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Emily Nathan papers, [ca. 1935-1985]

Nathan, Emily S., 1907-1999

Journalist, Publicist


Collection Information

Size: 1 Linear foot 5 Linear feet Addition

Summary: Correspondence and files relating to several art projects planned for the public relations programs of industries and museums, particularly Nathan's work with Towle Manufacturing and its gallery, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Archives of American Art.
1973 DONATION (1.0 ft.): Correspondence and project files for various clients. Of note are two photographs of Jasper Johns, and one each of Mark Rothko and Tony Smith, all taken by Hans Namuth, 1960.
ADDITION: Files relating to Nathan's work as public relations consultant for the silver company,Towle Manufacturing and its gallery, (ca.1951-ca.1957), include photographs of exhibits, silversmiths at work and Towle executives, as well as correspondence, writings, notes on silversmithing and its history, and newsletters. Files relating to Nathan's work at the Smithsonian Institution's museums and exhibitions, 1960's-ca. 1985, consist of subject files, clippings, catalogs, articles, press releases, newsletters, and reports. Publicity files also cover the opening of the National Portrait Gallery and its inaugural exhibition. Nathan's work for the Archives of American Art, from its first becoming a bureau of the Smithsonian in 1970, is documented through subject files, membership lists, reports to trustees and the director, newsletters, clippings, catalogs, budgets and statistics. Correspondence consists of letters to Georgia O'Keeffe regarding a pending oral history with the sculptors Dorothy Dehner and David Smith. The majority of the photographs are of personalities long associated with the Archives of American Art.
Letter from museum administrator and lecturer daniel Catton Rich expresses his pleasure at having met Jannis and Zoe Spyropoulous in Athens, Greece and describes the painting by Jannis that he purchased for the Worcester Art Museum.
Also found are interviews conducted by Nathan for Radio Smithsonian, including an interview of New York, N.Y. cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) conducted in 1970 (Originally recorded on 1 sound cassette tape. Reformatted in 2010 as 1 digital wav file. Duration is 1 hr., 39 min.; 33 p. transcript; an interview of art historian and writer Richard B. K. McLanathan , 1970; an interview of the Director of the Archives of American Art William E. Woolfenden conducted in 1970, an interview of Abram Lerner, Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, and art collector Joseph Hirshhorn, 1969 (sound cassette); Also found is an interview of William Woolfenden by Nathan conducted May 6, 1983 upon his retirement as Director of the Archives of American Art.
Also found is a folder of material assembled by Nathan regarding Jose de Creeft's story, as told to Nathan, of his pet rooster, intended by Nathan to be submitted for publication under the title "Roosty Was My Friend." Included are an introduction by Nathan, providing biographical information on de Creeft; sample text for the story (2 pages) and an outline for the remainder (3 pages), 24 drawings by de Creeft illustrating the story; and a photograph of de Creeft with a wire sculpture of Roosty, 1957, taken by Budd studio.

Biographical/Historical Note

Emily Nathan was a public relations consultant and journalist, had many contacts in the art world. De Creeft was a sculptor; born 1884 in Spain. He eventually settled in New York. He died in 1982. Public relations consultant and journalist.


Donated 1973-1988 by Emily Nathan and in 2000 by the Emily Nathan estate, via Edgar S. Nathan, III, executor. The letter to Nathan from Daniel Catton Rich was donated by Rich, 1977.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

Letter from Daniel Catton Rich: 35mm microfilm reel 3483 available at 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. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Emily Nathan papers, [ca. 1935-1985]. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.