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Jan Gelb and Boris Margo Papers

An inventory of their papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Gelb, Jan, 1906-
Title: Jan Gelb and Boris Margo Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1915-1970
Quantity: 5.25 linear ft.
Abstract: Correspondence (1939-1970); exhibition catalogs (1933-1970); articles, clippings, and reviews; and photographs of Gelb’s work. Correspondents include Minna Citron, Mary Spencer Nay, and Lois Bartlett Tracy.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

American Jewish painters and printmakers. Gelb died in 1978. Boris Margo is the Russian-born husband of Jan Gelb.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

Spanning 1915 to 1970, the Jan Gelb and Boris Margo Papers comprises correspondence, biographical material, artwork, writings, and memorabilia of the American Jewish artists. The collection illuminates the personal lives and artistic careers of both Jan Gelb, a painter, printmaker, and educator (1906-1978), and her Russian born husband, Boris Margo, a painter, sculptor, inventor of the cellocut printmaking process, and educator (b. 1902).

Arranged alphabetically, the joint Correspondence subject files (Boxes 1-2) consists of incoming letters and outgoing carbons predominantly relating to Jan Gelb during the 1950s and 1960s, as well as other documents pertaining to artwork. Among the correspondents are fellow artists (James T. Anderson, Will Barnet, Claire Burch, Jeanne Chanel, Minna Citron, Priscilla J. Haley, Ethel Polacheck Margolies, Mary Spencer Nay, Henry N. Rasmusen, Sylvia Singer, Andre Smith, Lois Bartlett Tracy, John Von Wicht); authors (Robert Goldwater, Raymond Frank Piper, Vernon Young); museum curators (John I. H. Baur, Una E. Johnson); and patrons of Gelb (Charles D. Clark, Samuel B. Frank). Organizational correspondence of Gelb and Margo includes that of art associations (American Federation of Arts, Artists Equity Association, Associated American Artists, Audubon Artists, Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, Ford Foundation, International Graphic Arts Society, MacDowell Colony, National Academy of Design, Pen and Brush, Print Club, Provincetown Art Association, Society of American Graphic Artists); art galleries and museums (Abbot Academy, Alverthorpe Gallery, Art Institute of Chicago, Ball State Art Gallery, Brooklyn Museum, Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, Butler Institute of American Art, De Cordova Museum, Fairweather Hardin Gallery, Fine Arts Work Center, Forsythe Gallery, Galerie A. G., Joseph Grippi Gallery, I.F.A. Galleries, Kraushaar Galleries, Library of Congress, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Oakland Art Museum, Betty Parsons Gallery, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pratt Graphic Art Center, Esther Robles Gallery, Shore Studio Galleries, Silvermine Guild of Artists, Smithsonian Institution, Society of the Four Arts, Wellfleet Art Gallery, E. Weyhe, Ruth White Gallery, Whitney Museum of American Art); educational institutions (New York City Board of Education, New York University, State University College at Potsdam, New York, Syracuse University); and the United States Information Agency. The remainder of the material in the collection is divided between Jan Gelb (Boxes 2-5) and Boris Margo (Boxes 6-11).

Jan Gelb's Artwork (Box 2) encompasses photographs, which are arranged by titles provided by Gelb, and reproductions of her artwork, ranging from bookplates to pamphlet design and layout. Gelb's Writings (Box 3) includes a radio interview, notes for a lecture and panel discussion relating to art, poems, and statements on art. Her Memorabilia (Boxes 3-5) consists of a partial inventory of paintings, several photographs, and printed material. Printed material is comprised of articles and reviews (1940-1970), newspaper clippings (1925-1969), exhibition catalogs and invitations pertaining to Gelb (1933-1970), as well as those featuring both Gelb and Margo (1950-1970), and two exhibition posters.

Boris Margo's Artwork (Box 6) includes a cellocut greeting card, a drypoint on celluloid, a reproduction, and 5 pencil sketches. Lecture notes about the creative process from the artist's viewpoint constitute Margo's Writings (Box 6). His Memorabilia (Boxes 6-11) comprises several photographs, printed material, and typescript writings about Margo. Printed material consists of documents pertaining to art juries (1953-1970) , articles and reviews (1940-1966), newspaper clippings (1943-1968), exhibition catalogs and invitations (1933-1970), four exhibition posters, and material related to teaching (1946-1970).

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Citron, Minna, 1896-
Gelb, Jan, 1906-
Margo, Boris, 1902-
Nay, Mary Spencer, 1913-
Tracy, Lois Bartlett.


