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Blanche Lazzell papers, 1893-1956

Blanche Lazzell papers, 1893-1956

Lazzell, Blanche, 1878-1956

Painter, Designer, Printmaker, Etcher

Collection Information

Size: 4.6 linear feet

Summary: The papers of printmaker, etcher, and painter Blanche Lazzell (1878-1956) measure 4.6 linear feet and date from 1893 to 1986, with the bulk of the material dating from 1901 to 1940. Found within the papers are biographical materials; correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues; writings; five diaries; scattered personal business records; printed material; artwork; photographs; and artifacts.

Biographical material includes school report cards, address books, obituaries, membership certificates, and travel documents from Blanche Lazzell's travels abroad in Europe.

Correspondence is with family, friends, and colleagues. Family correspondence is predominately with Lazzell's sisters, and a lesser amount with her brother Rufus and other relatives. Well over one-half of the correspondence is with friends and colleagues, including Arthur Lee Post and John O' Connor, and one or more letters from Oliver Chaffee, Andrew Dasburg, Robert Henri, and Ralph M. Pearson, among others.

Writings include notebooks, essays, and notes. Notebooks are primarily class notes, including one from Lazzells's studies in France during her second trip to Europe, and another maintained as a record of artwork. Also found are essays, including one about Provincetown; notes; biographical sketches; and lists of exhibitions and artwork. Five diaries document the late 1890s and Lazzell's trips to Europe in 1912-1913 and 1923-1924.

Scattered personal business records consist of 3 expense account ledgers and one sales ledger. Printed Material includes guest books, news clippings, exhibition catalogs, exhibition announcements, magazines, brochures, and newsletters. Artwork includes pencil drawings and sketches, mostly from studies with the artist Albert Gleizes in Paris. Photographic material consists of photographs, slides, and one lantern slide. The photographs are of Blanche Lazzell with artists and friends, her studio and the harbor in Provincetown, artwork, and travels in Italy.

Artifacts include 2 metal signs and 1 paint palette in a metal case.

Biographical/Historical Note

Blanche Lazzell (1878-1956) was a printmaker, etcher, painter, and rug designer who worked primarily in Provincetown, Massachusetts and Morgantwon, West Virginia.


The Blanche Lazzell papers were anonymously donated to the Archives of American Art in 1987, including most of the materials that had been earlier loaned for microfilming in 1983.

Related Materials

Portions of the microfilmed material were retained by the donor.


Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by Leslie J. and Johanna Garfield.

A Finding Aid to the Blanche Lazzell Papers, 1893-1956, bulk 1901-1940, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical/Historical note
Blanche Lazzell (1878-1956) was a printmaker, etcher, painter, and rug designer who worked primarily in Provincetown, Massachusetts and Morgantwon, West Virginia.
Nettie Blanche Lazzell was born in Maidsville, West Virginia, in 1878, the daughter of Mary Prudence Pope and Cornelius Carhart Lazzell. At some point during her childhood, Lazzell became partially deaf. When Lazzell was fifteen, she enrolled in the West Virginia Conference Seminary, now West Virginia Wesleyan College and graduated in 1898.
In 1899, Lazzell continued her studies at the South Carolina Co-educational Institute and graduated that same year. She later matriculated into the West Virginia University (1901-1905) where she took drawing and art history classes with William J. Leonard and earned a degree in fine arts. After graduation, Lazzell periodically studied at the university until 1909. Lazzell moved to New York City in 1907 and enrolled in the Art Students League of New York in 1908 where she studied under William Merritt Chase.
Lazzell travelled to Europe during the summer of 1912. After visiting several cities, Lazzell went to Paris and stayed beyond the tour to attend classes at the Académie Julian and the Académie Moderne where she studied with painter Charles Guérin. Lazzell returned to the United States in the fall of 1913 and stayed in West Virginia with her sister Bessie. She held a solo exhibition of her sketches and paintings in 1914. Lazzell moved to the thriving art colony at Provincetown, Massachusetts in 1915. There, she studied with Charles Webster Hawthorne, who founded the Cape Cod School of Art, and Oliver Chaffee, who taught her the technique for white-line woodcuts. Lazzell quickly adopted and excelled at making white-line woodblock prints, joined the Provincetown Printers, an art collective, and regularly exhibited with them.
n 1918, Lazzell converted an "old fish house" overlooking the Provincetown harbor into her studio and summer home. She planted a lush garden that became a tourist attraction where she often hosted teas and taught classes on painting and woodblock printing. The studio became her primary summer residence, though she often returned to Morgantown, West Virginia. Lazzell also visited other artist colonies during this time, including one in Woodstock, New York where she studied with Andrew Dasburg.
In 1919 Lazzell was featured in an exhibition at Touchstone Gallery in New York City. Later that year, the Provincetown Printers were featured at the Detroit Institute of Arts exhibition "Wood Block Prints in Color by American Artists". That show included Lazzell's depiction of the Monongahela River in Morgantown.
From 1923 to 1924, Lazzell travelled again to Europe and studied with Fernand Legér, André Lhote, and Albert Gleizes in Paris. Lazzell studied Cubism and took a class with Gleizes and her work became more abstract. When she returned to Provincetown, she had her studio rebuilt so it was more comfortable during the winter. She continued to teach art at her studio and participate in exhibitions.
In addition to her woodblock prints, Lazzell also worked with batik, rug design, and hand-painted china. She was a member of numerous arts organizations such as the Société Anonyme, New York Society of Women Artists, Provincetown Art Association, the Sail Loft Club (a Provincetown women's art club), and the Society of Independent Artists. In 1934, Lazzell received a Federal Art Project grant through the Works Progress Administration and created a mural titled
for the Morgantown courthouse.
Lazzell died in Morgantown, West Virginia in 1956.
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged as 9 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1894-1970 (0.3 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1897-1965 (1.2 linear feet; Box 1-2)
Series 3: Writings, 1893-1969 (1.2 linear feet; Box 2-3)
Series 4: Diaries, 1896-1924 (0.1 linear feet; Box 3)
Series 5: Personal Business Records, 1894-1916 (0.1 linear feet; Box 3)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1899-1986 (1 linear feet; Box 3-4)
Series 7: Artwork, 1924-circa 1940 (0.1 linear feet; Box 4)
Series 8: Photographic Material, 1897-1956 (0.5 linear feet; Box 5-6)
Series 9: Artifacts, circa 1910-1956 (0.1 linear feet; Box 6)
The Blanche Lazzell papers were anonymously donated to the Archives of American Art in 1987, including most of the materials that had been earlier loaned for microfilming in 1983.
Processing Information note
This collection was fully processed by Rihoko Ueno in October 2014 with funding provided by Leslie J. and Johanna Garfield.

Additional Forms Available

The collection was microfilmed on 35 mm microfilm reels 2988-2991, available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers are advised that the filmed order does not reflect the current order of the collection as described in this finding aid.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment.

How to Cite This Collection

Blanche Lazzell papers, 1893-1956. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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