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Joseph Cornell papers, 1804-1986, bulk 1939-1972

Contents and Arrangement

The collection is arranged into eleven series:

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Series 1: Biographical Material , 1918-1972, 1975
(box 1; 0.8 linear feet)

Series consists of material relating to some of Cornell's personal and professional dealings apart from his more artistic activities and shedding light on some different aspects of his biography. Included are: a school paper on Harry Houdini and a program from Cornell's days as a student at Andover; miscellaneous family papers (such as typescripts of Helen S. Cornell's writings as a child, a baptism notice for Robert Cornell, and Betty Cornell Benton's notes on family history); various personal papers (including Cornell's psalm book, some notes and jottings exchanged between Cornell and his family, and papers such as notes, correspondence, exhibition announcements, dream writings, ink blot drawings, and other material, which may have been those in his desk at the time of his death); official documents (such as copies of Cornell's birth and death certificates, and social security cards); address books; scattered business records (such as notes and correspondence with galleries, including the Egan Gallery, Stable Gallery, Richard Feigen Gallery, and Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, regarding consignment and sales of art work); scattered financial records (such as notes on income and expenses, receipts, and income tax returns); scattered legal records regarding the estate of Helen S. Cornell; and notes (including copies of Cornell's notes on art work and his "Rationale" most likely collected by Benton, his notes on the Bebe Marie doll, and his notes to his family in case of his death). Related material can be found amongst Cornell's estate papers.
Material is, for the most part, arranged into files according to format or documentary type. Files are arranged alphabetically.
The bulk of this series has been scanned with the exception of routine financial records and receipts.
Description Container
Address Books, undated
(3 folders)
1
1-3
Address Books, Notes, 1968-1972, undated
(3 folders)
1
4-6
Antiques, 1954-1957, 1966, undated
1
7
Birth and Death Certificates (copies), 1970, 1975
1
8
Business Records, Correspondence with Galleries, 1951-1968
1
9
Business Records, Miscellaneous, 1962-1968, undated
1
10
Family Papers, Miscellaneous, 1918, undated
1
11
Financial Records, Income and Business Expenses, 1947-1969, undated
1
12
Financial Records, Receipts, 1951-1971, undated
(Not scanned)
1
13
Financial Records, Income Tax Returns, 1951-1952
(Not scanned)
1
14
Financial Records, Household Expenses, Telephone, 1967-1970
(Not scanned)
1
15
Last Will and Testament, Clippings, 1960-1967, undated
1
16
Last Will and Testament, Notes and Writings, 1965-1967
1
17
Legal Records, Re: Estate of Helen S. Cornell, 1968
1
18
Notes on Bebe Marie Doll, circa 1965
1
19
Notes to Family (in case of death), 1971
1
20
Notes on Art Work and "Rationale" (copies), undated
1
21
Personal Papers, Psalm Book, 1928
1
22
Personal Papers, Notes, 1957-1968, undated
1
23
Personal Papers, Calendar, 1967
1
24
Personal Papers, Miscellaneous, 1971-1972, undated
(5 folders)
1
25-29
Red Cross Blood Donor Certificate, 1944
1
30
Social Security Cards and Information, 1937, 1970, undated
1
31
Student Papers, 1918, 1921
1
32

Series 2: Correspondence , 1909-1982
(boxes 1-5; 4.2 linear feet)

Series is comprised of Cornell's personal and professional correspondence, primarily consisting of letters, postcards, and greeting cards to Cornell from family, friends, artists, dealers, collectors, galleries, museums, admirers, "helpers," and charitable institutions. Also included, to a lesser extent, are letters between and amongst other members of the Cornell family. While Cornell did not usually make copies of his outgoing correspondence, he often wrote various versions of a letter. Several examples of these can be found amongst his correspondence, though it is unclear whether or not they represent letters that were actually sent. Files also include notes and printed material that pertain to various (often notable) individuals and/or institutions. Though most likely not actual correspondents, these individuals and institutions were of interest to Cornell in one way or another, which presumably led him to collect this material. Based upon this collecting activity, there is some overlap between correspondence and source material. Correspondence relating to Cornell and his artwork can be found amongst his estate papers.
In general, the correspondence is heavily annotated by Cornell's sister, Betty Cornell Benton, who prepared his papers for donation to the Archives. In her annotations, Benton often supplies the last name of the correspondent and sometimes the date of the letter when these are not provided. Other times, she provides information about or commentary on the correspondent and his/her relations with Cornell.
According to some of Benton's annotations, it seems likely that Cornell may have originally maintained some, if not all, of his correspondence in chronological files. At some point, correspondence was organized alphabetically according to the surname of the correspondent or name of institution. It is not clear whether this was carried out by Cornell, his sister, or someone in the Archives. The existing alphabetical organization has been maintained since, with so many undated letters, it would be impossible to reconstruct a meaningful chronological order.
In the existing arrangement, general correspondence, family correspondence, and greeting cards were maintained separately in distinct groupings of files. Based upon this, the Correspondence series is arranged as three subseries:
  • 2.1: General Correspondence, 1909-1982
  • 2.2: Family Correspondence, 1909-1977
  • 2.3: Greeting Cards, 1956-1972
This series has been scanned in entirety.
2.1: General Correspondence, 1909-1982
DescriptionContainer
Adams, Valerie, 1942-1959
1
33
Andrews, Wayne and Lisa, 1947, 1965-1972, undated
1
34
Ashbery, John, 1967-1969
1
35
Ashton, Dore, 1972, undated
1
36
A, 1937, 1945, 1955-1972, undated
1
37
Baur, John ( See also Whitney Museum), 1964
1
38
Beckman, Julie, 1955-1970, undated
1
39
Bennette, George and family, 1953, 1971-1972
1
40
Bergman, Edwin, 1959, 1966
1
41
Blum, Irving (Ferus Gallery), 1959, 1965-1966
1
42
Bontecou, Lee, 1961-1964
1
43
Brandon, Baby (Mary Hopkins), 1957-1958
1
44
Brown, Harriet and Bob, 1964-1971, undated
1
45
Brown, Jo, 1953-1954
1
46
Bruno, Phillip (Staempfli Gallery), 1964-1965
1
47
Burckhardt, Rudy, 1952-1968, undated
1
48
B, 1946-1972, undated
(3 folders)
1
49-51
Campbell, Sandy, 1948, 1956-1965, undated
1
52
Carrithers, Dorcas, 1967, 1970, undated
1
53
Cleveland Museum of Art, 1966, 1968
1
54
Couch, Lucile, 1967-1969, 1972
1
55
Coulter, Dorothy, 1962-1969
1
56
C, 1925, 1949-1972, undated
(4 folders)
2
1-4
De Maria, Susanne, 1963-1973, undated
(2 folders)
2
5-6
De Maria, Walter, 1967-1968
2
7
Delarue, Allison ( See also Series 9), 1943-1968, undated
2
8
Dorazio, Piero and Virginia ( See also Series 4), 1953-1970, undated
2
9
Duchamp, Marcel and Teeny, 1955-1968, undated
2
10
D, 1943-1970, undated
2
11
Eastman, Lee and family, 1962, undated
2
12
Egan, Charles, 1950-1951, 1963
2
13
Ehrich, Jo Ann, 1969-1970, undated
2
14
Ekstrom, Arnett and Parmenia, 1964-1965
2
15
Engdahl, Leonore, 1966, 1970-1971
2
16
E, 1949-1970, undated
2
17
Feigen, Richard, 1959-1969, undated
2
18
Fine, A.M., 1970
2
19
Ford, Charles Henri, 1939-1970, undated
2
20
Ford, Ruth, 1969-1972, undated
2
21
Fried, Rose, 1962-1965
2
22
F, 1955-1970, undated
2
23
Gablik, Suzi, 1961, 1963
2
24
Gagner, Robert, 1967-1968
2
25
Garson, Inez, 1968-1970
2
26
Goodman, Trudy, 1965-1966, undated
2
27
Graham, Susan, 1971, undated
2
28
Griffin, Howard, 1956-1957, undated
2
29
Grinstein, Elyse, 1966-1968
2
30
G, 1948-1972, undated
2
31
Hadley, Leila, 1965, 1970-1972, undated
2
32
Halper, Ed, 1967-1969, undated
2
33
Hammond, Paul, 1968-1971
2
34
Hanson, Elizabeth, 1966-1968, undated
2
35
Hodes, Barnet, 1955-1957, 1971-1972, undated
2
36
Hussey, Howard, 1966-1972
2
37
H, 1945-1972, undated
(2 folders)
2
38-39
I, 1967, undated
2
40
Javitz, Ramona, 1946-1964
2
41
Jean, Marcel, 1958
2
42
Johnson, Ray and friends, 1966-1971, undated
(2 folders)
2
43-44
Judreik, Sonia, 1963-1964, undated
2
45
J, 1956-1972, undated
2
46
Kappel, Hubert and Anne, 1947, 1953, 1965-1972
2
47
Kent, Allegra, 1969, undated
2
48
Kesl, Leonard, 1969-1972, undated
(3 folders)
2
49-51
Kirschenbaum, Carol, 1962, undated
2
52
Kreger, Nancy, 1970-1972
2
53
K, 1954-1972, undated
(2 folders)
3
1-2
Le Clerq, Tanaquil, 1956-1959, 1969-1970, undated
3
3
Leve, Sandra and Harvey, 1967-1968, undated
3
4
Levy, Julien, 1953-1967, undated
3
5
Life Magazine (David Bourdon), 1967, undated
3
6
Lousada, Pat, 1963-1968, undated
3
7
Loy, Mina, 1942, 1950-1951, 1982, undated
3
8
L, 1952-1972, undated
(2 folders)
3
9-10
Matta, Roberto and Malitte ( See also Piero Dorazio dossier in Series 4), 1945-1966, undated
3
11
Merkel, Katherine, 1965, undated
3
12
Messer, Tom (Guggenheim Museum), 1966-1967, 1970, undated
3
13
Monnier, Jackie, 1967-1970, undated
3
14
Moore, Lillian, 1955-1962, undated
3
15
Moore, Marianne, 1944, 1959, undated
3
16
Motherwell, Robert, 1946-1972, undated
3
17
Murray Avenue School, 4th Grade Class, 1967
3
18
M, 1951-1972, undated
(3 folders)
3
19-21
N.W. Ayer and Son, 1951
3
22
Namuth, Hans, 1968-1972, undated
3
23
Neumann, J.B., 1946-1947
3
24
New York Institute for the Education of the Blind, 1962, 1970-1971, undated
3
25
Nodturft, Pauline, 1964, undated
3
26
N, 1961-1972, undated
3
27
O'Doherty, Brian, 1967-1969, undated
3
28
O, 1909, circa 1938, 1965-1972, undated
3
29
Page, Geraldine, 1959-1961, undated
3
30
P, 1927, 1947-1971, undated
3
31
Reigel, Anne, 1968-1969, undated
3
32
Richter, Hans, 1960-1961
3
33
Rose, Isadora, 1962-1963, undated
3
34
Rothko, Mark and family, 1957-1959, undated
3
35
R, 1948-1972, undated
(2 folders)
3
36-37
Saint, Eva Marie, 1964-1972, undated
3
38
Schneeman, Carolee, 1964-1965
3
39
Schoelkopf, Robert, 1960-1968, undated
3
40
Schutte, Terry, 1965-1969, undated
3
41
Sekula, Sonia, 1944-1951, undated
3
42
Serbanne, Claude, 1945-1946, undated
3
43
Shainberg, Lawrence, 1970, undated
3
44
Siskind, Aaron, 1951, 1972, undated
3
45
Sitney, P. Adams, 1963, undated
3
46
Smillie, Gwen Van Dam, 1955-1972, undated
3
47
Smith, Lois and Moon, 1957-1971, undated
3
48
Somers, Barbara, 1965-1970, undated
3
49
S, 1945-1973, undated
(3 folders)
3
50-52
Tandy, Jessica, 1947-1949, undated
3
53
Tanning, Dorothea, 1945-1965, undated
3
54
Tchelitchew, Pavel, 1940-1943, 1955, 1964, undated
3
55
Thode, Elizabeth (New York Institute for the Education of the Blind), 1960-1972
3
56
Thoeren, Manina, 1951, undated
3
57
Toumanova, Tamara, 1941-1945, 1967, undated
4
1
Tyler, Parker, 1939-1955, 1967, undated
4
2
T, 1933-1960, undated
4
3
U, undated
4
4
Victor, Joan Berg and Daniel, 1964-1972, undated
4
5
V, 1934-1971, undated
4
6
Wade, Jane, 1959-1972, undated
4
7
Waldman, Diane (Guggenheim Museum) and Paul, 1967, undated
4
8
Whitney Museum of American Art, 1962-1963, 1966
4
9
Windham, Donald, 1946-1970, undated
4
10
Winter, Marian Hannah, 1948-1952
4
11
W, 1934, 1951-1972, undated
(2 folders)
4
12-13
Young, Vivienne, 1966-1970
4
14
Z, 1963, undated
4
15
Unidentified Collage Letters, undated
4
16
Unidentified and Miscellaneous Letters, 1944-1971, undated
4
17
2.2: Family Correspondence, 1909-1977
DescriptionContainer
Batcheller, Sissy (to and from Cornell), 1963-1970, undated
4
18
Benton, Betty Cornell (to and from Cornell), 1948-1972, undated
4
19
Benton, Betty Cornell (to and from other family members), 1919-1925, undated
4
20
Cornell, Helen S. (to and from Cornell), circa 1920, 1953, 1963-1967, undated
4
21
Cornell, Joseph I. (to and from other family members), 1909, 1916
4
22
Cornell, Robert (to Nell and Jack Benton), 1921-1965, undated
(16 folders)
4
23-38
Cornell, Robert (to Nell and Jack Benton), Postcards, 1934-1958
(2 folders)
4
39-40
Cornell, Robert (to Nell and Jack Benton), Greeting Cards, 1942-1965, undated
(2 folders)
4
41-42
Cornell, Robert (to Nell and Jack Benton), Greeting Cards, 1942-1965, undated
(4 folders)
5
1-4
Cornell, Robert (to Helen S. Cornell), Greeting Cards, 1961, undated
5
5
Cornell, Robert (to Helen, Archie, and Sissy Jagger), 1935-1941, 1958
5
6
Cornell, Robert (to Emma Storms), 1920-1925, undated
5
7
Hand, Ray (to Cornell), 1966, undated
5
8
Jagger, Helen (to and from Cornell), 1960-1971, undated
(3 folders)
5
9-11
McMonegal family (to Cornell), 1945-1971, 1977, undated
5
12
Plitt, Jean (to and from Cornell), 1946-1971, undated
5
13
Sayres, Grace (to other family members), 1950-1971, undated
(4 folders)
5
14-17
Storms, Ethel (to Cornell), undated
5
18
Traphagen, Janet (to Cornell and his mother), 1965-1966, undated
5
19
2.3: Greeting Cards, 1956-1972
DescriptionContainer
A, 1968-1971, undated
5
20
B, 1962-1972, undated
(4 folders)
5
21-24
C, 1960-1972, undated
5
25
D, 1957-1970, undated
5
26
E, 1956-1971, undated
5
27
F, 1968-1969, undated
5
28
G, 1968-1970, undated
5
29
H, 1966-1970, undated
5
30
I-J, 1965-1969, undated
5
31
K-L, 1960-1970, undated
5
32
M, 1957-1971, undated
5
33
N-O, 1969-1970
5
34
P, 1960-1972, undated
5
35
R, 1962, undated
5
36
S, 1956-1971, undated
5
37
T, 1966-1972, undated
5
38
U, 1957-1972, undated
5
39
W, 1962-1972, undated
5
40
Unidentified and Miscellaneous, 1966-1969, undated
5
41
Unsent Cards, 1968-1970, undated
5
42

