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James Penney papers, 1913-1984

Penney, James, 1910-1982

Painter, Educator


Collection Information

Size: 12.6 Linear feet; 4.3 Linear feet, Addition

Summary: Correspondence, writings and notes, diaries, scrapbooks, extensive sketchbooks and sketches, photographs and printed materials.
Correspondence (1918-1981) to and from family members, Paul Manner, Penney's teacher Albert Bloch, and others concerns plans for murals and Penney's ideas on art, among other topics. Diaries concern a European trip (1952). Two scrapbooks contain clippings, photographs, letters and exhibition catalogs documenting Penney's career. Fifty-four sketchbooks (1925-1950) contain figure studies, portraits and caricatures, ideas for murals, and scenes in New York City, Kansas, Missouri and elsewhere. Photographs show Penney, family, friends and his works. Printed material includes clippings, newsletters and brochures, and exhibition announcements and catalogs. Other materials include writings, notes, price lists, contracts and other financial material, biographical materials, a journal (1933-1940), notebooks and ca. 300 loose sketches.
ADDITION: Two volumes of lecture notes from art history classes taught by Albert Bloch, University of Kansas (1929-31); research material compiled by Penney relative to Albert Bloch exhibition, Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, New York (1974); 53 volumes of sketchbooks and eighteen sketchbooks (1945-1976), which contain scenes of Nebraska, Italy, and Mexico; about 20 studies and sketches for federal government mural projects (1934-1942); loose sketches; slides of paintings, sketches, and mural studies for Flushing High School, the Nebraska Capitol, and Hamilton College mural projects; 52 oversize sketches and studies for federal and non-federal mural projects , including three rolled oil studies (1933-1970s);correspondence (1962-1984); exhibition announcements and catalogs (1930-1983); clippings (1962-1977); family photographs (1913-1982); photographs of works of art and negatives (n.d.) and a mural design show at Utica College (1972); three award medals; and diplomas (high school and university).

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter, educator; Clinton, N.Y. Died in 1982.


Donated by James Penney, 1981, and subsequently by his widow, Rachel Penney, 1983-1998.

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.

How to Cite This Collection

James Penney papers, 1913-1984. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.