Size: 4.5 Linear feet
Summary: The papers of Dorothy Dehner measure approximately 4.5 linear feet and date from 1920 to 1987, with the bulk of the material dating from 1951 to 1987. The collection documents the life and work of the sculptor. Papers include extensive correspondence, business and financial papers, writings, interviews, printed material, photographs, student papers, one item of art work, and scattered personal papers and material relating to David Smith.
Dorothy Dehner was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1901. Her father died when she was about ten and the family moved to Pasadena, California in 1915. After the death of her mother and sister, she was raised by her mother's sister, Aunt Florence. Dehner was exposed to art as a child, receiving instruction in drawing and painting. She studied drama for a year at UCLA in 1922-1923 before moving to New York with the intention of pursuing a theatrical career. In 1925, she traveled alone to Europe, where she visited Italy, Switzerland, and France and where she began to draw seriously.
The Dorothy Dehner papers were donated 1967-1987 in increments by Dorothy Dehner. She also lent materials for microfilming between 1967 and 1977, some of which was subsequently donated. The art work in the collection most likely belonged to Garnett McCoy originally, and was included in the collection during processing in 2005.
Other resources in the Archives relating to Dorothy Dehner include oral history interviews with Dehner, October 1965 and December 1966, and a photograph of Dehner by Dena, 1966. The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming on reels D298 (portions), D298A, 1269 (portions) and 1372, including photographs of Dorothy Dehner and David Smith, sketchbooks, correspondence between Dehner and Smith, an inventory, and some printed material. Lent materials were returned to the lender. To aid researchers, an attempt has been made to note the corresponding reel number for each folder in the collection container listing.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.