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George Leslie Stout papers, 1855, 1897-1978

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Rihoko Ueno
Scope and Contents
The papers of conservator and museum director George Leslie Stout measure 6.4 linear feet and date from 1855, 1897-1978. Stout was head of the conservation department at Harvard University's Fogg Art Museum, director of the Worcester Art Museum and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Massachusetts, and a member of the Monuments, Fine Art and Archives (MFAA) Section of the U.S. Army during World War II. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence with family, friends, colleagues and professional associations. There are letters from fellow Monuments Men who served in the MFAA section such as Thomas Carr Howe, Ardelia Hall, Lamont Moore, Theodore Sizer, Langdon Warner and several other prominent arts administrators. The papers also contain biographical materials, writings, sketches and one sketchbook, military records, printed materials, and photographs. There is a 0.2 linear foot addition to this collection acquired in 2020 that includes four diaries, 1944-1946, kept by George Stout as a member of the Monuments, Fine Arts & Archives Section (MFAA) of the U.S. Army (known as the Monuments Men). The diaries describe Stout's experiences surveying war-caused damages in France, Germany, and Japan, and the recovery of Nazi impounded art works. Also included is a hand-made booklet that includes a "Glossary of Cha-no-yu Terms," which consists of quotes about Japanese art and tea drinking.
Biographical materials include college and graduate school transcripts, various certificates, four small appointment books and passports.
Correspondence is between George Leslie Stout and family, friends, colleagues, professional associations and fellow Monuments Men. Family correspondence is with Stout's immediate and extended family, the bulk of which is from Stout to his wife Margaret and his son Thomas. Correspondents in the Monuments Men correspondence include Thomas Carr Howe, Ardelia Hall, Lamont Moore, Theodore Sizer, Langdon Warner, and many others. There is also substantial correspondence with friends and professional colleagues in the museum and art world, such as Walter Beck, Richard D. Buck, William George Constable, Earl of Crawford, George Peabody Gardner, Jr., William Ivins, Jr., Henri Marceau, and Paul Sachs, among many others.
Writings by Stout consist of typescript drafts and published articles, speeches, and miscellaneous notes. Most of the writings concern art conservation and the speeches are memorials for two of Stout's colleagues. Notes consists of drafts for the texts of holiday cards Stout designed, biographical notes, and images and captions for
The Care of Pictures
. There are also three conference papers on art conservation written by other people.
Subject files document Stout's conservation projects as a consultant for museums, universities, galleries and other organizations. Also found in this series are documents relating to Stout's work after retiring from the Isabella Gardner Museum and his membership or participation in various arts programs and organizations.
A separate series contains files relating to Stout's World War II service in the Monuments, Fine Arts & Archives (MFAA) Section. Found here are official military records, publications by Monuments Men, and a few scattered photographs. Military records include directives, reports, certificates and a bronze star medal. There are articles and books written by various Monuments Men such as Langdon Warner, Lincoln Kirstein and Theodore Sizer. There are also scattered photographs, only two of which depict tout (including one group photograph with Lamont Moore, Walker Hancock and other Monuments Men.) There are also 12 negatives with 4 prints depicting La Gleize Church and the town of Ambleve, Belgium in 1945. There are also four diaries documenting Stout's experiences in the MFAA Section in Europe and Japan from 1944-1946.
Personal business records include assorted legal and estate papers as well as financial papers such as receipts, travel expenses and donations.
Printed materials consists of news clippings, bulletins, brochures, press releases, conference papers, and magazine and journal articles, most of it related to art conservation.
Artwork includes pencil and ink drawings and sketches, mostly of travel scenes, people, and animals. There is one sketchbook of the human figure. Many sketches were loosely grouped together by Stout with titles such as "Pool Doodles" or "Park and Zoo." The is also one caricature of Eric Brown by Murray Pease.
The papers include photographs and negatives, mostly personal photographs of friends, family, relatives and colleagues. There are also photographs of art conservation conferences and travel photographs. Additional scattered photographs are located in the series containing the Monuments Men files.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
George Leslie Stout donated his papers to the Archives of American Art in 1978. In that same year, Robert Stout, son of George Leslie Stout, loaned four diaries to the Archives of American Art for microfilming. The four diaries were acquired at auction by the Archives in 2020 with generous donations from Paul Neely, David Copperfield in memory of Kelly Asbury, Deborah Lehr and John Rogers, Ambassador Nicholas F. Taubman, The Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Foundation, Jeffrey P. Cunard and Mariko Ikehara, The Elbrun and Peter Kimmelman Family Foundation, Inc., Peter and Paula Lunder, William and Christine Ragland in memory of William McKenzie Ragland Lt. JG, U.S. Navy, Pacific Theater, WWII, The Kurin Family in honor of WWII Veteran Saul Kurin, Paul and Corine Wegener, and Judy and Bob Huret.
Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with George Stout conducted by Paul Karlstrom in 1978.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
Processing Information
The papers were microfilmed shortly after receipt. The collection was later processed and a finding aid prepared by Rihoko Ueno in August 2012 with funding provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. An addition of 4 diaries were processed and sent out for conservation in 2020.