Valerie Vanden Bossche and Hilary Price
Scope and Contents
The papers of Dore Ashton measure 35.6 linear feet and date from circa 1928-2014, with one letter in the Joseph Cornell subject file dating from 1849. The records document Dore Ashton's career as an art critic, historian and educator, with particular depth for the period of 1952 through 1990. The collection contains a small amount of biographical material, as well as correspondence, writings, subject files, printed materials, artwork, and reference photographs of artworks. An addition to the Dore Ashton papers includes biographical material, correspondence, writings, writing project and subject files, teaching files, printed material, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographic material.
The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence with many artists, writers and others, including Pat Adams, James Adley, Rudolf Arnheim, Jake Berthot, Dennis Congdon, George Herbert, Remo Guidieri, Barbara Howes, Fred Licht, Joan Punyet Miro, Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, and Hedda Sterne, among others. Smaller amounts of letters are from Joseph Albers, Edward Albee, Richard Avedon, Richard Diebenkorn, David Driskell, Alberto Giacometti, Philip Guston, Lillian Hellman, Alger Hiss, Bernard Malamud, Joan Miro, Robert Motherwell, Lewis Mumford, Claes Oldenburg, and Vassilis Vassilikos.
Writings consist of transcripts of miscellaneous articles or those written for various publications. Research files include reference or research materials for books, exhibitions, individuals and various topics. Individuals and topics include Jacopo Luis Borges, Allan Kaprow, Richard Lindner, Seong Moy, Jean Tinguely, Mark Tobey, Jack Tworkov, Adja Yunkers; and Dadaism, poetry and symbolism.
The addition to the Dore Ashton papers (Series 8) includes biographical material, correspondence, writings, writing project and subject files, teaching files, printed material, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographic material. Writings make up a significant part of the addition and contain hundreds of manuscripts, as well as lectures, notes, sixty notebooks, ten diaries, and writings by others. Writing project and subject files comprise over half of the addition and encompass a large collection of alphabetical files pertaining to artists, actors, writers, thinkers, and collaborators; work projects including writings, exhibitions, panels, symposia, and lecture series; as well as various other subjects and topics. The addition also contains teaching files related to Ashton's positions at the Cooper Union, the New School for Social Research, and Yale University. The photographic material in this series is also abundant and contains hundreds of original photographs of Ashton throughout all stages of her life, many with friends and family.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Dore Ashton papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Dore Ashton May 27, 1982, May 8, 1997, June 2, 2011, and March, 25, 2016.
Among the holdings of the Archives is an oral history interview with Dore Ashton conducted November 21, 2010 by George W. Sampson, for the Archives of American Art's Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts Project.
Dore Ashton papers are also located at Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.
Funding for the processing of a portion of this collection was provided the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund
The collection was partially processed by Jean Fitzgerald in 1997. The collection was minimally processed and a finding aid created by Valerie Vanden Bossche in 2013 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund. The 2016 addition was processed to a minimal level and the finding aid updated by Hilary Price in 2017.