Marion Perkins Papers

Dates: 1935-2013
Size: 6 linear feet (8 archival boxes, one oversize)
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature, 9525 S. Halsted Street, Chicago, Illinois 60628
Collection Number: 2006/08
Provenance: Donated by Toussaint Perkins, Useni Eugene Perkins, and Julia Perkins, 2006-2013.
Access: No restrictions
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: Marion Perkins Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Chicago Public Library, Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature
Processed by: Mosi Kamau, Archivist, supervised by Michael Flug, Senior Archivist, Harsh Archival Processing Project, 2015

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

One of Chicago’s most talented and endearing sculptors, Marion Perkins (1908-1961), was born on his grandparents’ farm in Marche, Arkansas. Marche is a small township less than 15 miles northwest of Little Rock. Perkins’s actual date of birth was not recorded, a common reality in the rural south during those times. He was an only child, and little of the facts of his parents’ lives, or of his childhood are known. In 1916, at the age of eight, the young Marion Perkins moved to Chicago following the death of his grandparents. He moved to the home of a woman who may have been his aunt, Doris Padrone. Historically, this move overlapped with the migrations taking place among southern African Americans who left for northern cities. As these cities grew in size so did their consciousness of Black people, giving birth to the cultural, social and political movements such as the Harlem Renaissance and the Chicago Renaissance.

During the 1930s and 1940s such luminaries as the young Margaret Burroughs (Margaret Taylor Goss at the time), Gwendolyn Brooks, Elizabeth Catlett, Charles White, Richard Wright, Eldzier Cortor, Ed Gourfain, Robert Bragg and Perkins’s close friend Theodore Ward all could be seen on Chicago’s South Side. They often gathered at the South Side Community Art Center or in the Bronzeville homes of the artists, writers, musicians and political activists. Such was the atmosphere and camaradarie that prevailed between progressive thinkers, artists and activists-- Black and White.

Marion Perkins attended Wendell Phillips Elementary and High School. Phillips was the first predominantly African American high school in Chicago. Perkins had to drop out of school before his senior year to work. But he kept pace with the times by reading, perhaps best realized with his purchase of a newsstand on South 37th and Indiana Ave during the mid-1930s. Shortly after leaving school he met and eventually married Eva Gillion (1930s), whose family had migrated from Louisiana in 1929. Theirs was a marriage which saw the birth of three sons, Robert, Toussaint and Eugene. Aside from modest experiments with carving soap and other soft materials, as well as wood and bailing wire, it was during this period of selling newspapers that Perkins honed his skills as a sculptor by stone-carving just outside of his stand. The larger carvings drew local attention and by 1937 or 1938 he was noticed by Margaret Burroughs, and greatly assisted by Peter Pollack. Pollack was a leading figure in the Illinois Art Project (WPA), and later with the South Side Community Art Center. Pollack introduced him to Simon “Si” Gordon. In turn it was Gordon who gave Perkins his initial formal training in sculpture.

During the 1930s and 1940s Perkins continued to struggle to support his family with a number of menial jobs, ranging from custodian, dishwasher, postal worker and freight handler to a handful of odd jobs with the Works Progress Administration/Federal Art Project (WPA/FAP) as well as teaching position at Jackson State. It was during this time frame that Perkins started to ramp up his art and exposure by entering his work into competitive exhibits. Just prior to 1940, he was commissioned to create six sculptures for the now-razed Biltmore Hotel in South Haven, Michigan. Documented evidence only shows two of the total expected. Perkins created a set of sculptures that were of children (a boy and girl) dressed in traditional Dutch clothing. Upon closer examination the observer can see that the children have African features.

One of Perkins’s biggest clients was IBM in 1947 with their purchase of Perkins’ sculpture “Figure at Rest”. In 1948 Perkins won his first award from the Art Institute of Chicago for “Ethiopia Awakening”. In 1948 Perkins was the proud winner of a $2,400 Rosenwald Fellowship in its final year of granting awards. This particular prize was given to Perkins after he lost his job with USPS for not signing the loyalty oath required of all federal employees during Truman’s administration. It allowed the ambitious sculptor to travel to New York and purchase material, visit museums, other artists and his friend, Theodore Ward. The year was 1951 when Marion Perkins carved what is generally accepted as his most significant work in “Man of Sorrows,” which the Art Institute of Chicago purchased for its permanent collection. “Man of Sorrows” won first place in the Institute’s “Chicago and Vicinity” series as well as its prestigious Pauline Palmer Purchase Prize.

Throughout his career as a sculptor his reputation grew. He became a fixture at Chicago’s Hull House and at the South Side Community Art Center. His work was included in the 1940 “American Negro Exposition”; he was a keynote speaker at the first National Conference of Artists held in Atlanta (1959) and a teacher at Jackson State in Mississippi (1959). Most notable and in addition to his works already mentioned are: “Mask of Eva” (circa 1935), “John Henry” (1942), “Portrait of Eva” (circa 1947), “Seated Figure” (1947), “Dying Soldier” (1952), “Unknown Political Prisoner” (1953), “Sancho Panza and Don Quixote” (circa 1955), and the “Skywatchers” series (1948-1955). One of the Skywatcher sculptures (the carving of a conjoined at the head mother son and daughter gazing upward, 1957) was among a collection of Chicago artists’ works in the US State Department’s “Art in Embassies Program”) presented to Ghana on the occasion of its National Independence. The “Skywatchers” series were the last art forms Perkins was working on before his wife Eva succumbed to cancer in 1961. Marion Perkins followed her in death on December 17, 1961.

