Armitage, Merle, 1893-1975

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Merle Armitage was born in 1893 on a farm outside Mason City, Iowa. He had many jobs over the years, beginning as a train engineer before taking a job as a graphic designer for the Packard Motor Car Company. His next career was as a set designer for New York theaters, which later turned into a long stint in the theater promotion business. Armitage also managed various performers and their concert tours. He co-founded the Los Angeles Grand Opera Association and was its business manager, and also managed the Los Angeles Philharmonic auditorium from 1933 to 1939. In addition to his theater work, Armitage was involved with writing and designing books, as well as serving as the art director for various magazines (including 'Quick' and 'Look'). Over one hundred books are attributed to him. He was also the president of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Merle Armitage died March 15, 1975.

From the description of Merle Armitage collection, 1919-1971. (University of California, Los Angeles). WorldCat record id: 505844682

Merle Armitage was born in 1893 in Mason City, Iowa. He worked in New York City and Los Angeles, Calif. In 1932, Armitage began to write, design, and produce books. In total, he designed, wrote forwards to, and produced more than 150 books pertaining to subjects including Igor Stravinsky, Edward Weston, Martha Grapam, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, George Gershwin, Stella Dysart, the U.S. Navy, and Santa Fe. Other published works include essays on art and catalogs for art exhibitions. Armitage died in 1975.

From the guide to the Photograph of Stella Dysart and Louis Lothmann, 1956, (Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico.)

American author, publisher, book designer, graphic artist, and impresario.

From the description of Papers, 1930-1974. (University of Arizona). WorldCat record id: 28168561

Book designer, impresario, author, and art director.

From the description of Papers of Merle Armitage, 1932-1964. (University of Iowa Libraries). WorldCat record id: 233105300

Merle Armitage was an American author, publisher, book designer, graphic artist, and impresario.

From the guide to the Merle Armitage papers, 1930-1974, (University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections)

Merle Armitage, b. 1893; d. 1975, Art administrator, graphic artist of Santa Fe, N.M.

From the description of Oral history interview with Merle Armitage, 1964 Feb. 6 [sound recording]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 312025130

Born 1893 in Mason City, Iowa. Worked in New York City and Los Angeles, Calif. In 1932, Armitage began to write, design, and produce books. In total, he designed, wrote forwards to, and produced more than 150 books pertaining to subjects including Igor Stravinsky, Edward Weston, Martha Grapam, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, George Gershwin, Stella Dysart, the U.S. Navy, and Santa Fe. Other published works include essays on art and catalogs for art exhibitions. Died 1975.

From the description of Papers, 1946-1965. (University of New Mexico-Main Campus). WorldCat record id: 38446638

Art administrator, graphic artist; Santa Fe, New Mexico.

From the description of Oral history interview with Merle Armitage, 1964 Feb. 6. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 220191317

Editor.

From the guide to the Letter to Merle Armitage, Circa 1954, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Biography

Merle Armitage was born in 1893 on a farm outside Mason City, Iowa. He had many jobs over the years, but began his career as an engineer on the Kansas City, Mexico, and Orient Railroad (later the Santa Fe Railroad, and now the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway). He later took a job as a graphic designer for the Packard Motor Car Company in Detroit.

His next career was as a set designer for New York theaters, which later turned into a long stint in the theater promotion business. Armitage also managed various performers and their concert tours. In 1924, he co-founded the Los Angeles Grand Opera Association and was its business manager for eight seasons. He then managed the Los Angeles Philharmonic auditorium, from 1933 to 1939, where he oversaw production of various plays and operas.

In addition to his theater work, Armitage was involved with writing and designing books, as well as serving as the art director for various magazines (including 'Quick' and 'Look'). Over one hundred books are attributed to him. He had a short career in the Army Air Forces, working in the Material Center, and was a regional chairman for the Public Works of Art project during the Depression. In 1951, he was the president of the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Merle Armitage married four times and eventually retired to Yucca Valley, California, to a ranch he called Manzanita Ranch. He died March 15, 1975.

