A Finding Aid to the Eleanor Munro Papers, circa 1880-2011, bulk 1950-2011, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.munrelea
Creators:
Munro, Eleanor, 1928-
Dates:
circa 1880-2011
bulk 1950-2011
Languages:
English
The collection is in English.
Physical Description:
36.7 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of writer and art critic Eleanor Munro measure 36.7 linear feet and date from circa 1880-2011, bulk 1950-2011. The collection documents Munro's life, career, and research on women artists, through biographical and family material, correspondence, writing projects, diaries, dream journals and notebooks, subject and research files, printed material, and photographic material.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of writer and art critic Eleanor Munro measure 36.7 linear feet and date from circa 1880-2011, bulk 1950-2011. The collection documents Munro's life, career, and research on women artists, through biographical and family material, correspondence, writing projects, diaries, dream journals and notebooks, subject and research files, printed material, and photographic material.
Correspondence is both personal and professional in nature and is with family, friends, colleagues, agents, editors, and others regarding speaking engagements, writings, and other professional projects.
Writing projects make up a significant portion of the collection (10 linear feet) and include non-fiction works as well as fiction and poetry. Files contain drafts, notes, manuscripts, research, correspondence, contracts and agreements, royalty statements, and other business records for articles, books, reviews, talks, lectures, and other writing projects.
Diaries comprise twenty-six volumes of frequent entries that chronicle thoughts and feelings relating to Munro's personal and professional life. Dream journals and notebooks total 210 volumes plus additional loose pages and capture thoughts, reflections, and fragments of remembered dreams.
Subject and research files compiled and organized by Eleanor Munro make up the most substantial portion of the collection (20.6 linear feet) and reflect a wide variety of research interests, work projects, activities, and topics of interest. Types of material in this series are varied and include notes, drafts, printed material, correspondence, proposals, interview transcripts, bibliographies, annotated articles, slides, photographs, original artworks, manuscripts by others, and four sound recordings. Many files relate to Munro's interest in women artists and serve as research for Originals: American Women Artists (1979). Interview transcripts are with women artists Eleanor Antin, Nell Blaine, Lee Bontecou, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Mary Frank, Maya Lin, Joan Mitchell, Beverly Pepper, Sylvia Stone, Alma Thomas, and others.
The remainder of the collection is comprised of biographical and family material, printed material, and photographic material.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 7 series
  • Series 1: Biographical and Family Material, circa 1880s-2008 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1959-circa 2000s (0.7 linear feet; Box 1-2)
  • Series 3: Writings Projects, 1921-circa 2000s (10 linear feet; Box 2-12)
  • Series 4: Diaries, Dream Journals, and Notebooks, circa 1939-2011 (3.8 linear feet; Box 12-15)
  • Series 5: Subject and Research Files, circa 1950s-2000s (20.6 linear feet; Box 15-36, OV 38-40)
  • Series 6: Printed Material, circa 1959-circa 2000s (0.6 linear feet; Box 36)
  • Series 7: Photographic Material, circa 1980s-1990s (0.6 linear feet; Box 36-37)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Eleanor Munro (1928- ) is a writer and art critic working in New York City and Truro, Massachusetts. She is best known for her groundbreaking work Originals: American Women Artists (1979), one of the first books to argue for the importance of women artists who were generally ignored by the art world. Munro was active in feminist art circles in New York.
Munro's father, Thomas Munro, was an art educator and modernist intellectual. Her mother, Lucile Nadler, was a pianist. She grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, after her father accepted a joint appointment at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Western Reserve University. Munro graduated from Smith College majoring in art history and earned a master's degree in comparative literature from Columbia. She was married to Alfred Frankfurter, editor of ArtNews, from 1955 until his death in 1965. Munro remarried to the writer E. J. Kahn until his death in 1994.
While working on Originals, Munro interviewed forty women artists including Georgia O'Keeffe, Louise Bourgeois, Jennifer Bartlett, Helen Frankenthaler, and Louise Nevelson. Her thesis sought to highlight the relationship between biography and the content of an artist's work. The book serves as an illustration of Munro's idea that the "narrative memory" these artists had constructed for themselves was an important "generative source" of their creativity. Women artists continued to be a prominent interest of Munro's throughout her life.
Munro is also the author of On Glory Roads: a Pilgrim's Book about Pilgrimage (1987), Memoir of a Modernist's Daughter (1988), and other books. In 1988, Munro received the Cleveland Arts Prize for Literature.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Catherine S. Gaines, Joy Goodwin, and Hilary Price in 2015.
Author
Catherine S. Gaines, Joy Goodwin, and Hilary Price
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Eleanor Munro's son, David T. M. Frankfurter, in 2015.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Conditions Governing Use
The Eleanor Munro 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
Eleanor Munro papers, circa 1880-2011, bulk 1950-2011. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transcripts Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art critics -- Ohio Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Authors -- Ohio Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dreams Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women artists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Blaine, Nell, 1922-1996 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bontecou, Lee, 1931- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Antin, Eleanor Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Frank, Mary, 1933- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chase-Riboud, Barbara Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mitchell, Joan, 1926-1992 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lin, Maya Ying Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stone, Sylvia, 1928- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pepper, Beverly Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Thomas, Alma 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/