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Peter Pollack papers, 1939-1979

Pollack, Peter, 1909-1978

Curator, Photographer, Author


Collection Information

Size: 6.5 Linear feet

Summary: Correspondence; photographs; writings and lecture notes; and printed material; and a scrapbook.
Circa 300 personal letters, 1945-1970, to Pollack from painter Richard Florsheim.
Files of correspondence and clippings pertaining to Pollack's career as a curator and photography historian. Most of the files concern Pollack's book "The Picture History of Photography." Other files concern Pollack's work on publications for Harry N. Abrams, Inc., the Worcester Art Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. Also included are writings and lecture notes; a few letters and clippings from scrapbooks; and miscellany. Correspondents include: Ansel Adams, Gyuia Halasz Brassai, Sylvan Cole, Julio De Diego, Helmut Gernsheim, Philippe Halsman, Dimitrios Harissiadis, Yousuf Karsh, Grace M. Mayer, and Beaumont Newhall.
Personal correspondence, 1954-1976, with Richard Florsheim discussing various career choices and projects, exhibition openings, Florsheim's art dealers, and book projects Florsheim was involved in; project files, 1948-1962, regarding Pollack's position as the New York City-based Public Relations Consultant for the Archives of American Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Guggenheim, and other institutions. Included are letters, news releases, catalogs, announcements and some photographs and clippings of such projects as the International Biennial of Prints and the AAA European art tour trip.
Also included is a scrapbook, 1939-1943, concerning exhibitions and activities of the South Side Community Art Center, Chicago, sponsored by the Illinois Art Project of the WPA-FAP and supervised by Pollack, 1938-1942. The center's purpose was to advance African American art and artists. Included are by-laws; letters from Alain Locke, and Richmond Barthe; photographs of Pollack, Jules Carlen, Horace Pippin, Eldzier Cortor, Canada Lee, Julio de Diego, Jesus Torres, and Eleanor Roosevelt at the dedication of the center, 1941; a typescript of a lecture by Daniel Catton Rich "The Art Museum and the Community Art Center," delivered at the Museum Director's conference, Detroit Institute of Arts, May 1940, newspaper clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs and other printed material.

Biographical/Historical Note

Peter Pollack (1909-1978) was a photographer, curator, historian, and writer in New York, N.Y.


Material on reels 822 and 4886-4887 donated 1974-1977 by Pollack, except for the scrapbook which was donated by Jane de Hart, an art historian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who received it from Pollack for her research on African American artists and WPA projects. Material on reels 2385-2390 was lent for microfilming in 1981 by Creilly Pollack, Pollack's widow.

Language Note

English .

Location of Originals

  • Reels 2385-2390: Originals returned to Creilly Pollack after microfilming.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reels 822, 2385-2390, and 4886-4887 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Peter Pollack papers, 1939-1979. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.