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Sylvia Shaw Judson papers, 1897-1981

Haskins, Sylvia Shaw Judson, 1897-1978



Collection Information

Size: 4.6 linear ft. (on 8 microfilm reels).

Summary: This collection includes biographical material, works of art, correspondence, financial and business records, travel journals, drafts of articles, notes, sketches, and clippings and photographs concerning Judson's travels, her teaching, Quaker life, and her sculpture.

Reels 1490-1495: Family and personal correspondence, primarily between Sylvia Judson and her parents, Howard and Frances Van Doren Shaw (1912-1937), and husband, Clay Judson (1917-1960), but also containing scattered letters from friends and acquaintances. Topics include her 1917 trip to China and her life in Paris (1920-1921). Business correspondence and letters discussing the Judson family estate; biographical information, including a sketch of Clay Judson; essays; lectures; manuscripts and copies of her books THE QUIET EYE and FOR GARDENS AND OTHER PLACES; SONGS OF A BABY'S DAY; subject files containing research for her books and files on the Roman Bronze Works and sculptor Mary Dyer; personal photographs and photographs of sculpture; drawings and watercolors by Judson, Howard Shaw and J. Stoyanovitch; financial records; and exhibition catalogs and announcements, clippings and other printed materials.

Reels 4189-4190: Biographical material (including eulogies, biographical sketches, and wedding vows); correspondence (1947-1981); lists of Judson's sculptures and their owners; invoices for casting and shipping sculptures; travel journals (1920-1921, 1955, 1963, 1969) documenting trips to Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, and Egypt; notes and drafts of articles on Judson's studio, travels, and Quakerism; sketchbooks and sketches; clippings concerning her garden sculpture; and photographic figure studies.

Biographical/Historical Note

Shaw, a sculptor, was the daughter of prominent architect Howard Van Doren Shaw. She studied with Albin Polasek at the Art Institute of Chicago and went to Paris in 1920 to continue her studies under Antoine Bourdelle at the Academy Grande Chaumiere. She authored THE QUIET EYE and GARDENS AND OTHER PLACES and taught sculpture at the American University in Cairo in 1963. As an adult, she joined the Society of Friends and became an active participant in the church. Died 1978.


The material microfilmed on reels 1490-1495 was initially lent to the Archives for microfilming by the artist's daughter and subsequently given as a gift. The records on reels 4189-4190 were lent to the Archives and then donated to the Chicago Historical Society.

Location of Originals

  • Reel 1490 (frames 504-1543) and Reel 1491 (frames 1-959 and 1057-1657): Originals returned to lender after microfilming.
  • Reels 4189-4190 Originals in the Chicago Historical Society.
  • Silvia Judson's letters from Paris (1920-1921) are typescripts.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

Microfilm reels 1490-1495 and 4189-4190 available at the 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

Sylvia Shaw Judson papers, 1897-1981. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.