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Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Houston Art League, Historical Records Scrapbook, 1900-1938

Container List

Houston Art League, 1900-1938
Historical Records Scrapbook, 1900-1938
One volume
Contains correspondence; legal documents; newsclippings; exhibition
catalogues and ephemera. Most of the materials deal with the history and activities of the Houston Art League from its founding in 1900 to the opening of its Museum (now the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston) in 1924. Included are: versions of the League´s Constitution (original and published copies) from 1900, 1904, and 1919; "excerpts" (minutes) from annual meetings beginning with 1901; the Charter of the Houston Art League (original document), 1913; League By-Laws as drafted in 1913 and 1925; and published lists of the pictures and casts owned by the League and displayed in Houston public schools.

Newsclippings in the scrapbook describe the goals, principles, work, and progress of the League in detail. Significant events covered include the dedication of the site of the League´s future Museum on April 12, 1917; a tree-planting ceremony which occurred on the site in 1919; groundbreaking on February 23, 1923; and the opening of the new Museum on April 13, 1924. Newsclippings also include examples of the "Art Notes" column published by the League in the Houston Post.

Correspondents include Museum patron Joseph S. Cullinan; architects William Ward Watkin and Ralph Adams Cram; George W. Stevens, Director of the Toledo Art Museum (providing advice on the administration of a "young" Museum); A. L. Guerard; Thomas Lindsay Blayney; Birge Harrison; Emma Richardson Cherry; Fanne W. Volck; and Florence (Mrs. Henry B.) Fall. The scrapbook also contains the text of an essay (c. 1922) by William Ward Watkin on the subject of the growth of public appreciation for architecture in American cities.

Legal documents in the scrapbook feature the 1913 lease to the proposed first site of the Museum at Austin and Holman Streets; the 1914 lease to the Eckhardt residence (1806 Main Street), where the League mounted its exhibitions; and a copy of the deed (dated 8/10/1916) to the present site between Main and Montrose at Bissonnet.

Meeting Minutes, 4/1904-5/1911
One volume
The manuscript features minutes of monthly,
annual, and special meetings of the Board of Directors as well as general meetings of the entire Houston Public School Art League from 1904 to 1911. The minutes document the vital role played by the Art League in the establishment of a public art collection and public art education in Houston. Frequent subjects include fundraising efforts; League finances and membership; acquisitions; and preparations made for various exhibitions, lectures, musical programs, and entertainments intended to increase League membership and public exposure to art. The minutes illustrate the evolution of women´s committees within the League which facilitated and administered the display and maintenance of works of art in Houston´s public schools, as well as the League´s early involvement with other women´s organizations in the city, such as the Daughters of the Confederacy. The League maintained a high profile in Houston, making presentations before bodies of teachers, parents, and school board officials in order to convey the organization´s purposes and aims and to promote the benefits of art-related studies. The manuscript demonstrates the League´s dedication to the development of high artistic standards and the refinement of public aesthetics: minutes dated October 19, 1909 record the granting of privileges by the School Board of Houston to the Art League, which had petitioned the Board for the right to consult on the interior decoration of Houston public schools and the authority to approve all art works intended for display in classrooms. In this capacity the League consulted actively with the architects and administrators of Houston schools. In addition, League members maintained contact with the press in an effort to publicize League-sponsored and arty-related events, even publishing a daily newspaper column of "Art Notes" with the collaboration of a committee of public school teachers. The manuscript closes with successive listings of Art League officers and members of the Board of Directors from 1904 to 1911.

See also Series 1: Historical Records Scrapbook and Series 5: Miscellaneous Subjects for copies of meeting minutes.

box 1folder 1Meeting Minutes, 1904-1911
Visitor Register, 12/1914-1919; 4/1924-1/1926
One volume
The volume opens with a published brochure
describing the Houston Art League´s work accomplishments for 1912 to 1913 and program of work proposed for 1913 to 1914. The text expands in sections, each segment devoted to a particular exhibition, recital, or other event. In some cases an example of the published brochure, program, checklist or announcement is mounted into the volume, then followed by signatures of League members and visitors attending the event. Ephemera include the program for exercises held on April 12, 1917 in dedication of the site of the Houston Art League´s future Museum (now the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston). Additional materials present in the volume include a few newsclippings giving notice of League-sponsored exhibitions.

box 1folder 2Visitor Register, 12/1914-1919; 4/1924-1/1926
Membership Roll, 1907-1914
The volume opens with a listing of Life Members of
the League, who included Captain and Mrs. James A. Baker, Mrs. Emma Richardson Cherry, Jesse H. Jones, and Mrs. H. Baldwin Rice. The remainder of the membership roll is tabbed and divided alphabetically, League members being listed in each section along with individual histories of their payment of dues and changes in status from 1907 to 1914.

See also Series 5: Miscellaneous Subjects for membership lists and information.

box 1folder 3Membership Roll, 1907-1914
Miscellaneous Subjects, A-Z, 1900-1938
1 linear foot
Contains correspondence, notes, legal documents, historical essays and other texts, meeting minutes, exhibition catalogues, and printed ephemera illustrating the history and activities of the Houston Art League from 1901 to 1937. Included are successive versions of the Charter of the Houston Art League (1913, 1929) as well as its Constitution and By-Laws (1904, 1919, 1925); various papers related to preparations for and the holding of dedication exercises on the Montrose Boulevard site of the future Houston Art League Museum of Fine Arts, Houston); a report on the dedicatory exercises, held on April 12, 1917; papers relating to the opening of the Museum building designed by William Ward Watkin, held on April 12, 1924; and the text of the address delivered at the 1924 opening by Homer Saint-Gaudens, son of American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Several important letters are present, including architect Kenneth Franzheim´s 1921 letter regarding his costs and plans for the Art League´s proposed Museum, for which he had already submitted drawings; and William Ward Watkin´s letter of March 1917 urging the erection of a suitable memorial marker on the Museum site which was to be dedicated in April of the same year.