Sources

SCOPE AND CONTENT

The Marion Perkins Papers are arranged into six series housed in eight boxes: Biography; Manuscripts by Marion Perkins; Manuscripts by others; Correspondence; Catalogues Flyers and Programs, and Photographs. Except where otherwise noted, all of the documents are arranged chronologically where dates are known. Undated materials are placed at the end, in alphabetical order.

SERIES 1: BIOGRAPHY

These Marion Perkins Papers begin with the artist/scholar’s biographical information documenting Perkins’s life since the age of eight years old when he was moved to the city of Chicago in 1916. Documentation of life before then, as scarce as it is, started on his grandparents’ farm in his birth hometown of Marche, Arkansas. There are copies of official records of his work with the Works Progress Administration/Art Project in Illinois, and of his death in 1961.

SERIES 2: MANUSCRIPTS BY MARION PERKINS

Located in this series of manuscripts are copies of rare documents authored by Marion Perkins including his poignant poem “Adowa May Be Avenged” dedicated to the Ethiopian forces’ 1896 victory over the Italian army. The social and cultural leanings of Marion Perkins can be gleaned from an article in the Marxist magazine Masses & Mainstream and from a copy of the transcript of Perkins’ speech that he delivered to the attendees of the first National Conference of Negro Artists in Atlanta, in 1959.

SERIES 3: MANUSCRIPTS-BY OTHERS

Highlights within this series include numerous entries about Marion Perkins from noteworthy reference books, as well as newspaper articles, mostly from the Chicago Defender, with a few additional articles from the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. The lone definitive and scholarly work on Marion Perkins, to date, is from an article by Daniel Schulman in Museum Studies (Art Institute of Chicago). The arrangement of this series is by the last name of the author where it is known; otherwise it is organized chronologically.

SERIES 4: CORRESPONDENCE

This series includes letters sent and received by Marion Perkins from artists, art scholars, employers and foundations. Among the authors are: Margaret Burroughs (South Side Community Art Center), George Blessing (Art in America General Manager), the Julius Rosenwald Fund, and W.O. Robinson (Director of Public Relations and Extension Services of Jackson State College (now University). Another highlight of this series is a set of letters (all but one handwritten) to his dearest friend, the famous African American playwright, Theodore Ward. This series is arranged alphabetically by the last name of the author.

SERIES 5: CATALOGUES, FLYERS AND PROGRAMS

Prominent in this series are actual catalogues that include photos of some of the sculpture by Marion Perkins. Among these is an original catalogue from Perkins’s retrospective solo exhibit hosted in 2009 by the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of African American History and Literature at the Chicago Public Library. There is also a complete original catalogue in notebook/folder form of the commemorative print portfolio souvenir, from the National Conference of Artists’ observance of the Emancipation Proclamation Centennial in 1963. Also included within Series 5 is a press release along with flyers and programs covering the artwork of Marion Perkins.

SERIES 6: PHOTOGRAPHS

The last series of this collection mostly consists of photographs of the artwork Marion Perkins created throughout his career as a sculptor. Most notable are the images taken by staff photographers, Mike Shea and Ralph Crane from the Johnson Publishing Company and Time/Life magazines respectively. Also included is a group of photos of Perkins’s “Ethiopia Awakening” from various angles. His “Man of Sorrows”, along with many others, is also shot from differing vantage points. Also included here are pictures of many of the important people in the life of Marion Perkins: his wife, Eva, his children Robert, Toussaint and Eugene, his friend Theodore Ward, and a remarkable group of friends from various disciplines of the Chicago Black Renaissance. Listed among these images but placed in Oversize Box #6, is an original sketch/study of Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable by Marion Perkins.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related materials at the Chicago Public Library include:

CONTAINER LIST

SERIES 1: BIOGRAPHICAL

Box 1 Folder 1 Orr, David, Cook County Clerk, “Medical Certificate of Death” for Marion Perkins, 1961 December 17
Box 1 Folder 2 “Set Funeral for Sculptor,” Chicago Defender, 1961 December 20
Box 1 Folder 3 Perkins, Toussaint, Perkins, Eugene and Gayden, Fern “Marion Perkins, Artist, 1908- 1961: ‘Statement of Purpose’” from the Marion Perkins Memorial Foundation, Inc., circa 1961
Box 1 Folder 4 “Response Letter,” on Marion Perkins work record in the WPA, JS for William D. Bassman from the National Personnel Records Center, National Archives and Records Administration to Daniel Schulman, 1998
Box 1 Folder 5 Census Report of 1910 and record, 2007
Box 1 Folder 6 Marion Perkins: Biography from Answers.com, 2008 September 16
Box 1 Folder 7 Marion Perkins exhibit, Discussion Outline for Interpretive text panels, at Harsh Research Collection, Chicago Public Library, 2008 September 17
Box 1 Folder 8 Perkins, Julia with exhibit committee “Marion Perkins: The Early Years” from a text panel of “The Art and Activism of Marion Perkins” circa 2009
Box 1 Folder 9 “Marion Perkins” a draft resume by unknown author, undated

