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Paul Bransom papers, 1862-1985

More Information

Megan McShea
Scope and Contents
The papers of wildlife illustrator, painter, and cartoonist Paul Bransom measure 10.1 linear feet and date from 1862 to 1985. Almost half of the collection is comprised of personal and professional correspondence. Also found in the papers are biographical essays, certificates and awards, memorabilia, writings and notes, business files, bibliographies, an artwork inventory, exhibition catalogs, clippings, printed illustrations, pamphlets, photographs, scrapbooks, and original artwork.
The correspondence is particularly rich in documenting Bransom's early career as an illustrator, and his relationships with authors, art editors, and publishers from the 1900s to the 1940s. Correspondence also contains a wealth of cards, many of which bear reproductions or original artwork by his many artist friends. Correspondence often bears notes made by Bransom about the correspondent. Further documentation of Bransom's career is found in Notes and Writings, including narrative writings and lists of artwork and contacts; and in Personal Business Records, which contain records of transactions with various clients and galleries, as well as bibliographies of works illustrated by Bransom, and an art inventory created posthumously by Mario Cesar Romero.
Printed materials include exhibition records, which are often annotated, and copies of Bransom's illustrations and cartoons as they appeared in print. Also found are clippings about Bransom and other artists he knew; newsletters, pamphlets, and other materials related to organizations with which he was involved; and a copy of his book on animal drawing technique. Photographs depict Bransom, his childhood and family, homes and studios, friends, travels, and other events. Many of the photographs bear identifications by Bransom. The collection has a voluminous Artwork series, which includes two sketchbooks and hundreds of original sketches, drawings, and designs by Bransom, as well as a series of prints and original artwork by others.
The material on reel D254 was lent for microfilming in 1966, portions of which were subsequently donated along with additional papers by Bransom between 1972 and 1975, and by his nephew's wife, Althea Bond, in 1980. Mario Cesar Romero, identified by an AAA collector as the "Curator of the Bransom collection" and creator of an inventory of Bransom's artwork, donated additional materials to the Archives in 1983 and 1986, including printed materials, photographs, correspondence, records from the artwork inventory project, and scrapbooks. In 1985, James Zayicek donated 11 sketches and eight greeting cards via Helen Ireland Hays, a writer and a noted friend of Bransom's.
Separated Material
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of 17 items lent for microfilming (reel D254). Some of this material was later donated to the Archives, portions of which were then transferred to the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library and are available in their vertical file on Bransom. Loaned material is not described in this finding aid.
Related Material
The Archives of American Art holds the Helen Ireland Hays papers related to Paul Bransom, which contains 36 audio cassette recordings of Hays interviewing Bransom, among other materials. The Special Collections Division of the Stewart Library at Weber State College in Ogden, Utah holds the Paul Bransom Collection, a collection containing artwork, books from Bransom's personal library, manuscript material and photographs donated by Bransom in 1972 and 1974.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Processing Information
The bulk of the current collection was donated to the Archives in a series of 13 separate accessions between 1972 and 1986. 17 items were loaned by Paul Bransom to the Archives in 1966 and microfilmed on reel D254. Most of this loan was included in the later gifts. All of the accessions were integrated and the collection was fully processed and described by Megan McShea in 2006, and digitized, with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.