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Karl Theodore Francis Bitter papers, 1887-circa 1977

Bitter, Karl Theodore Francis, 1867-1915


This site provides access to the papers of Karl Theodore Francis Bitter in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2014, and total 786 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 2.5 linear feet

Summary: The papers of sculptor Karl Bitter date from 1887 to 1977 and measure 2.5 linear feet. The bulk of the collection consists of photographs of works of art and commemorative medals from expositions. Also found are scattered biographical information, family correspondence, two diaries, printed materials, sketches, and sketchbooks.
Biographical material consists of one short biography of Karl Bitter. The bulk of the correspondence is to Bitter's children, Marietta (Mrs. Walter Abel) and Francis Bitter, and relates to the relocation of Bitter's caryatid sculptures on the St. Paul Building in New York City. There are typescripts of letters from Karl Bitter to sculptor Daniel C. French and from Marie Bitter to her children.
Two diaries from 1901 and 1909 kept by Bitter describe his trips abroad. The 1901 diary is similar to a scrapbook and was kept during his honeymoon with Marie Schevill. Their travels through France and Italy are vividly described through prose, sketches, maps, postcards, and a photo of Bitter and Marie. A 1909 diary is from Bitter's first trip back to Austria since he left for the United States. Written in the form of letters to his wife, he describes his reactions to being back in Europe, seeing his family, and sightseeing.
Scattered printed material includes a clipping, an exhibition announcement, a postcard, and reproductions of works of art by Bitter.
Photographs are of Bitter, his family and friends, studios, and sculpture. Also found are two photo albums containing many images of Bitter's sculptures throughout the country.
The are two sketchbooks and a print by Blanche Stollson. Also found are Bitter's commemorative medals from various international expositions.

Biographical/Historical Note

Austrian-born sculptor Karl Bitter (1867-1915) was active in New York City, New York.


The Karl Theodore Francis Bitter papers were donated by Marietta Bitter Abel (Mrs. Walter), Mr. Michael Abel, and Lt. Col. Jonathon F. Abel in several increments from 1970-2010. The commemorative medals were donated in 1975 by Walter Hancock, a friend of Bitter's son Francis.

Related Materials

Language Note

About 1/3 of material: is in German.


Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Location of Originals

  • REEL N70-8 and N70-35 (photographs only): Originals returned to lender, Mrs. Walter Abel, after microfilming.Location of originals currently unknown.