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Morris Henry Hobbs papers, circa 1901-2014

Morris Henry Hobbs papers, circa 1901-2014

Hobbs, Morris Henry, 1892-1967

Etcher

Collection Information

Size: 3.7 linear feet

Summary: The papers of etcher Morris Henry Hobbs measure 3.7 linear feet and date from circa 1901-2014. His career as an artist in Chicago and New Orleans is documented through biographical material, correspondence, writings, professional files, printed material, photographs, artwork, and four sketchbooks.

Biographical/Historical Note

Morris Henry Hobbs (1892-1967) was an etcher in Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Provenance

Donated in 2014 by Reed Isbell-Hobbs, widow of Morris Henry Hobbs' son William Hobbs.

A Finding Aid to the Morris Henry Hobbs Papers, circa 1901-2014, in the Archives of American Art
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Author
Finding aid prepared by Erin Kinhart
Biographical/Historical note
Morris Henry Hobbs (1892-1967) was an etcher in Chicago and New Orleans. Hobbs was born in Rockford, Illinois, and raised in Chicago. As a teenager he took classes at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the age of 17 was hired as a draftsman at an architectural firm. From 1918-1919, he served in France with the Allied Expeditionary Force. While there he contracted influenza which resulted in the loss of his hearing. After the war he lived in Toledo, Ohio, with his wife and two daughters and worked at an architectural firm. He also learned printmaking techniques from etcher J. Ernest Dean and began exhibiting his work. In 1927, he returned to Chicago with his family and in 1930 became director of the Chicago Society of Etchers. During his career he was active in many arts and printmaking organizations.
In 1938, Hobbs traveled to New Orleans for an extended visit, opened a studio space, and began a ten-year project of etching French Quarter scenes. A year later he moved to New Orleans permanently and became the first president of the Louisiana Society of Etchers. In 1942, he married Alice "Judy" Seddon. In 1948, he was hired as a designer for the architectural firm Favrot, Reed, Mathes and Bergman, and was employed there until his death. Also at this time, he and his wife establish a country home in Mandeville, Louisiana, where he built a greenhouse and cultivated tropical bromeliads. They kept an apartment in the French Quarter as a weekday residence.
In 1960, Hobbs began a series of watercolors depicting bromeliads and in the subsequent years traveled to Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Trinidad to collect specimens for a potential book project. He died in 1967 at the age of 75 and that year the Reinike Gallery held a retrospective of his work. His wife Alice Seddon Hobbs died in 1993 at the age of 95.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 8 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1918-2014 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1921-1993 (0.7 linear feet; Boxes 1 and 5)
Series 3: Writings, 1918-2014 (0.3 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)
Series 4: Professional Files, 1922-2014 (1.0 linear foot; Boxes 2-3)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1929-2014 (0.6 linear feet; Box 3)
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1901-1991 (0.6 linear feet; Boxes 3-4)
Series 7: Artwork, circa 1919-1950s (0.3 linear feet; Boxes 4-5)
Series 8: Sketchbooks, 1930s-1950s (0.2 linear feet; Box 4)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of etcher Morris Henry Hobbs measure 3.7 linear feet and date from circa 1901-2014. His career as an artist in Chicago and New Orleans is documented through biographical material, correspondence, writings, professional files, printed material, photographs, artwork, and four sketchbooks.
Biographical material includes chronologies, biographical statements, and documentation on his home and studio. Correspondence includes letters to friends and family regarding art, travel, and botany. Of note are letters from the etchers John Taylor Arms and Bertha Jaques and botanist Lyman Smith. Writings consist of Hobbs' diary kept during World War I while serving in the U.S. Army, journal pages documenting his move to New Orleans, and garden notebooks. Professional files include documents relating to Hobbs' memberships and activities in the Bromeliad Society, Chicago Society of Etchers, Louisiana Society of Etchers, New Orleans Art League, and other organizations. Also included are exhibition records, price lists, and sales records.
Printed material includes clippings and exhibition announcements documenting his career as well as published versions of his etchings. Photographs and slides are of Hobbs, family and friends, trips abroad, and his properties in New Orleans and Mandeville, Louisiana. Artwork includes architectural renderings, sketches of Chicago, France, and New Orleans, and an annotated scrapbook containing original etchings. Four sketchbooks include figure drawings and landscapes in pencil and ink.
Provenance
Donated in 2014 by Reed Isbell-Hobbs, widow of Morris Henry Hobbs' son William Hobbs.
Processing Information note
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Erin Kinhart in 2016.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment.

Restrictions on Use

The donor, Reed Isbell-Hobbs, retains copyright.

How to Cite This Collection

Morris Henry Hobbs papers, circa 1901-2014. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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