A Finding Aid to the Calvin Burnett Papers, 1920-1979, bulk 1960s-1970s, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.burncalv
Creators:
Burnett, Calvin, 1921-2007
Dates:
1920-1979
bulk 1960s-1970s
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
6.1 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of graphic artist and arts educator Calvin Burnett measure 6.1 linear feet and date from 1920 to 1979, with the bulk of the collection dating from the 1960s to the 1970s. The papers contain biographical material, correspondence, writings, material related to his education and professional activities, personal business records, printed material, a scrapbook, and a small amount of photographs and artwork.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of graphic artist and arts educator Calvin Burnett measure 6.1 linear feet and date from 1920 to 1979, with the bulk of the collection dating from the 1960s to the 1970s. The papers contain biographical material, correspondence, writings, material related to his education and professional activities, personal business records, printed material, a scrapbook, and a small amount of photographs and artwork.
Biographical material consists of resumes, biographical notes/drafts, certificates from volunteer organizations, an interview transcript, and personal calendars.
Correspondence consists of letters and drafts of letters to and from Burnett. Some partial fragments of letters are housed with the undated correspondence.
Writings consist of two subseries and includes both materials related to Burnett's book, Objective Drawing, as well as notes, notecards, poetry, and some class assignments.
Education and professional activities also includes two subseries. Teaching and education files consist of materials related to Burnett's time as both a student and an instructor. These include class notes, assignments, course materials, correspondence, etc. Black Artists Union, committee work, and related materials include materials related to the Black Artists Union (BAU), the Committee on Urban Education (CUE), and the Committee on Minority Affairs, and their work. These items include memos, printed materials, reports, and other documentation.
Personal business records consist of correspondence, financial documents, printed material, and notes related to commercial art jobs, consultations, sales, loans, and exhibitions.
Photographs are of Burnett, other individuals, and works of art. Not all of the works of art appear to be by Burnett.
Artwork includes drawings and three small sketchbooks.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as nine series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1947-1979 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1941-1979 (Box 1; 0.4 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Writings, 1950s-1970s (Boxes 1-2; 0.9 linear feet, OV 7)
  • Series 4: Education and Professional Activities, 1920-1970s (Boxes 2-5; 2.5 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Personal Business Records, 1947-1979 (Box 5; 0.3 linear feet)
  • Series 6: Printed Material, 1938-1979 (Boxes 5-6; 0.5 linear feet, OV 7)
  • Series 7: Scrapbook, 1937-1951 (Box 6; 0.2 linear feet)
  • Series 8: Photographs, 1946-1972 (Box 6; 1 folder)
  • Series 9: Artwork, 1941-1942 (Box 6; 2 folders)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Calvin Burnett (1921-2007) was a graphic artist, illustrator, and arts educator. He graduated from the Massachusetts School of Art (also known as MassArt; now the Massachusetts College of Art and Design) in 1942, and earned his MFA from Boston University in 1960. He later received another degree in arts education. Burnett taught at a number of institutions in the Northeast, including the DeCordova Museum and the Massachusetts School of Art, where he was the first African American to be appointed to the faculty, and where he taught for 33 years.
While on the faculty at the Massachusetts School of Art, Burnett was involved with the Black Artists Union, the Committee on Urban Education, and the Committee on Minority Affairs. Among their many functions, these groups advocated for more diverse representation in faculty and more funding for minority and disadvantaged students.
In 1966, Burnett published the book, Objective Drawing, about perspective. His interest in the subject and the idea for the book grew out of his teaching the perspective course at the Massachusetts School of Art (Oral history interview with Calvin Burnett, 1980 June 13-1981 January 6. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Transcript p.41).

Administration
Processing Information
This collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Rayna Andrews in 2017 with funding provided by the Henry Luce Foundation.
Author
Rayna Andrews
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Calvin Burnett in 1990.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Preferred Citation
Calvin Burnett papers, 1920-1979, bulk 1960s-1970s. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
Authorization to publish, quote or reproduce requires written permission from Calvin Burnett or his heirs. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Terms of Use
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.

Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Calvin Burnett conducted by Robert Brown, June 13, 1980-January 6, 1981.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketchbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
African American artists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- Massachusetts Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Graphic artists -- Massachusetts Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Illustrators -- Massachusetts Occupation 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/