A Finding Aid to the Robert Aitken Papers, circa 1900-1960, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.aitkrobe
Creators:
Aitken, Robert, 1878-1949
Dates:
circa 1900-1960
Languages:
English
Collection is in English.
Physical Description:
0.5 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of California-born sculptor Robert Aitken measure 0.5 linear feet and date from circa 1900-1960. The collection primarily consists of photographs of Aitken in his studio and photographs of his sculpture including fountain figures, mausouleum doors, medallions, refliefs, and portrait busts. Also found is a photograph of Theodore Roosevelt at the dedication of the Navy Monument in Union Square, San Francisco, in 1902. The collection also includes one 1904 letter from Benjamin Wheeler to Robert Aitken thanking Aitken for a bust of George Washington, and scattered clippings and postcards reproducing works of art by Aitken.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of California-born sculptor Robert Aitken measure 0.5 linear feet and date from circa 1900-1960. The collection primarily consists of photographs of Aitken in his studio and photographs of his sculpture including fountain figures, mausoleum doors, medallions, reliefs, and portrait busts. Also found is a photograph of Theodore Roosevelt at the dedication of the Navy Monument in Union Square, San Francisco, in 1902. The collection also includes one 1904 letter from Benjamin Wheeler to Robert Aitken thanking Aitken for a bust of George Washington, and scattered clippings and postcards reproducing works of art by Aitken.
Some of the photographs are silver gelatin and gold toned silver gelatin prints, and some were taken by noted photographer De Witt Ward.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Due to the small size of this collection the papers are arranged as one series.
  • Series 1: Robert Aitken Papers, circa 1900-1960

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Noted sculptor Robert Aitken (1878-1949) was born in San Francisco, California, and taught at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art from 1901-1904. He studied in Paris in 1897 and from 1904-1907, and then settled in New York City where he spent most of his career teaching at the National Academy of Design.
He completed numerous sculpture commissions including portrait busts, medallions and coins, reliefs, and fountain figures. His works include the "Fountain of Earth" for San Francisco's Panama Pacific Exposition, the Navy Monument in San Francisco's Union Square, doors for the Greenhut and John W. Gates Mausoleums in New York, several military sculptures at West Point, and Guardian Figures at the National Archives building and the West Pediment of the United States Supreme Court building, both in Washington D. C.
Aitken was a member of the National Academy of Design, the National Arts Club, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the National Sculpture Society and the New York Architectural League.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
This collection is also available on 35 mm microfilm reel 1027. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Processing Information
The Robert Aitken papers were microfilmed at some point after receipt on reel 1027. The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by archivist Stephanie Ashley in 2014, with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. 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 and folder level. Generally, items within folders were simply verified with folder titles but not arranged further. Folders within boxes may not be numbered. The collection was rehoused in archival containers and folders.
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 to the Archives of American Art by the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in November 1973.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original materials requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D. C. Research Center.
Preferred Citation
Robert Aitken papers, circa 1900-1960. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
The Robert Aitken 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.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Monuments -- Washington (D.C.) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Monuments -- California -- San Francisco Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists' studios -- Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ward, De Witt Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wheeler, Benjamin 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/