Jayna M. Josefson
Scope and Contents
The papers of sculptor and educator Athena Tacha measure 36.04 linear feet and date from 1959 to 2019. Found are biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, research and writing files, commission and project files, teaching files from her position at Oberlin College, professional activities files, subject files, printed material, and photographic material. Of note are files documenting Tacha's numerous public art commissions throughout the United States.
Biographical materials include resumes, scattered personal business records, and small sketches and handmade cards by Tacha. Largely, Tacha's correspondence comments on her professional career and includes letters from Ellen H. Johnson and Lucy Lippard and other artists, art historians, colleagues, and institutions. Writings by Tacha include her PhD thesis, drafts of articles, and an interview. More extensive files are found for Brancusi's Birds, and Rodin Sculpture.
The largest series contains material concerning Tacha's commissions and projects, both completed and unrealized. Files may contain detailed designs and construction information, correspondence, financial records, video recordings, and photographs. Professional activity and organization files concern Tacha's exhibitions of her works of art, and her participation with various groups such as the College Art Association and the New Organization for the Visual Arts. Subject files and photographic materials may include extensive source material used by Tacha to create her sculpture. Found are photographs, slides, sound and video recordings, and born-digital material.
There is a one item addition to this collection donated in 2022 that includes a handwritten notebook of works sold by Athena Tacha. The notebook dates from circa date from circa 1964-2017.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated 1998, 2019, 2021 and 2022 by Athena Tacha.
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an interview of Athena Tacha conducted 2009 December 4-6, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art's U.S. General Services Administration, Design Excellence and the Arts oral history project.
Athena Tacha donated her teaching files, as well as her research files relating to Ellen Johnson's Frank Lloyd Wright house in Oberlin, Ohio, to Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, and her early and student writings to the Balch Institute of Ethnic Studies, Philadelphia, Pa. Tacha was the executor of Ellen Johnson's estate, and worked with the Archives in donating Johnson's papers in 1994 (cataloged separately under Johnson).
Processing of this collection received federal support from the Collections Care Initiative Fund, administered by the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative and the National Collections Program
The collection was processed, and a finding aid prepared by Jayna Josefson in 2021.