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10.2: Legal Files , 1966-1968, 1973-1983

Subseries is comprised of Benton's files pertaining to various legal matters that arose in the course of administering Cornell's residual estate. Files primarily consist of copies of correspondence sent and received by Benton's lawyer, Dennis Hurley (of the firm, Behringer, Hurley and Hurley), on her behalf; copies of legal documents such as briefs, exhibits, court reporter's minutes, petitions, affidavits, and compromise agreements; and copies of income tax returns.
Files primarily relate to the legal dispute between the executors of Cornell's estate (Richard Ader and Wayne Andrews) and members of Cornell's family (namely, Benton and her niece, Helen Batcheller). The main issue of dispute was the ownership of Cornell art works in the possession of family members. Also at issue was the ownership of the non-Cornell art works owned by Cornell, as well as whether or not certain Cornell material (such as source material and ephemera) was to be considered art work (since art works went to the Trust and remaining material went to Benton as part of the residual estate). Files also relate to the case in United States Tax Court, determining whether the value of the works transferred to Benton and Batcheller were includable within the gross estate of Cornell for federal estate tax purposes.
To a lesser extent, files (especially correspondence) also relate to the estate tax proceedings of the Helen S. Cornell estate ( See also Series 1); the issue of ownership of the Bebe Marie doll (which initially belonged to Cornell's cousin, Ethel Storms, and was subsequently used by Cornell in the box, Untitled (Bebe Marie), in the 1940s); the charitable trust, the C and B (Cornell and Benton) Foundation, that Benton established as part of the compromise agreement with the executors; payment of gift taxes on works owned by Batcheller; and the appraisal, insurance and loan of Cornell works owned by Benton.
Files are arranged, more or less, chronologically. Material in the files is arranged in rough reverse chronological order as that seems to have been how Benton typically compiled it.
Description Container Select
Helen S. Cornell Estate Papers, 1966-1968
(4 folders)
21
51-54
Case Re: Joseph Cornell Estate, 1973-1974
(6 folders)
21
55-60
Case Re: Joseph Cornell Estate, 1973-1974
(2 folders)
22
1-2
Case Re: Joseph Cornell Estate, Betty Cornell Benton's Notes, 1973-1974, undated
22
3
Case Re: Joseph Cornell Estate, Correspondence between Lawyers, 1976-1976
22
4
Case Re: Joseph Cornell Estate, Correspondence with Special Investigations, 1974
22
5
Case Re: Joseph Cornell Estate, Correspondence with Potential Witnesses, 1974-1975
22
6
Case Re: Joseph Cornell Estate, Partial Synopsis of Testimony on Behalf of Elizabeth C. Benton, undated
22
7
Case Re: Joseph Cornell Estate, Compromise Agreement, 1974-1976
22
8
Case Re: Joseph Cornell Estate, Settlement, 1975
22
9
Correspondence, General, 1973-1977
22
10
Correspondence re: Bebe Marie, 1974-1978
22
11
Correspondence with Fourcade, Droll Inc., 1975
22
12
Correspondence re: Income, Estate, and Gift Taxes, 1975-1977
22
13
Cornell and Benton Foundation, 1975-1980
(4 folders)
22
14-17
Case in United States Tax Court, Motion to Intervene, 1978
22
18
Case in United States Tax Court, Response to Informal Request for a "Discovery List,", 1981
(3 folders)
22
19-21
Case in United States Tax Court, 1983
22
22

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.