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Bernice West Beyers papers, 1912-1987

Bernice West Beyers papers, 1912-1987

Beyers, Bernice West, 1906-1987

Actor, Sculptor

Collection Information

Size: 1.7 linear ft.

Summary: Biographical material; correspondence; business records; notes and writings; art work; printed material; and photographs.

Biographical/Historical Note

Sculptor and actress; Bronxville, N.Y.


Donated 1988 by Robert West Beyers, Beyers' son.

A Finding Aid to the Bernice West Beyers Papers,
, in the Archives of American Art
Finding aid prepared by Jean Fitzgerald
Biographical Note
Berenice West Byers (1906-1987)worked as as sculptor in the New York and New England area. Later in life, she became a patron of the arts in Dallas, Texas.
Bernice Delemar West was born on April 26, 1906 in New York City, the daughter of Abigail Palmer and E. Lovette West, an engineer. In 1925 she graduated from the Bennett School in Millbrook, New York, where she took diplomas in both drama and fine arts. After a summer trip to Europe with classmates, she spent the next year studying drama with Winifred Lenihan at the Theatre Guild. In the summer of 1926, she did summer stock in Binghamton as a member of Actors Equity. In 1927 she began to pursue a career in sculpture and pottery.
She first worked in the studio of Lu Duble, her former teacher at the Bennett School. From 1927 to 1929, she also studied under Alexander Archipenko, Edmond R. Amateis, and Winold Reiss. In the fall of 1929, West began studies at the Art Students League under William Zorach.
Beginning in 1934, she exhibited primarily in New England and Florida. She was later influenced by the Haitian and Mayan art work she encountered while on a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1937-1938.
West was married in March 1940 to Robert Arthur Beyers, and their family moved permanently to Dallas, Texas, where they were primarily patrons of the arts.
Bernice West Beyers died in 1987.
The collection is arranged as 7 series. All series are arranged chronologically. All oversized material has been housed in Box 3 (sol) and is referenced in the folder headings of the Series Description/Container Listing.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1923-1935, undated (Box 1; 2 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1928-1974, undated (Box 1; 16 folders)
Series 3: Business Records, 1923-1960, undated (Box 1; 11 folders)
Series 4: Notes and Writings, 1925-1967, undated (Box 1, 3; 10 folders)
Series 5: Art Work, undated (Box 1; 2 folders)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1912-1987, undated (Box 1, 3; 33 folders)
Series 7: Photographs, 1937-1956, undated (Box 1, 2, 3; 29 folders)
Scope and Content Note
The papers of sculptor Bernice West Beyers measure 1.7 linear feet and date from 1912-1987. Found within the papers are biographical material; letters that discuss sculpture commissions and exhibitions; scattered business and financial records; notes and writings; a sketchbook; printed material, including 3 scrapbooks of clippings; and photographs of Beyers and photograph albums of her art work.
Donated 1988 by Robert West Beyers, Beyers' son.
Processing Information
The papers were processed in November 2005 by Jean Fitzgerald.

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

Bernice West Beyers papers, 1912-1987. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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