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Peggy Bacon Papers

An inventory of her papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: -
Date: Jan 1967

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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)



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.

Table of Contents


Subject files