Art, American -- 20th century.
Artists, Jewish -- United States.
Jews, American.
Painters -- United States.
Painting, American -- 20th century.
Printmakers -- United States.
Russian Americans.
Women artists -- United States.
Women painters -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Exhibition catalogs.
Reviews (documents)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Jan Gelb and Boris Margo Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: ASE
Date: Nov 1993
Revision history: 31 Oct 2005 - EAD file created (MRR)

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Family Correspondence
Box 1 A-Z
Correspondence subject files
Box 1 Abbot Academy (Andover, Mass.) 1958
Box 1 Alverthorpe Gallery (Jenkintown, Pa.) 1964
Box 1 American Federation of Arts (New York, N.Y.) 1950-1964, undated (2 folders)
Box 1 Anderson, James T. 1965
Box 1 Art Institute of Chicago 1957, 1958
Box 1 Artists Equity Association (New York, N.Y.) 1953-1957
Box 1 Associated American Artists (New York, N.Y.) 1962-1967
Box 1 Audubon Artists, inc. (New York, N.Y.) 1967, 1968
Box 1 Ball State Art Gallery (Muncie, Ind.) undated
Box 1 Barnet, Will 1963 (outgoing)
Box 1 Baur, John I. H.
See Whitney Museum of American Art
Box 1 Bocour Artist Colors Incorporated (New York, N.Y.) 1957-1967
Box 1 Boston Art Festival 1953
Box 1 Brooklyn Museum 1947-1963, undated
Box 1 Brooks Memorial Art Gallery (Memphis, Tenn.) 1961, 1962
Box 1 Burch, Claire 1961
Box 1 Butler Institute of American Art (Youngstown, Ohio) 1958
Box 1 Chanel, Jeanne 1960-1966, undated
Box 1 Chicago Artists Exhibition 1958
Box 1 Citron, Minna 1958-1969, undated
Box 1 Clark, Charles D. 1967, 1968
Box 1 [De] Cordova Museum (Lincoln, Mass.) 1965
Box 1 Fairweather Hardin Gallery (Chicago, Ill.) 1958
Box 1 Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, Inc. (New York, N.Y.) 1955-1958, undated
Box 1 Fine Arts Work Center (Provincetown, Mass.) 1968
Box 1 Ford Foundation (New York, N.Y.) 1958, 1959
Box 1 Forsythe Gallery (Ann Arbor, Mich.) 1950-1958, undated
Box 1 Frank, Samuel B. 1969-1970
Box 1 Galerie A. G. (Paris, France) 1959-1960
Box 1 Gelb, Jan (to Boris Margo) 1955
Box 1 Goldwater, Robert 1948 (outgoing)
Box 1 Joseph Grippi Gallery (New York, N.Y.) 1963, 1964
Box 1 Haley, Priscilla J. 1959, undated
Box 1 I.F.A. Galleries, Inc. (Washington, D.C.) 1963-1964
Box 1 International Graphic Arts Society, Inc. (New York, N.Y.) 1953, 1957
Box 1 Johnson, Una E. undated
See also Brooklyn Museum
Box 1 [W. R.] Keating & Company (New York, N.Y.) 1959, 1961
Box 1 Kraska, George 1939
Box 1 Kraushaar Galleries (New York, N.Y.) 1959, 1961
Box 1 Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.) 1947-1970
Box 1 MacDowell Colony (Peterborough, N.H.) 1955-1959, 1969, undated
[Edward] MacDowell Association, Inc. (New York, N.Y.)
See MacDowell Colony
Box 1 McGraw Hill Book Company, Inc. (New York, N.Y.) 1959, 1967
Box 1 Margo, Boris (to Jan Gelb) 1951, 1956, undated
Box 1 Margolies, Ethel Polacheck 1964 (outgoing)
Box 1 Massachusetts General Hospital 1954, undated
Box 1 Mental Health Institute Inc. (New York, N.Y.) 1968
See also Jan Gelb: Artwork: Reproductions: Bookplates
Box 1 Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) 1956, 1958
Box 1 Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) 1958, 1960, undated
Box 1 National Academy of Design 1958
Box 1 Nay, Mary Spencer 1961, 1967
Box 1 New York City Board of Education 1959-1967, undated
See also Jan Gelb Artwork: Reproductions: Pamphlet design and layout
Box 1 New York University 1963
See also Jan Gelb: Writings: Lecture notes
Box 1 Nordoff, Paul undated
Box 1 Oakland Art Museum 1958, 1959
Box 1 [Betty] Parsons Gallery (New York, N.Y.) 1958
Box 1 Pen and Brush (New York, N.Y.) 1963
Box 1 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 1952-1965, undated
Box 1 Philadelphia Museum of Art 1964
