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MC 375

Pereira, I. Rice (Irene Rice), 1902-1971. Papers of I. Rice Pereira, 1929-1976: 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

The collection was processed with the aid of a grant from the Connemara Fund.

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 375
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: I. Rice (Irene Rice) Pereira, 1902-1971
Title: Papers of I. Rice Pereira, 1929-1976
Date(s): 1929-1976
Quantity: 10 linear feet (10 cartons) plus 1 roll box, 32 folio folders, 25 folio+ folders, 11 oversize folders)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, manuscripts, notebook, etc., of I. Rice (Irene Rice) Pereira, abstract painter, poet, and philosopher.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number: 79-M307
The papers of I. Rice Pereira were given to the Schlesinger Library in October 1979 by the I. Rice Pereira Foundation; Djelloul Marbrook, Pereira's nephew, was the Manager-Trustee of the foundation at that time.

Processing Information:

Processed: February 1989
By: Elizabeth L. Balcom

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by I. Rice Pereira 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.


The Archives of American Art (AAA) of the Smithsonian Institution has microfilmed much of the material in this collection. (See Reel Guide, p. 9.) AAA also has microfilm of original material not at the Schlesinger Library; these originals, most notably papers from 1953-1954 pertaining to her teaching, are held by AAA and were a gift from Pereira (see microfilm roll 2395). Many other papers were only lent to the AAA for filming and were then returned either to the artist, or, after her death, to her nephew, Djelloul Marbrook.
Pereira herself loaned one group of papers to the AAA to be filmed in 1965; in 1977, several years after her death, Marbrook loaned another group. There are also Pereira papers at the AAA that were not filmed with either of these two groups, including a few items given by Marbrook after Pereira's death and material in other collections. The latter includes letters from Pereira, photographs, an unpublished typescript, and the transcript of an oral history interview recorded for AAA in 1968.
The Pereira papers at the Schlesinger Library include material that is not on the AAA microfilm: exhibition catalogs; annotated typescripts of published and unpublished works; notes for, and manuscript working drafts of, unpublished writings; and clippings. Such unfilmed material is designated in the inventory by an "x" following the file unit number.
  • For a list of the contents of the Archives of American Art (AAA) of the Smithsonian Institution microfilm, see the inventory that follows. The first set of numbers are folder numbers; they are followed by the reel number.
  • ___Folders 1-47 (some of folder 34 is also on D222): AAA microfilm reel #1296
  • ___Folders 47-76: AAA microfilm reel #1297 (begins with end of May 1950 -- folder 47)
  • ___Folders 77-116 (first part): AAA microfilm reel #1298
  • ___Folders 116 (second part)-162: AAA microfilm reel #1299 (begins in the middle of folder 116)
  • ___Folders 217 (second part)-297: AAA microfilm reel #1301 (begins in the middle of folder 217)
  • ___Folders 298-309: AAA microfilm reel #1302
  • ___Folders 311-361: AAA microfilm reel #D222
  • ___Folders 362-392: AAA microfilm reel #D223
  • ___Folders 452-486: AAA microfilm reel #1322
  • Preferred Citation:

    I. Rice (Irene Rice) Pereira Papers, 1929-1976; item description, dates. MC 375, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

    Related Material:

    There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see I. Rice Pereira Papers, 1931-1981 (MC 867).


    I. (Irene) Rice Pereira was born Irene Rice on August 5, 1902, in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Her parents were Hilda (Vanderbilt) and Emery Rice (sometimes referred to as Emanuel or Emery); she had two sisters, Juanita and Dorothy, and a brother, James. The family lived in Chelsea, Pittsfield, Great Barrington, and Boston, all in Massachusetts, before moving to Brooklyn, New York, where Irene attended high school. She studied at the Art Students' League in New York, and in 1929 married Humberto Pereira, a commercial artist.
    In 1931 Pereira traveled in Europe and North Africa; she later regarded the North Africa trip as influential in the development of her art. She was divorced from Humberto Pereira in 1938, married George Wellington Brown in 1942, and divorced him in 1950. She was married to George Reavey from 1950 to 1959. She continued to use "I. Rice Pereira" as her professional name throughout her life.
    Known and written about primarily as a painter, Pereira was also a poet and philosopher. She published several books privately; some were issued or re-issued by art museums. For additional biographical information see Notable American Women, The Modern Period, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980, pp. 534-35. A two-volume typescript, I. Rice Pereira, by Herrick Jackson, is available at the Schlesinger Library; it includes a chronology of events in Pereira's life, a list of exhibitions, a catalog of her art works (listed both alphabetically by title and chronologically by year), biographical information, and a discussion of her art and her philosophy.



