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Betty Parsons Gallery records and personal papers, circa 1920-1991, bulk 1946-1983

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7.3: Correspondence , circa 1932-1983

Series consists of Parsons' incoming and outgoing correspondence originally maintained within her personal papers, although it appears to be a mixture of personal and professional correspondence. It includes not only letters from friends and family, but also from museum directors, art dealers, researchers, gallery artists, and artists seeking representation from the Betty Parsons Gallery. General correspondence primarily consists of personal letters from friends, while chronological correspondence includes primarily business-related letters. No attempt was made to reconcile the two systems since this arrangement may have originated with the creator.
Correspondence is arranged into three sub-subseries:
  • 7.3.1: General Correspondence, circa 1932-1982
  • 7.3.2: Chronological Correspondence, circa 1938-1983
  • 7.3.3. Travel Correspondence and Documentation, 1958-1977
This series has been partially digitized. The 2017 addition has not been digitized.
7.3.1: General Correspondence, circa 1932-1982
Files mostly consist of correspondence with friends and artists with whom Parsons had a personal relationship, although letters touching upon gallery business are scattered throughout. As close friends, many of the artists shared details about their personal and family life, travels, work, and careers. Gallery artist correspondents include Larry Bigelow, Alexander Calder, and William Condon. Of particular note are letters from Ad Reinhardt discussing his work in relation to the gallery and exhorting Parsons to fight for her (and his) rightful place in history. Another significant and prolific correspondent is the English artist Adge Baker, with whom Parsons had a romantic relationship. The two lived together for several years in the house that Parson purchased shortly after she arrived in Paris in 1923. Although they separated in 1932, they remained life long friends.
Notable friends and other correspondents include heiress and world-class speed boat racer Joe Carstairs, the Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava (Lindy Guinness), art critic Rosalind Constable, and art and literary critic Dale McConathy, who briefly worked for Parsons as a gallery assistant. Personal correspondence also includes Christmas cards, postcards, telegrams, and third party correspondence to gallery employees and Lee Hall, Parsons' biographer and gallery artist. Many of the Christmas cards include original artwork in a variety of media, and have been arranged with other artwork sent to Parsons by various artists over the years.
Description Container
A, circa 1951-1977
  • Alper, Natalie
  • Andre, Carl
  • Arlasez, Nuri
  • Avery, Milton
  • Auerbach, Ellen
39
46
Alloway, Lawrence, circa 1959-1975
39
47
A-B, 1964-1979
Includes letters from Natalie Alpen, Avis Berman, Sibylle Blumenfeld, and Marischa Burchardt
55
47
B, 1944-1982
  • Barcley, Jo
  • Barker, Margaret
  • Bakwa, C?©lestin,
  • Beal, John
  • Bedell, Eleanor
  • Bess, Forrest
  • Biero, Ellen
  • Blume, Mary
  • Bochoo, Jac[kki]
  • Bove, Louise
  • Box, Eden (Eden Fleming)
  • Braddock, Barrie
  • Bradley, Harvey
  • Breckenridge, Edith (Mrs. Gerald)
  • Brett, D.E.
  • Brotherton, Joe
  • Buchanan, Beverly
  • Budd, [David]
  • Burnhome, Clement M.
39
48
Baker, Adge, circa 1968-circa 1975
55
48
Baker, Adge, 1966-1970
55
49
Baker, Adge, 1971
55
50
Baker, Adge, 1972 January-April
55
51
Baker, Adge, 1972 May-December
56
1
Baker, Adge, 1973 February-September
56
2
Baker, Adge, 1973 October-December
56
3
Baker, Adge, 1974 January-June
56
4
Baker, Adge, 1974 July-October
56
5
Baker, Adge, 1974 November-December
56
6
Baker, Adge, 1975 January-April
56
7
Baker, Adge, 1975 May-October
56
8
Baker, Adge, 1976-1982
56
9
Baker, Adge, circa 1932-1982
(2 folders)
39
49-50
Baker, Adge, circa 1932-1982
(17 folders)
40
1-17
Barker, Walter, 1963-1979
40
18
Bigelow, Larry, 1954-1960
40
19
Bonge, Dusti, circa 1954-1982
40
20
Bulla, Jean, circa 1932-1935
40
21
C, 1948-1972
  • C., Bill
  • Calder, Alexander
  • Chryssa
  • Coggeshall, Calvert
  • Copley, Al
  • Cummings, Harry
40
22
Carstairs, Joe, 1942-1963
40
23
Clarke, Billie, circa 1970-1980
40
24
Cloos, Consuelo, circa 1952-1982
40
25
Congdon, William, 1977-1981
40
26
Constable, Rosalind, 1943-1982
40
27
Crosby, Caresse, 1925, 1965-1967
40
28
C-D, 1979
Includes letters from Louis Cates, Eyre de Lanux, and Eric de Saussaure.
