Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991.

Alternative names

Hide Profile

b.1898; d, 1991.

From the description of Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122462170

B. in Springfield, Ohio on July 17, 1898; d. 1991 in Monson, Maine, age 93.

From the description of Berenice Abbott : Artist File. (International Center of Photography). WorldCat record id: 437266448

Berenice Abbott was born July 17, 1898 in Springfield, Ohio. She attended Ohio State University, but left early in 1918, moving to New York City's Greenwich Village. She was immersed in the world of the city's literati very early on, sharing an apartment with Djuna Barnes, Kenneth Burke, and Malcolm Cowley. She traveled to Europe in 1921, studying sculpture in Paris and Berlin. In 1923, Abbott was hired by Man Ray to work as his studio assistant in Montparnasse. Impressed by her work, Man Ray allowed Abbott to use the studio to take her own photographs. This was the beginning of her long and illustrious photography career, and in 1926 the gallery Au Sacre du Printemps held her first solo exhibition. She started her own studio on the Rue du Bac, and then traveled to Berlin to study photography. Returning to Paris in 1927, she opened a second studio on the Rue Servandoni. Abbott's early focus was portraiture, and her subjects were well known in arts and literary circles in the city and the world, such as Jean Cocteau, James Joyce, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Sylvia Beach. In 1925, Abbott saw the prints of photographer Eugene Atget in Man Ray's studio and became determined to seek him out. She eventually found Atget, and befriended him, even taking his photograph in 1927. But before she could show him the results, he died. Abbott's concern for the fate of his photographs led her to Atget's executor, Andre Calmettes, who had more than 1,000 negative and 5,000 prints in his possession. Abbott managed to buy the photographs from Calmettes, who saw her passion for the work, and she began her quest to promote Atget's work, which was largely unknown. In 1929 she traveled to New York City to find an American publisher for Atget's photographs and discovered the great photographic potential in the urban landscape. Abbott's photographs of the city were sharp, detailed, and atmospheric, calling to mind the work of her mentor, Atget. She documented several buildings and neighborhoods in the city that are now destroyed. She began teaching at the New School of Social Research in 1933 to support herself, and in 1935 was hired by the Federal Art Project as supervisor for Changing New York. In 1939, when she resigned from the Project, 305 photographs of the city were deposited at the Museum of the City of New York, and a book, titled Changing New York, was also published. During this time Abbott moved in with Elizabeth McCausland, a writer and great supporter of Abbott's work. The two collaborated on a project in the 1960s in which they traveled along U.S. Route 1, taking photographs of the small towns along the way. Shortly after McCausland's death in 1965, Abbott moved to Maine, publishing A portrait of Maine in 1968. Abbott's work is widely praised for its simplicity in that the photographs are not manipulated, both in subject matter and during the developing process. Abbott captured the world as it was, but did not shy away from innovation. In fact, she invented many ingenious photographic appliances, such as the distortion easel and telescopic lighting pole. She exhibited and published widely and was the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees including the Westbrook College Deborah Morton Award in 1977, an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from Bowdoin College in 1982, Women's Caucus for Art Award in 1982, a BA from Portland School of Art in 1983, and the International ERICE Prize for Photography in 1987. She died at her home in Maine on December 9, 1991.

From the description of Berenice Abbott collection, 1950-1991. (University of New England). WorldCat record id: 755720440

Berenice Abbott (1898-1991) was an American photographer best known for her black and white photography of New York City's architecture.

From the description of Berenice Abbott papers, 1927-1992 (bulk 1960-1992). (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 294902042

Photographer; d. 1991.

From the description of Oral history interview, 1972. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70957452

Photographer.

From the description of Photographs, [ca. 1935-1938] (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 155486459

Berenice Abbott (1898-1991) was an American photographer best known for her black and white photography of New York City's architecture. Abbott was born July 17th, 1898 in Springfield, Ohio. She attended Ohio State University for one year with the goal of becoming a journalist, but abandoned that course to move to New York City in 1918. While there, she became interested in sculpture. In 1921 she sailed for France and spent several years living abroad. During this time Abbott was hired by Man Ray to work as his darkroom assistant. During her years in Paris she began to practice her own photography and became acquainted with Eugene Atget. After his death she purchased all of his work and returned to New York.

In 1935 Abbott was hired by the Federal Art Project which allowed her to complete her "Changing New York" project. At the end of this arrangement in 1939, over 300 detailed photographs of the city were donated by Abbott to the Museum of the City of New York. 1935 was also the year that Abbott moved in with Elisabeth McCausland, noted art critic. Abbott would remain partners with McCausland until the latter's death in 1965.

Abbott's interests within the world of photography were varied. She began by focusing on urban architecture. In the 1940 she developed an interest in scientific photography, working for a time as photo editor of Science Illustrated . Not only was Abbott a talented photographer, but she invented many techniques and designed new equipment for other photographers. In 1947 she opened her House of Photography which sold her inventions, including the distortion easel and the autopole.

