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Sheldon Cheney papers, 1915-1972

Cheney, Sheldon, 1886-1980

Author, Art historian


Collection Information

Size: 0.4 Linear feet, (on 2 microfilm reels)

Summary: Journal of a 1922 European trip and correspondence (1915-1972), notes and writings, and printed material concerning Alfred Steiglitz, New Deal art and other topics.
REEL 3947: Seventeen letters from Alfred Stieglitz (1921-1938) discuss modern art, his 291 gallery, and the artists exhibiting there. Other correspondents include Aline Barnsdall, principally writing about the theatre, Simon Lissim, Dorothy Norman, Faith Vilas and Andrew Wyeth. Additional materials consist of notes (1939), Cheney's manuscript on "Stieglitz and Modern Art", writings (ca. 1930s) including "A Brief Delivered to the WPA-Federal Theatre Project," clippings (1921-1972), exhibition announcements and catalogs (1923-1969) and miscellaneous printed material.
REEL 4283: An undated letter to Cheney from Egmont Arens, editor of PLAYBOY, inviting him to a New Year's Eve party; and a 65-page journal (January 4 - March 13, 1922) in which Cheney records his impressions of museums, art galleries, architecture, and the theater in Europe. Cheney was especially interested in the state of "modern" art and was most impressed with Berlin, Munich, and Dresden. He also visited Amsterdam, Brussels, Oxford, London, Antwerp, Paris, and several places in Italy. In addition to critiques of the museums and art he saw, the journal records conversations with collectors and museum officials. Much of this work was in preparation for his book A PRIMER OF MODERN ART, published in 1924.

Biographical/Historical Note

Art historian and writer; b. 1886; d. 1980.


The donor, John T. Cheney, is the son of Sheldon Cheney.

Related Materials

Papers of Sheldon Cheney, 1900-1980, are also located at UC Berkeley's The Bancroft Library.

Language Note

English .

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reels 3947 and 4283 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Sheldon Cheney papers, 1915-1972. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.