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Paul Bransom papers, 1862-1985, bulk 1904-1979

Contents and Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 8 series:

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Series 1: Biographical Materials, circa 1862-1866, 1904, 1942-1979
6 folders
Box 1, OV 12

Biographical materials include notes, essays, and pamphlets and other ephemera related to Bransom's life and career. Also found are a passport, various awards, certificates of merit, and maps showing Bransom's property. A menu from the Café des Beaux Arts from New Year's Eve, 1904, is autographed by Bransom's artist friends, including J.D. Allen, Rudolph Dirks, F. Opper, James Swinnerton, Gus Mager, H.A. McGill, and T.S. Sullivant, among others. A file on Bransom's grandfather contains financial notes and receipts, an undated letter, and a newspaper item related to his death.
Additional biographical notes and essays about other artists Bransom knew can be found in Notes and Writings.

Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1903-1984
4.5 linear feet
Box 1-5

This series includes personal and professional correspondence of Paul Bransom from the beginning of his career until the end of his life. Correspondence includes letters from other artists, art directors and editors, writers, nature and wildlife conservators and zoologists, curators, collectors, printers, engravers, family, and friends. Also found are letters Bransom wrote to his wife, Grace Bond Bransom, early in their relationship, and scattered correspondence to Grace Bond Bransom and Althea Bond, Bransom's niece and heiress. Many illustrated letters are found among the correspondence, including several lavishly illustrated letters from Charles Sarka. Photographs, clippings, and other enclosures such as membership cards, are scattered throughout the series.
Correspondence is divided into three groups: that between Paul Bransom and his wife, general correspondence, and cards. General correspondence is arranged chronologically except for occasional instances where letters were originally grouped together by author or subject. Drafts and carbon copies of outgoing letters written by Paul Bransom are interfiled with general correspondence, and undated drafts are filed at the end of the general correspondence. Greeting cards with significant written messages are interfiled with general correspondence, and cards without messages are arranged alphabetically at the end of the series. Many of the cards are made with original artwork, as indicated in the folder notes below.
General correspondence contains letters and records of transactions with Bransom's publishing clients, as well as letters from many authors whose stories Bransom illustrated, especially between the 1900s and the 1940s. Among the authors are Albert Payson Terhune, Donald Culross Peattie, J. Frank Dobie, Dorothy Cottrell, Attilio Gatti, Charmian London (wife of Jack London), and Herbert Sass. Artists represented in Bransom's correspondence include Charles Sarka, Joe Back, Walter Biggs, Patricia Bott, Chen Chi, John Clymer, Paul Fair, Charles Hargens, Bob Kuhn, Dorothy and Gertrude Lathrop, Bob Lougheed, George McLean, Ugo Mochi, Bill and Rachel Scott, Donald Teague, and Clarence Tillenius.
Letters and envelopes are often annotated by Bransom giving the full name of the author and sometimes the nature of their relationship or other biographical information. Additional correspondence can be found in Personal Business Records, and some drafts of outgoing letters are found in the notebooks filed in Notes and Writings.

Series 3: Notes and Writings, circa 1927-1973
0.2 linear feet
Box 5, OV 12

This small series includes a diary, notebooks, essays, lists, notes, and other writings by Paul Bransom and others. The diary, with notes, writings, and sketches, was written during a hunting expedition Bransom made with writer J. Frank Dobie in 1927. Other writings in this folder include an eight page essay recounting the hunt by G.W. "Dub" Evans. Four notebooks contain miscellaneous notes on travel expenses, contact information, drafts of outgoing letters, and pressed flowers. Biographical, historical, nature, and art writings include brief essays and notes for talks by Bransom and others about his career, the lives of fellow artists, animals and animal art, and a satirical essay about modern art. Notes by and about Walt Kuhn include an essay by Bransom, comments by Bransom on a journal article about Kuhn, and a sketchbook with visual notes made by Kuhn during a discussion with Paul and Grace Bransom.
Notes on animals and artwork include research notes, ideas for illustrations and stories, and technical notes about artwork. Also found are lists of private collectors of Bransom's work and notes on members of the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, community. Miscellaneous notes concern books, music, spiritual musings, inspirational quotes from published sources, and notes related to items in this collection which have become separated from those items. A folder of poems inspired by Bransom and his paintings, many of which were written by friends for Bransom's birthday, is also present, as well as a photocopy of an inventory from an unknown repository of papers related to H.C. Pitz.
Additional biographical notes and writings concerning Bransom and his career can be found in Biographical Materials. Additional notes pertaining to professional projects and financial matters can be found in Personal Business Records.

Series 4: Personal Business Records, circa 1912-1981
0.3 linear feet
Box 5

This series includes records relating to Bransom's illustration and advertising clients, galleries where he exhibited, other Bransom projects, bibliographies and inventories of Bransom's artwork, and records of projects of family members. Arrangement is alphabetical by gallery or business entity, with special subjects placed at the end of the series. Types of records include correspondence, receipts, lists, notes, contracts, pamphlets, and brochures.
Gallery and illustration client records document exhibitions, consignments, and sales of Bransom's artwork. The files for Teton Artists Associated also contain Bransom's designs for brochures and advertisements, proofs of printed materials, a contract, and lists of students. The file for Northwest Schools contains a contract for the production of an instructional book on animal drawing by Bransom, as well as correspondence related to the project. For a copy of that publication, see Printed Materials.
Also found are bibliographies compiled by Seth Mattingly and Helen Ireland Hays, and an artwork inventory compiled by Mario Cesar Romero after Bransom's death. Drafts of Mattingly's bibliographies are found with his correspondence in Series 1. Additional correspondence related to Bransom's business activities, including magazine and book illustrations, exhibitions, and other business with entities listed in this series can also be found in the Correspondence series. Exhibition Catalogs and other printed materials related to exhibitions can be found in Printed Materials.

