A Finding Aid to the Hans Christensen Papers, 1924-1989, bulk 1955-1983, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.chrihans
Dates:
1924-1989
bulk 1955-1983
Languages:
Multiple languages
The collection is in English and Danish.
Physical Description:
12.3 Linear Feet
Repository:
The papers of designer, silversmith, and educator Hans Christensen measure 12.3 linear feet and date from 1924 to 1989 with the bulk of the collection dating from 1955 to 1983. The collection includes biographical materials, correspondence, writings and notes, personal business records, teaching files for the Rochester Institute of Technology, printed and broadcast materials, artwork, photographic materials, and sound and video recordings.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of designer, silversmith, and educator Hans Christensen measure 12.3 linear feet and date from 1924 to 1989 with the bulk of the collection dating from 1955 to 1983. The collection includes biographical materials, correspondence, writings and notes, personal business records, teaching files for the Rochester Institute of Technology, printed and broadcast materials, artwork, photographic materials, and sound and video recordings.
Biographical materials include address books, card files, 27 appointment books, awards and certificates, official documents from Denmark, interviews, legal records, and records of his memorial service. Correspondence is with Christensen's mother and wife, colleagues, the International Institute of Arts and Letters, the National Rochester Society, and others. Writings consist of Christensen's essays on hollow ware and RIT; lectures at the Memorial Art Galleries, Women's Council, and the American Craft Council; and notes and a notebook on an array of subjects. Writings by others are by Eileen Quinn and a student paper.
Personal business records are divided into general, activities, and commission files that pertain to Christensen's career outside of teaching. Teaching files include alumni files, contracts, correspondence, course outlines, records for the International Trade Fair of Rennes, grievance committee files, a financial ledger, meeting records, program information, reports, studio floor plan, and student files.
Printed materials include a broadcast recording, a scrapbook, booklets, business cards, clippings, and exhibition material that mainly feature Christensen and his work. Artwork consists of one sketchbook, a portfolio, and numerous sketches and templates. Photographic materials include photographs, negatives, and slides of Christensen, his first and second wives, Betten and Els, and home life, his family in Denmark, travel, students and colleagues, and works of art. Unidentified sound recordings consist of 17 sound cassettes.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as nine series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1924-1983 (1.2 linear feet; Boxes 1, 2, 13, OV 15)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1949-1986 (1.3 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)
  • Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1952-1982 (0.4 linear feet; Box 3)
  • Series 4: Personal Business Records, 1953-1983 (3.5 linear feet; Boxes 3-6, 13, OVs 16-17)
  • Series 5: Teaching Files, 1954-1983 (1.0 linear feet; Boxes 6-8, 13, OV 16)
  • Series 6: Printed and Broadcast Materials, 1950s-1989 (2.2 linear feet; Boxes 8-9, 14, OV 15)
  • Series 7: Artwork, circa 1970s (1.0 linear feet; Boxes 9, 13-14, OVs 15-24)
  • Series 8: Photographic Materials, circa 1940-1983 (1.3 linear feet; Boxes 9-11, 13, OV 25)
  • Series 9: Unidentified Sound Recordings, circa 1960s-1970s (0.4 linear feet; Box 12)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Hans Christensen (1924-1983) was a designer, silversmith, and educator in Rochester, N.Y.
Christensen was born to Holger and Valborg Christensen in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he also lived with his brother Per. Christensen attended the School for Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen and in Oslo, Norway. He began his career working for renowned Danish silversmith, Georg Jensen. In 1952, Christensen made his first visit to the United States representing Jensen's works at an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. He emigrated to the United States in 1954 and began his professorship of metalsmithing and jewelry at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). At RIT, he held the Charlotte Fredericks Mowris Professorship in Contemporary Crafts and was posthumously awarded the Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching.
Over the span of his career, Christensen completed numerous commissions including works for the Vatican, royal families of Europe and Iran, RIT, Xerox, and others. He was a member of the International Institute of Arts and Letters in Switzerland, the College of Fellows of the American Crafts Council, the Society of North American Goldsmiths, and the Nathaniel Rochester Society.
Christensen was married to Astrid Elizabeth Sandum, called "Betten," from 1953 to 1965. In 1968, Christensen married Elisabeth "Els" Christensen, née Meijer. He died in a car accident in 1983 in Rochester, N.Y.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Mundy in 2018.
Author
Sarah Mundy
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Hans Christensen papers were donated in 1982 by Christensen and in 1984, 1988-1992 by his widow, Elisabeth Christensen.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Hans Christensen papers, 1924-1989, bulk 1955-1983. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate copies requires advance notice.

Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview and slide presentation with Hans Christensen conducted by Robert Brown for the Archives of American Art from December 11, 1981 to December 3, 1982.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art teachers -- New York (State) Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artisans--New York (State) Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Decorative arts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Designers -- New York (State) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jewelers--New York (State) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Metal-work--Study and teaching--New York (State) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Metal-workers--New York (State) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Silversmiths--New York (State) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Silverware Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Silverwork--New York (State) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketches Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Slides (photographs) Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Christensen, Hans, 1924-1983 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Quinn, Eileen Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Craft Council Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce. Women's Council (N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rochester Institute of Technology -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
University of Rochester. Memorial Art Gallery 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/