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Bob Thompson papers, 1949-2005

Contents and Arrangement

The collection is arranged as 7 series.

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.

Series 1: Biographical Material , 1953-2003
0.2 Linear feet
Box 1

Biographical material includes a driver's safety certificate, high school graduation program, letter of admission to Boston University, professional chronologies, memorial program material, and a transcript of the "Bob Thompson: His Life and Friendships" 1984 panel featuring Bill Barrell, Emilio Cruz, Mimi Gross, Edward Levine, Jay Milder, Sheila Milder, and Anne Tabachnick. There is also a video recording copy of a 1965 film by Dorothy Levitt Beskind titled Bob Thompson Happening. The film contains footage of Bob Thompson in New York and Provincetown, Massachusetts, and an appearance by Hans Hofmann. The film was reformatted on VHS to accompany a 1999 exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Art.
This series is arranged in chronological order.
The bulk of this series has been digitized except for duplicates.
Description Container Select
Driver Safety Certificate, 1953
1
1
High School Graduation Program and Boston University Acceptance Letter, 1955
1
2
Memorial Service and Obituaries, 1966
1
3
Transcript of "Bob Thompson: His Life and Friendships", 1984
1
4
Copy of Bob Thompson Happening (1965) by Dorothy Levitt Beskind , 1999
2 videocassettes (vhs)
video copies of motion picture film original; location of original unknown.
1
5-6
Chronologies, circa 2003
1
7

Series 2: Carol Thompson's Correspondence , 1971-2000
0.1 Linear feet
Box 1

Correspondence is between the artist's wife Carol Thompson and various galleries, dealers, businesses, and friends and concerns mostly business matters with some personal letters interspersed as well. This series consists of letters exchanged with Judith Wilson, an African American art historian who studied Thompson, as well as general correspondence, which includes letters from business entities as well as from Bessie Thompson, the artist's mother.
This series is arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent.
This series has been digitized in its entirety.
Description Container Select
A, Miscellaneous, 1978-1999
1
8
Carver Federal Savings Bank, 1996-1997
1
9
David Anderson Gallery, 1985-1990
1
10
Donald Morris Gallery, 1978-1980
1
11
G-J, Miscellaneous, 1979-2000
1
12
L-M, Miscellaneous, 1978-1997
1
13
N-P, Miscellaneous, 1983-1996
1
14
Reading and O'Reilly, Inc., 1991-1999
1
15
R-S, Miscellaneous, 1983-1998
1
16
Thompson, Bessie, 1971-1979
1
17
T, Miscellaneous, 1989
1
18
Wilson, Judith, 1983-1998
1
19

Series 3: Writings , 1949-1998
0.1 Linear feet
Box 1

Writings by the artist include church speeches Thompson gave as a teenager, a letter to the editor of a journal, a poem, and an artist statement. Writings by others include notes from Thompson's mother Bessie; writings by Carol Thompson, memorial poems and tributes, and questionnare answers in the form of essays written by Margaret Bridwell, Dario Covi, Carl Crodel, Emilio Cruz, Allen Ginsberg, LeRoi Jones, Mary H. Martin, Mary Spencer May, Carter Ratcliff, Meyer Schapiro, A. B. Spellman, Ulfert Wilke, and Ken Young.
The bulk of this series has been digitized except for duplicates.
Description Container Select
Church Speeches, circa 1949-1954
1
20
Letter to the Editor of Louisville Courier Journal, 1955
1
21
"Today was my everyone day" Poem, circa 1963
1
22
Artist Statement, 1965
1
23
Writings by Others
Poems by "Ryan", 1960-1961
1
24
Bessie Thompson Writing About Bob Thompson, circa 1966
1
25
Tributes by Friends for Memorial Exhibition, 1966-1971
1
26
Essays About Bob Thompson by Various, circa 1967-1976
1
27
Carol Thompson Writing About Bob Thompson, 1998
1
28

Series 4: Exhibition Files , 1978-2001
0.1 Linear feet
Box 1

Exhibition files consist of correspondence, loan forms, checklists, catalogs, printed material, and other documents related to posthumous group and solo exhibitions of Bob Thompson's artwork, including a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of Art in 1998-1990.
The material in this series is arranged chronologically by exhibition date.
The bulk of this series has been digitized except for duplicates.
Description Container Select
Studio Museum in Harlem - The World of Bob Thompson (1978-1979), 1978-1979
1
29
California Afro-American Museum - Novae: William H. Johnson and Bob Thompson (1990), 1985-1990
1
30
National Museum of American Art - Free Within Ourselves: African American Art from the National Museum of American Art (1994-1995), 1976-1992
1
31
Skoto Gallery - The Elegance of Memory (1996), 1996
1
32
Whitney Museum of American Art - Bob Thompson Retrospective (1998-1999), 1995-2000
1
33
Detroit Institute of Arts - Bob Thompson Retrospective (1999-2000), 1999-2000
1
34
Pacifico Fine Art Gallery - Art on Paper (2001), 2000-2001
1
35

Series 5: Personal Business Records , 1965-2001
0.1 Linear feet
Box 1

Personal business records document the posthumous appraisal, sale and study of Thompson's work. Found are inventories, sales and price lists, invoices, consignment agreements, and limited correspondence. Many of the records concern business affairs with various art galleries, including the Martha Jackson Gallery.
The bulk of this series has been digitized except duplicates.
Description Container Select
Art Inventory, circa 1966
1
36
"Inventory of Paintings Destroyed by Fire", 1977
1
37
Miscellaneous Loan and Consignment Forms, 1981-1993
1
38
Christie's Sale of Painting, 1993-1994
1
39
Daniel Goldreyer, Ltd. Appraisals, 1982-1987
1
40
Martha Jackson Gallery, 1965-1978
1
41
Robert Miller Galleries, 1978-1980
1
42
Vanderwoude Tananbaum Gallery, 1981-1995
1
43
Wadsworth Atheneum, 1986-2001
1
44