SERIES 2: MANUSCRIPTS-BY MARION PERKINS

Box 1 Folder 10 Perkins, Marion, poem, “Adowa May Be Avenged” Chicago Defender, 1935 October 19
Box 1 Folder 12 Perkins, Marion, poem, “To Eva,” 1961
Box 1 Folder 13 Perkins, Marion, “Hiroshima in Sculpture”, Mass & Mainstream (see preface to the this article by Victoria Steele in Box 2) 1952 August
Box 1 Folder 14 Perkins, Marion “The Problems Of The Black Artist”, (presented in his speech at the first National Conference of Negro Artists in Atlanta, March 1959) Free Black Press, 1971

SERIES 3: MANUSCRIPTS-BY OTHERS

Box 2 Folder 1 Adams, Russell L., Entry for Marion Perkins in Great Negroes Past and Present, Chicago: Afro-Am Publishing Co., 1963
Box 2 Folder 2 Anthony, Toni, “DuSable Museum has art exhibit” Chicago Defender, , 1971 September 11
Box 2 Folder 3 Brooks, Gwendolyn, ‘They Call it BRONZEVILLE” Holiday, 1951
Box 2 Folder 4 Burroughs, Margaret Goss, “Chicago South Side Community Art Center: A Personal Recollection”, in Art in Action: American Art Centers and the New Deal, White, John Franklin, 1987
Box 2 Folder 5 Butler, Doris Lane “Ravinia Art Exhibit Runs Wide Gamut,” Chicago Daily News, 1957
Box 2 Folder 6 Calloway, Earl, “Artist Marion Perkins’ sculptures are on exhibit at Art Institute of Chicago” Chicago Defender, 2003 March 1
Box 2 Folder 7 Calloway, Earl, “Charles White among artists in Art Institute’s collection,” Chicago Defender, 2003 February
Box 2 Folder 8 Calloway, Earl, “Chicago gets a glimpse of Marion Perkins the man, the artist,” Chicago Defender, 1979 February 17. Calloway used another title on the inside page: “In due time the true and tried artist shall receive his just due, and all nations will herald his greatness.”
Box 2 Folder 9 Greggs, LaTicia D., “A life-long patron of the arts,” Chicago Defender, p. 13, 1997. [On Susan Cayton Woodson with mention of Perkins]
Box 2 Folder 10 Holg, Garrett “Recalling a Cultural Oasis on South Side” Chicago Sun-Times, 1993 May 9
Box 2 Folder 11 Holland, Frank, “42 Artists Exhibit at Exciting Brotherhood Week Show,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1958 February 16
Box 2 Folder 12 Hubert, Sonjia D., “Marion Perkins: Perspectives on a 20th Century Sculptor,” SAIC, Student magazine of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1991 February
Box 2 Folder 13 Ihejirika, Maudlyne, “Marion Perkins: sculptor worked blue-collar jobs to support family,” Chicago Sun-Times, 2009 February 17
Box 2 Folder 14 Kapos, Shia, “Chicago Center’s attendance rises since 9/11 attacks,” Chicago Tribune, 2001 December 26
Box 2 Folder 15 LaBalle, Candace, “Marion Perkins: 1908-1961 Sculptor” Contemporary Black Biography, vol. 38, 2003
Box 2 Folder 16 Lloyd, Judith Burson and Anna Tyler, “The Flowering: African-American Artist and Friends in 1940s Chicago, A Look at the South Side Community Art Center,” Illinois Art Gallery, 1993
Box 2 Folder 17 Nipson, Herbert “Marion Perkins: Talented Chicago sculptor wins top art prize but still works as freight handler” Ebony, 1951 October
Box 2 Folder 18 Patner, Andrew “Breaking Barriers--A Chicago artist’s posthumous acclaim,” Chicago Sun-Times, 1999 October 24
Box 2 Folder 19 Peck, Janet “’Relax’ is A Word of Action for Artist Perkins,” Chicago Sunday Tribune, 1947
Box 2 Folder 20 Perkins, Julia Evalyn, “The Wings to My Spirit” with handwritten edits, circa 1999
Box 2 Folder 21 Perkins, Julia Evalyn “The Wings to My Spirit,” circa 1999
Box 2 Folder 22 Perkins, Marian E. “Reflections on The Art & Politics of Marion Perkins: From Identity-to-Universality,” undated
