Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Greta Kempton Papers

Dates: 1930-1991.

Portrait painter; creator of official White House portraits of President Harry S. Truman and First Lady Bess Truman.

The papers of Greta Kempton document her personal life, her career as an artist, her financial affairs, and her associations with President Harry S. Truman and other prominent individuals whose portraits she painted. The series also contains materials relating to financial and legal records (including appraisals of many of Kempton's paintings) and family correspondence.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 8 linear feet, 9 linear inches (about 16,000 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: The Truman Library Institute, which was Kempton's residual legatee, has donated its copyright interest in any unpublished writings in this collection to the people of the United States. Documents prepared by U.S. Government employees in the course of their official duties are also in the public domain. Copyright interest in documents that do not fall into these two categories is presumed to remain with the writers of the documents.
Processed by: Randy Sowell, Sam Rushay, Dennis Bilger, Monica Milliren, and Patrick Osborn (1997); Aaron Davis, David Clark, and Jan Davis (2014); Jim Armistead, Doug McClellan and David Clark (2015-2016).


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1901 (March 22) Born, Vienna, Austria
c. 1926 Emigrated to the United States
c 1930 Student, National Academy of Design and Art Students League, New York City
1946-47 Commissioned to paint portraits of Drucie Snyder, Treasury Secretary John Snyder, Margaret Truman, and President Harry S. Truman (the official White House portrait)
1948 Democratic National Committee distributed hundreds of thousands of prints of official White House portrait as part of Truman reelection campaign
1949, February 5 One-woman show opened at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
1949, February 21 Portrait of Truman in Masonic regalia (as Grand Master of Missouri) presented to the President, Hotel Statler, Washington, DC
1949-1952 Painted additional portraits of Mr. Truman, Bess Truman, Margaret Truman, and several Truman administration officials
1963 Named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London
1968 Bess Truman portrait presented to the White House
1987 "Greta Kempton: Forty Years on Canvas" exhibition at the Harry S. Truman Library, Independence, Missouri
1991, December 10 Died, New York City

[ Top | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of Greta Kempton document her personal life, her career as an artist, her financial affairs, and her associations with President Harry S. Truman and other prominent individuals whose portraits she painted. The series also contains materials relating to financial and legal records (including appraisals of many of Kempton's paintings) and family correspondence. The papers consist of one series, a Subject File.

The Subject File contains extensive personal correspondence from Kempton's friends, along with material documenting her career as an artist, her social life, and her financial affairs. There are documents related to John Snyder and his family; Senator Carter Glass of Virginia and his family; Postmaster General Robert Hannegan; Postmaster General Jesse Donaldson; Secretary of the Interior Julius Krug; Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington; and His Eminence Samuel Cardinal Stritch of Chicago. These files contain correspondence, particularly with John and Drucie Snyder. Also included is information concerning exhibitions of Kempton's work and her memberships in a variety of organizations. Additional materials consist of contracts for portraits painted by Kempton during the early stages of her career and "Sketchbooks" and "Sketches" that include some of her original drawings.

Other documents consist of letters and postcards to Kempton from her daughter Daisy Dickson and her grandson Albert d'Ossche, with related materials. Also included are correspondence, printed materials, and other items documenting Kempton's relations with President Truman and the Harry S. Truman Library. Much of this material concerns a 1987 exhibition of Kempton's work at the Library. Additional materials relate to Kempton's career as an artist and to her investments. The series includes appraisals of the monetary value of Kempton's paintings, checkbooks, and material relating to Kempton's apartment in Manhattan. The series includes scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, exhibit brochures, periodicals, and other publications reflecting the development of Kempton's career as a painter and her interest in the work of other artists.

More information about Greta Kempton can be found in other collections at the Truman Library: the Greta Kempton oral history interview conducted by the Truman Library; Truman Presidential Papers (Official File 1446) and Post-Presidential Papers (General Correspondence File and Outgoing Correspondence File); John W. Snyder Papers; and Snyder's oral history interview). The Truman Library's museum collection includes several of Kempton's paintings.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1-20 SUBJECT FILE, 1938-1991
Correspondence, printed materials, newspaper clippings, financial records, contracts, sketches, handwritten notes, and other materials documenting Kempton's artistic career, personal life, and financial affairs. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

