Guide to the Agnes Rindge Claflin Papers, 1910-1963, bulk 1927-1934

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Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Claflin, Agnes Rindge, 1900-1977
Title: Agnes Rindge Claflin Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1910-1963
Bulk Dates: 1927-1934
Quantity: 2.5 cubic ft (12 boxes, containing approximately 2,000 items.)
Abstract: The bulk of the Claflin collection is from the years 1927-1934, the period in which she received her graduate degrees and began to teach at Vassar College as an associate professor and later as a full professor. While the collection itself is mainly made up of correspondence, it also contains an eclectic selection of material, including: various drafts of her doctoral thesis, newspaper clippings concerning her career, programs of exhibits, class notes and assorted miscellanea.
Forms of Materials: Correspondence, manuscripts

Biographical Note

Agnes Millicent Rindge was born on May 19, 1900 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Upon graduating the Madeira School in 1917, she attended Mount Holyoke College for two years, and in 1921, having being elected to Phi Beta Kappa, received her B.A. magna cum laude from Radcliffe College. In 1923, Rindge joined the faculty of the Vassar Art Department as an instructor. She returned to Radcliffe to do graduate work, receiving her M.A. in 1927 and her Ph.D. in 1928. In the fall of that year, Rindge rejoined the Vassar Art Department as an associate professor. After three years, she was promoted to the rank of full professor. Rindge was director of the Vassar Art Gallery (1943-1962), Chairperson of the Art Department (1943-1965), and Mary Conover Mellon Professor of Art (1961-1965).

Her most extensive written work is SCULPTURE, which was published in 1929. Subsequently, she wrote THE ELDER PIETER BRUEGEL: A SHORT ESSAY (1936), as well as numerous articles for publications such as INTERNATIONAL STUDIO, PARNASSUS, and FORMES.

Over the course of several decades, Rindge lectured at many of this country's foremost institutions of higher learning, including: New York University Institute of Fine Arts, Chicago Art Institute, Wadsworth Athenaeum, Columbia University, Yale School of Fine Art, and at other universities too many to enumerate.

During World War II, Rindge served as Executive Secretary and Consultant in the Art Division of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (1941-1942), and continued as Consultant in the Program of Cultural Relations with Latin America, where she was concerned with the circulation and exposure of Latin American Art within the United States.

At approximately the same time, she became a member of the Advisory Committee of the Museum of Modern Art (1944), and served as Assistant Executive Vice President of the Museum (1943-44). In connection with a Calder sculpture exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art, she wrote and narrated a film entitled ALEXANDER CALDER: SCULPTURE AND CONSTRUCTIONS.

Rindge was active in many art organizations, including membership in the Commission on Arts of the American Association of Colleges (1939), Chairperson of the Committee on Fellowships of the College Art Association (1945-1948), member of the Editorial Board of Art in America (1940-1943), as well as President of the American Federation of Arts (1944-1945).

Her associates included Alfred Barr, founder of the Museum of Modern Art, A. Everett Austin, head of the Wadsworth Athenaeum, as well as artists such as Alexander Calder, Eugene Berman and Pavel Tchelitchew.

Rindge was noted for her colorful manner of dress and for having, as one former student and later colleague put it, a "verbal wit and playfulness that so often outran pedestrian minds." Yet Rindge was also known not to accept less than what she felt a person capable of -- "She had expectations, and when they were fulfilled she was encouraging; when they were not, one felt one had placed more than oneself in jeopardy."*

In 1945, Miss Rindge married Philip W. Claflin, a captain in the U.S. Army. Mrs. Claflin was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from Wheaton College in 1962, and a year later received the Graduate Society Medal from Radcliffe College. She died on June 12, 1977, at the age of seventy-seven.

*Quotations from Pamela Askew, Bulletin of the Vassar Art Gallery, Claflin collection, Box 6, Folder 93.

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Scope and Content Note

The bulk of the Claflin collection is from the years 1927-1934, the period in which she received her graduate degrees and began to teach at Vassar College as an associate professor and later as a full professor. While the collection itself is mainly made up of correspondence, it also contains an eclectic selection of material, including: various drafts of her doctoral thesis, newspaper clippings concerning her career, programs of exhibits, class notes and assorted miscellanea.

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Access and Use


This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library without any additional restrictions.

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Subject Headings


  • Vassar College--Faculty.


  • Art -- Study and teaching.
  • Women college teachers.

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Encoding Information

Encoded by Laura Finkel, January 2009.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Agnes Claflin Rindge Papers, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.

Processing Information

Processed by Jonathan S. Lubliner, 1983.

Acquisition Information

Some materials were transfered from the Vassar College Art Department at an unknown date.

Correspondence between A. Everett Austin, Jr., et al. and Claflin, gift of the Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, CT, 1991.