Box 2 Folder 23 Pridmore, Jay, “A real renaissance man: Peace Museum remembers Robeson, but exhibit falls short” Chicago Tribune, 1998 March 27
Box 2 Folder 24 Rogers, J.A., biographical cartoon of “Marion Perkins” and unsigned article, “Art Center Opening Features Sculptor,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1957 September 27
Box 2 Folder 25 Rogers, J.A., “Marion Perkins,” biographical cartoon in Chicago Defender, 1974 May 11
Box 2 Folder 26 Schulman, Daniel, “Marion Perkins: A Chicago Sculptor Rediscovered,” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, vol. 24, 1999
Box 2 Folder 27 Scudder, Mara. "DuSable Museum's Proud Growth." Chicago Defender, 1974 May 7
Box 2 Folder 28 Smith-Colin, Mattie, “Chicago's first exhibition of African American art masterpieces to be celebrated Valentine's Day at Art Institute of Chicago,” Chicago Defender, 2003 February 8
Box 2 Folder 29 South, Wesley W. ‘‘ Dock Worker A Sculptor,’’ circa 1957
Box 2 Folder 30 Steele, Victoria, “Marion Perkins: Worker-Artist,” Masses & Mainstream, 1952
Box 2 Folder 31 Trice, Dawn Turner “Will recession stir arts as Depression did?” Chicago Tribune, 2009 February 2
Box 2 Folder 32 Ward, Elise Virginia, “Ward, Theodore (Ted)” entry in AfricanAmerican National Biography, ed. by Henry Louis Gates, 2008
Box 2 Folder 33 Weinberg, Lauren, “Marion Perkins: To See Reality in a New Light” Time Out Chicago, 2009 February 19-25
Box 2 Folder 34 “Blind Girl’s Work Feature of Art Show,” Chicago Defender, 1938 September 24 and October 8
Box 2 Folder 35 “Present Hall Branch with Distinctive John Henry Sculpture Creation,” Chicago Criterion, 1943 March
Box 2 Folder 36 “Negro Artists: Their Works Win Top U.S. Honors,” Life 1946 July
Box 2 Folder 37 “Postal Employe[e] Becomes One of Chi’s Foremost Sculptors” Pittsburgh Courier, 1947 August 23
Box 2 Folder 38 “Self-taught Week-end Sculptor Seeks Chance for Full Time Art,” Chicago Defender, 1947 October 18
Box 2 Folder 39 “Places 1st in Art Institute Exhibit” Chicago Defender, 1951 June 9
Box 2 Folder 40 “Art Exhibit Set for May 11-31,” Chicago Defender, 1956 May 10
Box 2 Folder 41 “Realistic Artist Slants Sculpture Toward Negro,” Chicago Defender 1956 September 26
Box 2 Folder 42 “Top, ‘Unknown’ Artists Exhibit” Chicago Defender, 1957 June 20
Box 2 Folder 43 “A Steady Hand With General Expressways: Dock Worker Marion Perkins Called One of the Really Creative Artists of Our Time,” unknown publication, circa 1957
Box 2 Folder 44 “Brotherhood Week Display” Chicago Tribune, 1958 February 13
Box 2 Folder 45 “Works of Artists To Be Displayed,” Chicago Defender, 1958 September 15
Box 2 Folder 46 “Bronze Sculptures Shown at Workshop,” Chicago Daily News, 1959 May 25
Box 2 Folder 47 “Public Invited to View Art Exhibit at College Library,” Naperville (Illinois) Sun, circa 1959 February
Box 2 Folder 48 “3 Artists To Stage 10-Year Later Exhibit” Chicago Defender, 1960 September 28
Box 2 Folder 49 “Ceramic Kiln To Aid Clay Moulding Classes,” Chicago Defender, 1961
Box 2 Folder 50 “Lake Meadows Art Fair Presented June 17-18”, Chicago Defender, 1961 June 14
Box 2 Folder 51 “Exhibit to Honor Late Sculptor” Chicago Defender, 1962 May 19
Box 2 Folder 52 “Gourfain show in new gallery” in the Chicago Defender, 1974 August 3
Box 2 Folder 53 “Marion Perkins, ‘Man of Sorrow[s]’ used for SSUMC program cover ‘The Seven Last Words of Christ’”, Chicago Defender, 2000 April 12
Box 2 Folder 54 “Builders of the Cultural Present,” 1981 mural restored, Community Public Art Guide, online source 2001
Box 2 Folder 55 “Marion Perkins Memorial Foundation: A Brief Seven Year Report,” circa 1969

