Josephine Knapp Collection

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At A Glance

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  • Creator

    Josephine Knapp
  • Dates

  • Physical Description

    3.6 Cubic feet
  • Collection ID


  • Scope and Contents

    Personal papers of Freer Gallery of Art research assistant and museum specialist on ceramics, Josephine Hadley Knapp. Includes correspondence with the public and other Smithsonian staff, photographic material of East Asian ceramics and architecture including Freer Gallery and National Gallery of Art collection items, reference materials, and personal diaries. Much of the collection materials relate to the research, writing, and editing of Decorative Arts, Part II: Far Eastern Ceramics and Paintings; Persian and Indian Rugs and Carpets (1998) as Knapp worked on this volume from home.
  • Biographical / Historical

    Josephine Hadley Knapp was born Josephine Sedgwick Hadley on June 16, 1915, in Concord, Michigan. At age 16 she studied painting in Paris, France at an "avant-garde left-bank studio" which led her to study Art History in college. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in 1936. After graduation she moved to New York City, where she served as a Rockefeller Foundation fellow at the Brooklyn Museum before accepting a position in the Department of Far Eastern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a staff lecturer. She worked at the Metropolitan Museum from 1938 until 1946 when she was married to William Greer Knapp. In 1950 she gave birth to a daughter, Mary Jameson Knapp.

    In 1965 Knapp joined the staff of the Freer Gallery of Art as a research assistant in Far Eastern ceramics and would later become a museum specialist in the subject. She worked on Asian ceramics at the Freer until her retirement in 1994. During her time at the Freer she donated 51 ceramic shards to the Freer Gallery of Art Study Collection, items: FSC-P 3070 through 3120. During her career she co-authored several volumes on Asian art, highlighting the collections of the Freer Gallery of Art: Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections (1975), and the National Gallery of Art's Widener Collection: Decorative Arts, Part II: Far Eastern Ceramics and Paintings; Persian and Indian Rugs and Carpets (1998). Knapp passed away on March 15, 2004.
  • Creator

    Josephine Knapp
  • Provenance

    Internal transfer
  • See more items in

    Josephine Knapp Collection
  • Archival Repository

    Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
  • Type

    Collection descriptions
    Archival materials
  • Citation

    Josephine Knapp Collection. FSA.A2014.07. National Museum of Asian Art Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
  • Arrangement

    The collection is arranged into five series: Series 1: Correspondence; Series 2: Research and Publication Material; Series 3: Card Files, Series 4: Photographic Material, and Series 5: Personal Files and Travel Records.
  • Rights

    Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.
  • Genre/Form

  • Restrictions

    Collection is open for research.

Repository Contact

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
National Museum of Asian Art Archives
Washington, D.C. 20013