In 1954 Abbott traveled US 1 from Maine to Florida on a photographic expedition, accompanied by McCausland. This expedition resulted in more than 2000 negatives, ranging from antebellum architecture to the new roadside architecture. Shortly after she completed the trip, Abbott underwent a lung operation and was told she needed to leave New York City to avoid air pollution. She relocated to Blanchard, Maine where she purchased a house on the Piscataquis River.

Abbot's last publication was A Portrait of Maine in 1968, though she continued to take photographs and enjoyed an active social life until her death in 1991.

From the guide to the Berenice Abbott papers, 1927-1992, 1960-1992, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn The ACA Galleries records, 1917-1963 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
referencedIn Rukeyser, Muriel, 1913-1980. Muriel Rukeyser papers, 1844-1986 (bulk 1930-1979). Library of Congress
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991. Correspondence to Van Wyck Brooks, 1952. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn John Howard Griffin Collection TXRC96-A39., 1952-1980 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven papers, 1917-1933, null Literature and Rare Books
creatorOf ACA Galleries. ACA Galleries records, 1917-1963. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Janet Flanner and Solita Solano Papers, 1870-1976, (bulk 1955-1975) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Federal Art Project. Photographic Division. Federal Art Project, Photographic Division collection, circa 1920-1965, bulk 1935-1942. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Atget, Eugene, 1856-1927. Eugene Atget Collection. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Abbott, Berenice : Biographical file. Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
referencedIn Lerner, Abe, 1908-2002. Abe Lerner papers, 1929-2002 (bulk 1957-2002) Grolier Club
referencedIn Washington Square Park (New York, N.Y.), Washington Square Area, and Campus Buildings Image Collection, 1850-1990 New York University. Archives.
creatorOf Cahill, Holger, 1887-1960. Holger Cahill papers, 1910-1993, bulk 1910-1960. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf McCausland, Elizabeth, 1899-1965. Elizabeth McCausland papers, 1838-1965 (bulk 1920-1960). Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Holger Cahill papers, 1910-1993 (bulk 1910-1960) Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
creatorOf Newhall, Beaumont, 1908-1993. Beaumont Newhall papers, 1947-1957. Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn Anderson, Margaret C. Elizabeth Jenks Clark collection of Margaret Anderson, 1886-1998. Yale University Library
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991,. Oral history interview, 1972. Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History, Maine Folklife Center
referencedIn Beaumont Newhall papers, 1947-1957. Houghton Library.
creatorOf McCausland, Elizabeth, 1899-1965. Elizabeth McCausland papers, 1838-1965 (bulk 1920-1960). Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991. Slide talk by photographer Berenice Abbott. Harvard University, Archives
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991. Berenice Abbott collection, 1950-1991. University of New England, Jack S. Ketchum Library
referencedIn Muriel Rukeyser Papers, 1844-1986, (bulk 1930-1979) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Bonnemaison, Joachim 1943-. Joachim Bonnemaison collection of panorama photographs. Getty Research Institute, Research Library
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991,. [Berenice Abbott Collection] [graphic]. Boston Athenaeum
referencedIn Defenbacher, D. S. (Daniel S.), 1906-1986. Papers, 1935-1951 (bulk 1940-1950). Walker Art Center Library
creatorOf McQuaid, James. Interview with Berenice Abbott / conducted at Miss Abbott's home in Maine during July of 1975 by James McQuaid and David Tait. George Eastman Museum, Richard and Ronay Menschel Library
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991. [Berenice Abbott : International Art & Artists File]. Libraries Australia
referencedIn Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991 : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn Fogg Art Museum 20th-century history of photography collection, 1900-1984 (inclusive). Harvard University Art Museum
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991. The Morgan house at 231 Madison Avenue [picture]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991. Karpel archive of 20th century artists and exhibitions. Getty Research Library
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991. Berenice Abbott papers, 1927-1992 (bulk 1960-1992). New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Schaefler, Sam, 1920-,. Historical and Literary Letters and Documents, 1674-197-. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Federal Art Project. Photographic Division. Federal Art Project, Photographic Division collection, 1920-1965, bulk 1935-1942. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice. 1898-1991. Berenice Abbott : Artist File. International Center of Photography
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice. Sutton Place: Anne Morgan's town house on northeast corner of East 57th St., Manhattan [picture]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991. Berenice Abbott artist file. Whitney Museum of American Art, Library
