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Marion Barnes Meisel Papers, 1895-1983
2 boxes (.75 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 284

Abstract:
Photographer, Cat breeder, Poet, Restaurateur. Photographs; poems; notes; correspondence. Half of the collection is comprised of the Meisel's photographs (portraits), plus a few of her with her cats. There are also drafts of poems, and a small amount of personal correspondence.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The Papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright ownership of Marion Meisel's writings is unknown. Copyright to materials authored by persons other than Meisel may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note
Marion Meisel, circa 1920

Marion Meisel, circa 1920

Marion Barnes Meisel was born Mary Hall Barnes in 1874 to James Jethro Barnes and Cornelia V. Hall Barnes in Atlanta, Georgia. She was the second oldest and only girl of four children. Her father was a prominent figure, serving as a City Councilman and Sheriff in Atlanta in the late nineteenth century. Little is known about Meisel's childhood.

Marion Barnes studied piano intermittently between 1895 and 1901 at C.A. Klemm's Musikalen-Sortiment in Leipzig, Germany. During this time she was courted by a violinist from Missouri named Victor Lichtenstein. In 1902, at age 28, she married Guido Meisel, a German chemist. They resided primarily in New York City and Boston. Marion studied photography at the Clarence H. White school of photography and became part of a community of elite photographers, including Alfred Stieglitz and Arthur D. Chapman. She worked primarily as a portrait photographer during the World War I period. Guido was convicted of commercial espionage in 1928, having sold chemical information to the Germans. This resulted in their separation and his permanent residence in Germany. They had no children.

After Guido's conviction, Marion moved to Poughkeepsie, New York, where she owned the Treasure Chest Tavern and Antique Shop which served the Vassar College community. She then moved to Weston, Vermont around 1935 to open the Hitching Post, a country inn. Marion also wrote poetry upon moving to Vermont, some of which was published in small magazines such as The Florida Magazine of Verse and Driftwinds. Her writing culminated in the publication of her only book, As The Pendulum Swings, published by Driftwinds Press in 1946. Cats were an important part of Marion's life and while living in Vermont she began working as a cat breeder.

Around 1948, when she was 74, Marion moved to South Londonderry, Vermont and then to Acworth, New Hampshire in 1951. Around 1959, at age 85, Marion moved back to New York City where she remained until her death in 1965 at age 91.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Marion Barnes Meisel Papers consist of .75 linear ft. of material dating from 1895 to 1983 and are primarily related to her work as a poet and photographer. Types of materials include correspondence, drafts and published versions of poems, photographs, newspaper clippings, business information, and memorabilia.

Correspondence dates primarily from 1896 to 1899 and consists of letters from Victor Lichtenstein. There are some later letters from Marion Burling dating from 1935 to 1959.

The bulk of the papers date from 1917 to 1950 and consist of poems written by Meisel, as well as her photographic works. The photographs are primarily portraits, with some landscapes and artistic pieces. The bulk of the photographs are unidentified and undated. There are also scrapbook pages and photographs of Marion and her cats.

This collection is organized into four series:


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The Papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Copyright ownership of Marion Meisel's writings is unknown. Copyright to materials authored by persons other than Meisel may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Marion Barnes Meisel Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

Richard Hanau donated Marion Meisel's Papers to the Sophia Smith Collection 1989.

Processing Information

Processed by Allison Pilatsky, 2009.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email Reference Form: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/emailform.html
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/

Language
English

Contents List
SERIES I. BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS



General
1895-1983, n.d.

Box 1: folder 1
Memorabilia
1899-1901, n.d.

Box 1: folder 2
SERIES II. CORRESPONDENCE



Lichtenstein, Victor



1896-1897
1896-1897

Box 1: folder 3
1897-1898
1897-1898

Box 1: folder 4
1899 fragment, n.d.
1899, n.d.

Box 1: folder 5
Burling, Marion
1935-59

Box 1: folder 6
Miscellaneous
1945-54, n.d.

Box 1: folder 7
SERIES III. WRITINGS



Poems



Cats
n.d.

Box 1: folder 8
Life
1938-46, n.d.

Box 1: folder 9
Love
1938-43, n.d.

Box 1: folder 10
Time
1940-44, n.d.

Box 1: folder 11
Age and memory
1938-39, n.d.

Box 1: folder 12
Death
1937-43, n.d.

Box 1: folder 13
Nature
1938-44, n.d.

Box 1: folder 14
Music and writing
1938-41, n.d.

Box 1: folder 15
Religion
1939-43, n.d.

Box 1: folder 16
Political and historical
1937-43, n.d.

Box 1: folder 17
Miscellaneous
1938-47, n.d.

Box 1: folder 18
Handwritten drafts
1935-42, n.d.

Box 1: folder 19
Miscellaneous writings
1927, 1938, n.d.

Box 1: folder 20
SERIES IV: PHOTOGRAPHS



By Marion Meisel



Cats


Box 1: folder 21
Artistic pieces


Box 1: folder 22
Landscapes


Box 1: folder 23
Portraits



Men


Box 1: folder 24
Women


Box 2: folder 1
Guido Meisel
1950, n.d.

Box 2: folder 2
Children


Box 2: folder 3
Miscellaneous


Box 2: folder 4
By others



Chapman, Arthur D.: cityscapes
1914

Box 2: folder 5
Treasure Chest Tavern: interior
n.d.

Box 2: folder 6
Marion Meisel and miscellaneous


Box 2: folder 7
Scrapbook pages



Marion Meisel


Box 2: folder 8
Marion Meisel and unidentified man


Box 2: folder 9

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Meisel, Marion
  • Portrait photographers--New York (State)--New York--History--20th century
  • Women photographers--United States--Biography--Sources


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