Skip to main content

Konrad and Florence Ballin Cramer papers, 1897-1968

More Information

Megan McShea
Scope and Contents note
The papers of painter, printmaker, and photographer Konrad Cramer and his wife, painter and printmaker Florence Ballin Cramer, measure 8.5 linear feet and date from 1897 to 1968. Papers document both artists' personal and professional lives and are especially rich in documentation of the art community of Woodstock, New York, from 1906, when Florence first attended art classes there, and where the couple resided until their deaths in the 1960s. Records include biographical materials, correspondence, a Christmas card album, business records, diaries, writings, personal financial records, printed materials, photographs, and artwork.
Correspondence is between the Cramers and other artists, curators, gallery staff, editors, writers, and personal friends and family. Many drafts and carbons of outgoing letters are also present. The Christmas card album brings together original cards made by their artist friends in the 1920s and early 1930s. Diaries are of both artists, mostly from 1949 onward, with notes and excerpts from earlier diaries present. Writings include technical and biographical essays by Konrad Cramer, and autobiographical and historical essays by Florence Ballin Cramer; notebooks and notes relate to art, travel, photography, and other subjects. Personal Business Records include price lists, receipts, and gallery correspondence with dealers and exhibitors; correspondence, accounting records, and writings related to Florence Ballin Cramer's Florence Gallery in New York City (1919-1920); records related to Woodstock arts and civic organizations in which the Cramers were involved; and personal financial records.
Printed Materials include publicity materials related to the Cramers' various endeavors and the activities of Woodstock arts and civic organizations, as well as dozens of books, little magazines, and journals by and about members of the Woodstock artist's colony. Photographs depict the Cramers and their friends, including early Art Students League Classes and the annual Maverick festival in the 1920s. Also found are a small number of photo-collages and experiments with color photography, and a series of early twentieth century photographs in the pictorialist style. Artwork includes early sketchbooks of both artists; loose sketches, drawings, and designs; textile designs by Konrad Cramer; and prints and printing blocks.
A portion of the papers in this collection were loaned to the Archives of American Art for microfilming in 1964 by Aileen Cramer and Margot Cramer Taylor, daughters of Florence and Konrad Cramer. While selected diaries, sketches, and photographs were returned to the donors, some, but not all, of the original loan was subsequently donated with additional materials, in 1975.
Separated Materials note
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reels 1027, D170, and D171) including photographs, diaries, and sketches. Loaned materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Processing Information
A portion of the papers in this collection were loaned to the Archives of American Art for microfilming in 1964 on reels D170-171 and 1027. Most of the loaned materials were donated in 1975, along with additional materials that were microfilmed on reels 1203-1204 and reels 2751-2757. A small portion of material, consisting mostly of duplicates and photographs of works of art, was never microfilmed. Previously microfilmed and unmicrofilmed portions were merged, arranged, and described as a whole by Megan McShea in 2006 and the collection was digitized in 2013 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the papers as described in this finding aid does not reflect the order of the papers on microfilm due to reprocessing.