A Finding Aid to the Cady Wells Papers, 1913-1968, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.wellcady
Creators:
Wells, Cady, 1904-1954
Dates:
1913-1968
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
4.3 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of painter Cady Wells measure 4.3 linear feet and date from 1913 to 1968. The collection provides a range of documentation of Wells' life and career, namely as a landscape artist in New Mexico and as a servicemember of the United States Army during World War II. Among these materials are twenty-two personal journals; correspondence with friends, family, and art organizations; preliminary sketches and watercolors; fourteen sketchbooks; photographs; printed material; biographical material; and documents related to his professional affiliations.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of painter Cady Wells measure 4.3 linear feet and date from 1913 to 1968. The collection provides a range of documentation of Wells' life and career, namely as a landscape artist in New Mexico and as a servicemember of the United States Army during World War II. Among these materials are twenty-two personal journals; correspondence with friends, family, and art organizations; preliminary sketches and watercolors; fourteen sketchbooks; photographs; printed material; biographical material; and documents related to his professional affiliations.
Biographical material consists largely of documents and awards pertaining to Wells' military service in the 1940s. A large collection of correspondence provides a broader perspective of Wells' personal and professional affiliations, including a number of letters from his friend and painter Georgia O'Keeffe. Writings feature twenty-two nearly uninterrupted personal journals from the age of thirteen to his death at age 49, providing candid insight to Wells' upbringing, family and friends, creative pursuits, and life during wartime. A variety of printed material includes exhibition announcements and brochures, art periodicals, and news clippings from his lifetime. A small amount of documents outline his professional affiliations, highlighting his support of both established and emerging art organizations of the 1930s-1950s. Fourteen sketchbooks and a variety of loose preliminary drawings and watercolors trace Wells' development as an artist during his time in New Mexico. Photographs feature images of Wells throughout his life, along with his personal photos of family and friends, including one photo each of Ansel Adams and Georgia O'Keeffe. A scrapbook provides additional printed material pertaining to Wells' exhibitions and the greater Sante Fe arts community.

Arrangement
Arrangement
This collection is arranged as eight series.
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1940-1945 (4 folders; Box 1)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1913-1968 (14 folders; Box 1)
  • Series 3: Writings, 1918-1954 (24 folders; Boxes 2-3)
  • Series 4: Printed Material, circa 1910s-1950s (8 folders; Boxes 3-4)
  • Series 5: Professional Affiliations, circa 1930s-1950s (1 folder; Box 4)
  • Series 6: Artworks, circa 1930s-1950s (10 folders; Box 4)
  • Series 7: Photographs, circa 1920s-1950s (9 folders; Box 4)
  • Series 8: Scrapbook, circa 1920s=1950s (4 folders; Box 5)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Cady Wells (1904-1954) was a painter and a patron of the arts, most associated with the Santa Fe, New Mexico, landscape artists of the 1930s and 1940s. Born in Southbridge, Massachusetts, Wells was raised in an affluent family, and pursued music as a concert pianist before discovering his passion for painting. Upon moving to New Mexico in 1932, Wells quickly gained rapport with regional modernist painters Andrew Dasburg and Georgia O'Keeffe. His artistic career was interrupted in the first half of the 1940s while he served in the United States Army during World War II. Returning to New Mexico in the mid-1940s, his innovative command of pattern and color earned him a reputation as a significant landscape painter of the American Southwest. Along with his original contributions, Wells was an avid supporter of his local arts community, assisting in the development of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society and the Museum of New Mexico.

Administration
Processing Information
This collection was minimally processed and a finding aid prepared by Tim Lake in 2019.
Existence and Location of Copies
The collection is available on 35mm microfilm reels 1304-1309 and 1329 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of material described in the container inventory may not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Author
Tim Lake
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers were donated in 1975 by Mason B. Wells, brother of Cady Wells.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Cady Wells papers, 1913-1968. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
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.
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 Smithsonians's Terms of Use for additional information.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Painters -- New Mexico -- Santa Fe Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketchbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Keeffe, Georgia, 1887-1986 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Adams, Ansel, 1902-1984 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/