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Jan Gelb and Boris Margo Papers

An inventory of their papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: ASE
Date: Nov 1993

Biographical History

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

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).


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.

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)



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

Table of Contents

Family Correspondence

Correspondence subject files

Jan Gelb

Boris Margo