A Finding Aid to the Robert W. White Papers,
1889-2003,
bulk 1915-2003,
in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.whiterobe
Creators:
White, Robert, 1921-2002
Dates:
1889-2003
bulk 1915-2003
Languages:
Multiple languages
Some records are in Dutch, French, German, and Italian.
Dutch; French; German; Italian
Physical Description:
8.4 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of New York sculptor Robert White measure 8.4 linear feet and date from 1889-2003, with the bulk of the material from 1915-2003. The collection documents White's varied career as a sculptor, educator, painter, and illustrator through biographical material; extensive correspondence; project files; personal business records; notes and writings; sketchbooks and sketches by Robert White and others; printed material; audiovisual material; artifacts; and photographs.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The papers of New York sculptor Robert White measure 8.4 linear feet and date from 1889-2003, with the bulk of the material from 1915-2003. The collection documents White's varied career as a sculptor, educator, painter, and illustrator through biographical material; extensive correspondence; project files; personal business records; notes and writings; sketchbooks and sketches by Robert White and others; printed material; audiovisual material; artifacts; and photographs.
Scattered biographical materials include a curriculum vitae, documentation relating to White's service in the U.S. Coast Guard, a certificate of appreciation, and a memorial card for White's daughter, Natalie Laura White.
Correspondence contains primarily incoming letters from family and friends, and from clients, galleries, museums, arts organizations, students, and university administrators. Spanning over a seventy year period, family and friends correspondence centers on daily activities, events, and work. There is extensive correspondence from Robert White's parents, Lawrence Grant White and Bessie Chanler White and from Claire Nicolas White and her family. Other correspondents include Gil Franklin, Walker Hancock, Jim Harrison, Susan Hobbes, Willard R. Huntington, Ben LaFarge, Ward Lamb, Suzannah Lessard, Peter Matthiessen, Walker O'Cain, Mark and Katja Oxman, Frank C. Platt, Laura Spencer Pope, Paul and Ellen Resika, Paul Russotto, Sidney Simon, and William Styron, among others.
General correspondence mostly concerns White's commissions, teaching appointments, and his activities in professional organizations. Also included are letters from family members, friends, and colleagues. Frequent correspondents include: the American Academy in Rome, Amyas Ames, the Augustus Saint Gaudens Memorial, Century Association, Theodore Cremer, Davis Galleries, Patricia Fleischmann, Hugh Fosburgh, Rebekah Harkness Kean, David Garrard Lowe, National Academy of Design, Parsons School of Design, S. Dillon Ripley, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Steuben Glass, and the Suffolk Museum and Carriage House.
Project files contain materials on Robert White's exhibitions and his commissioned projects. Materials include letters, lists of artwork, notes, price lists, receipts, exhibition schedules, contracts, and loan agreements. Files document White's exhibits at the Davis Galleries, Elaine Benson Gallery, Graham Gallery, Graham Modern, Heckscher Museum, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Included are extensive files on White's commissions for the American Battle Monuments Commission, Peabody Museum, and Steuben Glass.
Personal business records include files on Robert White's association with the Augustus Saint Gaudens Memorial and the National Academy of Design; his teaching appointments at the Parsons School of Design, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; and his dealings with foundries. There are scattered files on the Whites' St. James, New York property and residence.
Notes and writings contain Robert White's diaries, artist's statements, notebooks, essays on art, lectures, and scattered notes. Also found are writings by Clare White and others.
Sketchbooks and loose sketches contain preliminary studies by Robert White and scattered sketches by others. Printed material houses newspaper clippings and periodicals; exhibition announcements, catalogs, brochures, and posters; press releases and newsletters; and miscellaneous printed material.
Artifacts include two printing blocks: a portrait sculpture of Stephanie White and a landscape image. Audiovisual material consists of an audio CD-disc of a classroom lecture by Robert White at an unidentified venue.
Photographs house images of Robert White; his studio; and snapshots of family and friends, many unidentified. Also included are photographs and slides of artwork.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into ten series:
  • Series 1: Biographical Material, 1939-2002 (Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1923-2002 (Boxes 1-4; 3.8 linear feet)
  • Series 3: Project Files, 1952-2003 (Boxes 4-5, OV 10; 1.2 linear feet)
  • Series 4: Personal Business Records, 1889, 1946-2003 (Boxes 5-6, OV 10; 1.3 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Notes and Writings, 1915, circa 1946-2002 (Boxes 6-7; 0.6 linear feet)
  • Series 6: Sketchbooks and Sketches, circa 1965-1972 (Boxes 7, 9; 0.3 linear feet
  • Series 7: Printed Material, 1937-2003 (Boxes 7, 9; 0.5 linear feet)
  • Series 8: Audiovisual Material, 1973 (Box 7; 1 folder)
  • Series 9: Artifacts, circa 1965 (Box 7; 0.1 linear feet)
  • Series 10: Photographs, circa 1940s-2001 (Box 8; 0.5 linear feet)

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Robert Winthrop White (1921-2002) lived and worked in St. James, New York and was primarily known as a sculptor and educator.
