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Richard Dempsey papers, 1929-1989, bulk 1960s-1980s

Contents and Arrangement

The collection is arranged as seven series.

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  • 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.

Series 1: Biographical Material , 1930-1987
0.2 Linear feet
Box 1

Biographical material includes employment records from Dempsey's time working at the Federal Power Commission, the General Services Administration (GSA), and inquiries related to teaching positions. The series also includes materials from courses he taught and resumes, choronologies, and biography information, possibly produced by or for galleries preceding exhibitions. There are some business and membership records, though this material appears elsewhere in the collection as well. Also included in this series are compiled personal papers. These materials may have originally been arranged in scrapbooks, but are no longer bound. They remain in the original order and are within the series in general chronological order. The final folder in this series includes materials related to Vonja Kirkland Brooks, Richard Dempsey's wife, and the donor of this collection.
Description Container Select
Employment records, 1930-1952, 1962-1974, undated
1
1-2
Business records, 1955-1956, 1984-1985
1
3
Memberships and organizations, 1959-1975
1
4
Corcoran course materials, 1965-1966
1
5
Corcoran School of Art tour of Jamaica, 1968
1
6
Resumes and biography, undated, 1981, 1987
1
7
Compiled personal papers, 1938-1946
1
8
Compiled personal papers, 1950, 1959
1
9
Compiled personal papers, 1951
1
10
Compiled personal papers, 1953
1
11
Vonja Kirkland Brooks, 1983
1
12

Series 2: Correspondence , 1938-1985
0.2 Linear feet
Box 1

This series includes correspondence between Dempsey and friends, other artists, galleries, museums curators, art program directors, etc. primarily concerning exhibitions of Dempsey's work. Notable correspondents include Jack Perlmutter, Ethel Waters, a nd Jacob Lawrence. Personal and professional correspondence are intermingled throughout. Researchers should note that additional correspondence can be found throughout the collection, particularly in the biographical material and in some of the project and exhibition files.
This series is arranged chronologically, with undated items appearing at the end.
Description Container Select
Correspondence, 1938-1959, 1963-1985, undated
1
13-20

Series 3: Writings , 1981, undated
3 Folders

Writings include notes and drafts of lectures on subjects related to originality, ideas, and working with an agent. There are also excerpts, many copied by hand, of reviews of Dempsey's work and exhibitions. For the most part, the excerpts include the name of the original publication and the date. This series also includes two folders of poetry, all undated.
Description Container Select
Notes and excerpts, undated, 1981
1
21
Poetry, undated
1
22-23

Series 4: Project and Exhibition Files , 1929-1986
1.2 Linear feet
Boxes 1-2

Project and exhibition files include correspondence, photographs, artwork, lists, and other planning documentation, as well as exhibition announcements, clippings, and other printed material. Some files in this series may consist entirely of photographs or sketches with no other materials related to the exhibition or project. Some materials related to the Bogota, Barranquilla, and Kingston exhibitions are in Spanish.
This series is arranged in loose chronological order by project/exhibition. General project/exhibition files follow and are also arranged chronologically.
Description Container Select
"Retrospective exhibitions", 1931-1985
1
24
"Retrospective exhibitions" - photographs, 1933-1965
1
25
"Early artworks 1939-1941, Into Abstraction", 1940-1941, undated
1
26-27
Rosenwald Fellowship - photographs, 1942-1948, undated
1
28-30
Rosenwald Fellowship and other activities - 1940s-1950s, 1942-1956
1
31-32
Recent paintings, 1959
1
33
Bogota, Barranquilla, and Kingston exhibitions, 1962-1963, undated
2
1-3
Franz Bader group show - photographs, circa 1964
2
4-5
Art in the Embassies Program, 1964-1974, 1981-1985, undated
2
6-8
Paintings on loan to Adam Clayton Powell and the Education and Labor Committee, 1966
2
9
1967-1968 exhibitions and activities, 1967-1968
2
10
1960s exhibitions, 1960s
2
11
Focus on Jamaica 1974 Bader exhibition sponsored by Ambassador Fletcher, 1974
2
12
Army art project, 1974-1975, undated
2
13-14
Nyangoma's Gallery and retrospective, 1981, undated
2
15
Gallery 1221, Inc., 1982-1983
2
16
Richard Dempsey, Recent Paintings exhibition, Franz Bader Gallery, 1983
2
17
Glen Echo Yurt artist in residence program, 1983-1984
2
18
Tel Gallery exhibition - photographs, 1983-1984
2
19
Evans-Tibbs Gallery - photographs, 1985
2
20
"Africa-Goree Island & the New World," Howard University - photographs, 1986
2
21
Assorted exhibitions, 1959-1985
2
22
Projects, exhibitions, and activities - 1930s-1950s, 1929-1954
2
23-25
Projects, exhibitions, and activities - 1940s-1950s, 1937-1957, 1968
2
26-30

