A Finding Aid to the Robert Alexander Papers and Temple of Man Records, 1938-2015, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.alexbob
Creators:
Alexander, Robert
Temple of Man (Venice, Calif.)
Dates:
1938-2015
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
11.7 Linear feet
1.01 Gigabytes
Repository:
The papers of poet, artist, and ordained priest Robert Alexander and the records of Venice, California's Temple of Man measure 11.7 linear feet and 1.01 GB, and date from 1938-2015. The papers and records document Alexander and the Temple of Man, which he founded in 1960 to serve as a meeting place for a community of artists, poets, and musicians. The collection contains biographical material pertaining to Alexander, Temple of Man administrative records, correspondence and artists files, project files, printed material, and photographic material.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of poet, artist, and ordained priest Robert Alexander and the records of Venice, California's Temple of Man measure 11.7 linear feet and 1.01 GB, and date from 1938-2015. The papers and records document Alexander and the Temple of Man, which he founded in 1960 to serve as a meeting place for a community of artists, poets, and musicians. The collection contains biographical material pertaining to Alexander, Temple of Man administrative records, correspondence and artists files, project files, printed material, and photographic material.
Correspondence and artists files comprise the bulk of the collection and contain a wide variety of material pertaining to Temple of Man artists and affiliates, including mail art, over one hundred artworks, poetry, writings, exhibition announcements, clippings, and photographs. Artists include Anita Alexander, Bob Alexander, John Altoon, Aya, Paul Beattie, Michael Bergt, Wallace Berman, Charles Britton, Cameron, Bruce Connor, William Dailey, Gayle Davis, George Herms, Jack Hirschman, Maurice Lacy, Fred Mason, Kenneth Patchen, Peter Paul, Stuart Perkoff, Artie Richer, Tony Scibella, Ben Talbert, Zack Walsh, Edwin Ward, Marcia Ward, Saul White, Steve Wilson, and others. A small amount of born-digital material includes a video recording of Renick Stevenson, images of artworks, and photographs.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as six series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1938-1988 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 2: Temple of Man Administrative Records, 1960-2010 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1, OV 13)
  • Series 3: Correspondence and Artists Files, circa 1948-2015 (9.8 linear feet, Boxes 1-6, 9-12, 30-33, OVs 14-28; 0.99 GB, ER01-ER02)
  • Series 4: Project Files, circa 1967-2014 (0.9 linear feet, Boxes 6-7; 0.015 GB, ER03)
  • Series 5: Printed Material, 1958-2014 (0.8 linear feet; Boxes 7-8, OV 29)
  • Series 6: Photographic Material, circa 1960-2009 (1 folder, Box 8; 0.001 GB, ER04)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Robert Alexander (1923-1987), also known as Bob and "Baza," was a poet, collagist, printer, assemblage artist, and ordained priest from Venice, California. Alexander founded the Temple of Man in 1960 in San Francisco, moving it to his home in Venice, California in 1968. The Temple served as a meeting place for artists, poets, and musicians, and contained a collection of artworks by Temple of Man members, also ordained priests. Many of the artworks which form the core of the collection were on display at the Alexander residence and are dedicated to Alexander and his wife Anita. Members also created and exchanged mail art, handmade cards, and poems with one another. After Alexander's death in 1987, the Temple of Man was directed by Anita Alexander and, since 1992, by a board of directors.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Hilary Price and Caroline Donadio in 2018.
Author
Hilary Price and Caroline Donadio
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated to the Archives of American Art by Alexander's widow Anita Alexander in 1990 and in 2017 and 2018 by the Temple of Man via George Herms, Officer, and Yoav Getzler, Registered Agent of record.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
Conditions Governing Use
The Robert Alexander papers and Temple of Man 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.
Preferred Citation
Robert Alexander papers and Temple of Man records, 1938-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art are an oral history interview with artist George Herms conducted by Paul Karlstrom in 1993-1994, the papers of California artist and poet Wallace Berman, and the papers of curator and founding board member of the Temple of Man, Hal Glicksman.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Poets -- California -- Venice Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Collagists -- California -- Venice Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Assemblage artists -- California -- Venice Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Priests -- California -- Venice Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Beattie, Paul, 1924-1988 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Berman, Wallace, 1926-1976 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hirschman, Jack, 1933- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Herms, George, 1935- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Temple of Man (Venice, Calif.) Corporate 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/