2.1: General Correspondence , 1909-1982

Subseries consists of correspondence between Cornell and friends, artists, dealers, collectors, galleries, museums, admirers, individuals whom he admired or with whom he was especially preoccupied, "helpers," and charitable institutions. Included are letters (in some instances, with photographs or poems enclosed), postcards, and greeting cards, as well as some art work, three-dimensional objects, and artifacts. Also included are some notes and printed material, such as newspaper and magazine clippings, pamphlets, brochures, publications, and publicity material, pertaining to individuals, institutions, and/or topics in which Cornell had a particular interest.
Correspondence documents some of Cornell's activities involved in creating his art work, such as his practice of using multiple copies of a single image in many of his works (as in a letter from John Allen referring to Cornell's order for multiple prints of a Loie Fuller image); his early attempts to advertise his art work (as in letters from the Blaker Advertising Agency, Columbia Records, Inc., and N. W. Ayer and Son); and his later, oftentimes hesitant, transactions with galleries and dealers, including Irving Blum, Charles Egan, Richard Feigen, Julien Levy, Robert Schoelkopf, and Eleanor Ward ( See also Series 1). Correspondence relates to the sale of his art work to galleries and individual collectors, and the exhibition of his art work in museums, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum ( See Diane Waldman and Tom Messer), Pasadena Art Museum, and Whitney Museum ( See also John Baur).
The positive reception of Cornell's art work is documented in many letters from admirers (including poet, Paul Carroll, who wrote two poems about Cornell's art work, the Fourth Grade Class at Murray Avenue School, actress, Eva Marie Saint, and author, Glenway Wescott, among others). The critical reception of Cornell's art work is documented in the many letters from people who have written or express interest in writing an article about Cornell (including Howard Griffin from Art News, David Bourdon from Life magazine, and Brian O'Doherty, author of American Masters: The Voice and the Myth, among others).
Correspondence also concerns some of Cornell's major "explorations," including ones on the singers, Maria Malibran and Giuditta Pasta (as in letters from the English scholar, Richard Coe), and the ballerina, Fanny Cerrito (as in letters from Lillian Moore). Correspondence relates to his other research and collecting activities and includes numerous letters responding to his requests for information and/or material from institutions, such as the Harvard College Library, dealers, such as C. and I. K. Fletcher, and individuals, such as Marian Hannah Winter.
Correspondence documents Cornell's preoccupations with certain dancers (such as Allegra Kent, Tanaquil LeClerq, and Tamara Toumanova), actresses (such as Lois Smith), artists (Lee Bontecou), and other young women; his relationships with other artists, both young and established, including Piero Dorazio, Ray Johnson, Hubert Kappel, Roberto Matta Echauren, Dorothea Tanning, and Pavel Tchelitchew, among others; and his friendships and shared interests with individuals, such as Wayne Andrews, Charles Henri Ford, Parker Tyler, Donald Windham, and Marian Hannah Winter (their letters often entailing an exchange of ideas on topics such as literature, music, dance, art, and the pleasures of collecting). Correspondence also documents his generosity (in terms of gift giving) toward his friends (and their children) and individuals whom he admired (as in letters and notes of thanks for gifts of art work from Valerie Adams, George Bennette, Lee Bontecou, Susan Sontag, Jessica Tandy, and Tamara Toumanova, among others); and his generosity toward institutions providing public services to the less fortunate (as in letters acknowledging and expressing gratitude for donations from the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind and the Bedside Network, among others).
General correspondence is arranged in files according to correspondent and then alphabetically according the surname of the individual or the name of the institution. Items are arranged in rough chronological order within each file. When only a few items (typically less than three) are associated with a correspondent, these are arranged into general alphabetical files. Unidentified and miscellaneous items are arranged into files at the end of the subseries.
Description Container
Adams, Valerie, 1942-1959
1
33
Andrews, Wayne and Lisa, 1947, 1965-1972, undated
1
34
Ashbery, John, 1967-1969
1
35
Ashton, Dore, 1972, undated
1
36
A, 1937, 1945, 1955-1972, undated
1
37
Baur, John ( See also Whitney Museum), 1964
1
38
Beckman, Julie, 1955-1970, undated
1
39
Bennette, George and family, 1953, 1971-1972
1
40
Bergman, Edwin, 1959, 1966
1
41
Blum, Irving (Ferus Gallery), 1959, 1965-1966
1
42
Bontecou, Lee, 1961-1964
1
43
Brandon, Baby (Mary Hopkins), 1957-1958
1
44
Brown, Harriet and Bob, 1964-1971, undated
1
45
Brown, Jo, 1953-1954
1
46
Bruno, Phillip (Staempfli Gallery), 1964-1965
1
47
Burckhardt, Rudy, 1952-1968, undated
1
48
B, 1946-1972, undated
(3 folders)
1
49-51
Campbell, Sandy, 1948, 1956-1965, undated
1
52
Carrithers, Dorcas, 1967, 1970, undated
1
53
Cleveland Museum of Art, 1966, 1968
1
54
Couch, Lucile, 1967-1969, 1972
1
55
Coulter, Dorothy, 1962-1969
1
56
C, 1925, 1949-1972, undated
(4 folders)
2
1-4
De Maria, Susanne, 1963-1973, undated
(2 folders)
2
5-6
De Maria, Walter, 1967-1968
2
7
Delarue, Allison ( See also Series 9), 1943-1968, undated
2
8
Dorazio, Piero and Virginia ( See also Series 4), 1953-1970, undated
2
9
Duchamp, Marcel and Teeny, 1955-1968, undated
2
10
D, 1943-1970, undated
2
11
Eastman, Lee and family, 1962, undated
2
12
Egan, Charles, 1950-1951, 1963
2
13
Ehrich, Jo Ann, 1969-1970, undated
2
14
Ekstrom, Arnett and Parmenia, 1964-1965
2
15
Engdahl, Leonore, 1966, 1970-1971
2
16
E, 1949-1970, undated
2
17
Feigen, Richard, 1959-1969, undated
2
18
Fine, A.M., 1970
2
19
Ford, Charles Henri, 1939-1970, undated
2
20
Ford, Ruth, 1969-1972, undated
2
21
Fried, Rose, 1962-1965
2
22
F, 1955-1970, undated
2
23
Gablik, Suzi, 1961, 1963
2
24
Gagner, Robert, 1967-1968
2
25
Garson, Inez, 1968-1970
2
26
Goodman, Trudy, 1965-1966, undated
2
27
Graham, Susan, 1971, undated
2
28
Griffin, Howard, 1956-1957, undated
2
29
Grinstein, Elyse, 1966-1968
2
30
G, 1948-1972, undated
2
31
Hadley, Leila, 1965, 1970-1972, undated
2
32
Halper, Ed, 1967-1969, undated
2
33
Hammond, Paul, 1968-1971
2
34
Hanson, Elizabeth, 1966-1968, undated
2
35
Hodes, Barnet, 1955-1957, 1971-1972, undated
2
36
Hussey, Howard, 1966-1972
2
37
H, 1945-1972, undated
(2 folders)
2
38-39
I, 1967, undated
2
40
Javitz, Ramona, 1946-1964
2
41
Jean, Marcel, 1958
2
42
Johnson, Ray and friends, 1966-1971, undated
(2 folders)
2
43-44
Judreik, Sonia, 1963-1964, undated
2
45
J, 1956-1972, undated
2
46
Kappel, Hubert and Anne, 1947, 1953, 1965-1972
2
47
Kent, Allegra, 1969, undated
2
48
Kesl, Leonard, 1969-1972, undated
(3 folders)
2
49-51
Kirschenbaum, Carol, 1962, undated
2
52
Kreger, Nancy, 1970-1972
2
53
K, 1954-1972, undated
(2 folders)
3
1-2
Le Clerq, Tanaquil, 1956-1959, 1969-1970, undated
3
3
Leve, Sandra and Harvey, 1967-1968, undated
3
4
Levy, Julien, 1953-1967, undated
3
5
Life Magazine (David Bourdon), 1967, undated
3
6
Lousada, Pat, 1963-1968, undated
3
7
Loy, Mina, 1942, 1950-1951, 1982, undated
3
8
L, 1952-1972, undated
(2 folders)
3
9-10
Matta, Roberto and Malitte ( See also Piero Dorazio dossier in Series 4), 1945-1966, undated
3
11
Merkel, Katherine, 1965, undated
3
12
Messer, Tom (Guggenheim Museum), 1966-1967, 1970, undated
3
13
Monnier, Jackie, 1967-1970, undated
3
14
Moore, Lillian, 1955-1962, undated
3
15
Moore, Marianne, 1944, 1959, undated
3
16
Motherwell, Robert, 1946-1972, undated
3
17
Murray Avenue School, 4th Grade Class, 1967
3
18
M, 1951-1972, undated
(3 folders)
3
19-21
N.W. Ayer and Son, 1951
3
22
Namuth, Hans, 1968-1972, undated
3
23
Neumann, J.B., 1946-1947
3
24
New York Institute for the Education of the Blind, 1962, 1970-1971, undated
3
25
Nodturft, Pauline, 1964, undated
3
26
N, 1961-1972, undated
3
27
O'Doherty, Brian, 1967-1969, undated
3
28
O, 1909, circa 1938, 1965-1972, undated
3
29
Page, Geraldine, 1959-1961, undated
3
30
P, 1927, 1947-1971, undated
3
31
Reigel, Anne, 1968-1969, undated
3
32
Richter, Hans, 1960-1961
3
33
Rose, Isadora, 1962-1963, undated
3
34
Rothko, Mark and family, 1957-1959, undated
3
35
R, 1948-1972, undated
(2 folders)
3
36-37
Saint, Eva Marie, 1964-1972, undated
3
38
Schneeman, Carolee, 1964-1965
3
39
Schoelkopf, Robert, 1960-1968, undated
3
40
Schutte, Terry, 1965-1969, undated
3
41
Sekula, Sonia, 1944-1951, undated
3
42
Serbanne, Claude, 1945-1946, undated
3
43
Shainberg, Lawrence, 1970, undated
3
44
Siskind, Aaron, 1951, 1972, undated
3
45
Sitney, P. Adams, 1963, undated
3
46
Smillie, Gwen Van Dam, 1955-1972, undated
3
47
Smith, Lois and Moon, 1957-1971, undated
3
48
Somers, Barbara, 1965-1970, undated
3
49
S, 1945-1973, undated
(3 folders)
3
50-52
Tandy, Jessica, 1947-1949, undated
3
53
Tanning, Dorothea, 1945-1965, undated
3
54
Tchelitchew, Pavel, 1940-1943, 1955, 1964, undated
3
55
Thode, Elizabeth (New York Institute for the Education of the Blind), 1960-1972
3
56
Thoeren, Manina, 1951, undated
3
57
Toumanova, Tamara, 1941-1945, 1967, undated
4
1
Tyler, Parker, 1939-1955, 1967, undated
4
2
T, 1933-1960, undated
4
3
U, undated
4
4
Victor, Joan Berg and Daniel, 1964-1972, undated
4
5
V, 1934-1971, undated
4
6
Wade, Jane, 1959-1972, undated
4
7
Waldman, Diane (Guggenheim Museum) and Paul, 1967, undated
4
8
Whitney Museum of American Art, 1962-1963, 1966
4
9
Windham, Donald, 1946-1970, undated
4
10
Winter, Marian Hannah, 1948-1952
4
11
W, 1934, 1951-1972, undated
(2 folders)
4
12-13
Young, Vivienne, 1966-1970
4
14
Z, 1963, undated
4
15
Unidentified Collage Letters, undated
4
16
Unidentified and Miscellaneous Letters, 1944-1971, undated
4
17

2.2: Family Correspondence , 1909-1977

Subseries consists of correspondence between Cornell and various members of his immediate family, including his mother, Helen S. Cornell, his sisters, Betty Cornell Benton (often addressed as Nell) and Helen Jagger, his nieces, Sissy (Jagger) Batcheller and Jean (Jagger) Plitt, and various cousins. Some printed material, primarily clippings sent to Cornell by his mother while she was living in Westhampton during her last years, can also be found. Subseries also consists of correspondence between and amongst other members of the family, including many of those listed above, as well as Cornell's brother, Robert (subseries includes only correspondence from him), his father, Joseph I. Cornell, and his cousins, Grace Sayres and Janet (Voorhis) Traphagen. Correspondence received by Robert Cornell can be found amongst his papers in Series 11.
Cornell's family correspondence documents his close and on-going relationships with his mother, sisters, and nieces; the large role that his family played in both his personal and creative life; the many interests he shared with his siblings, including art, literature, music, and Christian Science; and his collaborative work on collages with his sister, Betty. The one important family relationship not explicitly documented in the correspondence is Cornell's relationship with his brother, Robert. Since they lived together up until the month before Robert died, they did not exchange letters in a regular fashion. Some cards and notes between the two are scattered amongst Cornell's personal papers and diaries, as well as amongst Robert's papers. To a certain extent, Cornell's diary entries also document his relationship with his brother.
Family correspondence files are arranged alphabetically according to the surname of the correspondent. Items within the files are arranged in rough chronological order.
Description Container
Batcheller, Sissy (to and from Cornell), 1963-1970, undated
4
18
Benton, Betty Cornell (to and from Cornell), 1948-1972, undated
4
19
Benton, Betty Cornell (to and from other family members), 1919-1925, undated
4
20
Cornell, Helen S. (to and from Cornell), circa 1920, 1953, 1963-1967, undated
4
21
Cornell, Joseph I. (to and from other family members), 1909, 1916
4
22
Cornell, Robert (to Nell and Jack Benton), 1921-1965, undated
(16 folders)
4
23-38
Cornell, Robert (to Nell and Jack Benton), Postcards, 1934-1958
(2 folders)
4
39-40
Cornell, Robert (to Nell and Jack Benton), Greeting Cards, 1942-1965, undated
(2 folders)
4
41-42
Cornell, Robert (to Nell and Jack Benton), Greeting Cards, 1942-1965, undated
(4 folders)
5
1-4
Cornell, Robert (to Helen S. Cornell), Greeting Cards, 1961, undated
5
5
Cornell, Robert (to Helen, Archie, and Sissy Jagger), 1935-1941, 1958
5
6
Cornell, Robert (to Emma Storms), 1920-1925, undated
5
7
Hand, Ray (to Cornell), 1966, undated
5
8
Jagger, Helen (to and from Cornell), 1960-1971, undated
(3 folders)
5
9-11
McMonegal family (to Cornell), 1945-1971, 1977, undated
5
12
Plitt, Jean (to and from Cornell), 1946-1971, undated
5
13
Sayres, Grace (to other family members), 1950-1971, undated
(4 folders)
5
14-17
Storms, Ethel (to Cornell), undated
5
18
Traphagen, Janet (to Cornell and his mother), 1965-1966, undated
5
19

