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Charles Green Shaw papers, 1833-1979, bulk 1909-1974

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Catherine S. Gaines
Scope and Contents
The collection measures 45.7 linear feet and and documents the life of American abstract artist, writer, poet, and illustrator Charles Green Shaw. The papers date from 1833-1979 with the bulk of the material spanning 1909-1974 and a single item of ephemera dating from 1686. Shaw's personal life and career are well documented through biographical information, correspondence, writings, extensive diaries and sketchbooks, scattered financial records, scrapbooks and other printed materials.
Series 1: Biographical Information includes a number of family documents. Shaw's correspondence in Series 2 consists mainly of incoming letters from friends and a small amount of correspondence from notable individuals including Adele Astair, Clarence and Ruby Darrow, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John D. Graham, Anita and John Loos, H. L. Mencken, Robert C. Osborn, Cole Porter, Carl Van Vechten and Walter Winchell. The series also includes some nineteenth century family correspondence.
Among Shaw's writings in Series 3 are 145 diaries containing daily one-page entries that outline his daily schedule. In addition, there are drafts and final manuscripts of fiction, non-fiction, plays, and poems, as well as quizzes devised for his newspaper column, and short writings for magazines. Notes include travel observations, notes on restaurants and nightclubs, notes for fiction, quotations, and lists of his collections. Writings by other authors on a variety of topics include children's books illustrated by Shaw, a review of Shaw's poetry, and an article about Shaw as a modern painter.
Artwork by Shaw in Series 4 includes collages, drawings, and paintings. Of particular interest are 340 sketchbooks containing sketches and finished drawings in pencil and ink, watercolor and gouache paintings, pastels and collages. Among the artwork by other artists is a charcoal portrait, probably of Shaw, by Betty George.
Series 5: Financial Records, consists mainly of banking records, tax returns, and royalty statements. Also included is information about art sales and payment for writings; receipts are for art related expenses and document purchases for Shaw's collection of tobacco figures.
Series 6: Scrapbooks (37 volumes) documents Shaw's entire career. Five volumes concern his art and exhibitions, 9 volumes preserve his published writings, 20 volumes contain published poems, and an additional 5 volumes are devoted to miscellaneous subjects.
Additional printed matter in Series 7: Printed Material, consists of items by Shaw, by other authors, and miscellaneous material. Items by Shaw includes articles, books by and/or illustrated by Shaw, plays, and poems. Printed material by other authors includes pieces about or mentioning Shaw, books, exhibition catalogs and related records, and periodicals. Among the miscellaneous printed material are auction and book catalogs, clippings, and ephemera. Also included are a wide assortment of menus, along with theatrical memorabilia, travel brochures and printed souvenirs collected by Shaw.
Series 8: Miscellaneous Records, consists of a variety of artifacts including the Century Association Art Committee Medal awarded Shaw, a letter opener carved with his monogram, and printing plates for color reproductions of a painting by Shaw and of prints in his collection. Other miscellaneous records are two sound recordings, a tape recording of Shaw reading his poetry, and an unidentified phonograph album.
Series 9: Photographs includes photos of artwork, people, places and miscellaneous subjects. Artwork depicted here is mainly by Shaw, but there are also photographs of work by other artists, and of items in Shaw's collections of tinsel prints and tobacco figures, as well as views of various exhibition installations.
Charles Green Shaw bequeathed his scrapbooks to the Archives of American Art in 1974. The remaining papers were a gift of his estate in 1975.
Processing Information
Several items in the collection were microfilmed at some point after receipt on microfilm reel 75. The collection was processed by Catherine S. Gaines in August 2005.