Coolidge, John, 1913-1995

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Coolidge earned his Harvard AB in 1935. He was the director of the Fogg Art Museum from 1948-1968.

From the description of Notes in Fine Arts 1c and 1d, 1931-1932. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 77075975

From the description of Notes in History 1, 1931-1932. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 77075976

Coolidge, John, 1913, Educator and director of the Fogg Art Museum, 1948-1968.

From the description of Oral history interview with John Coolidge, 1989 Mar. 7-May 4. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 646397073

Educator, director of the Fogg Art Museum, 1948-1968.

From the description of John Coolidge interviews, 1989 Mar. 7-1989 May 4. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 220182617

John Coolidge (1913- ) was an educator and director of the Fogg Art Museum, 1948-1968.

From the description of Oral history interview with John Coolidge, 1989 Mar. 7-May 4 [sound recording]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 744428233

John Phillips Coolidge, director of the Fogg Art Museum from 1948 to 1968, was born on either the 15th or 16th day of December 1913; his parents disagreed about the date of his birth. He was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts and attended Harvard University, following family tradition. Coolidge received his B.A. in 1935 and married Mary Elizabeth "Polly" Welch the same year. They would have one child, Mary Elizabeth "Penny" Coolidge Warren. Coolidge studied art and architectural history at New York University, receiving an A.M. in 1939 and a Ph.D. in 1947. He taught at the University of Pennsylvania for academic year 1946-1947 before accepting a position at Harvard as assistant professor of architectural history in the fall of 1947. In 1948 he was named director of the Fogg Art Museum, a position he would hold for the next twenty years, until 1968. Coolidge continued to teach throughout his directorship and upon retiring from the Fogg; he taught at Harvard until 1984. John Coolidge died in Boston, Massachusetts on July 31, 1995.

Agnes Mongan was born in Somerville, Massachusetts on January 21, 1905. She attended Somerville High School and the Cambridge School for Girls and went on to study art history and English literature at Bryn Mawr, where she received her B.A. in 1927. She spent the following year abroad studying Italian art in Florence, Paris and other locations through a Smith College seminar and then returned to Massachusetts in 1928 to complete degree requirements for an A.M. from Smith. She received this degree in 1929, after completing a year of course work at Harvard, where she was designated a special student and allowed to study under Edward Forbes, Paul Sachs and Arthur Pope. In 1929 she began work as a research assistant for Sachs, in 1937 she was named Keeper of Drawings in the Fogg Museum (a title she held until 1947, when she became Associate Curator of Drawings), and from 1960 to 1975 she also held the title of MArtin A. Ryerson Lecturer in Fine Arts at Harvard. At the Fogg Art Museum, Mongan was assistant director from 1951 to 1964, and in 1964 she became associate director. When Coolidge retired from the museum in 1968, Mongan became acting director, and from 1969 until her retirement in 1971 she was its director. In 1994 Mongan was honored by Harvard when the Fogg named a study center in her honor: the Agnes Mongan Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. She remained actively involved with the museum into the last years of her life. Agnes Mongan died in Cambridge, Massachusetts on September 15, 1996.

From the description of Papers of John Coolidge and Agnes Mongan, 1909-2006. (Harvard University Art Museum). WorldCat record id: 434571462

John Phillips Coolidge was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in December 1913, on either the 15th or 16th; his parents disagreed about the exact date of his birth. His father, Julian Lowell Coolidge, was a professor of mathematics at Harvard and the first master of Lowell House, and his mother, Theresa Reynolds, was a linguist. One of his uncles, Archibald Cary Coolidge, was a history professor at Harvard and also the first director of the Harvard University Library. Coolidge had one brother and four sisters. Following family tradition, he studied at Harvard as an undergraduate and received a B.A. in 1935. He married Mary Elizabeth "Polly" Welch the same year; they would have one child, Mary-Elizabeth "Penny" Coolidge Warren. Following graduation, Coolidge moved to New York to study architecture at Columbia University, but after a year of study decided he did not have the requisite talent to succeed as an architect and instead took up the study of art and architectural history. In 1936 he enrolled in graduate school at New York University, where he studied under German émigré scholars Erwin Panofsky, Karl Lehmann, Richard Krautheimer and Walter Friedlaender. He also taught at Vassar College from 1937 to 1939. Coolidge received an A.M. in 1939 and published a book based on his research for the degree in 1942: Mill and Mansion: A Study of Architecture and Society in Lowell, Massachusetts, 1820-1865. The book is still widely considered a classic social and economic history of American architecture and urbanism. Coolidge was also one of the co-founders in 1940 of the Society of Architectural Historians and served on the society's board of directors and as its first vice-president.

