NRM Link

Archives Hunters

Hidden Treasures from the Norman Rockwell Museum

Norman Rockwell Museum

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Norman Rockwell Museum Receives Archival Support from the National Endowment for Humanities

This just in!

Norman Rockwell Museum has been awarded archival support through a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The $85,000 grant will be used to reformat and process the Museum’s collection of magnetic videotapes, which contain hundreds of hours of important oral history and documentation related to Norman Rockwell and the art of illustration. The reformatting of the tapes will be handled by George Blood Safe Sound Archive in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with plans to make select films freely accessible to the public through the Museum’s website. Most of these tapes have not been viewed by the public before. They include unique interviews with Rockwell, his three sons, friends, colleagues, models, studio assistants and photographers, and other artists including Jan and Stan Berenstain, David Macaulay, New Yorker illustrators, and many more.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Model Citizen

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) "At last - settled in
the new home and ready to welcome new neighbors
and old friends!
," 1961. Charcoal on paper.
Norman Rockwell Museum Collection.
©NRLC, Niles, IL.

Norman Rockwell spent the last 25 years of his life in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The small town is now home to our Museum, which the artist personally helped to found. As a citizen of Stockbridge, Rockwell used local people to pose for his illustrations, many of whom still reside here. These familiar faces can be seen today at the local post office, the library, and other businesses along Main Street. A typical workday at the Museum might include a visit from a former Rockwell model, as they occasionally drop in to share their memories with us.

Recently, Elizabeth 'Betty' White stopped by the Archives. A longtime resident of Stockbridge, Betty and her family were invited to pose for many of Rockwell's illustrations. As Betty told her story, we looked through photographs and other documents in the Archives to search for additional details regarding her modeling session. A check register from 1959 revealed that Betty was paid $22 in October of that year to pose for one of Rockwell's illustrations for the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Corporation (left). She was delighted to see images of her younger self, and of her children, who also posed for Rockwell. As we found out, the Massachusetts Mutual drawing which features Betty is a part of our collection here at the Museum. Before she left, the drawing was retrieved from storage so that Betty could view it for the first time.

We feel fortunate to be able to connect with these members of our community. Their insights into Rockwell's personality and process is invaluable, and as with all of our visitors and researchers, it is a delight to share our collections with them.
A check register from 1959 reveals Norman Rockwell's $22 payment to
Betty White for her modeling session.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archives.