University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Leah Brenner:

An Inventory of Her Papers at the Harry Ransom Center



Creator: Brenner, Leah, 1915-2004
Title: Leah Brenner Papers
Dates: 1929-1999, undated (bulk 1939-1988)
Abstract: The papers document Leah Brenner’s writings on Mexican art and culture, including a children’s book about and illustrated by Diego Rivera, and articles for Town & Country. Personal and family documents and correspondence are also present.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-5024
Extent: 13 document boxes, 1 oversize box (osb) (8.4 linear feet)
Language: English, Spanish
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center

Biographical Sketch

Leah Brenner was born in 1915 to Jewish immigrants, who, after emigrating from Latvia to Mexico, moved to San Antonio in the year of Brenner’s birth. She attended La Universidad de Mexico, receiving a master’s degree in Modern Languages in 1937 and her doctorate in Letters in 1941. Brenner worked as a secretary for Mexican artist Diego Rivera from 1939 to 1945. After leaving Rivera’s employment and returning to the United States, Brenner lived for a time in New York City and eventually settled in San Antonio, where she lived until her death in 2004. During this period of her life she worked as a freelance writer, contributing stories about Mexican art, culture, and history to publications such as The New York Times and Town and Country. She also wrote a children’s book, An Artist Grows up in Mexico (1953), about Diego Rivera’s childhood, illustrated with drawings by Rivera. The book was later republished as The Boyhood of Diego Rivera (1964) and An Artist Grows up in Mexico: Scenes from the Boyhood of Diego Rivera (1987).


Scope and Contents

The Leah Brenner Papers consist of published and unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, legal and financial documents, photographs, clippings and personal documents. Materials relating to Brenner’s writing career make up the major focus of the collection, with correspondence and detailed financial documents featured to a lesser degree. The papers are organized into three series: I. Works, 1931-1991, undated; II. Correspondence, 1941-1993, undated; and III. Personal, 1929-1994, undated.

Series I. Works contains materials related to Leah Brenner’s writing career and is arranged in three subseries: A. Manuscripts, B. Diego Rivera Materials, and C. Press Clippings. The Manuscripts subseries consists of drafts of her book An Artist Grows up in Mexico (including reprints under alternate titles), articles written for periodicals, and unpublished works. A number of these manuscripts contain the handwritten annotations of Brenner and her publishers. The second subseries, Diego River Materials, consists of copies of Diego Rivera materials used by Brenner in the course of her writing career. Included are photocopies of Rivera drawings used in An Artist Grows up in Mexico, promotional materials based on the drawings, and photocopies of notes sent by Rivera to Brenner. The Press Clippings subseries is comprised of newspaper and magazine clippings and photocopies of Brenner’s published articles and news pieces relating to her work.

Series II. Correspondence is arranged in four subseries: A. Financial, B. General, C. Personal, and D. Professional. The financial correspondence prominently features materials related to a trust fund that was liquidated without Brenner’s consent and subsequent legal action against Groos Bank. General correspondence includes exchanges with the Detroit Institute of Arts relating to a Diego Rivera retrospective, including loan agreements for works that the Institute borrowed from Brenner for the exhibit. Photographer Tina Modotti, painter Jean Chalot and architect Mathias Goeritz are among the personal correspondents. And Brenner’s writing career is represented in professional correspondence to publishers, including some enclosed manuscript drafts.

Series III. Personal reflects Brenner’s personal activities and is arranged in five subseries: A. Biographical, B. Financial and Legal, C. Photographs, D. Dogs and Dog Breeders, and E. Ephemera. The biographical materials are comprised of high school and college diplomas, and various personal identification cards and certificates. Financial and legal documents include materials related to Groos Bank, as well as receipts for expenses accrued as a traveling correspondent and household expenditures. The photographs, primarily family related, include portraits of Brenner’s mother, Paula Brenner, and flower images taken by Italian photographer Tina Modotti, a contemporary of Diego Rivera. During the process of housing the materials at the Ransom Center, many of the photographs were sleeved together for preservation purposes, but this does not represent any original order or indicate an association between the photographs. Finally, Brenner’s love of purebred cocker spaniels is evidenced in numerous photographs and correspondence with breeders, while other personal interests are reflected in clippings and ephemera.


