Series 4: Biographical and personal papers, c.1894-1968
Scope and Contents note
This series consists of correspondence, photographs, and other material documenting Hopper’s life. Correspondence files include original correspondence relating to Hopper’s association with the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as personal letters on a variety of subjects. A large group of photocopied correspondence is more wide-ranging. Also included are photographs of Hopper and family members, as well as portraits of him by other artists; and miscellaneous photographs of items related to Hopper. Life documents include material on Hopper family history, copies of birth certificates, report cards, art school receipts, wills, and photographs of the cemetery headstones for Hopper and his wife. A life chronology details Hopper’s activities and artistic output by year. Unpublished memoirs and interviews offer personal perspectives on Hopper from other artists and friends. The final grouping includes notes made by Whitney curator Lloyd Goodrich after conversations and studio visits with Hopper. See below for more detail.
4.1 Correspondence 4.1.1 Original correspondence Correspondence between Edward Hopper and the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1936-1964. Included here are letters exchanged between Edward Hopper and Whitney directors Juliana Force and Lloyd Goodrich. Of particular significance is Hopper’s earliest letter (dated April 27, 1936) to Mrs. Force in which he tells her that he would have been “very much disappointed” if she had exchanged a watercolor entitled House on Pamet River for another then on view at the Rehn Gallery. Several letters from the 1940s relate to the American Art Research Council’s project to document Hopper’s work. In a 1959 letter, Hopper tells Goodrich that a gallery that planned to mount a show of work by his wife, Jo Hopper, had closed, and sends him an article (not included here) about her work, noting that the painting by Jo reproduced is “the best cat and woman picture I have ever seen.” With a letter dated May 18, 1961, Hopper sends Goodrich a copy of a very complimentary letter he has just received from art historian James Thomas Flexner. The later correspondence exchanged between Goodrich and Hopper is about the Whitney’s 1964 Hopper retrospective exhibition.
See also: Series 4.1.2: Biographical and personal papers—Correspondence—Photocopies of correspondence in other archives, which includes copies of other letters exchanged between Hopper and the Whitney. Series 5.1: Josephine Nivison Hopper Papers—Correspondence Series 8.1.6: Curatorial files—Lloyd Goodrich—American Art Research Council
Personal correspondence, 1894, 1932-1964, and undated The oldest letter in this miscellaneous group is a form letter dated October 18, 1894 from the Publishers Youth’s Companion regarding a short story contest. A significant Hopper letter dated October 29, 1939 is addressed to Charles H. Sawyer at the Addison Gallery of American Art, responding to Sawyer’s request that he “explain painting with words.” Also included is a letter dated March 26, 1932 from Henry W. Tomkinson congratulating Hopper on his decision to have “the independence and honesty to refuse election to the Academy”; a 1944 request from an unidentified writer for information on a painting to be included in an exhibition at the Boston Museum; a letter dated October 28, 1944 from Wildred Shattuck, sending Hopper a drawing he had made of a bicycle rider; a 1964 letter from James Biddle, Curator at the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, about the possibility of publishing a book on Hopper’s drawings, to which Hopper replies in the negative, indicating that such a book would “inadequately express what I attempt to do in my painting”; and an undated, incomplete draft for Hopper’s letter to “Mr. M.” regarding an exhibition “to honor Ed Root.” A small group of postcards were sent to Hopper and his wife by traveling friends.
See also: Series 4.1.2: Biographical and personal papers—Correspondence—Photocopies of correspondence in other archives
Elizabeth [“Bee”]Cameron Blanchard correspondence, 1933-54, and undated Letters to Mrs. John Osgood Blanchard (Elizabeth [“Bee”] Cameron Blanchard), requesting loans of her Edward Hopper works from representatives of museums including: Alfred H. Barr, Jr. and A. Conger Goodyear of The Museum of Modern Art; The Arts Club of Chicago; Smith College Museum of Art; Wadsworth Atheneum; Boston Museum of American Art (which was affiliated with MoMA, New York); Homer Saint-Gaudens of the Carnegie Institute; Art Institute of Chicago; Lloyd Goodrich of the Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Also included are 5 chatty letters and a postcard to Blanchard from Jo Hopper, who was a good and long-time friend. In several, Jo laments the passing of their friend Anne Tucker. In a separate folder are a 1926 New York Sun article about Mrs. Blanchard and her art collection, and a 1986 letter from Whitney curator Deborah Lyons to Margaret Tyler regarding the ownership of this collection of letters.
