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Contents and Arrangement | A Finding Aid to the George Grey Barnard papers, circa 1860-1969, bulk 1880-1938 | Digitized Collection

George Grey Barnard papers, circa 1860-1969, bulk 1880-1938

Contents and Arrangement

The collection is arranged as 10 series:

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Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1888-1955
0.25 linear feet
Boxes 1 and 15

This series records George Grey Barnard's personal biography, family genealogy, friends, and associations. Files contain address books; biographical notes written for reference resources such as
Who's Who
National Social Blue Book
Cyclopedia of American Biography
; family genealogies and family histories; legal documents such as George Grey Barnard's and his wife Edna's last will and testament, and the sale of land to Metropolitan Museum of Art; a diploma belonging to his father Rev. Joseph Barnard; ephemera including membership cards; and a set of unidentified hand prints. Lists of "prospects" include individuals whom Barnard identified as likely clients for his own sculpture, for the medieval art and artifacts that he sold to prominent museums and collectors, or for those likely to offer to contribute financial assistance to aid in the completion of his war memorial,
Rainbow Arch
. There is also a select list of his funeral attendees and miscellaneous additional data about "the Monastary" (Abbaye).
Biographical materials are arranged alphabetically according to material type and then chronologically within the files.
This series has been scanned in its entirety.

Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1896-1965
0.7 linear feet
Box 1

This series contains the personal and business correspondence of George Grey Barnard until his death in 1938. Later correspondence consists of the incoming and outgoing correspondence of Barnard's son, Monroe Grey Barnard, mostly in connection with his father's estate and in letters to art historian and Barnard scholar, Harold E. Dickson.
Correspondents include art and antiques dealers, museum directors, curators, and galleries, as well as individuals whom Barnard identified as 'prospects' for either his own sculptural projects or medieval antiquities in his collection. Frequent correspondents include art and antiques dealers M. Dagras et Fils, C. Joret, Ste. Galleries Schutz, D.W. French and Co.; museum directors Edward Forbes (Fogg Art Museum, Harvard Univesity), Robert DeForest (Metropolitan Museum of Art), Fiske Kimball (Philadelphia Museum of Art); and art patrons Arthur M. Huntington and John Gellatly. Handwritten drafts and typed copies of Barnard's outgoing letters are scattered throughout.
Of particular interest are the letters from the early to mid-1920s, the period during which he was trying to sell the medieval art and architectural elements that made up the George Grey Barnard Cloisters. Individuals wrote with proposals, such as artist Calthea Vivian, who hoped to find a home for the collection in California. Museums that expressed interest include the Toledo Museum of Art. Ultimately the collection was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with funds provided by John D. Rockefeller. The 1925 folder contains letters providing details concerning the sales agreement.
Correspondence that post-dates Barnard's death in 1938 includes his son's correspondence with various individuals and institutions concerning his father's estate and the remaining collection of medieval art and architectural elements, which was known as 'The Monastery' or 'The Abbaye.' There is significant correspondence with representatives of the National Cathedral regarding moving the collection to Washington, D.C. However, no correspondence was found relating to the Philadelphia Museum of Art's subsequent acquisition of the bulk of the collection. There is also significant personal correspondence between Monroe and his mother (Edna Monroe Barnard), primarily typed copies of his outgoing letters.
Correspondence is arranged chronologically. A file of undated letters and another that contains a typed list of telegrams and telephone calls has been placed at the end.
This series has been scanned in its entirety.

Series 3: Diaries and Daily Journals, 1900-1938
1 linear foot
Boxes 1-2

This series consists of three diaries and nine daily journals. Rather than providing detailed accounts of Barnard's life, these diaries and journals document appointments (both personal and studio-related), notable visitors to the artist's studio, progress reports on sculptures, phone calls and correspondence received, as well as letter drafts, favorite quotations and excerpts from newspaper articles. Although some of the entries appear to be in Barnard's hand, many appear to have been made by his secretary. Indeed some pages contain messages from Barnard to his secretary and vice versa.
Diaries and journals are arranged chronologically.
This series has been scanned in its entirety.

Series 4: Writings and Notes, circa 1881-1963
1.6 linear feet
Boxes 2-4

Writings and notes consists of three small note books, which contain partial drafts of correspondence, as well as typescripts of artist's statements, and notes for an article on the
Rainbow Arch
Memorial. There is also a proposal by Ruth Morris for a biography of Barnard. The remaining bulk of the series is made up of typescripts of sermons by Joseph Barnard, the artist's father.
Items in this series have been grouped together by material type.
This series has been partially scanned. Typescripts of Joseph Barnard's sermons have not been scanned.

Series 5: Medieval Art and Collections, circa 1905-1958
0.9 linear feet
Boxes 4, 15, and OV 17

Found in this series are documents that record Barnard's activities as a collector and dealer of Medieval art and artifacts, including collecting notes; inventories; invoices from galleries and dealers; and printed material related to the artist's collections of medieval art (the Cloisters and the Abbaye/Monastery), including signs for both. Other items of note include hand drawn floor plans, one of which appears to be a rough sketch of the layout of the original Cloister, while the other more finished floor plan may be a plan for a medieval cloister (perhaps one that Barnard had purchased in Europe to reconstruct in the United States). Finally there are files related to two projects with the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., the first being the Bishop Garden to which Barnard donated an ancient cross. Barnard may have been the dealer for those who donated other medieval artifacts and architectural elements that decorated the garden. There is a second proposal for a failed project to relocate Barnard's second collection of medieval art and architectural elements to the National Cathedral initiated after the artist's death in 1937 by his son Monroe Barnard.
Barnard's "collecting notes" are found in one folder of loose notes and 13 notebooks of various sizes. These notebooks contain names of dealers, places to visit, as well as descriptions, sketches, and prices of the medieval and renaissance art and artifacts which he collected both for himself and to sell to others. Other notebooks act as shipping inventories. In most of the shipping inventory notebooks, objects are listed by case number and are identified with brief descriptions. The 1926-1928 notebook also identifies the sender, which in most cases appears to be the French galleries/dealers from whom Barnard acquired the objects. There are inventories of Barnard's collections, including a notebook that contains detailed handwritten descriptions of objects in the original Cloisters, as well as a typescript titled Descriptions of Art Objects in the Abbaye, which serves as a narrative guide to the collection. There is also a visitor's book from the Monastery (Abbaye).
Files are grouped by material type and then arranged in chronological order.
This series has been scanned in its entirety.

