Skip to main content

Belle Krasne Ribicoff papers, 1942-circa 2010, bulk 1945-2004

Belle Krasne Ribicoff papers, 1942-circa 2010, bulk 1945-2004

Krasne, Belle

Collection Information

Size: 1.6 linear feet

Summary: The papers of Belle Krasne Ribicoff measure 1.6 linear feet and date from 1942-circa 2010, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1945-2004. Papers include biographical materials; correspondence with artists, art historians, writers, museum directors, and others; individual files relating to Belle and Irving Ribicoff's art collection and the Friends of Abe Ribicoff's campaign for the United States Senate; artwork; printed material, e.g., clippings, announcements, exhibition catalogues, brochures; and photographs. The collection documents Ribicoff's career as an arts editor, critic, and her involvement in civic and arts organizations for the State of Connecticut.

Biographical materials include documentation of the Buttenweiser Prize awarded to Belle Krasne by the Art History Departmental Honors at Vassar College in 1945 and curriculum vitae.

Correspondence, primarily incoming letters consists of letters, postcards, draft versions, and copies of e-mails. Belle Krasne Ribicoff was friends with many artists; their letters focus on daily activities, work, and the art world. Among the correspondents are Oscar and Eleanor Chelminsky, Joseph Cornell, Piero and Virginia Dorazio, John and Rae Ferren, Helen Frankenthaler, James Fitzsimmons, Adolph Gottlieb, John Graham, Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Modell, George L.K. Morris, Philip Pearlstein, Eero Saarinen, David Smith, and Adja Yunkers. There is substantial correspondence from Ben Benn, Sidney Geist, Leon Hartley, Ralph Rosenborg, and Theodore Roszak. Also found are love letters to Belle Krasne Ribicoff from Jean Bazaine. Many of the artists' letters are illustrated. Of note are a letter from Carl Holty to J.B. Neumann and an artist's statement written by Adolph Gottlieb.

Ribicoff had a professional and personal relationship with a number of prominent writers, actors, and other individuals known for their work in the arts, such as Edward Albee, Claire Bloom, Peter DeVries, Horton Foote, Elia Kazan, Mark Lamos, Estelle Parsons, Karl Shapiro, Cornelia Otis Skinner, and P.L. Travers. There are letters from museum directors, art historians, and other well-known cultural figures, such as Dore Ashton, Clement Greenberg, Balcomb Greene, Rene d'Harnoncourt, Pierre Matisse, E. P. Richardson, Andrew C. Ritchie, Harry Salpeter, Curt Valentin, and Mark Van Doren. Also found are files of holiday cards, many original artwork; letters to Ribicoff upon her departure from Art Digest; letters from representatives at Storm King Art Center Museum and the Wadsworth Atheneum; and letters from unidentified correspondents.

The Ribicoff collection relates to the personal art collection of Belle and Irving Ribicoff; materials document the purchase and sale of artwork and the lending of artwork for exhibitions. There is a file of petition letters sponsored by the Friends of Abe Ribicoff campaign for the United States Senate.

Original artwork includes prints by Jean Arp and Adja Yunkers and pencil sketches of Sarai Ribicoff by William Bailey. Printed material consists of news clippings, a periodical, exhibition announcements, brochures, an offprint of an article by Cleve Gray, and miscellaneous printed material.

Photographs contain black and white photographs of Belle Krasne Ribicoff, Ben and Velida Benn, Richard Krautheimer, and of the jurors attending the Carnegie International exhibition (circa 1954), including Jean Bazaine, Rico Lebrun, Eric Newton, and James Thrall Soby.

Biographical/Historical Note

Belle Krasne Ribicoff (1924- ) has been an art magazine editor, a critic, and a university administrator from Hartford, Conn. Ribicoff is also the sister-in-law of former Connecticut senator, Abraham Ribicoff.


Donated in 2008 by Belle Krasne Ribicoff.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Belle Krasne Ribicoff Papers,
1942-circa 2010
bulk 1945-2004
, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical Note
Belle Krasne Ribicoff (b. 1924) lives in Hartford, Connecticut and has served as an arts editor, critic, and university administrator.
Ribicoff was born and raised in New York City. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in art history from Vassar College in 1945. After a brief stint with an advertising agency in New York, Ribicoff became Assistant Editor at
Magazine of Art
(1946-1947), where she developed an interest in contemporary art. She served as editor for such publications as
Art News
Art Digest
(1949-1954), and
Craft Horizons
In 1955, she married Irving S. Ribicoff (1915-1994), an attorney and moved to Hartford, Connecticut. The Ribicoffs' had two daughters, Dara (b. 1956) and Sarai (1957-1980).
Ribicoff has held various positions at the University of Hartford: Development Director at the Hartford School of Art (1980-1981), Development Liaison to the Office of President (1982-1988), and Associate Vice President for Public Affairs (1980-1983). Belle Krasne Ribicoff has served as a professional volunteer for educational and cultural organizations in Connecticut; she has been involved in efforts to make the arts a part of the school curriculum. She was Vice-President of the Hartford Board of Education (1961-1967; 1965-1971) and was Chairman of the State of Connecticut's Commission on the Arts (1965-1971). Ribicoff is a Life Director at the Hartford Stage Company and a Life Regent at the University of Hartford. She is a Sterling Fellows at Yale University and sits on the President's Advisory Committee at Vassar College.
Belle Krasne Ribicoff has received recognition for her professional and public service contributions by a number of institutions. In 1954, she received the Frank Jewett Mather Award for critical writing from the College Art Association. Other honors have included: Charter Oak Leadership Medal for Distinguished Service (1968), the University of Hartford Medal for Distinguished Service (1995), and the Spirit of Vassar award for outstanding commitment and service to Vassar or another community (2005).
The collection is arranged into 7 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1945, circa 2010 (Box 1; 1 folder)
Series 2: Belle Krasne Ribicoff Correspondence, 1942-2007 (Boxes 1, 3; 1.0 linear feet)
Series 3: The Ribicoff Collection, 1949-1988 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 4: Friends of Abe Ribicoff Campaign, 1968 (Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 5: Artwork, circa 1950s-1978 (Box 1, OV 4; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1948-2000 (Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 7: Photographs, 1945-circa 2007 (Boxes 1-2; 0.1 linear feet)
Donated in 2008 by Belle Krasne Ribicoff.
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Joy Weiner in 2011.

Restrictions on Access

Letters from Jean Bazaine to Ribicoff and two drawings of Sarai Ribicoff by Wlliam Bailey: ACCESS RESTRICTED; use requires written permission.

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

Belle Krasne Ribicoff papers, 1942-circa 2010, bulk 1945-2004. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

  • No downloads available