Scope and Contents
The papers of New York sculptor Robert White measure 8.4 linear feet and 0.846 GB and date from 1889-2003, with the bulk of the material from 1915-2003. The collection documents White's varied career as a sculptor, educator, painter, and illustrator through biographical material; extensive correspondence; project files; personal business records; notes and writings; sketchbooks and sketches by Robert White and others; printed and digital material; audiovisual material; artifacts; and photographs.
Scattered biographical materials include a curriculum vitae, documentation relating to White's service in the U.S. Coast Guard, a certificate of appreciation, and a memorial card for White's daughter, Natalie Laura White.
Correspondence contains primarily incoming letters from family and friends, and from clients, galleries, museums, arts organizations, students, and university administrators. Spanning over a seventy year period, family and friends correspondence centers on daily activities, events, and work. There is extensive correspondence from Robert White's parents, Lawrence Grant White and Bessie Chanler White and from Claire Nicolas White and her family. Other correspondents include Gil Franklin, Walker Hancock, Jim Harrison, Susan Hobbes, Willard R. Huntington, Ben LaFarge, Ward Lamb, Suzannah Lessard, Peter Matthiessen, Walker O'Cain, Mark and Katja Oxman, Frank C. Platt, Laura Spencer Pope, Paul and Ellen Resika, Paul Russotto, Sidney Simon, and William Styron, among others.
General correspondence mostly concerns White's commissions, teaching appointments, and his activities in professional organizations. Also included are letters from family members, friends, and colleagues. Frequent correspondents include: the American Academy in Rome, Amyas Ames, the Augustus Saint Gaudens Memorial, Century Association, Theodore Cremer, Davis Galleries, Patricia Fleischmann, Hugh Fosburgh, Rebekah Harkness Kean, David Garrard Lowe, National Academy of Design, Parsons School of Design, S. Dillon Ripley, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Steuben Glass, and the Suffolk Museum and Carriage House.
Project files contain materials on Robert White's exhibitions and his commissioned projects. Materials include letters, lists of artwork, notes, price lists, receipts, exhibition schedules, contracts, and loan agreements. Files document White's exhibits at the Davis Galleries, Elaine Benson Gallery, Graham Gallery, Graham Modern, Heckscher Museum, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Included are extensive files on White's commissions for the American Battle Monuments Commission, Peabody Museum, and Steuben Glass.
Personal business records include files on Robert White's association with the Augustus Saint Gaudens Memorial and the National Academy of Design; his teaching appointments at the Parsons School of Design, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; and his dealings with foundries. There are scattered files on the Whites' St. James, New York property and residence.
Notes and writings contain Robert White's diaries, artist's statements, notebooks, essays on art, lectures, and scattered notes. Also found are writings by Clare White and others.
Sketchbooks and loose sketches contain preliminary studies by Robert White and scattered sketches by others. Printed material houses newspaper clippings and periodicals; exhibition announcements, catalogs, brochures, and posters; press releases and newsletters; and miscellaneous printed material.
Artifacts include two printing blocks: a portrait sculpture of Stephanie White and a landscape image. Audiovisual material consists of a digital audio recording of a classroom lecture by Robert White at an unidentified venue.
Photographs house images of Robert White; his studio; and snapshots of family and friends, many unidentified. Also included are photographs and slides of artwork.
The Robert W. White Papers were donated in 2003 by Claire Nicolas White, widow of Robert White.
The collection was fully processed by Joy Weiner in August 2008. Born-digital materials were processed by Kirsi Ritosalmi-Kisner in 2019 with funding provided by Smithsonian Collection Care and Preservation Fund.