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Sherman E. Lee papers, 1947-1997

Sherman E. Lee papers, 1947-1997

Lee, Sherman E., 1918-2008

Museum director, Author

Collection Information

Size: 10.3 linear feet

Biographical/Historical Note

Sherman Emery Lee (1918-2008) was an recognized expert on Asian art and director of the Cleveland Museum of Art from 1958-1983. Lee's career has included positions as an author, curator, professor, and consultant of Chinese and Japanese art. In 1952, he joined the Cleveland Museum of Art as a curator of Oriental art, following jobs at the Detroit Institute of Art and the Seattle Art Museum. He served in the Navy during WWII and from 1946 to 1948 he was Advisor on Arts and Monuments at General MacArthur's headquarters in Tokyo. He has written many books, including, "Chinese Landscape Painting" (1954), "A History of Far Eastern Art" (1964), and "The Genius of Japanese Design" (1981).


Donated 1997 by Sherman Lee.

Scope and Contents

The papers of Cleveland museum director and art historian Sherman E. Lee measure 10.3 linear feet and date from 1947-1997. The records document Lee's extensive career as an art historian, curator and expert on Asian art, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art, writer, educator, and consultant. His papers include scattered biographical materials, correspondence, writings, travel files, committees and organizations files, consulting files, teaching files, personal business records, printed material, photographs, and one pencil drawing.

Correspondence is with friends, scholars, editors, collectors, dealers, art societies and organizations, and other museums. Writings consist of articles, lectures, book reviews by Lee, and scattered writings by others. Writing project files contain correspondence with publishers, contracts, and printed material relating to the publication of Lee's writings. Travel files document numerous trips to Asian and European countries and include travel diaries, photographs, and lists of works of art viewed. There are files concerning Lee's membership and involvement with various committees, museums, and arts organizations. Consulting files mostly focus on Lee's work advising John D. Rockefeller III on the purchase of art, and with the Permanent Public Areas Advisory Committee of Cleveland, Ohio. Teaching files document classes he taught at Case Western Reserve and Harvard. Personal business records mostly concern Lee's personal art collection. Also found among the papers are general clippings, photographs of Lee and of artwork, and one pencil drawing.

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

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