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Mary Fanton Roberts papers, 1880-1956

Roberts, Mary Fanton, 1871-1956

Writer, Editor

This site provides access to the papers of Mary Fanton Roberts in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2017, and total 5,407 images.

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

Collection Information

Size: 3.8 linear feet

Summary: The papers of art writer and editor Mary Fanton Roberts measure 3.8 linear feet and are dated 1880 to 1956. The collection is comprised mainly of correspondence with family members, artists, dancers, actors, writers, musicians, and visual and performing arts organizations. Also found are scattered biographical materials, writings, printed material, photographs and artwork.
The collection contains a small amount of biographical material about Mary Fanton Roberts and her husband, William Carman Roberts, including his journal of a vacation with Ernest Thompson Seton and his wife. Personal Correspondence is with her husband and sister Belle Fanton, and with friends. Business and political correspondence documents her career as a magazine editor and writer, her participation in political organizations and events, her participation in radio talks, and her correspondence regarding war issues.
Art correspondence/subject files include correspondence with and collected materials on artists, photographers, art patrons, critics, and wives of artists, as well as arts organizations, museums, and schools. Correspondence of note is with George Gray Barnard, Gutzon Borglum, Ben Ali Haggin, Leon Kroll, Frederic Remington, W. Goodridge Roberts, Nicholas Roerich, Pierre Troubetzkoy, illustrator Oliver Herford, John Butler Yeats, and Ashcan school artists Robert Henri, John Sloan, and William Glackens, as well as many others. Dance and theatre correspondence/subject files include correspondence with actors, dancers, playwrights, patrons, organizations and theatres. Correspondence of note in this series is with Charles "Orlando" Coburn, Eva Le Gallienne, Angna Enters, and the "Duncan Dancers." Literary and music orrespondence/subject files include correspondence with authors, poets, critics, singers, publishers, and musicians, such as Bliss Carman, Yvette Guilbert, and Lloyd Osbourne. Additional material found in these subject files, other than letters, includes invitations, photographs, calling cards, artwork, news clippings, and printed material.
Writings by Roberts include an autobiographical essay about her youth and early career, guest lists and notes concerning hosted events, and typescripts of poems by her niece Dorothy Gostwick Roberts. Printed material is comprised of art exhibition catalogs, published articles and trade bulletins written by Roberts, and newsclippings. Photographs are of Roberts, her family, friends, and places she lived, and include autographed portraits given to her, primarily from actors and actresses. Also found are photographs taken by Nickolas Muray of art models. Scattered artwork in this collection includes several small drawings by unidentified artists, as well as a pencil portrait of Roberts by John Butler Yeats.

Biographical/Historical Note

Mary Fanton Roberts (1864-1956) was a writer, editor, and critic from New York City. Wrote for Herald Tribune, Journal, the Sun, editor for the Craftsman, 1906-1916, the Touchstone, 1917-1921, Arts & Decoration, ca. 1922-1934. Wrote occasionally under the name Giles Edgerton.


Donated by Phoebe DuBois and Violet Organ in 1957.


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

Location of Originals

  • 4 Ira Glackens letters, 1946-1947, reel D162, fr. 971-982: Originals returned to Ira Glackens after filming.