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Ben Johnson Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Johnson, Ben, 1902-1967
Title: Ben Johnson Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1951-1968
Quantity: 4.0 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the American painter. Spanning 1951 to 1968, the Ben Johnson Papers comprises correspondence, artwork, writings, and memorabilia of the Brooklyn-born painter (1902-1967) who specialized in female nude figures. Illuminating Johnson's personal and professional life, the collection also provides insight into the career of his wife, artist Alice Terry (b. 1925). Includes correspondence, personal and business, including family letters (1951-1968); photographs of Johnson's paintings; interviews, statements on art; lists of paintings, partially annotated with prices; and printed material, including articles and reviews (1963-1967), newspaper clippings (1954-1967), and exhibition catalogs and invitations (1962-1966).
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Ben Johnson (1902-1967) was a Brooklyn-born painter who specialized in female nude figures.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

Spanning 1951 to 1968, the Ben Johnson Papers comprises correspondence, artwork, writings, and memorabilia of the Brooklyn-born painter (1902-1967) who specialized in female nude figures. Illuminating Johnson's personal and professional life, the collection also provides insight into the career of his wife, artist Alice Terry (b. 1925). Includes correspondence, personal and business, including family letters (1951-1968); photographs of Johnson's paintings; interviews, statements on art; lists of paintings, partially annotated with prices; and printed material, including articles and reviews (1963-1967), newspaper clippings (1954-1967), and exhibition catalogs and invitations (1962-1966).

Family correspondence (Box 1) from Alice Terry's relatives predominates, however there are also a significant number of letters between Ben Johnson and his wife, as well as some from their children. Additional family material other than correspondence may be found in Memorabilia.

Correspondence-subject files (Boxes 2-7), primarily from the 1960s, consists of incoming and outgoing letters and carbons, as well as other documents relating to the artwork of both Johnson and Terry. Unless otherwise noted, the remainder of the collection pertains to Johnson only. Fellow artists are among the correspondents listed (Helen Avlon-Daphnis, Will Barnet, Robert Bero, Henry Billings, Frank Colson, John W, Dixon, Guy Owen Dolen, Bruce Dorfman, Jim Eakle, Emmet Edwards,Nancy Ellison, Dan Fruits, Sandy Goodman, Bruce Gregory, Philip Held, Klindt Houlberg, Bob Jacobson, Tom Keating, Gabriel Kohn, Joseph Konzal, Ethel Kott, Eleanore Lockspeiser, Jack Lubin, Robert R. Malone, Hugh Mesibov, Morris C. Mitchell, Lyn Ott, Fairfield Porter, Craig Rubadoux, Dolores Ryan, Edward G. Samuels, Walter Schramm, Richard Segalman, Stuart Van Orden, Richard Wagner, William Walmsley, George M. Wardlaw, William Weiner, George Wexler, Julia Papiroff Zagar). Other correspondents include authors and critics (Jacqueline Barnitz, Rosalind Browne, Lawrence Campbell, John Canaday, John Ciardi, Gerald H. Dorset, John Gruen, Ben M. Hall, Beth Hannah, Nina Kaiden, Anthony Kerrigan, Hilton Kramer, Margaret Rigg, Sheldon Williams, Miriam Young); patrons and notable admirers (Joseph James Akston, William Benton, Tony Curtis, Frederick C. Gans, Arthur and Carol Goldberg, James E. Hanson, Arthur L. Harris, Carl Hertzberg, Louis and Margaret Kannenstine, Miriam Kazon, Richard and Gloria Kins, Monique Knowlton, George Frederick Morgan, Paul Jacques Schupf, Martin T. Sosnoff, John C. Stetson, Billy Wilder); photographers (Robin Johnstone, Herb Snitzer); and poets (John Lucas, Selden Rodman). The couple's involvement with Christian Science is documented in their correspondence with Harold and Virginia Marietta.

Organizational correspondence includes that with art associations (American Federation of Arts, Associated American Artists, Christian Art Associates, Woodstock Artists Association); art galleries and museums (Baltimore Museum of Art, Banfer Gallery, Byron Gallery, Collectors Gallery, Findlay Galleries, Flair Gallery, Rose Fried Gallery, Gallery Dache, Gallery 63, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, I Gallery, Kornblee Gallery, Joe and Emily Lowe Art Gallery, Museum of Modern Art, Pace Gallery, Lillian Phipps Gallery, Rosequist Galleries, Selected Artists Galleries, David Stuart Galleries, Vancouver Art Gallery, Visual Artists Gallery, Whitney Museum of American Art, Howard Wise Gallery); educational institutions (Florida State University, Purdue University, Syracuse University); and periodicals and publishers (Allied Publications, Art Voices, Arts Magazine, Playboy, Wittenborn and Company).

