Grace Mott Johnson papers, 1913, 1925-1928

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Johnson, Grace Mott, 1882-1967 and Baskin, Lisa Unger, former owner
Grace Mott Johnson was a white American artist and sculptor in the early 20th century. This collection contains letters to Johnson from her family, including her son Alfred Dasburg, and others in the artist community. Acquired as part of the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection at Duke University.
0.5 Linear Feet
Materials in English.
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

Collection consists largely of letters sent to Grace Mott Johnson, discussing her artwork, health, and career, as well as personal and family news. Some letters are from her son, Alfred Van Cleve Dasburg, while he lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Johnson lived in New York or New Jersey. There are letters documenting some of the miscommunications (and lack of communication) between Johnson and her former husband Andrew Dasburg, Alfred's father. There are also letters and greetings from other artists, like Rose Bernstein, Mariska Karasz, and Alice Morgan Wright. Some materials between Grace Mott Johnson and Raymond Fuller discuss the terms of their relationship.

Collection was acquired as part of the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection.

Biographical / historical:

Grace Mott Johnson (1882-1967) was a white American artist specializing in modern sculpture of animals. She was born in New York City and grew up in Yonkers, New York; she also joined an artist community in Woodstock and spent part of her early career with a modern art community in Paris. She exhibited four scupltures at the International Exhibition of Modern Art (Armory Show) in New York, 1913. Her first general exhibition was at the studio of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1917. She also lived and worked at an artist colony in New Mexico in the late 1910s, and spent most of the 1920s living and working in Yonkers and Pleasantville, New York. In the 1930s she became a civil rights activist and member of the NAACP.

Johnson met white American painter Andrew Dasburg while attending the Art Student League's summer school in Woodstock; they married in 1909. The couple had one son, Alfred Van Cleve Dasburg, born in 1911. Johnson and Dasburg lived apart for most of their marriage and divorced in 1922.

Acquisition information:
The Grace Mott Johnson Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2015 from Lisa Unger Baskin.
Processing information:

Processed by Meghan Lyon, December 2021

Accessions described in this collection guide: 2015-0050


Collection is arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.

Women artists -- United States -- Correspondence
Women sculptors -- United States -- 20th century
Mothers and sons -- Correspondence
Dasburg, Andrew, 1887-1979
Dasburg, Alfred Van Cleve, 1910-1980
Baskin, Lisa Unger, former owner


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Collection is open for research.

Terms of access:

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the Rubenstein Library's Citations, Permissions, and Copyright guide.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Grace Mott Johnson Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.