A Finding Aid to the Bertha Schaefer Papers and Gallery Records, 1909-1975, bulk 1940-1965, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.schabert

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.schabert
Creators:
Schaefer, Bertha, 1895-1971
Dates:
1909-1975
bulk 1940-1965
Languages:
English
Collection is in English.
Physical Description:
4.6 linear feet
Repository:
Archives of American Art
The Bertha Schaefer papers and gallery records measure 4.6 linear feet and date from 1909-1975, with the bulk of the material dating from 1940-1965. The collection documents the Bertha Schaefer Gallery as well as Bertha Schaefer, the interior designer, through correspondence with artists and galleries, artist files, client files, exhibition material, printed material, financial material, biographical material, photographs, and six scrapbooks.

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
The Bertha Schaefer papers and gallery records measure 4.6 linear feet and date from 1909-1975, with the bulk of the material dating from 1940-1965. The collection documents the Bertha Schaefer Gallery as well as Bertha Schaefer, the interior designer, through correspondence with artists and galleries, artist files, client files, exhibition material, printed material, financial material, biographical material, photographs, and six scrapbooks. Also found here are oversized blue prints and sketched plans of interior design projects, as well as a number of oversized photographic prints and stereo slides. Correspondence contains handwritten notes by many notable artists, including Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, and Fernando Zobel, with a bulk of the letters from Balcomb Greene.
Separated into three series, the Bertha Schaefer Gallery records document the artists represented by and function of the Bertha Schaefer Gallery. The Bertha Schaefer papers pertain to Bertha Schaefer as an interior designer through a large number of photographic materials and client files. Six scrapbooks document artists Will Barnet, Ben-Zion, Balcomb Greene, and Nicolai Vasilieff, as well as the Bertha Schaefer gallery and the New Bertha Schaefer Gallery.

Arrangement note
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged as 3 series. Records are generally arranged by material type and chronologically thereafter.
Series 1: Bertha Schaefer Gallery Records, 1909-1971 (0.8 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Bertha Schaefer Papers, 1914-1971 (2.6 linear feet; Boxes 1-3, 6-7, OV 8-9)
Series 3: Scrapbooks, 1944-1975 (1.2 linear feet; Boxes 3-5)

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
Bertha Schaefer (1895-1971) was an interior designer and director of the Bertha Schaefer Gallery in New York, New York. Schaefer was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi to Emil and Julia (Marx) Schaefer. She received her B.A. on June 1, 1914 from Mississippi State College for Women, and received a diploma for interior decorating from the Parsons School of Design in New York City. In 1924, after living in Paris for 5 months, she opened Bertha Schaefer Interiors in New York. In 1944, she opened the Bertha Schaefer Gallery of Contemporary Art, which featured American and European paintings and sculpture. "The Modern House Comes Alive" (1947-1948) is one of the key exhibitions she created. Schaefer designed furniture for Joe Singer of M. Singer and Sons Furniture Company in New York, 1950-1961.
Schaefer won design awards from the Museum of Modern Art (1952) and the Decorators Club of New York (1959). In 1958, she was given an award of recognition from the U.S. Department of State for her gallery's assistance in the American program for the Brussels Universal and International Exhibition, and an outstanding achievement in interior design award from the American Institute of Interior Designers. She was a member of several design organizations, including: the American Institute of Decorators, the Home Lighting Forum, the Illuminating Engineers Society, the American Federation of the Arts, and the Art Dealers Association of America. She was the president of the Decorators Club of New York from 1947-1948 and 1955-1957.
Schaefer was one of the first people to use fluorescent lighting in domestic spaces, with Percy Block as her first client, in 1939. In honor of Edison's birthday in 1953, she designed a bathroom for General Electric, applying new developments in lighting. She died on May 24, 1971, after which the gallery was renamed the New Bertha Schaefer Gallery.

Administration
Processing Information note
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Anna Rimel in 2014. The Archives of American Art has implemented minimal processing tactics when possible in order to increase information about and access to more of our collections. Minimal processing included arrangement to the series, subseries, and folder levels. Generally, items within folders were simply verified with folder titles, but not arranged further. Folders with boxes may not be numbered. The collection was rehoused in archival containers and folders, but not all staples and clips were removed.
Separated Materials note
Originals of loaned material concerning Alfred H. Maurer, including a scrapbook about Maurer from 1946 to 1969, were returned to Bertha Schaefer after microfilming. Loaned material is available on reel N69-115, but is not described in the container listing of this finding aid.
Originals of loaned material concerning Hale Woodruff, including correspondence, sketches and drawings, articles, photographs, catalogs, announcements, clippings, notes kept while student of Diego Rivera, and scrapbook, were returned to Hale Woodruff after microfilming (and the scrapbook to the Bertha Schaefer Gallery). Loaned material is available on reel N70-60, but is not described in the container listing of this finding aid.
Existence and Location of Copies note
Portions of the collection are available on 35 mm microfilm reels, N69-126, 42, 271, and 2129, at the Archives of American Art offices, and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the collection as described in this finding aid may not reflect the order of the collection on microfilm due to reprocessing.
Author
Finding aid prepared by Anna Rimel
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
The Bertha Schaefer papers and gallery records were donated in several installments from 1969 to 1974 by Bertha Schaefer and Bertha Schaefer Gallery Inc. Paul Creamer donated three scrapbooks from the Bertha Schaefer Gallery and the New Bertha Schaefer Gallery in 1979. Additional material was donated in 1984 by Syracuse University.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation note
Bertha Schaefer papers and gallery records, 1909-1975, bulk 1940-1965. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access note
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Conditions Governing Use note
The Bertha Schaefer papers and gallery records 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.

Related Archival Materials note
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Bertha Schaefer conducted by Paul Cummings, April 20-22, 1970.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Barnet, Will, 1911-2012 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ben-Zion Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bertha Schaefer Gallery (New York, N.Y.). Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Greene, Balcomb, 1904-1990 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
New Bertha Schaefer Gallery (New York, N.Y.). Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reinhardt, Ad, 1913-1967 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Vasilieff, Nicholas Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zóbel, Fernando Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art galleries, Commercial--New York (State)--New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, Modern--20th century--New York (State)--New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gallery directors Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gallery owners Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interior decoration--New York (State)--New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interior decorators Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketches Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C., 20001
Phone: 202-633-7950
http://www.aaa.si.edu/askus