Sunday, November 25, 2012

Two sets of notes for papers by Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell was a member of the Monday Evening Club from 1961 until his death in 1978. Previously, we have posted two papers for which standard manuscript drafts survive: "The bed of Procrustes" and "Which way?" The recollection of members who were Rockwell's contemporaries in the Club is, however, that normally Rockwell spoke extemporaneously about a painting or drawing he would bring to the meeting, with at most a few scribbled notes. We reproduce here transcriptions of two such sets of notes, taken from undated manuscripts in the collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass. In these transcriptions,  spelling and punctuation is generally left as it is in the original. While we can not gather the full impact of Rockwell's storytelling from these notes, there is enough to get the gist of the talk and perhaps to glean a few of the opinions he expressed.

The Club is grateful for the assistance of Corry Kanzenburg and Jessika Drmacich of the collections staff at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass. for providing access to the manuscript of this and other papers Rockwell presented to the Club, to the museum's director, Laurie Norton Moffatt, for alerting us to their existence (via a Facebook comment!) and to the Norman Rockwell Licensing Company for permission to publish the papers. Licensed by Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, IL.

The first paper is entitled "Extra Ordinary Men," in which Rockwell recalls his experiences creating portraits of some of the leading political figures of his time. Rockwell appears to have incorporated bits from another speech about these subjects into this presentation.

[Addendum:] According to a Club invitation card in the collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum, this paper was delivered on Monday evening, January 18, 1971 at the home of Harry E. Judson on Tor Court in Pittsfield.  

[Envelope:] Monday Evening Club
To Albert Silverman
Silverman [a Berkshire County attorney; not a club member]

[handwritten notes]
After Roger’s wonderful paper two weeks ago [Roger Linscott], which was so well done and thorough.  I feel this may be quite trivial, disjointed and perhaps even frivolous and overpersonal.