From the guide to the Merle Armitage Collection, 1919-1971, (William Andrews Clark Memorial Library)

George Mason, Stella Dysart and Merle Armitage discussing the manuscript of "Stella Dysart of Ambrosia Lake." Part of the Merle Armitage Papers MSS 173 BC (Box 3, Folder 4).

Merle Armitage was born February 12, 1893 in Mason City, Iowa. He began collecting art at age 12, making payments on drawings, lithographs, and etchings from his weekly allowance. He remained an art collector for most of his life, and was acquainted with artists such as Picasso, Paul Klee, Kandinsky, and Chagall on "informal and private terms."

Armitage began his working career as a civil engineer, and later entered the theatre as a set and costume designer. He was an American impresario in the New York City area until 1921 when he transferred his activities to the Los Angeles area. Among his many accomplishments, Armitage served as director of American publicity for the Diaghilev Ballet Russe (1915), founder and general manager of the Los Angeles Grand Opera Association (1924-1930), manager of the Philharmonic Auditorium (1933-1939), and in the 1930's, he sponsored performances of the Ballet Caravan and the Martha Graham Dance Company. During this time, he began designing his own posters and programs to attract audiences to his performances.

In 1932, Armitage began to write, design, and produce books. In total, he designed, wrote forwards to, and produced more than 150 books pertaining to subjects including Igor Stravinsky, Edward Weston, Martha Graham, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, George Gershwin, Stella Dysart, the U.S. Navy, and Santa Fe. Other published works include essays on art and catalogs for art exhibitions.

Armitage was editorial and art director for Look magazine. He was president of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (1950-1951). His awards include the Legion of Merit for service in the Army Air Force; the Cordon Bleu of the Wine and Food Society; and the Industrial Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects. He died of a stroke on March 15, 1975.

