Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation - Grace Nicholson: Notes and Photos, 1903-1968

About the Project

Help us transcribe “Grace Nicholson: Notes and Photos, 1903-1968” (Box 262A, Folder 4) from the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation Records. This project includes photographs, please review the General Instructions Page for guidance on transcribing images. Grace Nicholson was an art collector dealer who specialized in Native American and Asian arts and crafts. She moved to California following her parents and grandparents death, in 1901 and was soon purchasing Native American baskets and other artifacts in association with Carrol S. Hartman. Nicholson kept extensive diaries and notes on her buying trips through Native American territory, especially of the Karok, Klamath, and Pomo communities. Her notes included Native American legends, folklore, vocabulary, tribal festivals, basket making, the art trade, and living conditions. Native American artists with whom Nicholson established long-term business and personal connections included Pomo basket weaver Mary Benson (1878-1930) and her husband William Benson (1862-1937), as well as Elizabeth Hickox (1875-1947) of the Karuk tribe. Throughout her collecting career, Nicholson maintained a correspondence with George Heye selling and donating collections to the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation from 1916 until her death in 1948. In 1968, Maxwell donated Nicholson's papers and photographs to The Huntington Library and sold Nicholson's collection of baskets made by the Bensons, as well as a large collection of correspondence and myths from William Benson, to the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, of New York City (now the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution).

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