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Harold and May Tabak Rosenberg papers, circa 1880-1985, bulk 1940s-1970s

Contents and Arrangement

The collection is arranged as six series.

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Series 1: Biographical Material , circa 1930s-circa 1980s
0.4 Linear feet
Box 1

This series consists of nine address books and address cards in two Zephyr America Corporation rolodex address holders with addresses of acquaintances, friends, and colleagues of the Rosenbergs. It is not clear if the books and rolodexes belonged to Harold or May Rosenberg, or to both. Also found are several empty annotated envelopes and other enclosures from the collection.
Description Container Select
Address Books, circa 1930s-circa 1980s
1
1-4
Addresses in Zephry America Corp Rolodexes, circa 1950s
1
5
Collection Enclosures, circa 1950s-circa 1980s
1
6

Series 2: Letters , 1936-1985
0.4 Linear feet
Box 1

Letters are almost all incoming and are written almost exclusively to May Rosenberg. The bulk of the letters are from publishers regarding writing submitted by May Rosenberg for publication, with Henry Volkening of Russell & Volkening, Inc., being most prominently represented. They reveal details about the market for Rosenberg's work and hence the tastes and sensitivities of audiences at that time.
Also of significance are letters from June Wayne relating to the Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Inc., which Wayne established in 1960 with funding from the Ford Foundation. These three folders of letters document May Rosenberg's friendship with Wayne, and her involvement with the workshop. They record Wayne's request that Rosenberg write in a freelance capacity for the organization, as it's occasional "esthetic spokesman," and her request that Rosenberg write about Louise Nevelson's fellowhip, which took place at the workshop in 1968. The letters also document how Rosenberg was invited to appear in a KCET Television segment as a guest of June Wayne at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in 1972. Also found are letters relating to Rosenberg's writing about the workshop published in Craft Horizons.
Copies of only a handful of letters written by May Rosenberg which are found in the collection, are housed with Wayne's letters. In addition to providing details about the Tamarind Lithography Workshop, these four letters also reveal some of the opinions of the two correspondents on general matters including art, writing, and feminism. One letter from Rosenberg reveals how she drew on her social experiences in the art world as source material, and delivers an incisive criticism of the "round of boredoms" that constituted Rosenberg's Fourth (of July?) experience. She describes introducing newcomers to her friends in the art community and how they quickly come to feel like entitled insiders and begin to patronize her: "I intend to use this material which is very curious—the swift progression from being a social responsibility to being a condescending patronizing insider is a part of the art scene which must be reckoned with. These characters consider themselves the real artists and they no longer need the practicing writer or painters beyond the preliminary stage." Rosenberg's commentary provides witty and razor sharp insights from a writer who moved in the orbit of some of the most successful artists of the time, in addition to the commanding physical and intellectual presence of her art critic and theorist husband.
Description Container Select
General, circa 1950s-circa 1985
1
7
General, 1950s
1
8
General, 1960s
1
9-10
General, 1970s
1
11
General, 1980-1985
1
12
MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1977-1979
1
13
Russell & Volkening, Inc., circa 1950s-circa 1070s
1
14
Russell & Volkening, Inc., 1950s
1
15-18
Russell & Volkening, Inc., 1960s
1
19
Wayne, June and Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Inc., 1967-1984
1
20-22
Works Progress Administration, 1936, 1977
1
23