2.3: Greeting Cards , 1956-1972

Subseries consists of holiday and birthday greeting cards to Cornell from family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, as well as some greeting cards that were signed by Cornell but never sent.
Greeting cards are arranged in general alphabetical files according to correspondent. Unidentified, miscellaneous, and unsent cards are arranged in files at the end of the subseries.
Description Container
A, 1968-1971, undated
5
20
B, 1962-1972, undated
(4 folders)
5
21-24
C, 1960-1972, undated
5
25
D, 1957-1970, undated
5
26
E, 1956-1971, undated
5
27
F, 1968-1969, undated
5
28
G, 1968-1970, undated
5
29
H, 1966-1970, undated
5
30
I-J, 1965-1969, undated
5
31
K-L, 1960-1970, undated
5
32
M, 1957-1971, undated
5
33
N-O, 1969-1970
5
34
P, 1960-1972, undated
5
35
R, 1962, undated
5
36
S, 1956-1971, undated
5
37
T, 1966-1972, undated
5
38
U, 1957-1972, undated
5
39
W, 1962-1972, undated
5
40
Unidentified and Miscellaneous, 1966-1969, undated
5
41
Unsent Cards, 1968-1970, undated
5
42

Series 3: Diaries , 1941-1973
(boxes 6-10; 5 linear feet)

Series is comprised of Cornell's diaries, which are unconventional in form, consisting of entries, notes, and writings recorded on loose sheets and scraps of paper, as well as in the margins of newspapers, on the backs of used envelopes, on creased paper bags, napkins, labels, train tickets, library slips, blank telegram forms, calling cards, and parts of bakery boxes. Included are other items, such as TV Guide pages, dried leaves and flowers, cutouts, plastic and metal objects, and a part of a whisk broom, collected by Cornell presumably because they related, in one way or another, to what he was recording.
Diaries record Cornell's day-to-day experiences (sometimes in very minute detail), with allusions to: the books he read, the music he listened to, the films he watched, and the many "sparkings" he received from them; his various finds ("trouvailles") while hunting for material; his thoughts and practices relating to Christian Science; the meals and snacks he ate; the places he went and the sights he saw during his city wanderings; the evocations brought on by ordinary, everyday things; the tensions at home; the people who visited him; the "teeners," "fees," and other women who captured his imagination; his dreamings and awakenings; and his thoughts, feelings, impressions, and ideas during the course of a day.
Diaries also record and reflect on Cornell's various art projects, with references to particular box constructions, box series, collages, and films on which he is working, and to ideas and inspirations for new projects, as well as some commentary on his chosen mediums, the creative process, and the final products. They explore many of the themes that recur in Cornell's art work, including, among others, his fascination with actresses and ballerinas of the past and present, and his abiding appreciation of birds, the night sky, and nature. They also reflect on many of the ideas and concerns underlying his art work and other creative activities, such as his preoccupation with the past, his notions of "metaphysique d'ephemera" (the metaphysical aspects of ephemera) and "the beauty of the commonplace," and his concern to recapture past experiences in his art works and other projects.
Diaries record and reflect on Cornell's wide-ranging "explorations," ranging from GC 44 (with references to his initial experiences during the time he was working at the Garden Centre nursery, and to his subsequent and on-going attempts to recreate the flavor and atmosphere of those days) to Portrait of Ondine (with references to the early inspirations of discovering a portrait of Fanny Cerrito and of seeing a vision of her in a warehouse window, and to his later efforts to compile and create an "unauthorized biography" of the ballerina). They also refer to his many other creative activities, including various research and collecting ventures, such as regular browsing in secondhand book stalls and stores, visits to the library, accumulating material and compiling files on people and topics; and various publishing ventures, such as his contributions to Dance Index and View, and his self-publications, Maria and Bel Canto Pet. They comment on the act of keeping a diary, expressing many times over some of Cornell's deepest concerns about the necessity and difficulty of trying to capture experience "before it fades" and the discrepancy between the original experience and the "cataloguing" of it in writing.
Diaries document Cornell's on-going preoccupations with certain historical and cultural figures, such as the ballerinas, Marie Taglioni and Fanny Cerrito, the singers, Maria Malibran and Raquel Meller, various composers (from Mozart to Satie), the author, Gerard de Nerval, the artists, Delacroix and Vermeer, and various actresses of stage and screen (from Jeanne Eagels to Claire Bloom). Later diaries are taken up with Cornell's episodic preoccupations with various young women he encountered along Main Street (waitresses and shopgirls) or at home ("helpers," young artists, and friends).
Distinguishing between consistently dated material that was organized into chronological files and mostly undated material that was organized into bulk files, the Diaries series is arranged into two subseries:
  • 3.1: Diary Entries, 1941-1972
  • 3.2: Diary Notations, 1941-1973
This series has been scanned in entirety.
3.1: Diary Entries, 1941-1972
DescriptionContainer
1941-1944
6
1
1945
6
2
1946
6
3
1947
6
4
1948
6
5
1949
6
6
1950
6
7
January-May, 1951
6
8
June-September, 1951
6
9
October-December, 1951
6
10
January-February, 1952
6
11
March-April, 1952
6
12
May-June, 1952
6
13
July-August, 1952
6
14
September-October, 1952
6
15
November-December, 1952
6
16
January-February, 1953
6
17
March-April, 1953
6
18
May-June, 1953
6
19
July, 1953
6
20
August, 1953
6
21
September-October, 1953
6
22
November-December, 1953
6
23
January, 1954
6
24
February, 1954
6
25
March, 1954
6
26
April, 1954
6
27
May, 1954
6
28
June, 1954
6
29
July, 1954
6
30
August, 1954
6
31
September, 1954
6
32
October, 1954
6
33
November, 1954
6
34
December, 1954
6
35
January, 1955
6
36
February, 1955
6
37
March, 1955
6
38
April, 1955
6
39
May, 1955
6
40
June, 1955
6
41
July, 1955
6
42
August, 1955
6
43
September, 1955
6
44
October, 1955
6
45
November, 1955
6
46
December, 1955
6
47
January, 1956
6
48
February, 1956
6
49
March, 1956
6
50
April, 1956
6
51
May, 1956
6
52
June, 1956
6
53
July, 1956
6
54
August, 1956
6
55
September, 1956
6
56
October, 1956
6
57
November, 1956
6
58
December, 1956
6
59
January-February, 1957
7
1
March-April, 1957
7
2
May-June, 1957
7
3
July-August, 1957
7
4
September-October, 1957
7
5
November-December, 1957
7
6
January-February, 1958
7
7
March, 1958
7
8
April, 1958
7
9
May-June, 1958
7
10
July, 1958
7
11
August, 1958
7
12
September, 1958
7
13
October-November, 1958
7
14
December, 1958
7
15
January, 1959
7
16
February, 1959
7
17
March, 1959
7
18
April, 1959
7
19
May, 1959
7
20
June, 1959
7
21
July, 1959
7
22
August, 1959
7
23
September-October, 1959
7
24
November, 1959
7
25
December, 1959
7
26
January, 1960
7
27
February, 1960
7
28
March, 1960
7
29
April, 1960
7
30
May, 1960
7
31
June, 1960
7
32
July, 1960
7
33
August, 1960
7
34
September, 1960
7
35
October, 1960
7
36
November, 1960
7
37
December, 1960
7
38
January-February, 1961
7
39
March, 1961
7
40
April, 1961
7
41
May, 1961
7
42
June, 1961
7
43
July, 1961
7
44
August, 1961
7
45
September, 1961
7
46
October, 1961
7
47
November, 1961
7
48
December, 1961
7
49
January, 1962
7
50
February, 1962
7
51
March, 1962
7
52
April, 1962
7
53
May, 1962
7
54
June, 1962
7
55
July, 1962
7
56
August, 1962
7
57
September, 1962
7
58
October, 1962
7
59
November, 1962
7
60
December, 1962
7
61
January, 1963
8
1
February, 1963
8
2
March, 1963
8
3
April, 1963
8
4
May, 1963
8
5
June, 1963
8
6
July, 1963
8
7
August, 1963
8
8
September, 1963
8
9
October, 1963
8
10
November, 1963
8
11
December, 1963
8
12
January, 1964
8
13
February, 1964
8
14
March, 1964
8
15
April, 1964
8
16
May, 1964
8
17
June, 1964
8
18
July, 1964
8
19
August, 1964
8
20
September, 1964
8
21
October, 1964
8
22
November, 1964
8
23
December, 1964
8
24
January, 1965
8
25
February, 1965
8
26
March, 1965
8
27
April, 1965
8
28
May, 1965
8
29
June, 1965
8
30
July, 1965
8
31
August, 1965
8
32
September, 1965
8
33
October, 1965
8
34
November, 1965
8
35
December, 1965
8
36
January, 1966
8
37
February, 1966
8
38
March, 1966
8
39
April, 1966
8
40
May, 1966
8
41
June, 1966
8
42
July, 1966
8
43
August, 1966
8
44
September, 1966
8
45
October, 1966
8
46
November, 1966
8
47
December, 1966
8
48
January, 1967
8
49
February, 1967
8
50
March, 1967
8
51
April, 1967
8
52
May, 1967
8
53
June, 1967
8
54
July, 1967
8
55
August, 1967
8
56
September, 1967
8
57
October, 1967
(2 folders)
8
58-59
November, 1967
8
60
December, 1967
8
61
January, 1968
9
1
February, 1968
9
2
March, 1968
9
3
April, 1968
9
4
May, 1968
(2 folders)
9
5-6
June, 1968
(2 folders)
9
7-8
July, 1968
9
9
August, 1968
9
10
September, 1968
(2 folders)
9
11-12
October, 1968
(2 folders)
9
13-14
November, 1968
(2 folders)
9
15-16
December, 1968
9
17
January, 1969
(2 folders)
9
18-19
February, 1969
(2 folders)
9
20-21
March, 1969
9
22
April, 1969
9
23
May, 1969
9
24
June, 1969
9
25
July, 1969
9
26
August, 1969
(2 folders)
9
27-28
September, 1969
(2 folders)
9
29-30
October, 1969
9
31
November, 1969
(2 folders)
9
32-33
December, 1969
(2 folders)
9
34-35
January, 1970
9
36
February, 1970
9
37
March, 1970
9
38
April, 1970
9
39
May, 1970
9
40
June, 1970
9
41
July, 1970
9
42
August, 1970
9
43
September, 1970
(2 folders)
9
44-45
October, 1970
(2 folders)
9
46-47
November, 1970
9
48
December, 1970
9
49
January, 1971
(2 folders)
9
50-51
February, 1971
9
52
March, 1971
9
53
April, 1971
9
54
May, 1971
9
55
June, 1971
10
1
July, 1971
10
2
August, 1971
(2 folders)
10
3-4
September, 1971
(2 folders)
10
5-6
October, 1971
10
7
November, 1971
10
8
December, 1971
(2 folders)
10
9-10
January, 1972
(2 folders)
10
11-12
February, 1972
(2 folders)
10
13-14
March, 1972
10
15
April, 1972
10
16
May, 1972
10
17
June, 1972
10
18
July, 1972
10
19
August, 1972
10
20
September, 1972
10
21
October, 1972
(3 folders)
10
22-24
November, 1972
10
25
December, 1972
(2 folders)
10
26-27
3.2: Diary Notations, 1941-1973
DescriptionContainer
Notations, 1941-1972, undated
(13 folders)
10
28-40
Notes in Theme Tablet, 1969-1970
10
41
Betty Cornell Benton's Notes on the Diaries, 1973
10
42

