Catherine S. Gaines
Scope and Contents
The papers of Fred Mitchell, 1938-2007, measure 14.3 liner feet. Correspondence, writings, 29 diaries, and subject files document his personal life and career as a painter and educator in New York City. The papers also include biographical materials, artwork, sketchbooks, printed material, and photographs.
Among the biographical materials are biographical notes, military records, passports, and resumes. Correspondence includes both professional and personal letters. Correspondents include friends, former students, colleagues, and individuals of romantic interest.
Writings by Mitchell include notebooks containing names and addresses, appointments, lists and a variety of notes. Diaries record Mitchell's personal and professional activities, plans, aspirations, and memories; also, many volumes contain loose items such as printed material, drawings, notes and letters. Other authors represented are Harry Hope Reed, Peter Rooney, and Patrick Rucker.
Subject files maintained by Mitchell concern friends, teaching activities, exhibitions; also, interests in art, dance, poetry, and music. Files on the Mitchell family concern four generations and include Elizabeth Pajerski, his artist sister with whom he sometimes exhibited. There are files on Coenties Slip artists and related exhibitions. Other subjects of note are a Franz Kline traveling exhibition curated by Mitchell, and Mississippi Art Colony. Individuals for whom threre are substantial subject files include Justo Gonzales, James M. McQuade, Jim Ochman, Peter Rooney, John W. ("Dicky") Stevens, and Phil Sultz.
Most artwork is by Mitchell and consists mainly of drawings and sketches. Artwork by others includes drawings and watercolors by Peter Rooney, students, and unidentified artists. Mitchell's sketchbooks (16 volumes) contain sketches, drawings, and a few finished watercolors.
Printed material is about or mentions Mitchell. Included are a variety of items such as exhibition catalogs and announcements, brochures, clippings, press releases, and concert programs. Photographs are of Mitchell with family and friends; artwork by Mitchell and other artists; exhibition installations and openings; and places including the Wall-South neighborhood just before the destruction of his studio and travel pictures.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Fred Mitchell donated a small amount of printed material and photographs in 1972. The majority of the papers were donated in 2013 by Fred Pajerski, Fred Mitchell's nephew.
This collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared in 2014 by Catherine S. Gaines. The Archives of American Art has implemented minimal processing tactics when possible in order to increase information about and access to more of our collections. Minimal processing included arrangement to the series, subseries, and folder levels. Generally, items within folders were simply verified with folder titles, but not arranged further. Folders within boxes were not numbered. The collection was rehoused in archival containers and folders, but not all staples and clips were removed.