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Fairfield Porter papers, 1888-2001, bulk 1924-1975

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Series 2: Correspondence, 1918-1996 and undated
(Boxes 1-2, 1.2 linear feet)

Correspondence includes letters written by Fairfield Porter, Anne Porter, family members, artists, writers, critics, curators, neighbors, and others in Porter's circle. Incoming and outgoing letters are filed separately and arranged by correspondent. Single items of correspondence are filed in miscellaneous files by the first letter of the individual's last name. Incoming letters include letters to Fairfield and Anne Porter, as well as scattered third-party correspondence. Outgoing letters are mostly drafts and carbon copies of letters written by Fairfield Porter, although actual letters sent to his mother, wife, and Frank O'Hara are present.
Significant correspondence is present from the Porters' many poet friends, including Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler, Ron Padgett, Kenward Elmslie, Barbara Guest, Carl Morse, David Shapiro, and others. Among the letters are poetry manuscripts by Koch, Morse, Schuyler, Padgett, and Shapiro. Some letters are actually written in verse, especially those from Kenneth Koch. See Writings for additional poetry manuscripts.
Artists with letters in the collection include Joe Brainard, Rudy Burkhardt, John Button, Lucien Day, Rackstraw Downes, Philip Evergood, Jane Frielicher, Arthur Giardelli, Leon Hartl, Alex Katz, Edward Laning, Roy Lichtenstein, Larry Rivers, Richard Stankiewicz, Nicolas Vasilieff, among others. Other art world figures represented include John Bernard Myers, curator at the Tibor de Nagy gallery (New York), and Tom Hess, editor of
ArtNews
. Artwork found in this series includes an illustrated letter from Ron Padgett and an original print on a holiday card by Edith Schloss.
Porter's interest in leftist politics during the 1930s is seen in outgoing letters and in letters from Alex Haberstroh and Paul Mattick. Letters to Porter's mother, Ruth Porter, contain detailed descriptions of his boarding school and college years and his travels abroad in the 1920s and 1930s.
Annotations made by Anne Porter are found throughout this series, including dates, last names, and other explanatory notes.
Additional correspondence can be found in Personal Business Records, especially among the gallery records, and in Anne Porter's Posthumous Projects. A collection of excerpts about Fairfield Porter, compiled by Anne Porter from letters she wrote to her mother, is filed with Writings by Others.

Make a Request

  • To request an appointment to view materials, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reading Room" button. Please note, you will receive the full box.
  • To request reproductions, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reproduction" button.