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Call No.: HC 3: Address Books
Repository: Harvard Art Museum Archives, Harvard Art Museums, Harvard University
Title: Records of Paul J. Sachs, 1904-1953: A Guide
Quantity: 2 linear feet (2 file boxes, 2 9.5x12 folio boxes)
Abstract: Address books and contact lists of Paul J. Sachs, created while collecting and teaching at the Fogg Museum. These contacts were used for personal use, student referrals, and professional contacts for the museum.
There are additional papers of Paul J. Sachs located in the Harvard Art Museums Archives. In addition, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY also holds some of Sachs' papers.
Paul Joseph Sachs, the first assistant museum director of the Fogg Museum and Harvard professor, was born in New York City on November 24, 1878. His parents were Samuel Sachs, a partner in the Goldman-Sachs investment firm, and Louisa (Goldman) Sachs. Samuel Sachs joined with his brother-in-law Henry Goldman, to found Goldman Sachs Co. in 1882. The oldest of four, Paul J. Sachs had two brothers, Arthur and Walter and a sister Ella (Sachs) Plotz, who died at a young age. Sachs attended the Sachs Collegiate Institution in New York City, which was not related to the Sachs family. He graduated from Harvard University in 1900 and entered the family firm soon after, becoming a partner in 1904. It was at Harvard that he began collecting art, which he amassed into a huge collection, some of which he donated to the museum upon his death. Sachs was married to Meta Pollack and had three daughters. Sachs retired from banking in 1914 and spent the next year traveling the country, visiting and observing art museums. In 1915, Edward Waldo Forbes, director of the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, asked Sachs to join the museum staff. In 1923, Sachs became Associate Director and remained in this position until his retirement in 1948.Sachs' career also included teaching classes; he first lectured at Wellesley College in 1916 and then became an Assistant Professor of Art at Harvard in 1917. Ten years later in 1927, he became a full Harvard professor and in 1933 he became Chairman of the Harvard Department of Fine Arts. In 1922, Sachs' began teaching his most well-known course, "Museum Work and Museum Problems," known as "the Museum Course," which he taught until his retirement. Many of Sachs' students went on to direct many of the county's major art museums. His students included William Lieberman, Chick Austin, Walter Path, Edward Warburg, Kirk Askew, Alfred H. Barr, Lincoln Kirstein, Joseph Pulitzer Jr., as well as Agnes Mongan and John Coolidge, who both served terms as director of the Fogg Museum.Throughout his life, Sachs amassed numerous contacts throughout Europe and North America in the art collecting, dealing, bookselling, scholarly and museum worlds. He was an editor of "Art Bulletin" from 1919-1940. He was a founding member of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City and served as a trustee of the museum from 1929-1938 and an honorary trustee in 1964. He also served as a trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts and served on the boards of Smith, Wellesley and Radcliffe Colleges. In 1954, he authored Modern Prints and Drawings, published by Alfred A. Knopf. In 1947, Sachs began writing his autobiography, Tales of an Epoch, which was never published. He received honorary degrees from Yale University, Princeton University, University of Pittsburgh and Colby College. He was president of the American Association of Museums and and American Federation of Art, a member of the Century Association, Phi Beta Kappa, American Philosophical, and the Groiler Club. Paul J. Sachs died on February 18, 1965 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The collection is arranged into two sub series:
- I. Leather-bound Address Books
- II. Paper-bound Address Books
The papers related to Paul J. Sachs' address books consist of black leather-bound address books with gold-embossed titles by country or major city, and paper-bound compilations of contacts from the binders that he annotated for his students. Some of the leather-bound binders include dates of manufacture; these dates range from 1930-1937.The collection had no discernable original order. The two sub-series were arranged by the processor by continent, and then alphabetically by country or city. The collection was damaged by water in a flood of the Art Museums Archives in 1998. Pages of the address books are wrinkled and some notes hand written in ink are unreadable.Sub-series I., Leather-bound Address Books, makes up the largest group, consisting of thirty small, gold-embossed leather-bound address books. The pages measure 5x3 inches. Some address books were not embossed; in these cases the processor identified the county or city to which they pertained. In these cases the titles are enclosed in square brackets. The address book pages have been removed from their original binders for preservation purposes, due to rusting metal and leather rot. The empty binders that were not gold-embossed have been discarded; the others are available for examination upon request. The pages of the text blocks have been tied together with string and housed in individual boxes.Sub-series II., Paper-bound Address Books, consists of nine 8.5x11 inch books with typed lists of addresses annotated for Sachs' students or colleagues.