Series 6: Printed Material , 1960-2005
0.7 Linear feet
Boxes 1-2, 4, OV 5

Printed material includes publicity for exhibitions, exhibition catalogs, magazines, and news clippings concerning Bob Thompson and his art, unmarked postcards of artwork, posters for exhibitions, and press releases.
The material in this series are grouped together by document type such as catalogs, announcements, and clippings, and then arranged chronologically within those groupings.
The bulk of this series has been scanned. Materials that have not been scanned include duplicates and the backs of clippings. In some cases, exhibition catalogs and other publications have had their covers, titles pages, and relevant pages scanned.
Description Container Select
Exhibition Announcements and Brochures, 1964-1969
1
45
Exhibition Announcements and Brochures, 1970-1989
1
46
Exhibition Announcements and Brochures, 1990-2005
Oversized material housed in Box 4, Folder 1.
1
47
Undated Exhibition Announcements and Brochures, circa 1964-circa 2000
1
48
Exhibition Catalogs, 1964-1968
1
49
Exhibition Catalogs, 1969-1973
1
50
Exhibition Catalogs, 1974-1979
1
51
Exhibition Catalogs, 1980-1988
1
52
Exhibition Catalogs, 1990-2001
1
53
Magazines, 1987-2000
1
54
News Clippings, 1959-1969
1
55
News Clippings, 1970-1979
1
56
News Clippings, 1980-1989
1
57
News Clippings, 1990-1999
2
1
News Clippings, 2000-2005
2
2
Undated News Clippings, circa 1960-circa 2000
2
3
Postcards, 1974-1999
2
4
Posters, 1960-1987
Oversized material housed in OV 5.
2
5
Press Releases, 1966-1993
2
6
Oversized Exhibition Announcement scanned with material from Box 1, Folder 47, 2005
4
1
Oversized Posters scanned with material from Box 2, Folder 5, 1960-1987
OV 5

Series 7: Photographs , 1951-2000
0.7 Linear feet
Boxes 2-4

Photographs are of Bob Thompson, Thompson with family and friends, travels, artwork, exhibitions, and places. Locations depicted include Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania; Provincetown, Massachusetts; Paris, France; Rome and Florence, Italy; Ibiza, Spain; and New York City, specifically the Rivington Street studio, the Billiard Palace on 14th Street, and the Slugs Jazz Club. There are images of Irene and Bill Barrell, Robert Beauchamp, Ornette Coleman, Robert Frank, Lorenzo Hale, Christopher Lane, Malachy McCourt, Sheila and Jay Milder, Moondog, Steve Pepper, Dorothea Rockburne, and A.B. Spellman, as well as the artist's mother Bessie Thompson and wife Carol Thompson, among others. Also found are photograph albums - one of personal photographs, one of Thompson's wedding, and two of exhibitions, one of which is disbound. Also found here are an album of photographs showing the wedding reception, albums of exhibition installations, and loose photographs of artwork.
The bulk of this series has been digitized, except for blank versos of photographs, blank pages of albums, and duplicates.
Description Container Select
Bob Thompson, 1951-1965
Oversized material housed in Box 4, Folder 2.
2
7
Bob Thompson in Clinton Street Studio, circa 1960
2
8
Bob Thompson at Rivington Street Studio, circa 1965
2
9
Bob Thompson in Ibiza, Spain, 1963
2
10
Group Photographs with Friends and Family
General, 1951-1965
Oversized photograph housed in Box 4, Folder 3.
2
11
Boat Trip to London, 1961
2
12
Paris, France, circa 1961
2
13
Ibiza, Spain, circa 1962
2
14
Album, Personal, 1960-1975
Oversized album housed in Box 4, Folder 4.
2
15
Album, Wedding Reception, 1960
2
16
Album, Exhibitions (Disbound), 1986-1990
2
17
Album, Exhibitions (Disbound), 1990-1991
2
18
Album, Vanderwoude Tananbaum Exhibition, 1988-1989
3
1
Slides of Detroit Institute of Arts Exhibition, 1999-2000
3
2
J.B. Speed Exhibition - Bob Thompson 1937-1966: The Afro-European Connection (1987), 1987
3
3
Studio Museum Exhibition, 1978
3
4
Miscellaneous Exhibitions, 1960-1998
Oversized photograph housed in Box 4, Folder 5.
3
5
Artwork by Bob Thompson, circa 1960-circa 1962
Oversized photographs housed in Box 4, Folder 6.
3
6
Artwork by Bob Thompson, circa 1963-circa 1966
3
7
Artwork by Others, circa 1960-circa 1966
3
8
Oversized Bob Thompson Photographs scanned with material from Box 2, Folder 7, circa 1951-1960
4
2
Oversized Photograph of Bob Thompson with Family Member scanned with material from Box 2, Folder 11, circa 1952
4
3
Oversized Album scanned with Box 2, Folder 15, 1960-1975
4
4
Oversized Exhibition Photograph scanned with material from Box 3, Folder 5, 1960
4
5
Oversized Artwork Photographs scanned with material from Box 3, Folder 6, 1961-1962
4
6

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.