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991. Abbott, Berenice : [photography bio file]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Griffin, John Howard, 1920-1980. Collection, 1952-1980. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf McCausland, Elizabeth, 1899-1965. Elizabeth McCausland papers, 1838-1980, bulk 1920-1960. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Hood, Raymond Mathewson, 1881-1934. Raymond M. Hood architectural drawings and papers, circa 1890-1944. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Federal Art Project, Photographic Division collection, circa 1920-1965, bulk 1935-1942 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
creatorOf Berenice Abbott papers, 1927-1992, 1960-1992 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991. Photographs, [ca. 1935-1938] Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991. Berenice Abbott : [vertical file]. Morris Museum of Art Library
creatorOf Freytag-Loringhoven, Elsa von, 1874-1927. Papers. University of Maryland Libraries, UMD Libraries
referencedIn Elizabeth Jenks Clark Collection of Margaret Anderson, 1886-1998, 1945-1973 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Flanner, Janet, 1892-1978. Janet Flanner and Solita Solano papers, 1870-1976 (bulk 1955-1975). Library of Congress
referencedIn Elizabeth McCausland papers, 1838-1965, bulk 1920-1960 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
referencedIn Abbott, Berenice. 1898-1991. Berenice Abbott : Artist File. International Center of Photography
creatorOf Bourke-White, Margaret, 1904-1971,. Colonial Society of Massachusetts visual materials collection, ca. 1860-1961. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Muriel Rukeyser collection of papers, 1920-1976, 1931-1976 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf Cavaglieri, Giorgio, 1911-2007. Giorgio Cavaglieri architectural records and papers, 1934-2005 (bulk 1960-2005). Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Anderson, Margaret C. Elizabeth Jenks Clark collection of Margaret Anderson, 1886-1998. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Abbott, Berenice. 1898-1991. person
associatedWith ACA Galleries. corporateBody
associatedWith Anderson, Margaret C. person
associatedWith Anderson, Margaret C. person
associatedWith Atget, Eugène, 1857-1927. person
associatedWith Athenaeum of Philadelphia corporateBody
associatedWith Barnes, Djuna person
associatedWith Barnes, Djuna. person
associatedWith Bonnemaison, Joachim 1943- person
associatedWith Boston Arena (Boston, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Boyle, Kay, 1902-1992. person
associatedWith Cahill, Holger, 1887-1960. person
associatedWith Capa, Cornell person
associatedWith Capa, Cornell. person
associatedWith Cavaglieri, Giorgio, 1911-2007. person
associatedWith Clark, Elizabeth Jenks. person
correspondedWith Defenbacher, D. S. (Daniel S.), 1906-1986. person
associatedWith Federal Art Project. Photographic Division. corporateBody
associatedWith Federal Art Project. Photographic Division. corporateBody
associatedWith Flanner, Janet, 1892-1978. person
associatedWith Franklin, Lynn, person
associatedWith Freytag-Loringhoven, Elsa von, 1874-1927. person
associatedWith Griffin, John Howard, 1920-1980 person
associatedWith Hood, Raymond Mathewson, 1881-1934. person
associatedWith Kensington Hotel (Boston, Mass.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Lerner, Abe, 1908-2002. person
associatedWith McCausland, Elizabeth, 1899-1965. person
associatedWith McQuaid, James. person
associatedWith Model, Lisette, 1901-1983. person
associatedWith Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972. person
associatedWith Morgan, Anne Tracy, 1873-1952. person
associatedWith Museum of the City of New York. corporateBody
associatedWith Newhall, Beaumont, 1908-1993. person
associatedWith New York University. corporateBody
associatedWith Office for the Arts at Harvard & Radcliffe. corporateBody
associatedWith Old State House (Boston, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Onassis, Jacqueline Kennedy, 1929-1994. person
associatedWith Otis, Harrison Gray, 1765-1848 person
correspondedWith Rukeyser, Muriel, 1913-1980. person
associatedWith Schaefler, Sam, 1920-, person
associatedWith Solano, Solita, 1888-1975 person
associatedWith United States. Works Progress Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith West Church (Boston, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Whitney Museum of American Art. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Beacon Street (Boston, Mass.)
Boston (Mass.)
Louisburg Square (Boston, Mass.)
United States
New York (N.Y.)
Washington Street (Boston, Mass.)
T Wharf (Boston, Mass.)
Cambridge Street (Boston, Mass.)
Massachusetts Avenue (Boston, Mass.)
New York (N.Y.)
Myrtle Street (Boston, Mass.)
Adams Square (Boston, Mass.)
Hancock Street (Boston, Mass.)
India Street (Boston, Mass.)
United States
Elm Street (Boston, Mass.)
Joy Street (Boston, Mass.)
Maine--Abbot Village
Pinckney Street (Boston, Mass.)
Noanet Street (Boston, Mass.)
Post Office Square (Boston, Mass.)
United States
Subject
Women photographers
Women photographers--United States
Photography, Artistic
Streets
Architecture
Architectural photography
Women photographers--Interviews
Photography
Documentary photography
Buildings
Photography--Scientific applications
Occupation
Photographers
Women photographers
Women photographers--Maine--Abbot Village
Function

Person

Birth 1898-07-17

Death 1991-12-09

Americans

English

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6s1832g

Ark ID: w6s1832g

SNAC ID: 51582999