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Elisabeth Commanday papers, 1949-1968

Commanday, Elisabeth, 1890-1994



Collection Information

Size: 0.4 Linear feet, (on 1 microfilm reel)

Summary: Seventy-seven letters to Commanday from Bernard Berenson, 1949-1958; ca. fifty from Berenson's companion, Nicky Mariano, 1954-1968; ten from Mariano's sister, Baroness Alda Anrep, 1960-1974; and ca. fifty from Berenson's sister, Elizabeth (Bessie) Berenson, 1966-1975. The letters are mostly personal. Also included are letters from Commanday to various friends written while traveling in Europe, 1958, mentioning her visits to I Tatti; photographs of Mariano, Bessie, I Tatti, and Commanday; and articles and obituaries regarding Berenson and Mariano.


Donated 1993 by Maurice Commanday, son of Elisabeth Commanday. Commanday corresponded with Berenson for nearly ten years. At his death in 1959, Berenson's companion Nicky Mariano returned to Commanday all of her letters, which she discarded, except for the earliest letter written in April 1949 after reading about Berenson in Life magazine and his book Sketch for Self-Portrait. She tells Berenson that her sister married Jack Rubenstein and she became one of the family. "I adored Leah Rubenstein and met Aunty Berenson there many times."

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reel 5054 available at the Archives of American Art offices and 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

Elisabeth Commanday papers, 1949-1968. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.