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William Benton papers, 1940-1983

William Benton papers, 1940-1983

Benton, William, 1900-1973

Collector, Publisher

Collection Information

Size: 1.0 linear ft. (on 3 microfilm reels)

Summary: Correspondence; writings; notes; estate lists; contracts; photographs of works of art; exhibition catalogs; clippings; miscellaneous printed material.

Biographical/Historical Note

Art collector, politician; Chicago, Ill. Publisher of ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA, Vice-President of the University of Chicago, Congressman from Connecticut, and an avid collector of American art. Benton and Reginald Marsh were classmates and collaborated respectively as editor and illustrator for the Yale newspaper. During the Depression, Benton provided Marsh with a monthly stipend for which he received a monthly painting. When he became chairman of the board of ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA, Benton collected contemporary American painting to Americanize BRITANNICA's British image.


Material on reel 925 and 3134 donated by Benton 1968. His family donated and lent additional material 1985-1986, including originals of some letters which were originally donated as photocopies.

Location of Originals

  • Albright and Marsh sketchbooks; and Marsh letter (reel 4073, fr.1158-1266: Originals returned to the lenders, Charles and Marjorie Benton, after microfilming.

Additional Forms Available

Microfilm reels 925, 3134, and 4073 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

William Benton papers, 1940-1983. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.