Restrictions

Access:

Open for research. Some materials restricted.


Index Terms

People
Brenner, Anita, 1905-1974.
Brünner, Werner Mathias Goeritz, 1915-1990.
Charlot, Jean, 1898-1979.
Kahlo, Frida, 1907-1954.
Modotti, Tina, 1896-1942.
Rivera, Diego, 1886-1957.
Subjects
Mexican Art.
Children’s Books.
Places
Mexico City (Mexico).
San Antonio (Tex.).
New York (N.Y.).
Organizations
A. S. Barnes & Co.
Atheneum (New York, N.Y.).
Detroit Institute of Arts.
Town & Country (New York, N.Y.: 1901).
Universidad Nacional de México.
University of New Mexico Press.
Document Types
Clippings.
Correspondence.
Financial records.
Legal documents.
Manuscripts.
Photographs.
Programs.
Yearbooks.

Related Material

The Leah Brenner Papers contain correspondence with and photographs of Brenner’s sister, Anita Brenner, award-winning writer of books on the art and history of Mexico, as well as children’s books. The Anita Brenner Papers are also housed at the Harry Ransom Center, as are several works by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, including lithographs and drawings by Rivera, his painting "Niña con Muñeca" and Kahlo’s drawing "Diego y Yo."


Separated Material

Twenty-seven books, exhibition catalogs, and auction catalogs, including one book with inscription by Anita Brenner were transferred to the Ransom Center Book Collection. One VHS tape was transferred to the Center’s Moving Image Collection. Three small hand painted gourds were transferred to the Center’s Personal Effects Collection.


Administrative Information

Acquisition:

Gift, 2006 (G12499)

Processed by:

Amye McCarther and Sally DeBauche, 2013


Sources:

Glusker, Susannah Joel. Anita Brenner: A Mind of Her Own. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1998.

"Leah Brenner Obituary."  San Antonio Express News, 21 February 2004, accessed 25 February 2013, http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sanantonio/obituary.aspx?n=leah-brenner&pid=88842662#fbLoggedOut.