3.1: Diary Entries , 1941-1972

Subseries consists of files of consistently dated entries, notes, writings, and other material. The files, which comprise the vast majority of the series, are arranged chronologically according to how Cornell likely accumulated, maintained, and used them. The bulk of the entries are hand-written, though typed entries are common during the period from the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s. The extent of the diaries, both in number and length of entries, increases with each year Cornell kept them. In the later diaries, it is not uncommon to find several entries for a given day.
The file descriptions below are meant to provide researchers with some sense of the contents of Cornell's diary entries, but are by no means exhaustive.
Description Container
1941-1944
6
1
1945
6
2
1946
6
3
1947
6
4
1948
6
5
1949
6
6
1950
6
7
January-May, 1951
6
8
June-September, 1951
6
9
October-December, 1951
6
10
January-February, 1952
6
11
March-April, 1952
6
12
May-June, 1952
6
13
July-August, 1952
6
14
September-October, 1952
6
15
November-December, 1952
6
16
January-February, 1953
6
17
March-April, 1953
6
18
May-June, 1953
6
19
July, 1953
6
20
August, 1953
6
21
September-October, 1953
6
22
November-December, 1953
6
23
January, 1954
6
24
February, 1954
6
25
March, 1954
6
26
April, 1954
6
27
May, 1954
6
28
June, 1954
6
29
July, 1954
6
30
August, 1954
6
31
September, 1954
6
32
October, 1954
6
33
November, 1954
6
34
December, 1954
6
35
January, 1955
6
36
February, 1955
6
37
March, 1955
6
38
April, 1955
6
39
May, 1955
6
40
June, 1955
6
41
July, 1955
6
42
August, 1955
6
43
September, 1955
6
44
October, 1955
6
45
November, 1955
6
46
December, 1955
6
47
January, 1956
6
48
February, 1956
6
49
March, 1956
6
50
April, 1956
6
51
May, 1956
6
52
June, 1956
6
53
July, 1956
6
54
August, 1956
6
55
September, 1956
6
56
October, 1956
6
57
November, 1956
6
58
December, 1956
6
59
January-February, 1957
7
1
March-April, 1957
7
2
May-June, 1957
7
3
July-August, 1957
7
4
September-October, 1957
7
5
November-December, 1957
7
6
January-February, 1958
7
7
March, 1958
7
8
April, 1958
7
9
May-June, 1958
7
10
July, 1958
7
11
August, 1958
7
12
September, 1958
7
13
October-November, 1958
7
14
December, 1958
7
15
January, 1959
7
16
February, 1959
7
17
March, 1959
7
18
April, 1959
7
19
May, 1959
7
20
June, 1959
7
21
July, 1959
7
22
August, 1959
7
23
September-October, 1959
7
24
November, 1959
7
25
December, 1959
7
26
January, 1960
7
27
February, 1960
7
28
March, 1960
7
29
April, 1960
7
30
May, 1960
7
31
June, 1960
7
32
July, 1960
7
33
August, 1960
7
34
September, 1960
7
35
October, 1960
7
36
November, 1960
7
37
December, 1960
7
38
January-February, 1961
7
39
March, 1961
7
40
April, 1961
7
41
May, 1961
7
42
June, 1961
7
43
July, 1961
7
44
August, 1961
7
45
September, 1961
7
46
October, 1961
7
47
November, 1961
7
48
December, 1961
7
49
January, 1962
7
50
February, 1962
7
51
March, 1962
7
52
April, 1962
7
53
May, 1962
7
54
June, 1962
7
55
July, 1962
7
56
August, 1962
7
57
September, 1962
7
58
October, 1962
7
59
November, 1962
7
60
December, 1962
7
61
January, 1963
8
1
February, 1963
8
2
March, 1963
8
3
April, 1963
8
4
May, 1963
8
5
June, 1963
8
6
July, 1963
8
7
August, 1963
8
8
September, 1963
8
9
October, 1963
8
10
November, 1963
8
11
December, 1963
8
12
January, 1964
8
13
February, 1964
8
14
March, 1964
8
15
April, 1964
8
16
May, 1964
8
17
June, 1964
8
18
July, 1964
8
19
August, 1964
8
20
September, 1964
8
21
October, 1964
8
22
November, 1964
8
23
December, 1964
8
24
January, 1965
8
25
February, 1965
8
26
March, 1965
8
27
April, 1965
8
28
May, 1965
8
29
June, 1965
8
30
July, 1965
8
31
August, 1965
8
32
September, 1965
8
33
October, 1965
8
34
November, 1965
8
35
December, 1965
8
36
January, 1966
8
37
February, 1966
8
38
March, 1966
8
39
April, 1966
8
40
May, 1966
8
41
June, 1966
8
42
July, 1966
8
43
August, 1966
8
44
September, 1966
8
45
October, 1966
8
46
November, 1966
8
47
December, 1966
8
48
January, 1967
8
49
February, 1967
8
50
March, 1967
8
51
April, 1967
8
52
May, 1967
8
53
June, 1967
8
54
July, 1967
8
55
August, 1967
8
56
September, 1967
8
57
October, 1967
(2 folders)
8
58-59
November, 1967
8
60
December, 1967
8
61
January, 1968
9
1
February, 1968
9
2
March, 1968
9
3
April, 1968
9
4
May, 1968
(2 folders)
9
5-6
June, 1968
(2 folders)
9
7-8
July, 1968
9
9
August, 1968
9
10
September, 1968
(2 folders)
9
11-12
October, 1968
(2 folders)
9
13-14
November, 1968
(2 folders)
9
15-16
December, 1968
9
17
January, 1969
(2 folders)
9
18-19
February, 1969
(2 folders)
9
20-21
March, 1969
9
22
April, 1969
9
23
May, 1969
9
24
June, 1969
9
25
July, 1969
9
26
August, 1969
(2 folders)
9
27-28
September, 1969
(2 folders)
9
29-30
October, 1969
9
31
November, 1969
(2 folders)
9
32-33
December, 1969
(2 folders)
9
34-35
January, 1970
9
36
February, 1970
9
37
March, 1970
9
38
April, 1970
9
39
May, 1970
9
40
June, 1970
9
41
July, 1970
9
42
August, 1970
9
43
September, 1970
(2 folders)
9
44-45
October, 1970
(2 folders)
9
46-47
November, 1970
9
48
December, 1970
9
49
January, 1971
(2 folders)
9
50-51
February, 1971
9
52
March, 1971
9
53
April, 1971
9
54
May, 1971
9
55
June, 1971
10
1
July, 1971
10
2
August, 1971
(2 folders)
10
3-4
September, 1971
(2 folders)
10
5-6
October, 1971
10
7
November, 1971
10
8
December, 1971
(2 folders)
10
9-10
January, 1972
(2 folders)
10
11-12
February, 1972
(2 folders)
10
13-14
March, 1972
10
15
April, 1972
10
16
May, 1972
10
17
June, 1972
10
18
July, 1972
10
19
August, 1972
10
20
September, 1972
10
21
October, 1972
(3 folders)
10
22-24
November, 1972
10
25
December, 1972
(2 folders)
10
26-27

