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John D. Graham papers, 1799-1988, bulk 1890-1961

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Series 4: Writings , 1839, circa 1923-1986
2.9 Linear feet
Box 3-5, OV 13

This series contains writings by Graham and others in the form of book-length manuscripts, annotated books, card files, essays, lists, notes, notebooks, poetry, and handwritten prayers. Books and notebooks comprise the bulk of materials.
Books are generally found in multiple drafts in the form of manuscripts and annotated typescripts. Two works are published books containing Graham's annotations: a 1923 book of poems, Have It, and Graham's most well-known work, Systems and Dialectics of Art, published in 1937. Another published work found here in manuscript form is a catalog of African art Graham created with Frank Crowninshield.
The remaining manuscripts include a comparative history of art, some of which appears to have been incorporated into Systems and Dialectics of Art; a stylized, often abstract autobiographical work usually entitled Muerte Kalaka y Casa Nada (Child-hood) (Child Within), which has sometimes been referred to as Childhood in the literature on Graham; and a large collection of brief, alphabetically-arranged essays, which appear to have been worked on over the course of decades under various titles including Don Giovanni, Finale I-V, and Orifizio Mundi. Dates, format, and the text of these works overlap significantly, and appear to have been incorporated into one another in different versions at various stages of the writing. Manuscripts in this series have been filed according to titles found on the works or on binders containing the works, and dated according to scattered postmarks and dated items found among the papers. Card files contain handwritten versions of the same essays that appear in Orifizio Mundi and were likely preliminary to the typed manuscripts. Additional notes describing the various versions of book manuscripts are found in the folder list.
Essays by Graham include typescripts, usually annotated, of published essays by Graham. Essays about Graham include photocopied typescripts of two essays written after his death. For additional published essays and articles about Graham, see Printed Materials.
Lists are found on a wide range of subjects, often banal or personal and sometimes cryptic. For lists of artwork or other assets, see Correspondence and Personal Business Records.
Miscellaneous notes and writings consist of notes, musings, essays, and aphorisms written or copied by Graham on a variety of subjects. Graham often applied brief titles to these apparently spontaneous writings, and where possible such items have been grouped together under his headings or other obvious subject matter. The folder entitled "Psychoanalysis" contains a lengthy, handwritten self-analysis dated from May through July of 1939. Miscellaneous notes and writings without titles or obvious subject matter are filed chronologically.
Notebooks contain sketches, symbols, essays, and notes and are written in multiple languages and scripts, including Russian, Latin, Greek, French, and English. Some notebooks are written in appointment books, but do not seem to record any information specific to dates. Any appointment books Graham used to actually record appointments are filed with Personal Business Records, although they may also contain notes, essays, and sketches.
Poetry includes poems by Graham, many of which are written in Russian, and poems about Graham, including one by the French poet Fernand Marc.
Additional writings are found throughout the collection, notably in Personal Business Records, Printed Materials, and Artwork.
Description Container Select
Books
African Art, circa 1937
2 Folders
(a catalog, in collaboration with Frank Crowninshield; multiple drafts interfiled)
3
10-11
Comparative History of Art, Typescript 1, 1930
3
12
Comparative History of Art, Tyepscript 2, 1930
2 Folders
3
13-14
Comparative History of Art; Charts, Notes, and Plans, 1930
4 Folders
see also OV 13
(contains binder with heading "systems and dialectics of art," but the material within the binder appears to be for this art history work, versions of which bear the date 1930)
3
15-18
Don Giovanni Manuscript, circa 1949-1954
4 Folders
3
19-22
Don Giovanni Typescript, circa 1954
3 Folders
3
23-25
Finale I, circa 1936-1959
4 Folders
