Archives of American Art

A Finding Aid to the Esther G. Rolick Papers, 1940-1985, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.roliesth
Creators:
Rolick, Esther G., 1922-
Dates:
1940-1985
Languages:
Some of the correspondence is in Spanish.
Physical Description:
3.7 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of painter and educator Esther Rolick measure 3.7 linear feet and date from 1940 to 1985. The papers document Rolick's career through correspondence with friends and colleagues; writings, including unpublished illustrated books for children; business records; printed material and scrapbooks of clippings and exhibition catalogs; artwork including a sketchbook; photographs of artwork, travels around the world, and personal photographs; and sound recordings of interviews with prominent African American artists.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of painter and educator Esther Rolick measure 3.7 linear feet and date from 1940 to 1985. The papers document Rolick's career through correspondence with friends and colleagues; writings, including unpublished illustrated books for children; business records; printed material and scrapbooks of clippings and exhibition catalogs; artwork including a sketchbook; photographs of artwork, travels around the world, and personal photographs; and sound recordings of interviews with prominent African American artists.
Correspondence includes personal letters from friends and letters related to Rolick's exhibitions. Some of the letters are in Spanish. Writings include poems by Rolick and two unpublished books for children, primarily of illustrations.
Personal business records and professional activity files include financial materials related to Rolick's travels around the world, statements, promissory notes, certificates, and exhibition guestbooks.
Printed material consists mainly of exhibition announcements and catalogs, with some newspaper clippings. Additional printed material can be found in Series 6: Scrapbooks.
Photographs consist primarily of personal photographs, photographs of travels to Bogota, Colombia and Palermo, Italy, and photographs of artwork. Artwork includes oversized sketches by classmates and one small sketchbook of drawings.
Of note are untranscribed interviews conducted by Rolick for her class "Black Music and Art," at Mercy College, circa 1970-1971. Interviewees include Charles Alston, Romare Bearden, Jean Hutson, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, Hale Woodruff, and artists affiliated with the Cinque Gallery, Weusi Gallery, and SPIRAL artist's group.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged chronologically into eight series.
  • Series 1: Correspondence, 1946-1985 (1.3 linear feet; Box 1-2)
  • Series 2: Writings, 1947-1971 (0.1 linear feet; Box 2)
  • Series 3: Personal Business Records and Professional Activity, 1968-1974 (0.2 linear feet: Box 2)
  • Series 4: Printed Material, 1944-1980 (0.3 linear feet: Box 2)
  • Series 5: Photographs, circa 1940-1985 (0.6 linear feet: Box 2-3, 5)
  • Series 6: Scrapbooks, circa 1944-1972 (0.7 linear feet; Box 3, 5)
  • Series 7: Artwork, circa 1944-1985 (0.1 linear feet; Box 3, 5, OV)
  • Series 8: Interviews 1970-1971 (0.4 linear feet; Box 3-4)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
New York realist painter and educator Esther G. Rolick (1922-2008) taught art for two decades at Mercy College, where she helped to develop programs including a class, "Black Music and Art," for which she interviewed prominent Harlem artists and musicians.
Rolick studied at the Art Students League and had her first solo exhibition of drawings at Jacques Seligmann & Co. in 1947. She subsequently participated in exhibitions around the country and internationally in Haiti. In the 1960s she began teaching at Mercy College and helped to develop several innovative programs there. Rolick also traveled extensively and painted in places such as Bogota, Colombia and Palermo, Italy.

Administration
Author
Ricky Gomez
Sponsor
The processing of this collection received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, administered by the National Collections Program and the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee.
Existence and Location of Copies
Portions of the collection are available on 35mm microfilm reels 827-828, and 950 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.
Some of the sound recordings in this collection were digitized for research access and are available at the Archives of American Art offices.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Esther G. Rolick papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Esther Rolick in a series of installments between 1970 and 1985.
Processing Information
The collection received some level of processing and was microfilmed on reels 827-828 and 950 after receipt.
The collection was processed, and a finding aid prepared by Ricky Gomez in 2019.

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 audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
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
Esther G. Rolick papers, 1940-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Educators -- New York (State) Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
African American artists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women artists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women painters Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women art teachers Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cinque Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bearden, Romare, 1911-1988 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lawrence, Jacob, 1917-2000 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Woodruff, Hale, 1900-1980 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Alston, Charles Henry, 1907-1977 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