3.2: Diary Notations , 1941-1973

Subseries consists of files of mostly undated notes, writings, and other material. The material in these files was most likely created at the same time and in the same way as the more formal diary entries. However, over time, this material came to be maintained separately in bulk files due to the lack of dates or consistent dating. Also included are a notebook, in which Cornell jotted down some notes, and some of Betty Cornell Benton's notes about the diaries, written while she was preparing Cornell's papers for donation.
Description Container
Notations, 1941-1972, undated
(13 folders)
10
28-40
Notes in Theme Tablet, 1969-1970
10
41
Betty Cornell Benton's Notes on the Diaries, 1973
10
42

Series 4: Source Material , 1804-1972
(boxes 11-18, 25-28, OV 29; 8.5 linear feet)

Series consists of Cornell's two-dimensional and textual source material and is largely comprised of files of clippings, notes, writings, stats, cutouts, and other printed material, stemming from his various artistic, research, writing, collecting, and collating activities. Some files are devoted to people and topics. Other files relate to specific art works, publishing projects, and exhibitions, as well as to his "explorations" in dance, music, art, science, and nature, among other topics, and his more personal "explorations" based on particular experiences and dreams. His typical practice involved accumulating massive amounts of material and information, which he would then collate into files, portfolios, or albums, continually adding to and refining them. Cornell seems to have used his source material as both raw material and inspiration for various creations, ranging from boxes and collages to design layouts for magazines and announcements for exhibitions of his work.
Source material sheds light on Cornell's preoccupations with certain people, events, subjects, and motifs. It documents his work on certain art works, publishing ventures, and exhibition catalogues, as well as the evolution of some of his major "explorations" from original experience or idea to the completion of one or more art works, and the various stages of other "explorations" that may or may not have resulted in a finished product. Source material also documents the influence of his preoccupations and "explorations" on his various artistic and commercial projects, as well as some of the major themes that recur in his art work. Source material reflects Cornell's efforts to gain access to the past and bring it into the present; his wide-ranging interests and the linkages he found between seemingly unrelated ideas and things; his real and imaginary relationships with historical and contemporary figures (such as artists and ballerinas); his abiding interest in the symbolism of images and objects; and the interconnectedness of his many artistic and creative endeavors.
The bulk of Cornell's source material, especially three-dimensional and non-textual material, can be found in the Joseph Cornell Study Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum, along with his library and record collection. Related material can also be found in Series 5: Ephemera and Artifacts.
In the source material found amongst Cornell's papers, a distinction can be made between his files on people and topics, as well as between the files and portfolios. While he variously referred to his files as "dossiers," "compilations," "source files" "portfolios," and "albums" (among other terms), he seems to have primarily used the term "dossier" to refer to his files on people and the term "source files" more generally; in addition, his use of the term "portfolio" seems to refer more particularly to the material maintained in portfolio cases. Distinguishing between the different types of files and material while retaining some of Cornell's own terminology, the Source Material series is arranged into three subseries:
  • 4.1: Dossiers, 1941-1971
  • 4.2: Portfolios, 1831-1957
  • 4.3: Subject Source Files, 1804-1972
The bulk of this series has been digitized with the exception of books, magazines and exhibition catalogs for artists other than Cornell; typically only covers, title pages, and/or relevant pages of these items have been digitized.
4.1: Dossiers, 1941-1971
DescriptionContainer
Andersen, Hans Christian, 1954-1955, undated
11
1
Bloom, Claire, 1951-1968, undated
11
2
Bontecou, Lee, 1955-1971, undated
(4 folders)
11
3-6
[Bontecou], Nathalie, 1962, undated
11
7
Collins, Joan, 1958-1964, n.d
11
8
Coulter, Dorothy, 1961, undated
11
9
Curtis, Tony and Christine (Kaufman), 1962-1970, undated
(2 folders)
11
10-11
Demongeot, Mylene, 1958-1960, undated
(2 folders)
11
12-13
Dorazio, Piero, 1951-1955, undated
11
14
Duke, Patty, 1962, 1967, undated
11
15
Duncan, Isadora, undated
11
16
Eagels, Jeanne, 1963, undated
11
17
Grisi, Giulia, [1956]
11
18
Heiss, Carol, 1960-1961
11
19
Jeanmarie, Renee "Zizi", 1949, undated
(3 folders)
11
20-22
Jones, Jennifer, 1945-1947, 1971, undated
11
23
Kusama, Yayoi, 1964-1971, undated
11
24
Lang, Pearl, 1957-1960, undated
11
25
Losch, Tilly, 1944, 1955-1958, undated
(2 folders)
11
26-27
Malibran, Maria ( See also Subseries 4.2), undated
(2 folders)
11
28-29
Mauri, Rosita, 1941-1948, undated
11
30
Moffo, Anna, 1965, undated
11
31
Motherwell, Robert, 1942-1953, undated
(3 folders)
11
32-34
Seitz, Dran and Tani, 1959-1961, undated
11
35
Sergava, Katharine, 1941-1947, undated
11
36
Swanson, Gloria, 1965, undated
11
37
Taglioni, Marie ( See also Subseries 4.2), 1954-1956, undated
11
38
Vermeer, Johannes, 1948-1960, undated
(2 folders)
11
39-40
Welch, Mary, 1954-1958, undated
11
41
4.2: Portfolios, 1831-1957
DescriptionContainer
"Ondine (Cerrito)" Portfolio, 1883, 1946-1956, undated
(2 folders, 1 item)
25 (sol)
1-2
"Romantic Ballet" Portfolio, 1831-1957, undated
(2 folders)
25 (sol)
3-4
"Romantic Ballet" Portfolio, 1831-1957, undated
(6 folders, 1 item)
26 (sol)
1-6
4.3: Subject Source Files, 1804-1972
DescriptionContainer
"1956 Scrapbook Miscellany,", 1944-1956
(See Box 27)
11
42
"A" [Allegra Kent] File, 1969, undated
11
43
Advertisements, Turn-of-the-Century, 1887-1902, undated
11
44
Album Pages, undated
11
45
"Allegory of Faith" (painting by Giovanni Battista da Bologna), 1969, undated
11
46
Ancient Art and Culture, undated
(2 folders)
11
47-48
Animal Engravings, undated
11
49
Animals, 1938-1960, undated
(3 folders)
11
50-52
"Animals in the News,", 1941-1954, undated
11
53
"Anna Dream" and "Andover Dream,", 1937-1972, undated
(3 folders)
12
1-3
Antiques, 1954-1967, n.d
(3 folders)
12
4-6
"April 30, 1961,", 1961, undated
12
7
Architectural Drawings (German Book), 1819
(See Box 27)
12
8
Architecture, undated
12
9
Art Book, 1953
(see Box 27)
12
10
Art Clippings, 1953-1970, undated
(2 folders)
12
11-12
Art Collage, 1935-1964, undated
(10 folders)
12
13-22
Astronomy, 1953-1958, undated
12
23
Aviary, 1946-1949, undated
12
24
Ballet - Modern, Miscellaneous, 1909-1947, undated
12
25
Ballet - Modern, Photographs, 1944-1945, undated
12
26
Ballet - Romantic, Miscellaneous, 1855-1948, undated
(2 folders)
12
27-28
Ballet - Romantic, Stats, undated
12
29
Bibliomania - 19th-century, 1804-1944, undated
(3 folders)
12
30-32
Bibliomania - 20th-century, 1839-1961, undated
(2 folders)
12
33-34
"The Bird with the Shoe-Button Eyes (for Gerard de Nerval),", 1932-1947, undated
12
35
Birds, 1958-1962, undated
(2 folders; see also Box 27)
12
36-37
"Bouteille" (Bottle) - "Pat Lewis,", 1959-1965, undated
12
38
Box Construction (part), undated
(See OV 29)
12
39
