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James Fitzgerald papers, 1905-1992

Fitzgerald, James, 1899-1971


Collection Information

Size: 4.6 linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter James Fitzgerald measure 4.6 linear feet and date from 1905 to 1992. Found within the papers are biographical materials; personal and business correspondence, including fifty-one letters from Rockwell Kent; personal business records; writings; artwork consisting of drawings and 21 sketchbooks; printed material, including a scrapbook of clippings and catalogs; and photographs of Fitzgerald, his family and friends, and his work.
Biographical materials include certificates, military records, and identification cards and passports. Correspondence is with collectors and friends, including Monhegan residents Anne and Edgar Hubert, Grace Sullivan, and Rockwell Kent. Personal business records include banking, tax, and estate records. Writings consist of Fitzgerald's notebook and notes, essays and recollections of Fitzgerald by friends, and Calvin Hennig's notes on a 1984 posthumous exhibition catalog.
There are loose drawings and 21 sketchbooks of Fitzgerald's artwork. Printed material includes clippings, a clippings scrapbook, exhibition catalogs, and a five-minute video recording describing the holdings of Anne and Edgar Hubert's Fitzgerald art collection. Photographs are of Fitzgerald, his friends and family, residents, travel snapshots, and photographs and slides of his artwork.

Biographical/Historical Note

James Fitzgerald (1899-1971) was a painter in California and Maine. Born in Milton, Massachusetts, Fitzgerald studied from 1919 to 1923 at the Massachusetts School of Art and from 1923 to 1924 at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School with Philip Hale, Leslie P. Thompson, and Edmund C. Tarbell. Between 1923 and 1928, he sailed on fishing ships and freighters, eventually settling in Monterey, California, in 1928, where he established a studio and became associated with a group including John Cage, Martha Graham, E. F. Ricketts, and John Steinbeck. From 1936 to 1942, Fitzgerald taught painting in California, then sold his studio the following year to move to Monhegan, Maine, which he had first visited in 1923. From 1944 to 1971, he worked mostly at Monhegan and made annual trips to Mt. Katahdin. During this time, he befriended Rockwell Kent, who owned a cottage on Monhegan. Fitzgerald died suddenly on the island of Arranmore, Co. Donegal, Ireland, where he had gone to paint.


The papers were donated in 1991 by Fitzgerald's literary executors, Anne and Edgar Hubert. Two additional sketchbooks were donated in 2014 by the chairman of the James Fitzgerald Legacy, Robert L. Stahl.


Funding for the creation of the finding aid for this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.