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Alice Trumbull Mason papers, 1921-1977

Contents and Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 6 series:

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Series 1: Biographical Material , 1925-1968
(Box 1, OV 3; 0.2 linear feet)

This series consists of scattered documentation of Alice Trumbull Mason's career as an artist and her active membership in many art organizations. Included are brief resumes and biographies that provide information about her memberships, exhibitions, awards, representation in permanent collections, and other professional information. Also found here is her Guggenheim fellowship application. Other professional records include scattered exhibition records and records of her work as an officer in the American Abstract Artists group that includes letters to members written by Mason, lists of members, press releases, reports, and letters to her from the vice president, Esphyr Slobodkina. Mason's active participation in other art organizations, such as the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors and the International Association of Plastic Arts, is documented here through reports to members, brochures, newsletters, meeting minutes, and other membership information. This series also includes some of Mason's personal financial records as well as a few legal documents.
Microfilm reel and frame numbers are noted at folder headings.
Description Container Select
Resumes & Biographies, circa 1955-1966
(Reel 629:241-249)
1
1
Fellowship Application Form, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 1948
(Reel 629:250-252)
1
2
Passports, 1925, 1928
(Reel 629:253-260, 267-273)
1
3
Certificates of Service and Discharge, Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation, 1939-1940
(Reel 629:261-266)
1
4
Exhibition Records, 1945-1968
(Reel 630:398-452)
1
5
Price Lists, 1952-1968
(Reel 630:113-119)
1
6
American Abstract Artists Records, 1939-1968
(See also OV3; Reel 630:265-330)
1
7
Art Organizations, 1953-1961
(Reel 630:260-261, 351-397)
1
8
Personal Budget Lists, 1932-1934
(Reel 630:237-252)
1
9
Personal Budget Notebook, 1937-1939
(Reel 629:1025-1044)
1
10
Personal Budget Notebook, 1938-1941
(Reel 629:997-1024)
1
11
Checkbook Ledger and Deposits Book, 1949-1950
(Not microfilmed)
1
12
Legal Documents, 1933
(Reel 630:254-258)
1
13
Oversize American Abstract Artists Records, 1939-1968
(See also Box 1, F7; Reel 630:265-330)
OV 3

Series 2: Correspondence , 1922-1977
(Box 1; 0.4 linear feet)

This series contains Alice Trumbull Mason's personal and professional correspondence. Almost all of the letters prior to 1940 are to and from family and friends; the earliest are from friends she made while in Europe during 1921 and 1922. Also found is correspondence with her sister Edith, also known as "Edi" and "Buddah", her brother Jack, and her parents, sharing family news during Mason's travels abroad. There are letters to and from her sister Margaret (Margie), also an artist, discussing Mason's views on art, including her opinions on surrealism, her desire to paint, and other intimate thoughts. Also found here are numerous letters between Mason and her husband Warwood written while he was working as a merchant seaman. These very detailed letters discuss news of their children Emily and Jonathan (Jo), her current paintings, early meetings of the American Abstract Artists group in 1937, political problems within the group, and her participation in exhibitions. One interesting letter describes her reaction to Orson Welles 1938 broadcast of War of the Worlds. In their later correspondence, Warwood is often called "Po".
Professional correspondence includes some letters regarding Mason's work within the American Abstract Artists Group, including two letters from Josef Albers about AAA exhibitions. Other letters concern the selection of her artwork for exhibitions or prizes, exhibition venues and schedules, curators' visits to her studio, and the sale of her artwork to galleries and museums. Additional correspondence also discusses her participation in other art organizations, such as the Society of American Graphic Artists and the Print Club. Also found are numerous letters from friend and fellow founding member of the American Abstract Artists, Paul Kelpe, dating from 1953 to 1970. In these letters Kelpe discusses his current artwork, his teaching career, participation in exhibitions, and professional and financial struggles. Most of the correspondence after 1967 is of a personal nature with Kelpe, her husband, and her daughter Emily. There are many letters between Mason and her daughter Emily and son Jonathan, discussing their activities, including Emily's early career as an artist.
Correspondence is arranged chronologically. Microfilm reel and frame numbers are noted at folder headings.
Description Container Select
Correspondence, 1922-1970
(14 folders; reel 629:275-906)
1
14-27
Correspondence, Undated, circa 1922-1970
(Reel 629:907-995)
1
28
Emily Mason letter to the New York Times, 1977
(Reel 3134:1044-1046)
1
29

Series 3: Writings and Notes , 1921-1965
(Box 1; 6 folders)

