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Helen Sawyer and Jerry Farnsworth papers, 1918-1995

Sawyer, Helen, 1898-1999



Collection Information

Size: 4.6 Linear feet; 4.5 Linear feet, Addition

Summary: Correspondence, writings, photographs, art works, exhibition catalogs and clippings.
Correspondence includes letters from Mr. and Mrs. E.B. White and John Dos Passos. Material on Helen includes photographs of installations of her work and of her, reproductions of her work, clippings, exhibition material, part of a journal kept in France (published by Scribner's) and a handwritten copy of part of the same journal. Material on Jerry includes photographs of his work and of him, clippings, a scrapbook of letters and clippings, exhibition material, and proofs and original drawings by him for a book.
ADDITION: Biographical and genealogical information; correspondence between Helen and Jerry; numerous letters from Wells Sawyer and some from Helen's mother, Kathleen; letters from colleagues and friends, including MacKinlay Kantor, 1960; exhibition announcements and catalogs; price lists for Helen's work and bills for her supplies; notes and a poem from Jerry to Helen; draft of a speech by Helen; impressions of her by a graphologist; booklet of poems by Robert Nathan inscribed to the Farnsworths; photographs of Helen and Jerry and of the Farnsworth Art School in Florida; and clippings.
ADDITION II: Helen's journals and copies of those at George Arents Library, Syracuse University, and other mss. and publications by Helen; letters to Helen from her brother, Bailey Middlebrooks Sawyer; childhood journals; juvenilia; early work; sketches and drawings; exhibition material; greeting cards; clippings; photographs of work; joint exhibition material and Farnsworth School of Art material for Jerry and Helen; and a batik cloth.

Biographical/Historical Note

Artists and writers; North Truro, Mass. and Sarasota, Fla. Helen, born 1898 in Washington, D.C., was the daughter of painter Wells Sawyer, and used the name Helen Sawyer as her professional name. [She died Dec. 10, 1999 at the age of 102 in Sarasota, Fla.]


Donated 1972-1993 by Jerry and Helen Sawyer Farnsworth. Wells Sawyer papers received with the collection have been removed and described separately. An additional 4 ft. of papers, including ca. 2.5 ft. of Wells Sawyer papers were donated in 1996 by Helen; the Wells Sawyer related material in this donation has yet to be separated.

Language Note

English .

How to Use This Collection

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Helen Sawyer and Jerry Farnsworth papers, 1918-1995. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.