Lorado Taft papers

Inclusive Dates: 
1889–1939
Survey Repository: 

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

200 items (3 folders) consisting primarily letters to Chicago sculptor Lorado Taft from family and from aspiring sculptors, noted authors, committees seeking Lorado Taft's services as a lecturer, guests whom he had entertained, personal friends, and faculty colleagues. The collection includes many letters, 1909–1929, by Chicago novelist and essayist Henry Blake Fuller that give a very clear picture of Taft's activities and interests, his trips abroad, his generosity to his friends, and Fuller's appreciation of Taft's genius. Also included is a letter from Taft, dated Dec. 27, 1890, requesting the loan of Army coats to be used as models for statuary, two letters from Stark Young (1911, 1912) including a poem written in Taft’s honor, and 3 letters from Vachel Lindsay to Taft (1913, 1918, 1925).

Biographical Historical Note

Born in Elmwood, Illinois, Lorado Taft attended the University of Illinois and studied art at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1880 to 1883. Following his return to Chicago, Taft began teaching at The Art Institute of Chicago and opened his own sculpture studio. His first important commission was for sculptures in the Horticulture Building at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Taft won awards for his work there and at other expositions, both national and international. In addition to earning an international reputation for his sculptures, Taft also taught, lectured, and wrote about art history throughout his career.

Additional Notes

Related collections: Lorado Taft Collection, Edward H. Bennett Collection, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago; Lorado Taft Papers, Director William M. R. French Records, Art Institute of Chicago, Institutional Archives; Anna Morgan [Papers], Donald Robertson Papers, Alice Fordyce Photograph Collection, Julia Gerstenberg Items, Barnet Hodes Papers part 2, Charles L. Hutchinson Papers, Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission [Records], State Street Autumn Festival Photograph Collection, Chicago History Museum; Public Art Program Records, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Visual Arts Division, at the Chicago Cultural Center; Woodlawn Community Collection, Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections and Preservation Division; Municipal Reference Collection Clipping File, Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Municipal Reference Collection; Helen Balfour Morrison’s Great Americans Collection, The Morrison-Shearer Foundation; Cliff Dwellers Records, Henry Blake Fuller Papers, Newberry Library; Records of the University Guild, Northwestern University Library, University Archives; Archival Biographical File, University of Chicago Library.