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Raymond Saroff papers, 1953-2009

Raymond Saroff papers, 1953-2009

Saroff, Raymond, 1922-

Collector, Filmmaker

Collection Information

Size: 2.0 linear feet

Summary: The Raymond Saroff papers are dated 1953-2009 and comprise 0.8 linear feet. Letters, printed material, and photographs compiled by Saroff document his interest in Oldenburg and "Happenings." Also included are a videotape of Saroff's film, Claes Oldenburg's "Ray Gun Theater - 1962" and receipts for artwork purchased for his modern art collection that contained a sculpture by Oldenburg.

An addition of 1.0 linear feet donated 2014 includes letters, writings, financial records, photographs and printed material relating to Raymond Saroff's career as a filmmaker and art collector.

Biographical/Historical Note

Raymond Saroff (1922- ) is a filmmaker and art collector in New York, N.Y. Saroff filmed Claes Oldenburg's performance "Ray Gun Theater" in 1962 (a series of ten 'Happenings' in a store on East Second Street in New York City).


Donated 2010 and 2014 by Raymond Saroff.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Raymond Saroff papers, 1953-2009, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical Note
Raymond Saroff (b. 1922), a resident of New York City, is a filmmaker and collector of both modern and folk art. Saroff pursued his interest in American folk art with his partner, Howard Rose, a scholar and art collector. In 1960, Saroff purchased
, a paper maché sculpture by Claes Oldenburg. Around the same time, he became interested in "Happenings." Using borrowed equipment, Saroff filmed a series of 1962 "Happenings" known as "Ray Gun Theater" that Oldenburg presented to small audiences in a storefront on East Second Street, New York City.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged in 2 series:
Series 1: Raymond Saroff papers concerning Claes Oldenburg, 1953-2009 (Box 1; 0.5 linear feet)
Series 2: Addition to the Raymond Saroff papers, 1960-2009 (Boxes 1-2; 0.7 linear feet)
Donated 2010 and 2014 by Raymond Saroff.
Processing Information
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Margot Chandler in 2011. The 2014 addition was processed to a minimal level and the finding aid updated by Rachel Salzmann in 2015.

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

Raymond Saroff papers, 1953-2009. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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