By 1940, Coolidge's academic focus had shifted to Italian Renaissance architecture. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on sixteenth century architect and theorist Jacopo da Vignola. The Second World War interrupted his academic work, however, and he entered the Navy as an ensign in 1943. He was stationed in Washington, D.C. and near London, working in communications until his discharge in 1946. He returned to academic work that year, teaching art history at the University of Pennsylvania for academic year 1946-1947. In the fall of 1947, Coolidge accepted a position at Harvard as assistant professor of architectural history; his dissertation was completed and accepted the same year. In 1948, at age 34, he was named director of the Fogg Museum and associate professor of art history. He was promoted to full professor in 1955 and served as director of the museum for twenty years, until 1968. Coolidge was involved in a range of ambitious endeavors at the Fogg: the museum's collections of Islamic and contemporary art were greatly strengthened during his tenure, and Coolidge encouraged students to organize exhibitions of modern and contemporary art and to write publishable catalogues for those exhibitions. He also continued his predecessors' work training future curators and other museum professionals through a program known as the Museum Course. Coolidge retired in 1968, took a sabbatical year, and returned to teach at Harvard in academic year 1969-1970. He continued teaching until 1984.

In addition to his work at Harvard, Coolidge was active as a trustee of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts from 1948 until 1974; he served as that institution's President from 1973 to 1975. He was also an active member of the Society of New England Antiquities. He was appointed Bingham Professor at the University of Louisville in 1985 and Samuel H. Kress Professor at the National Gallery of Art's Center for Advanced Study in Visual Arts for the academic year 1991-1992. Coolidge published numerous articles on American and Italian architecture and Baroque sculpture while he was at Harvard and published two books in his retirement, Patrons and Architects: Designing Art Museums in the Twentieth Century in 1989 and Gustave Doré's London in 1994. John Coolidge died in Boston, Massachusetts on July 31, 1995.

Agnes Mongan was born in Somerville, Massachusetts on January 21, 1905 to Charles Edward Mongan, a family physician, and Elizabeth Teresa O'Brien Mongan, a former school teacher. She had two brothers, Charles Edward and John Anthony, and a sister, Elizabeth. Mongan attended Somerville High School and the Cambridge School for Girls and went on to study art history and English literature at Bryn Mawr, where she received her B.A. in 1927. She spent the following year abroad studying Italian art in Florence, Paris and other locations through a Smith College seminar and then returned to Massachusetts in 1928 to complete degree requirements for an A.M. from Smith. She received this degree in 1929, after completing a year of course work at Harvard, rather than Smith; she was designated a special student at Harvard and allowed to study under Edward Forbes, Paul Sachs and Arthur Pope. In 1929 she began work as a research assistant for Sachs, and spent much of the following decade researching and compiling a catalog of the Fogg Museum's collection of drawings. This catalog, Drawings in the Fogg Museum of Art (2 vols.), was co-authored by Mongan and Sachs and first published in 1940. It was the first comprehensive scholarly catalogue of a drawing collection to be published in the United States.

In 1937, Mongan was named Keeper of Drawings, a title she held until 1947 when she became Associate Curator of Drawings; this change in title came about when Harvard altered its policy banning female curators. Mongan was the first female curator at the Fogg and kept the title through her retirement in 1975. From 1960 to 1975 she also held the title of Martin A. Ryerson Lecturer in the Fine Arts at Harvard. Mongan taught courses and seminars on drawings, curated museum exhibitions, and - with a remarkably small acquisitions budget - managed to build an astonishing collection in both quality and quantity during her tenure at the Fogg.

