A Finding Aid to the Juliette Elkon Hamelecourt Papers, 1911-2000, bulk 1940s-2000, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.hamejuli
Creators:
Hamelecourt, Juliette Elkon
Dates:
1911-2000
bulk 1940s-2000
Languages:
The collection is in English and French.
Physical Description:
3.1 Linear feet
Repository:
The Juliette Elkon Hamelecourt papers measure 3.1 linear feet and date from 1911-2000, with the bulk of the records dating from 1940s-2000. The papers document Hamelecourt's career through resumes, personal business records, and writings, as well as general correspondence, printed material, scrapbooks, and photographs. The collection also contains a series of interviews conducted by Hamelecourt with artists at the Chelsea Hotel in New York.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Juliette Elkon Hamelecourt papers measure 3.1 linear feet and date from 1911-2000, with the bulk of the records dating from 1940s-2000. Biographical material consists of resumes, notes and other writings, as well as some personal business records such as contracts, price lists, loan agreements, and consignment lists. Correspondents include customers, museums, galleries, friends, publishers, and family members and discussions regard exhibitions, sales, food, and personal matters. The collection's printed material consists of clippings about Hamelecourt, Haiti, the Chelsea Hotel, and other artists; exhibition announcements, invitations, and catalogs; press releases, newsletters, and bulletins; articles written by Hamelecourt; reproductions of her artwork; and the book jacket from Hamelecourt's Edith Cavell: Heroic Nurse (1958). Hamelecourt's scrapbooks contain a variety of material such as correspondence with museums, galleries, and family members about her life and artwork as well as correspondence for historical and cultural research purposes; photographs and slides of Hamelecourt, artwork, family, and friends; printed material; sketches; drafts of her autobiography; and biographical papers pertaining to her marriage in 1969. The collection also contains a series of interviews conducted by Hamelecourt with artists at the Chelsea Hotel including Arman, Bettina, Bernard Childs, Rita Fetcher, Eugenie Gershoy, Adolph Cook Glassgold, Maxwell Gordon, and others.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 6 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1972-1991 (Box 1; 7 folders)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1943-1999 (Box 1; 12 folders)
  • Series 3: Interviews with Chelsea Hotel Artists, circa 1980 (Box 1; 5 folders)
  • Series 4: Printed Material, 1943-2000 (Box 2; .8 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Scrapbooks, 1911-1999 (Box 2-3, OV 4; 1 linear foot)
  • Series 6: Photographs, 1940-1990s (Box 3; 5 folders)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Juliette Elkon Hamelecourt (1912-2002) was a fiber artist, tapissiere, and lecturer in Haiti, New York, and Cleveland. Hamelecourt was born in Belgium and spent her early years traveling with her father in England and China. Hamelecourt first learned needlework in China at the age of 10. After her father's death a couple of years later, she returned to live in Belgium with her grandparents where Hamelecourt worked alongside her grandmother who was a volunteer conservationist, repairing chasubles for the local clergy. Hamelecourt's early tapestries were ultimately lost or destroyed during World War II when she and her family moved to New York as refugees. Until the late 1950s she worked as a culinary editor, food consultant, and author of non-fiction, while needlework remained a hobby. Hamelecourt first visited Haiti reporting on French Caribbean cuisine in the late 1950s, and soon after moved there as a representative for the World Craft Council. In Haiti, she trained local women to embroider designs from their own environment and folklore. Hamelecourt moved to the Chelsea Hotel in New York around 1970, at this time she began receiving commissions for her work--some of which she sub-contracted to her Haitian embroiderers--and consulting as a designer. She established an embroidery workshop at the hotel with a grant from the New York Council on the Arts. Hamelecourt moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1980.

Administration
Author
Christopher DeMairo
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 collection was donated by Juliette Hamelecourt, 1978-1997, and by the Juliette Elkon Hamelecourt estate via Leonard Spremulli in 2014.
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Christopher DeMairo in 2020.

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
Juliette Elkon Hamelecourt papers, 1911-2000. 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.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Fiber artists -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tapissiers -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tapestry -- United States Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Embroidery -- United States Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women artists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women textile artists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bettina, 1903- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Childs, Bernard, 1910-1985 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Glassgold, Adolph, 1899- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gordon, Maxwell, 1910-1982 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chelsea Hotel Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gershoy, Eugenie, 1901?-1983 or 6 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brown, Robert Delford Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fecher, Rita 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/