Scope and Content Note
During her twenty-year relationship with photographer and art promoter Alfred Stieglitz, Dorothy Norman, herself a photographer as well as writer, came to know artists such as John Marin, who were defining American modernism during the 1930s and 1940s. Norman published and edited writings about both men, and likely compiled this material in preparation.
The "Alfred Stieglitz" series documents Stieglitz's multiple careers as photographer, gallery owner and collector. Material consists primarily of exhibition announcements and checklists, and of images of Stieglitz's work as well as that of the European artists who inspired him and of the contemporary American artists he championed. Both formats chronicle Stieglitz's entire professional life. Images include his photographs of European people and settings of the late 19th century to the ethereal examinations of his "Equivalent" series done in the late 1920s and early 1930s. There are also images from his childhood and family, as well as of exhibitions he staged, including those at his first gallery at 291 Fifth Avenue in New York. Exhibition checklists begin with one of Stieglitz's earliest U.S. shows, featuring his lantern slides (1896). Later exhibition checklists and announcements document his work as both artist and promoter. These include exhibitions he presented in New York at the Anderson Galleries from 1921 to 1925, a few at the Intimate Gallery, 1925 and 1929, and almost all of those at the second gallery he owned and operated, An American Place, from 1929 to 1946. Both formats also chronicle the works of the artists most associated with Stieglitz and his galleries; namely Georgia O'Keeffe, John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Arthur G. Dove, and Charles Demuth. The series includes clippings from journals Stieglitz published; namely Camera Work, Manuscripts (MSS) and various-titled bulletins produced by An American Place. Other documentation consists of Norman's research notes as well as typescripts of an anecdote in which Stieglitz recalls "meeting" D.H. Lawrence--five years after the writer's death.
The second series, "John Marin," consists primarily of photographs and published writings regarding the life and work of this American painter and printmaker. Most of the photographs are informal portraits of Marin taken by Norman or are of his paintings. Published writings include newspaper clippings, magazine articles, books, and numerous catalogues of exhibitions. Also included are portions of a transcript to the 1954 radio interview of Norman and others talking about Marin. The collection also includes photocopies or typescripts of Marin's correspondence primarily to his family and to Norman, as well as a few of his writings. Ephemera and notes are also included.
Norman's own art collection and publication comprise the bulk of the final series, "Other subjects." More than 30 photographs document the exhibition of her collection organized at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1968. Circulars listing the contributing writers and titles make up most of the documentation and underscore the editorial emphasis of Norman's publication, "Twice a Year." There is also ephemera pertaining to the related publications put out by Twice a Year Press, including the Stieglitz Memorial Portfolio.