Scope and Contents
The Ankrum Gallery records measure 41.5 linear feet and date from circa 1900 to circa 1990s, with the bulk of the records dating from 1960 to 1990. The papers include over 395 artists files, general gallery correspondence, project files, administrative records, exhibition files, collector and client files, financial material, printed material, 1 unbound scrapbook, and photographs. Also included are personal papers of gallery founder Joan Ankrum and her nephew, artist Morris Broderson.
General correspondence is with artists, museums, collectors, and clients, and generally concerns sales, exhibitions, and consignments. Correspondents include Irving Block, Morris Broderson, Naomi Caryl, Suzanne Jackson, Joseph and Olga Hirshhorn, among many others. Correspondence is also found in the artists files and the collector/client files.
Project files document various events, benefits, and projects undertaken by the gallery, including a UNICEF benefit, "Up Against Hunger," the Exceptional Children's foundation, and the Young Art Patrons.
Administrative files document many activities of the gallery, such as the gallery's and Joan Ankrum's membership in the Black Arts Council, the California Arts Council, and the Art Dealers Association of California of which Joan Ankrum was a primary organizer. Also found are publicity files, a file on the history of the gallery, leases, floor plans, insurance documents, lists of graphics for sale, and other miscellany.
Exhbition files appear to be incomplete, but do include files for Huichol Indian's art, "The Art of African Peoples" (1973), "Five Contemporary Mexican Painters" (1977), Ethiopian Folk Painting (1978), San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild All Media Exhibition (1982), "25th Anniversary Exhibition" (1985), among several others.
Extensive artists' files include correspondence, price lists, photographs and slides,resumes and biographical material, and sales invoices. Files are found for Benny Andrews, Carlos Almaraz, Richard Bauer, Irving Block, Naomi Caryl, Bernie Casey, Frank Duveneck, Lorser Feitelson, Bruno Groth, David Herschler, Jessie Homer, Suzanne Jackson, Buffie Johnson, Samella Lewis, Helen Lundeberg, Arnold Mesches, Henry Miller, Melvin Schuler, Arthur Secunda, Ken Shores, Jean Varda, and Zev, among many others. The Pat Alexander and Andy Nelson files also contain motion picture film.
Collector and client files document the gallery's relationship with over 115 collectors, museums, and art centers. Files may include correspondence and sales records and are found for Edith Halpert, Olga and Joseph Hirshhorn and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Krannert Art Museum, Laguna Art Museum, Palm Spring Desert Museum, Paramount Pictures, San Diego Museum of Art, Staempfli Gallery, and Storm King Art Center, among many others.
Financial material documents sales through numbered invoices, consignments, loans, and insurance valuations. Printed material consists of exhibition catalogs and announcements, bulletins, periodicals, and newspaper clippings. One unbound scrapbook contains clippings and exhibition materials.
Photographs are of artwork, artists, and gallery openings. Additional photographs are found in the artists' files.
Joan Wheeler Ankrum personal papers document her personal and professional relationship with family, artists, and collectors. They include correspondence, personal writings, personal financial materials, printed material and loose scrapbook materials, family photographs and photographs of her as an actress, and artwork from various artists.
The papers of artist Morris Broderson, nephew of Joan Ankrum, document his professional relationship with the gallery as his primary dealer. Included are biographical materials, correspondence, publicity files, travel files, projects, exhibitions, collector/client files, financial material, printed material, photographs, and artwork.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Ankrum Gallery records were donated to the Archives of American Art by Joan Ankrum in 1995.
Also found in the Archives of American Art are two oral history interviews with Joan Ankrum, one conducted by Betty Hoag, April 28, 1964, and a second by Paul Karlstrom, November 5, 1997-February 4, 1998. Additionally, there is an oral history interview with Morris Broderson conducted by Paul Karlstrom, March 11-13, 1998.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund
Multiple accessions were merged and archivally processed and a finding aid prepared by Anna Rimel in 2015 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care and Preservation Fund. The Archives of American Art has implemented accelerated processing strategies when possible to increase information about and provide access to more of our collections. For this collection, accelerated processing tactics included arrangement to the series, subseries and folder levels, adhering to the creator's original arrangement as much as possible. Generally, folder contents were simply verified with the original folder titles, but items within folders were not arranged further. All materials were rehoused in archival folders and boxes for long-term stability, but staples and other fasteners have not all been removed. Motion picture film reels were inspected and re-housed in 2016-2017 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.