Scope and Contents
The papers of realist painter, muralist, and art instructor Leon Kroll date from circa 1900 to 1988 and measure 8.7 linear feet. The collection documents Kroll's painting career, teaching, and active participation in numerous art organizations. Over one-half of the collection is correspondence with artists, schools, galleries, museums, patrons, arts organizations, family members, and others. Also found are scattered biographical material, writings and notes, legal and financial records, exhibition catalogs, clippings, other printed material, photographs of Kroll and colleagues, loose drawings, and nine sketchbooks.
Biographical material contains chronologies, biographical essays, awards, price lists, interview transcripts, and a file about the Committee on Government and Art. More than one-half of the collection consists of Kroll's personal and professional correspondence with artists such as Gifford Beal, George Biddle, Isabel Bishop, Barry Faulkner, William Glackens, Robert Henri, Paul Manship, Hobart Nichols, Eugene Speicher, Maurice Stern, Esther Williams, and many others. Additional correspondence is with art critics, curators, dealers, students, patrons, schools, museums, and numerous arts organizations. There is also extensive correspondence with arts administrators regarding government art projects, especially his friend and fellow artist Edward Bruce, Director of the U. S. Treasury Department's Section for Fine Arts.
Writings and notes by Leon Kroll including autobiographical essays, drafts of lectures and speeches, lists, and other scattered notes. Also found is a small amount of writings by others, including an essay by Julia Langsam describing her experience as an artist's model for Kroll. Legal and financial records include contracts, loan agreements, art sales receipts, and several ledgers recording consignments and monthly receipts and expenditures. One ledger specifically documents financial transactions for Kroll's mural commissions for the Justice Department and the Worcester War Memorial.
Printed material contains numerous news clippings about Kroll and his work and includes several articles written by Kroll. Also found are exhibition announcements and catalogs for Kroll's solo exhibitions, material about the Worcester War memorial, and miscellaneous printed items.
Photographs include one of Kroll with his family, Kroll in his studio and working on murals, and several of him with other artists as jurors for art exhibitions. Artists pictured include Isabel Bishop, Reginal Marsh, John Sloan, Raphael Soyer, Eugene Speicher, and others. Also found are photographs of Edward Bruce, as well as photographs of exhibitions, artwork by Leon Kroll, and artwork by others. All of the original artwork in this collection is by Leon Kroll and includes loose drawings and ten sketchbooks containing drawings of landscapes, figures, portraits, and animals.
Leon Kroll donated a portion of his papers in 1968. His widow, Genevieve Kroll, donated the rest of the papers in 1976. Two additions were donated in 2019, via Cory Churches and the Estate of Grace Pugh, both descendants of Kroll.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Materials donated by Leon Kroll were microfilmed upon receipt on reels D326-D331. Materials donated by Genevieve Kroll were not microfilmed. Both accessions were merged, arranged, and described by Erin Corley in 2007-2008 and scanned in 2009 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. 2019 additions were processed by Ryan Evans in 2019.