Series 6: Business Records, circa 1900-1938
0.9 linear feet
Boxes 4-5

Business records document the activities of Barnard's studios in Moret, France and New York and include address books, card catalogue cards, employee time books, a studio inventory, and model and studio record books.
Many of the files include information about the models Barnard employed. The address books not only name the models, but in some cases include addresses and brief physical descriptions or annotations regarding the sculpture for which they were employed. Employee time records include models as well as other people whom Barnard employed, including his secretaries and studio assistants. The card catalog was primarily used to record file locations for business files and photographs of Barnard's sculptures. Additionally, a ledger style book labeled as an "Index to Correspondence" on its cover and binding actually served as a studio inventory and documented the box locations, not only of correspondence, but also books, clippings, magazines, and photographs that were moved from the "Billings Studio" to the studio at 700 Fort Washington Avenue in New York.
Files are arranged by format and then in chronological order.
This series has been partially scanned. Employee time books have not been scanned.

Series 7: Financial Records, circa 1920-1941
1.3 linear feet
Boxes 5-7

Financial Records consists of cash and disbursement books, expense books, and invoices and receipts, which document both studio and household accounts. Expense books mainly record monthly expenses such as studio rent, staff salaries, taxes, and utility bills. There are invoices and receipts from photographers, hardware stores, utilities, art supply stores, as well as for more quotidian expenses ranging from bird feed to medical bills. This series also contains a large number of invoices and receipts specifically stemming from the construction of the Barnard Residence at 191 Street in Fort Washington. Although technically not a financial record, the building specification report is included so as not to be separated from the related receipts and invoices. Additional invoices and receipts for medieval artifacts are located in the Medieval Art and Collections series.
Items in this series have been grouped together by format and then chronologically.
This series has been partially scanned. General invoices and receipts have not been scanned.

Series 8: Printed Material, circa 1890-1969
1.5 linear feet
Boxes 7-8, 15-16 and BV 25

Found in this series are books, clippings, exhibition catalogs, magazines, pamphlets, postcards, programs, reports, and reproductions of old master prints. The materials found in this series not only document Barnard's life and career as a sculptor and collector, but also the art and architecture that inspired and interested him.
Clippings record his success at the Paris Salon of 1910; the financial problems that plagued the construction of the Pennsylvania State House, which included sculptures by Barnard; his collections of medieval art, primarily the Cloisters; and his plans to create a large memorial sculpture, most commonly referred to as the
Rainbow Arch
. A folder of exhibition catalogs and programs document both exhibitions of Barnard's work as well as programs from the dedication of his statue of Abraham Lincoln. There are also annotated postcards of Barnard's boyhood hometowns of Kankatee, Illinois and Muscatine, Iowa, as well as another set of postcards that depict the flooding in Moret, France, the location of his studio in the early 1900s.
The bulk of the rest of the material reflects Barnard's influences and interest in art and architecture from the ancient to the modern. Many of the books found in this series are nineteenth and early twentieth century art books consisting of plates of ancient, medieval, and renaissance art and architecture. Additionally there is a folder of modern reproductions of Old Master prints, primarily by Durer, which come from the Parisian book and art dealer, George Rapilly. They are all stamped on the verso "Rapilly - Paris/Hlio - A.D./9, Quai Malaquais." There is another folder of miscellaneous modern print reproductions.
Printed Materials have been arranged alphabetically by format.
This series has been partially scanned. Books, clippings (aside from scrapbooks), magazines, and printed reproductions have not been scanned.

Series 9: Photographs, circa 1860-1963
4.5 linear feet
Boxes 8-13, 15 and OV 17-24

This series contains vintage photographs, modern copy prints, transparencies and glass plates of Barnard, his family, friends, studios, and sculptures, as well as his collections of medieval art and architectural elements. There is also a large group of study or reference photographs, which are photographs of works of art from ancient to modern periods, with the bulk from the middle ages through the renaissance. Photographs are described in more detail at the subseries level.
The series is arranged as 6 subseries:
Series 9.1: Personal Photographs, circa 1860-1963
Series 9.2: Studio Photographs, circa 1880-1938
Series 9.3: Medieval Art and Collections, 1905-1945
Series 9.4: Study Photographs, circa 1882-1938
Series 9.5: Works of Art, circa 1892-1963
Series 9.6: Glass Plate Negatives, circa 1900-1945

Series 10: Artwork, circa 1892-1938
0.5 linear feet
Boxes 11, 14, 16 and OV 17

The artwork includes prints, loose sketches, one sketchbook, four etching plates, one copper plate and blueprints for Barnard's
Rainbow Arch
Memorial. The artwork depicts a wide variety of images, including landscapes, human figures, and architectural drawings.
Folders in this series have been arranged chronologically.
This series has been scanned in its entirety.

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.