Series 3: Writings and Notes , circa 1940s-1984
1.6 Linear feet
Boxes 1-3

This series is arranged as four subseries.
  • 3.1: Annotated Calendars, 1951-1984
  • 3.2: Writings by Harold Rosenberg, circa 1940s-1976
  • 3.3: Writings by May Tabak Rosenberg, circa 1950s-circa 1980s
  • 3.4: Writings by Others, circa 1950s-1981
3.1: Annotated Calendars, 1951-1984
This subseries includes five annotated calendars from 1951, 1958, 1982, 1984 (two calendars), and several pages from a 1974 calendar, which appear to have belonged to May Rosenberg. The calendars contain many annotations related to meetings and events with artists, friends, family, and colleagues.
Description Container
Annotated Calendars, 1951-1984
1
24-26
Annotated Calendar, 1984
2
1
3.2: Writings by Harold Rosenberg, circa 1940s-1976
This subseries includes a small number of writings by Harold Rosenberg, primarily on art, including circa three manuscript drafts of essays, seven notebooks, one folder of loose notes, a copy of a 1939 article, and an issue of the publication Commentary, containing a submission by Rosenberg on the subject "What is a Liberal? Who is a Conservative?"
Description Container
Manuscript Drafts, circa 1940s-circa 1970s
2
2
Notebooks, circa 1940s-circa 1970s
2
3-6
Notes, circa 1950s-circa 1970s
2
7
Published Article, "Myth and History", 1939
2
8
Published Article, "What is a Liberal? Who is a Conservative?", 1976
2
9
3.3: Writings by May Tabak Rosenberg, circa 1950s-circa 1980s
May Tabak Rosenberg's writings and notes form the bulk of this subseries which includes drafts of, and notes for, multiple manuscripts, including articles, short stories, and her novel But Not For Love, as well as writings and notes on subjects such as marriage and writer Mary McCarthy, and articles written for the publication Craft Horizons. Also found are published copies of But Not For Love, and Rosenberg's children's book A Fish Is Not A Pet.
Description Container
Drafts and Notes, circa 1950s-circa 1970s
2
10-14
Manuscript Drafts, circa 1950s-circa 1970s
2
15-23
Manuscript Draft, "All Anyone Wants is Everything", circa 1950s-circa 1970s
2
24
Manuscript Draft, "But Not For Love", circa 1950s
2
25-27
Manuscript Draft, "Christmas Book" of the Unit Series, circa 1950s-circa 1970s
2
28
Manuscript Drafts for Craft Horizons, 1970
2
29
Manuscript Draft of Play, circa 1950s-circa 1970s
2
30
Manuscripts, "The Chippy Chasers," "Line Up," and "The Trouble Maker", 1959
2
31
Notebooks, circa 1950s-circa 1970s
2
32
Notebooks, circa 1950s-circa 1970s
3
1-2
Notes and Fragments, Marriage, circa 1960s
3
3
Notes and Fragments, Mary McCarthy, circa 1950s-circa 970s
3
4
Notes, Index Cards, circa 1950s-circa 1980s
3
5
Notes, Miscellaneous, circa 1950s-circa 1970s
3
6
Outline for Novel, "Freedom", circa 1950s-circa 1970s
3
7
Published Book, Manuscript, and Printer's Mark for A Fish Is Not A Pet, 1959
3
8
Published Book, But Not For Love, 1960
3
9
Published Manuscripts in Craft Horizons, 1970s
3
10
3.4: Writings by Others, circa 1950s-1981
Writings by others include typescripts of a speech delivered by Hans Hofmann at Dartmouth College in 1962, a lecture delivered by Lee Hall at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1981, and a 1973 essay with a cover letter asking May Rosenberg to look at her essay, by actress and journalist Gaby Rodgers entitled "Where Have All the Husbands Gone? (A New York Saga of Love and Despair)." Rodgers and her husband, lyricist Jerry Lieber, were fellow summer residents of East Hampton.
Description Container
By Others, circa 1960s-circa 1970s
3
11
Aristophanes, "The Birds", circa 1950s
3
12
Hall, Lee, RISD Summer Lecture, 1981
3
13
Silverman, Deborah Leah, 1970
3
14

Series 4: Personal Business Records , circa 1950-1984
0.25 Linear feet
Box 3

The business records found here are mostly routine but do include a small amount of documentation relating to the administration of Harold Rosenberg's estate, such as a list of royalties for his writings from the Whitney Museum of American Art, a will handwritten by May Rosenberg, and some records relating to royalties for A Fish Is Not A Pet from McGraw-Hill Book Company.
Description Container Select
Accounts and Statements, 1970s-1980s
3
15-17
Accounts and Statements, 1980-1984
3
18
Cancelled Checks, 1980-1981
3
19
Harold Rosenberg Estate, 1980-1981
3
20
McGraw-Hill Book Company Invoices and Royalties, 1960s
3
21
Miscellaneous, circa 1950-circa 1980
3
22
Will, Handwritten by May T. Rosenberg, 1978
3
23

