A Finding Aid to the Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.reevruth
Creators:
Reeves, Ruth, 1892-1966
Dates:
circa 1880-1967
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
1.1 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of textile designer Ruth Reeves measure 1.1 linear feet and date from circa 1880 to 1967. Found are biographical materials, scattered correspondence, writings on textile design, printed material, artwork, photographs, and scrapbooks.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of textile designer Ruth Reeves measure 1.1 linear feet and date from circa 1880 to 1967. Found are biographical material, scattered correspondence, writings on textile design, printed material, artwork, photographs, and scrapbooks.
Biographical records include biographical sketches, travel papers, and divorce records. Correspondence is scattered but includes letters from Ruth Reeves to her daughter Judith. Most of Reeves' general correspondence is from family and friends. A teaching file for a course on textile design at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art contains notes, lecture drafts, and sketches. Writings by Ruth Reeves are on textile design and may include drafts with handwritten notes. Artworks include painted sketches and prints by Ruth Reeves. Photographs include portraits of Reeves, snapshots of her family and travel photos. Of note is a portrait of cartoonist Art Young by Berenice Abbott.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Due to the small size of this collection, the papers are arranged as one series.
  • Series 1: Ruth Reeves Papers, circa 1880-1967 (Box 1-2; 1.3 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Ruth Reeves (1892-1966) was a textile designer, educator, and painter active in New York City, New York and India. She is known for having designed rugs for Radio City Music Hall.
Ruth Reeves was born in Redlands, California in 1892 to John Chapenou and Jennie Martafel Reeves. First, she studied art in California but moved to New York City to attend Pratt Institute in 1911. In 1913, she earned a scholarship to the Art Students League. Her formal art education focused on painting but due to finances, Ruth left school and took freelance jobs as an illustrator and textile designer. In Paris, she worked as an illustrator for Fairchild Publications and remained in Paris to study under Fernand Léger.
Reeves' first exhibition was with The American Designers' Gallery where she showed textiles. She experimented using screen print and vat dye techniques to create household textiles. In addition to her design career, Reeves served as national supervisor for the Index of American Design under the Federal Art Project and taught at the Cooper Union. In 1956, she accepted a Fulbright grant and moved to India to study Indian textile techniques.
Ruth Reeves married Donald Robert Baker, with whom she had three daughters. Ruth Reeves died in 1966 in New Delhi, India.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
Portions of the collection are available on 35 mm microfilm reels 136 and 3099 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Processing Information
The collection was arranged and microfilmed upon receipt. It was processed and a finding aid prepared by Jayna Josefson in 2018.
Author
Jayna M. Josefson
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Ruth Reeves papers were donated by her daughter, Judith Baker Katzman in 1971 and 1972.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Preferred Citation
Ruth Reeves papers, circa 1880-1967. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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/