A Finding Aid to the Mary Swift Papers, 1973-2004, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.swiftmar
Creators:
Swift, Mary
Dates:
1973-2004
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
8.2 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of photographer and curator Mary Swift measure 8.2 linear feet and date from 1973-2004. The bulk of the collection contains photographs that Swift took while working for the Washington Review. The images consist of photographs, contact sheets, and negatives of artists and art events in Washington, D.C. Also included are some personal papers; two video recordings of art events in Washington, D.C.; research material and a manuscript from Swift's M.A. thesis "Howard William Mehring, 1931-1978: Washington Color Painter" from George Washington University; and approximately 130 sound recordings of interviews conducted by Swift and panel discussions.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of photographer and curator Mary Swift measure 8.2 linear feet and date from 1973-2004. The bulk of the collection contains photographs that Swift took while working for the Washington Review. The images consist of photographs, contact sheets, and negatives of artists and art events in Washington, D.C. Also included are some personal papers; two video recordings of art events in Washington, D.C.; research material and a manuscript from Swift's M.A. thesis "Howard William Mehring, 1931-1978: Washington Color Painter" from George Washington University; and approximately 130 sound recordings of interviews conducted by Swift and panel discussions.

Arrangement
Arrangement
This collection is arranged as four series.
  • Series 1: Personal Papers, 1973-1984 (Box 1, 2 Folders)
  • Series 2: "Howard William Mehring 1931-1978: Washington Color Painter", circa 1977-1978 (Box 1, 12 Folders)
  • Series 3: Photographs, circa 1977-2004 (Box 1-6, OV 7, 5.5 linear feet)
  • Series 4: Sound and Video Recordings, 1977-1995 (Boxes 6, 8-14, 2.3 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Mary Swift (1929-) is a photographer and curator in Washington, D.C. She received her B.A. from Vassar College in 1950 with a major in English History. Swift then moved to London for her husband's work, and did not return to the United States until the 1960s. She received her M.A. from Catholic University's Speech and Drama Department in 1968, and an M.A. in Art History from George Washington University in 1978.
In October 1977, Swift became a production assistant for the Washington Review, a bi-monthly broadsheet on DC cultural life, while finishing her master's thesis at George Washington University. She was promoted to associate editor in 1978, and became managing editor of the arts section in 1980.
While at the Washington Review, Swift also worked as a curator and curatorial assistant on exhibitions in Washington, D.C. She worked as a curatorial assistant for Howard Mehring: A Retrospective Exhibition (1977-1978) at the Corcoran Gallery of Art; as a co-curator with Walter Hopps for the exhibition, Eminent Washington Artists: Benjamin Abramowitz, Sarah Baker, Leon Berkowitz, Robert Gates, Sy Gresser, Lois Milou Jones, Jacob Kainen, Alfred McAdams, James McLaughlin, Howard Mehring, Marjorie Phillips, John Robinson, Alma Thomas (1980), at the Art Barn Gallery; and curated, Drawings: 13 Washington Sculptors; Christenberry, Dickson, Fleps, Haley, Knights, Krebs, Lombardo, Mahoney, Puryear, Rudd, Schwebler, Staton, Truitt (1980), at the Diane Brown Gallery.
The professional appointments Swift held include exhibitions coordinator for the International Sculpture Conference in 1980 as well as board of director memberships at the Washington Gallery of Art, Charles Weidman Dance Company, the Washington Review, and the Washington Project for the Arts. Additionally, Swift was involved with her alma mater, Vassar College, in the capacity of Vice present for Programs of the Vassar Club of Washington, and Chairman of the Washington Friends of the Vassar Art Gallery.
Mary Swift's contributions to the Washington Review include photographs, reviews of art exhibitions, and interviews with artists such as choreographer Lucinda Childs and painter Robert Indiana. The exhibition catalogues Swift contributed to include Breton Morse, Paintings 1960-1978 (1978), Sy Gresser—Sculpture (1978), Howard Mehring: A Retrospective Exhibition (1977-1978), and Hands of Artists (1981)
Photographs from Swift's collection were displayed in an exhibition, Mary Swift's Washington (2005), held at Flashpoint Gallery.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Christopher DeMairo in 2019.
Existence and Location of Copies
Mary Swift's M.A. thesis, "Howard William Mehring, 1931-1978: Washington Color Painter," is available on 35mm microfilm reel 2762 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Author
Christopher DeMairo
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.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was donated in two installments in 2016 and 2018 by Mary Swift via her children, Isabel Swift Byron and William Swift.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research. Archival audiovisual recordings must be digitized for research access. Researchers may access digitized audiovisual materials in the Archives' Washington, D.C. or New York, N.Y. Research Centers by appointment. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Conditions Governing 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
Mary Swift Papers, 1974-2004. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Curators -- Washington (D.C.) Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographers -- Washington (D.C.) Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mehring, Howard, 1931-1978 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/