Photographs of Johnson's paintings, alphabetized by title when provided, constitute Artwork (Box 8). Writings (Box 8) consists of interviews via mail and radio, statements on art, and miscellaneous notes.

Memorabilia (Boxes 8 and 9) encompasses addresses, an exhibition quest register, lists of paintings partially annotated with prices, a paintbrush and mixing dish, photographs of Johnson and family, political and religious material, press releases of exhibitions, artwork and memorabilia of Alice Terry, travel an tourism information, and printed material. Printed material includes articles and reviews abot Johnson (1963-1967), newspaper clippings (1954-1967), exhibition catalogs and invitations including Johnson's work (1962-1966), as well as posters for two exhibitions.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by sender. Material within the other series is arranged alphabetically by title or topic.

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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


Barnet, Will, 1911-2012.
Billings, Henry, 1901-
Campbell, Lawrence, 1914-1998.
Canaday, John, 1907-1985.
Ciardi, John, 1916-1986.
Curtis, Tony, 1925-2010.
Dixon, John W., Jr., 1919-2004.
Dorfman, Bruce, 1936-
Ellison, Nancy.
Fruits, Dan.
Gruen, John.
Hall, Ben M.
Hannah, Beth H.
Johnson, Ben, 1902-1967.
Kaiden, Nina N.
Kannenstine, Louis F., 1938-
Keating, Tom, 1917-
Kerrigan, Anthony.
Kohn, Gabriel, 1910-1975.
Konzal, Joseph.
Kramer, Hilton.
Ott, Lyn.
Porter, Fairfield.
Rigg, Margaret.
Rodman, Selden, 1909-2002.
Schupf, Paul Jacques.
Segalman, Richard.
Snitzer, Herb.
Sosnoff, Martin T.
Sturgeon, Theodore.
Terry, Alice.
Wardlaw, George M., 1927-
Wilder, Billy, 1906-2002.
Young, Miriam, 1913-


Art, American -- 20th century.
Art, American.
Figure painting.
Human figure in art.
Nude in art.
Painters -- United States.
Painting, American -- 20th century.
Painting, American.
Women in art.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Exhibition catalogs.



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Ben Johnson Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: ASE
Date: Feb 1994
Revision history: 9 Mar 2007 - Converted to EAD (MRC)

