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Beatrice Fenton papers, 1836-1984, (bulk 1890-1978)

Beatrice Fenton papers, 1836-1984, (bulk 1890-1978)

Fenton, Beatrice, 1887-1983


Collection Information

Size: 9.3 linear ft.

Biographical/Historical Note

Sculptor; Philadelphia, Pa. Studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and developed a close friendship with Emily Clayton Bishop, whose work she promoted after Bishop's death in 1912.


Donated 1987 and 1991 by Joan Martin, a sculptor and former student of Fenton's who inherited Fenton's studio and its contents.

Related Materials

Scope and Contents

Biographical accounts, correspondence, drawings, note cards concerning sculpture projects, financial and printed material, and photographs of Fenton and of works of art.

The collection documents Fenton's career as a sculptor and art instructor, as well as her life-long friendships with artist Emily Clayton Bishop and art educator Marjorie Martinet. Found are scattered biographical materials, correspondence primarily between Fenton and Martinet (approximately 1/2 of the collection), business records, notes and writings, scattered records of arts organizations, transcripts of interviews with Fenton, sketches and sketchbooks, a scrapbook, brochures, clippings, postcards, reproductions of artwork, and photographs of friends and family, travels, and artwork.

The collection includes scattered biographical material for Fenton, Emily Clayton Bishop, and Marjorie Martinet, such as biographical accounts, membership cards, and a diploma. The correspondence is primarily between Fenton and Martinet and documents the development of their close friendship and professional concerns. There are also scattered letters from Fenton's instructor, Alexander S. Calder, and Emily Clayton Bishop. Personal business records include those of Fenton and Martinet and include wills, estate papers, insurance and banking records, price lists, receipts, and records from the Oldfields School where Marjorie Martinet taught for 36 years. Found within the Notes and Writings series are address books, hand-made illustrated booklets of poems by Emily Clayton Bishop, lecture manuscripts, and notes and typescripts on various topics, including a file Fenton created to promote Bishop's artwork following Bishop's death.

There is a series of scattered records of arts organizations to which Fenton belonged, including the Charcoal Club, the Three Arts Club, Lizette Wood Reese Memorial Association, and the Maryland Institute Alumni Association. Also found in the papers are interview tapes and transcripts of interviews conducted with Fenton by Mary Hamel-Schwulst and Marlene Obarzaneck, artwork consisting primarily of sketchbooks and loose drawings by Fenton and Bishop, a scrapbook concerning Martinet, additional printed material, and photographs and photograph albums depicting Fenton, Martinet, Bishop, other family, colleagues, studios, artwork, and travel destinations.

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

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