A Finding Aid to the Dore Ashton Papers, 1849, circa 1928-2014 in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.ashtdore
Creators:
Ashton, Dore
Dates:
circa 1928-2014
1849
1931 - 1983
bulk 1952-2014
Languages:
English
Most of the collection is in English; some correspondence and printed materials are in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Norwegian, and possibly Latvian.
Physical Description:
35.6 Linear Feet
Repository:
The papers of Dore Ashton measure 35.6 linear feet and date from circa 1928-2014, with one letter in the Joseph Cornell subject file dating from 1849. The records document Dore Ashton's career as an art critic, historian and educator, with particular depth for the period of 1952 through 1990. The collection contains a small amount of biographical material, as well as correspondence, writings, subject files, printed materials, artwork, and reference photographs of artworks. An addition to the Dore Ashton papers includes biographical material, correspondence, writings, writing project and subject files, teaching files, printed material, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographic material.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of Dore Ashton measure 35.6 linear feet and date from circa 1928-2014, with one letter in the Joseph Cornell subject file dating from 1849. The records document Dore Ashton's career as an art critic, historian and educator, with particular depth for the period of 1952 through 1990. The collection contains a small amount of biographical material, as well as correspondence, writings, subject files, printed materials, artwork, and reference photographs of artworks. An addition to the Dore Ashton papers includes biographical material, correspondence, writings, writing project and subject files, teaching files, printed material, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographic material.
The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence with many artists, writers and others, including Pat Adams, James Adley, Rudolf Arnheim, Jake Berthot, Dennis Congdon, George Herbert, Remo Guidieri, Barbara Howes, Fred Licht, Joan Punyet Miro, Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, and Hedda Sterne, among others. Smaller amounts of letters are from Joseph Albers, Edward Albee, Richard Avedon, Richard Diebenkorn, David Driskell, Alberto Giacometti, Philip Guston, Lillian Hellman, Alger Hiss, Bernard Malamud, Joan Miro, Robert Motherwell, Lewis Mumford, Claes Oldenburg, and Vassilis Vassilikos.
Writings consist of transcripts of miscellaneous articles or those written for various publications. Research files include reference or research materials for books, exhibitions, individuals and various topics. Individuals and topics include Jacopo Luis Borges, Allan Kaprow, Richard Lindner, Seong Moy, Jean Tinguely, Mark Tobey, Jack Tworkov, Adja Yunkers; and Dadaism, poetry and symbolism.
The addition to the Dore Ashton papers (Series 8) includes biographical material, correspondence, writings, writing project and subject files, teaching files, printed material, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographic material. Writings make up a significant part of the addition and contain hundreds of manuscripts, as well as lectures, notes, sixty notebooks, ten diaries, and writings by others. Writing project and subject files comprise over half of the addition and encompass a large collection of alphabetical files pertaining to artists, actors, writers, thinkers, and collaborators; work projects including writings, exhibitions, panels, symposia, and lecture series; as well as various other subjects and topics. The addition also contains teaching files related to Ashton's positions at the Cooper Union, the New School for Social Research, and Yale University. The photographic material in this series is also abundant and contains hundreds of original photographs of Ashton throughout all stages of her life, many with friends and family.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 8 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1962-1978
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1945-2010, undated
  • Series 3: Writings, 1952-1976, undated
  • Series 4: Research files, 1849, 1950-1984, 2009, undated
  • Series 5: Printed Materials, 1931-1981, undated
  • Series 6: Artwork, 1949, 1952, 1983, undated
  • Series 7: Photographs of Artwork, circa 1950-2010
  • Series 8: Addition to the Dore Ashton Papers, circa 1928-2013

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Dore Ashton (1928-) is an art critic, author, and educator living in New York City. She wrote, contributed , and edited more than 30 books. Ashton was born in Newark New Jersey in 1928 and received an MA from Harvard University in 1950. Her many books and articles focus on late 19th and 20th century art and artists. Ashton was associate editor at Art Digest from 1952-1954, and critic for Arts and Architecture at the New York Times, 1955-1960. Starting in 1962 she held several lecturing posts at various institutions including the School of Visual Arts, Cooper Union, and the New School for Social Research. She was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1964 and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in 1980. Among Ashton's books are Abstract Art Before Columbus, 1956; Poets and the Past, 1959; A Joseph Cornell Album, 1974; Yes, But…A Critical Study of Philip Guston, 1976, About Rothko, 1983; The New York School: a Cultural Reckoning, 1973; Noguchi East and West, 1992; and David Rankin: The New York Years, 2013. Dore Ashton was the first critic to develop a comprehensive and eye-witness account of the history of the Abstract Expressions.
Ashton married artist Adja Yunkers (1900-1983) in 1953, and they had two daughters Alexandra (known as Sasha) and Marina. In 1985 she married writer Matti Megged (1923-2003).

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was partially processed by Jean Fitzgerald in 1997. The collection was minimally processed and a finding aid created by Valerie Vanden Bossche in 2013 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund. The 2016 addition was processed to a minimal level and the finding aid updated by Hilary Price in 2017.
Author
Valerie Vanden Bossche and Hilary Price
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of a portion of this collection was provided the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Dore Ashton papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Dore Ashton May 27, 1982, May 8, 1997, June 2, 2011, and March, 25, 2016.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Preferred Citation
Dore Ashton papers, 1849, circa 1928-2014. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
The Dore Ashton 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.

Related Materials
Among the holdings of the Archives is an oral history interview with Dore Ashton conducted November 21, 2010 by George W. Sampson, for the Archives of American Art's Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts Project.
Dore Ashton papers are also located at Emory University Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Sketchbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women art critics Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dadaism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Historians Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transcripts Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art critics Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art criticism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, Modern -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Poetry Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Adley, James, 1931- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Adams, Pat, 1928- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Albers, Josef Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Albee, Edward, 1928- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hiss, Alger Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Howes, Barbara Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Guston, Philip, 1913-1980 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hellman, Lillian, 1905-1984 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lindner, Richard, 1901- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Malamud, Bernard Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kaprow, Allan Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Licht, Fred, 1928- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Moy, Seong Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Miró, Joan, 1893- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motherwell, Robert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tobey, Mark Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tworkov, Jack Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Vasilikos, Vasilēs, 1934- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Yunkers, Adja, 1900-1983 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reuterswärd, Carl Fredrik, 1934- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sterne, Hedda, 1910- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tinguely, Jean, 1925- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Borges, Jacopo Luis Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Congdon, Dennis Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Herbert, George Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y.) -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Yale University -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Oldenburg, Claes, 1929- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Giacometti, Alberto, 1901-1966 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Guidieri, Remo Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diebenkorn, Richard, 1922-1993 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Driskell, David C. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Berthot, Jake, 1939- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cornell, Joseph Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Arnheim, Rudolf Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Avedon, Richard 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/