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Marion Sanford and Cornelia Chapin papers, 1929-1988

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Erin Corley
Scope and Contents
The papers of sculptors Marion Sanford and Cornelia Chapin measure 2.5 linear feet and date from 1929-1988. Sanford and Chapin were close companions and shared a studio in New York City. The papers include scattered materials created by and about both women, including biographical materials, one folder of correspondence for each woman, a few writings and essays, newsclippings, exhibition catalogs, other printed materials, and four scrapbooks (three about Chapin and one about Sanford). Photographs are of Chapin only and of artwork of both women. There is also one sound recording of a radio interview with Chapin and several motion picture films of Chapin's home movies shot in upstate New York and Paris.
Biographical material consists of scattered items documenting the careers of Marion Sanford and Cornelia Chapin. Included are a small amount of correspondence of both women, membership certificates, an index card file of Sanford's artwork, Chapin's written description of her sculpting process, and writings by others about Chapin. The sound recording is a radio interview of Chapin after she sculpted a bear for the National Zoo. Films include several home movies of Chapin from 1932-1936, showing Chapin at a summer home in Harpursville, NY, working in her studio, and working in Paris with teacher Mateo Hernandez.
Printed material includes exhibition announcements and catalogs for many group and solo shows of both women, news clippings about Chapin and Sanford, and a few reproductions of their artwork. Source files consist of postcards and clippings of various images that were most probably used as references or inspiration for their artwork.
The collection includes four scrapbooks compiled by Sanford and Chapin documenting their careers through news clippings, a few exhibition materials, and photographs of their artwork. There are three scrapbooks about Chapin, and one about Sanford. Also found are two additional scrapbooks on the subject of bas-relief and sculpture. Photographs include several of Cornelia Chapin in her studio and with her teacher Mateo Hernandez. There are numerous photographs of artwork by Chapin and Sanford. Artwork includes drawings of animals, architectural elements, coins, and people, by either Sanford or Chapin.
A portion of the Marion Sanford and Cornelia Chapin papers were donated by Marion Sanford in 1974. Additional materials were donated by Sanford's caretaker, Brenda Brenwell-Lejeune, in 1999.
Related Material
Harvard University Library houses the the bulk of Cornelia Van Auken Chapin's papers, 1877-1959.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Funding for the preservation of the Cornelia Chapin Home Movies was provided by the National Film Preservation Foundation.
Processing Information
Portions of the collection received a preliminary level of processing after donation. The entire collection was fully processed, arranged, and described by Erin Corley in 2007 and digitized in 2015 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Motion picture film reels were inspected and re-housed in 2016 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, and preserved in 2018 with funding provided by the National Film Preservation Foundation.