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Ross and Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett papers, circa 1870-1992

Ross and Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett papers, circa 1870-1992

Moffett, Ross E., 1888-1971

Painter, Landscape painter

Collection Information

Size: 7.8 linear feet

Summary: The Ross and Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett papers measure 7.8 linear feet and date from circa 1870 to 1992. Because Dorothy Moffett's papers were received separately they are filed together in Series 13. Series 1-12 deal primarily with the life and career of Ross Moffett. The collection documents Ross Moffett's participation in the Provincetown community as an artist and resident through correspondence, photographs, sketchbooks and printed material, including published writings, news clippings, press releases, and exhibition catalogs. The papers of Dorothy Moffett include family letters, photographs, a journal and original artwork providing scattered documentation of her life and career as an a printmaker and illustrator.

General correspondence primarily focuses on news and financial affairs of the Moffett family farm in Iowa. Also included are letters from Provincetown artist, Edwin Dickinson, and a small amount of correspondence with other artists, collectors and dealers.

Files documenting specific projects that Ross Moffett was involved with are arranged separately and include correspondence, printed material and photographs. Project files have been established for the following projects: the publication of Art in Narrow Streets, the Eisenhower mural, the Cape Cod National Seashore Park and the renovation of the Center Methodist Church.

The series of printed material, 1918-1992, relates to Ross Moffett's career as an artist and his general interest in art. Photographs primarily focus on scenes of Provincetown and include photographs of works of art by Provincetown artists. Also included are photographs of artwork by Moffett arranged chronologically, Moffett's studio in Provincetown, and installations at the Provincetown Art Association Galleries.

Artwork found in Series 10 and 11 includes drawings by Ross Moffett and 85 annotated sketchbooks, including four by Dorothy Moffett.

The collection also houses research notes and files written by Josephine Couch Del Deo in preparation of a biography of Ross Moffett. These annotations provide useful additional information about Moffett's life.

Papers of Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett include Gregory family letters, Dorothy's correspondence with her father, and letters from other family and friends. Also found are drawings, lithographs and etchings by Dorothy and photographs of her family and friends.

Biographical/Historical Note

Ross E. Moffett was a painter, landscape painter and mural painter in Provincetown, Mass. Born Clearfield, Iowa. Studied with Charles Hawthorne and at the Art Institute of Chicago. Officer of the Provincetown Art Association and author of its history, "Art in Narrow Streets." His wife, Dorothy Lake Gregory, was a lithographer, painter, etcher, and illustrator; Provincetown, Mass. She studied with Charles Hawthorne and at Pratt Institute, the Art Student's League and in Paris and Munich.

Provenance

Material on reel D80 lent for microfilming 1962 by Ross Moffett. Remainder donated 1974 by his widow, Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett (died 1975), via Ross Moffett's biographer, Josephine Del Deo, who turned them over in installments. Funding for the processing and microfilming of material on reels 4924-29 was provided by a grant from the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation, Boston, Mass. Archaeological material and artifacts received with the papers were donated to the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology, Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass.

Related Materials

In addition to the papers donated to the Archives of American Art a loan was received in 1962 and microfilmed on reel D80. The loan includes 150 letters relating to art organizations and museums; letters relating to government art projects; news clippings; records of the Provincetown Art Association and the Emergency Committee for the Protection of Province Lands; and miscellaneous publications.

Location of Originals

  • Reel D80: Originals in Syracuse University, New York.