The source of the rest of the collection is unknown.

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Series List

Series I. Personal material

This series includes correspondence with parents, letters to relatives and childhood friends, as well as information on her wedding and the death of her mother, Miriam Rindge.

Series II. Professional material

This category relates to all of Claflin's professional activities outside the scope of Vassar College. These were considerable; hence, they have received their own grouping.

Series III. Harvard University

This series includes Claflin's correspondence with Harvard professors and personnel as well as class notes and several versions of her published doctoral thesis, Sculpture.

Series IV. Vassar College

This series contains correspondence with faculty, alumnae and students and official faculty memorandums among other things.

Series V. Financial papers

The three boxes of this series contain personal bills, letters concerning salary, canceled checks and bank statements.

Series VI. General material

This series is, for the most part, a "catch all" category; many of Claflin's friends were also her colleagues and vice versa -- many items which could not realistically fit into the aforementioned groups were placed here. Much in the way of personal and professional correspondence that did not meet the guidelines of the overall scheme have been arranged alphabetically in the General Material series.

Container List


Folder 1.1 Greeting cards, invitations, Christmas cards (24 items)
Folder 1.2 Letters from childhood friends, 1910-1912 (27 items)
Folder 1.3 Letters from childhood friends, 1925-1935 (12 items)
Folder 1.4 Letters from Sally H. Dunn, childhood friend (4 items)
Folder 1.5 Death of Miriam Rindge, mother (4 letters, 1 newspaper clipping)
Folder 1.6 Wedding of Agnes and Philip Claflin (1 invitation, 4 newspaper clippings)
Correspondence with relatives
Folder 1.7 Correspondence with relatives (14 items)
Folder 1.8 Correspondence with Ruth Harter, aunt (8 letters, 4 poems)
Folder 1.9 Letters from Miriam Rindge to Ruth Harter (3 letters)
Folder 1.10 European travel arrangements, 1932 (4 items)
Folder 1.11 Maps, schedules, ship information (3 maps, 1 log abstract, 1 train schedule)
Personal Miscellanea
Folder 1.12 Miscellaneous items (30 items including poems, limericks, and newspaper clippings)
Letters from parents
Folder 2.13 Harry Rindge, 1911, 1928-1929 (14 letters)
Folder 2.14 Harry Rindge, 1930-1932 (25 letters)
Folder 2.15 Miriam Rindge, 1928 (13 letters)
Folder 2.16 Miriam Rindge, 1929-1932 (6 letters)
Folder 2.17 Miriam Rindge, n.d. (16 letters)
Folder 2.18 Miriam Rindge, n.d. (10 letters)
Folder 2.19 Miriam Rindge, n.d. (15 letters)
Folder 2.20 Miriam Rindge, n.d. (9 letters)
Folder 2.21 Miriam Rindge, n.d. (10 letters)
Folder 2.22 Miriam Rindge, n.d. (9 letters)
Folder 2.23 Miriam Rindge, n.d. (4 letters)
Folder 2.24 Miriam Rindge, n.d. (9 letters)
Folder 2.25 Miriam Rindge, n.d. (10 letters)
Folder 2.26 Miriam Rindge, n.d. (7 letters)


Folder 3.27 College Art Association American Institute for Persian Art and Archaeology (15 items)
Folder 3.28 Committee on Medieval and Renaissance Studies of the Archaeological Institute of America (12 items)
Folder 3.29 Advisory Committee for Scholarship Grants in the Fine Arts of the Carnegie Corporation (12 items)
Folder 3.30 National Soap Sculpture Committee (13 items)
Folder 3.31 Lectures given (7 items)
Folder 3.32 Announcements, gallery and exhibit openings (14 items)
Folder 3.33 Miscellaneous professional correspondence: Abbot - McMahon (37 items)
Folder 3.34 Miscellaneous professional correspondence: Pope - Richard (12 items)
Folder 3.35 Newspaper clippings on Claflin's career, 1929-1963 (20 clippings)
Folder 3.36 Miscellaneous professional material(includes guide to Warburg Institute of London, listing Guggenheim Fellowships for 1933, copy of Art in America (10 items)