SERIES 4: CORRESPONDENCE

Box 3 Folder 1 Blessing, George A.[Art in America General Manager], 1957
Box 3 Folder 2 Burroughs, Margaret, 1997
Box 3 Folder 3 Cronk, Walton C., 1959
Box 3 Folder 4 Curtis, Mabel B., 1957
Box 3 Folder 5 Fagen, Mildred R., (also see Neff, Guy) circa 1957
Box 3 Folder 6 Friend, Shirley, 1959
Box 3 Folder 7 Grams, Diane, 1998
Box 3 Folder 8 Haynes, Sophie, 1948
Box 3 Folder 9 Hynes, Sophie, 1948
Box 3 Folder 10 Kelly, Matilde, 1959
Box 3 Folder 11 Lowry, W. McNeil, 1959
Box 3 Folder 12 Martin, Marvin, 1951
Box 3 Folder 13 McCue, George, 1957
Box 3 Folder 14 Neff, Guy (also see Fagen, Mildred R.) 1957
Box 3 Folder 15 North Shore Art League 1960
Box 3 Folder 16 Perkins, Marion (to Rosenwald Fund), 1948
Box 3 Folder 17 Reitzes, Hilde, for the Committee on Fellowships from the Julius Rosenwald Fund, 1948
Box 3 Folder 18 Riccardo Studio Restaurant, 1958
Box 3 Folder 19 Robinson, W. O., Director, Public Relations and Extension Services, Jackson State College, 1955
Box 3 Folder 20 Sampson, H.T., 1954
Box 3 Folder 21 Saunders, Gil, 1957
Box 3 Folder 22 Schulman, Daniel [Assistant Curator for The Art Institute of Chicago], 1998
Box 3 Folder 23 Sweet, Frederick A., 1948, 1956
Box 3 Folder 24 Taylor, Hycel B., Ph.D. and the Pilgrim Baptist Church to Julia Perkins Ball, 2002
Box 3 Folder 25 Temple of Judea, circa 1959
Box 3 Folder 26 Ward, Theodore (a series of nine, mostly handwritten letters from Marion Perkins to Theodore Ward) 1946-1948
Box 3 Folder 27 White, Harriet E., 1958
Box 3 Folder 28 Wineman, John S., and Shirley Friend [National Conference of Christians and Jews], 1959
Box 3 Folder 29 “A Special Invitation” to a reception for the exhibit: “Two Black Artists of the F.D.R. Era: Featuring the Works of Frederick Jones and Marion Perkins,” 1989 (also see the corresponding catalogue, Box 5)

SERIES 5: CATALOGUES, FLYERS AND PROGRAMS

Box 4 Folder 1 “The Standard Club invites you to an Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture,” Catalogue, Sunday, April 20, 1958
Box 4 Folder 2 Notebook/Folder, “National Conference of Artists presents…A Print Portfolio by Negro Artists-A Souvenir in Observance of the Emancipation Proclamation Centennial, 1863-1963,” 1963
Box 4 Folder 3 “The Sculpture of Marion Perkins” Chicago Public Library-Culture Center (original and copy) 1979
Box 4 Folder 4 Catalogue, “Black on Black: The Works of Black Artists from Chicago Black Collectors,” University of Illinois Chicago, 1983
Box 4 Folder 5 Catalogue, “Two Black Artists of the FDR Era: Marion Perkins, Frederick D. Jones,” DuSable Museum of African-American History, 1990
Box 4 Folder 6 Catalogue, “Two Black Artists of the FDR Era: Marion Perkins, Frederick D. Jones” DuSable Museum of African-American History (partial copy) 1990
Box 4 Folder 7 Catalogue, Walter O Evans Collection of African American Art. Beach Institute/King-Tisdale Museum. Savannah, Georgia, 1991
Box 4 Folder 8 Catalogue, “African-American Art: 20th Century Masterworks, V” Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, 1998
Box 4 Folder 9 Press Release, “African-American Art: 20th Century Masterworks, V,” Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, 1998
Box 4 Folder 10 The Peace Release-A Handbill of the Peace Museum, “The Sky Watcher by Marion Perkins” Volume 7 Issue 1, Winter 1998
Box 4 Folder 11 “African American Art by Modern Masters,” Photocopies from exhibition catalogue, Adams Fine Art, 2005
Box 4 Folder 12 African American Art: New Deal to New Power, “Guitarist” on cover, Photocopied pages from exhibition catalogue, Robert Henry Adams Fine Art, Chicago, 2006
Box 4 Folder 13 Flyer, “’To See Reality in a New Light’: the art and activism of Marion Perkins,” Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection, Chicago Public Library, 2009 January 31
Box 4 Folder 14 Program, “’To See Reality in a New Light’: the art and activism of Marion Perkins,” Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection, Chicago Public Library, 2009 January 31
Box 4 Folder 15 Catalogue, “’To See Reality in a New Light’: the art and activism of Marion Perkins,” edited by Julia Perkins, Michael Flug and David Lusenhop, Third World Press, 2013
Box 4 Folder 16 Directory compiled by Price, Ramon B., “Five Artists: Four Works” DuSable Museum of African American History, undated
Box 4 Folder 17 Photocopied pages from exhibition catalogue, Modern American Art. Robert Henry Adams Fine Art, Inc. Chicago. Image of “Untitled Head”. Seattle: University of Chicago Press, undated
Box 4 Folder 18 The South Shore United Methodist Church, Sanctuary Choir Presents “The Seven Last Words of Christ” with image of Marion Perkins, ‘The Man of Sorrow[s]’, April 16,1961