4.1.2 Photocopies of correspondence in other archives Index to Hopper correspondence Alphabetical subject index compiled by Whitney staff of photocopied Hopper correspondence. People, organizations, exhibitions, and subjects are cross-referenced by date to the letters.
General correspondence, 1906-1965 This extensive file of Hopper correspondence was assembled by Whitney curators from various private and public collections. It is arranged chronologically, and includes transcriptions and photocopies of letters to, from and about Hopper. The earliest letters date from Hopper’s stay in Paris as a young student. On some of the material included here, the source collection is indicated; there are letters from the Archives of American Art; the Elizabeth Amis Cameron (Hopper) Blanchard Papers in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Newberry Library, Chicago; University of Texas at Austin, and other collections. Correspondents include members of the Hopper family, including Edward’s mother, and Josephine Nivison Hopper (before and after their marriage), as well as letters from Jo Hopper to other correspondents that refer to her husband. Individual correspondents included; Carl Zigrosser; John Clancy, Lloyd Goodrich, and other artists including Henry Schnakenberg; Guy Pene du Bois; Raphael Soyer and others. Also included are letters to and from representatives of various institutions, including Frank Rehn of the Rehn Gallery; the Museum of Modern Art; the Arts Club of Chicago; Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Museum of Arts Association, Indianapolis; and many others.
See also: Series 9.4: Prints, Hopper collages, for greeting cards Series 5.2: Josephine Nivison Hopper papers—Correspondence Series 8.1.1: Curatorial files—Lloyd Goodrich—Correspondence
Letters from the Archives of American Art, 1924-1955 Arranged chronologically, this folder contains transcripts of Hopper letters microfilmed by the Archives of American Art. Also included are notes on material relating to Hopper and other in the Archives of American Art. 4.2 Hopper photographs Included here are photographs of Edward Hopper, family members, and friends, as well as items related to Hopper. The Family and Friends group includes photographs of Hopper at various ages. Some depict him at work; some show Hopper with his wife, Josephine. Family photographs include images of his parents, Garret Henry Hopper and Elizabeth Griffths Smith Hopper, and his sister Marion Hopper. Also found here is correspondence regarding the photographs, and a group of transparencies. The Hopper possessions and miscellaneous group includes Hopper’s photographs of Paris, advertisements for his father’s dry good business; art owned by the Hopper family; receipts for The Correspondence School of Illustrating; letters and postcards; artist supplies; and early drawings.
4.3 Portraits of Hopper by other artists Includes photographs of portraits, all of which are drawings, by Biehl, William V. Graff, Walter Tittle, and Guy Pene du Bois.
4.4 Life documents Genealogy-family history Includes correspondence with Holland Society of New York and Association of Blauvelt Descendants regarding Hopper family history; birth and death information on Marion Hopper; copies of clippings noting the deaths of Hopper’s parents; and information on various Hopper family members
Birth certificates Certified photocopies of birth certificates for Edward and Josephine N. Hopper; information regarding Marion Hopper’s birth
Schooling Photocopies and photographs of Edward Hopper’s report cards, New York State Regents examination records, and certificates from elementary and high school
Receipts – Art school Photocopies and photographs of receipts for lessons from The Correspondence School of Illustrating, and the New York School of Art
Receipts – Miscellaneous Photocopies of receipts for stationery, lodgings and other items.
Wills Photocopies of the last will and testament of Edward Hopper and of Josephine N. Hopper.
Cemetery headstones Photographs of the headstones of Garret H. and Elizabeth Hopper, and of Edward and Josephine N. Hopper.
4.5 Life chronology Year by year sheets detailing Hopper’s personal and professional activities. This material was compiled by Lloyd Goodrich, and probably was added to by subsequent Whitney curators.
4.6 Interviews with Hopper This folder includes partial transcripts interviews with Edward Hopper, including the draft of an article by Joan Dye based on interview with Ed and Jo Hopper, 1955; Bill Johnson, “Hopper cover research,” draft for Time magazine cover story, October 30, 1956, based on interview with Hopper; Brian O’Doherty interviewing Edward and Jo Hopper, 1961, and notes about that interview; William Inness Homer interviewing Edward and Jo Hopper in May 21 and 28, 1964; and Arlene Jacobwitz interviewing him for the Brooklyn Museum’s “Listening to Pictures” Gallery, 1966 and 1968. See also: Series 3.5: Clippings and printed matter—Published interviews and conversations.