Ph.D. Thesis
Folder 4.37 Outlines of work (4 items)
Folder 4.38 Preface, Bibliography, Summary (2 items)
Folder 4.39 Introduction, "The Nature and Function of Sculpture" pp. xv - 12, Sculpture
Folder 4.40 "Requirements of Sculpture as an Art Form" pp.15 - 32 , Sculpture
Folder 4.41 "The Origin and Purpose of Sculpture" pp. 33 - 50, Sculpture
Folder 4.42 "Analysis of Grand Periods of Sculpture"(Romanesque) pp. 53 - 82, Sculpture
Folder 4.43 "Analysis . . ." (incomplete 2nd version) pp. 56 - 82, Sculpture
Folder 4.44 "Further Analysis of Grand Periods of Sculpture"(incomplete) pp. 83 - 96, Sculpture
Folder 4.45 "Realism" pp. 99 - 139, Sculpture
Folder 4.46 "Realism" (incomplete 2nd version) pp. 99 - 117, Sculpture
Folder 4.47 "The Contemporary Creed" pp. 143 - 184, Sculpture
Folder 4.48 "The Contemporary Creed" (incomplete 2nd version) pp. 155 - 184, Sculpture
Folder 4.49 Sculpture, Various loose pages
Folder 4.50 Footnotes, edited material
Folder 4.51 Rough notes
Letters of Reference
Folder 4.52 Letters of introduction from Dr. Paul Sachs, B - K (9 letters)
Folder 4.53 Letters of introduction from Dr. Paul Sachs, L - W (8 letters)
Folder 4.54 Professional cards of introduction from Dr. Paul Sachs (41 cards)
Harvard Correspondence
Folder 4.55 C-M (19 items)
Folder 4.56 P-S (24 items)
Folder 4.57 Harvard Co-op date book, 1927
Folder 4.57 Report Card, 1926-1927
Folder 4.57 Application for Radcliffe commencement, 1932
Folder 4.57 Ballot for Radcliffe alumnae election
Folder 4.57 Program of Radcliffe graduation
Class Notes
Folder 5A.58 Ancient Art
Folder 5A.59 Ancient Painting
Folder 5A.60 Dutch Painting in the 17th Century
Folder 5A.61 Economic Theory
Folder 5A.62 Fine Arts 9a, vol. I
Folder 5A.63 Fine Arts 9a, vol. II
Folder 5A.64 Fine Arts 9a, vol. III
Folder 5A.65 French notes on Medieval Art
Folder 5A.66 French Painting
Folder 5A.67 [Greco-Roman Art I]
Folder 5A.68 [Greco-roman Art II]
Folder 5A.69 Hellenistic and Greco-Roman Sculpture
Folder 5A.70 Intellectual History of Medieval Europe
Folder 5A.71 Medieval Manuscripts
Folder 5A.72 Medieval Sculpture
Folder 5A.73 Modes of Painting Oriental Art Miscellanea
Folder 5A.74 Monastic Art I
Folder 5A.74a Monastic Art II
Folder 5B.74b Renaissance History I
Folder 5B.74c Renaissance History II
Folder 5B.74d Roman Painting
Folder 5B.74e Romanesque Architecture
Folder 5B.74f Romanesque Historical Survey
Folder 5B.74g Romanesque Sculpture I
Folder 5B.74h Romanesque Sculpture II
Folder 5B.74i Spanish Painting
Folder 5B.74j Technical Aspects of Art
Folder 5B.74k [Unidentified, written in French]
Folder 5B.74l Miscellaneous
Folder 5B.74m Syllabus for Art Outline B
Folder 5B.74n Syllabus for Fine Arts Ic
Folder 5B.74o [Reproduction of Art Slides I]
Folder 5B.74p [Reproduction of Art Slides II]


Correspondence with Alumnae
Folder 6.74 Adelaide (last name unknown) (7 letters, 5 photographs)
Folder 6.75 Alter (18 items, including 5 newspaper clippings)
Folder 6.76 Berstein - Kelly (18 letters)
Folder 6.77 Kohn (17 letters)
Folder 6.78 Louchheim - Miller (12 letters)
Folder 6.79 Rombauer - Wilson (33 letters (1 unidentified))
Faculty Correspondence
Folder 6.80 Leila Barber (16 items)
Folder 6.81 Borden - Gould (13 items)
Folder 6.82 MacCracken, President Henry Noble (13 items)
Folder 6.83 Lamson - Tonks (14 items)
Student Correspondence
Folder 6.84 Correspondence with VC students (13 letters)
Folder 6.85 Letters of Recommendation for VC students - general (16 letters)
Folder 6.86 Letters of Recommendation for VC students - to Vassar Committee on Fellowships (7 letters)
Newspaper Clippings
Folder 6.87 Art department and Claflin (5 clippings)
Folder 6.88 Speakers at Vassar (13 items)
Folder 6.89 Lectures given at Vassar Clubs (8 items)
Folder 6.90 Faculty memorandums (12 memorandums)
Folder 6.91 Publicity plans of Vassar News Office (12 items)
Folder 6.92 Claflin exhibition (9 clippings & programs)
Folder 6.93 Vassar press release, Bulletin of Art Gallery in memory of Claflin (4 items, 2 obituaries)
Folder 6.94 Program of exhibition in Claflin's memory (2 items)
Folder 6.95 Miscellaneous items (20 items, letters, poems and slide info.)