Box Construction Material, 1884-1972, undated
(3 folders)
12
40-42
Box Construction Material, 1884-1972, undated
(3 folders)
13
1-3
"Brocehet Caroline de Gunderode" (Bracelet of Caroline von Gunderode), 1954-1965, undated
(2 folders)
13
4-5
"The Bronze Statue,", circa 1963
13
6
Business Cards and Contact Information, undated
13
7
Butterflies, 1958-1962, undated
13
8
"The Caliph of Bagdad,", 1952-1967, undated
(3 folders)
13
9-11
Cameos, undated
13
12
"Cassiopeia,", 1958-1966, undated
(6 folders)
13
13-18
Cat Box, 1961-1963, undated
13
19
"Celestial Theater,", 1871, 1944-1958, undated
(5 folders)
13
20-24
Charity Seals, undated
13
25
"Chat Emaillere" (Enamel Cat), 1964, undated
13
26
Children Collage, 1949-1963, undated
(2 folders)
13
27-28
Children Cutouts, undated
13
29
Children's Correspondence, Class 5 St., Downtown Community School, 1971
(2 folders)
13
30-31
Children's Correspondence, Class 4-332, undated
13
32
Children's Correspondence, Public School 40, [1972]
(2 folders)
13
33-34
Children's Correspondence, Guest Book, 1972
13
35
Children's Illustrations, undated
13
36
Clippings, 1945-1971, n.d
(6 folders)
13
37-42
Clippings, 1945-1971, n.d
(1 folder)
14
1
Clorinda, 1960, undated
14
2
Clouds, undated
14
3
"Coffee Pot" and Memorabilia, 1966, undated
14
4
"Coffee Pot Schrafft's,", 1971, undated
14
5
Collage Material, 1968, undated
14
6
Container (partial box with lid), undated
(See Box 27)
14
7
Correspondence ( See also Series 2), 1943-1972, undated
14
8
"Corridor Store Front,", undated
14
9
Crafts and Industries, 1876-1945, undated
(4 folders)
14
10-13
"Crocus Castle,", 1962-1969, undated
14
14
Dance Publications, 1929-1948
(2 folders)
14
15-16
"Deer Nymph" (Dame Laura Knight), 1963-1970, undated
14
17
Doodlings, 1961-1972, undated
14
18
Drapery, undated
(2 folders)
14
19-20
Dutch and Flemish Art, 1924-1941, undated
(2 folders)
14
21-22
Early Boxes, 1955-1958, undated
(3 folders)
14
23-25
"Earth Before the Flood" Box, undated
14
26
Envelope Fragments, 1963, undated
14
27
Excerpts (from the writings of others), 1950-1956, undated
14
28
Exhibition, "Medici Penny Arcade Machine" ("Objects by Joseph Cornell"), 1948, undated
14
29
Exhibition, "Night Voyage,", 1952-1953, undated
14
30
Exhibition, "Romantic Museum at the Hugo Gallery: Portraits of Women,", 1949-1954, undated
(2 folders)
14
31-32
Fairies, 1963-1965
14
33
"Falling Star,", 1964-1969, undated
14
34
"Famagouste,", 1972, undated
14
35
Fashion, circa 1960s
14
36
"Fee aux Lapins,", 1958-1959, undated
(2 folders)
14
37-38
Figureheads, undated
14
39
Film Clippings, 1906-1946, undated
14
40
Film Printed Material, 1944-1968, undated
14
41
Films, 1957-1970, undated
14
42
Flair Magazine, 1950
14
43
Food, 1963, undated
14
44
"GC 44," Writings and Notes, 1944-1961, undated
(9 folders)
14
45-53
"GC 44," Writings and Notes, 1944-1961, undated
(4 folders)
15
1-4
"GC 44," Scrapbook Pages, 1944-1949, undated
15
5
"GC 44," Clippings, 1940-1959, undated
(15 folders)
15
6-20
Gitta, 1961-1962
15
21
Goya, 1928, undated
15
22
"The Grasshopper,", 1970
15
23
Greeting Cards, 1968-1972
15
24
Gum Collage, undated
15
25
Hemingway, 1964
15
26
Heraldry, undated
15
27
History, 1953, undated
15
28
"Hotel Chariot d'Or,", 1963, undated
15
29
Hummingbirds, 1953, undated
15
30
Ink Blot Drawings, 1969-1971, undated
(2 folders)
15
31-32
Insects, 1958-1966, undated
15
33
Jewelry - 19th-century, 1885-1895, undated
15
34
Jewelry - 20th-century, 1963-1965, undated
15
35
Juan Gris (Boxes), 1950-1968, undated
(9 folders)
15
36-44
Kress Collection (National Gallery of Art), 1952-1963, undated
15
45
Lala, undated
15
46
Laundresses Collage, 1965, undated
15
47
Lilliputian Opera, 1906, undated
15
48
Literature, 1948-1954, undated
15
49
"La Malaga,", undated
15
50
Maps, 1956, undated
15
51
Marine Life, 1960-1963, undated
15
52
Match Box Project, undated
15
53
Mathematics, 1958-1970, undated
(1 folder)
15
54
Mathematics, 1958-1970, undated
(1 folder)
16
1
Medici Prince, undated
16
2
"Morning," "Noon," "Evening," and "Night,", undated
16
3
Mozart, 1951-1956, undated
16
4
Museum Bottles Material, 1942-1954, undated
16
5
Music, 1953, undated
(2 folders)
16
6-7
Music, Italian Songbooks, 1962
16
8
Music, Liner Notes, 1961
(see Box 27)
16
9
Music, Opera Librettos, circa 1920s
16
10
New York, circa 1960s
16
11
Newspaper Clippings, 1956-1967, undated
16
12
"Nostalgia of the Sea,", 1943-1955, undated
(3 folders)
16
13-15
Notes and Writings, 1941-1972, undated
(11 folders)
16
16-26
Notes on Making Boxes, 1957-1962, undated
(2 folders)
16
27-28
Nudes, 1964, undated
16
29
"Offering" and Other Dream Writings, 1960-1964, undated
16
30
Office Supplies and Furniture, undated
16
31
Old Masters (art reproductions), undated
16
32
Old Silks, undated
16
33
Ostend, undated
16
34
Paperweights, 1965
16
35
Parrot Box with Spools, undated
16
36
"The Peppermint Stick Monkey" (Homage to the Romantic Ballet), 1945, undated
16
37
Photographs, Miscellaneous ( See also Series 6), 1964-1969, undated
16
38
Photographs, Reproduction of "La Chanteuse Verte" by Edgar Degas, 1964-1969, undated
16
39
Photography, 1953-1965, undated
16
40
Picasso, 1971
16
41
Pitt Magazine, 1967-1969
16
42
Planets, undated
16
43
Poetry and Poets, 1949-1956, undated
16
44
Poles, undated
16
45
"Portrait of Ondine (Fanny Cerrito)" ( See also Subseries 4.2), 1952-1961, undated
(2 folders)
16
46-47
"Portrait of Ondine (Fanny Cerrito)," Reproduction of Portrait by Josef Kriehuber, undated
16
48
"La Poupee,", 1958-1963, undated
16
49
Printed Material and Notes, Miscellaneous, 1848, 1944-1972, undated
(15 folders)
17
1-15
Privacy, 1957
17
16
Publishing Project, "Americana,", 1872-1952, undated
(3 folders)
17
17-19
Publishing Project, "Clowns, Elephants, and Ballerinas,", 1812-circa 1859, 1946, undated
(See Box 28)
17
20
Publishing Project, "The Crystal Cage [portrait of Berenice]" ( See also Towers), 1942-1945, undated
(2 folders)
17
21-22
Publishing Projects, Dance Index, 1946, undated
17
23
Publishing Project, "Women Painters,", 1855, 1948-1953, undated
17
24
Publishing Project, "Women Painters," Subjects, 1851, 1949-1961, undated
(2 folders)
17
25-26
Rabbit Collage, 1954-1963, undated
17
27
Mlle. Raisin, 1957, undated
17
28
Rossiniana, 1867-1954, undated
(2 folders)
17
29-30
Science, 1953-1967, undated
(2 folders)
17
31-32
Script, "The Holy Ghost" by Allan Codd, 1970
(not scanned)
17
33
Sewing, 1970, undated
18
1
"The Stag,", 1961-1966, undated
18
2
Stamps, 1863-1871, 1952-1965, undated
18
3
Stats (photostats), undated
(2 folders)
18
4-5
Statues, 1942-1964, undated
(2 folders)
18
6-7
Sunsets, 1959-1968, undated
(2 folders)
18
8-9
"Tina" Collage, 1965, undated
18
10
Towers ("The Crystal Cage [portrait of Berenice]"), undated
18
11
Uccello, undated
18
12
Van Eyck Altarpiece, 1949
18
13
Varia, 1947-1964, undated
(2 folders)
18
14-15
"War Plant 1943,", 1943, undated
(3 folders)
18
16-18
"Westhampton 1952-1953,", 1953-1969, undated
18
19
Oversized, "1956 Scrapbook Miscellany,", 1944-1956, undated
(See Box 11, F42)
27 (sol)
Oversized, Architectural Drawings (German Book), 1819
(See Box 12, F8)
27 (sol)
Oversized, Art Book, 1953
(see Box 12, F10)
27 (sol)
Oversized, Birds (engraving), undated
(See Box 12, F36-37)
27 (sol)
Oversized, Container (partial box with lid), undated
(See Box 14, F7)
27 (sol)
Oversized, Music, Liner Notes, 1961, undated
(see Box 16, F9)
27 (sol)
Oversized, Publishing Project, "Clowns, Elephants, and Ballerinas,", 1812-circa 1859, 1946, undated
(3 folders; see Box 12, F20)
28 (sol)
Oversized, Box Construction (part), undated
(See Box 12, F39)
OV 29

4.1: Dossiers , 1941-1971

Subseries is comprised of Cornell's files ("dossiers") on people, including those in whom he had a particular interest and those with whom he identified or felt some sort of connection, whether real or imagined. People typically include historical and contemporary dancers (especially ballerinas), stage and film actresses, singers, artists, and writers. Dossiers are devoted to a particular individual and consist primarily of notes, writings, book and typed excerpts, prints, stats, clippings, correspondence, art work, and printed material.
Dossiers generally relate to Cornell's "explorations" in ballet, music, art, literature, film, and theater, and to his particular preoccupations with ballerinas and opera singers from the Romantic era (including Marie Taglioni and Maria Malibran, respectively), with contemporary ballerinas and singers (including Renee "Zizi" Jeanmarie and Anna Moffo, respectively), with stage and film actresses (including Claire Bloom, Patty Duke, Jeanne Eagels, and Jennifer Jones), and with the work of other artists (including Johannes Vermeer) and writers. Dossiers document the development of these and other preoccupations, which typically began with some sort of encounter (such as seeing Duke perform in the play, Isle of Children, reading about Taglioni's performance in the ballet, La Sylphide, or coming across a reproduction of a Vermeer painting in a book or on a postcard) and came to involve extensive contemplation and writing. Dossiers also relate to certain art works and other creative projects arising from these particular "explorations" and preoccupations, including the various boxes and collages he made in tribute to Duke, Jeanmarie, Tilly Losch, and others, his self-publications ( Maria and Bel Canto Pet) dedicated to the opera singers, Malibran and Grisi, and the planned brochure ( La Retour de la Sylphide) dedicated to the ballerina, Taglioni.
Dossiers document his personal contact with certain individuals with whom he was preoccupied (such as meeting Jeanmarie in her dressing room after a show and getting her autograph), and his imaginary involvement with others (such as the connection he felt with Bloom after discovering that, as a young girl, she had lived with her family in Forest Hills, New York during the same time period that he was working nearby). Dossiers also concern his relationships with other artists, including Lee Bontecou, Dorothy Coulter, Piero Dorazio, Yayoi Kusama, Tilly Losch (who was primarily known as a dancer and actress), and Robert Motherwell, as well as his relationship with the actor, Tony Curtis and his wife, Christine Kaufman. Many of these relationships are also documented in Cornell's correspondence.
Files are arranged alphabetically according to the individual's surname.
Description Container
Andersen, Hans Christian, 1954-1955, undated
11
1
Bloom, Claire, 1951-1968, undated
11
2
Bontecou, Lee, 1955-1971, undated
(4 folders)
11
3-6
[Bontecou], Nathalie, 1962, undated
11
7
Collins, Joan, 1958-1964, n.d
11
8
Coulter, Dorothy, 1961, undated
11
9
Curtis, Tony and Christine (Kaufman), 1962-1970, undated
(2 folders)
11
10-11
Demongeot, Mylene, 1958-1960, undated
(2 folders)
11
12-13
Dorazio, Piero, 1951-1955, undated
11
14
Duke, Patty, 1962, 1967, undated
11
15
Duncan, Isadora, undated
11
16
Eagels, Jeanne, 1963, undated
11
17
Grisi, Giulia, [1956]
11
18
Heiss, Carol, 1960-1961
11
19
Jeanmarie, Renee "Zizi", 1949, undated
(3 folders)
11
20-22
Jones, Jennifer, 1945-1947, 1971, undated
11
23
Kusama, Yayoi, 1964-1971, undated
11
24
Lang, Pearl, 1957-1960, undated
11
25
Losch, Tilly, 1944, 1955-1958, undated
(2 folders)
11
26-27
Malibran, Maria ( See also Subseries 4.2), undated
(2 folders)
11
28-29
Mauri, Rosita, 1941-1948, undated
11
30
Moffo, Anna, 1965, undated
11
31
Motherwell, Robert, 1942-1953, undated
(3 folders)
11
32-34
Seitz, Dran and Tani, 1959-1961, undated
11
35
Sergava, Katharine, 1941-1947, undated
11
36
Swanson, Gloria, 1965, undated
11
37
Taglioni, Marie ( See also Subseries 4.2), 1954-1956, undated
11
38
Vermeer, Johannes, 1948-1960, undated
(2 folders)
11
39-40
Welch, Mary, 1954-1958, undated
11
41