From the guide to the Merle Armitage Papers, 1893-1975, (The University of New Mexico, University Libraries, Center for Southwest Research)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn T. M. Cleland Papers, 1880-1964, (bulk 1920-1963) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Lewis Gannett papers, 1681-1966 (inclusive) 1900-1960 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Armitage, Merle, 1893-1975. Papers of Merle Armitage, 1932-1964. University of Iowa Libraries
creatorOf Stravinsky, Igor, 1882-1971. Letter to [Merle Armitage] Los Angeles, CA. 1957 July 1. University of Iowa Libraries
creatorOf Levitan, Israel, 1912-1982. Israel and Idee Levitan papers, [ca. 1946-1982]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Steinbeck, John, 1902-1968. Papers of John Steinbeck [manuscript], 1932-1974. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Wachsman, Robert A. Papers, [ca. 1933-ca. 1942]. Ohio State University Libraries
creatorOf Armitage, Merle, 1893-1975. Letters to Little, Brown and Company. Los Angeles, CA. 1937. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn George and Ira Gershwin Collection, 1895-2008, (bulk 1920-1960) Music Division Library of Congress
referencedIn Maynard Dixon Papers, [ca. 1896-1946] Bancroft Library
referencedIn E. E. Cummings papers, 1870-1969. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Edward and Clara Steuermann Collection, 1922-1981, (bulk 1930-1980) Music Division Library of Congress
creatorOf Wells, Cady, 1904-1954. Cady Wells papers, 1913-1968. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Gage, Merrell, b. 1892,. Oral history interview with Merrell Gage, 1964 May 27 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Merle Armitage papers, 1930-1974 University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections
creatorOf Merle Armitage Collection, 1919-1971 William Andrews Clark Memorial Library.
creatorOf Armitage, Merle, 1893-1975. Merle Armitage collection, 1919-1971. University of California, Los Angeles
referencedIn Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971. Rockwell Kent interviews, 1969 Feb. 26-Feb. 27. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Serge Koussevitzky Archive, 1920-1976, (bulk 1924-1951) Music Division Library of Congress
creatorOf Armitage, Merle, 1893-1975. Letter to J.M. McFadden. [Yucca Valley, CA]. 1972 Mar. 24. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn E. E. Cummings Collection TXRC98-A2., 1902-1968 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971,. Oral history interview with Rockwell Kent, 1969 Feb. 26-27 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn George Balanchine archive, 1924-1989 (inclusive), 1961-1983 (bulk). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Gage, Merrell, 1892-1981. Merrell Gage interviews, 1964 May 27 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Nicolas Slonimsky Collection, 1873-1997, (bulk 1920-1990) Music Division Library of Congress
creatorOf Armitage, Merle, 1893-1975. Papers, 1930-1974. University of Arizona Libraries
creatorOf Letter to Merle Armitage, Circa 1954 L. Tom Perry Special Collections20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
creatorOf Merle Armitage Papers, 1893-1975 The University of New Mexico, University Libraries, Center for SouthwestResearch
creatorOf Armitage, Merle, 1893-1975. Papers, 1946-1965. University of New Mexico-Main Campus
creatorOf Armitage, Merle, 1893-1975. Correspondence with Carl Zigrosser, 1929-1960, n.d. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Papers of the magazine Transition, 1933-1941. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969. Letter to Merle Armitage. Washington, DC. 1956 Nov. 23. University of Iowa Libraries
creatorOf Armitage, Merle, 1893-1975. Oral history interview with Merle Armitage, 1964 Feb. 6. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn T. E. Lawrence Collection TXRC98-A3., 1912-1966 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Witter Bynner papers, 1829-1965. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Hersey, John, 1914-1993. Letters, Southport, Conn., to Merle Armitage [manuscript] 1954-1956. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Rogers, Bruce, 1870-1957. Bruce Rogers papers, 1902-1951. Newberry Library
creatorOf Armitage, Merle, 1893-1975. Letter to Dan [?]. Yucca Valley, CA. 1963 Feb. 12. University of Iowa Libraries
creatorOf Lawrence, T. E. (Thomas Edward), 1888-1935. T.E. Lawrence Collection, 1912-1966. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Pacific Geographic Society. Pacific Geographic Society records, 1927-1940. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Armitage, Merle, 1893-1975. Letters, 1951, n.d., to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Kellogg, Vernon L. (Vernon Lyman), 1867-1937. Kellogg-Dickie papers, 1862-1995 (inclusive), 1884-1976 (bulk). Yale University Library
creatorOf Chappell, Warren, 1904-1991. Illustration and correspondence : of Warren Chappell, 1931-1933 and 1965-1977. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Komroff, Manuel, 1890-1974. Letter to Merle Armitage, 1954. American Primers
creatorOf Photograph of Stella Dysart and Louis Lothmann, 1956 University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research
referencedIn New Directions Publishing Corp. records, ca. 1933-1997. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Bruce Rogers collection, 1895-1965 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Gershwin, George, 1898-1937. George and Ira Gershwin collection, 1895-2008 (bulk 1920-1960). Library of Congress
