A Finding Aid to the Whitney Halstead Papers,
1920-1982
, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.halswhit
Creators:
Halstead, Whitney
Dates:
1920-1982
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
7.1 Linear feet
Repository:
The Whitney Halstead papers measure 7.1 linear feet and date from 1920 to 1982. They document the career of art historian, educator, critic, author, and artist Whitney Halstead. Found within the papers are scattered biographical material; a diary and travel journals; writings and notes (almost one-half of the collection); scattered correspondence; miscellaneous records and printed materials documenting Halstead's tenure at the Art Institute of Chicago; audio-cassette recordings of African and native music; artists files for Jim Nutt and Joseph E. Yoakum; exhibition files; art work by Halstead and others; and photographs of Halstead, friends and colleagues, and art projects. Also found are numerous photographs, slides, and negatives of primitive art, including American Indian art by Southwest tribes.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The Whitney Halstead papers measure 7.1 linear feet and date from 1920 to 1982. They document the career of art historian, educator, critic, author, and artist Whitney Halstead. Found within the papers are scattered biographical material; a diary and travel journals; writings and notes (almost one-half of the collection); scattered correspondence; miscellaneous records and printed materials documenting Halstead's tenure at the Art Institute of Chicago; audio-cassette recordings of African and native music; artists files for Jim Nutt and Joseph E. Yoakum; exhibition files; art work by Halstead and others; and photographs of Halstead, friends and colleagues, and art projects. Also found are numerous photographs, slides, and negatives depicting primitive art, mostly native American Indian art by Southwest tribes.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into 11 series by either type of material or subject file, and chronologically within each series. Oversized material from various series has been housed in OV folder 8 and is noted in the Series Description/Container Listing Section at the appropriate folder title with see also/see references.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1966-1977 (Box 1; 1 folder)
  • Series 2: Personal Correspondence, circa 1933-1978 (Box 1; 6 folders)
  • Series 3: Diary and Travel Journals, 1957-1975 (Box 1; 3 folders)
  • Series 4: School of the Art Institute of Chicago Files, circa 1920-1982 (Box 1-2; 1.1 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Notes and Writings, circa 1923-1978 (Box 2-5; 3.4 linear feet)
  • Series 6: Artist Files, 1967-1977 (Box 5-6, OV 8; 36 folders)
  • Series 7: Hyde Park Art Center File, circa 1960-1977 (Box 6; 4 folders)
  • Series 8: Exhibition Files, 1966-1975 (Box 6, OV 8; 17 folders)
  • Series 9: Art Work, circa 1932-1970 (Box 6, OV 8; 21 folders)
  • Series 10: Photographs, circa 1949-1976 (Box 7; 0.9 linear feet)
  • Series 11: Printed Material, 1966-1975 (Box 7; 5 folders)

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Art historian, educator, critic, author, and artist Whitney Halstead was born in 1926. After receiving a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Halstead worked as an assistant in the Field Museum's anthropology department. He also taught art history at several Chicago-area universities, including the Art Institute, where he developed a series of courses on primitive art. Some historians have indicated that these courses were an important influence on the work of several artists of the "Chicago School" who studied with Halstead, including Roger Brown, Phil Hanson, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, and Karl Wirsum, among others. Halstead also played a prominent role in the 1965 Art Institute's faculty strike that resulted in better working conditions for the instructors, and by 1967, he had become Chairman of the Division of Fine Arts. In 1970, he assumed the position of Graduate Advisor.
Halstead wrote critical reviews for Artforum, the Chicago Daily News, and numerous articles and essays promoting local and primitive art, including the work of Jim Nutt and naïve artist Joseph E. Yoakum. He also curated several exhibitions, including Made In Chicago and Ulu/Inua: Form and Fantasy in Eskimo Art. Halstead's own art work, exhibitied primarily during the 1950s and early 1960s, was in a variety of media and reflected his interest in Dadaism and Surrealism.
Whitney Halstead died in 1979.

Administration
Processing Information
The papers were processed in May 2004 by Jean Fitzgerald.
Author
Jean Fitzgerald
Provenance
The Whitney Halstead papers were donated by Theodore Halkin, the executor of Halstead's estate in 1986.

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Whitney Halstead 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.
Preferred Citation
Whitney Halstead papers, 1920-1982. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Material
Additional Whitney Halstead papers are held by the Art Institute of Chicago.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art historians -- Illinois -- Chicago Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Works of art Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketchbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chicago (Ill.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art critics -- Illinois -- Chicago Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketches Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Journals (accounts) Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nutt, Jim, 1938- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago, Ill.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art Institute of Chicago. School Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Yoakum, Joseph, 1886-1972 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/