Skip to main content

Series 4 | A Finding Aid to the John D. Graham papers, 1799-1988, bulk 1890-1961 | Digitized Collection

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

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.

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.

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.