Benjamin K. Smith papers relating to O'Brien Galleries

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.smitbenj
Creators:
Smith, Benjamin K., 1872-1973
Dates:
1912-1941
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
1 Item
partial microfilm reel
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Papers kept by Benjamin K. Smith, an employee of the O'Brien Galleries (1912-1922), including: handwritten lists concerning paintings from the Samuel Nickerson collection on consignment from the Chicago Art Institute (1920-1921) and furniture bought for the O'Brien Galleries (photographs of furniture microfilmed on reel 4181); a December 1912 issue of ART, a monthly magazine published by the Galleries; sales catalogs and announcements for the O'Brien Art Galleries, the House of O'Brien, and M. O'Brien & Sons; a 1922 exhibition announcement for paintings by Helen West Heller at the Walden Book Shop with pencil sketches of a table "Spanish early 17th cent." on its reverse; a newspaper advertisement and an article (1941) "Gallery Fading from Picture as Art Declines in Chicago."

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Art gallery; Chicago, Ill. and Scottsdale, Az. Chicago's first art gallery and one of the oldest family owned and operated gallery in the United States. It opened in 1855 as a frame shop, offering a variety of services to both artists and collectors. It was called by several names, including O'Brien's Art Emporium, O'Brien Art Galleries, O'Brien Galleries, House of O'Brien, and M. O'Brien & Sons. The gallery remained in Chicago until 1941, closed during the war, and resumed operation in Scottsdale, Arizona in the 1950s. Three generations of O'Briens (Martin, William, and William Jr.) ran the gallery before it moved to Arizona; all were committed to bringing culture and the visual arts to Chicago.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
35mm microfilm reels 4065 & 4181 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Barton Smith, 1986, son of Benjamin K. Smith (1872-1973), was an employee of the gallery from 1912 to 1922 prior to opening his own art appraisal business.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Drawings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art galleries, Commercial -- Illinois Function Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Heller, Helen West, d. 1955 -- Exhibitions Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nickerson, Samuel Mayo, 1830-1909 -- Art collections Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Brien, Martin, 1834-1917 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Brien, William Vincent, 1859-1952 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Brien, William Vincent, 1902-1972 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Brien Galleries (Chicago, Ill.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
House of O'Brien Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
M. O'Brien & Son Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Brien Art Galleries Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Brien's Art Emporium 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/