Scope and Contents
The papers of abstract artist Alice Trumbull Mason date from 1921 to 1977 and measure 1.3 linear feet. The collection documents her career as a painter, particularly her role as one of the founders of the American Abstract Artists group, through biographical materials; correspondence with family, friends, fellow artists, art galleries, museums, and organizations; writings and notes, including notebooks of poetry and other creative writings; a small amount of printed material; photographs of Mason, friends, and her artwork; and original artwork, including five sketchbooks.
Biographical material consists of resumes, passports, exhibition files, as well as documentation of her membership and active participation in art organizations, including her work as an officer in the American Abstract Artists group. Also found here are scattered personal financial and legal records. Personal and professional correspondence is with family members, including many detailed letters between her and her husband Warwood, fellow artists, including Paul Kelpe, art organizations, curators, museums, galleries, and others. Professional correspondence generally discusses selection of exhibition and awards, sale of artwork, and art events. Writings and notes, mostly from the 1920s and 1930s, consist of Mason's notes on art history and her creative writings, including poetry and "abstract writing." Also found are a few writings about abstract art and various notes and lists.
Printed material includes news clippings on topics of interest to Mason, and other miscellaneous items such as brochures, and exhibition announcements. Photographs include several portraits of Mason with her artwork, photographs of friends including artist Ibram Lassaw, photographs of an American Abstract Artists exhibition, and artwork by her and others. Original artwork found in this collection includes five sketchbooks belonging to Mason, including two that document her travels through Greece and Italy, and other loose drawings.
A portion of this collection was donated by Alice Trumbull Mason in 1969. Additional material was donated from 1972 to 1977 by Mason's daughter, Emily Mason Kahn.
A portion of the material donated by Alice Trumbull Mason in 1969 relating to her involvement with the American Abstract Artists was separated and filed with the American Abstract Artists records at the Archives of American Art. Files of news clippings and exhibition catalogs were transferred to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery Library after microfilming.
Also found in the Archives of American Art is a collection of interviews by Ruth Bowman of members of the American Abstract Artists group conducted between 1963-1965, that includes an interview with Alice Trumbull Mason. The Archives of American Art also houses 2.3 linear feet of the records of the American Abstract Artists group.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Portions of the collection received a preliminary level of processing at some point after donation. The collection was microfilmed in accretions on reels N69-137, 629, 630, and 3134. The entire collection was fully merged, processed, arranged, and described by Erin corley in 2007 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.