(titles with roman numerals for the Finale manuscripts taken from binders created by Graham; Finale I, II, and V appear to comprise a continuous typescript; Finale IV appears complete but is much shorter than other versions; Finale I contains front matter and alphabetically arranged entries from Abracadabra to Justice)
3
26-29
Finale II, circa 1936-1959
4 Folders
(contains entries from Kaligula to Russian Alphabet)
3
30-33
Finale III, circa 1936-1959
5 Folders
(contains original binder with drawing and entries from Circumference to Morning)
3
34-38
Finale IV, circa 1936-1959
3 Folders
(contains Preface and entries from Ages to Zodiac, and a copy of Graham's article "The Case of Mr. Picasso and Modern Art;" may be a compressed version of this work)
3
39-41
Finale V, circa 1936-1959
3 Folders
( Finale V appears to be a continuation of Finale I and II; contains alphabetical entries from Sages to Youth, plus a summary of the work and an Index of all entries)
3
42-44
Have It, 1923
(Poems; author's annotated copy)
3
45
Muerte-Kalaka y Casi Nada (Child-Hood) (Child Within) Manuscript, circa 1936-1949
4 Folders
3
46-49
Muerte-Kalaka y Casi Nada (Child-Hood) (Child Within) Original Typescript, circa 1936-1949
3 Folders
4
1-3
Muerte-Kalaka y Casi Nada (Child-Hood) (Child Within) Typescript Copy 1, circa 1936-1949
4 Folders
(typescript copies 1 and 2 appear to be two carbon copies of original typescript, each with a different set of annotations)
4
4-7
Muerte-Kalaka y Casi Nada (Child-Hood) (Child Within) Typescript Copy 2, circa 1936-1949
4 Folders
4
8-11
Muerte-Kalaka y Casi Nada (Child-Hood) (Child Within), Notes and Draft Fragments, circa 1936-1949
3 Folders
4
12-14
Orifizio Mundi Volume II, circa 1936-1959
6 Folders
(carbon typescript of same text that appears in the Finale series, with fewer annotations; alphabetical order has been disturbed; there is no indication of a Volume I among the papers)
4
15-20
System and Dialectics of Art, undated, 1937-1938
(author's annotated copy; annotations appear to have been made in 1938 to the published 1937 work; later inscribed to Linda, presumably Leyden, who he met in 1959)
4
21
Card Files 1 and 2, undated
2 shoeboxes of 3x5 inch cards and 1 folder of larger items removed from boxes; not scanned
(handwritten entries with same text as Orifizio Mundi and Finale typescripts, arranged in two separate card files; in the first set of cards, the alphabetical order has been disrupted)
4
22-24
Essays by Graham
"Art", circa 1960
5
1
"Autoportrait", circa 1960-1961
5
2
"Carlos Merida the Modern Painter of Mexico", undated
5
3
"The Case of Mr. Picasso", circa 1946
5
4
"Mexican Art Exhibition", circa 1940
5
5
"Mexico", circa 1938
5
6
"Primitive Art and Picasso, circa 1937
5
7
Essays about Graham
Forward to Second Edition of System and Dialectics of Art by Dorothy Dehner, circa 1971
Photocopy of annotated typescript
5
8
"John Graham" by Eilan Kokkinen, undated, circa 1968
three chapters of annotated typescript version of biography
5
9
Lists, circa 1958-1961
5
10
Miscellaneous Notes and Writings, circa 1941-1961
8 Folders
5
11-18
Miscellaneous Notes and Writings by Subject
Art, 1961, undated
5
19
Autobiographical, undated
5
20
Autoportrait, circa 1960-1961
5
21
Childhood, 1938, undated
5
22
Comparative Languages, circa 1939-1950
5
23
Mexico, circa 1936-1939
5
24
Occult, undated
5
25
Psychoanalysis, circa 1934-1939
5
26
Science, undated
5
27
Society and Socialism, undated
5
28
Travel, circa 1938-1961
2 Folders
5
29-30
Yoga, circa 1955-1961
5
31
Notebook, 1931
5
32
Notebook, undated, 1939
5
33
Notebook, 1839, undated
(antique book with inscription dated 1839 re-used as notebook circa 1943)
5
34
Notebook, 1947-1953
5
35
Notebook, 1947
5
36
Notebook, circa 1948
5
37
Notebook, 1949
5
38
Notebooks, 1953
3 Volumes
(3 volumes in 3 folders)
5
39-41
Notebook, 1958
5
42
Notebook, circa 1959
5
43
Notebook, 1959-1960
5
44
Notebook, 1960
5
45
Notebook, 1960-1961
5
46
Notebook, 1961
5
47
Notebooks, undated
2 Volumes
(2 volumes in 2 folders)
5
48-49
Poems, 1915, 1976, 1953, undated
5
50
Prayers, undated, 1944
5
51
Oversized Writings (See Box 3, folder 15)
13 (OV)

Make a Request

  • To request an appointment to view materials, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reading Room" button. Please note, you will receive the full box.
  • To request reproductions, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reproduction" button.