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Maurice Becker papers, circa 1910-1970

More Information

Judy Ng
Scope and Contents
The papers of painter and political cartoonist Maurice Becker measure 2.3 linear feet and date from circa 1910 to 1970. Found within the papers are biographical material; personal and professional correspondence; writings; printed material, including radical labor and political periodicals; artwork; and photographs of Becker, his family and friends, and his artwork.
Biographical materials consist of a curriculum vitae and a list of artworks.
Correspondence is primarily with Becker's family, friends, and business associates. There are letters from his wife, Dorothy Baldwin Becker, a letter from friend and artist Elizabeth Lancaster, and a letter from Artists for Victory. There is also a letter from Becker to his friend J. B. Neumann containing a draft of Becker's will authorizing Neumann to sell and distribute his paintings upon his death or incapacitation; a letter of invitation to artists and writers interested in reviving a new Masses style journal; and letters from magazine editors regarding freelance commissions.
Printed material includes bulletins, clippings and labor newspapers, exhibition announcements and catalogs, periodicals, press releases, and miscellaneous printed material. Periodicals include whole issues of Liberator, The Masses, New Masses, and One Big Union Monthly, where Becker's political cartoons were frequently featured.
Artwork includes paintings, over 800 graphite and pen and ink sketches, watercolors, and prints depicting Becker's figure drawings, caricatures, portrait drawings of men and women, and sketches of animals and landscapes. Many of these sketches were the basis for panels that later appeared in the New York Tribune, The Masses, and Liberator.
Photographs are of Maurice Becker with family and friends, and five photographs of his artwork.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Maurice Becker donated his papers in several increments between 1962-1966.
Separated Materials
There are scattered Maurice Becker papers found within the Art Young papers at the Tamiment Library in New York. These were loaned to the Archives in 1971 for microfilming on reel 96. These papers are not described in the container inventory of this finding aid but include approximately 20 postcards, catalogs, sketches, photographs, and other printed materials.
Duplicate magazines, catalogs, and clippings were transferred to the National Portrait Gallery Library in 1977.
Processing of this collection was funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Processing Information
The papers received a preliminary level of processing upon receipt and were microfilmed onto reels 128 and 4909. All previously filmed and unfilmed accessions were merged, fully processed, and described by Judy Ng in 2013 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.