    This collection includes correspondence, research notes, philosophical manuscripts (most in the form of annotated typescripts), exhibition catalogs, photographs, sketches, clippings, and articles. It was received by the Schlesinger Library several years after Pereira's death, when a foundation originally set up by her to hold and maintain her works was dissolved.
    In general, the papers are arranged in the order in which they appear on the microfilm. The second group of papers to be filmed (in 1977) is the larger, more comprehensive group and thus has been placed first in the collection. The Reel Guide shows the correlation between the AAA microfilm and the boxes and file units of the Pereira papers in the Schlesinger Library. The microfilm is available at the AAA in Washington and at its five regional centers, or from them through interlibrary loan.
    The series are those created by the AAA and most series titles are those on the film, except that those appearing in square brackets have been supplied by the processor. There are no folder titles on the film; these have been supplied by the processor.
    Series I, Personal Documents and Biographical Information (#1-10), contains printed material about Pereira; awards and citations; lists of publications, exhibitions, and representation in museums; and a biographical notebook probably compiled by Pereira. The main focus is Pereira's creative work, although there is information on other aspects of her life.
    Series II, Writings by Others Regarding Pereira (#11-15), consists mainly of typescripts and copies of printed articles, including appreciations, reviews of her paintings and writings, and biographies.
    Series III, Statements on Her Art by Pereira (#16-18): mainly typescript statements by Pereira about her visual art, including discussion of techniques used, the philosophy involved, and the relation between the two.
    Series IV, Professional Papers (#19-34), was divided by the AAA into the following sections: Address lists of those invited to exhibits; art collectors; the art press; and of boards, committees, and friends' groups of art galleries and museums; Grant applications for funds to support research for, and/or publication of, her philosophical writings; Sale and loan information for Pereira's paintings; Painting inventories, some with Pereira's comments on the paintings; Technical data and formulae, including printed material, notes, correspondence, clippings, and charts relating to painting materials and techniques; Notes: Pratt Institute Design Laboratory, which includes notes with illustrative sketches for lectures Pereira gave at Pratt Institute; ts. course outlines; and biographical information about Pereira.
    Series V, Correspondence (#35-136), is divided into three sections, each organized differently. Most of the correspondence is business- and work-related, but some is also personal, for IRP's work and other aspects of her life were (perhaps unusually) integrated. The first section consists of undated correspondence to and from Pereira and some third-party correspondence. Letters that include correspondents' last names are arranged alpha- betically by that name; those that do not are arranged randomly. The second and largest section is arranged chronologically; it contains correspondence to and from Pereira. The third section is arranged by topic and then, where possible, chronologically. Most of this correspondence concerns Pereira's perceived problems relating to the intentional suppression of her work; see also series VI.
    Series VI, Papers of the Pereira Foundation (#137-139), contains correspondence, proposals, documents, and notes regarding the establishment of a trust or foundation; the papers discuss the foundation's purposes and goals, the mechanics of establishing it, and possible projects. The correspondence (1966-1970, n.d.) is between Pereira and those involved with setting up the foundation, many of whom were her friends; the letters thus cover other topics as well. This is the period when Pereira was concerned with suppression of her art and writings and with possible tampering with her mail and telephone, including suspected surveillance; the letters discuss these concerns, as do some of those in series V.
    Series VII, Poems (#140-150), consists mainly of typescript and published versions of poems by Pereira and others; see also series VIII. Many of the poems by others are accompanied by notes or letters to Pereira. The correspondence between Pereira and Amado Yuzon contains information about United Poets Laureate International and the World Congress of Poets. This series also includes a draft of a review by Ethel Polline of Pereira's Transcendental Formal Logic of the Infinite: The Evolution of Cultural Forms.
    Series VIII, Articles (#151-156), consists of published philosophical articles and poems by Pereira.
    Series IX, Philosophical Notes, Manuscripts, and Related Papers [Writings, microfilmed] (#157x-241f), is organized by manuscript title. Some but not all of the material in this series was published. In some cases there are several versions of a work; one version may have been published and another not. Besides annotated typescripts, the series includes notes, outlines, diagrams, correspondence, reviews, sketches, clippings, purchase orders, and invoices relating to the writing and publication of literary works by Pereira.
    Series X, Clippings (#242-295f+), is divided into three sections. The first consists of clippings on philosophy, some of them annotated. There is particular emphasis on optics, physics in general, and the scientific aspects of light. The second section contains annotated clippings on art, including the work of other artists, philosophy of art, and schools/movements. The third section, arranged chronologically, consists of clippings about Pereira's art.
    Series XI, Art Exhibition Catalogs and Announcements (#296-310), is arranged chronologically and covers most of Pereira's career.
    Series XII, [Writings] (#311-427), includes annotated typescripts, manuscripts, and notes by Pereira. Many of the writings can be considered works in progress or journals developing Pereira's ideas.
    Series XIII, [Publications by Pereira] (#428-439), contains copies of all Pereira's major publications and some of her minor ones. For the most complete list available of her published and unpublished written works, see Herrick Jackson, "I. Rice Pereira" (ts.), vol. I, chapter 8, page 311/187 (the book has two numbering systems), available at the Schlesinger Library. See also series IX.
    Series XIV, [Publications sent to Pereira] (#440-451), includes publications inscribed and/or presented to Pereira. Some are about her; most reflect her interest in poetry and literature.
    Series XV, Photographs (#452-506), includes both photographs that have been microfilmed and some that have not. The photographs were microfilmed in roughly chronological order, and this order has been approximated in the folders of filmed photographs. Some of the negatives in the collection do not have corresponding prints in the collection. The categories used in microfilming--"Personal Photographs" and "Works of Art"--have been maintained. The personal photographs depict Pereira from her student days in New York to the last years of her life; they portray her at work in her studio, with friends or family, or on vacation. Photographs of her family and friends may have been taken by Pereira. Particularly noteworthy are the photographs of Pereira's trip to North Africa, which she felt was so important, visually and spiritually, to the development of her art. There are also numerous photographs of her art work. For a list of her work see #30 and 31, and Herrick Jackson, "I. Rice Pereira," volume II, Appendix II, pages 414-696, available at the Schlesinger Library. There are also photographs, mainly of her art work, throughout the collection; see the inventory for their locations.



