A Finding Aid to the Kate Lang Papers,
, in the Archives of American Art

Collection ID:
Lang, Kate, 1910-1996
Physical Description:
1.1 Linear feet
The papers of self-taught artist Kate Lang consist of a biographical sketch; letters, cards, and instructions from a patron for paintings; notes and other writings; lists of sales and other financial records; newspaper articles about Lang; exhibition announcements; printed source material for paintings; and photographs and snapshots of Lang as a young girl as well as color photographs and snapshots of her artwork. The collection measures 1.1 linear feet and dates from 1921 to 1996.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The Kate Lang papers measure 1.1 linear feet and date from 1921 to 1996. The collection documents the artistic career and creative process of Arlington, Virginia-based self-taught painter Kate Lang. The collection contains a brief biographical account, scattered professional and personal correspondence, writings and notes with sketches by Kate Lang, financial records, clippings, exhibition announcements, and numerous photographs and snapshots of Kate Lang, her artwork, friends and family. The collection compliments the Archives' material on self-taught artists and provides some useful evidence of an alternative market for painting.

The collection is arranged as six series:
    Missing Title
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1992 (Box 1; 1 folder)
  • Series 2: Letters, 1992-1996, undated (Box 1; 3 folders)
  • Series 3: Writings, 1992-1994, undated (Box 1; 6 folders)
  • Series 4: Financial Records, 1990-1996, undated (Box 1; 2 folders)
  • Series 5: Printed Material, 1991-1996, undated (Box 1, OV 2; 5 folders)
  • Series 6: Photographs, 1921-circa 1990s (Box 1, OV 2; 0.6 linear feet)

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Kate Lang, born Kathryn Louise Barbour in 1910 in Mobile, Alabama, started painting at age 80. A self-taught artist, she sold her paintings at local flea markets (Washington, D.C.'s Eastern Market on Saturdays and Georgetown Market on Sundays) until her death in 1996. Lang excelled at celebrity and pet portraits painted in the style of contemporary folk art. She held exhibitions at Connection Gallery in Washington, D.C. and George Washington University's Dimrock Gallery in 1992 and at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1995.

Jetta Samulski
The papers were donated in 2001 and 2009 by Richard Lang, the son of Kate Lang.
Processing Information
The papers were processed in July 2004 by Jetta Samulski. The finding aid was updated to include the 2009 addition in July 2015 by Kimberley Henze.

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. research facility.
Terms of 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.
Preferred Citation
Kate Lang papers, 1921-1996. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

More Information

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Washington (D.C.) -- Social life and customs Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Flea markets -- Washington (D.C.) Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painting, American -- Economic aspects Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Self-taught artists -- Washington (D.C.) Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- Washington (D.C.) Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women artists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women painters Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001