Skip to main content

Holger Cahill papers, 1910-1993, bulk 1910-1960

Cahill, Holger, 1887-1960

Curator, Author

The papers of Holger Cahill in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2004 from 20 reels of microfilm. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 30,077 images.

Funding for the digitization of the microfilm of this collection was provided by Jane Blumenfeld.

Collection Information

Size: 15.8 Linear feet

Summary: The papers of Holger Cahill (1887-1960) date from 1910 to 1993, with the bulk of the material dating from 1910-1960, and measure 15.8 linear feet. The collection offers researchers fairly comprehensive documentation of Cahill's directorship of the Works Progress/Projects Administration's (WPA) Federal Art Project (FAP) in addition to series documenting his work as a writer and art critic. Material includes correspondence, reports, artist files, scrapbooks, printed material, and photographs.

Biographical/Historical Note

Holger Cahill was born Sveinn Kristjan Bjarnarson in Iceland in a small valley near the Arctic Circle, on January 13, 1887. His parents, Bjorn Jonson and Vigdis Bjarnadottir, immigrated to the United States from Iceland sometime later in the 1880s. In 1904, his father deserted the family, forcing Sveinn to be separated from his mother and sister to work on a farm in North Dakota. He ran away and wandered from job to job until settling in an orphanage in western Canada, where he attended school and became a voracious reader.

Provenance

The Holger Cahill papers were donated to the Archives of American Art through a series of gifts by Cahill's widow, Dorothy C. Miller, between 1964 and 1995.

Funding

Funding for the digitization of the microfilm of this collection was provided by Jane Blumenfeld.