referencedIn E. E. Cummings additional papers, 1870-1969. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Dixon, Maynard, 1875-1946. Maynard Dixon papers, [ca. 1896-1946]. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Miller, Henry, 1891-1980. Papers of Henry Miller [manuscript] 1932-1964. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Armitage, Merle, 1893-1975,. Oral history interview with Merle Armitage, 1964 Feb. 6 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Hemingway, Ernest, 1899-1961. Ernest Hemingway papers [manuscript], 1925-1966. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Cummings, E. E. (Edward Estlin), 1894-1968. E.E. Cummings Collection, 1902-1962. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Institute of Graphic Arts. corporateBody
associatedWith Armitage, Chama. person
associatedWith Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad Company corporateBody
correspondedWith Balanchine, George. person
associatedWith Barker, Eric, 1905-1973. person
associatedWith Beebe, Lucius Morris, 1902-1966. person
associatedWith Bruce, Edward, 1879-1943. person
correspondedWith Bynner, Witter, 1881-1968 person
associatedWith Cavanna, Elise, 1902-1963. person
associatedWith Chappell, Warren, 1904-1991. person
associatedWith Cleland, T. M. (Thomas Maitland), 1880-1964. person
associatedWith Cowles, Gardner, 1861-1946. person
associatedWith Cummings, E. E. (Edward Estlin), 1894-1962 person
associatedWith Cummings, E. E. (Edward Estlin), 1894-1968. person
associatedWith Danz, Louis. person
associatedWith Day, Richard, 1894-1972. person
associatedWith Dixon, Maynard, 1875-1946. person
associatedWith Dysart, Stella. person
associatedWith Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969. person
associatedWith Gage, Merrell, 1892-1981. person
correspondedWith Gannett, Lewis, 1891-1966 person
correspondedWith Gershwin, George, 1898-1937. person
correspondedWith Gershwin, Ira, 1896-1983 person
associatedWith Hatfield, Dalzell, 1893-1963. person
associatedWith Hemingway, Ernest, 1899-1961. person
associatedWith Hersey, John, 1914-1993. person
associatedWith Kellogg, Vernon L. (Vernon Lyman), 1867-1937. person
associatedWith Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971. person
associatedWith Komroff, Manuel, 1890-1974. person
correspondedWith Koussevitzky, Serge, 1874-1951 person
associatedWith Lawrence, T. E. (Thomas Edward), 1888-1935 person
associatedWith Levitan, Israel, 1912-1982. person
associatedWith Little, Brown and Company, corporateBody
associatedWith Loomis, Sylvia Glidden person
associatedWith Lothmann, Louis person
associatedWith Manzanita Press. corporateBody
associatedWith Marcus, Alan. person
associatedWith Mason, George. person
associatedWith Miller, Henry, 1891-1980. person
associatedWith Newcombe, Warren, b. 1894. person
associatedWith New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project. corporateBody
associatedWith New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project. corporateBody
correspondedWith New Directions Publishing Corp. corporateBody
associatedWith O'Brien, Frank. person
associatedWith Pacific Geographic Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Public Works of Art Project. corporateBody
associatedWith Public Works of Art Project. corporateBody
associatedWith Public Works of Art Project (Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Public Works of Art Project (Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Rogers, Bruce, 1870-1957. person
associatedWith Shore, Henrietta, 1880-1963. person
associatedWith Siqueiros, David Alfaro. person
associatedWith Slonimsky, Nicolas, 1894-1995 person
associatedWith Steinbeck, John, 1902-1968. person
correspondedWith Steuermann, Edward person
associatedWith Stravinsky, Igor, 1882-1971. person
correspondedWith Transition. corporateBody
associatedWith Wachsman, Robert A. person
associatedWith Wells, Cady, 1904-1954. person
associatedWith Weston, Brett. person
associatedWith Weston, Edward, 1886-1958. person
associatedWith Whitsett, Ida. person
associatedWith Zornes, James Milford, 1908-2008. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
California
United States
Southwest, New
United States
Southwest, New
California
New Mexico
Ambrosia Lake Region (N.M.)
America
California
America
Ambrosia Lake Region (N.M.)
California
Subject
Expeditions and Adventure
Graphic artists--Interviews
Arts--Censorship
Book designers--UnitedStates--20th century
Missions, Spanish
Book design--History
Indians of North America--Photographs
Arts administrators--Interviews
Authors, American
Uranium mines and mining
Commercial artists
Authors, American--20th century
Federal aid to the arts
Small press books--Specimens
Impresarios
Impresarios--UnitedStates--20th century
Uranium mines and mining--New Mexico
Book industries and trade--History--20th century
Theater--Los Angeles--20thcentury
Theater--20th century
Missions--Southwest, New
Indians of North America--Missions
Publishers and publishing--History--20th century
Art and state
Book designers--20th century
Impresarios--20th century
Book design
Immigration and American Expansion
Missions
Occupation
Book designers
Writer, Prose, Fiction and Nonfiction
Function

Person

Birth 1893-02-12

Death 1975-03-15

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 75371487