4.2: Portfolios , 1831-1957

Subseries is comprised of portfolios devoted to two of Cornell's on-going "explorations," "Ondine (Cerrito)" and "Romantic Ballet." Portfolios consist of oversized and document-sized material, including notes, book and typed excerpts, stats, clippings, lithograph portraits, prints, sheet music, writings, and other printed material. Portfolio titles are drawn from the inscriptions on the outside of each portfolio case. Cornell more than likely compiled this material in much the same way as that in his other files, though he ended up storing and maintaining it separately due perhaps to the size of certain items.
The "Ondine (Cerrito)" Portfolio represents some of the material that Cornell created and accumulated in the course of working on Portrait of Ondine, his "exploration" (or "unauthorized biography") of Fanny Cerrito and her famous role in the ballet, Ondine. Portfolio includes material, such as exhibition text and notes, relating to the exhibitions of versions of Portrait of Ondine at the Museum of Modern Art in 1946 and at the Wittenborn Bookstore in 1956 ( See also Subseries 4.3); and notes indicating Cornell's desire and/or intention to present this "exploration" in another format. Portfolio also includes material on Marie Taglioni, and other material (such as a typed manuscript of Cornell's essay on Hedy Lamarr for View) that may or may not correspond to the same "exploration."
The "Romantic Ballet" Portfolio consists of material on ballet dancers, Marie Taglioni and Tamara Toumanova, and opera singers, Maria Malibran, Pauline Viardot-Garcia, and Giuditta Pasta. It is unclear whether all the material relates directly to the Romantic Ballet "exploration," but it seems possible that Cornell was able to find linkages between Romantic and contemporary ballerinas, as well as between ballerinas and opera singers. The name of 'Gautier' inscribed on the portfolio suggests that the figure of Theophile Gautier may have been a thread linking this broad exploration. Portfolio includes material relating to a proposed "Taglioni-Poe project," which Cornell at one point intended to publish in the avant-garde periodical, Possibilities ( See also the Motherwell dossier for correspondence mentioning the project); a version of his Toumanova Ballet Scrapbook and swan prints that seem to relate to the Swan Lake shadow boxes he made in tribute to her; and writings on Viardot-Garcia that trace a "Turgenev-St. Saens thread" and establish a connection between the opera singer and his box, Parrot for Juan Gris.
Dossiers and Subject Source Files include files relating to some of the same people and topics, as well as to some of the same, or similar, projects.
For preservation purposes, material has been removed from the original portfolio cases, which have been preserved as well. Portfolios are arranged alphabetically according to title.
Description Container
"Ondine (Cerrito)" Portfolio, 1883, 1946-1956, undated
(2 folders, 1 item)
25 (sol)
1-2
"Romantic Ballet" Portfolio, 1831-1957, undated
(2 folders)
25 (sol)
3-4
"Romantic Ballet" Portfolio, 1831-1957, undated
(6 folders, 1 item)
26 (sol)
1-6

4.3: Subject Source Files , 1804-1972

Subseries is comprised of Cornell's files on various subjects, including topics of interest to him, themes, "explorations," art and publishing projects, and exhibitions. Some files are organized according to format, such as clippings, notes and writings, and stamps. Files typically consist of material that Cornell used in creating particular boxes, collages, and other works (design layouts and exhibition announcements, among others), and from which he drew ideas and inspiration for projects. Material typically includes magazine and newspaper clippings, cutouts, notes, writings, book and typed excerpts, stats, prints, postcards, art reproductions, and other printed material.
Subject source files range from slender files containing only clippings and cutouts of a particular subject (such as Butterflies, Food, and Statues) to files of assorted printed material seemingly related to some sort of titled, but not easily identifiable, project (such as "Animals in the News," "Earth Before the Flood" Box, and "La Malaga") to voluminous files relating to a particular topic, which Cornell explored in depth, or to an on-going project, which may or may not have resulted in a finished product (such as "Celestial Theater" and "GC 44"). Some files are more comprehensive than others; some files relate directly, and others only indirectly, to particular projects; and some files are so general and/or incomplete that it is not entirely clear how they relate to Cornell's projects or interests.
Certain subject source files relate to Cornell's "explorations" on such diverse topics as astronomy, ballet, literature, and music. Ones on astronomy include "Cassiopeia" (sparked by his musings on the constellation and his preoccupation with a young waitress) and "Celestial Theater" (an unfinished project on sky-gazing). Ones on ballet and literature include "Portrait of Ondine (Cerrito)" and the Bibliomania projects, respectively. And ones on music include "The Caliph of Bagdad" (sparked by hearing the opera by Francois-Andrien Boieldieu and leading to the creation of one or more Cockatoo boxes), "Famagouste" (inspired by the opera, "La Pisanella" by Ildebrando Pizzetti), and "Rossiniana" (involving a proposed "feuilleton-project" on the composer, Rossini).
Other subject source files relate to particular "explorations" based on Cornell's personal experiences. Most notable among these is "GC 44," which stemmed from events during the period when he worked at the Garden Centre nursery in Flushing. The extensive "GC 44" files document the core experiences of this "exploration," which included visits to "The Old Farm" (Lawrence Homestead), a dream of "the little dancer," many trips to the "house on the hill" (where Cornell gathered dried grasses which were used in his Habitat boxes), and a particular sighting of a delivery truck "with its enseigne of the fish and smoking meats" which inspired "The Floral Still-Life" musings. Also documented are Cornell's overriding concerns to recapture and recreate what was for him "one of the high tides of inspiration" and to share the experience with others. Though he exchanged ideas and shared some of this material with others ( See letter from Donald Windham to Betty Cornell Benton in Series 10), the project, as he imagined it, was never completed.
Some subject source files relate to particular art projects and stem from Cornell's work researching, planning, and/or creating certain box constructions, box series, and collages. While by no means comprehensive or complete, files on art projects variously document the origin of certain box series (such as the Aviary and Juan Gris series) and/or stages in the development of particular boxes and collages (such as the "Nostalgia of the Sea" box, and the Rabbit and "Tina" collages). Files on art projects also suggest the way in which Cornell's preoccupations influenced his art work, as in the box, "The Bird with the Shoe-Button Eyes," which stemmed from his preoccupations with literature in general and with the French author, Gerard de Nerval, in particular and which he seems to have conceived as a means to bring the rather obscure author to the attention of a wider audience.
Certain subject source files relate to particular publishing projects and stem from Cornell's work designing covers and illustrations, writing articles, and planning entire issues for various commercial and avant-garde periodicals ( See Subseries 4.1 for his work on self-publications). Notable publishing projects documented, in part, here include "The Crystal Cage [portrait of Berenice]," and various pieces for Dance Index, including ones on "blackface ballerinas," children and ballet, and dancing animals, as well as the thematic issue, "Clowns, Elephants, and Ballerinas" (1946).
Subject source files on exhibitions stem primarily from Cornell's work on catalogues for the "Objects by Joseph Cornell" exhibition at the Copley Gallery (September 1948), the "Night Voyage" exhibition at the Egan Gallery (February 10-March 28, 1953), and the "Romantic Museum at the Hugo Gallery: Portraits of Women" exhibition (December 1946), and they document, to a certain extent, his involvement in the presentation, exhibition, and sale of his art work.
It is unlikely that Cornell maintained these files in alphabetical order. Betty Cornell Benton's correspondence indicates that she organized some of his papers ( See Series 10), so it seems likely that this order was imposed by her. At this point, it is difficult to surmise what, if any, Cornell's original organization may have been. Therefore, files have been left in alphabetical order.
Description Container
"1956 Scrapbook Miscellany,", 1944-1956
(See Box 27)
11
42
"A" [Allegra Kent] File, 1969, undated
11
43
Advertisements, Turn-of-the-Century, 1887-1902, undated
11
44
Album Pages, undated
11
45
"Allegory of Faith" (painting by Giovanni Battista da Bologna), 1969, undated
11
46