Grand Rapids Trust Company
Folder 7.96 Bank Statements and Correspondence, 1 Jan 1928 - 1 July 1928 (4 items)
Folder 7.97 Bank Statements and Correspondence, 6 June 1928 - 1 Jan 1929 (2 items)
Folder 7.98 Bank Statements and Correspondence, 6 Dec 1928 - 1 July 1929 (2 items)
Folder 7.99 Bank Statements and Correspondence, 6 June 1929 - 1 Jan 1929 (3 items)
Folder 7.100 Bank Statements and Correspondence, 6 Dec 1929 - 28 July 1930 (4 items)
Folder 7.101 Bank Statements and Correspondence, 7 June 1930 - 4 June 1931, n.d. (8 items)
Personal Bills
Folder 7.102 Abercrombie & Fitch-Best Co., 1929-1931 (33 items)
Folder 7.103 Blue Ribbon Dyeing and Cleaning Co. - Franklin & Simon Co., 1928-1931 (42 items)
Folder 7.104 Hawes Inc. - Luckey, Platt & Co., 1929-1931 (48 items)
Folder 7.105 Mack and Frey - Radcliffe Alumnae Fund, 1929-1931 (35 items)
Folder 7.106 Robert Hamilton - Zimmer Brothers, foreign and unidentified bills, (39 items)
Western Reserve University
Folder 7.107 Job Offer (20 items)
Vassar College
Folder 7.108 Appointment and Letters Concerning Salary (13 items)
Folder 7.109 Personal Bills (67 items)
Vassar Bank
Folder 8.110 Checking statements, canceled checks, Nov-Dec 1928
Folder 8.111 Checking statements, canceled checks, Jan-Apr 1929
Folder 8.112 Bankbook, Sept. 1928-June 1929
Folder 8.113 Bankbook, Oct. 1929-May 1930
Folder 8.114 Bankbook, May-Dec 1930
Folder 8.115 Checking statements, canceled checks, Dec. 1930-Mar. 1931
Folder 8.116 Checking statements, canceled checks, Apr-May1931
Folder 8.117 Bankbook, Dec. 1930-Oct. 1931
Folder 8.118 Bankbook, Oct. 1931-Nov. 1932
Folder 9.119 Bankbook, Nov-Dec 1932
Folder 9.120 Bankbook, Jan-Dec 1933
Folder 9.121 Bankbook, Jan-Oct 1934
Folder 9.122 Checking statements, canceled checks, Aug-Sept 1935
Folder 9.123 Bankbook, Oct. 1934-May 1936
Folder 9.124 Bankbook, Oct. 1935-May 1936
Folder 9.125 Receipts, various bank material
Folder 9.126 Miscellaneous materials, including checkbooks, taxation letter, (14 items)


Folder 10.127 Constance Askew, n.d. (2 letters)
Folder 10.127a Kirk [Askew], (11 letters)
Folder 10.128 A - B, (34 letters)
Folder 10.129 Joseph Brewer, 1926-1932 (15 letters)
Folder 10.130 Joseph Brewer, 1933-1934, n.d. (13 letters)
Folder 10.131 Francis Burrage, 1927-1931 (19 letters)
Folder 10.132 Francis Burrage, n.d. (21 letters)
Folder 10.133 Nat Choate, 1927-1931 (20 letters)
Folder 10.134 C - E, (22 letters)
Folder 10.135 F, (29 letters)
Folder 10.136 Douglas Gordon, 1928-1930 (19 letters)
Folder 10.137 Douglas Gordon, 1931-1934 (20 letters)
Folder 10.138 G - I, (20 letters)
Folder 10.139 J, (16 letters)
Folder 11.141 K - M, (43 letters)
Folder 11.142 W.W. Norton, (11 letters)
Folder 11.143 Alan Porter, 1933-1934 (5 letters)
Folder 11.144 Alan Porter, n.d. (6 letters)
Folder 11.145 Ben Rowland, (12 letters)
Folder 11.146 O - Sa, (29 letters)
Folder 11.147 So - T, (24 letters)
Folder 11.148 Dinsmore Wheeler, 1928-1930 (7 letters)
Folder 11.149 Dinsmore Wheeler, 1930-1933 (4 letters)
Folder 11.150 Dinsmore Wheeler, n.d. (10 letters)
Folder 11.151 W, (17 letters)
Folder 11.152 Unidentified, (25 items)
Olivet College
Folder 11.153 Joseph Brewer Address (1 item)
Folder 11.154 Photographs of Claflin (2 photographs)
Wadsworth Atheneum
Folder 11.155 Photocopies of correspondence from A. Everett Austin, Jr., et al. and Claflin [may not be photocopied or quoted without permission from Wadsworth Atheneum]
Rouault Poster
Mapcase Poster of a Georges Rouault painting given to a friend

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