Series 5: Printed Material , 1930s-1989
0.4 Linear feet
Boxes 2-3, OV 5

Printed material includes auction catalogs, clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, press releases, and materials created by and for the General Services Administration (GSA). Researchers should note that clippings and exhibition announcements and catalogs can also be found in other parts of the collection, particularly in biographical material and project and exhibition files.
Materials in this series are arranged chronologically by type.
Description Container Select
Art auctions - printed material, 1981-1985
2
31
Clippings, 1940s-1987, undated
2
32-38
Exhibition announcements and catalogs, 1940s-1954
2
39-40
Exhibition announcements and catalogs, 1956-1989, undated
3
1-6
Press releases, 1966-1985
3
7
General Services Administration materials, 1950s
Oversized material housed in OV5.
3
8
Assorted printed materials, 1930s, 1957-1985, undated
3
9
Oversized Exhibition posters, 1974, 1981, 1983, undated
OV 5
Oversized General Services Administration organization chart, 1951
OV 5
Oversized General Services Administration posters, 1952-1954
OV 5

Series 6: Photographic Material , 1932-1981
0.5 Linear feet
Boxes 3-4

This series consists of photographs of Dempsey's work and of his exhibitions. There are some photographs of the artist, as well as some of his home and studio. The majority of the photographs are black and white. There are four glass slides. The photographs are largely undated.
Photographs are arranged in the original goupings and in chronological order when possible.
Description Container Select
"Early Art" -photographs of works of art and people, undated
3
10
"Early Art" photographs of works of art, 1937-1946, undated
3
11-12
"Early Paintings & Sculpture 1932-1960s" - photographs of works of art, 1932-circa 1960
3
13
"Photographs of works of art - early paintings, Washington, D.C.", 1942-1944, undated
4
1
Photographs of paintings, 1960s
4
2
Photographs of works of art, 1944-1946, undated
4
3
Photographs of works of art, 1940s, undated
4
4-5
Photographs of works of art, 1950-1951, undated
4
6
Photographs of works of art, undated
4
7-10
Photographs of works of art in color, 1940-1981
4
11
Photographs of works of art and of the artist, 1944, undated
4
12
Photographs of the artist, 1951-1952, undated
4
13
Photographs of people and places, 1951, undated
4
14

Series 7: Artwork , 1965-1981
5 Folders
Box 4, OV 5

This series is primarily composed of sketches, most in pen, marker, or colored pencil. Many of these sketches are accompanied by detailed notes Dempsey made while planning his pieces. Also found is a small paintbrush.
Description Container Select
"Paintings 1960s", 1965-1969
4
15
"Ideas for paintings: drawings & sketches", 1965-1972
4
16
Recent ideas for paintings (for Bader) including Creation of the Earth, 1969-1975
4
17-18
Unidentified sketch and small paintbrush, undated
4
19
Oversized page from sketchbook with photograph of finished work, undated
OV 5
Oversized personal chronology graph, circa 1965
OV 5

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.