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Winslow Ames papers, 1787-1989, bulk 1960-1979

Ames, Winslow, 1907-1990

Museum director, Collector, Art historian


Collection Information

Size: 929 Items, (on 5 microfilm reels); 11 Linear feet, Unmicrofilmed

Summary: Correspondence; research material; writings; diaries; family papers; and printed material.
REEL NAM: The Mastery of Drawing, an English translation revised and brought up to date by Winslow Ames, of Joseph Meder's Die Handzeichnung; ihre Technik und Entwicklung, 1923.
REELS 1428-1429: Three diaries, 1940-1942; correspondence, 1931-1978; writings; and printed material. Among the correspondents are Leonard Baskin, Kenneth Clark, Krick Hawkins, Hans Huth, William Ivins, Jr., Walt Killam, Lincoln Kirstein, Gaston Lachaise, Agnes Mongan, Nelson Rockefeller, Michael E. Sadler, Meyer Schapiro, Wolfgang Stechow, Francis Henry Taylor and William Zorach.
REEL 3134: Correspondence, 1934-1959, (16 items) regarding Gaston Lachaise's "Standing Woman" and its purchase by the Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.C. Included are 3 letters from Lachaise to Ames, 1934, one containing a sketch and description of the statue.
REEL 3768: Annotated photographs of a silver sugar basket designed by Arthur J. Stone. The basket was a wedding gift to Ames' grandparents, Katharine Milicent Ames and Edward Winslow Ames in 1905. The photographs were taken by Todd Studios of St. Louis, Mo., 1983-1984.
UNMICROFILMED: Papers, 1787-1989, mainly documenting Ames' writing and research projects, as well as family papers and professional correspondence, and Ames' personal library. Correspondence relates to his work as an appraiser, his activities in the Drawing Society and the Victorian Society, and general professional activites. Among the correspondents are Lincoln Kirstein, Michael E.Sadler, Agnes Mongan, Hubert Humphrey, and Senator Claiborne Pell. Research material consists primarily of photographs of art work and decorative art and some printed material. Writings (5 ft.) consist of Ames' addresses and lectures, articles, reviews, books, his autobiography (unpublished), and fiction; 2 ft. relates to his never published book, American Taste. Included also are material relating to his books The Mastery of Drawing (1978) and Prince Albert and Victorian Taste (1968). Family papers consists mainly of correspondence, among which is a 1787 letter from a distant relative and journals, 1869-1906, kept by Elizabeth Winthrop Ames during her travels throughout the western U.S.; also found are biographical materials and papers relating to Ames' volunteer work during 1945-56 for the Quaker Transport.

Biographical/Historical Note

Museum director, art and architecture historian, collector, connoisseur of drawings; b. 1907; d. 1990.


Material on reels NAM and 1428-1429 lent for microfilming 1978 by Winslow Ames; he donated the remaining microfilmed material 1977-1984. The unfilmed papers were donated in 1996 by Ames' daughter, Alison Ames.

Language Note

English .

Location of Originals

  • Reels NAM, 1428-1429: Originals returned to Winslow Ames after microfilming.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reels NAM, 1428-1429, 3134, and 3768 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

Winslow Ames papers, 1787-1989, bulk 1960-1979. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.