Box 1 Piper, Raymond Frank 1953, 1961, undated
Box 2 Pratt Graphic Art Center (New York, N.Y.) 1961, 1962
Box 2 Print Club (Philadelphia, Pa.) 1948-1958
Box 2 Provincetown Art Association 1963, 1964
See also Jan Gelb: Writings: Notes for panel discussion
Box 2 Rasmusen, Henry N. 1959
Box 2 [Esther] Robles Gallery (Los Angeles, Calif.) 1958-1959
Box 2 Shore Studio Galleries (Provincetown, Mass.) 1953, 1961
Box 2 Silvermine Guild of Artists, Inc. (New Canaan, Conn.) 1964, undated
Box 2 Singer, Sylvia 1964, 1965
Box 2 Smith, Andre 1949
Box 2 Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.) 1963
Box 2 Society of American Graphic Artists, Inc. (New York, N.Y.) 1955-1969, undated
Box 2 Society of the Four Arts (Palm Beach, Fla.) 1962
Box 2 State University College at Potsdam, New York 1966
Box 2 Syracuse University 1966-1969
Box 2 Tracy, Lois Bartlett 1966, 1967, undated
Box 2 Traveling Art Guild (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 1963-1965
Box 2 United States Information Agency 1959, 1963, undated
Box 2 Von Wicht, John 1957
Box 2 Wellfleet Art Gallery (Wellfleet, Mass.) 1966, undated
Box 2 [E.] Weyhe 1948
Box 2 [Ruth] White Gallery (New York, N.Y.) 1956-1969, undated
Box 2 Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, N.Y.) 1951-1963
Box 2 Young, Vernon undated
Box 2 A-Z (2 folders)
Box 2 Unidentified
Jan Gelb
Box 2 Biographical material
Box 2 By title A-Z
Box 2 Untitled mural panel
Box 2 Bookplates - Mental Health Institute - Dr. Albert Greenwald Memorial
See also Mental Health Institute Inc.
Box 2 Pamphlet design and layout - New York City Board of Education
See also New York City Board of Education
Box 2 Miscellaneous images
Box 3 Interview (radio) - WHOO Orlando, Fla. 1948
Box 3 Lecture notes - New York University 1963
Box 3 Notes for panel discussion - Provincetown Art Association Art Forum 1950
See also Provincetown Art Association
Box 3 Poems - holograph, typescript, printed 1940-1953
Statements on art
Box 3 Boris Margo project
Box 3 General
Box 3 Miscellaneous
Box 3 Partial inventory of paintings (with prices)
Box 3 Photographs 1930-1961
Printed material
Box 3 Articles, reviews 1940-1970, undated
Box 3 Clippings 1925-1969, undated
Box 3 Exhibition catalogs, invitations (Gelb) 1933-1957 (4 folders)
Box 4 Exhibition catalogs, invitations (Gelb) 1958-1970, undated (8 folders)
Box 5 Exhibition catalogs, invitations (Joint) 1950-1970, undated (7 folders)
Box 5 Exhibition posters 1959, 1963
Boris Margo
Box 6 Biographical material
Box 6 Cellocut greeting card 1966
Box 6 Drypoint on celluloid ca. 1932
Box 6 Reproductions - "Luminous" 1942
See also Boris Margo: Memorabilia: Writings about Margo / Frances Kemper
Box 6 Sketches (pencil) ca. 1915-1935
Box 6 Lecture notes re: "creative process from artist's viewpoint" undated
Box 6 Photographs undated
See also Jan Gelb: Memorabilia: Photographs
Printed material
Box 6 Art juries 1953-1970
Box 6 Articles, reviews 1940-1966
Box 6 Clippings 1943-1968, undated
Box 6 Exhibition catalogs, invitations (Margo) 1933-1948 (4 folders of 34)
Box 7 Exhibition catalogs, invitations (Margo) 1948-1952 (8 folders of 34)
Box 8 Exhibition catalogs, invitations (Margo) 1952-1956 (7 folders of 34)
Box 9 Exhibition catalogs, invitations (Margo) 1956-1961 (7 folders of 34)
Box 10 Exhibition catalogs, invitations (Margo) 1961-1970 (7 folders of 34)
Box 11 Exhibition catalogs, invitations (Margo) undated (1 folder of 34)
See also Jan Gelb: Memorabilia: Printed material: Exhibition catalogs, invitations (Joint)
Box 11 Exhibition posters 1947, 1954, 1955, 1956
Box 11 Teaching-related 1946-1970, undated (2 folders)
Box 11 Writings about Margo (typescript) / Frances Kemper
See also Jan Gelb: Writings: Statements on art: Boris Margo project
Box 11 Miscellany

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