The Miscellaneous Subjects series includes small groups of papers, consisting mostly of correspondence of the following individuals: Mary E. (Mrs. Edgar O.) Lovett, Director 1913-1918 and Vice President 1929-1930; Florence (Mrs. Henry B.) Fall, League President 1917-1924; Miss Stella Shurtleff, Art League Corresponding Secretary, 1916-1918; and Board Member Dr. Joseph Mullen. Mrs. Lovett´s papers include letters (c 1925) from James Chillman, Jr. (first director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston) discussing proposed changes in the Art League´s Constitution and By-Laws, various names being considered fro the League´s proposed Museum, and the League´s intention to establish a children´s museum and art library. Miss Shurtleff´s papers largely concern the League´s efforts to cooperate with the American Federation of Arts and the Dallas Art Association in bringing exhibitions to Texas. Dr. Mullen´s papers include a 1923 letter from William Ward Watkin, architect of the earliest portions of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, urging that construction of one or both of the proposed wings be undertaken prior to the completion of the Museum´s central core.

In addition there are various lists of individuals involved with the Art League: Building Fund Subscribers, 1923-1924; Members of the Board of Directors, 1900-1924; Life Members, 1900-1919; Officers, 1900-1937; and Patrons, Fellows, and Benefactors, 1916-1924. Efforts to document the organization´s history are reflected by the presence of several historical essays produced by members of the League. The Subject Files also include minutes from various meeting held between 1902 and 1924, as well as a selection of ephemera consisting largely of invitations to lectures, recitals and exhibitions sponsored by the League. Invitations and published programs survive for the ceremonies held at the 1917 dedication as well as for the 1924 Museum opening.

box 2folder 1American Art Annual data, 1919
2Annual Report (Director´s) , 1925
3Art Lecture Class, April-May 1915
4Building Fund, 1925
5Charter, 1913
6Charter — amended, 1929
7Constitution & By-laws, 1904, 1919
8-10Constitution & By-laws — amended, 1925
11Constitution & By-laws: analysis of from 1900-25
12Correspondence: Florence (Mrs. Henry B.) Fall, 1919-25
13Correspondence: Mary E. (Mrs. Edgar O.) Lovett, 1916-30
14Correspondence: Stella Hope Shurtleff, 1917-18
15Correspondence: Fannie W. (Mrs. G. A.) Volck, 1912-24
16Correspondence: miscellaneous, 1919-25
17Dickson Bequest, 1919
18Event: 1914/15 — Cadman & Pricness Tsianina Concert
19Event: 1915 — Kitty Cheatham Concert
20-26Event: 1917-23 — Dedication of Museum Site
27-28Event: 1924 — Museum Opening Day
29Event: 1925 — Houston Art League Silver Jubilee
30Event: 1928 — Founder´s Day Exercise
31Exhibition File — Art Loan Exhibition 12/1913
32Exhibition File — Art Loan Exhibition 12/1914
33Herman (George) Estate — Deed of Gift to Museum dated August 1916
34-39History of the Houston Art League — essays/outline, n.d.
40Houston Friends of Art , 1926
41Houston Public Schools — curriculum (pre 1913)
42Lease to Eckhardt Residence, 1914-1915
43-48Lists: Boards of Directors, Officers, Members: 1900-1937
49Lists: Works of Art purchased/donated in schools
box 3folder 1Lovett, Mary E. (Mrs. Edgar Odell): Miscellaneous Notes
2-8Meeting Minutes: 1901-03; 1914, 1919; 1924
9Membership Information: 1919-1925
10-11Membership List as of Museum Opening: 4/12/1924
12Memberships: essays and remarks on c. 1919-1922
13Mullen, Joseph: Miscellaneous Papers: 1920-1924
14Publications: Announcement of Year´s Work: 1913-1914
15Publications: Houston Art Museum booklet: 1922
16Publications: Dedication Speech of Homer St. Gaudens at the Museum´s Opening: 1924
17-27Publications: Exhibition Catalogs: 1908; 1911-15; 1918; 1922
28Publications: Illustrations of Proposed Building
29Publications: Miscellaneous Invitations
30Publications: Musical Programs: 1913-1916
31Publications: Programs for the Dedication of the Future Site of the Houston Art 1917-1922
32Receipts and Disbursements: 1919
33Recreation Survey (City of Houston): c. 1925
34Reports: Committee on the Constitution: 1919
35Reports: Committee on the Dedication of the Museum Site: 1917
36Reports: Financial: 1924-25
37Reports: Committee on the Museum Opening: 1924
38Reports: Committee on the Ways and Means: 6/5/1917
39Shurtleff, Stella: Class Outline for Teaching Art History: 1917
40Shurtleff, Stella: Essay Art Progress in Houston….: 1916
41Shurtleff, Stella: Prose, Miscellaneous
42Tax Records: 1913-1916
43Works of Art: Photographs
44Works of Art — purchased and donated
box 1folder 1HAL site dedication marker April 12, 1917
marble, 3 separate stones.
For location and dimension information, see the collection management system, CM #160.
Dedication marker placed by the Houston Art League on the museum site on April 12, 1917

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