SERIES 6: PHOTOGRAPHS

Box 5 Photo 001 House on Wells 5941 S. Wells St., circa 1956. Photographed by Ralph Crane for Life magazine (as labeled on back of original), but never published
Box 5 002 Marion Perkins looking for sculpture materials in Bronzeville’s wrecked buildings, 1951. Photographed by Mike Shea, but Johnson Publishing Co. stamped on back of original.
Box 5 003 “Man of Sorrows” sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago, with Marion Perkins. Photographed by Mike Shea for Ebony magazine, 1951. Johnson Publishing Co. stamped on back of original
Box 5 004 Marion Perkins looking for sculpture materials in clearance for construction of Lake Meadows, 1951. Photographed by Mike Shea, Johnson Publishing Co. stamped on back of original
Box 5 005 Marion Perkins with “Skywatchers” sculpture, 1950s
Box 5 006 Langston Hughes holding Perkins’ sculpture “Sitting Figure, early 1940s. The photo was later used on the dust jacket of Hughes’ book, “One-Way Ticket.” The sculpture was owned by Walter Evans. Photograph by Gordon Parks.
Box 5 007 Marion Perkins and sculpture “Guitar Player” in his studio, circa 1950. Photograph rights owned by Chicago Tribune
Box 5 008 Perkins’ sculpture from “Skywatchers” series was part of Department of State “Art in Embassies” program. Photograph was taken in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, West Africa, 1950s
Box 5 009 Perkins’ sculpture, “Man of Sorrows,” 1951
Box 5 010 Perkins’ sculpture, “Portrait of Eva” or “Head of Eva,” 1947
Box 5 011 Family of Marion and Eva Perkins: three sons in top row (L to R) Toussaint, Eugene, Robert. Three cousins in bottom row (L to R) Sonny, Patsy, Joyce, 600 East 39th St., circa 1940
Box 5 012 Eva Gillion Perkins with (L to R): Robert, Useni, Toussaint, Sonny. In front of Toussaint are: Patsy, Joyce, 600 E. 39th St., circa 1940
Box 5 013 A Chicago Black Renaissance gathering, possibly at home of Margaret Burroughs. Standing (L to R): Marion Perkins, Vernon Jarrett, Robert Lucas. Seated (L to R): Margaret Brundage, Tom Conroy, Fern Gayden, Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Burroughs, circa 1948. (See also oversize photo of the same image, # 122 in Box 6)
Box 5 014 Photo of an unknown seated young Black woman on a park bench in a white dress, date unknown
Box 5 015 Abe (one of Eva’s brothers) in park with woman, date unknown
Box 5 016 Sculpture from “Skywatchers” series, “Man Looking Upward” 1955
Box 5 017 Sculpture created from newspaper bundling wire, circa 1955
Box 5 018 Sculpture, “Mask of Eva,” circa 1935
Box 5 019 Two untitled sculptures, early 1940s
Box 5 020 Two ceramic cups inscribed “To Eva, ” undated
Box 5 021 Father and son, terra-cotta sculptures, 1940s
Box 5 022 Sculptures, Female head, male head, circa 1942
Box 5 023 Sculpture, Head of a Man (elongated), circa 1950
Box 5 024 Sculpture, Head of a Man (elongated), side view, circa 1950
Box 5 025 Sculpture from Skywatchers” series, 1955
Box 5 026 Sculpture, “Ethiopia Awakening,” at DuSable Museum of African American History, 1948
Box 5 027 Sculpture, Seated Figure (sometimes called “Fat Girl,” late 1947
Box 5 028 “Head of a Woman,” at DuSable Museum of African American History, 1950s
Box 5 029 Sculptures, Two Heads, DuSable Museum of African American History, 1950s
Box 5 030 Langston Hughes letter recommending Perkins for Rosenwald Fund grant, 1947
Box 5 031 Alain Locke letter recommending Perkins for Rosenwald Fund grant, circa 1948
Box 5 032 Art Institute of Chicago letter announcing award of Jenkins Memorial Prize to Perkins for “Ethiopia Awakening,” 1948
Box 5 033 The Peace Museum (Chicago) letter thanking Julia Perkins for her help in the dedication of Marion Perkins’ sculpture, 1998
Box 5 034 Marion Perkins with Si Gordon in sculpture class at South Side Community Art Center, 1940
Box 5 035 Flyer announcing exhibit, “The Sculpture of Marion Perkins,” at the Chicago Public Library, 1979