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Biographical material
Box 1 Miscellaneous
Family Correspondence
Box 1 Axel, Leon (Alice Terry's son) 1964-1968
Box 1 Hertz Family (Alice Terry's sister's family) 1966-1967, undated
Johnson, Ben and Susan (Alice Terry and Ben Johnson's children) undated
See also Memorabilia: Family.
Box 1 Johnston, B. F. (Mr. & Mrs. - Ben Johnson's parents) 1952-1954, undated
Box 1 Terry, Alice (wife of Ben Johnson; to and from Ben Johnson) 1951-1966, undated
Box 1 Terry, Leon and Rose (Alice Terry's parents) 1955, 1963-1967, undated
Box 1 Miscellaneous
Correspondence-Subject Files
Box 2 Abrams, Harry N. 1965
Adams Purchasing Company (New York, N.Y.)
See Kins, Richard and Gloria.
Box 2 Akston, Joseph James 1964-1967
Box 2 Allied Publications, Inc. (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 1965
Box 2 American Federation of Arts 1963-1968, undated
Box 2 Angeloch, Nancy 1967
Box 2 Armstrong, Roseann 1964-1967, undated
Box 2 Art Voices 1964-1965
See also Akston, Joseph James; Barnitz, Jacqueline.
Box 2 Arts Magazine 1963-1967
Box 2 Associated American Artists (New York, N.Y.) 1965-1966
Box 2 Avlon-Daphnis, Helen 1963-1966, undated
Box 2 [N. W.] Ayer & Son (Philadelphia, Pa.) 1964-1965
Box 2 Baltimore Museum of Art undated
Box 2 Banfer Gallery (New York, N.Y.) 1963-1964
Box 2 Barnet, Will 1965-1967
Box 2 Barnitz, Jacqueline 1965, 1967
Box 2 Benton, William 1964-1965
Box 2 Bero, Robert 1963-1965
Box 2 Billings, Henry 1964
Box 2 Bocour Artist Colors Incorporated (New York, N.Y.) 1963
Bosch, Gulnar K.
See Florida State University.
Box 2 Browne, Rosalind 1965
Bush, Martin H.
See Syracuse University.
Box 2 Byron Gallery, Inc. (New York, N.Y.) 1964-1965
Box 2 Campbell, Lawrence 1965-1966
Box 2 Canaday, John 1963
Box 2 Carroll, Vega, Brown and Nichols (Naples, Fla.) 1968
Box 2 Christian Art Associates (Chicago, Ill.) 1967-1968
Box 2 Ciardi, John 1963
Box 2 Collectors Gallery, Inc. (Miami, Fla.) 1965
Box 2 Colson, Frank 1967
Box 2 Craft, John Richard 1965
Box 2 Curtis, Tony 1964
Dache, Lily
See Gallery Dache.
Box 2 Dain-Schiff Picture Framers Inc. (New York, N.Y.) 1964-1966
Daphnis, Helen
See Avlon-Daphnis, Helen.
Box 2 Dixon, John W. 1963-1967, undated
Box 2 Dolen, Guy Owen 1966-1968, undated
Box 2 Dorfman, Bruce and Jeanne 1965-1967
Box 2 Dorset, Gerald H. 1964
See also Gallery 63.
Box 2 Doyle, Richard P. 1963-1965
Box 3 Eakle, Jim 1963-1967, undated
Box 3 Edwards, Emmet 1954, 1964
Box 3 Ellison, Nancy undated
Box 3 Englewood Armory Art Show 1964-1965
Box 3 Ernst, Pearl Bond 1964
Box 3 Findlay Galleries Inc. (Palm Beach, Fla.) 1965
Box 3 Flair Gallery (Cincinnati, Ohio) 1968
Box 3 Florida State University 1965-1967
Box 3 [Rose] Fried Gallery (New York, N.Y.) 1963-1964
Box 3 Fruits, Dan 1964-1967
Box 3 Gallery Dache (New York, N.Y.) 1964-1968, undated
Box 3 Gallery 63 (New York, N.Y.) 1964-1965, undated
Box 3 Gans, Frederick C. 1965, 1966
Box 3 Goldberg, Arthur and Carol 1966
Box 3 Goodman, Sandy 1963
Box 3 [Max] Granick, Frames 1963-1964
Box 3 Gregory, Bruce and Millie 1963-1967
Box 3 Gruen, John 1966-1967
Box 3 [Solomon R.] Guggenheim Museum 1963
Box 3 Hall, Ben M. 1963, 1964
Box 3 Hamilton, Frank 1964, 1967
Box 3 Hannah, Beth 1967-1968
Box 3 Hanson, James E. 1965-1966
Box 4 Harris, Arthur L. and Liliane 1964-1967
Box 4 Hartman, Ferris and Iris 1955, 1964, 1967
Box 4 Held, Philip and Ann 1963-1968, undated
Box 4 Hertzberg, Carl 1966
Box 4 Hessler, Janie 1965, undated
Box 4 Higgins, Gretchen 1963, 1964, undated
Houlberg, Klindt 1965-1966
See also Purdue University.
Box 4 I Gallery (La Jolla, Calif.) 1963
Box 4 Jacobson, Bob 1962-1963, undated
Box 4 Johnstone, Robin 1968
Box 4 Junior Council of the Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)
See Museum of Modern Art.
Box 4 Kaiden, Nina 1965-1967
Box 4 Kannenstine, Louis F. and Margaret L. 1965-1967, undated
Box 4 Kazon, Miriam 1964-1967
Box 4 Kazon, Philip 1965
Box 4 Keating, Tom 1963-1968, undated
