Scope and Contents note
The papers of California ceramicist Beatrice Wood measure 32.5 linear feet and date from 1906 to 1998, with the bulk dating from 1930-1990. There is extensive correspondence with gallery owners, fellow artists, clients, friends, and family. The collection also contains biographical materials, personal business records, writings, printed materials, photographs, and works of art. Of particular interest are the 28 diaries that Wood maintained from 1916 until her death in 1998 and 42 glazing formula notebooks dating from 1934-1997. Also found are documents of Steven Hoag and Esther Rosencranz, her husband and aunt respectively, that consist of correspondence, business records, and photographs given to the Archives of American Art as part of the Beatrice Wood papers.
Biographical material contains certificates, licenses, degrees, legal documents, and extensive interview transcripts, which describe her philosophy on art and her development as a ceramic artist.
Correspondence is particularly rich in documenting Wood's passion and dedication to her work as a writer and artist. The records reflect Wood's close professional and personal relationships with many friends and colleagues, including Henri-Pierre Roche, Marcel Duchamp, Anais Nin, Elizabeth Hapgood, and Walter and Lou Arensberg. Additional correspondence with editors and publishers is also included. Wood enjoyed illustrating her letters, as did many of her correspondents.
Personal business records include financial material, sales and consignment records, and correspondence with gallery owners, including Garth Clark Gallery, John Waller Gallery, and Zachary Waller Gallery.
Notes and writings extensively document Wood's second career as a writer. Edited drafts of her monographs and short stories are available, as well as her journal writings and notes. Drafts of I Shock Myself: The Autobiography of Beatrice Wood, Angel Who Wore Black Tights, 33rd Wife of a Maharajah, among others are included. Also found here are the illustrations that Wood created for her monographs. She often did a series of drawings for each illustration and these copies are included as well.
Twenty-eight detailed diaries contain information about studio sales, clients, and the economic uncertainties of being a self-employed artist. The diaries, arranged in one-year and five-year volumes, begin in 1916 and end just a few days before her death in 1998.
Forty-two glaze books record the formulas for the pottery glazes Wood developed throughout her career.
Printed material includes copies of Wood's published monographs as well as exhibition announcements and brochures. Also found are clippings about Wood, including numerous articles about her trips to India.
Photographic material includes photographs and slides of Wood, her friends, travels, and other events. Many of the photographs are identified by Wood.
Artwork includes original sketches, drawings, watercolors, lithographs and designs by Wood. The original illustrations from her books are included in this series.
The last two series contain records generated by her husband, Stephen Hoag and her maternal aunt, Esther Rosencrantz. Wood was married to Hoag from 1937 until his death in 1960. The bulk of the material contains Hoag's financial records, mostly receipts, from his early years as a engineer in the Pacific Northwest. Esther Rosencranz, a physician in San Francisco, collected book plates that are included in this series.
There is a 5.9 linear foot unprocessed addition donated in 2022 and in 2023 that includes address books, biographical material, artwork including sketchbooks and two sketches of Henri-Pierre Roche by Wood, scrapbooks, personal business records, printed material, personal and professional correspondence, notebooks and journals by Wood, writings by Wood, personal photographs, glaze recipes, and one pin "Beato for President". Also included are Beatrice Wood's scrapbooks and photograph albums. Four scrapbooks include scrapbook B, 1940-1955; scrapbook F, 1945; Wood's inspirational scrapbook, circa 1940s; and a scrapbook from the 1960s. Eight photograph albums include photograph album #1, 1908; photograph album #2 (Steve Hoag) 1911-1917; photograph album of Wood with friends and fellow theosophists, 1920s-1940s; photograph album #6 of Wood, others, events, 1920s-1960; Wood's pottery photograph album, 1955; photograph album I-3 (Indian trip) 1972; photograph album I-4, photographs for the 33rd wife of the Maharajah, undated; and photograph album # I-5 (India) compiled 1973. Also included are photographs of people, places and events in India, undated. Materials in this addition date from 1908-1996.