A Finding Aid to the Ross and Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett Papers,
circa 1870-1992
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.moffross
Biographical Note
Ross Moffett (1888-1971) was an important figure in the development of modernism in American Art after World War I. His paintings primarily depict the life and landscapes of the Provincetown, Massachusetts area. Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett is perhaps best known as a printmaker and illustrator of children's books and magazines.
Born in Iowa in 1888, Moffett trained at the Art Institute in Chicago and studied with Charles Hawthorne during the summer of 1913, in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Moffett then studied at the Art Students League and returned to Provincetown in 1915, to establish himself as an artist. He was one of the founders of the Provincetown Art Association and a leading figure in the art colony for many years. In 1920, Moffett married artist Dorothy Lake Gregory in Brooklyn, New York. Dorothy studied at the Pratt Institute and with Robert Henri and George Bellows in New York, and then went to Provincetown to study with Hawthorne as well.
During the 1920's and 1930's, Ross Moffett's success increased steadily and he had his first one-man show at the Frank Rehn Gallery in New York and also at The Art Institute of Chicago in 1928. He served on several exhibition juries around the country during this time. Between 1936 and 1938, Moffett painted four murals in two Massachusetts post offices for the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). Moffett received full membership to the National Academy of Design in 1942.
While Moffett's painting slowed somewhat during World War II he continued his involvement in the arts by maintaining the Provincetown Art Association. He taught briefly at the University of Miami in Ohio from 1932 to 1933, and returned to Provincetown to pursue painting full-time. In the 1950's, Moffett became interested in archaeology and even delivered a few lectures on the subject. During this time he continued to paint and his art reflected his preoccupation with the science of archaeology. In 1954, Moffett was one of two artists selected by the National Academy of Design to paint murals depicting President Dwight D. Eisenhower's life for the Eisenhower Memorial Museum in Abilene, Kansas. Moffett was chosen to portray Eisenhower's civilian life.
In 1960, Moffett became active in the movement to establish the 1400 acres known as the Province Lands as part of the Cape Cod National Seashore Park. After the park was established Moffett wrote and published a history of the first thirty-three years of the Provincetown Art Association in a book titled
Art in Narrow Streets,
1964. He continued to serve as a juror for the Provincetown Art Association and was artist-in-residence for the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center in 1970.
Dorothy Moffett also pursued a successful career in art, and publishers such as Rand McNally used her illustrations for youth magazines and childrens books, such as the classic
Green Fairy Book
. Her work was exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum, the National Academy, and the Brooklyn Museum, and her
Alice in Wonderland
series of lithographs was purchased for the permanent collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Though best known as a printmaker, Moffett also worked in oil.
Ross Moffett died of cancer on March 13, 1971.
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into thirteen series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1888-1965 (box 1; 1 folder)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1915-1972 (box 1; 0.6 linear ft)
Series 3: Financial Material, 1933-1971 (box 1; 2 folders)
Series 4: Notebook/Notes, undated (box 1; 2 folders)
Series 5: Projects, 1880-1969, undated (boxes 1-2; 1.2 linear ft.)
Series 6: Subject File, 1960-1968 (box 2; 1 folder)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1916-1992, undated (boxes 2-4, 7; 1.5 linear ft.)
Series 8: Photographs, circa 1900-1975, undated (box 4; 15 folders)
Series 9: Slides of Art Association, Iowa Farmland and the Chrysler Museum, circa 1960, undated (box 4; 1 folder)
Series 10: Drawings, circa 1929-1934 (box 5; 1 folder)
Series 11: Sketchbooks, 1913-1969 (boxes 5-8; 2.5 linear ft.)
Series 12: Annotations/Item Descriptions by Josephine Couch Del Deo, undated (box 6; 2 folders)
Series 13: Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett Papers, circa 1870-1975 (boxes 9-11; 0.7 linear ft.)
Provenance
Material on reel D80 lent for microfilming 1962 by Ross Moffett. Remainder donated 1974 by his widow, Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett (died 1975), via Ross Moffett's biographer, Josephine Del Deo, who turned them over in installments. Funding for the processing and microfilming of material on reels 4924-29 was provided by a grant from the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation, Boston, Mass. Archaeological material and artifacts received with the papers were donated to the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology, Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass.
Location of Originals
  • Reel D80: Originals in Syracuse University, New York.
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Jill Lundin in 1994 and J. Tallone in 1996. Funding for the processing and microfilming of material on reels 4924-4929 was provided by a grant from the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation, Boston, Massachusetts.

Additional Forms Available

The collection is available on microfilm reels 4924-4929, 5044, and D80. The microfilm is available for interlibrary loan.

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

Ross and Dorothy Lake Gregory Moffett papers, circa 1870-1992. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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