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

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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

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.