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Beatrice Whitney Van Ness papers, 1883-1985

Van Ness, Beatrice Whitney, 1888-1981



Collection Information

Size: 1.6 Linear feet

Summary: Letters, writings and notes, art works, printed material and photographs.
Brief resumes, a genealogy of Van Ness' family and a citation from Beaver Country Day School for "Meritorious Service"; correspondence from family members, colleagues and friends includes 5 letters from Victor D'Amico and the Progressive Education Association regarding her participation in upcoming events; extensive notes and writings by Van Ness and others regarding art education theory and practice and a brief history of Beaver Country Day School written by Van Ness in 1981; teaching files, undated and 1932-1944, containing course outlines, exams and class assignments for courses taught at BCDS;
a notebook describing the dimensions, locations and types of various picture frames; a card file describing paintings by Van Ness; figure drawings, still lifes, contour drawings and charcoal studies done when she was a student; studies of people done in preparation for paintings, portrait sketches and 2 sketches of Van Ness done by her students; photographs of Van Ness, her family, models (for paintings), colleagues and teachers (includes a photo of Philip Hale and Edmund Tarbell, ca. 1905-1980), numerous photos of paintings by Van Ness, ca. 1910-1980, and photos of drawings by her students.
Printed materials include 2 articles by Van Ness on art education published in ART EDUCATION TODAY (1939) and HIGH SCHOOL JOURNAL (1940); exhibition catalogs, announcements, clippings and an essay by Hilla Rebay entitled "The Beauty of Non-Objectivity."

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter, educator; Chesnut Hill, Mass. Founder and head of the Art Department at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill (1921-1949). She studied child and adolescent behavior as applied to art education practice. Through articles, essays and presentations she advocated a more vital and integral role for art education in overall curriculum strategy.


Donated 1983 by Van Ness's daughters Mary Crocker and Silvia Martin.

Language Note

English .

How to Use This Collection

Restrictions on Access

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

How to Cite This Collection

Beatrice Whitney Van Ness papers, 1883-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.