In addition to her teaching and curatorial responsibilities, Mongan also served in a range of administrative capacities at the Fogg Museum. From 1951 to 1964 she was the museum's assistant director, and in 1964 she became associate director. When John Coolidge retired as director in 1968, Mongan became acting director of the museum, and from 1969 until her retirement in 1971 she was its director.

Mongan's career also included stints as acting director of the Timken Art Gallery in San Diego, California, and as visiting professor at several institutions, including the University of Texas at Austin. She wrote and co-authored several books and edited or otherwise contributed to myriad other books and exhibition catalogues. Mongan's final publication, David to Corot: French Drawings in the Fogg Art Museum, was published in 1996, the final year of her life. Mongan was the recipient of seven honorary degrees: L.H.D.s from Smith College in 1941, Wheaton College in 1954 and the University of Massachusetts in 1970; and D.F.A.s from LaSalle University and Colby College in 1973, the University of Notre Dame in 1980 and Boston College in 1985. Mongan was named Samuel H. Kress Professor at the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 1977 and was honored by Harvard in 1994 when the Fogg Museum named a study center in her honor: the Agnes Mongan Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. She remained actively involved with the museum into the last years of her life. Agnes Mongan died in Cambridge, Massachusetts on September 15, 1996.

From the guide to the Papers of John Coolidge and Agnes Mongan, 1909-2006, (Harvard Art Museum Archives)

John Phillips Coolidge was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in December 1913, on either the 15th or 16th day; his parents disagreed about the exact date of his birth. His father, Julian Lowell Coolidge, was a professor of mathematics at Harvard and the first master of Lowell House, and his mother, Theresa Reynolds Coolidge, was a linguist. One of his uncles, Archibald Cary Coolidge, was a history professor at Harvard and also the first director of the Harvard University Library. Coolidge had one brother and four sisters. Following family tradition, he studied at Harvard as an undergraduate and received a B.A. in 1935. He married Mary Elizabeth "Polly" Welch the same year; they would have one child, Mary-Elizabeth "Penny" Coolidge Warren. Following graduation, Coolidge moved to New York to study architecture at Columbia University, but after a year of study decided he did not have the requisite talent to succeed as an architect and instead took up the study of art and architectural history. In 1936 he enrolled in graduate school at New York University, where he studied under German émigré scholars Erwin Panofsky, Karl Lehmann, Richard Krautheimer and Walter Friedlaender. He also taught at Vassar College from 1937 to 1939. Coolidge received an A.M. in 1939 and published a book based on his research for the degree in 1942: Mill and Mansion: A Study of Architecture and Society in Lowell, Massachusetts, 1820-1865. The book is still widely considered a classic social and economic history of American architecture and urbanism. Coolidge was also one of the co-founders in 1940 of the Society of Architectural Historians and served on the society's board of directors and as its first vice-president.

By 1940, Coolidge's academic focus had shifted to Italian Renaissance architecture. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on sixteenth century architect and theorist Jacopo da Vignola. The Second World War interrupted his academic work, however, and he entered the Navy as an ensign in 1943. He was stationed in Washington, D.C. and near London, working in communications until his discharge in 1946. He returned to academic work that year, teaching art history at the University of Pennsylvania for academic year 1946-1947. In the fall of 1947, Coolidge accepted a position at Harvard as assistant professor of architectural history; his dissertation was completed and accepted the same year. In 1948, at age 34, he was named director of the Fogg Museum and associate professor of art history. He was promoted to full professor in 1955 and served as director of the museum for twenty years, until 1968. Coolidge was involved in a range of ambitious endeavors at the Fogg: the museum's collections of Islamic and contemporary art were greatly strengthened during his tenure, and Coolidge encouraged students to organize exhibitions of modern and contemporary art and to write publishable catalogues for those exhibitions. He also continued his predecessors' work training future curators and other museum professionals through a program known as the Museum Course. Coolidge retired in 1968, took a sabbatical year, and returned to teach at Harvard in academic year 1969-1970. He continued teaching until 1984.

