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Jacob Kainen papers, 1905-2009, bulk, 1940-2001

Kainen, Jacob, 1909-2001

Curator, Painter, Printmaker

Collection Information

Size: 33.3 linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter, printmaker, and curator Jacob Kainen measure 33.3 linear feet and date from 1905 to 2009, with the bulk of the material from 1940-2001. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence/subject files including personal correspondence to and from friends and family members and professional correspondence and records concerning Kainen's activities as an artist, curator, teacher, and art collector. The collection also contains biographical material, writings, diary and journal entries, calendars, inventories, interview and "dialog" transcripts, printed material, photographs, works of art by other artists, and nine scrapbooks.

Biographical/Historical Note

Jacob Kainen (1909-2001) was a painter, printmaker, and curator who worked primarily in Washington, D.C.


The papers were donated in multiple accretions between 1981-2007 by Jacob and Ruth Kainen, and in 2009 from the estate of Ruth Kainen via executor Teresa Covacevich Grana. Also in 2003 eight photographs of Jacob and Ruth Kainen were transferred from the National Portrait Gallery to the Archives of American Art. Prior to the donations, the Kainens loaned papers for microfilming, the bulk of which was included in the later donations.

Related Materials

Found among the holdings of the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview of Jacob Kainen conducted by Avis Berman in 1982 for the Archives' "Mark Rothko and His Times" oral history project. Also found are microfilm copies of Bertha Kainen's correspondence with Avis Berman regarding Berman's essay about Jacob Kainen.

Location of Originals

  • Reels 565, 2147-2149, 2200: Originals returned to lenders, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Kainen, after microfilming.