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Charles W. and Frances White letters and photographs to Melvin and Lorraine Williamson, 1956-1961

Williamson, Melvin, 1923-1995

Art director

Collection Information

Size: 0.2 linear feet

Summary: The Charles W. and Frances White letters and photographs to Melvin and Lorraine Williamson measure 0.2 linear feet and date from 1956 to 1961. The collection includes twenty-eight letters written by Charles and Frances White to Melvin (Mel) and Lorraine Williamson shortly after their arrival in California. Approximately half of the letters are written by Charles, the other half by Frances, and two letters are written jointly. Most are signed from "Chas & Fran." Also included in the collection are photographs that Charles and Frances sent the Williamsons of their home and Charles' studio, and printed material including clippings and exhibition brochures.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter, printmaker, and educator, Charles W. White (1918-1979) was a prominent figure in the Chicago Black Renaissance and became one of the most celebrated and influential African American artists of the twentieth century. Charles and Frances Barrett White (1926-2000) married in 1950. They relocated to Los Angeles in 1956. Frances Barrett White was a social worker and educator who spent her early years in New York City. In 1994, she published a book, "Reaches of the Heart: A Biography of Charles White." Melvin Williamson (1923-1995) was an artist, author, and the art director of Viking Press. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to New York. Lorraine Rosen Williamson (1926-2018) was an educator and a docent at the Jewish Heritage Museum in New York City.

Provenance

The Charles W. and Frances White letters and photographs to Melvin and Lorraine Williamson were donated to the Archives of American Art in 2019 by Lisa Rosenburg, Melvin and Lorraine Williamson's daughter.

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Funding

Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation.