A Finding Aid to the Martin Birnbaum Papers, 1862-1967, bulk 1920-1967, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.birnmart
Creators:
Birnbaum, Martin, 1862-1970
Dates:
1862-1967
bulk 1920-1967
Languages:
English
Collection is in English.
Physical Description:
3.2 linear feet
Repository:
The papers of New York art dealer, critic, and author Martin Birnbaum measure 3.2 linear feet and date from 1862-1967, with the bulk of the material dating from 1920-1967. The papers document Birnbaum's association with the firm of Scott & Fowles, the lives and activities of his friends and colleagues, and his literary work, through biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, business records, printed material, a scrapbook, scattered artwork, and photographs of Birnbaum, friends and colleagues, and artwork.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of New York art dealer, critic, and author Martin Birnbaum measure 3.2 linear feet and date from 1862-1967, with the bulk of the material dating from 1920-1967. The papers document Birnbaum's association with the firm of Scott & Fowles, the lives and activities of his friends and colleagues, and his literary work, through biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, business records, printed material, a scrapbook, scattered artwork, and photographs of Birnbaum, friends and colleagues, and artwork.
Correspondence, primarily letters received by Birnbaum in New York, and throughout Europe from 1917-1960s, reflects Birnbaum's association with Scott & Fowles, particularly Stevenson Scott, and includes many details about the lives and activities of his correspondents, among them: artists Edward Bruce, Cecilia Beaux, Beniamino Bufano, Stephen C. Clark, Louise Dillingham, William Hunt Diedrich, Luis Fernandez, Herbert Haseltine, Jan Hoowij, Malvina Hoffman, Leonebel Jacobs, Lenard Kester, Lois Mailou Jones, Paul Manship, Gari Melchers, Maxfield Parrish, Charles S. Ricketts, William Rothenstein, John Singer Sargent, Janet Scudder, Carl Sprinchorn, Maurice Sterne, Albert Sterner, Carl N. Wertz, and Stanley Wilson. Also found is correspondence with art collectors and patrons including Mabel Choate, Edmund Davis, Reginald Davis, Henry P. McIlhenny, James Parmalee, Edith Wetmore, and Grenville Windall Linthrop, and museums including the Fogg Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and then curator Gisela Marie Augusta Richter, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Correspondence with scholars, writers, and publishers including George Coedes, Edmund Dulac, Joseph Francis Charles Rock, Upton Sinclair and others, documents aspects of Birnbaum's literary and scholarly work.
Writings include drafts of The Last Romantic, including Upton Sinclair's revision, and some of Birnbaum's early published and unpublished writings, as well as notes on Aubrey Beardsley.
Business records include financial records such as bills, receipts, canceled checks and statements for sales of artwork, and scattered legal records.
A small amount of printed material primarily consists of programs for musical events which evidence Birnbaum's early success as a violinist, as well as scattered news clippings, 2 exhibition catalogs, and announcements for the publications of Angkor and the Mandarin Road and The Last Romantic. Additional printed material about Birnbaum can be found in the dismantled scrapbook, 1960-1961.
Artwork includes 2 etchings and a sketch by Birnbaum, bookplates by various artists, circa 10 sketches by other and unidentified artists, and 3 cards with original artwork.
Photographs include snapshots and portraits of Birnbaum and artists and friends, among them: Robert Chanler, Charles Despiau, Norman Douglas, Luis Fernandez, Herbert Haseltine, Augustus John, Paul Manship, Gari Melchers, Elie Nadelman, Albert Sterner, Stevenson Scott, and Grenville Lindall Winthrop. Also found is a photo of Birnbaum with Edward Bruce, Alfred Potterton, Leon Stein, and Maurice Sterne, circa 1915-1916, and photographs proposed for use in The Last Romantic, travel snapshots, and photos of artwork.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Collection is arranged as 8 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1890-1950s (0.3 linear feet; Box 1, OVs 4-5)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1862-1967 (1.7 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)
Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1890-circa 1960 (0.45 linear feet; Box 2)
Series 4: Business Records, 1918-1967 (0.15 linear feet; Box 2)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1895-circa 1960 (0.15 linear feet; Box 3)
Series 6: Scrapbook, 1960-1961 (1 folder; Box 3)
Series 7: Artwork, circa 1890-circa 1960 (0.15 linear feet; Box 3)
Series 8: Photographs, circa 1900-circa 1960s (0.3 linear feet; Box 3)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
New York art dealer, critic, and author Martin Birmbaum (1878-1970) was the manager of the American branch of the Berlin Photographic Company in New York City from 1910–1916, and a longtime partner in the art firm Scott & Fowles. He spent the later part of his career building the Grenville Lindall Winthrop Collection, now at the Fogg Museum.