Box 4 Kerrigan, Anthony 1963
Box 4 Kins, Richard and Gloria 1964-1966, undated
Box 4 Knowlton, Monique 1965-1967, undated
Box 4 Kohn, Gabriel 1963, 1967
Box 4 Konzal, Joseph 1962-1963
Box 4 Kornblee Gallery (New York, N.Y.) 1962, 1963, undated
Box 4 Kott, Ethel and Seymour 1964-1968
Box 4 Kramer, Hilton 1962-1967
Box 4 Lockspeiser, Eleanore 1963
Box 4 [Joe and Emily] Lowe Art Gallery (Coral Gables, Fla.) 1965-1968
Box 4 Lubin, Jack 1962-1968, undated
Box 4 Lucas, John 1966
Box 5 Malone, Robert R. 1965-1967, undated
Box 5 Mann, Charles Z. 1963
Box 5 Marietta, Harold E. and Virginia 1962-1968, undated (2 folders)
Box 5 Mesibov, Hugh 1964
Box 5 Mitchell, Morris C. 1963-1967
Box 5 Morgan, George Frederick 1965-1966
Box 5 Moscowitz, Alvin E. 1963-1966, undated
Box 5 Multiples, Inc. (New York, N.Y.) 1965-1966
Box 5 Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) 1955, 1963
National Council of Jewish Women
See Englewood Armory Art Show.
Box 5 Orr, David 1962-1963
Box 5 Ott, Lyn 1955, 1965
Box 5 Pace Gallery (New York, N.Y.) 1964
Box 5 [Lillian] Phipps Gallery, Inc. (Palm Beach, Fla.) 1966
Box 5 Playboy 1966-1967
Box 5 Porter, Fairfield 1956
Box 5 Primoff, Morris W. 1965-1967, undated (2 folders)
Box 5 Purdue University (Lafayette, Ind.) 1965-1966
Box 6 Rigg, Margaret 1963, 1964, 1968, undated
Box 6 Rodman, Selden 1960-1963, undated
Box 6 Rosequist Galleries (Tucson, Ariz.) 1965-1966
Box 6 Rubadoux, Craig 1961, 1965-1968, undated
Box 6 Ruder & Finn Incorporated (New York, N.Y.) 1964-1966
Box 6 Ryan, Dolores 1966-1967
Box 6 Samuels, Edward G. 1962-1965
Box 6 Saratoga Thoroughbred Racing Centennial, Inc. (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) 1963
Box 6 Schramm, Walter 1964, 1965
Box 6 Schupf, Paul Jacques 1966
Box 6 Segalman, Richard 1966, undated
Box 6 Selected Artists Galleries Inc. (New York, N.Y.) 1965, 1966
Box 6 Snitzer, Herb 1962-1964
Box 6 Sosnoff, Martin T. 1957, 1966-1967
Box 6 Stetson, John C. 1964-1965
Box 6 [David] Stuart Galleries (Los Angeles, Calif.) 1963-1965, undated
Box 6 Sturgeon, Theodore 1963
Box 6 Syracuse University 1964-1967
Terry, Alice
See Family Correspondence: Terry, Alice, Memorabilia: Terry, Alice.
University of Miami
See [Joe and Emily] Lowe Art Gallery.
Box 6 Van Orden, Stuart C. 1966
Box 6 Vancouver Art Gallery 1964-1965
Box 6 Vincent, Richard 1966
Box 6 Visual Arts Gallery (New York, N.Y.) 1966-1967
Box 7 Wagner, Richard and Evelyn 1966, 1967, undated
Box 7 Walmsley, William 1965, 1966
See also Florida State University.
Box 7 Wardlaw, George M. 1963-1966
Box 7 Weiner, William A. and Sue Ellen 1963-1967, undated (2 folders)
Box 7 Wexler, George 1963-1967, undated
Box 7 Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, N.Y.) 1963-1966, undated
Box 7 Wilder, Billy 1964-1966
Box 7 Williams, Sheldon 1967
Box 7 [Howard] Wise Gallery (New York, N.Y.) 1963, 1965
Box 7 Wittenborn and Company (New York, N.Y.) 1965, undated
Box 7 Woodstock Artists Association 1956-1966, undated
Box 7 Young, Miriam and Walter 1964-1967
Box 7 Zagar, Julia Papiroff and Irwin 1965
Box 8 Titled (A-Z)
Box 8 Untitled
Box 8 Interviews 1964, 1965, undated
Box 8 Statements on art 1966, undated
Box 8 Miscellaneous notes
Box 8 Addresses
Box 8 Calling cards
Box 8 Family
Box 8 Guest register, exhibition 1965
Box 8 Lists of paintings (partially annotated with prices)
Box 9 Paintbrush, mixing dish, key
Box 9 Photographs undated
Box 9 Political/religious
Box 9 Press releases 1954, 1963, 1965, undated
Printed material
Box 9 Articles, reviews 1963-1967, undated
Box 9 Clippings 1954-1967, undated
Box 9 Exhibition catalogs, invitations 1962-1966, undated
Box 9 Exhibition posters 1963, undated
Box 9 Exhibition catalogs, invitations (non-Johnson) 1961-1967, undated
Box 9 Periodicals 1964-1966, undated - Iris.Time and other Iris Clert mailings
Box 9 Terry, Alice - artwork and memorabilia
Box 9 Travel, tourism
Box 9 Miscellany

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