Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives

Pauline B. and Myron S. Falk, Jr. Papers

Summary
Collection ID:
FSA.A2002.03
Creators:
Falk, Johnny, 1906-1992
Falk, Pauline
Dates:
1910-2002
bulk 1935-2000
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
25 Cubic feet
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Papers of art collectors Pauline Baerwald Falk (1910-2000) and Myron Samuel (Johnny) Falk Jr. (1906-1992). This collection includes correspondence; art collection documentation; research materials; photographs (slides and prints) and audiovisual materials; financial information; biographical data; records of philanthropic and social activities; travel records; and appointment books.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Organized into five series: • Series 1: Biographic Materials • Series 2: Travel • Series 3: Correspondence • Series 4: Collection Files • Series 5: Slides

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Pauline Baerwald was born in New York City in 1910, living there until her death in 2000. In 1932 she graduated from Smith College and went on to the School of Social Work at Columbia University. Pauline's father, Paul Baerwald, was a German-Jewish banker and philanthropist, as well as an executive board member of the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), an agency chartered to provide refugee services for European Jews who were victims of persecution throughout Russia and Europe. Pauline was an active volunteer with the JDC throughout World War II. After the war she was one of the founders of the National Refuge Service (later the New York Association for New Americans) as well as the Jewish Social Service Association. She also served as president of the Jewish Family Services, a predecessor agency of the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services. In 1935 Pauline Baerwald married Myron "Johnny" S. Falk, Jr., and raised three children: Patricia, Michael and Nancy. Pauline, with support from Johnny, was a founder of the New Lincoln School in Manhattan, having attended the Lincoln School as a child. They maintained connection to charitable social work throughout their lives.
Myron "Johnny" S. Falk, Jr., son of Myron S. Falk, was born in New York City in 1906. In 1928 he earned a degree at Yale and a B.S. in Engineering from MIT in 1929. During World War II Johnny was a commissioned officer in the army, posted to the Pentagon ordinance section, applying his engineering and management skills to the task of munitions production. The family moved to Washington, D.C. during the war. In addition to his professional career as an investment banker with Ralph E. Samuels and Co., Johnny was a director of the New York Foundation and Hebrew Technical Institute. He was a board member of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and Bennington College.
Pauline and Johnny were both introduced to Chinese art early in life. Johnny's father collected Chinese porcelain to decorate his New York home. In keeping with the taste of the times, most of his pieces were Kangxi blue and white porcelains. On his sixtieth birthday he divided his porcelains among his three children. Several years later Johnny and his sister, Mildred, gave many of those Kangxi porcelains to the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., to be permanently installed, together with many other porcelains, to re-create the original appearance of the Whistler Peacock Room.
Pauline was introduced to Chinese art by her uncle, Emil Baerwald, who took her to the Metropolitan Museum to see the Bishop Collection and on visits to Yamanaka and Company on Fifth Avenue, where Mr. Shirai would take them into the private rooms to see the rarest pieces. Emil Baerwald lived in Europe, and, as an active collector of Chinese ceramics, he became acquainted with leading Chinese art collectors there, including George Eumorfopoulos and Sir Percival David. He provided introductions to collectors when Pauline and Johnny visited England in 1950.
In 1937 Pauline and Johnny made their first trip to China on Pan Am's Clipper, flying from San Francisco to Manila. It was during their first visit to China that Johnny and Pauline began buying early Chinese pottery and works of art. Pauline referred to this trip as the one trip that formed their collection. On this flight they met K.C. Chung, a consultant and friend for years to come. Pauline's uncle, Ernst Baerwald, lived in Tokyo and was well connected in the arts. Through his introductions they met significant art dealers, including Mathias Komor, who became an advisor to them.
Pauline and Johnny were contributors the founding of many Asian art organizations in America during the years following World War II and the Korean War. They participated in the establishment of the Archives of the Chinese Art Society of America in 1945, a scholarly journal which was renamed Archives of Asian Art in 1966 and continues publication today.
Pauline and Johnny were strong supporters of the Asia Society, where Johnny was a trustee. In 1971 they were among the first participants in the Japan Society and were founding members of the Friends of Japan House Gallery. Johnny was also a trustee of the Research Laboratory of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston from 1966 until his death. In 1950 Pauline and Johnny attended a meeting of the Oriental Ceramic Society (OCS) of London, and a few years later Johnny became the OCS representative in North America, a post he held for more than thirty years.
Johnny Falk died in 1992 and Pauline Baerwald Falk passed away in 2000, the same year the collection of approximately 700 items was assigned to Christie's.

Administration
Author
Laura Pratt
Sponsor
Processed in 2022 with funding from the Smithsonian Institution's American Women's History Initiative.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of the Falk family.

Digital Content
More …
Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Preferred Citation
Pauline B. and Myron S. Falk, Jr. Papers, FSA.A2002.03. National Museum of Asian Art Archives. Gift of the Falk family.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
World War, 1939-1945 Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bronzes, Chinese Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ceramics -- China Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, Asian -- Collectors and collecting Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
China -- Description and Travel Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
China Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Maps -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
USA -- New York -- New York Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jewish American Cultural Context Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Philanthropists Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Baerwald, Paul, 1871-1961 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Salmony, Alfred, 1890-1958 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sickman, L. C. S. (Laurence C. S.) Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
David, Percival, Sir, 1892-1964 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lawton, Thomas, 1931- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wenley, A. G. (Archibald Gibson), 1898-1962 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pope, John Alexander, 1906-1982 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stern, Harold P. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pan American World Airways, Inc. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Japan Society (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Asia House Gallery Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brooklyn Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bennington College Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Columbia University. Teachers College. Lincoln School Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Refugee Service (U.S.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chinese Art Society of America Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
National Museum of Asian Art Archives
Washington, D.C. 20013
AVRreference@si.edu