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Carl Zigrosser Collection

Identifier: CZC

Scope and Contents

This collection consists primarily of the materials Carl Zigrosser began to compile in 1942 about American artists, which he called the Archives of American Art. Comprised of correspondence, as well as photographs, signatures and other papers that Zigrosser intended for his archives as well as similar material that was added by his successors at the museum, this material makes up the first series, "Research by artist." The second series, "General Reference" consists of various materials Zigrosser did not classify specifically but decided to retain. Most of the material is now arranged by genre, with periodicals comprising the bulk of the group. The "Writings" series consists of only a few of the articles Zigrosser published. The last series is "Memorabilia" and consists of three items.

The following additional description is copied from the Archives of American Art.

Summary: Correspondence, printed material, writings, and other personal papers collected by Carl Zigrosser and Leila Mechlin and later added to by others, all relating to American art.

REELS P10-P11 and P14: Letters to Leila Mechlin, Henry Schnakenberg and Hudson Walker. Correspondents include Robert Abbe, John Taylor Arms, Cecelia Beaux, Paul Bartlett, Gifford Beal, Paul Cadmus, Charles Curran, Royal Cortissoz, Kenyon Cox, Philip Evergood, John David Graham, Reginald Marsh, Joseph Pennell, John Sloan and many others. Some letters include printed material and photographs. Mechlin material includes writings, photographs and letters from Mary Augusta Mullikin describing her life and travels in China, 1933. Also included are letters from Adolph Dehn and Jose de Creeft to Juliana Force; from Ernest Haskell and Kenneth Hayes Miller to Carl Zigrosser; miscellaneous letters from Marc Chagall, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Louis Eilshemius and Childe Hassam; an autobiography of William Sartain; and material on Thomas Eakins, including letters, a list of expenses, 1867, and motion study material,including writings, sketches and photographs taken with a camera invented by Eakins.

REEL 4547: Charles Burchfield letters; Susan and Thomas Eakins material; Jacques Lipchitz correspondence; Henry McCarter letters; and Carl Zigrosser correspondence. The Burchfield letters consist of 41 items, 1929-1947, from Burchfield regarding exhibitions, sales, and his paintings. The Eakins material includes letters from Susan Eakins to the Milch Galleries, 1933-1935, regarding the sale of Thomas Eakins' work, receipts from the Milch Galleries, Thomas' expense book, ca. 1866, for daily living in Paris and Switzerland and an autographed account of expenses while at school in Paris, April 12, 1867, a photograph of Susan Eakins by Carl van Vechten, a photograph of Eakins, and 71 engraved portraits from the collection of Thomas Eakins.

The Lipchitz correspondence is with R. Sturgis Ingersoll regarding Lipchitz's commission for the sculpture "Prometheus." Also included are 8 letters from Curt Valentin to Ingersoll regarding Lipchitz. The McCarter material includes 66 letters, 1933-1942, some containing sketches, from McCarter to Mrs. George B. Roberts regarding paintings, frames, exhibitions, and offering painting advice. The Zigrosser correspondence is regarding the purchase of prints from the regional projects of the WPA for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and later included in the exhibition "Between Two Wars" at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Included are invoices and inventories of the prints from the various offices.


  • 1866-1968


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Carl Zigrosser Collection is the physical property of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. The Museum holds literary rights only for material created by Museum personnel or given to the Museum with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication and for other purposes where stated.

Biographical / Historical

In 1942 Carl Zigrosser began a collection of artists' letters, papers, signatures and photographs here at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He called this the Archives of American Art. In the 1950s the Smithsonian Institution organized a national collection of microfilmed American artists' papers and also called it the Archives of American Art. In 1954 the Smithsonian microfilmed much of Zigrosser's collection to add to their microfilms. Zigrosser acquired the Leila Mechlin and Henry Schnakenberg collections. Later, Kneeland McNulty also added material to the PMA Collection. Previously maintained in the Print Department, the CZC collection is now in the Archives, indexed and arranged alphabetically by artist.


13 linear feet

Language of Materials



This collection consists primarily of the materials Carl Zigrosser began to compile in 1942 about American artists, which he called the Archives of American Art.

Custodial History

Greeting cards and postcards were transferred from the Prints, Drawings and Photographs Department in 2006.

Existence and Location of Copies

Much of the correspondence was microfilmed by the American Archives of Art in 1954. Copies are available for use in the museum's Library.

Processing Information

These materials were arranged and described by Merle Chamberlain and Louise F. Rossmassler in 1987. Revised by Bertha Adams in 2007. Funded by a grant from The Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation.


Guide to the Carl Zigrosser Collection
Finding aid prepared by Merle Chamberlain and Louise F. Rossmassler in 1987. Revised by Bertha Adams in 2007.
1987, 2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Funded by a grant from The Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation

Repository Details

Part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library and Archives Repository

Philadelphia Museum of Art
PO Box 7646
Philadelphia PA 19101-7646 United States