Box 6

Oversize

036 Page 1 of “Marion Perkins, Worker-Artist,” article by Victoria Steele in Masses and Mainstream, 1952
Box 6 037 Page 2 of “Marion Perkins, Worker-Artist,” article by Victoria Steele in Masses and Mainstream, 1952
Box 6 038 “Postal Employee Becomes One of Chi’s Foremost Sculptors,” Pittsburgh Courier, 1947 August 23
Box 6 039 “Relax is Word of Action for Artist Perkins,” Chicago Tribune, 1947 August 24,
Box 6 040 Chicago Public Library form, “Publicity Sheet for Exhibitors,” filled out by Marion Perkins, 1960 August 15
Box 6 041 “Marion Perkins, Artist—1908-1961,” Statement of Purpose Flyer for Marion Perkins Memorial Foundation, Inc., circa 1961
Box 6 042 Article on Marion Perkins in “Great Negroes Past and Present”, published by Afro-Am Publishers, 1963
Box 6 043 “Self-Taught Week-end Sculptor Seeks Chance for Full Time Art”, Chicago Defender, 1947 October 18
Box 6 044 “Marion Perkins’ Man of Sorrows” used for South Shore United Methodist Church program cover, “The Seven Last Words of Christ,” Chicago Defender, 2000 April 12
Box 6 045 “Accent Weekend,” with photo of Marion Perkins with one of the “Skywatchers” covers, Chicago Defender, 1979 February 17,
Box 6 046 Earl Calloway’s article on Marion Perkins in Accent, 1979 February 17
Box 6 047 Julia Perkins photographed with “Man of Sorrows” sculpture at Art Institute of Chicago, circa 1994
Box 6 048 Useni Perkins with bronze sculpture of Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, at DuSable Museum of African History, 1975. Photo by Sisi Donald Mosby, Chicago, 1975
Box 6 049 Sculpture, “Standing Figure,” late 1940s
Box 6 050 Eva Gillion Perkins, in front of Perkins home on South Wells St., Chicago, 1950s
Box 6 051 Marion Perkins showing one of his sculpture to two women, 1950s
Box 6 052 Biltmore Hotel staff with Perkins’ sculptures, “Dutch Boy and Girl,” in South Haven, Michigan, circa 1941. Photo owned by Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
Box 6 053 “Adowa May Be Avenged,” poem by Marion Perkins published in Chicago Defender, 1935 October 19
Box 6 054 “National Conference of Artists Meets Here March 28,” Atlanta Daily World, 1959 March 24
Box 6 055 “For Father,” poem by Eugene Perkins, 1962
Box 6 056 “Of Marion Perkins…”, poem by Margaret Burroughs, 1962
Box 6 057 Cover photo of the pamphlet, “Problems of the Black Artist,” by Marion Perkins, 1971
Box 6 058 Contact sheet for #47 of Julia Perkins with Marion Perkins’ “Man of Sorrows” sculpture, at Art Institute of Chicago, circa 1994
Box 6 059 Perkins’ Sculpture, “Man of Sorrows,” at Art Institute of Chicago, 1950
Box 6 060 Portrait of playwright Theodore Ward, inscribed “Loads of Success to Ted in his New Play, Sincerely Louis and Thelma,” 1961 April 18
Box 6 122 Oversize Item Housed Here-- A Chicago Black Renaissance gathering, possibly at home of Margaret Burroughs. Standing (L to R): Marion Perkins, Vernon Jarrett, Robert Lucas. Seated (L to R): Margaret Brundage, Tom Conroy, Fern Gayden, Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Burroughs, circa 1948
Box 6 123 Oversize Item Housed Here--Original sketch/study of Jean Baptiste Pont DuSable for the DuSable Museum of African American History
Box 7 061 “Untitled: (African Mask)” and “Untitled: (Wire Man)” both circa 1955
Box 7 062 Abstract sculpture on carpet, undated
Box 7 063 Stone sculpture of woman placed on suit jacket, undated
Box 7 064 Stone sculpture of woman placed on suit jacket, close up, undated
Box 7 065 Stone mask placed on suit jacket, undated
Box 7 066 Stone mask on table under lamp, undated
Box 7 067 Stone sculpture with head in hand, front view
Box 7 068 Stone sculpture with head in hand, ¾ right frontal view
Box 7 069 Stone sculpture with head in hand, ¾ left frontal view
Box 7 070 Stone sculpture with head in hand, rear view
Box 7 071 Stone sculpture of a couple conjoined, front standing upright
Box 7 072 Stone sculpture of a couple conjoined, front lying on backside
Box 7 073 Stone sculpture of a couple conjoined, ¾ rear
Box 7 074 Stone sculpture of a couple conjoined, view from the bottom
Box 7 075 Female head, circa 1945 and male head, circa 1942, front view
Box 7 076 Female head, circa 1945 and male head, circa 1942 rear view
Box 7 077 “Ethiopia Awakening,” head, 3/4 left frontal view, 1948
Box 7 078 “Ethiopia Awakening” head, left side, 1948
Box 7 079 “Ethiopia Awakening” head, rear view,1948
Box 7 080 “Ethiopia Awakening” bottom view, 1948
Box 7 081 “Ethiopia Awakening” head, 3/4 right frontal, 1948
