Scope and Contents
The records of the American Abstract Artists measure 1.6 linear feet and date from 1936 through 1983. The records document the founding of the organization in 1936, membership activities, general administration, and exhibitions via correspondence, member writings, financial and legal records, printed materials, and photographs.
Correspondence mainly relates to the exhibitions and member activities of the American Abstract Artists. There are letters from Josef Albers, Alexander Archipenko, Alexander Calder, Lyonel Feininger, Harry Holtzman, Piet Mondrian, and Irene Rousseau, President Emeritus of the American Abstract Artists. Official bulletins sent to members are also found among the correspondence.
Administrative records include founding prospectus, meeting minutes, lists of members, and drafts and amendments to the American Abstract Artists constitution.
Member writings are by Saburo Hasegawa, Henry Billings, Leo Rabkin, and Ruth Gurin. Financial and legal records include ledger books, insurance documents, and other financial material. Printed materials include announcements for the American Abstract Artists' annual exhibitions, as well as exhibition posters. Finally, there are two photographs of collage paintings by members.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Archives of American Art acquired the American Abstract Artists records in three installments by Presidents Emeriti of the American Abstract Artists. Alice Trumball Mason first lent papers for microfilming in 1959, and she later gifted the majority of this material in 1969. Following, Leo Rabkin donated records in 1969, and Irene Rousseau gave more papers in 1983.
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming available on 35 mm microfilm reels D539, N59-11, N69-72, N69-96, N69-97, N69-137, and N70-48. Much of this material and the papers on reels N70-48 and N59-11 were included in subsequent gifts, and may have been microfilmed again. Loaned materials not donated later are not described in the collection container inventory.
Among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are the Ruth Bowman Interviews of American Abstract Art members, 1963-1965, and Susan C. Larsen's Interviews of American Abstract Art members, 1973-1978.
The collection was preliminarily processed by Carly Dorca in 2012, and more fully processed and a finding aid prepared by Megan Bean in June 2016.