Series 1.1: Alexander Schaffer Correspondence, 1934-1947
Scope and Contents
This series is comprised of correspondence, invoices, price tags, and item descriptions that detail the purchases Pratt made from the Schaffer collection in the 1930s and 1940s. Correspondence between Alexander S. Schaffer, his wife Ray Schaffer, and Pratt discuss sales, payments, display cabinets, family matters, and books and articles he sent to Pratt about Russian history, war, and family matters. After 1944, some of the correspondence, invoices and item descriptions came from A La Vieille Russie, where Schaffer continued to deal in Russian art and antiquities after closing his own shop.
The invoices are often annotated with check numbers as balances were paid off, and dates given often refer to the handwritten notes on the invoice detailing payment history. Similarly, price tags were often annotated with price reductions or alterations in the item’s description. Item descriptions are extremely detailed, and include the item number and often the date purchased. Many of the Schaffer descriptions are not dated, and while most of them can be cross-referenced with dates on the invoices, Schaffer often invoiced Pratt much later than the original purchase date, and in some cases, many years later. Finally, most of the item descriptions were annotated by museum staff at some point with VMFA accession numbers.
The series is divided into five subseries: Series 1.1: Alexander Schaffer Correspondence, 1934-1947; Series 1.2: Ray Schaffer Correspondence, 1937-1947; Series 1.3: Invoices, 1934-1945, undated; Series 1.4: Price Tags, undated; Series 1.5: Item Descriptions, 1934-1945, undated.
The collection is open for research.
Digitization of the collection has been made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The digital collection can be accessed through the VMFA Collections Search website.
Language of Materials
Part of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Archives Repository
Margaret R. and Robert M. Freeman Library
200 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard
Richmond VA 23220-4007 United States