Scope and Contents
The Edward Bruce papers measure 8.9 linear feet and date from 1902 to 1960, with the bulk of the material dating from 1932 to 1942. The collection documents Bruce's work as an artist, art collector, exhibition juror, and federal government art administrator, particularly his tenure as Director of the U. S. Treasury Department's Section of Fine Arts. Well over one-half of the collection consists of extensive correspondence with many notable artists and government officials. Also found is scattered biographical material, office diaries and speeches, personal financial material, printed material, four scrapbooks, and photographs.
A small amount of biographical material includes birth records and many awards and certificates. Bruce's correspondence files comprise over half of this collection, containing correspondence with family, friends, artists, art organizations, political figures, museums, art galleries, and government agencies. Found within the files is extensive correspondence with friend and art critic Leo Stein and artist friend Maurice Sterne. Additional artists Bruce corresponded with include George Biddle, Adrian Dornbush, and Olin Dows. Also included is correspondence documenting his career as Chief of the Treasury Department's Section of Fine Arts with government colleagues and officials, much of it concerning his role on various federal arts committees, including the Commission of Fine Arts. There is also extensive correspondence with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt concerning federal and public art projects.
Writings include office diaries and notebooks containing notes, addresses, lists of Section of Fine Arts projects, and dated work entries. There are copies of numerous written speeches given by Bruce on the importance of art, public art projects, and political issues. Financial material consists of a small number of items documenting Bruce's financial activity such as tax and insurance records, bills, a cash book, and house leases. Printed material documents Edward Bruce's career as an artist and federal arts projects and programs. Found are news clippings and magazine articles, exhibition catalogs, brochures, bulletins from the Section of Fine Arts, published speeches, and miscellaneous publications. Four scrapbooks contain news clippings, letters, photographs, and other printed material highlighting Bruce's career.
Extensive photographs include photographs of Bruce's artwork, portraits of Bruce, the Bruces with family and with friends and at many special events, including an NBC radio broadcast and at an exhibition with Eleanor Roosevelt. There are also photographs taken by Bruce during his travels and while living in Anticoli Carrado, Italy.
The Edward Bruce papers were donated by Margaret (Peggy) Bruce, Edward Bruce's wife, in 1962. Additional printed material, financial records, and photographs of artwork were donated by Mrs. Bruce's niece, Maria Ealand in 1979.
A book Art in Federal Buildings by Forbes Watson and Edward Bruce was donated to AAA with Bruce's papers and microfilmed with the rest of collection on Microfilm Reel D91-D92, and then transferred to the Smithsonian American Art Museum Library.
Other resources in the Archives relating to Edward Bruce include an oral history interview with Margaret (Peggy) Bruce on October 11, 1963 conducted by Harlan Phillips. Miscellaneous Manuscript Collections include one file of material, 1933-1960, concerning Edward Bruce that was donated by the U.S. General Services Administration in 1986 and microfilmed on reel 3960.
Also available at the Archives are two collections of records loaned by the U.S. National Archives from their Public Buildings Administration records and the records of the Public Works of Art Project for microfilming by the Archives. Microfilm reels DC1-DC 13 and DC116-DC128 contain Edward Bruce's files and correspondence, respectively.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Accessions of the Edward Bruce papers were microfilmed upon receipt on microfilm reels D82-D92 and 1817. Material comprising the donation made in 1979 was never microfilmed. The microfilmed and unmicrofilmed portions were integrated, and the entire collection processed, arranged, and described in accordance with archival standards by Erin Corley in 2006 as part of the Terra Foundation for American Art Digitization Grant.