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Edward Biberman papers, 1939-1985

Biberman, Edward, 1904-1986

Muralist, Painter, Educator


Collection Information

Size: 2.1 linear ft. (partially microfilmed on 3 reels)

Summary: Correspondence; legal material; writings; interview transcripts; television scripts; subject files; scrapbooks; printed material; photographs; audio tapes; videotapes.
REEL LA 1: A photograph and 2 clippings concerning the Venice, California Post Office mural; 3 photographs and 4 clippings, 1939, of the mural and ceiling paintings decorating the Los Angeles Federal Building; 7 reproductions of works of art.
REEL 106: Letters, 1939-1942, primarily from Edward B. Rowan of the Section of Fine Arts concerning murals in Los Angeles and Venice, California, and in St. Louis; contracts, 1940-1941; a scrapbook containing a cover letter, 1942, from Biberman to the Pictorial Section, War Savings Staff, and art work for 4 war bond posters he wishes to be sponsored; a typescript "The Attack on the American Artist", 1947, delivered at the conference on "Thought Control in the United States" in Beverly Hills, California.
scrapbook pages, 1929-1963, containing photographs, clippings, and exhibition catalogs; exhibition catalogs, 1929-1971; announcements for lectures, 1957-1971; an award certificate, 1955, from the Los Angeles County Museum for "The Plasterers"; miscellaneous printed material, 1966-1968, concerning Biberman's books; and clippings, 1953-1971.
REEL 832: Scripts and color negatives (with black and white contact prints of the images) from 20 broadcasts, 1967-1968, of "Dialogues in Art," a television program hosted by Biberman on KNBC in Los Angeles, California. The artists interviewed are: Oliver Andrews, Saul Bass, Tony Berlant and Henry Hopkins, Lucile Brokaw, Bernie Casey, Leonard Edmondson, Clare Falkenstein, Renzo Fenci, Keith Finch, Emil Kosa, Charles Mattox, Lee Mullican, Sueo Serisawa, Millard Sheets, James Strombotne, Howard Warshaw, June Wayne, Charles White, Gerda With, and Joe Young. One negative of Charles Mattox was not printed for microfilming, and there is no script for Lee Mullican. [Audio tapes for all but Berlant, Brokow, Finch, Mattox and Wayne stored with unmicrofilmed material].
UNMICROFILMED: Correspondence, 1950-1985, concerning art-related activities, Biberman's book THE BEST UNTOLD, fan mail, the missing Venice, Calif. post office mural; a few subject files, including one on the memorial service for his brother Herbert; transcript of an interview of Biberman conducted by Betty Hoag; speeches, scripts and other writings; audio tapes of lectures, interviews and other events; and 2 videotapes of television programs.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter, teacher, lecturer; Calif.; b. October 23, 1904 in Philadelphia; d. 1986. Muralist, Calif.; b. 1904 Between 1937 and 1941, he executed murals in the Federal Building post office, Los Angeles and in the Venice, Calif. post office. He also completed several portraits of notable American cultural figures. In the 1960s, Biberman hosted television programs on art, including "Dialogues in Art" from 1967-1968. His brother, Herbert Biberman was a film director (SALT OF THE EARTH, 1954), who was imprisoned for contempt of Congress by the House Committee on Un-American Activities.


Material on reels LA 1, 106, and 832 originally lent for filming by Biberman 1964 and 1971. With the exception of reel 106, fr. 151-601, all material was subsequently donated with additional papers in 1987 by his widow.

Location of Originals

  • Reel 106:151-601: Originals returned to lender.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

Microfilm reels LA 1, 106, 832 available at Archives of American Art offices through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Edward Biberman papers, 1939-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.