[ Top | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1
  • A
  • Accountant
  • Address Books
  • Addresses
  • Adelphi University
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Akron
  • American Biographical Institute
  • American Federation of Arts
  • American Newspaper Women's Club Reception
  • Anderson, Polly
  • Andreoli, Emita
  • Anslinger, Harry J.
  • Apartment Data
  • Appointment Book, 1970
  • Appointment Book, 1971
  • Appointment Book, 1987
  • Appraisals
  • Appraisals and Other Financial Records
Box 2
  • Appraisals-Dorothy White Estate
  • Appraisals-Fine Art
  • Appraisals-Marjorie Neil Krug
  • Appraisals-O'Toole
  • Appraisals--Thomson
  • Arkansas
  • Art Association of Harrisburg, PA.
  • Art Associations-General
  • Art Donations [Subscriptions]
  • Art in the Embassies--U.S. Department of State
  • Art Supplies
  • Artists [Exhibits]
  • Artists' Fellowship Inc.
  • Artists Welfare Fund Inc.
  • Automobile
  • Awards and Certificates
  • B
  • Baradel, Edith and Joseph
  • Batchelder, Barbara Ellen and William
  • Bates, Franklin A.
  • Beinecke, Edwin J.
  • Bennett, Betty and Richard
  • Bills
Box 3
  • Biographical Information
  • Boas, Gus and Grace
  • Brazilian Court Hotel
  • Broady, John G. (Steve)
  • Burns, Gene A.
  • Burr Artists
  • Business Cards [Membership Cards]
  • C
  • Canton Art Institute
  • Cash Receipts, Disbursements
  • Cashman, Gideon & Kathy
  • Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club
  • Certificates
  • Checkbooks
  • Chemical Bank New York Trust Company
  • Childers, Evelyn
  • Christmas Card List
  • Christmas Correspondence
  • Christmas Lists
Box 4
  • Church
  • Clark, Betty Woodworth
  • Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Clifford, Clark
  • Clippings
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2
  • Clubs
  • Coat-of-Arms
  • Colloquium [Money Management Institute, 1970]
  • Compton, Wilson and Family
  • Contracts for Paintings
  • Contributions
  • Corcoran Gallery of Art
  • Crosby, May
  • Cross Reference Sheets
  • David, Pierre
  • Dewey, Thomas E.
  • Diller, Mary Black
Box 5
  • Disney Productions
  • Dividends and Deposits
  • Dixon, Jeane L.
  • Donaldson, Jesse
  • Draper, Williams
  • Drivers License
  • Editions Publisol
  • Eifert, French and Company
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Eli [Eli Zivan portrait]
  • Elliman, Douglas
  • Engel, Michael
  • English Speaking Union
Box 6
  • Equity General, Inc.
  • Evlanoff, Michael
  • Exhibitions, National
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University
  • Family Correspondence, 1930-1959
  • Family Correspondence, 1964-1969
  • Family Correspondence, 1970
  • Family Correspondence, 1971
  • Family Correspondence, 1972
  • Family Correspondence, 1973
  • Family Correspondence, 1974
  • Family Correspondence, 1975
  • Family Correspondence, 1976
  • Family Correspondence, 1977
  • Family Correspondence, 1978
Box 7
  • Family Correspondence, 1979
  • Family Correspondence, 1980
  • Family Correspondence, 1981
  • Family Correspondence, 1982
  • Family Correspondence, 1983
  • Family Correspondence, 1984
  • Family Correspondence, 1985
  • Family Correspondence, 1986
  • Family Correspondence, 1987
  • Family Correspondence, 1988
  • Family Correspondence, 1989
  • Family Correspondence, 1990
  • Family Correspondence, 1991
  • Family Correspondence, Undated
      [1 of 2]
Box 8
      [2 of 2]
  • Fiduciary Counsel, Inc.
  • Firestone
  • Flink, Kitty
  • Flynn School
  • Frames
  • Fraser, Jim
  • Friedman, Ralph
  • Furniture and Other Property
  • Georgetown
  • Gibson, Bill
  • Gifts
  • Glass Family
  • Glosser, Earl A.
  • Gramercy Herald
  • Grand Central Art Galleries
  • Guck, Dr. John
Box 9
  • Gurwoood, Jan & Alex [Jane Dolinger]
  • Hainfeld, Jr., Frederick
  • Haley, Mrs. E. A.
  • Hanfield, Callen, Ruland & Benjamin
  • Hannegan. Robert E.
  • Harrisburg Clippings
  • Harry S. Truman Administration
  • Harry S. Truman and Family-Correspondence
  • Harry S. Truman and Family-Newspaper Clippings
  • Harry S. Truman and Family-Portraits
  • Harry S. Truman Centennial Stamp, 1984
  • Harry S. Truman Library
  • Harry S. Truman Library-Correspondence
Box 10
  • Harry S. Truman Library-Gift of Papers
  • Harry S. Truman Library Institute
  • Harry S. Truman Library-News Releases
  • Harry S. Truman Library-Oral History Interview
  • Harry S. Truman-Masonic
  • Harry S. Truman-Miscellaneous
  • Harry S. Truman National Historic Site
  • Harry S. Truman-Photographs
  • Harry S. Truman-Printed Materials
  • Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation
  • Hastings, John
  • Hole, Ernest M.
  • Hoover, Mrs. Ray P.
  • Hotels
  • "House on the Hill"
  • Human Resources Center
  • Hunter, Harold
  • Insurance
Box 11
  • Insurance-Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • Insurance-Continental Casualty Company
  • International Biographical Center
  • International Directory of Arts
  • International Platform Association
  • Jiranek, Leo
  • Johnson, Lyndon B.
  • Karoly, Andrew
  • Kefauver, Nancy P.
  • Kempton-Accolades
  • Kempton Apartments
  • Kempton, Greta-Estate
      [1 of 3]
      [2 of 3]
Box 12
      [3 of 3]
  • Kempton-References [Biographical Information]
  • Knerly, Mrs. Stephen J.
  • Koplar Family
  • Krug, Julius A.
  • Kupferman, Murray
  • Lawyers
  • Leggett, Ruth
  • Lehrer, Jack
  • Leitner, Steven
  • Leone, Arthur Thomas
  • Lindsay, John
  • Litigation
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Long Island Trust
  • Louisiana
  • Loyola College
  • Macray Movers, Inc.
  • Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company
  • Marks and Marks
  • Masonic
  • McAll, Mrs. Reginald
  • McCullough, David
  • McNamara, Ambrose M.
  • McNamara, Archibald
  • McNamara Estate
  • Medina City Schools
  • Medina, Harold
Box 13
  • Messina, Joseph
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Meyer, Jeanne
  • Milliken, Severance
  • Missouri State Historical Society
  • Money Management Institute
  • Museums and Exhibitions
  • National Academy of Design
  • National Arts Club
  • National League of American Pen Women
  • Museum of Women in the Arts
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • National Social Directory
  • National Society of Arts and Letters
  • Nelson, G.T.
  • New York-Phoenix Schools of Design
  • Nixon, Richard M.
  • Notes
  • Odum, Reathel
  • Oklahoma Art Center
  • Onassis, Jackie
  • O'Toole, James St. L.
  • Pace Press
Box 14
  • Paint Companies
  • Painting Copies
  • Paintings
  • Paints and Photography
  • Palette Scholarship Awards
  • Parma Area Fine Arts Council
  • Parsons, Claude and Virginia
  • Passport
  • Pennsylvania
  • Perry, Lois and Chuck
  • Personal Correspondence
  • Pierson, Robert
  • Porterfield, W. A.
  • Portfolio
  • Presidents
  • Printed Materials
      [1 of 5]
      [2 of 5]
Box 15
      [3 of 5]
      [4 of 5]
      [5 of 5]
  • Prusmack, Armand J.
  • Publicity
  • Purchases
  • Quigg, Jim
  • Raffalovich, Katherine
  • Reagan, Ronald
  • Receipts
  • Reich and Company, Inc.
  • Replica Arts, Inc.
  • Resume of Yearly Disbursements
  • Richardson, Weston
Box 16
  • Ridgway, Peggy
  • Riggs Bank
  • Royal Society of Arts
  • Runyon & Bradford College
  • S
  • Saint Francis College
  • Saint Louis
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Sales
  • Salmagundi Club
  • Sammartino, Dr. and Mrs.
  • Sandusky Exchange Club
  • Sant Ambroeus
  • Schwartz, Marie
  • Schweickart and Company
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Schwerin, Fred
  • Scrapbooks, 1939-1949
  • Scrapbooks, 1940-1972
Box 17
  • Scrapbooks, 1940-1977
  • Scrapbooks, 1946-1966
  • Scrapbooks, 1947-1973
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Scrapbooks, 1948-1975
  • Scrapbooks, 1967-1984
Box 18
  • Secrest, Mrs. Edmund
  • Shearson, Hayden and Stone, Inc.
  • Shepherdess
  • Sketch Books
  • Sketches
  • Smith, Barney, Harris, Upham and Co. Inc.
  • Smith, William A.
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Snyder, Drucie
  • Snyder, John
  • Soldati, Gary
  • Speeches
  • Spellman, Cardinal
  • Standard Brands Paint
  • Stock Reports-Technical Managers, Inc.
  • Stocks
  • Stritch, Cardinal
  • Subscriptions
  • Swiss Bank Corporation
  • Symington, Stuart
  • Taft School
Box 19
  • Tasker, Mildred Bedell
  • Taxes
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Thank You Notes
  • Tiffany & Co.
  • Transairco
  • Transportation
  • Treger, Dolores and Gerry
  • Tri-County Society of Fine Arts
  • United Nations
  • Universities
  • U.S. News and World Report
  • Valentine Museum
  • Vandenberg, Hoyt
  • Vena Jeweler, Inc.
  • Vettewinkel, Karel
  • Virginia Residence
  • Wachtel, Lillian
Box 20
  • W.E. Hutton and Company
  • Weston Richardson and Associates
  • Whiskey Painters of America
  • White, Dorothy and Jefferson Wynne
  • Whitney Museum of Art
  • Who's Who
  • Wilcox, U.V.
  • Will
  • Women's Art League
  • Women's National Republican Club
  • Wooster College
  • Wyeth, Andrew

[ Top | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]