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Marsden Hartley memorial collection

Identifier: MC011

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains some of Hartley's correspondence, poems, and essays in manuscript and typescript form. The collection was compiled from a variety of sources, including Hartley's estate, his niece, Norma Berger, and Darwin J. Adams.

Correspondents include Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Tiemer, and Norma Berger. There are also published and unpublished poems in manuscript and typescript form, including Hartley's essay on Carl Sprinchorn, a close friend and fellow Maine artist.


  • 1904-1947, undated


Access Restrictions

Original manuscripts are restricted and can only be consulted with permission of Archives staff.

Use Restrictions

The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.

Historical Note

Marsden Hartley was an American modernist painter and writer. Hartley, whose given name was Edmund, was born in Lewiston, Maine on January 4, 1877 to James and Eliza Jane Hartley. Hartley's mother died in 1885, and in 1889 he married Martha Marsden and moved to Cleveland, Ohio. In 1893, Hartley followed his father to Cleveland. He attended the Cleveland School of Art (now Cleveland Institute of Art) from 1898-1899. In 1899, he was awarded a five year stipend to study in New York. He enrolled first in the He the Chase School in New York (1899), but soon switched to the National Academy of Design where he remained from 1900 to 1904. In 1906, he adopted his stepmother's name becoming Edmund Marsden Hartley. Between 1904 to 1910, Hartley moved frequently between Maine, Boston, and New York, where he became associated with Alfred Stieglitz. Stieglitz ran 291, then the only gallery in the United States exhibiting modern art. Stieglitz gave Hartley a solo exhibition in 1909 and another in 1912. Shortly thereafter, Hartley moved to Paris, where he became friends with Gertrude Stein, and in 1913 he traveled to Germany where he met Vassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, and other avant-garde artists. The outbreak of World War I forced Harltey to return to the United States. In 1914 and 1916, he exhibited again in solo shows at Gallery 291. Following the War, Hartley returned to Europe, and he spent the majority of his time in various European cities from 1921 to 1930. He continued to move frequently over the next several years, living in Bermuda; Maine; New York; Mexico; Massachusetts; Bavaria; and Nova Scotia. In 1937 to returned permanently to Maine, excepting brief trips to New York. Hartley died in Ellsworth, Maine on September 2, 1943.


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Language of Materials



The collection includes originals and copies of Hartley's correspondence, poems, and essays compiled from a variety of sources. Correspondents include Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Tiemer, and Norma Berger, the artist's favorite niece. There are also published and unpublished poems in manuscript and typescript form, including Hartley's essay on Carl Sprinchorn, a close friend and fellow Maine artist.

Organization and Arrangement

Organized into three series: I. Correspondence; II. Writings; and III. Restricted materials.

Acquisition and Custody Information

The collection was acquired in four installments: 1. the Book Collection of 165 books along with the remaining effects from Hartley's home in Corea, Maine were given to Bates in March 1951 by Hartley's heirs; 2. manuscripts (9 poems and 9 notebook leaves) were given by Norma G. Berger, Hartley's niece, in July 1955 (these items were initially given to Treat Gallery and transferred to the Library in February 1971 by Synnove Haughom); 3. Copies of Norma Berger's correspondence with Hartley, along with other unspecified manuscripts and books, was given by Berger to the Treat Gallery in 1976; and 4. Letters (8 letters) were given by Darwin J. Adams in 1985. Accession No.: xx-034.

Processing Information

Processed by Kat Stefko, 2010.

Finding aid revised by Pat Webber, 2023.

Guide to the Marsden Hartley memorial collection, 1904-1947, undated
Edited Full Draft
Kat Stefko
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note
Description is in: English
Edition statement

Repository Details

Part of the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library Repository

70 Campus Avenue
Lewiston Maine 04240 United States of America
207-755-5911 (Fax)