A Finding Aid to the Margaret Merwin Patch Papers, 1885-1986, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.patcmarg
Creators:
Patch, Margaret Merwin, 1894-1987
Dates:
1885-1986
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
10.9 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of arts administrator Margaret Merwin Patch measure 10.9 linear feet and date from 1885 to 1986. The bulk of the collection consists of material from Patch's involvement with the American Craftsmen's Council and the formation and administration of the World Crafts Council. Also found are scattered biographical materials from Patch and the Merwin and Patch families; correspondence; three diaries; writings and notes by Patch and by others; subject files regarding various other organizations and activities with which Patch was involved; printed material, and photographs.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of arts administrator Margaret Merwin Patch measure 10.9 linear feet and date from 1885 to 1986. The bulk of the collection consists of material from Patch's involvement with the American Craftsmen's Council and the formation and administration of the World Crafts Council. Also found are scattered biographical materials from Patch and the Merwin and Patch families; correspondence; three diaries; writings and notes by Patch and by others; subject files regarding various other organizations and activities with which Patch was involved; printed material; and photographs.
Biographical material includes documents from Margaret Merwin Patch as well as items from Rachel Merwin-Coggeshall, George Patch, Hester Merwin, and Ruth Merwin. One scrapbook contains clippings and photographs from the Patch's time at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Correspondents include Dorothy Johnson, Luba Kruja, Mary and Frances Schimpff, Olga Valkova, and Aileen Webb. Writings by others include unpublished works by Aileen Webb and Beatrice Wood. Family photographs depict the Patch and Merwin families.
The bulk of Patch's papers relate to her involvement with numerous arts organizations including the American Craftsmen's Council, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Shelburne Falls Art Center, and the World Crafts Council. These files may include founding documents, financial material, administrative records, correspondence, notes, printed material, and photographs. Found is material from the planning, goals, and accomplishments of twenty-five international meetings of various committees and groups of the World Crafts Council.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 9 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1903-1976 (0.9 linear feet; Box 1, 12, OV13-14)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1928-1986 (0.6 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 3: Diaries, 1912-1926 (0.2 linear feet; Box 2)
  • Series 4: Writings and Notes, circa 1919-circa 1980s (0.4 linear feet; Box 2)
  • Series 5: Subject Files, 1927-1986 (1.4 linear feet; Box 2-3)
  • Series 6: American Craftsmen's Council Records, 1953-1987 (1.0 linear feet; Box 4)
  • Series 7: World Crafts Council Records, circa 1960-1986 (5.2 linear feet; Box 5-10)
  • Series 8: Printed Material, 1930s-1986 (0.4 linear feet; Box 10)
  • Series 9: Photographs, 1880s-1980s (0.8 linear feet; Box 10-11)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Margaret Merwin Patch (1894-1987) was an arts administrator in Massachusetts and Florida.
Born in Bloomington, Illinois in 1894, Margaret Stone Merwin graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1915. She attended the University of Chicago Graduate School of Commerce and Administration from 1916 to 1917.
While living in London, Margaret enrolled at the London School of Economics and worked for the American Section of the Allied Maritime Transport Council, attending the Paris Peace Conference. Upon returning to the United States, she was a member of the National Industrial Conference Board and attended Columbia University in the early 1920s. She started a statistical graphic design company, Merwin-Davis Statistical Reports and Charts, which produced illustrated and varied graphs to display statistical information in the mid-1920s.
Margaret Merwin married George Patch in 1930. She and George moved between their summer home in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, New York City, where Margaret was a special consultant to the National Broadcasting Company, and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan where she studied painting under Zoltan Sepeshy and Wallace Mitchell at Cranbrook Academy of Art. During World War II, Patch worked for the Office of Price Administration. Upon her husband's death in the 1950s, Patch spent winters in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
From the 1940s until her death in 1988, Margaret Merwin Patch devoted her time to arts administration in the United States and around the world. Her passion began when she became the art chairman of the Women's Club of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. With that role, she helped lead the exhibition, class instruction, and retail support of local crafts. Eventually, her activity led to the formation of the Shelburne Falls Craft Center. Among the many organizations with which she was involved were the Aid to Artisans, American Craftsmen's Council, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Deerfield Valley Art Association, Michigan League of Women Voters, and the Shelburne Falls Art Center. Through her affiliation with the American Craftsmen's Council, Patch embarked on a year-long trip around the world in 1960. This trip helped lay the foundation for the World Crafts Council, which was formally established in 1964, with the aid of her colleague, Aileen Osborn Patch. A UNESCO group, the World Crafts Council sponsored international crafts conferences and cultural assemblies.
Margaret Merwin Patch died in 1988.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was arranged upon receipt by Jean Fitzgerald. It was processed with a finding aid prepared by Jayna Josefson in 2019.
Author
Jayna M. Josefson
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Margaret Merwin Patch papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Linda M. Walker, a personal representative of Patch's estate in 1987.

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 the audiovisual recording in this collection must use an access copy. Contact References Services for more information.
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 Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Preferred Citation
Margaret Merwin Patch papers, 1885-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
Also in the Archives of American Art is an interview of Margaret Merwin Patch, conducted 1980 October 16-1984 September 25, by Robert F. Brown.
Researchers interested in accessing the audiovisual recording in this collection must use an access copy. Contact References Services for more information.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
handicrafts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Arts administrators Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ayers, Hester Merwin, 1902-1975 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
World Crafts Council Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Craftsmen's Council Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Webb, Aileen O., 1892-1979 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/