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Subseries 4.1 | A Finding Aid to the Joseph Cornell papers, 1804-1986, bulk 1939-1972 | Digitized Collection

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

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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

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.