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Zorach family papers, 1900-1987

Zorach family papers, 1900-1987

Zorach family

Collection Information

Size: 4.4 linear ft.

Biographical/Historical Note

William Zorach (1887-1966) was a sculptor and painter from New York, N.Y. Marguerite (1887-1968) was a painter and weaver. Their daughter, Dahlov, is a painter and multi-media artist. Their son, Tessim, is a collector and art dealer. William Zorach was born in Eurburg, Lithuania, and immigrated to Ohio during his childhood. His surname at this time was Finkelstein. He worked in a lithographic plant in Cleveland before studying art in Paris, where he met Marguerite Thompson, a native of California. They were married in 1912 and returned to the United States. William continued his studies in New York, and taught at the Art Students League. Following the birth of a son, Tessim, and a daughter, Dahlov, Marguerite began creating embroidered tapestries in addition to her paintings. In 1923, the Zorachs bought property in Robinhood, Maine, and spent winters at a studio in Brooklyn, N.Y.


Tessim Zorach donated the Zorach Family papers to the Archives of American Art in 1982.

Related Materials

The Archives of American Art holds the Dahlov Ipcar papers, 1906-1997. Also found is one oral history interview with William Zorach conducted by by John D. Morse on April 2, 1959 and an oral history interview with Dahlov Ipcar conducted by Robert F. Brown on November 13, 1979.

The bulk of William Zorach's papers are held by the Library of Congress.


Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Location of Originals

  • Reels NY59/1-4 and NY59/19: Originals returned to William Zorach after microfilming; probably now in the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division.

Scope and Contents

The Zorach Family papers measure 4.4 linear feet and consist of materials relating to the lives and careers of sculptor and painter William Zorach, his wife painter and weaver Marguerite, and their children, painter and multi-media artist Dahlov Ipcar and collector and art dealer Tessim Zorach. The bulk of the papers consists of letters to Tessim regarding his parent's artwork. Additional materials include scattered letters to William Zorach; writings and notes by William, Marguerite, and Tessim; a sketchbook and drawings by William; prints by Marguerite; Marguerite's scrapbook; printed materials; and photographs of the Zorach family and of William Zorach in his studio and at work.

The majority of correspondence is between Tessim Zorach and various museums and galleries concerning exhibitions and donations of his parents' works of art. There are scattered letters to William Zorach among the correspondence. Business records consist of materials relating to the Collection of the Zorach Children, including lists of works of art by the Zorach's, a file relating to an exhibition of Zorach artwork at the Brooklyn Museum, and photographs of works of art considered for donation.

Writings and Notes include a typescript of an article written by Marguerite Zorach, writings by William Zorach, a typescript of "Young Poems," by William and Marguerite, as well as articles written by others about the Zorachs. Artwork by Marguerite Zorach includes two prints and a tracing. Also found is one sketchbook, and additional drawings by William Zorach. There is one unsigned lithograph.

The majority of exhibition announcements, catalogs, and clippings concern William and Marguerite Zorach although there are two announcements for Dahlov Ipcar. There is one scrapbook of clippings about Marguerite.

The papers include photographs of Marguerite and William Zorach, their parents, baby photos of Tessim and Dahlov, family pictures of the Zorachs, and of Marguerite and William in their studios. There are several folders of William Zorach working in his studios and additional photos of him carving a relief sculpture and a sculpture for the Southwest Bank. Most of these photographs contain detailed annotations written by William Zorach about the work. There is one folder of photographs of William in France in 1910-1911, including one of Zorach in Roy Partridge's studio. There is one photograph of Zorach taken by Ansel Adams in Yosemite, and several taken by Imogen Cunnigham.

Other photographs are of works of art, most of which depict William's works.

Artifacts include Marguerite's batik tools and approximately fifty commercially made printing blocks.

The collection is available on microfilm reels 4957-4961 at Archives of American Art offices, and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the order of the collection on microfilm may not match the order of the originals as described in the finding aid.

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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