56
10
D, 1952-1982
  • Daniels, Alfred
  • Danziger, Sonia
  • Davidson, Carol Kreeger
  • Davis, Mary
  • Day, Blanche
  • De Lamar, Alice
  • Denn, Gene
  • Dickinson, Dennis
  • Dienes, Sari
  • Dlugoszewski, Lucia
  • Donaldson, James R.
  • Donati, Enrico
  • Dora, Una
  • Dubuffet, Jean
  • Dunbar, J. H.
40
29
DeMeyer, Evelyn, 1977-1980
40
30
Dufferin and Ava, The Marchioness of (Lindy Guinness), circa 1964-1981
40
31
Durant, Nancy, circa 1950-1972
40
32
E, circa 1950-1982
  • Eastman, Thomas
  • Eberhart, Betty
  • Edelstein, Paul
  • Egan, Charles
  • Elliott, Ronnie
  • Englesmith, Tejas
40
33
E-F, circa 1970-circa 1979
Includes letters from Paul EdelsteinA. M. Fines, and Lisa Fossangrives
56
11
F, circa 1940-1982
  • Fairweather, Sally
  • Falkenstein, Claire
  • Feeley, Paul and Helen
  • Fenno, Pauline
  • Fine, Albert
  • Fini, Jan Luigi
  • Fischel, Marguerite
  • Fish, Seena
  • Fitch, Susan
  • Flaherty, Frances Moore
  • Flaherty, Frances Rohr
  • Francisco, Marjorie
  • Francisco, Richard
  • Frankel, Anita
  • Fraser, C. E.
  • Freedberg, Priscilla
  • Fremantle, Chloe
  • Frickner, Lawrence
40
34
Frasetto, Monica Flaherty, circa 1951-1974
40
35
Fritzius, Harry, circa 1953-1978
40
36
G, 1948-1982
  • Garston, Gerald D.
  • Gladstone, Doria and Mike
  • George, Thomas
  • Goff, Lloyd
  • Gordon, Martha
  • Grant-Govar, Enid
  • Gray, Cleve
  • Greenfield, Sophia
  • Groth, Jan
  • Guiness, Alec
40
37
Gooding, Maria, 1977-1982
40
38
Groves, Chris, 1966-1968
40
39
G-H, circa 1978-circa 1979
Includes letters from Craig Hansen, Ron Hill, and Margo Hoff
56
12
H, circa 1940-1981
  • Haberman, Daniel
  • Hamblett, Theora
  • Hamilton, C.
  • Hamilton, George Heard
  • Harman, E. Terry
  • Harper, Lindsay
  • Harwood, Nina Conan Doyle
  • Hawkins, Erick
  • Hayashi, Kaname
  • Herbert, David
  • Hero, Mrs. Alvin (Martha)
  • Herzel, Eileen
  • Hillis, Sue
  • Hirshhorn, Joseph and Olga
  • Hock, Robert
  • Hoff, Margo
  • Hood, Dorothy Gregory
  • Hooker, R. Wolcott
  • Hopkins, Harry L.
  • Humphrey, Ralph
  • Huyck, Laura Talmage
40
40
Hall, Lee, circa 1981-1982
40
41
Hennessy, Timothy, 1961-1974
40
42
I and J, 1942-1982
  • Irving, Flora W.
  • Jablow, Evelyn
  • Jackson, Kay
  • Jaeger, Blanche
  • Jenkins, R.A.
  • Johnson, Ray
40
43
I-J, circa 1970s
Includes postcards from Lisa Irving and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
56
13
K, circa 1940-1982
  • Kardamatis, Yiannis Wolfgang
  • Katz, Bill
  • Kealy, Hinman L.P.
  • Kelleher, M. Landreth
  • Kelly, Ellsworth
  • Kent, Alice
  • Klyne, Maurice
  • Koch, Ed
  • Koteen, Shirley
40
44
K-L, circa 1969-circa 1979
Includes letters from Leah Lasbury and Marjorie Liebman
56
14
L, circa 1942-1981
  • Leake, Paul M.
  • Liebman, Marjorie
40
45
M and N, circa 1950-1976
  • Macy, Gert
  • Mallory, Margaret
  • Marshall, George
  • Mason, Susanne
  • McCloud, Lillard
  • McPeck, Eleanor
  • Metz, Gwyn
  • Miles, Jeanne
  • Miller, B.
