[OASIS] Harvard University Library
OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:RAD.SCHL:sch00414View HOLLIS Record   Frames Version
Questions or Comments   Copyright Statement

On July 16, 2018, OASIS will retire. It will be replaced by HOLLIS for Archival Discovery. Please explore.

Adlow, Dorothy, 1901-1964. Papers of Dorothy Adlow, 1923-1969: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: A-138
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Dorothy Adlow, 1901-1964
Title: Papers of Dorothy Adlow, 1923-1969
Date(s): 1923-1969
Quantity: .42 linear feet (1 file box) plus 2 folders of photographs, 1 phonograph record, 5 reels of microfilm (M-115)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Scrapbooks, correspondence, photographs, etc., of Dorothy Adlow, art critic and lecturer.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 713, 761, 765, 75-67, 77-M9
The papers of Dorothy Adlow were given to the Schlesinger Library in February, March and June 1964 by her husband, Nicolas Slonimsky. Additional papers were given in February 1975 by her sister, Chippe (Adlow) Hoffman and in February 1977 by Dr. Nathan Fink. The scrapbooks and loose clippings were processed and microfilmed in 1987 with the support of the Friends of the Schlesinger Library.

Processing Information:

Reprocessed: December 1986
By: Bert Hartry and Elizabeth Balcom

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Dorothy Adlow is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


Dates and other information added by the processor are in square brackets.
Scrapbook pages were numbered by the processor to aid the microfilmer, the proofreader, and the researcher.
Many loose clippings were mounted by the processor.
The film was proofread by the processor and corrections made where necessary. These corrections may disrupt the sequence of frame numbers.
The material was difficult to film: some clippings overlapped, much of the newsprint was brittle, many articles were folded, and many of the scrapbook pages were discolored. The film was carefully produced and proofread to insure the greatest possible legibility.
For a list of the contents of A-138, see the inventory that follows. Only #29v-64vo and 65o are available on microfilm. When requesting microfilm, please use the microfilm number and the reel number.
  • 29v-37v: Reel 1
  • 38v-45v: Reel 2
  • 46v-52v: Reel 3
  • 53v-58v: Reel 4
  • 59v-65o: Reel 5
  • Preferred Citation:

    Dorothy Adlow Papers, 1923-1969; item description, dates. A-138, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.


    Dorothy Adlow, art critic and lecturer, was born on June 7, 1901, in Boston, the daughter of Russian immigrants, Nathan and Bessie (Bravman) Adlow. She attended Girls' Latin School and earned both her A.B. and A.M. degrees from Radcliffe College (1922/1923). After working briefly at the Boston Evening Transcript, she began a forty-one year career as art critic for the Christian Science Monitor.
    Adlow lectured at museums, colleges, churches and libraries, and served as an art juror, throughout the United States. She was the first woman to lecture at the Carnegie International Exhibit Series (Pittsburgh, 1930) and appeared often on television programs produced by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. She traveled widely abroad and was a member of the International Society of Critics. At her 25th class reunion Radcliffe College made her an honorary member of the Iota Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. In 1953 she won the American Federation of Arts Art Critic Award, and in 1957 she received the Art Citation of Merit from Boston University. Dorothy Adlow wrote "Twentieth Century Highlights of American Painting," a catalog for a traveling United States Information Agency exhibit.
    She married Nicolas Slonimsky, musicologist, composer, conductor and pianist, in 1931; a daughter, Electra (later Yourke), was born in 1933. Dorothy Adlow died in Boston on January 11, 1964. A room at Hilles Library, Radcliffe College, is named in her honor.


    The bulk of this collection consisted of thirty-six scrapbooks (see below); in addition to the microfilm of these scrapbooks, there are correspondence, photographs, clippings, lecture announcements, a phonograph record of a lecture, and a photocopy of the draft of an unpublished book, "Roads to Understanding Modern Art." The papers provide some information about Dorothy Adlow, her friendships and her work, but little about her family. There are no letters by her. The collection is arranged in four sections: personal and biographical, correspondence (arranged alphabetically by writer or organization), papers concerning the unpublished book, and other writings (mainly the scrapbooks).
    The correspondence consists of letters to or about Adlow; writers include friends, artists, curators, museum directors, and readers. Most letters are about Adlow's columns and reviews, but 44 from the artist Dodge MacKnight and 23 from the poet Marianne Moore are personal. Dodge MacKnight's letters concern his work, his garden, and Adlow's visits to the MacKnights's home on Cape Cod. Marianne Moore's letters express her admiration for Adlow and describe Moore's efforts to obtain grants for Adlow and Nicolas Slonimsky, the publication of her "fables," and her own schedule.
    The 36 scrapbooks, which were microfilmed and discarded, contained mainly clippings. Most were Adlow's Christian Science Monitor articles; there were also some Adlow columns published in other newspapers, some articles about her, and a few about Nicolas Slonimsky. The few non-clipping items were removed from the scrapbooks and integrated into the remainder of the collection. The approximate inclusive dates of each scrapbook are noted in the inventory. Five of the first six volumes span many years, the remainder generally cover only one or two years. The chronological order of items within each volume is irregular. The poor condition of the scrapbooks and loose clippings.

    Container List

    Additional Index Terms

    Art criticism
    Art galleries, Commercial
    Art museums
    Arts--Press coverage
    Collectors and collecting
    Jewish women--United States
    Manuscripts (for publication)
    Berenson, Bernard, 1865-1959
    Calder, Alexander, 1898-1976
    Canham, Erwin D.
    Chagall, Marc, 1887-1985
    Coolidge, John, 1913-1995
    Fink, Frances
    Goldberg, Issac, 1887-1938
    Gropius, Walter, 1883-1969
    Hofer, Philip, 1898-1984
    Hopper, Josephine Nivison
    Hopkinson, Charles, 1869-1962
    James, Frederika Paine
    James, William, 1882-1961
    John, Augustus, 1878-1961
    Lachaise, Gaston, 1882-1935
    MacKnight, Dodge, 1860-1950
    Mencken, H. L. (Henry Louis), 1880-1956
    Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972
    Nathan, George Jean, 1882-1958
    Pouzzner, Bessie London
    Radcliffe College--Alumni and alumnae
    Rathbone, Perry Townsend, 1911-2000
    Rockwell, Norman, 1894-1978
    Sachs, Paul J. (Paul Joseph), 1878-1965
    Vermeule, Cornelius C. (Cornelius Clarkson), 1925-2008
    Wertheim, Maurice, 1886-1950
    Wyeth, Andrew, 1917-2009