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Reginald Gammon papers, 1927-2007, bulk 1960-2005

Reginald Gammon papers, 1927-2007, bulk 1960-2005

Gammon, Reginald A. (Reginald Adolphus), 1921-2005

Painter, Educator

This site provides access to the papers of Reginald A. (Reginald Adolphus) Gammon in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2017, and total 2,258 images.

Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by The Walton Family Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 2.4 linear feet

Summary: The papers of African American painter, printmaker, and educator Reginald Gammon measure 2.4 linear feet and date from 1927 to 2007, with bulk of the materials dating from 1960-2005. The collection consists of scattered biographical materials, including video and sound recordings of interviews; correspondence with artists, galleries, organizations, and museums; writings and notebooks; teaching files; printed materials; photographic material; and artwork in the form of sketches, drawings, and paint sketches.

Biographical/Historical Note

Reginald A. Gammon (1921-2005) was a painter and art educator, working in New York City, Michigan, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Gammon was a founding member of Spiral, an African American artist's collective and member of the New Mexico Afro-American Artist Guild. Gammon also taught in the New York public schools and at Western Michigan University.

Provenance

The collection was donated in 2007 and 2008 by Janice Gammon, Gammon's widow.

Funding

Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by The Walton Family Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

A Finding Aid to the Reginald Gammon Papers, 1927-2007, bulk 1960-2005, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.gammreg
Author
Finding aid prepared by Dominique Luster and Rihoko Ueno
Biographical/Historical note
Reginald A. Gammon (1921-2005) was a painter and art educator who worked in New York City, Michigan, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was a member of Spiral, an African American artist's collective based in New York City, as well as a member of the New Mexico Afro-American Artist Guild. He taught in the New York public schools and at Western Michigan University.
Gammon was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1941, he received a scholarship to study art at the Philadelphia Museum College of Arts (then the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Arts) and the following summer worked in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard refurbishing battleships for the war effort. While working, he also attended school at night. He was drafted and served in the Navy from 1944-1946 with an African-American unit stationed in Guam. He lived in Philadelphia briefly after the war and moved to New York City in 1948. During his early years in New York City, Gammon worked at various jobs such as sorting mail for the post office and designing advertising copy. Around this time, he first met his future wife Janice Goldberger whom he married in 1972.
In 1963, Gammon was invited to join Spiral, a group of African American artists which included Charles Alston, Romare Bearden, Alvin Hollingsworth, Norman Lewis, Richard Mayhew, and Hale Woodruff. As a member of this group, Gammon participated in the 1965 exhibition
First Group Showing: Works in Black and White
. Spiral disbanded later that same year. In 1969, Gammon and Benny Andrews formed the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition. This politically active group of artists picketed the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of Modern Art to protest the exclusion of black artists and curators.
Gammon also taught at the Saturday Academy Program for New York public schools. He set up an informal studio so that children from Harlem could work with resident artists. This position and a recommendation from Hughie Lee-Smith led to an offer from Western Michigan University for a visiting lectureship that turned into a full-time teaching position in which Gammon served until 1991, when he retired as Full Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts and Humanities.
After his retirement from Western Michigan University, Gammon and his wife moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico and he became involved in the New Mexico Afro-American Artist Guild and the Albuquerque United Artists, among other civic organizations. He regularly participated in exhibitions and art fairs sponsored by the Guild and served as their treasurer from 1999 until his death. He was artist-in-residence from 1992-2005 at the Harwood Art Center where he also maintained a studio.
Gammon was also one of the founding members of the New Grounds Print Workshop, where he completed his final collection of artworks - a collection of over 100 prints of historically significant gospel singers and jazz musicians. Gammon died on November 4, 2005.
Significant portions of this biographical note were copied from a brief biographical essay written by Janet Yagoda Shagam, Ph.D. found at http://www.reggiegammon.com/index.html (2017/03/16).
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 7 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1936-2006 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1, 3)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1964-2005 (0.8 linear feet; Box 1-3)
Series 3: Writings and Notebooks, 1948-circa 2000 (0.1 linear feet; Box 2)
Series 4: Teaching Files, 1969-1991 (0.1 linear feet; Box 2)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1955-2005 (0.4 linear feet; Box 2, OV 4)
Series 6: Photographic Material, 1927-2007 (0.2 linear feet; Box 2-3)
Series 7: Artwork, 1937-circa 1999 (0.5 linear feet; Box 2-3)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of African American painter, printmaker, and educator Reginald Gammon measure 2.4 linear feet and date from 1927 to 2007, with bulk of the materials dating from 1960-2005. The collection consists of scattered biographical materials, including video and sound recordings of interviews; correspondence with artists, galleries, organizations, and museums; writings and notebooks; teaching files; printed materials; photographic material; and artwork in the form of sketches, drawings, and paint sketches.
Biographical materials include Gammon's academic records and diplomas, certificates, military records, an address book, and information about his memorial service. There is a folder on The Spiral Group which includes an exhibition catalog and photographs. There are four interviews and possibly one home movie found on two video recordings (DVD) and two sound recordings (CD and sound cassette).
Approximately one-half of the collection consists of correspondence with other artists, museums, galleries and arts organizations. Correspondents include Benny Andrews, Romare Bearden, Vivian Browne, Thomas Frey, Joseph Greenberg, Harwood Art Center, Patrick King, Hughie Lee-Smith, Midtown Galleries, National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center, New Mexico African American Artists Guild, Harvey Overton, Schomberg Center, Smithsonian Institution's Anacostia Museum, Western Michigan University, and Jonathan Wynberg, among many others.
Writings by Gammon consists of essays, a research proposal, notes, grant applications, and notebooks wherein Gammon jotted down thoughts and drafted letters.
Teaching files are related to Reginald Gammon's tenure at Western Michigan University. There are teaching certifications, lecture notes, one sound recording (sound cassette) of a lecture, student recommendations, and grade books, among other items.
Printed materials primarily consist of exhibition catalogs and announcements, including the catalog
Ida Y Vuelta
on Gammon's 1998 exhibition in Rodez, France. Other materials found in this series are clippings that feature Gammon and his work, periodicals, posters designed by Gammon, and source materials related to jazz. and limited subject files.
Photographic materials include prints, slides, and negatives depicting Reginald Gammon and his artwork, friends and family, and various studios and events. One electronic disc (CD) contains images of artwork.
Artwork includes pencil and ink sketches, drawings, and paint sketches. The series also contains storyboards for children's books as well as mockups for advertisements.
Provenance
The collection was donated in 2007 and 2008 by Janice Gammon, Gammon's widow.
Processing Information note
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid created in 2014 by intern Dominique Luster. The collection was fully processed and prepared for digitization by Rihoko Ueno in 2017 with funding provided by The Walton Family Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Additional Forms Available

The bulk of the collection was digitized in 2016 and is available on the Archives of American Art's website. Materials not digitized include blank pages, blank versos of photographs, and duplicates. In some cases, exhibition catalogs and other publications have had their covers, title pages, and relevant pages scanned. Additional digital content, such as electronic records and digital user copies of sound and video recordings, may also be available for use at Archives of American Art offices.

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. Use of archival audiovisual recordings and electronic records with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

How to Cite This Collection

Reginald Gammon papers, 1927-2007, bulk 1960-2005. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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