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Adelyn Dohme Breeskin papers, circa 1934-1986

Breeskin, Adelyn Dohme, 1896-1986

Curator, Museum director, Art historian


Collection Information

Size: 2.5 linear feet

Summary: Research materials containing correspondence, subject files and writings mostly relating to New York painter Loren MacIver and Mary Cassatt. Additional material includes correspondence, subject, artist and teaching files relating to Breeskin's career as a director, consultant and teacher.

Material relating to Loren MacIver includes correspondence, research files, and writings relating to Breeskin's unpublished monograph on MacIver. Included are correspondence between Breeskin and MacIver, 1969-1970; correspondence with Breeskin's publisher, the Pierre Matisse Gallery and individuals primarily regarding reproductions for the book; research files containing photocopies of WPA-related correspondence and records, 1938-1966, photocopies of the Museum of Modern Art's file on MacIver's mural done on the SS Argentina, 1958; 13 poems, many concerning works by MacIver written by her husband, Lloyd Frankenberg; and an untitled manuscript which includes a chronology, lists of art works, and 2 drafts of the text. Material relating to Mary Cassatt includes files on Mary Cassatt containing copies and typescripts of letters written by Cassatt to Mathilda Brownell, Adaline Havemeyer, Julie Manet and others.

Additional material includes correspondence regarding Breeskin's appointment as director of the Baltimore Museum of Art; subject files containing correspondence, biographical data, photographs, newspaper clippings and travel itineraries; an edited draft of a catalog of the paintings at the State House in Annapolis, Maryland, 1934; material relating to Breeskin's work as consultant to the National Collection of Fine Arts (now the National Museum of American Art); typescripts and drafts and notes of lectures, broadcasts and articles; course files for art appreciation classes taught at Johns Hopkins University; photographs of Breeskin; and a "birthday book" containing birthday wishes for Breeskin from colleagues and friends in the field of art history, 1986.

Artists' files accumulated by Breeskin while working at the National Collection of Fine Arts (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum), containing letters from Georgia O'Keeffe, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, and Lawrence Calcagno; an exhibition catalog for Calcagno; and a file on Milton Avery with letters from his wife, Sally.

Biographical/Historical Note

Adelyn Dohme Breeskin (1896-1986) was an art historian and museum curator in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C.


Unmicrofilmed materials donated 1979-1987 by Breeskin and by Robert Frash, who had Breeskin's research materials on MacIver for an exhibition on MacIver he curated in California. Materials on reel 2227 transferred from NMAA. Provenance of materials on reel 2787 is uncertain.Additional birthday book donated 2015 by Gloria Breeskin Peck, daughter of Adelyn Doehme Breeskin.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

Reels 2227 and 2787 (frames 456-487) available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Adelyn Dohme Breeskin papers, circa 1934-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.