A Finding Aid to the Eleanor Dickinson Papers, 1947-2014, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.dickelea
Creators:
Dickinson, Eleanor, 1931-
Dates:
1947-2014
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
29.8 Linear feet
0.002 Gigabytes
Repository:
The papers of painter, graphic and video artist, and educator Eleanor Dickinson measure 29.8 linear feet and 0.002 gigabytes, and date from 1947 to 2014. The collection comprises biographical materials; professional and personal correspondence; video and sound recordings of interviews for Dickinson's television program Art of the Matter; exhibition files; teaching files for the California College of Arts and Crafts and other professional and project files; research and subject files; membership records, including born-digital material, and sound and video recordings, for various organizations; personal financial and legal records; printed materials featuring Dickinson and her artwork; and photographic materials of Dickinson in her studio and with friends, colleagues, and family, as well as exhibitions and other art events, and works of art.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of painter, graphic and video artist, and educator Eleanor Dickinson measure 29.8 linear feet and 0.002 gigabytes, and date from 1947 to 2014.
The collection comprises biographical materials containing datebooks, certificates, resumes, and sketches; professional and personal correspondence; video and sound recordings of interviews for Dickinson's television program Art of the Matter; exhibition files for Spirit in the Land: Photographs from the Bible Belt (1987) and various group exhibitions; files documenting Dickinson's professional activities outside of teaching at the California College of Arts and Crafts; and files that include video recordings for projects on artist's models, Revival!, and gender discrimination in the art field.
Also found are research and subject files on Howard Finster, professionalism in art, and other topics; California College of Arts and Crafts teaching files consisting of student and faculty records, course material, and administrative records; membership records that include born-digital material, and sound and video recordings for Artists Equity Association, Women's Caucus for the Arts, and other organizations; records documenting Dickinson's personal financial and legal dealings that include artwork sales records, studio expenses, and lists of artworks in the Eleanor and Wade Dickinson Art Collection; printed materials featuring Dickinson and her artwork; and photographic materials depicting Dickinson in her studio and with friends and colleagues, family, exhibitions and art events, and works of art.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 12 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1957-2014 (1.0 linear feet; Box 1, OVs 32, 36)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1954-2013 (3.0 linear feet; Boxes 1-4)
  • Series 3: Interviews, 1976-2000 (2.5 linear feet; Boxes 4-7)
  • Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1960-2012 (0.8 linear feet; Boxes 7-8)
  • Series 5: Professional Files, 1963-circa 2005 (0.5 linear feet; Box 8, OV 34)
  • Series 6: Project Files, 1955-2001 (4.5 linear feet; Boxes 8-13, OVs 32-33)
  • Series 7: Research and Subject Files, circa 1970-circa 1997 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 13-15)
  • Series 8: California College of Arts and Crafts Teaching Files, 1962-2002 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 15-16)
  • Series 9: Membership Records, 1947-2014 (8.0 linear feet; Boxes 17-24, 31, OV 34, ER01)
  • Series 10: Personal Business Records, 1957-2011 (2.0 linear feet; Boxes 25-26)
  • Series 11: Printed Materials, 1951-2011 (4.0 linear feet; Boxes 26-30, OVs 32-33, 35-36)
  • Series 12: Photographic Materials, 1958-2012 (6 folders; Box 30)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Eleanor Dickinson (1931-2017) was a painter, graphic and video artist, and educator in San Francisco, C.A.
Dickinson was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1931. Shortly after graduating from University of Tennessee in 1952 with a Bachelor of Arts, Dickinson moved to California and established a studio in San Francisco. There she immersed herself in the counterculture of the 1960s, becoming friends with Allen Ginsberg and producing a poster with Ginsberg's fellow Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Dickinson attended the San Francisco Art Institute from 1961 to 1963. In 1971, she traveled to Paris to study drawing at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. Dickinson taught at the California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC) from 1971 to 2001 where she also received her Master of Fine Arts in film and video in 1982. At the CCAC, she taught a series of courses on art business and management. Her interest in the professional aspects of the art field led to the creation of her cable access show, Art of the Matter, that featured guests speaking on topics such as art management, law, financial matters, insurance, and other practical issues related to being a professional artist.
Dickinson's continuing interest in and activism for the rights and well-being of artists also influenced her work with the Artists Equity Association, the Women's Caucus for the Arts, and numerous other organizations. Though extremely active in the art world of the West Coast, she never forgot her southern roots and continued to visit Tennessee annually. Dickinson's close connection to her birthplace is evident throughout her career, with Southern religion often being central to her work. Among her most prominent projects are the multifaceted exhibition Revival!, the documentary "Artist's Models of San Francisco," the ink drawings seen in Old Lovers, and illustrations for the books Complete Fruit Cookbook and That Old-Time Religion.
Dickinson was married to Wade Dickinson and had three children: Mark, Katy, and Daniel. Dickinson died in San Francisco, California, in 2017.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
Some of the video and sound recordings in this collection have been copied for research access and are available in the Archives of American Art offices.
Processing Information
The collection was processed, and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Mundy in 2020.
Author
Sarah Mundy
Sponsor
The processing of this collection received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, administered by the National Collections Program and the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Eleanor Dickinson papers were donated from 1979 to 2005 by Eleanor Dickinson and in 2017 by the Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson Charitable Art Trust.

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.
Preferred Citation
Eleanor Dickinson papers, 1947-2014. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing 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 with Eleanor Dickinson conducted on October 25, 2000 by Paul Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, in Dickinson's studio/home, in San Francisco, California.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Painters -- California -- San Francisco Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video artists -- California -- San Francisco Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Graphic artists -- California -- San Francisco Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- California -- San Francisco Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women artists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women painters Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women educators Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists Equity Association Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
College Art Association of America Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
San Francisco Art Institute Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
California College of Arts and Crafts Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women's Caucus for Art 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/