Box 7 082 “Ethiopia Awakening” head, right side,1948
Box 7 083 “Ethiopia Awakening” head, rear bottom, with close up of signature, 1948
Box 7 084 “Seated Figure,” front, 1947
Box 7 085 “Seated Figure,”¾ left front, 1947
Box 7 086 “Seated Figure,” right side, 1947
Box 7 087 “Seated Figure,” left side, 1947
Box 7 088 “Seated Figure” rear, 1947
Box 7 089 “Mask of Eva” front lying, on its back, circa 1935
Box 7 090 “Mask of Eva” ¾ right front, on its back, circa 1935
Box 7 091 “Mask of Eva” ¾ left front, on its back, circa 1935
Box 7 092 “Mask of Eva” right side, circa 1935
Box 7 093 Number not utilized
Box 7 094 Two head masks with larger female sculpture, undated
Box 7 095 Two head masks with larger female sculpture, close-up, undated
Box 7 096 Stone carving of woman, front, undated
Box 7 097 Stone carving of woman, side, undated
Box 7 098 Stone carving of woman, ¾ right front, undated
Box 7 099 Stone carving of woman, right front, undated
Box 7 100 Stone carving of woman, ¾ left front, undated
Box 7 101 Terra-cotta female side view figure on its back, undated
Box 7 102 Father and son sculpture under a table, undated
Box 7 103 Skywatcher, with side view, right, 1948
Box 7 104 Skywatcher, close up of right side, 1948
Box 7 105 Skywatcher, ¾ rear right, 1948
Box 7 106 Skywatcher, ¾ rear left, 1948
Box 7 107 Skywatcher, rear view, 1948
Box 7 108 Stone carving of woman, left side, undated
Box 7 109 Stone carving of woman, right side, undated
Box 7 110 Stone carving of a man, lying on its back, front, undated
Box 7 111 Stone carving of a man, on its back, left side, undated
Box 7 112 Stone carving of a man, on its back, left side, close up, undated
Box 7 113 Stone carving of a man, ¾ left side, upright, undated
Box 7 114 Stone carving of a man, on its back, view from the top, undated
Box 7 115 Stone carving of a man, upright, from the back, undated
Box 7 116 Sculpture, Bust of Theodore (Ted) Ward, 1940s. Photograph by Elise Ward
Box 7 117 “To see reality in a new light the art and activism of Marion Perkins,” selected chronology timeline, 2009
Box 7 118 Marion Perkins making a cast for his South Haven, Michigan sculptures, Dutch Boy and Girl, circa 1938-1941, Holger Cahill Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
Box 7 119 Marion Perkins, Letter to Ted Ward, typed, 1948 April 26,
Box 7 120 Handwritten Letter to Ted Ward, page 1, circa 1948
Box 7 121 Handwritten Letter to Ted Ward, page 2, circa 1948
Box 7 122 Oversize Item Housed in Box 6-- A Chicago Black Renaissance gathering, possibly at home of Margaret Burroughs. Standing (L to R): Marion Perkins, Vernon Jarrett, Robert Lucas. Seated (L to R): Margaret Brundage, Tom Conroy, Fern Gayden, Gwendolyn Brooks, Margaret Burroughs, circa 1948
Box 7 123 Oversize Item Housed in Box 6--Original sketch/study of Jean Baptiste Pont DuSable, drawn by Marion Perkins for the DuSable Museum of African American History
Box 8 Folder 1 Photocopy-“John Henry,” 1942
Box 8 Folder 2 Photocopy, Biltmore Hotel in South Haven, Michigan, circa 1945
Box 8 Folder 3 Photocopy-“Untitled,” circa 1947
Box 8 Folder 4 Photocopy-“Marion Perkins ‘Ethiopia Awakening’: Awarded the Robert Rice Jenkins Memorial Prize of Fifty Dollars” 1948
Box 8 Folder 5 Photocopy-“Skywatcher” series (see prints 008, 016, 025), 1948
Box 8 Folder 6 Photocopy-“Mother and Child,” circa 1949
Box 8 Folder 7 Photocopy- Marion Perkins with “Man of Sorrows” (contact sheet-only copy), circa 1951
Box 8 Folder 8 Photocopy-“Man Looking Upward” (see also print 016), circa 1951
Box 8 Folder 9 Photocopy-“Dying Soldier,” (only copy) 1952
Box 8 Folder 10 Photocopy-“Unknown Political Prisoner,” (only copy) 1953
Box 8 Folder 11 Photocopy-“Skywatcher,” series, 1955
Box 8 Folder 12 Photocopy-“Don Quixote, Sancho Panza” and partial of Female Head (Male Head not shown), circa 1958
Box 8 Folder 13 Photocopy-Patrons viewing “Man of Sorrows” at Art Institute of Chicago, (only copy) circa 1951
Box 8 Folder 14 Photocopy- Jewish Currents with an image of Marion Perkins’ “Man of Sorrows,” February 1979
Box 8 Folder 15 Photocopy- contact sheets for story on Marion Perkins, by Ralph Crane for Life magazine. The story never ran, these are the photos remaining. 14/14 sheets (only copies) circa 1956
Box 8 Folder 16 Photocopy-“Contemplation” and “Figure at Rest,” (only copy) 1947
Box 8 Folder 17 Photocopy- Marion Perkins leaning on one of his works in progress, (only copy) undated. (“DSM photo” inscribed on back)
Box 8 Folder 18 Photocopy-Marion and Eva Perkins in a wedding party, (only copy) undated
Print