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Peggy Bacon Papers

An inventory of her papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Bacon, Peggy, 1895-1987.
Title: Peggy Bacon Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1893-1964
Quantity: 3.5 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the American author, caricaturist, illustrator, painter. Collection includes correspondence between Bacon and her husband Alexander Brook, as well as that of others; manuscript articles, illustrations, poems, and notebooks; published material including articles, drawings, and newspaper clippings by or about Bacon and Brook; memorabilia, including awards, photographs, and reviews; and miscellany.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Margaret "Peggy" Bacon was born in Ridgefield, Connecticut, on May 2 1895, the only child of Charles R. Bacon and his wife, both professional painters, and grew up in an artistic and literary environment. In an interview in 1973 with Paul Cummings for the Archives of American Art, she recalled that "[My parents] were passionate readers of Henry James as fast as his novels came out. Every evening there was reading aloud....[T]here were quantities of books, endless books arriving. And a great deal of charm. They were people of taste. Father was very well-read in French. He spoke French so well that French people mistook him for a Frenchman."

Peggy was largely educated by tutors and governesses until the age of fourteen when she was sent to Kent Place School in Summit, New Jersey. She displayed her artistic talents at an early age and rather than entering college decided to study at the Art Students League in New York City. In 1920 she married fellow student Alexander Brook (with whom she later had two children, Alexander and Belinda) and began her career as artist, writer and teacher.

Peggy Bacon taught at the Corcoran Art School in Washington DC, the Fieldstone School, the Art Students League, Hunter College, and the New School in New York. At the same time, she began exhibiting her pastels, prints, etchings and caricatures in many of the country's major museums. She had had her first one-man show in 1915 and beginning in 1922 she had a show almost every year at various galleries in New York. Like many of her compatriots, she worked for Associated American Artists but did not stay with them long.

Along with her art, Peggy was also a talented writer. She contributed articles, short stories, and witty verse to leading magazines such as The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and the Saturday Review, including a review in verse of The Women, which "earned [me] two lifelong enemies -- Clare Booth Luce and Henry Luce." Her first children's book, The Lion-hearted Kitten, was published in 1926 and several more quickly followed, as well as illustration work on more than sixty books for both children and adults. In 1952 her first novel, a mystery entitled The Inward Eye, was published and won favorable reviews.

In 1934 Bacon won a Guggenheim Fellowship and a few years later an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. She retired to Cape Porpoise, Maine in 1961 where she lived until her death in 1987.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Peggy Bacon Papers consist of correspondence, subject files, manuscripts, and published material. Correspondence is that of Bacon as well as her husband, Alexander Brook, and includes incoming and outgoing correspondence. Subject files include awards, illustrated Christmas cards, marriage announcements, photographs, a record of Ms. Bacon's birth, reviews of the work of Bacon and of others, and theatre passes. Manuscripts consists of articles, illustrated booklets, sketches and drawings, notebooks and notes, poems, short stories, sketchbooks and valentines by Bacon. Published material consists of articles and drawings, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, postcards and press releases, all by or about Bacon. Also included are articles about Alexander Brook.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Incoming correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent and within that chronologically. Outgoing correspondence is arranged chronologically. Letters from Bacon to her husband are arranged chronologically. Letters from others to Brook are arranged alphabetically while letters from Brook to others are filed separately in no particular order, being undated. Subject files, manuscripts, and published material are arranged alphabetically by type.

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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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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has the papers of a number of American artists from the same time period. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

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Subject Headings


Bacon, Peggy, 1895-1987 Archives.
Brook, Alexander.


