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Robert Aitken papers, circa 1900-1960

Robert Aitken papers, circa 1900-1960

Aitken, Robert Ingersoll, 1878-1949

Sculptor

Collection Information

Size: 0.5 linear feet

Summary: The papers of California-born sculptor Robert Aitken measure 0.5 linear feet and date from circa 1900-1960. The collection primarily consists of photographs of Aitken in his studio and photographs of his sculpture including fountain figures, mausoleum doors, medallions, reliefs, and portrait busts. Also found is a photograph of Theodore Roosevelt at the dedication of the Navy Monument in Union Square, San Francisco, in 1902. The collection also includes one 1904 letter from Benjamin Wheeler to Robert Aitken thanking Aitken for a bust of George Washington, and scattered clippings and postcards reproducing works of art by Aitken.

Biographical/Historical Note

Sculptor Robert Aitken (1878-1949) was born in San Francisco, California, and taught at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art from 1901-1904.

Provenance

The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in November 1973.

Funding

Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

A Finding Aid to the Robert Aitken Papers, circa 1900-1960, in the Archives of American Art
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Author
Finding aid prepared by Stephanie L. Ashley
Biographical/Historical note
Noted sculptor Robert Aitken (1878-1949) was born in San Francisco, California, and taught at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art from 1901-1904. He studied in Paris in 1897 and from 1904-1907, and then settled in New York City where he spent most of his career teaching at the National Academy of Design.
He completed numerous sculpture commissions including portrait busts, medallions and coins, reliefs, and fountain figures. His works include the "Fountain of Earth" for San Francisco's Panama Pacific Exposition, the Navy Monument in San Francisco's Union Square, doors for the Greenhut and John W. Gates Mausoleums in New York, several military sculptures at West Point, and Guardian Figures at the National Archives building and the West Pediment of the United States Supreme Court building, both in Washington D. C.
Aitken was a member of the National Academy of Design, the National Arts Club, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the National Sculpture Society and the New York Architectural League.
Arrangement note
Due to the small size of this collection the papers are arranged as one series.
Series 1: Robert Aitken Papers, circa 1900-1960
Scope and Contents note
The papers of California-born sculptor Robert Aitken measure 0.5 linear feet and date from circa 1900-1960. The collection primarily consists of photographs of Aitken in his studio and photographs of his sculpture including fountain figures, mausoleum doors, medallions, reliefs, and portrait busts. Also found is a photograph of Theodore Roosevelt at the dedication of the Navy Monument in Union Square, San Francisco, in 1902. The collection also includes one 1904 letter from Benjamin Wheeler to Robert Aitken thanking Aitken for a bust of George Washington, and scattered clippings and postcards reproducing works of art by Aitken.
Some of the photographs are silver gelatin and gold toned silver gelatin prints, and some were taken by noted photographer De Witt Ward.
Provenance
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in November 1973.
Processing Information note
The Robert Aitken papers were microfilmed at some point after receipt on reel 1027. The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by archivist Stephanie Ashley in 2014, with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. The Archives of American Art has implemented minimal processing tactics when possible in order to increase information about and access to more of our collections.
Minimal processing included arrangement to the series and folder level. Generally, items within folders were simply verified with folder titles but not arranged further. Folders within boxes may not be numbered. The collection was rehoused in archival containers and folders.

Additional Forms Available

This collection is also available on 35 mm microfilm reel 1027. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the collection as described in this finding aid does not reflect the order of the collection on microfilm due to reprocessing.

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

Robert Aitken papers, circa 1900-1960. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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