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Lindsay Hughes Cooper Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS-013

Collection Description

The Lindsay Hughes Cooper Papers, dated 1925 to 2021, consist of both personal and professional materials, such as diaries, correspondence, photographs, research notes, lectures, poems, reprints of journal articles and newspaper clippings, museum guides and acquisition information, travel materials, biographical information, and a scrapbook. The collection has been organized into eight series: Diaries (Series I); Correspondence (Series II); Writings (Series III); Lectures (Series IV); General Museum Files (Series V); Personal Files (Series VI); Photographs (Series VII); and Printed Items, Books and Other Publications (Series VIII).

Dates

  • 1925-2021

Conditions on Access

The scrapbook from Series VI contains restricted information. A redacted copy has been provided. The rest of the collection is open for research. Appointments are necessary for the use of manuscript and archival collections.

Conditions on Use

Notification of intent to publish, quote, or cite archival materials is required. Contact the archives via https://nelson-atkins.org/library/.

Administrative/Biographical Sketch

Ruth Lindsay Hughes was born in Bevier, Missouri, on September 8, 1908, and she graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1931. She developed an interest in art from courses taken in college, and, two years later, she secured a position at the soon to be opened Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. She was initially hired to perform such tasks as sewing, dusting, and polishing; however, her industriousness and intelligence eventually convinced Paul Gardner to let her also write guide books to some of the rooms, give lectures, write plays for children’s classes, and develop a radio program to dramatize the collection. Later, when Laurence Sickman was hired as the Curator of Asian Art, Lindsay became his assistant. When Sickman was drafted into the Army during World War II, she took over as Acting Curator of Asian Art. Hughes resigned from her position at the museum in 1946, due to her impending marriage to Frank Cooper. They then moved to New York where she took a job with the Asian art dealer, C. T. Loo, whom she had become acquainted with through his connection with the museum. Due to Frank Cooper’s business interests, the couple later moved to Laguna Beach, California, where they lived (except for a short stint in Iran where Lindsay taught English as a second language), until they returned to Kansas City in 1970. Once back in Kansas City, Lindsay resumed her association with the museum as Sickman’s assistant. She remained in this position for five years, until Sickman retired in 1977. Lindsay Hughes Cooper died on November 16, 1997, at the age of 89.

Extent

2.54 Linear Feet (in 3 half-document boxes, 1 document boxes and 2 record boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Overview

The Lindsay Hughes Cooper Papers, dated 1925-2021, consist of diaries, correspondence, photographs, research notes, lecture, reprints of journal articles, and other miscellaneous material The collection relates to her career at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and personal life. While at the museum from 1933 to 1946, she served as librarian, an educator, lecturer, assistant to Curator of Asian Art Laurence Sickman, and acting curator during his absence in World War II.

Organization

The collection has been organized into eight series: Diaries (Series I); Correspondence (Series II); Writings (Series III); Lectures (Series IV); General Museum Files (Series V); Personal Files (Series VI); Photographs (Series VII); and Printed Items, Books and Other Publications (Series VIII).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1993, 1996, 2022; accession numbers associated with this collection are 1993-12 and 1996-02.

Accruals

Additions to the collection are not anticipated.

Related Archival Materials

Department of Asian Art (RG 2); Lindsay Hughes Files (RG 92); Cooper, Lindsay Hughes (VF 01).

Processing Information

The collection was reprocessed to incorporate the accretion received in 2022. Loose items were removed from their physical locations in the scrapbook album for housing and preservation purposes.

Title
Finding Aid of the Lindsay Hughes Cooper Papers, MSS 013
Author
Finding aid prepared by Tara Laver and Miranda Mahoney
Date
2023 August
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Archives Repository

Contact:
4525 Oak St.
Kansas City MO 64111 United States
816-751-1354