He was the son of the architect, Lawrence Grant White (1887-1956) and Bessie Chanler White. Stanford White (1853-1906), Robert's grandfather, was one of the founding partners in the prominent New York City architectural firm, McKim, White, and Mead.
As a youth, Robert White traveled to Munich, Germany to study woodcarving, sculpture, and painting. In 1935, he entered Portsmouth Priory School in Rhode Island. From 1938-1942, he was enrolled in the Rhode Island School of Design, where his mentors were Walter Raemisch in sculpture and John Howard Benson in calligraphy. In World War II, White served as chief boatswain's mate in the United States Coast Guard and later worked in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). At the end of the war, White continued his training in sculpture and painting. In 1947, Robert White married Clare Nicolas, daughter of the painter and stained glass master, Joep Nicolas and the sculptor, Suzanne Nicolas.
Robert White, influenced by the classical techniques of the Renaissance artists, worked in various media, such as bronze, stone, plaster, terra-cotta, and wood. His subjects included portrait, figure, and life studies; animals; and dancers. Robert White also was an illustrator. He illustrated works by Laura Spencer Pope, William Styron, and others. White also illustrated two collections of his own poems, Casques and Dust and Palace: The Story of A Friendship that were privately published before his death in 2002.
Robert White held teaching positions at several universities and schools, including the Suffolk Museum of Art, the Parsons School of Design, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. From 1967-1987, White was an associate professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
White exhibited his work in museums and galleries in the United States and abroad, including Artists Choice Museum, Artist's Gallery, Benson Gallery, Boston Athenaeum, Gallery North, Hartwick College Museum, Nassau County Museum of Fine Art, Patricia Fleischmann Gallery, Rijksakademie Van Beeldende, State University of New York at Stony Brook, and the Suffolk Museum and Carriage House, among others. Robert White was represented by the Davis Gallery, Graham Gallery, and Graham Modern in New York City.
Robert White's private and public commissions included works for the American Battle Monuments Commission, Amyas Ames, Theodore Cremer, John Marquand, Peabody Museum, State University of New York, William Styron, and Xerox Corporation. His work can be viewed in the collections of the Boston Athenaeum, Brooklyn Museum, Civici Musei 3 Gallerie di Storia e Arte, Heckscher Museum, and the Rhode Island School of Design. Robert White was the recipient of the Laurel Gallery's "New Talent" exhibition prize, 1948; American Academy's Rome Prize, 1952-1954; and the Proctor Memorial Prize at the National Academy of Design, 1962, 1982. He was also awarded grants from the Tiffany Foundation, 1950 and the Fairfield Foundation, 1968. From 1952-1955, White was a fellow of the American Academy in Rome, where he also served as an artist-in-residence from 1969-1970. Robert White was a member of the American Academy in Rome, the Augustus Saint Gaudens Memorial, Century Association, and the National Academy of Design.
Robert White continued to work on the family estate in St. James, New York until his death in 2002.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was fully processed by Joy Weiner in August 2008.
Author
Joy Weiner
Provenance
The Robert W. White Papers were donated in 2003 by Claire Nicolas White, widow of Robert White.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Robert W. White papers, 1889-2003 (bulk 1915-2003). Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Restrictions on Access
Use of the original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Ownership and Literary Rights
Authorization to quote, publish or reproduce requires written permission from: Claire Nicolas White, 574 Moriches Road, St. James, New York 11780.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Educators -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors -- New York (State) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Essays Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculpture -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists' studios -- Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Illustrators -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketchbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lectures Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Notebooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketches Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Parsons School of Design -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
White, Bessie Chanler Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Matthiessen, Peter Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Huntington, Willard R. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pope, Laura Spencer Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ripley, Sidney Dillon, 1913-2001 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. School -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Simon, Sidney, 1917-1997 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
White, Lawrence Grant Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Graham Modern (Gallery) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Battle Monuments Commission Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Oxman, Katja Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Oxman, Mark Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Graham Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lowe, David, 1933- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Cain, Walker Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hobbs, Susan, 1945- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Harrison, Jim Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Coast Guard Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kean, Rebekah Harkness Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ames, Amyas Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
State University of New York at Stony Brook Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lamb, Ward Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Platt, Frank C. (Frank Cheney), 1932- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Parsons School of Design Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Suffolk Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Resika, Ellen Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Heckscher Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Academy of Design (U.S.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lessard, Suzannah Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Steuben Glass, Inc. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
White, Claire Nicolas, 1925- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
La Farge, Bancel, 1865-1938 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Academy in Rome Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cremer, Theodore Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Century Association (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fosburgh, Hugh, 1916- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hancock, Walker Kirtland, 1901-1998 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fleischmann, Patricia Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Resika, Paul Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Peabody Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Russotto, Paul Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Styron, William, 1925- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Davis Galleries Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Franklin, Gilbert, 1919-2004 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/