A Finding Aid to the Merry Renk Papers, 1952-2000, in the Archives of American Art
Portions of this collection are digitized

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.renkmerr
Creators:
Renk, Merry, 1921-2012
Dates:
1952-2000
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
0.9 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of San Francisco metal-worker, jeweler, and painter Merry Renk measure 0.9 linear feet and date from 1952 to 2000. The collection comprises business records that include sales invoices, inventories, exhibition price lists, correspondence, and other material related to Renk's business activities. Also found are printed materials, a few sketches of utensils, writings, and a video recording of the documentary "Merry Renk: Jeweler" by Alan Leveton.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of San Francisco jeweler, painter, and metal-worker Merry Renk measure 0.9 linear feet and date from 1952 to 2000. The collection comprises business records that include sales invoices, inventories, exhibition price lists, and correspondence. Correspondents include Greta Daniel, Mrs. Vanderbilt Webb, Conrad Brown, Rose Slivka, Paul Soldner, Paul J. Smith, Alice W. Nichols, Roger Armstrong, and Francis S. Merritt. Also found is other material related to Renk's business activities; printed materials including clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs; a few sketches of utensils; writings including an unpublished typescript with illustrations and a draft of Renk's biographical statement; and a video recording containing the documentary "Merry Renk: Jeweler" by Alan Leveton.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Due to the small size of this collection, the papers are arranged as one series.
  • Series 1: Merry Renk Papers, 1952-2000 (1.1 linear feet; Boxes 1-2, OV 3)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Merry Renk (1921-2012) was a jeweler, painter, and metal-worker in San Francisco, California.
Renk was born in Trenton, New Jersey as Mary Ruth Gibbs. She studied painting at the Trenton School of Industrial Arts before moving to Chicago in 1946 to study at Illinois Institute of Technology. In Chicago, Renk founded the 750 Studio, an art gallery, with Olive Oliver and Mary Jo Slick. After taking some time to travel, she settled in San Francisco in 1948 where she became a prominent member of the arts and crafts community. Renk was instrumental in the founding of the San Francisco Metal Arts Guild and served as president in 1954. She also became an honorary fellow at the American Craft Council.
Renk is primarily known for her jewelry work but after suffering an eye injury in a car accident she began focusing on creating large scale sculptures using jewelry techniques sometime in the 1960s to 1970s.
Renk married Stanley Edwin Renk in 1941. After his death in World War II, she married fellow artist Earle Watt Curtis in 1958.

Administration
Author
Sarah Mundy
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Merry Renk papers were donated in 2003 and 2004 by Merry Renk as a part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
Processing Information
The collection was processed, and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Mundy in 2022.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
The donor has retained all intellectual property rights, including copyright, that she may own in the following material: Unpublished typescript, "Memories for My Children's Children's Children's Children's Children's Children."
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.
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 audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
Preferred Citation
Merry Renk papers, 1952-2000. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
Also in the Archives of American Art is an interview of Merry Renk conducted on January 18-19, 2001 by Arline M. Fisch for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America in Renk's home and studio in San Francisco, California.

More Information

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Women artists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- California -- San Francisco Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jewelers -- California -- San Francisco Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women jewelers Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Metal-workers -- California -- San Francisco Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Merritt, Francis Sumner, 1913-2000 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Slivka, Rose Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smith, Paul J., 1931- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Soldner, Paul 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/