A Finding Aid to the National Society of Mural Painters Records, 1895 - circa 2007, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.natimurp
Creators:
National Society of Mural Painters (New York, N.Y.)
Dates:
1895 - circa 2007
Languages:
English
Collection is in English.
Physical Description:
13.1 Linear feet
Repository:
The records of the National Society of Mural Painters measure 13.1 linear feet and date from 1895 to circa 2007. The activities of the society are documented through administrative files, membership files, correspondence, committee files, exhibition and competition files, artist files, financial and legal records, printed material, a scrapbook, and photographic materials.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The records of the National Society of Mural Painters measure 13.1 linear feet and date from 1895 to circa 2007. The activities of the society are documented through administrative files, membership files, correspondence, committee files, exhibition and competition files, artist files, financial and legal records, printed material, a scrapbook, and photographic materials.
Administrative files include meeting minutes and agendas, historical information, and newsletter drafts, and the organization's constitution and by-laws. Membership files contain correspondence with members about their applications and acceptance or denial of membership, member voting ballots, and lists of members. General correspondence is with artists, members, organizations, universities, and federal commissions, and documents a wide varity of NSMP activities; additional correspondence is scattered throughout other series. Correspondence is with Charles Baskerville, Arthur Covey, Allyn Cox, Dean Fausett, Ruth Fortel, Edward Lanning, Everett Molinari, Jack Stewart, and Helen Tredwell, as well as with the American Federation of Arts, the Commission of Fine Arts on War Memorials, Fine Arts Federation, and the U. S. Capitol Historical Society.
Committee files document the work of various NSMP standing and ad hoc committees. Exhibition and competition files include correspondence, photographs, catalogs, itineraries, and printed materials for the NSMP's 1976 U.S. Bicentennial celebration projects, including the "Freedom Murals," "Caravan of Freedom," and "Momentous Events in American History." Additional files document the Red Cross Canteen Project, Federal Art Project, the Municipal Art Society exhibition in 1940, New York City subway murals, and other competitions and public art mural projects.
Artist files primarily date from the 1960s through the 1990s and often include biographies, resumes, correspondence, and photographs of works of art. Financial and legal records include the NSMP treasurer's files, ledgers, and miscellany. Also found in the records are printed materials; a mixed media scrapbook dating from 1923-1935; photographs of meetings, events, exhibitions, and works of art; photo collages of members with examples of their works of art. There are also lantern slides of Francis D. Millet in his studio and with his murals, and of J. Scott Williams with his art work.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 10 series reflecting the original order of the records.
  • Series 1: Administrative Files, 1895-circa 2007 (2.2 linear feet; Boxes 1-3)
  • Series 2: Membership Files, 1915-2001 (1.1 linear feet; Boxes 3-4)
  • Series 3: Correspondence, 1912-2001 (1.0 linear feet; Boxes 4-5)
  • Series 4: Committee Files, 1909-1960s (0.3 linear feet; Box 5)
  • Series 5: Exhibition and Competition Files, 1917-1998 (2.0 linear feet; Boxes 5-7)
  • Series 6: Artist Files, 1915-1990s (1.3 linear feet; Boxes 7-8, 18)
  • Series 7: Financial and Legal Records, 1895-1996 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 8-10)
  • Series 8: Printed Material, 1915-2000 (0.9 linear feet; Boxes 10-11)
  • Series 9: Scrapbook, 1923-1935 (0.2 linear feet; Box 11)
  • Series 10: Photographic Material, circa 1900-1997 (2.5 linear feet; Boxes 12-18)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Originally named The Mural Painters, the National Society of Mural Painters (NSMP) was founded in 1895 in New York City by a group of artists, including John W. Alexander, Kenyon Cox, Edwin Blashfield, and John LaFarge, who were concerned with the design and execution of mural art for architecture in the United States. The organization's first president was Frederic Crowninshield. For well over one hundred years members of NSMP have created significant and monumental works of art across the country. Many significant American artists have been members and served as past presidents, such as George Biddle, Hildreth Meiére, Arthur S. Covey, Allyn Cox, Helen Treadwell, and Xavier Gonzales, among many others.
Since its founding, the NSMP has collaborated with the Fine Arts Section of the Treasury Department, the federal WPA Arts Project, and the design boards of several World's Fairs. As a member of Artists for Victory, NSMP coordinated the execution of murals for barracks and camps, as well as many triptych alterpieces.
NSMP organizes exhibitions and conductes competitions. In celebration of its one hundredth anniversary, a centennial exhibition was held in October 1995 at the Art Students League. Society members work with other organizations, actively sponsoring legislation for the development and commission of public works of art. Still active today, the current president is Jeff Greene.

Administration
Separated Materials
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reel NSM1) including 83 photographs of mural paintings and mural studies, and 25 exhibition boards showing sculptures, mosaics, and mural paintings with the artist's name, medium, title, and location listed. Lent materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Processing Information
Portions of the collection were microfilmed on reels D248-D250A shortly after donation. Multiple accessions were merged and archivally processed and a finding aid prepared by Jayna Josefson in 2015 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care and Preservation Fund. The Archives of American Art has implemented accelerated processing when possible to increase information about and access to more of our collections. For this collection, accelerated processing included arrangement to the series, subseries and folder levels, adhering to the creator's original arrangement as much as possible. Generally, folder contents were simply verified with the original folder titles, but items within folders were not arranged further. All materials were rehoused in archival folders and boxes for long-term stability, but staples and other fasteners have not all been removed.
Existence and Location of Copies
Portions of the collection and material lent for microfilming are available on 35mm microfilm reels D248-D250A and NSM1 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Author
Jayna M. Josefson
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care and Preservation Fund
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The National Society of Mural Painters lent materials for microfilming in 1963 and donated records in 1965-1966. The National Society of Mural Painters, via President Jeff Greene, gave papers in 2009.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Preferred Citation
National Society of Mural Painters records, 1895 - circa 2007. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
The National Society of Mural Painters records are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as posessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Lantern slides Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Muralists -- United States Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Subways -- New York (N.Y.) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Revolution Bicentennial, 1776-1976 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists' studios -- Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mural painting and decoration -- 19th century -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mural painting and decoration -- 20th century -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cox, Allyn, 1896-1982 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fortel, Ruth Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Millet, Francis Davis, 1846-1912 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Molinari, Everett Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lanning, Edward P. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Treadwell, Helen, 1902- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Williams, J. Scott (John Scott), b. 1877 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Federation of Arts Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Red Cross Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Municipal Art Society of New York Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fine Arts Federation of New York Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federal Art Project Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Baskerville, Charles, 1896- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Covey, Arthur Sinclair, 1877-1960 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stewart, Jack, 1926-2005 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States Capitol Historical Society Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fausett, Dean, 1913- 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/