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Horace Pippin notebooks and letters, circa 1920-1943

Pippin, Horace, 1888-1946


The notebooks and letters of Horace Pippin in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2006. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 114 images.

Collection Information

Size: 0.2 linear feet

Summary: The collection measures 0.2 linear feet and consists of three notebooks, notebook fragments, and two letters created by African American primitive painter Horace Pippin. The notebooks recount Pippin's World War I experiences, including his being wounded. One of the notebooks is illustrated.
An addition donated 2017 of one postcard from Horace Pippin to Robert Carlen, March 5, 1941. Pippin writes about works of art that he has ready and asks Carlen if there is anything for him as he would like to get some canvases and work on the Birmingham Meeting House for an upcoming show.

Biographical/Historical Note

Horace Pippin (1888 -1946) was a self-taught painter from West Chester, Pa. Pippin was inspired to paint by his experiences in World War I. He lost the use of his right arm when wounded during the war and, when painting, had to use his left hand to guide his right. He gained a national reputation as "a true American primitive" for his paintings depicting childhood memories, war experiences, heroes, and religious subjects.


WWI journals were purchased from Pippin's dealer, Robert Carlen, in 1956. This collection was microfilmed on reel 138 in 1973, and scanned in 2006. An additional postcard was donated 2017 by Mike Speiser who inherited it from his grandfather Meyer Speiser, who received it from Robert Carlen.