A Finding Aid to the Sidney Simon Papers, circa 1917-2002, bulk 1940-1997, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.simosidn
Creators:
Simon, Sidney, 1917-1997
Dates:
circa 1917-2002
bulk 1940-1997
Languages:
English
Collection is in English.
Physical Description:
8 Linear feet
2.21 Gigabytes
Repository:
The papers of sculptor, painter, and educator Sidney Simon measure 8.0 linear feet and 2.21 GB and date from circa 1917-2002, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1940-1997. The collection documents Simon's career through biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, subject files, sketches, sketchbooks, printed and digital material, and photographs.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of sculptor, painter, and educator Sidney Simon measure 8.0 linear feet and 2.21 GB and date from circa 1917-2002, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1940-1997. The collection documents Simon's career through biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, subject files, sketches, sketchbooks, printed and digital material, and photographs.
Biographical material chronicles Simon's academic training and professional activities through curriculum vitae, biographical accounts, and awards. Included are letters and memoranda, many from Forbes Watson pertaining to Simon's service as a combat artist in World War II. Also found is a transcript of an interview with Simon recounting his experiences in the Southwest Pacific. Simon's personal correspondence with colleagues, friends, and family includes scattered letters from Jacqueline Helion, Penelope Jencks, William King, Burgess Meredith, among others. Many letters are illustrated by Sidney Simon and others. General correspondence includes letters from artists, galleries, museums, public and religious institutions primarily relating to Simon's exhibitions and commissioned projects. Among the correspondents are Castle Hill, Truro Center for the Arts, Colby College, André Emmerich, Eric Makler Gallery, Xavier Gonzalez, Graham Gallery, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Interspersed among the files are letters of a personal nature. Other correspondence relates to Simon's faculty positions and his activities in professional organizations, e.g., Century Association, National Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
Writings and notes include Simon's 1943 diary entries recording his activities in the Army Corps of Engineers, draft versions of writings and lectures, and notes. Included are digital audio recordings of Simon's lectures at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Subject files provide documentation on Simon's commissioned projects, select exhibitions and competitions, as well as his faculty positions and memberships in several arts organizations. Printed material consists of clippings, invitations, announcements, newsletters, and programs. Exhibition catalogs are of Simon's solo and group shows at galleries, museums, and art organizations from 1959-1966. Photographs are of Simon by Budd Brothers, Richard Pousette-Dart, and Bernard Gotfryd. There are a number of photographs of the artist in his studio and outdoors as well as of Simon's family and friends, including group photographs with Ellsworth Kelly, André Emmerich, Robert Motherwell, and Louise Nevelson. Also found are three personal and family albums and twenty-one photograph albums of Simon's paintings and sculptures.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 9 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1940-1998 (Boxes 1, 9; 0.7 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1936-2002 (Boxes 1-2; 1.2 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1943, circa 1960-1997 (Box 2; 0.4 linear feet, ER01-ER03; 2.21 GB)
  • Series 4: Subject Files, 1940-1941, 1951-1997 (Boxes 2-4, 9; 1.8 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Sketches, 1937-1942 (Box 4; 1 folder)
  • Series 6: Sketchbooks, 1939-1995 (Boxes 4-5, 9; 0.5 linear feet)
  • Series 7: Printed Material, circa 1933, 1942-1998 (Box 5; 0.3 linear feet)
  • Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1978-1995 (Box 5; 0.1 linear feet)
  • Series 9: Photographs, circa 1917-1997 (Boxes 5-11; 3.0 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Sidney Simon (1917-1997) was a sculptor, painter, and educator who worked primarily in New York City and Truro, Massachusetts. Simon was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the age of 14, he won a place as a special student at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1934 and from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1936. Simon also studied at the Barnes Foundation from 1937-1940. Simon received professional recognition early in his career; he was awarded the Prix de Rome Collaborative Prize in 1939 and the Edwin Austin Abbey Fellowship in mural painting in 1945.
In 1941, Simon enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the Army Corps of Engineers. Assigned to MacArthur's headquarters as an official war artist for the Southwest Pacific Theater, Simon was chosen to paint the signing of the peace treaty between the U.S. and Japan aboard the U.S.S. Missouri. He was discharged from the army with a Bronze Star and five presidential citations. In 1945, along with Bill Cummings and Henry Varnum Poor, Simon co-founded the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, where he later served as a director and a member of the Board of Governors. By the mid-1950s, Simon's interest shifted from painting to sculpture, creating works in wood, clay, and other media. Over the years, Simon collaborated with architects on a number of public and private commissions, including the doorway for the Downstate Medical Center, the Jewish Chapel at West Point, a playground sculpture for Prospect Park, and the totemic column for the Temple Beth Abraham. In addition to serving on the faculty at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Simon also taught at the Art Students League, Brooklyn Museum, and Parsons School of Design. An active champion of artists' rights, Simon established the New York Artists Equity Association. He participated in solo and group shows at the Graham Gallery, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and the Sculptors Guild, among other venues.
In 1997, Sidney Simon died at the age of 80 in Truro, Massachusetts. Simon was divorced from Joan Crowell in 1964. He is survived by his wife, Renee Adriance Simon and five children from his first and second marriages.

Administration
Separated Materials
The Archives of American Art also holds materials lent for microfilming (reel D210) including biographical material, correspondence, sketchbooks, scrapbooks, and photographs of Sidney Simon. Lent materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Processing Information
This collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Joy Goodwin in 2012. Born-digital materials were processed by Kirsi Ritosalmi-Kisner in 2019 with funding provided by Smithsonian Collection Care and Preservation Fund.
Existence and Location of Copies
Materials lent for microfilming are available on 35mm microfilm reel D210 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Author
Joy Goodwin
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Sidney Simon lent the Archives of American Art material for microfilming in 1965. Rene Simon, Simon's widow, donated the Sidney Simon papers in 2009.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Sidney Simon papers, circa 1917-2002, bulk 1940-1997. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original material requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Conditions Governing Use
The Sidney Simon papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

Related Materials
The Archives has two oral history interviews with Sidney Simon conducted by Paul Cummings in October 17-November 8, 1973 and the Karl E. Fortress taped interviews with artists, [1963-1985].

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transcripts Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketchbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketches Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
War artists Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Illustrated letters Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Pacific Area Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
World War, 1939-1945 -- Art and the war Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists' studios -- New York (State) -- New York -- Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Meredith, Burgess, 1907-1997 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gonzalez, Xavier, 1898-1993 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
King, William, 1925-2015 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nevelson, Louise, 1899-1988 -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motherwell, Robert -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hélion, Jacqueline Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gotfryd, Bernard Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kelly, Ellsworth, 1923- -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jencks, Penelope Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Watson, Forbes, 1880-1960 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pousette-Dart, Richard, 1916-1992 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Army. Corps of Engineers Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Emmerich, André Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Century Association (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Budd (Firm : New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Graham Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Colby College Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. School -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Corporate 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/