Series 5: Printed Materials, circa 1905-1985
1.5 linear feet
Boxes 6-7, OV 12

This series includes catalogs and announcements for exhibitions; reproductions of Bransom illustrations and cartoons from magazines, newspapers, and calendars; newspaper and magazine articles about Bransom and others; programs from musical events in which Bransom performed; newsletters, brochures, membership directories, mailings, and invitations from organizations in which Bransom was involved; pamphlets and other printed matter about Jack London and other people known to Bransom; and a copy of Bransom's art technique book,
Animal Drawing
Catalogs are for individual and group exhibitions of Bransom's artwork, some of which are annotated with prices and other information. Printed price lists, press releases, and invitations are also found. Selected catalogs of exhibitions by Walt Kuhn and his pupil, Lily Cushing are filed under their names.
Many of Bransom's illustrations for magazine stories are also found, including stories by writers Albert Payson Terhune and Jim Corbett. An early newspaper cartoon series by Bransom called "News From Bugville" is represented here by over 200 printed copies of cartoons. An original drawing from Bransom's cartoon series is found in Artwork.

Series 6: Photographs, circa 1885-1976
1.3 linear feet
Boxes 7-8, 10

This series includes photographs depicting Bransom, his family, other artists, pets and other animals, homes and studios, landscapes, trips, events, and works of art. Many of the photographs in this series have identifications on them, some of which appear to have been made retrospectively by Bransom. Other identifications appear to be in the handwriting of his niece and heiress, Althea Bond; and Mario Cesar Romero, who signed his notes "MCR."
Wherever possible, photographs which appear to have been taken and printed together have been filed together. Numerous photographs of Bransom painting and drawing are found in this series. See folder notes below and notes on the photographs themselves for additional information about content.
The slide album has been re-housed for preservation, but the original arrangement of the slides in their sleeves has been preserved. Images in the slide album include Paul and Grace Bransom, their Canada Lake and Jackson Hole homes, landscapes in the Adirondack and Teton mountains, Bransoms' friends, Paul Bransom painting in the studio and outside, and nature photographs labeled "studies for paintings." Most of the slides are Kodachrome and have suffered very little fading.
Additional photographs are found in Scrapbooks, and scattered photographs are found in Correspondence. See the series description for further details.

Series 7: Scrapbooks, circa 1880s-1970s
0.5 linear feet
Boxes 8 and 11

This series consists of two scrapbooks containing clippings, photographs, and exhibition announcements. Neither volume appears to have been made by Bransom himself, and both were part of the donation of Mario Cesar Romero, who had access to the Bransom estate while curating a retrospective exhibition of Bransom's artwork and creating the artwork inventory in Series 4.
Volume I consists entirely of printed material, mostly clippings and one advertisement for a book illustrated by Bransom,
The Argosy of Fables
(1921). Clippings also include multiple obituaries. Many of the items in Volume I are duplicated in the Printed Material series.
Volume II contains exhibition announcements (1929-1931), clippings (1920s-1970s), and photographs (circa 1886-1970). Original photographs have been removed from the scrapbook as a preservation measure and to provide access to Bransom's notes on the backs of photographs. Pages containing the removed photographs have been replaced by photocopies reflecting their original arrangement in the scrapbook. Many of the photographs found in this scrapbook are not found elsewhere in Bransom's papers. Identifications on the scrapbook pages were made by Mario Cesar Romero.

Series 8: Artwork, 1903-1976
1.7 linear feet
Boxes 8-9, OV 13-22

This series includes sketchbooks, sketches, drawings, designs, illustrations, cartoons, and prints by Paul Bransom, and artwork of various media by other artists. Most of the artwork depicts wildlife and other animals, although drawings of landscapes, flora, and people are also found.
Sketches, drawings, and designs encompass the bulk of this series. Three sketching expeditions from the 1920s are represented. The drawings from the Green Tree racehorse stables in Saratoga Springs are accompanied by an essay recounting the trip. Additional material related to the New Mexico Lion Hunt is found in Notes and Writings. The remainder of miscellaneous sketches, drawings, and designs in this series depict a wide range of subjects in various media, from preliminary rough sketches to very finished drawings. Subjects include domestic animals, North American and African wildlife, flora, landscapes, and narrative subjects for illustrations, usually also with animal subjects. Included are works in charcoal, pencil, pastel, watercolor, and ink.
Prints by Bransom include a series of 26 monotype prints, lithographs, and several woodblock prints, some of which are for bookplates and Christmas cards.
Many of the works of art in this series are signed and/or annotated by Paul Bransom. A few have an inventory number written on them beginning with "E/B," which refers to the artwork inventory created by Mario Cesar Romero. Additional documentation of this inventory project is found in Personal Business Records. Bibliographic information about Bransom's illustrations is also found in Personal Business records. Notes listing artwork and exhibitions can be found in Notes and Writings. Additional artwork, including illustrated letters and cards, is found in Correspondence. See series descriptions for further details.

Make a Request

  • To request an appointment to view materials, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reading Room" button. Please note, you will receive the full box.
  • To request reproductions, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reproduction" button.