In addition to his work at Harvard, Coolidge was active as a trustee of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts from 1948 until 1974; he served as that institution's President from 1973 to 1975. He was also an active member of the Society of New England Antiquities. He was appointed Bingham Professor at the University of Louisville in 1985 and Samuel H. Kress Professor at the National Gallery of Art's Center for Advanced Study in Visual Arts for the academic year 1991-1992. Coolidge published numerous articles on American and Italian architecture and Baroque sculpture while he was at Harvard and published two books in his retirement, Patrons and Architects: Designing Art Museums in the Twentieth Century in 1989 and Gustave Doré's London in 1994. John Coolidge died in Boston, Massachusetts on July 31, 1995.

From the guide to the Papers, 1939-1984, (Harvard Art Museum Archives, Harvard University)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Julius S. Held papers, ca. 1918-1999 Getty Research Institute
creatorOf Papers of John Coolidge and Agnes Mongan, 1909-2006 Harvard Art Museum Archives
referencedIn John Mason Brown papers, 1922-1967. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Morss, Noel, 1904-1981. [Morss, Noel (1904-1981) papers, 1927-1980]. Harvard University, Tozzer Library
creatorOf Coolidge, John, 1913-1995. Correspondence : with Carl Zigrosser, 1956-1962. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Berenson, Bernard and Mary. Papers, 1880-2002, 1880-2002 Biblioteca Berenson, Villa I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies
referencedIn Interviews with art historians, 1991-2002 Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Wasserman, Jeanne L. 1915-2006. Papers of Fogg Art Museum Honorary Curator of Sculpture 1960-c.1987 Harvard University Art Museum
referencedIn Mark Anthony De Wolfe Howe additional papers, 1880-1959. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Coolidge, John, 1913-. Oral history interview with John Coolidge, 1989 Mar. 7-May 4. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Berenson, Bernard, 1865-1959. Bernard and Mary Berenson, Papers (1880-2002, bulk 1880-1959) : a finding aid. Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn Lowell-Adams House Printers papers, 1964-1972 (inclusive) 1964-1966 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Fogg Art Museum. Archives of the Fogg Art Museum, 1895-1985 (inclusive). Harvard University Art Museum
referencedIn Cándida Smith, Richard. Interviews with art historians, 1991-2002. Getty Research Institute
creatorOf Coolidge, John, 1913-1995. Notes in History 1, 1931-1932. Harvard University, Archives
creatorOf Old Ship Church (Hingham, Mass.). Restoration studies, 1929-1961. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Coolidge, John, 1913-1995. Notes in Fine Arts 1c and 1d, 1931-1932. Harvard University, Archives
creatorOf Coolidge, John, 1913-1995. The modern sensibility at the Fogg Art Museum : oral history transcript / John Coolidge ; interview conducted by Richard Cándida Smith [Apr. 1991] ; completed under the auspices of the Oral History Program, University of California, Los Angeles, and the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1993. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Harvard Art Museum. Exhibition Records, 1905-2008 Harvard Art Museum Archives, Harvard University
creatorOf Coolidge, John, 1913-1995. Papers of John Coolidge and Agnes Mongan, 1909-2006. Harvard University Art Museum
referencedIn Adlow, Dorothy, 1901-1964. Papers, 1923-1969 (inclusive) [microform]. Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Held, Julius Samuel, 1905-. Interviews with art historians, 1991-2002. Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Papers, 1920-1995. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Harvard Art Museums. Archives. Exhibition Records, 1905-2008. Harvard University Art Museum
referencedIn Wasserman, Jeanne L., 1915-2004. Personal Papers, 1952-2004. Harvard University Art Museum
creatorOf Coolidge, John, 1913-1995. John Coolidge interviews, 1989 Mar. 7-1989 May 4. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Coolidge, John, 1913-. Oral history interview with John Coolidge, 1989 Mar. 7-May 4 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Harvard University. Portrait Collection. Records of the Harvard University Portrait Collection, 1900-1984 (bulk). Harvard University Art Museum
creatorOf Coolidge, John, 1913-1995. Letters, 1939-1940 : to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Forbes, Edward Waldo, 1873-1969. Papers of Edward Waldo Forbes, 1856-1971 (inclusive). Harvard University, Archives
creatorOf Papers, 1939-1984 Harvard Art Museum Archives, Harvard University
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correspondedWith