Series 5: Printed Material , 1918-1982
0.35 Linear feet
Box 3

Printed material includes a 1956 article about May Rosenberg and the November 1978 issue of Commentary containing an article entitled "Remembering Harold Rosenberg" by Seymour Krim. Also found is a folder of announcements and catalogs for exhibitions and events featuring various artists, including Willem de Kooning, Betty Parsons, and Saul Steinberg. There are also news clippings grouped by subject, including feminism, and several booklets and articles sent to Harold Rosenberg and inscribed by the authors.
A circa 1940s map of East Hampton, Long Island, shows properties in the area, including one which is circled in pencil and is presumably the one purchased by the Rosenbergs.
Description Container Select
About Alice Barber, 1963-1974
3
24
About George Bernard Shaw, 1925-1952
3
25
About the Rosenbergs, 1956, 1978
3
26
Announcements and Catalogs, 1964-1983
3
27
Articles and Booklets Inscribed to Harold Rosenberg, 1948-1978
3
28
Map of East Hampton, NY, Showing Springs, circa 1940s
3
29
Miscellaneous, 1946-1982
3
30
News Clippings, 1918
3
31
News Clippings, circa 1970s-circa 1980s
3
32
News Clippings on Feminism, 1968-1974
3
33-34
Newsletters and Reports, 1966-1976
3
35
Reproductions of Artwork, circa 1950s-circa 1960s
3
36
"Women and the Arts" Packet, circa 1974
3
37

Series 6: Photographs , circa 1880s-circa 1981
1 Linear foot
Box 4

Photographs include portraits of Harold, May, and Patia Rosenberg, passport and photo booth photos of Harold Rosenberg, and photos of the Rosenbergs with family and friends at events including parties and exhibition openings. Many of the portraits of Harold and May Rosenberg were taken by Maurice Berezov. There is also a portrait of him by Lee Hall.
Photos of artists include nine snapshots which appear to have been taken at Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner's home, and possibly the Rosenberg's home, in Springs, New York. There are two snapshots of Pollock, including one with Patia Rosenberg and his dog, and one snapshot that appears to picture Lee Krasner with another child. Other artists pictured in the photos include Perle Fine, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, and Barnett Newman. There is a 1981 photo of May Rosenberg with Milton Resnick, a photo of June Wayne with Jonas Salk and Francoise Gilot, and photos of Harold Rosenberg receiving an honorary degree from Southampton College in 1976 with Betty Parsons.
Also found are three folders of photos and contact sheets taken during Louise Nevelson's fellowship at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in 1968, showing Nevelson with others working on lithography, and photos of May Rosenberg's visit to June Wayne's studio in 1972 during filming by KCET TV.
There are also thirteen photos of Rosenberg family members, and possibly family friends, dating from circa 1880, which include multiple vintage studio portraits.
Description Container Select
Harold Rosenberg, circa 1950s-circa 1970s
4
1
Harold Rosenberg, circa 1920s-circa 1930s
4
2
Harold Rosenberg, circa 1920s-circa 1970s
4
3
Harold Rosenberg, by Maurice Berezov, circa 1950s-circa 1970s
4
4-6
Harold Rosenberg, by Lee Hall, 1972
4
7
Harold Rosenberg, Receiving Degree, 1976
4
8
Harold Rosenberg with Others, circa 1950s-circa 1970s
4
9
Harold Rosenberg with U. S. Navy, circa 1944
4
10
May Tabak Rosenberg, circa 1940s-circa 1970s
4
11
May Tabak Rosenberg in June Wayne's Studio, 1972
4
12
May Tabak Rosenberg with Others, circa 1970s-circa 1981
4
13
Rosenbergs with Patia Rosenberg, 1940s-1950s
4
14
Rosenbergs with Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, 1940s
4
15
Rosenbergs with Others, circa 1950s-circa 1970s
4
16
Patia Rosenberg, 1940s-1950s
4
17
Patia Rosenberg, 1940s-1960s
4
18
Patia Rosenberg, 1940s-1950s
4
19
Others, 1930s-1970s
4
20
Family and Friends, circa 1880s-circa 1900
4
21-32
Family and Friends, circa 1920-circa 1970s
4
33
Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Inc., Louise Nevelson Fellowship, 1968
4
34-36
Artwork, circa 1950s-circa 1970s
4
37
Artwork Lent to Exhibition Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings from the U.S.S.R., 1973
4
38
Copies of Photos from "Bibliografia e Iconografia del Futurisimo, Falqui", circa 1959
4
39
Miscellaneous, circa 1960s-circa 1970s
4
40

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.