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Patricia Jordan papers, 1870, 1949-1984

Patricia Jordan papers, 1870, 1949-1984

Jordan, Patricia M., 1937-1989


Collection Information

Size: 2.4 linear feet

Summary: The papers of San Francisco based Beat photographer Patricia Jordan measure 2.3 linear feet and date from 1870, 1949-1984. The papers include correspondence, much of it illustrated and with Beat artists and poets, writings, exhibition files, printed materials, photographs, and artwork.

About one-half of the collection consists of correspondence; many items of which could be considered works of art or mail art. There are letters, illustrated letters, photographs, collages, postcards, greeting and holiday cards, and exhibition invitations. Letters are addressed to Patricia Jordan, her husband Larry, and/or daughter Lorna and are from family and friends, including many Beat artists and poets such as Kenneth Anger, Steve Arnold, Paul Beattie, Wallace Berman, Stan Brakhage, Jess Collins, Joseph Cornell (with whom Larry Jordan studied in 1965), Robert Duncan, George Herms, and Gary Snyder. Family letters are from Patricia's parents, sisters, daughter, and husband Larry.

The papers contain a large number of photographs and are primarily portraits taken by Patricia Jordan of friends and family including her husband Larry, daughter Lorna, Geroge Herms, and Wallace Berman. Many of the subjects are not identified. Some photographs are candid snapshots, while others are prints and test prints of images featured in the 1975 exhibition, "A Kind of Beatness," at Focus Gallery in San Francisco.

The remainder of the collection is comprised of scattered writings, exhibition files, printed material, and artwork.

Biographical/Historical Note

Patricia Jordan (1937-1988) was a photographer and integral part of the Beat circle in San Francisco during the late 1950s and 1960s.


Donated 1988 by Patricia Jordan.

A Finding Aid to the Patricia Jordan Papers, 1870, 1949-1984, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical/Historical note
Patricia Jordan (1937-1988) was a photographer and integral part of the Beat circle in San Francisco during the late 1950s and 1960s. Through her photography, she captured intimate portraits of the artists and poets in San Francisco at that time. Patricia Jordan, née Topalian, married Larry Jordan, assemblagist and avant-garde filmmaker, in the late 1950s. They lived in San Francisco, Larkspur, and finally settled in San Anselmo, California. Patricia and Larry Jordan had one daughter, Lorna, born in 1960.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 6 series
Series 1: Correspondence, circa 1950-1977 (1.1 linear feet; Box 1, OV 4)
Series 2: Writings, circa 1959-1970s (0.1 linear foot; Box 2)
Series 3: Exhibition Files, 1962-1978 (0.1 linear foot; Box 2)
Series 4: Printed Material, circa 1920-1984 (0.2 linear feet; Box 2)
Series 5: Photographs, circa 1870-1970s (0.7 linear feet; Box 2-3)
Series 6: Artwork, 1949-circa 1970s (0.2 linear feet; Box 2-3)
Donated 1988 by Patricia Jordan.
Processing Information note
The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Hilary Price in 2015.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.

How to Cite This Collection

Patricia Jordan papers, 1870, 1949-1984. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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