Container List

Series I. Works, 1931-1991, undated

Subseries A. Manuscripts, 1939-1987, undated
Container
3.4 Ah, Sweet Serenade, typed manuscript, undated
An Artist Grows Up in Mexico
Container
2.10 Typed manuscript, reviews, 1987, undated
Container
3.3 Correspondence, printers’ material, 1944, 1987, undated
Container
4.3 Chronological History of World War II, typed manuscript, undated
Container
3.4 Concert, typed manuscript, undated
Concerto for Four Horns, typed manuscript undated
Conversations of Diego Rivera
Container
1.1-5 Typed manuscripts and drafts with annotations, notes, correspondence, copies of illustrations, copies of correspondence from Diego Rivera to Brenner, 1939-1940, 1960-1961, 1963-1965, undated
Container
3.1, 3.10-12 Handwritten note cards, 1966, undated
Container
1.8-10, 2.1-2, 2.7, 3.7-8 Typed manuscript, draft fragments, typed and handwritten notes, 1977, undated
Container
4.4 The Devil of Castile, typed manuscript, undated
The Drunken Lizard, typed manuscript, undated
Container
3.2, 4.4 Frog-Face, typed manuscript, handwritten note, undated
Container
3.4 Gentlemen of the Press, typed manuscript, undated
Ho. Ho. Ho, typed manuscript, undated
Container
3.4, 3.9 La Estrallita, typed drafts, correspondence, clippings, undated
Container
4.3 The Little General, typed manuscript, clippings, undated
Container
2.5, 4.5 Make Us All Saints, typed manuscripts, undated
Container
2.3 Memoirs, typed manuscript with annotations, undated
Container
4.4 Merchant of Art, typed manuscript undated
Container
3.4 Mexican Parallel, typed manuscript, undated
Container
3.9 Mexican Symphony Orchestra, typed drafts, clippings, 1939, 1941
Container
2.9 Moon Magic, typed manuscript, illustrations, undated
Container
3.4 The Movie Magnate, typed manuscript, undated
Container
3.9 Notes About Carlos Chavez, typed manuscript, clippings, 1941
Container
3.4 Politics and the Bull, typed manuscript, undated
The Revolutionary President, typed manuscript, undated
Container
3.9 Rivera Pilgrimage, typed manuscript, clippings, 1939
Container
3.4 Soliloquy of a Spanish Refugee, typed manuscript, undated
Container
3.9 Story Behind the Painting, typed draft with annotations, undated
Tales From the Boyhood of Diego Rivera
Container
1.6-7, 4.1-2 Typed manuscript, illustrations, notes, clippings, 1931, 1962, undated
Container
3.6 Contract of A. S. Barnes & Company, Inc. with Brenner, 1962
Container
3.3 Thirteen Mounted Men, correspondence, 1944
Container
3.4 Three Mexican Generals, typed manuscript, undated
Untitled article about Abel Eisenberg, typed manuscript, undated
Container
4.3 Untitled draft about Frida Kahlo, undated
Container
3.9, 5.9 Untitled article about Diego Rivera, typed manuscript, 1940, undated
Container
3.9 Untitled article about Silvestre Revueltas, typed manuscript clippings, 1940
When I was a Boy
Container
3.6 Contract of Viking Press with Diego Rivera and Brenner, 1943
Container
4.4 Typed manuscript, with foreword by Diego Rivera, 1944, undated
Container
3.5 Notes, correspondence with editors and Detroit Institute of Arts, clippings, 1984, undated
Container
4.4 White River, typed manuscript, undated
Subseries B. Diego Rivera Materials, 1939-1986, undated
Container
5.2-3 Copies of handwritten notes from Diego Rivera, clippings, 1939-1941, 1984, undated
Container
5.4, 5.8 Promotional materials from Diego Rivera illustrations, clippings, 1956, 1958, undated
Container
5.1 Copies of Diego Rivera illustrations, general correspondence, 1964, 1978, undated
Container
3.5, 6.4-5, osb 14 Correspondence, photocopied clippings for Diego Rivera exhibit at Detroit Institute of Arts, 1985-1986, undated
Container
5.5-7 Photographs and copies of Diego Rivera illustrations and correspondence with Brenner, undated
Container
5.9 Diego Rivera related clippings, typed drafts, correspondence, handwritten notes 1939-1940, 1963
Subseries C. Press Clippings, 1937-1991, undated
Container
6.6, osb 14 Arts related articles, clippings regarding Anita and Leah Brenner, photocopied clippings, 1937-1993, undated
Container
3.9, 6.7, 6.11, 6.13 Leah Brenner articles, correspondence, 1939-1959
Container
3.3, 6.9 Clippings regarding Leon Trotsky and Frida Kahlo, 1940-1982, undated
Container
6.1 Diego Rivera and Brenner articles, book reviews, 1940-1991, undated
Container
4.8, 6.2 Copies of articles in Town & Country magazine, correspondence, 1941-1978, undated
Container
2.9, 3.5, 6.8, 6.12, 6.15 Book reviews, correspondence, 1953-1987, undated
Container
6.6, 6.10 Frost Bros. Viva Mexico, correspondence, 1956
Container
6.14 General photocopied clippings, 1975, undated
Container
6.3 Article about Mathias Goeritz, correspondence, 1985-1986



Series II. Correspondence, 1941-1993, undated

Subseries A. Financial, 1953-1993, undated
Container
7.3 1953-1954
Container
7.1 1960
Container
8.6, 8.8 1966-1968
Container
8.7, 8.9, 7.2 1967-1971
Container
8.10, 11.7 1973-1986
Container
8.4 1980-1990
Container
7.4, 8.5, 12.9 1986-1993, undated
Subseries B. General, 1941-1991
Container
10.3 1941-1991
Container
9.6 1943-1987
Container
10.1 1948-1982
Container
9.5 1962-1988
Container
8.1 1963-1978
Container
8.2 1964-1991
Subseries C. Personal, 1942-1986
Container
8.3 1942-1957
Container
9.1-4 Mathias Goeritz, 1977-1986
Subseries D. Professional, 1942-1991, undated
Container
8.3 1942-1957
Container
10.2, 10.6 1944-1991, undated
Container
10.4 1951-1954
Container
9.7 1962-1987
Container
10.5 1975-1988