4.7 Notes and memoirs about Hopper: Lloyd Goodrich notes on conversations with Hopper This folder holds the curator’s notes on conversations he had with the artist on 20 April 1946 and 21 April 1947. The first began as Hopper considered his biography in a catalogue for an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and includes comments on the accuracy of that biography, and elaborations on it. The later conversation occurred as Hopper showed Goodrich the early paintings he had in his studio, as Hopper answers Goodrich’s questions about them. Also included are Goodrich’s notes after that conversation on the paintings he had seen.
Memoirs: other artists This group includes information from published and unpublished sources in which artists write about their encounters with Hopper. These include Louis Bouche (from Bouche papers at the Archives of American Art); Alexander Brook (photocopy of a letter to Thomas Armstrong); William Pellicone of the Allan Stone Gallery (letter to WMAA); Henry Varnum Poor (from Poor papers at the Archives of American Art); Eric Schwartz (letter to Lloyd Goodrich); John Sloan (letter from his wife enclosing notes from Sloan’s 1947 diary); Raphael Soyer (photocopied excerpts from his book Self-Revealment: A Memoir); an excerpt from “Tittle’s autobiography”
Memoirs: Guy Pene du Bois and Yvonne Penne du Bois McKinney Included here are excerpts from the diary of artist Guy Pene duBois from 1918 about his acquaintance with Hopper; a typescript by Guy’s daughter, Yvonne, entitled “Edward Hopper…A Vignette,” about her friendship with Hopper; an account by Yvonne about how her father and Hopper met and their relationship; and excerpts about Hopper from Guy Pene DuBois’ book Artists Say the Silliest Things, 1940.
Memoirs: friends and acquaintances Similar to the group above, this folder includes reminiscences about Hopper by people who knew him at various times and in various ways: Francis Baldwin (a cousin; typed quote); Elizabeth Voorhees Cornell Benton; letter and interview excerpt); Lois Saunier Carlson (a neighbor from Nyack; typescript, “My Happy Memories of ‘Auntie’ Hopper,” about Hopper’s mother and sister; John Clancy (worked at the Rehn Gallery; interview transcript); Etta Faulkner (her mother did domestic work from Ed and Jo Hopper, and became friendly with them; letter, and typed recollections from her sister Stella F. Barnette); Bernd Gencke (relationship unclear; record of telephone conversation with Jo Hopper, 25 August 1966); Richard Lahey (relationship unclear; from “Reminiscences: Artists I Have Known” in the Lahey papers at the Archives of American Art); Peter Pollack (photographed Ed and Jo Hopper; typed reminiscences); Malcolm Preston (writer; interview excerpts included in paper/article); Edward D., Whelan (Hopper collector; notes from telephone conversation); Gerald R. Wolfe (knew Hopper at 3 Washington Square North; letter).
4.8 Miscellaneous personal items Book, inscribed to “ma petite Xantippe”: Paperback copy of The Steep Ascent by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1944), with an inscription in Hopper’s hand on the inside front cover. The inscription is presumably to his wife, Jo. Book cover, The Quest of the Overself, by Paul Brunton: a seven digit phone number is written on the reverse
Medals: Correspondence regarding the donation of three medals won by Hopper, as well as the medals themselves (Temple Gold Medal, 1935; Corcoran Gold Medal, 1937; and the MacDowell Medal, 1955.
Yearbook of the National Institute of Arts and Letters/American Academy of Arts and Letter, 1962. Inscribed inside “Edward Hopper/His copy” in his wife Josephine’s hand. Hopper was a member of both the National Institute of Arts and Letters (elected 1945) and the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1955); he won the Institute’s Gold Medal for Painting in 1955.
Conditions Governing Access note
Restrictions: The original correspondence is fragile; photocopies are not permitted. Material restricted as marked on folders.
1.75 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
From the Collection: English
Eight subseries, arranged as described below:
4.2 Hopper photographs
4.3 Portraits of Hopper by other artists
4.4 Life documents
4.5 Life chronology
4.6 Interviews with Hopper
4.7 Notes and memoirs about Hopper
4.8 Miscellaneous personal items
The original correspondence is fragile; photocopies are not permitted. Material restricted as marked on folders.