Skip to main content

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

More Information

Stephanie Ashley
Scope and Contents
The papers of New York author, art critic, and teacher Harold Rosenberg, and writer May Tabak Rosenberg, measure 4.0 linear feet and date from circa 1880-1985, with the bulk of the collection dating from the 1940s to the late 1970s. Records primarily document May Rosenberg's writing career and, to a lesser degree, her husband's career, through address books and calendars, letters, writings and notes, scattered business records, printed material, and photographs. Harold Rosenberg is documented most fully in the photographs, which include individual and family portraits, photographs of the Rosenbergs with family and friends, including artists and writers, and photographs taken in Springs, New York, where the Rosenbergs were part of the summer art colony in East Hampton.
The papers include biographical material consisting of address books, and letters written primarily to May Tabak Rosenberg regarding writing submitted to publishing companies including Russell & Volkening, Inc., MacMillan Publishing Company, and Mc-Graw Hill Book Company. Letters also document Rosenberg's friendship with June Wayne and her involvement, through Wayne, in the Tamarind Lithography Workshop.
Writings and notes consist primarily of manuscript drafts, notes, and published copies of work by May Rosenberg, including articles for Craft Horizons, a 1960 novel But Not For Love, her 1959 children's book A Fish Is Not A Pet, and many other stories, fragments and literary sketches of ideas. The collection also includes a small number of writings by Harold Rosenberg, including seven notebooks and two published articles.
Personal business records are scattered and routine but include a few invoices and records of royalties for both May and Harold Rosenberg, and a will, handwritten by May Rosenberg.
Printed material includes one article each on Harold and May Rosenberg, news clippings on feminism presumably collected by May Rosenberg, and a map of East Hampton which shows the location of the house purchased by the Rosenbergs in Springs, New York, in 1944.
Photographs include multiple portraits of Harold, May, and Patia Rosenberg which date from circa 1930s to the 1980s, many of which were taken by Maurice Berezov. There are also photographs of the Rosenbergs with family and friends including Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner at their home in Springs, and artists Perle Fine, Francoise Gilot, Barnett Newman, Elaine and Willem de Kooning, Milton Resnick, and others. There are photos of May Rosenberg and June Wayne in June Wayne's studio, and photos of Louise Nevelson working on lithography at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in 1968.
Language
English
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated in 1999 via the Ridgway Public Library in Ridgway, Colorado. The collection had come to the library from one of its trustees, an acquaintance of the Rosenbergs.
Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Harold Rosenberg, conducted by Paul Cummings in 1970-1973.
The Getty Research Institute is the primary repository of Harold Rosenberg's papers.
Processing Information
Half of the collection received some minimal processing shortly after receipt. The entire collection was processed and a finding aid was prepared by Stephanie Ashley in 2018.