New York City;
27th Annual Exhibition
of the Brooklyn Society of Artists (1943), Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Architectural League of New York Gold Medal Awards, 1950-1952 (1952);
New York City WPA Art
(1977), Parsons School of Design, New York City; and
Abraham Joel Tobias: Sculptural Paintings of the 1930s
(1987-1988), The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Jersey.
The congress of Industrial Organizations pamphlets were designed by Tobias.
DescriptionContainer
Announcements and Invitations, 1935-1999, undated
3 folders
3
1-3
Clippings, Newspaper and Magazine, 1913-1999, undated
oversized material housed in Box 4
3
4
Exhibition Catalogs, 1939-1988, undated
3 folders
3
5-7
Magazines, 1937-1985
3
8
Press Releases, 1937-1993, undated
3
9
Pamphlets, Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1944-1945, undated
3
10
Clippings, Newspaper and Magazine, 1956-1997
from Box 3, folder 4
4
School Newspapers, 1951-1952
4

Series 6: Artwork, circa 1990s
1 folder
Box 3

This series contains photocopies of Tobias's sketches, including a self-potrait.
DescriptionContainer
Sketches (undated), circa 1990s
photocopies
3
11

Series 7: Photographs, 1929-1970
0.1 linear feet
Box 3

The majority of this series consists of photographs of sketches, murals, and shaped canvases by Tobias. Also found are views of the artist with friends and family.
DescriptionContainer
Artwork, 1929-1959, undated
some photocopies
3
12
Shaped Paintings, 1935, undated
3
13
Tobias with Friends and Family, 1919-1970, undated
4
14

Series 8: Video Recording, 1995
1 folder
Box 3

Among the topics discussed in an interview of Tobias conducted by Brendan Gill are his shaped canvases and murals created for the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. Sponsored by the New York City Art Commission Archives, the interview was conducted at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn on December 19, 1995.
DescriptionContainer
Abraham Joel Tobias interviewed by Brendan Gill, 1995
1 videocassette (vhs)
3
15

Make a Request

  • To request an appointment to view materials, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reading Room" button. Please note, you will receive the full box.
  • To request reproductions, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reproduction" button.