Series III. Personal, 1929-1994, undated

Subseries A. Biographical, 1935-1986, undated
Container
12.10 Junior high school diploma, 1929
Container
12.17 Personal identification materials, correspondence, 1935-1981
Container
osb 14 Diplomas from Universidad Nacional de México, 1937, 1941, 1986
Container
13.1 Address books and identification cards, 1969, 1980, undated
Subseries B. Financial and Legal, 1942-1994
Container
11.1, 12.2-3 Tax documents, receipts, 1942-1990
Container
12.1, 12.4-5 Financial and medical documents and correspondence, 1949-1994
Container
12.7 Beechhurst Press invoices, 1953
Container
11.8 Lease agreements, travel expense reports and receipts, 1956
Container
11.5 Inter-Vivos Trust documents, notes, 1963-1968
Container
11.6 Legal documents and financial ledgers, 1965-1967
Container
7.8-9, 7.11 Frost National Bank trust fund and bank statements, 1967-1969
Container
7.5-7, 7.10, 7.12, 12.6 Groos National Bank trust fund and bank statements, ledger sheets, 1968-1993
Container
12.8 Social Security earnings statement, 1971
Container
11.9-11 Warranties, receipts, 1977-1990
Subseries C. Photographs, 1952-1986, undated
Container
12.1-3, 12.16 Family photographs, correspondence, and clippings, 1952-1953, undated
Container
11.4, 11.7 Postcards, Tina Modotti fine prints, snapshots of art, 1973-1986, undated
Container
12.15 Photographed drawings, 1975, undated
Container
11.3, 12.18 Prints and negatives, 4 photographs by Tina Modotti, 1924, undated
Container
osb 14 Paula Brenner, unidentified defaced portrait, undated
Subseries D. Dogs and Dog Breeders, 1989-1990, undated
Container
11.2, 12.11 Correspondence and photographs, 1989-1990, undated
Subseries E. Ephemera, 1929-1993
Container
13.3 Our Lady of the Lake College yearbook, 1932
Container
12.14 Mitos y Legendas de Teotihuacan: Creacion del Quito Sol: Sacraficio Gladatorio program, 1935
Container
13.4 Woman’s Life, magazine, Reader’s Digest, magazine, 1954
Container
13.5 Newspaper and magazine clippings, 1954-1955
Container
12.9 Sotheby’s auction catalogs, general correspondence, 1986-1993
Container
13.2 San Antonio Conservation Society booklet, 1989