Birnbaum immigrated to the United States from Hungary as a child. He was an accomplished violinist who studied at City College of New York, and graduated with a law degree from Columbia University in 1901, but developed a life-long interest in art during visits to Europe. As manager of the Berlin Photographic Company he had great success in staging art exhibitions at the company's New York galleries, which led him to a junior partnership in the Fifth Avenue firm of art dealers, Scott & Fowles. Birnbaum traveled widely and built relationships with many of the prominent artists and art collectors of his day and, in addition to the Grenville Lindall Winthrop collection, was influential in developing other important art collections including those of Edward Davis, Reginald Davis, and Henry P. McIlhenny.
Birnbaum wrote widely about his experiences and encounters in the world of wealthy socialites, literary salons, artists, art patrons, and collectors in publications such as Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (Berlin Photographic Co., 1911), Oscar Wilde: Fragments and Memories (J.F. Drake, Incorporated, 1914) , Vanishing Eden:Wanderings in the Tropics (New York: William E. Rudge's Sons, 1942), Angkor and the Mandarin Road (Vantage Press, 1952), and The Last Romantic (Twayne Publishers, 1961). He died in 1970 at the age of 92.

Administration
Processing Information
Portions of the collection were loaned and microfilmed prior to receipt. The entire collection was arranged and a finding aid written by Stephanie Ashley in 2016 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Author
Stephanie L. Ashley
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated in an anonymous gift in 1970 and by Martin Birnbaum's great-nephew, Jerome Ziegler, in 1975.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
The Martin Birnbaum papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Preferred Citation
Martin Birnbaum papers, 1962-1967, bulk 1920-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Sketches Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Etchings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art critics -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Authors -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Collectors and collecting Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sterner, Albert, 1863-1946 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Werntz, Carl N. (Carl Newland), 1874-1944 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sprinchorn, Carl, 1887-1971 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sterne, Maurice, 1878-1957 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Winthrop, Grenville Lindall, 1864-1943 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fogg Art Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scott & Fowles (Firm) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wilson, Stanley Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dillingham, Louise Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cœdès, George Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Choate, Mabel, 1870-1958 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clark, Stephen C. (Stephen Carlton), b. 1882 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bufano, Beniamino, 1898-1970 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chanler, Robert Winthrop, 1872-1930 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Beaux, Cecilia, 1855-1942 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bruce, Edward, 1879-1943 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Beardsley, Aubrey, 1872-1898 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stein, Leo, 1872-1947 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Philadelphia Museum of Art Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
John, Augustus, 1878-1961 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Haseltine, Herbert, 1877-1962 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jones, Lois Mailou, 1905-1998 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nadelman, Elie, 1882-1946 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dulac, Edmund, 1882-1953 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kester, Lenard, 1917- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manship, Paul, 1885-1966 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hoffman, Malvina, 1887-1966 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rothenstein, William, Sir, 1872-1945 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scott, Stevenson Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Richter, Gisela Marie Augusta, 1882-1972 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McIlhenny, Henry P. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Parmelee, James Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Melchers, Gari, 1860-1932 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ricketts, Charles S., 1866-1931 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sargent, John Singer, 1856-1925 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Potterton, Alfred B. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Parrish, Maxfield, 1870-1966 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jacobs, Leonebel Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Douglas, Norman, 1868-1952 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scudder, Janet, b. 1873 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fernández, Luis, 1900-1973 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rock, Joseph Francis Charles, 1884-1962 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hoowij, Jan, 1907- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Davis, Reginald Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Davis, Edmund Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Despiau, Charles, 1874-1946 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diederich, William Hunt, 1884-1953 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/