A Finding Aid to the Athena Tacha Papers, 1959-2019, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.tachathe
Creators:
Tacha, Athena, 1936-
Dates:
1959-2019
Languages:
The collection is in English and Greek.
Physical Description:
36.3 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of sculptor and educator Athena Tacha measure 36.3 linear feet and date from 1959 to 2019. Found are biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, research and writing files, commission and project files, teaching files from her position at Oberlin College, professional activities files, subject files, printed material, and photographic material. Of note are files documenting Tacha's numerous public art commissions throughout the United States.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of sculptor and educator Athena Tacha measure 36.3 linear feet and date from 1959 to 2019. Found are biographical material, correspondence, writings and notes, research and writing files, commission and project files, teaching files from her position at Oberlin College, professional activities files, subject files, printed material, and photographic material. Of note are files documenting Tacha's numerous public art commissions throughout the United States.
Biographical materials include resumes, scattered personal business records, and small sketches and handmade cards by Tacha. Largely, Tacha's correspondence comments on her professional career and includes letters from Ellen H. Johnson and Lucy Lippard and other artists, art historians, colleagues, and institutions. Writings by Tacha include her PhD thesis, drafts of articles, and an interview. More extensive files are found for Brancusi's Birds, and Rodin Sculpture.
The largest series contains material concerning Tacha's commissions and projects, both completed and unrealized. Files may contain detailed designs and construction information, correspondence, financial records, video recordings, and photographs. Professional activity and organization files concern Tacha's exhibitions of her works of art, and her participation with various groups such as the College Art Association and the New Organization for the Visual Arts. Subject files and photographic materials may include extensive source material used by Tacha to create her sculpture. Found are photographs, slides, sound and video recordings, and born-digital material.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 10 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1960s-2000s (0.2 linear feet; Box 1, OV 37)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1961-2016 (5.3 linear feet; Boxes 1-6)
  • Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1959-2019 (0.6 linear feet; Boxes 6-7)
  • Series 4: Research and Writing Files, circa 1960-1974 (2.7 linear feet; Boxes 7-9, OV 37)
  • Series 5: Commission and Project Files, circa 1974-2016 (9.2 linear feet; Boxes 9-18, OV 37)
  • Series 6: Teaching Files, 1963-circa 2000 (1.2 linear feet; Boxes 18-19)
  • Series 7: Professional Activities Files, 1968-2000 (2.2 linear feet; Boxes 20-22)
  • Series 8: Subject Files, 1960s-2000s (5.0 linear feet; Boxes 22-27)
  • Series 9: Printed Material, 1963-2013 (3.1 linear feet; Boxes 27-30, OV 37)
  • Series 10: Photographic Material, 1960s-2015 (6.8 linear feet; Boxes 30-36, OV 37)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Athena Tacha (1936-) is a Greek-born sculptor, and educator active in Oberlin, Ohio.
Athena Tacha was born in Larissa, Greece in 1936. She studied at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Athens and was accepted at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio under a Fulbright scholarship in 1960. There, she became close with her mentor Ellen H. Johnson. She continued her education at The Sorbonne, University of Paris where she completed her PhD. Returning to Oberlin, Tacha became assistant curator at the Allen Memorial Art Museum in the mid-1960s and later taught sculpture at Oberlin College until 1998.
Tacha began exhibiting her works throughout Ohio including at the annual Cleveland May Show at the Cleveland Museum of Art and around the United States. She held solo shows at Zabriskie Gallery and the Max Hutchinson Gallery. In the 1970s, Tacha focused on large environmental public sculpture, using brick, LED lighting plants, steel, stone, and water.
Athena Tacha married art historian Richard Spear in 1965. Together, they traveled extensively through the United States, Asia, South America, and Europe. They live in Washington, D.C.

Administration
Author
Jayna M. Josefson
Sponsor
Processing of this collection received federal support from the Collections Care Initiative Fund, administered by the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative and the National Collections Program
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated 1998, 2019 and 2021 by Athena Tacha.
Processing Information
The collection was processed, and a finding aid prepared by Jayna Josefson in 2021.

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 born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies.
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
Athena Tacha papers, 1959-2019. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an interview of Athena Tacha conducted 2009 December 4-6, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art's U.S. General Services Administration, Design Excellence and the Arts oral history project.
Athena Tacha donated her teaching files, as well as her research files relating to Ellen Johnson's Frank Lloyd Wright house in Oberlin, Ohio, to Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, and her early and student writings to the Balch Institute of Ethnic Studies, Philadelphia, Pa. Tacha was the executor of Ellen Johnson's estate, and worked with the Archives in donating Johnson's papers in 1994 (cataloged separately under Johnson).

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Women artists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors -- Ohio Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women sculptors Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motion picture film Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- Ohio Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brancusi, Constantin, 1876-1957 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rodin, Auguste, 1840-1917 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lippard, Lucy R. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Johnson, Ellen H. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Oberlin College 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/