University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Kenneth W. and Emma-Stina Prescott:

A Preliminary Inventory of Their Collection of Ben Shahn at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Creator: Prescott, Kenneth W. and Emma-Stina
Title: Kenneth W. Prescott and Emma-Stina Prescott Collection of Ben Shahn
Dates: 1944-1998
Abstract: Books, serials, and exhibitition catalogs, as well as art historian and scholar Kenneth Prescott's resesarch materials and correspondence, document the works of artist Ben Shahn. Also included in the collection are illustrations by Shahn and photographs of Shahn and his works.
Extent: 7 document boxes, 2 card boxes, 1 oversize box (4.79 linear feet)
Repository: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

This collection of artist Ben Shahn was donated to the Ransom Center by Kenneth W. and Emma-Stina Prescott. Art historian and scholar Kenneth Prescott is the author of several works on the life and art of Ben Shahn. Compiled by Prescott over a forty-year period, this collection contains a wealth of documentation on the artist in the form of books, serials, exhibition catalogs, illustrations by Shahn in numerous printed formats including record albums, invoices and loan information, articles, photographs of Shahn and his works, and Prescott's research materials and correspondence.

The collection is arranged in two Series: Series I on Ben Shahn's works, including information about Shahn and exhibitions of his works, and Series II on Kenneth Prescott's research, writing and correspondence, reflecting his organization of exhibitions and books about Shahn.

Numerous books, serials, and exhibition catalogs have been transferred to the Ransom Center library.



Open for research

Administrative Information


Gift, 1997 (G11021)

Processed by:

Jan Root and Liz Murray, 1999

Prescott Collection of Ben Shahn--Folder List

I. Ben Shahn

A. Works By Shahn
Box Folder
1 1 Book covers and jackets designed by Shahn
2-4 Greeting cards, announcements, etc. with Shahn repros.
5 Illustrations for books, serials, performing arts events, and other printed material
Individual works
Box Folder
1 6 Ben Shahn's Haggadah, Little Brown, 1965, promotional material
7 The Dreyfus Affair: The Ben Shahn Prints, Crossroads Books, 1st ed., 1984, publicity brochure
8 Time, eight magazine covers, 1955-68
9 A Vision Shared - A Portrait of America and Its People, 1935-1943, St. Martin's Press, N.Y., 1976, photocopy of sections pertaining to Shahn's photography
Photographic reproductions of BS works
Box Folder
1 10-11 Black & white photos
12 Color photos, with photos of Kenneth Prescott at the Ben Shahn Exhibition and Seminar, Santa Fe East Gallery, New Mexico, 1981
13 Color photograph, self-portrait, 1926-28
14 Color transparencies, negatives, and color photo, various scenes
15 35 mm color/Kodachrome slides, #1-239
* Sound recordings, cover illustrations by Shahn [*removed to oversize, Box 8]
SR 1 "Albert Schweitzer: Bach," Columbia Records, ML 5042, Volume VI
SR 2 "Die Dreigroschenoper," music by Kurt Weill; lyrics by Bertolt Brecht. Columbia Records, O2L 257
SR 3 Music excerpts from Jerome Robbins' "Ballets: U.S.A." RCA Records, LPM/LSP-2435, 1961
SR 4 "Music of Old Russia," Nathan Milstein, violin. Orchestra conducted by Robert Irving, Angel Records, S36002. [together with a postcard from R.A. Shwalb to Prescott with album cover descriptive information]
SR 5 "Wagner: Prelude and Love Death; Strauss: Death and Transfiguration; Leinsdorf: The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra," Capitol Records, P8580
B. Information about Shahn
Box Folder
1 * Card files for Shahn owners, paintings, prints, refs., etc.
* Shahn's works loaned by owners for KWP exhibitions [*removed to Box 9]
* Citations, information, references, etc. for specific Shahn paintings/works [*removed to Box 9]
* Shahn's works categorized by subject matter areas [*removed to Box 9]
* Paintings by title, media, etc. & owners [*removed to Box 10]
* Owner cards [*removed to Box 10]
Downtown Gallery, New York City
Deliveries of Shahn works, 1944-1967
Box Folder
2 1 Dec. 1944-Feb. 1953
2 Dec. 1953-Jan. 1959
3 Dec. 1960-Feb. 1967
Invoices, 1944-1963
Box Folder
2 4 1944-1950
5 1951-1952
6 1953-1954
7 1955
8 1956-1957
Box Folder
3 1 1958
2 1959-A
3 1959-B
4 1960
5 1961
6 1962-1963
Purchase invoices, 1964-1968
Box Folder
3 7 1964-1968 (mixed entries) - part I
8 1966-1967 (mixed entries) - part II
9 Articles by and about Shahn; articles featuring Shahn's illustrations
Box Folder
4 1-4 Journal articles arranged alphabetically by serial title, from 3-ring binder
5-7 News articles from newspapers, magazines, journals, galleries, etc., from 3-ring binder
8 Original works in estate as of date of death, Schedule A [descriptive list]
9 Sale & estimated prices, 1969-95
C. Shahn Exhibitions
Box Folder
5 1-2 1945-1997, Shahn exhibitions, descriptive material from 3-ring binder
* 1970, Retrospective, Japan tour, repros of Shahn works [*removed to oversize, Box 8]
3 1981, "Ben Shahn: Voices and Visions," Santa Fe East, New Mexico, symposium packet
* 1991, "Ben Shahn Retrospective Exhibition," Japan, commemorative album of photographs and exhibition announcements [*removed to oversize, Box 8]
Loan correspondence
Box Folder
5 4 A-F
5 G-M
6 N-Z
7 Loan forms
8 1998, "Common Man, Mythic Vision: The Paintings of Ben Shahn," The Jewish Museum, New York, invitation to opening

II. Kenneth W. Prescott

A. Works
The Complete Graphic Works of Ben Shahn(1973)
Box Folder
6 1 Photographs used for illustrations
2 IIA - Fig. 113-224
3 IIA - Fig. 222-272a
4 IIA - Fig. 273a-282a
5 IIB - part 1 - color transparencies. Fig. 1-85
6 IIB - part 2 & 4. Fig. 94-269 (not inclusive)
7 IIB - part 3 - posters. Fig. 137-204
8 IIA - Hallelujah Miniatures, 1970-71. Fig. 268-309. IIB - Part 1. Fig. 54 - Warsaw 1943, 1963
9 Prints and Posters of Ben Shahn (1982). Color repro. proofs of Shahn's works for KWP
Box Folder
6 10 Commercial work
11 Murals
12 Music/Plays/Ballet
13 Political/Social/Activist
Box Folder
7 1 Portraits
2 Religious/Philosophical
Photographic images used in KWP books on Shahn
Box Folder
7 4 Color transparencies of Shahn's works
5-6 Photographs of Shahn's works, b & w
7 Photographs of Ben Shahn
B. Correspondence
Box Folder
7 8 Appel, Benjamin, manuscript, "Prophet With a Brush: Ben Shahn" with correspondence
9-10 Bressler, Morris, correspondence, manuscripts, tape transcriptions
11 Greenstone, Prof. Leonard
12 Shahn, Bernarda
13 Wofsy, Alan
14 KWP & various sources re data on Shahn works
15 Misc. Shahn correspondence, information, etc.
8-10 Oversize and card boxes