Writings and notes by Alice Trumbull Mason include four notebooks. One notebook is entitled "History of Art" and contains her notes about famous artists, and the others contain poems, stories, and other creative writing. Also found are notes and lists, including various lists of artwork and address lists. This series also contains other writings, such as artist statements, brief writings about abstract art, a draft of a lecture on art, several poems, and creative writings identified as "abstract writing."
Microfilm reel and frame numbers are noted at folder headings.
Description Container Select
Notebook, "History of Art", circa 1920s
(Reel 629:1068-1123)
1
30
Notebook, 1921-1922
(Reel 629:1124-1160)
1
31
Notebook, 1922, 1928
(Reel 629:1161-1225)
1
32
Notebook, 1927
(Reel 629:1045-1067)
1
33
Notes and Lists, 1950s-1960s
(Reel 630:120-168, 212-236)
1
34
Writings, Poetry, and Artist Statements, circa 1920s-1965
(Reel 630:169-211)
1
35

Series 4: Printed Material , 1936-1974
(Box 1; 2 folders)

Scattered printed material on various topics includes news clippings from magazines and newspapers on topics such as art, music, literature, and events that were of interest to Mason. Also found are a few exhibition announcements, brochures, unsent postcards, and a 1936 issue of Art Front.
Researchers should note that the collection originally housed news clippings about Alice Trumbull Mason and several exhibition catalogs and announcements for her solo and group shows. These items were transferred to the Library and are available on microfilm on the reels listed below.
Microfilm reel and frame numbers are noted at folder headings.
Description Container Select
News Clippings, 1940-1969
(Not microfilmed)
1
36
Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1936, 1947-1974
(Not Microfilmed)
1
37
News Clippings about Alice Trumbull Mason, 1940-1967
630
729-767
Exhibition Catalogs and Announcements, 1937-1971
630
453-667

Series 5: Photographs , 1920s-1967
(Box 1, OV 3; 5 folders)

This series contains photographs of Alice Trumbull Mason, including portraits, a photograph of Mason with her husband Warwood, and photographs of her in her studio in 1954. Photographs of others include one of her friend and fellow artist, Ibram Lassaw, and several photographs sent to her from friends in Europe. Also found are photographs of the 26th Annual Exhibition of the American Abstract Artists group. There are several photographs of artwork by Alice Trumbull Mason, including many in color, and a few photographs of artwork by others, including one sculpture by Ibram Lassaw and two by Richard Lippold.
Photographs are arranged by subject and chronologically within each folder. Microfilm reel and frame numbers are noted at folder headings.
Description Container Select
Photographs of Alice Trumbull Mason, circa 1939-1954
(Reel 630:686-694, Reel N69-137:210-219)
1
38
Photographs of Others, 1920s, 1937
(Reel 630:695-705)
1
39
Photographs of 26th Annual Exhibition, American Abstract Artists, 1962
(Reel 630:331-349)
1
40
Photographs of Artwork by Alice Trumbull Mason, 1942-1967
(Reel 630:706-721, Reel N69-137:180-208)
1
41
Photographs of Artwork by Others, 1937, undated
(See also OV 3; Reel 630:722-728)
1
42
Oversize Photographs of Artwork by Others, 1937, undated
(See also Box 1, F42; reel 630:722-728)
OV 3

Series 6: Artwork , 1924-1963
(Box 1-2, OV 3; 0.4 linear feet)

Artwork by Alice Trumbull Mason includes loose drawings and five sketchbooks, most of which date from the 1920s when she was studying painting and traveling in Europe. Loose drawings are of her family, various abstract images, architecture, landscapes, and other studies. A sketchbook dating from circa 1925 to 1928 includes portraits, seated figures, and anatomy drawings. Two sketchbooks dating from 1928 to 1929 document her trips to Italy and Greece, and include descriptions and dates for each drawing. Other sketchbooks from the 1920s include various sketches similar to those found in the loose drawings. This series also includes a signed etching by Mason's friend Letterio Calapai and a small painting by her granddaughter, Cecily Kahn.
Microfilm reel and frame numbers are noted at folder headings.
Description Container Select
Drawings, 1924-1932, 1962-1963
(2 folders; see also OV3; reel 630:42-111)
1
43-44
Sketchbook, circa 1925-1928
(Reel 629:1226-1313)
1
45
Sketchbook, 1928-1929
(Reel 629:1314-1437)
1
46
Sketchbook, 1929
(Reel 629:1467-1491, Reel 630:1-31)
2 (pam)
1
Sketchbook, circa 1920s
(Reel 629:1438-1466)
2 (pam)
2
Sketchbook, circa 1920s
(Reel 630:32-41)
2 (pam)
3
Etching by Letterio Calapai, 1950
(Not Microfilmed)
2 (pam)
4
Artwork by Cecily Kahn, circa 1960s
(Not Microfilmed)
2 (pam)
5
Oversize Drawings, 1924-1932, 1962-1963
(See also Box 1, F43-44; reel 630:42-111)
OV 3

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.