Art, American -- 20th century.
Art, American.
Illustrators, United States.
Painters, United States.
Painting, American -- 20th century.
Painting, American.
Women artists, United States.
Women authors, American.
Women painters, United States.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Peggy Bacon Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Peggy Bacon, 1964.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: -
Date: Jan 1967
Revision history: 25 Sep 2007 - converted to EAD (MRC)

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Box 1 Arms, John Taylor 1946, 1952, undated
Box 1 Bacon, Mrs C.R. and mother 1906, 1952
Box 1 Bacon, G. to Bar
Box 1 Benet, Mr and Mrs Stephen V
Box 1 Bennett-Brady
Box 1 Brook, Alexander 1920
Box 1 Brook, Alexander undated
Box 1 Brook, Alexander (Sandy) 1958, undated
Box 1 Brook, Anneke 1958-1961
Box 1 Brook, Anneke undated
Box 1 Brook, Lisbet
Box 1 Brook, Megan
Box 1 Brown to Bu
Box 2 Ca-Ch
Box 2 Colt, Amy undated
Box 2 Colt, C.C. undated
Box 2 Colt to Cross
Box 2 D
Box 2 E
Box 2 F
Box 2 G
Box 2 Glannon, Edward undated
Box 2 H to I
Box 2 James, William 1952
Box 2 K to L
Box 2 M
Box 2 N
Box 2 O to Pe
Box 2 Porter, Katherine Anne 1958
Box 2 Pownall, and R
Box 2 S
Box 2 T and V
Box 2 Wa-Wh
Box 2 Wilson, Mr and Mrs Edmund
Box 2 Wilson, R to Wo
Box 2 Unidentified
Box 2 Unidentified - Aunt Fanny
Box 2 Unidentified - Belinda Brook (daughter) and sons Charles and Jeff
Box 2 Unidentified - Mary
Box 2 1905, undated
Box 2 to Alexander Brook 1919-1920
Box 3 to Alexander Brook undated
Box 3 Johns, Augustus 1920
Box 3 K-N
Box 3 R-T, V
Box 3 Unidentified
Box 3 from Alexander Brook undated
Subject files
Box 3 Advertising schedule for The Inward Eye
Box 3 Awards
Oversize 1 Honorary degree from Moore College of Art
Box 3 Illustrated Christmas cards of Bacon and Brook families 1903, undated
Box 3 Invitation
Box 3 Marriage announcement
Box 3 Photographs
Box 3 Printer's block
Box 3 Record of birth
Box 3 Reviews 1919-1920, 1922, 1925, 1928-1929, 1934, 1936-1937, 1942-1943, 1945, 1953, 1959, undated
Box 3 Reviews of others - Charles R. Bacon and Alexander Brook
Box 3 Theatre passes
Box 4 Articles by
Box 4 Illustrated booklets by 1906-1908
Box 4 Ink sketches by
Box 4 Notebooks of compositions
Box 4 Notes
Box 4 Pencil drawings by
Box 4 Personality sketches by
Box 4 Poems - To Grace- by 1948-1949
Box 4 Poems by (2 folders)
Box 5 Prints by
Box 5 Short stories by (3 folders)
Box 5 Sketchbooks 1906-1908, undated
Box 5 Valentines by
Box 5 Watercolor sketches and designs (2 folders)
Box 5 Manuscripts of others - play by A. Shampanier
Articles or drawings
Box 6 About Bacon 1920, 1925, 1929, 1931, 1934-1935, 1937-1939, 1942, 1944-1946, 1949, 1952-1953, 1959-1960
Box 6 By Bacon 1920, 1923-1926, 1928-1929, 1931-1932, 1934-1935, 1938, 1940-1946, 1947-1949, 1952, 1955, undated
About others
Box 6 Miscellaneous
Box 6 Alexander Brooks 1943, undated
By others
Box 6 Alexander Brooks 1943, undated
Newspaper clippings
Box 7 About Bacon 1919, 1922, 1925-1926, 1929, 1930-1931, 1933-1935, 1936, 1938-1939, 1940, 1942-1946, 1952-1953, 1956-1957, 1959, 1962, undated (9 folders)
Box 7 By Bacon 1920, 1923, 1927, 1931, 1934-1936, 1938, 1940-1943, 1945, 1948, 1952-1953, undated (2 folders)
Box 7 About others 1930, 1933, 1940, 1946, undated (2 folders)
Box 7 Scrapbook
Box 7 Pamphlets by
Box 7 Postcards
Box 7 Press releases

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