Index of Correspondents

  • Aderhold, James E.--11.10
  • Amor, Inés, 1912-1980--10.5
  • Andrews, John B.--11.9
  • Angoff, Charles, 1902-1979--9.5-6, 10.2
  • Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery--2.6
  • Asia and the Americas--2.8
  • Atheneum (New York, N.Y.)--1.3
  • Austin, John H., 1926--10.2
  • Baird, Joel--9.5
  • Beck, Stuart--3.9
  • Beitel, Gordon--12.17
  • Benjamin, Mary A.--9.7
  • Bennack, Frank A., Jr.--6.2
  • Betancourt, Rafael Molina--10.1
  • Bialo, Esther--8.3, 10.4, 10.7
  • Bond, George--10.6
  • Bowden, Ron--11.9
  • Brandi, Linda--10.2
  • Breedlove, James M.--5.9
  • Brenner, A.--2.5
  • Brenner, Anita, 1905-1974--12.17
  • Brenner, Aubrey--12.9
  • Brenner, Marie--12.9
  • Brenner, Paula--12.13
  • Brown, Carol N.--9.6
  • Brünner, Werner Mathias Goeritz, 1915-1990--8.2, 9.1-4, 10.9-10
  • Buchanan, Kathleen--11.2
  • Bull, Harry A.--2.8, 4.8, 10.2
  • Burnette, Bill--12.4
  • Burns, Harry J.--7.1, 7.10
  • Burrows, Carlyle--8.3, 10.7
  • Bywater, Jerry--10.8
  • Caldwell, Robert G.--10.2
  • Carson, George J.--7.10
  • Cawes, Catherine--10.2
  • Celli, Anne--9.5
  • Cellier, Peter--10.7
  • Charlot, Jean, 1898-1979--5.1, 9.6-7, 10.5, 11.3, 11.7
  • Charlot, Zohmah--7.4, 8.2, 8.4, 9.7 10.5, 11.7
  • Chatillon, Henri de--10.7
  • Children's Books--3.5
  • Claiborne, Cornelia--10.2
  • Clark, Lynn, 1938--8.1-2
  • Clarke, George Herbert, 1873-1953--10.2
  • Coriat, Samuel--6.3
  • Cornell, Susan--11.9
  • Crevenna, Theo R.--9.6
  • Crowther, Bosley--10.7
  • Dakin, Roger--3.3, 10.6
  • Davis, Edward F.--10.3
  • Davis, Esther--5.4
  • Detroit Institute of Arts--3.5
  • Detroit Institute of Arts. Founders Society--6.4
  • Dicard, Mary--5.3, 11.7
  • Dillow, Katherine--8.1
  • Dobie, J. Frank, 1888-1964--10.2
  • Douglass, Ellwood--10.2
  • Drew, Lisa--8.1
  • Dyer, Lisa--10.2
  • Eaganhouse, Robert P.--9.2
  • Fine, Benjamin--8.3, 10.7
  • Folman, Maude--8.1
  • Forslund, Inga--9.5
  • French, Eleanor Clark--8.3
  • Funke, Lewis, 1912-1992--8.3, 10.4
  • Gardner, C____--12.1
  • Garza, Gilberto Cazarez--10.2
  • Garza, Rudy--12.3
  • Geiss, Bernard--10.2
  • Gilhaus, Prudence--10.2
  • Gilliam, Jacqueline--8.4
  • Gizzard, Mary--9.7
  • Gonzalez, Jose Arturo--12.17
  • Goodall, Donald B.--8.10, 10.8
  • Gould, Jack--8.3, 10.7
  • Guss, Roscoe--8.2
  • Grace, Charles W., 1862-1946--9.6
  • Grace, Margaret De--6.4
  • Grant, A. W.--10.7
  • Grant, Frank L.--12.17
  • Groos, Fred C., Jr.--7.10
  • Grossman, Richard L.--8.1
  • Hadas, Elizabeth C.--2.6, 3.3, 12.9
  • Halpern, Irving--8.2, 9.7
  • Hanna, William E., Jr.--12.8
  • Hargis, Fred B.--11.1
  • Harnoncourt, Rene D’--5.1, 9.6
  • Harrison, J. S.--10.4, 10.7
  • Haydn, Hiram--1.3, 8.2, 9.5-6, 10.2
  • Heijenoort, J. Van--9.6
  • Hearst Corporation--6.2
  • Hinga, Donna--3.4
  • Hirshberg, Henry A.--10.7
  • Horney, Karen--12.5
  • The Houston Chronicle--3.4
  • Hurley, Margaret--6.7, 6.11, 11.8
  • Hutchens, John K.--10.7
  • Hyam, Leslie--10.7
  • Jacobson, David, Rabbi--12.13
  • Jeffers, Sue Ellen--7.4, 10.1, 12.17
  • Jordan, Donna--8.1
  • Kaminstein, Abraham L.--10.2
  • Kan, Michael--6.8
  • Keller, Judith--9.6
  • Kidwell, Jenny--10.5
  • Kohler, Charlotte--2.8, 8.1, 10.2, 10.6
  • La Follette, Suzanne--10.2
  • Lang, Gilbert--6.10