  • Mon, Bascha
  • Morgan, Joseph P.
  • Mueller, Leo
  • Muelanzambi, Bawka
  • Murphy, Alice Harold
  • Negulesco, Jean
  • Nuala (Elsa de Brun)
40
46
McConathy, Dale, circa 1963-1969
40
47
M-N, circa 1970s
Includes letter from P. Mansaram, and postcards from Jack Milroy and New York Studio School
56
15
Newcomb, Mary (Mrs. Alexander Higginson), circa 1932-1961
40
48
O and P, circa 1950-1982
  • Oliver, Alex
  • Okada, Kenzo and Kimi
  • Passante, Anne
  • Perreault, John
  • Perkins, Helvetia
  • Porter, Aline
  • Porter, Pat
  • Pousette-Dart, Richard
  • Putnam, Wallace
40
49
Parsons, Betty to Jock Truman, circa 1968-circa 1975
56
16
Pierson, James Rhodes, 1956-1959
40
50
P-S, circa 1955-circa 1979
Includes letters from Aline Porter, Fran Preisman, Jesse Reichek, D. N. Schnabel, Lili Shepley, and Audrey Strohl
56
17
R and S, 1943-1981
  • Ret, Etienne
  • Russell, Ethel Bordon
  • Santiago, Ed
  • Shepley, Mrs. P. R. (Lili)
  • Sikelianos, Eva
  • Smith, Tony
  • Sottsass, Ettore
  • Steindecker, Oliver
  • Steiner, Lisl
  • Sterne, Hedda
  • Stevens, Peter Jellen
  • Storey, Ala
  • Swartz, Clementa M.
40
51
Reinhardt, Ad, circa 1949-1965
40
52
Seid, Dui, circa 1974-1975
40
53
T, circa 1961-1975
  • Taylor, Benjamin de Brie
  • Taylor, Marie Carr
  • Thompson, Lynne
  • Toland, Mrs. Owen Jones
  • Tryggvadottir, Nina
  • Tumarkin, Igael
40
54
V, W, and Z, circa 1956-1982
  • Valente, Barbara
  • Valmarsus, Pablo and Rene
  • Vanruska, Frank
  • Van Scriver, Strelsa
  • W., Jack
  • Warner, Sylvia Townsend
  • West, Saul and Peggy
  • Weyschmid, Rita
  • Zito, Abby
41
1
W, circa 1970s
56
18
Unidentified, circa 1932-1981
41
2
First Names Only/Illegible, circa 1970s
56
19
Third Party, circa 1937-1983
41
3
Christmas Cards, circa 1960-1977
(5 folders)
41
4-8
Christmas Cards and Other Correspondence with Artwork
Artists A-B, circa 1960s-circa 1970s
56
20
Artists C-F, circa 1960s-circa 1970s
56
21
Artists G, circa 1960s-circa 1970s
56
22
Artists H, circa 1960s-circa 1970s
56
23
Artists, I-K, circa 1960s-circa 1980s
56
24
Artists, L, 1955-1981
56
25
Artists, M, 1947-circa 1970s
56
26
Artists, O-P, circa 1955-1980
56
27
Artists, R-S, 1955-circa 1970s
56
28
Artists, S, 1950-1980
56
29
Artists, T, circa 1965-1982
56
30
Artists, T, circa 1960s-1982
56
31
Artists, V-Z, circa 1945-1980
56
32
Artists, Oversized A-Z and Unidentified/Illegible, circa 1940s-circa 1982
Oversized material housed in OV 62
56
33
Artists, Unidentified/Illegible, circa 1940s-circa 1982
56
34
Artists, Unidentified/Illegible, circa 1940s-circa 1982
56
35
Artists, Unidentified/Illegible, circa 1940s-circa 1982
56
36
Oversized Christmas Cards and Other Correspondence with Artwork, Artists A-Z and Unidentified/Illegible from Box 56, Folders 20-33
OV 61
Postcards, circa 1930-1959
41
9
Postcards, circa 1960-1969
41
10
Postcards, circa 1970-1979
41
11
Postcards, 1980-1982
41
12
Postcards, undated
41
13
Telegrams, 1929-1971
41
14
Postcards, First Names, A-L, circa 1964-circa 1979
56
37
Postcards, First Names, M-W, circa 1967-circa 1971
56
38
Postcards, Surnames A-V, circa 1969-circa 1971
includes postcards from Henry Koehler, Annalee and Barnett Newman, Kenzo Okada, Frank Sherman, and Bill Taggart
56
39
Postcards Unidentified/Illegible, 1960s-1970s
56
40
7.3.2: Chronological Correspondence, circa 1938-1983
These files reflect how deeply Parsons' life was intertwined with the gallery as correspondence with dealers, museum directors, researchers, collectors, arts organizations, gallery staff, and artists predominate in this subseries, although letters from friends are scattered throughout. Letters address a variety of topics including requests for Parsons to be a jurist for juried exhibitions, exhibitions and sales of her own art work, references for artists, requests for interviews, questions from researchers, and communications from gallery staff. Letters from Jock Truman, include his original cover letter (1961) and updates concerning gallery business (1964, 1966-1968, and 1972).