    This index lists writers and recipients of letters. Information about individuals is not indexed; nor are subjects. The numbers refer to folders.
    * indicates recipient only
    ** indicates writer only

    Container List

    Additional Index Terms

    American literature--20th century
    Americans--Great Britain
    Art criticism
    Art galleries, Commercial
    Art, Modern--Philosophy
    Art, Modern--20th century--United States--Exhibitions
    Art museums--United States--Catalogs
    Artists--United States
    Mysticism and art
    Philosophers, Modern
    Barr, Alfred H., Jr., 1902-1981
    Baur, John I. H. (John Ireland Howe), 1909-1987
    Bear, Donald
    Beaton, Cecil, 1904-1980
    Brown, John L. (John Lackey), 1914-2002
    Campbell, Joseph, 1904-1987
    Canaday, John, 1907-1985
    Corcoran Gallery of Art
    Crosby, Caresse, 1892-1970
    Federal Art Project
    Force, Juliana, 1876-1948
    Gash, Emily Genauer
    Glueck, Grace
    Graves, Robert, 1895-1985
    Guggenheim, Peggy, 1898-1979
    Harithas, James
    Hirshhorn, Joseph H.
    Ives, Edward J.
    Jewel, Edward Allen
    Land, Edwin H., 1909-1991
    Mann, Robert W.
    Marcos, Ferdinand E. (Ferdinand Edralin), 1917-1989
    McCausland, Elizabeth, 1899-1966
    Miller, Dorothy Canning, 1904-2003
    Moholy-Nagy, László, 1895-1946
    Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972
    Murdoch, Iris
    Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)
    Nin, Anaïs, 1903-1977
    Olivieri, Livio
    Price, Vincent, 1911-1993
    Read, Herbert Edward, Sir, 1893-1968
    Schlesinger, Arthur M. (Arthur Meier), 1917-2007
    Toffler, Alvin
    Whitney Museum of Art
    Wilder, Thornton, 1897-1975