A Finding Aid to the Ruth Jett Papers, 1914-2014, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.jettruth
Creators:
Jett, Ruth M.
Dates:
1914-2014
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
7.8 Linear feet
0.242 Gigabytes
Repository:
The papers of African American arts administrator and director of Cinque Gallery, Ruth Jett, measure 7.8 linear feet and date from 1914 to 2014. The collection contains biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues including William Branch, Vinie Burrows, John and Vivian Hewitt, Langston Hughes, and Charles and Frances White; and administrative and professional files which include material related to the American Society of African Culture, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Cinque Gallery, the Cinque Artists Program at the Romare Bearden Foundation, the Library of Congress Center for the Book, and the Schomburg Corporation. The collection also includes writings, primarily typescript copies of literary works by others, including Langston Hughes and Ossie Davis, as well as notes; printed material such as clippings, exhibition and event announcements, books and magazines, and press releases; and photographic material including photographs, snapshots, negatives, and slides depicting Ruth Jett and other individuals, travel, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace fellows and events, and works of art. Also found is a small amount of artwork including a sketchbook, sketches, a painting, and a print.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of African American arts administrator and director of Cinque Gallery, Ruth Jett, measure 7.8 linear feet and date from 1914 to 2014. The collection contains biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues including William Branch, Vinie Burrows, John and Vivian Hewitt, Langston Hughes, and Charles and Frances White; and administrative and professional files which include material related to the American Society of African Culture, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Cinque Gallery, the Cinque Artists Program at the Romare Bearden Foundation, the Library of Congress Center for the Book, and the Schomburg Corporation. The collection also includes writings, primarily typescript copies of literary works by others, including Langston Hughes and Ossie Davis, as well as notes; printed material such as clippings, exhibition and event announcements, books and magazines, and press releases; and photographic material including photographs, snapshots, negatives, and slides depicting Ruth Jett and other individuals, travel, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace fellows and events, and works of art. Also found is a small amount of artwork including a sketchbook, sketches, a painting, and a print.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged in seven series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1914-2014 (Box 1, OV 9; 0.5 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1952-2014 (Boxes 1-2; 1.2 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Administrative and Professional Files, 1954-2009 (Boxes 2-5, OV 9; 3.2 linear feet)
  • Series 4: Writings, 1949-circa 1990s (Box 5; 0.3 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Printed Material, 1928, 1949-2014 (Boxes 5-7, OVs 9-13; 2.1 linear feet, ER01; .242 GB)
  • Series 6: Photographic Material, 1947-2010 (Boxes 7-8, OV 14; 0.5 linear feet)
  • Series 7: Artwork, undated (Box 8, OV 14; 3 folders)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Ruth Jett (1920-2014) was an art administrator and Director of the Cinque Gallery, New York, N.Y.
Born and raised in Alabama, Ruth Jett attended Miles College in Birmingham before moving with her mother and some siblings to Harlem, New York. In the early 1950s, Jett worked with the Committee for the Negro in the Arts, overseeing early productions by several Black playwrights including William Branch, Alice Childress, Ossie Davis, and Julian Mayfield. From the 1950s until her retirement in 1978, Jett held a variety of positions at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, notably managing the Fellowships in Diplomacy program for a number of years.
After she retired from the Carnegie Endowment, Ruth Jett worked with a number of cultural and arts organizations, including the Library of Congress Center for the Book, the Schomburg Corporation/ Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Friends of the Symphony of the New World.
Ruth Jett served on the Cinque Gallery Board of Directors beginning in 1981. She was appointed Executive Director in 1989 and served in that position until the early 2000s. When the gallery closed in 2004, she then worked with the Romare Bearden Foundation on the Cinque Artists Program to continue the gallery's legacy and commitment to supporting artists.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was minimally processed and a finding aid prepared by Rayna Andrews in 2019 with funding from the Henry Luce Foundation. Born-digital materials were processed by Jess Purkis in 2019.
Author
Rayna Andrews
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Ruth Jett papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in 2018 by Juan Rodriguez, a friend of Jett.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research. Archival audiovisual recordings must be digitized for research access. Researchers may access digitized audiovisual materials in the Archives' Washington, D.C. or New York, N.Y. Research Centers by appointment. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Preferred Citation
Ruth Jett papers, 1914-2014. 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
The Archives of American Art also holds the Cinque Gallery records, 1959-2010, bulk 1976-2004.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
African American artists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Arts administrators -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
African American artists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Society of African Culture Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Branch, William B. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cinque Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Davis, Ossie Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hewitt, John H., 1924-2000 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hewitt, Vivian D. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Library of Congress. Center for the Book Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Romare Bearden Foundation Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
White, Frances Barrett Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
White, Charles, 1918-1979 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Crichlow, Ernest, 1914-2005 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/