A Finding Aid to the Edward Plunkett Papers, circa 1900-2006, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.plunedwar
Creators:
Plunkett, Edward M. (1922-2011)
Dates:
circa 1900-2006
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
4.2 Linear feet
Repository:
Edward Plunkett papers measure 4.2 linear feet and date from circa 1900-2006. Biographical material includes a hand-written biography, identification cards including a United States passport, and a series of autobiographical essays written by Plunkett in his later years at a retirement community in Madison, Wisconsin. The correspondence series is comprised heavily of mail art sent to Plunkett correspondents including Robert Delford Brown, Russell Butler (a.k.a. buZ blurr), Anna Banana, Buster Cleveland, Crackerjack Kid, Ken Friedman, John Held, Jr., E. F. Higgins III, Ray Johnson, Tim Mancusi, Carlo Pittore, May Wilson, William Wilson, and W. S. Stipe. The printed material series includes editioned mail art publications including Collective Farm, No. 3, Post-Office Dinner, 1982 (number 15/100), and unused source material for his mail and collage art. The photographic material series consists of some images of Plunkett, his earlier, more traditional artworks, and snapshots from his travels. The artwork series consists of traditional drawings, paintings, and collages on paper, in addition to a number of altered published books, miniature booklets, and collaged notebooks in various states of being finished. Many of the interleaved notebooks have not been glued to the paper.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Edward Plunkett papers measure 4.2 linear feet and date from circa 1900-2006. Biographical material includes a hand-written biography, identification cards including a United States passport, and a series of autobiographical essays written by Plunkett in his later years at a retirement community in Madison, Wisconsin. The correspondence series is comprised heavily of mail art sent to Plunkett correspondents including Robert Delford Brown, Russell Butler (a.k.a. buZ blurr), Anna Banana, Buster Cleveland, Crackerjack Kid, Ken Friedman, John Held, Jr., E. F. Higgins III, Ray Johnson, Tim Mancusi, Carlo Pittore, May Wilson, William Wilson, and W. S. Stipe. The printed material series includes editioned mail art publications including Collective Farm, No. 3, Post-Office Dinner, 1982 (number 15/100), and unused source material for his mail and collage art. The photographic material series consists of some images of Plunkett, his earlier, more traditional artworks, and snapshots from his travels. The artwork series consists of traditional drawings, paintings, and collages on paper, in addition to a number of altered published books, miniature booklets, and collaged notebooks in various states of being finished. Many of the interleaved notebooks have not been glued to the paper.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged in five series:
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1952-2004 (0.1 linear feet: Box 1)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1946-2002 (1 linear foot: Boxes 1-2)
  • Series 3: Printed Material, circa 1900-2006 (0.8 linear feet: Box 2)
  • Series 4: Photographic Material, circa 1950-1999 (0.2 linear feet: Boxes 2-3)
  • Series 5: Artwork, circa 1935-1999 (2.1 linear feet: Boxes 3-5, OV 6-9)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Edward M. Plunkett (1922-2011) was a mail artist, painter, and educator based in New York City. Plunkett was born in Highland Park, Michigan, attended the University of Chicago and the School of the Chicago Art Institute, and went on to teach at The Chicago Art Institute. Plunkett came to New York City in 1949 to pursue graduate studies at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University and then the Sorbonne in Paris before settling permanently in New York. Plunkett's mature style as an exhibiting painter and illustrator often included social scenes and city life in a caricature-like style heavily influenced by Surrealism. In a 1977 article in Art Journal Plunkett describes his engagement with the emerging genre of mail art and how he coined the name "New York Correspondence School" in the early 1960s to describe the work he was making with contemporaries such as Ray Johnson. His paintings have been exhibited at The Whitney Museum in New York, in museums in Holland, Switzerland and The Museum of Modern Art in Paris. His work is found in numerous collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and his mail art is featured in many art and manuscript collections of mail artists.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Ryan Evans in 2021.
Author
Ryan Evans
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated in 2019 and 2020 by Wendy Fern Hutton, niece of Edward M. Plunkett.

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.
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
Edward Plunkett Papers, circa 1900-2006. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Mail art Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mail artists -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- Illinois -- Chicago Occupation 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/