  • Leff, Alan--11.2
  • Lewis, Hobart--10.2
  • Lilley, Arthur M.--12.4
  • Linscott, Robert N.--10.6
  • Lopez, Jesus Moreno--10.1
  • Lottinville, Savoie--8.2
  • Lowe, Sarah M.--12.9
  • Loyd, L. M.--11.1
  • Mackintosh, Harriet--4.8, 6.13, 8.3, 10.4, 10.7
  • Macon, Jane H.--11.10
  • Malley, Kathleen--3.5
  • Malone, Lee--10.8
  • Marshall, Judie--9.2
  • Marshall, Margaret--8.1
  • Martin, Mary-Anne--7.4, 8.4, 11.4
  • Martinez, Bernardo--10.7
  • Massee, May--9.6, 10.2
  • Matthews, Katherine--10.8
  • Mattox, Jim--11.2
  • Maxwell, Allen--10.2
  • McCombs, Holland--8.3, 10.7
  • McCready, Eric S.--2.6
  • McWilliams, Carey--10.2
  • Metzdorf, Robert F.--10.8
  • Misrachi, Alberto J.--10.5
  • Mitchell, W. O.--10.2
  • Morton, Charles W.--10.2
  • Murtaugh, William J.--11.9
  • Neily, George F.--9.2
  • Nisbett, James M.--8.1
  • Neubauer, Laurie--12.9
  • Neubert, Mary E.--10.2
  • Nolen, Barbara--10.2
  • Nunan, Joseph D., Jr.--11.1
  • Obolensky, Lubov’, Princess--8.3, 10.7
  • O’German, Jaun--12.17
  • O’Henly, John--11.10
  • O’Henly, Ruby--11.10
  • Oliver, Edith--10.2
  • Orenstein, Lora--6.15
  • Ortiz, Alfredo C. Munoz--10.1
  • Osborne, Patricia E.--11.10, 12.4
  • Osler, Geoffrey F.--12.5
  • Packard, Emmy Lou--9.6
  • Palmer, Charles F.--11.10
  • Parmentor, Ross--8.2, 9.3
  • Patterson, Jerry E.--9.6
  • Pereny, Eleanor--6.7
  • Pflughaupt, Mr.--7.1
  • Pickrel, Paul--10.2
  • Pittman, Addi--11.2
  • Ponce, Mario Tapia--10.1
  • Popular library--3.5
  • Radwins, Betty--8.2
  • Ray, J. C.--7.3
  • Remy, William E.--7.1
  • Rice, Charles D., Jr.--10.2
  • Rivera, Diego--1.1, 1.10, 2.1-2, 5.2-3, 5.6
  • Robles, Oswaldo, Dr.--10.1
  • Robertson, Thomas H.--9.7
  • Rorty, James--9.6, 10.2
  • Rose, Sidney, M.D.--12.5
  • Rueda, Julio Jiménez--10.1
  • Ryan, Geoffrey C.--8.1
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch--3.9
  • Sargeant, John D.--8.1
  • Schneider, George P.--2.1
  • Sealy, Lane T.--7.2
  • Seaver, Edwin--8.1
  • Sharp, Ellen--3.5, 6.8, 9.5, 9.7
  • Sherman, Thomas B.--3.9
  • Silva, Mariano--12.17, 10.1
  • Slavic, Henry C.--11.1
  • Sloane, Margaret L.--8.2
  • Sloane, T. O’Conor, III--2.6, 8.2, 9.3, 9.7
  • Smith, Abigail G.--9.5
  • Smith, Harrison--10.4
  • Smith, Rod--12.3
  • Sotheby Parke Bernet--11.4
  • Steinhaus, Pearl M.--10.2
  • Stephens, Jon--11.9
  • Stewart, Miriam--9.5
  • Stoneham, Walter--12.3
  • Stover, Elizabeth M.--10.2
  • Szarkowski, John--9.7
  • Tarr, Leonard, M.D.--12.5
  • Taubman, Howard--3.9, 8.3, 10.7
  • Thompson, Clara--12.5
  • Thompson, J. P.--12.1, 12.5
  • Town & Country (New York, N.Y.: 1901)--2.8, 6.2
  • Traugott, John--11.1
  • Tupper, Willa P.--3.5
  • University of New Mexico Press--3.3, 2.6
  • University of Texas, Latin American Collection--5.9
  • Usigli, Rudolfo--9.5, 10.1-2
  • Valdez, Jesse T.--12.4
  • Valenzuela, Aaron--11.2
  • Vann, George D., Jr.--11.10
  • Virginia Quarterly Review--2.8
  • Walsh, Richard J.--2.8, 10.2, 10.6
  • Ward, Mignon M.--10.1
  • Wardlaw, Frank H.--9.5, 10.8
  • Weintroub, Benjamin--10.2
  • White, Ralph--8.1
  • Whitman, Patricia--9.7
  • Wilson, Aubrey--11.9
  • Wimberly, L. C.--10.2
  • Woman’s Home Companion--3.3
  • Wood, Mildred--10.2
  • Yoseloff, Thomas--8.2, 9.5-7, 10.8
  • Zachary, Frank--6.2
  • Zilmer, Bertram G.--8.3, 10.7