Letters from Parsons include a letter of introduction for her former husband Schuyler Parsons to Peggy Guggenheim (1965) and a suggestion to collector Paul Mellon (1976)that Barnett Newman's Stations of the Cross belongs in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.. Parsons response to a researcher (1979) provides her insights concerning the early history of the gallery and her connection with the Abstract Expressionists. Other significant correspondents include Ossip Zadkine (1956), Jacqueline Monnier (1978 and 1982), and Judith Rothschild (1980). Finally, letters that post-date Parsons death in July, 1982 include condolence letters to gallery staff and correspondence between Jack Tilton, her former assistant at the gallery and William Rayner, her nephew and the executer of her estate, to establish prices for her art work.
Description Container
Correspondence, circa 1950s-circa 1970s
56
41
Correspondence, 1938-1949
41
15
Correspondence, 1940-1951
56
42
Correspondence, 1950-1953
41
16
Correspondence, 1954-1956
41
17
Correspondence, 1956-1969
56
43
Correspondence, 1957-1960
41
18
Correspondence, 1961-1962
41
19
Correspondence, 1963
41
20
Correspondence, 1964
41
21
Correspondence, 1965
41
22
Correspondence, 1966
41
23
Correspondence, 1967-1969
41
24
Correspondence, 1970-1974
41
25
Correspondence, 1971-1975
56
44
Correspondence, 1975-1977
41
26
Correspondence, 1976-1979
57
1
Correspondence, 1978
41
27
Correspondence, 1979
(2 folders)
41
28-29
Correspondence, 1980
41
30
Correspondence, 1980-1982
57
2
Correspondence, 1981
(2 folders)
41
31-32
Correspondence, 1982
41
33
Correspondence, 1983
41
34
Correspondence, undated
41
35
7.3.3: Travel Correspondence and Documentation, 1958-1977
This subseries documents travel undertaken by Parsons in the United States and abroad, including trips to Europe, Japan, Russia, Poland, and Zaire. Records document travel arrangements and itineraries, and include letters from gallery employees to Parsons informing her of goings-on at the gallery during her absences. There is a group photo, including Parsons, from her 1958 trip to Japan. The folder recording her trip to Turkey folder includes a draft of a letter written by Parsons after she received the news of Barnett Newman's death, and a note to Ellsworth Kelly. The files on her 1976 trip to England and Ireland document an exhibition of her work at the David Hendriks Gallery in August 1976, and a Theo McNab exhibition, presented by David Hendriks at the Cork Arts Society Gallery and opened by Parsons. Records include lists of artwork, correspondence, press coverage, and photographs, including two photos of Parsons with McNab and Hendriks. Also found in these records is correspondence with artist Maria Gooding, whom Parsons visited during the trip, regarding plans for an exhibition of Gooding's work in 1977 at Betty Parsons Gallery. Gooding's correspondence encloses photos of Parsons
Description Container
Japan, 1958
57
3
Europe, 1963
57
4
Europe, 1964
includes a letter to Ellsworth Kelly about his leaving the gallery
57
5
United States, 1965
57
6
Russia and Poland, 1965-1966
57
7
Russia and Poland, 1966
57
8
Various Trips, 1966-1968
57
9
Turkey, 1969-1970
57
10
Europe, 1969-1971
57
11
International Association of Art Critics, Zaire, 1973-1974
57
12
United States, 1973
Includes a letter from Agnes Martin and 2 photos of Martin's home near Cuba, New Mexico, one with Martin standing out front
57
13
France, 1976
57
14
England and Ireland, 1976
57
15
England and Ireland, 1976
57
16
England and Ireland, 1976
57
17
Denmark, 1977
57
18

Make a Request

  • To request an appointment to view materials, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reading Room" button. Please note, you will receive the full box.
  • To request reproductions, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reproduction" button.