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Sigmund Abeles papers

Identifier: Mss 1164

Collection Overview

The papers of figurative artist and educator Sigmund Abeles. The papers include biographical information, correspondence, and information about his art career.

The first series consists of biographical materials including genealogical documents and memoir writings, CVs, clippings about friends and associates, a few financial and health documents, a family scrapbook, photographs and clippings of family and friends, and ephemera reflecting many of his activities. In addition, there are date books, sketchbooks, and notebooks, as well as drafts and research notes about Sigmund Abeles's cousin Vilmos Abeles, a Holocaust survivor whose biography Sigmund Abeles wrote.

The correspondence series stretches from 1966 to 2018 and consists of both professional and personal correspondence, including the last letter his mother wrote to him.

The next series reflects his relationship with Nora Lavori. The contents are mostly correspondence between the couple and ephemera from their many activities together.

The series focused on Abeles's art career contains programs, catalogs and publicity material about exhibitions, showings, and galleries he has been involved with. It also features clippings about his career, correspondence about his show "The Max Drawings," information on organizational associations, and a few sketches, slides, and reproductions of his work. Two CDs includes images of his art.

The final series consists of books and publications. Most either feature Abeles's work as an illustrator or are catalogs of exhibitions in which his art was shown. A few are annotated works of personal interest to Abeles.


  • Creation: 1900-2023
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1980-2017


Language of Material

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical Note

Sigmund Abeles (born 1934), figurative artist and educator, was born in Brooklyn, New York to Samuel and Henrietta Abeles and raised in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

He attended the Art Students League of New York and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture before receiving his MFA in Painting from Columbia University in 1957. He taught art for 27 years at various institutions including Swain School of Design, Wellesley College, Boston University, the National Academy, the Art Students League of New York, and the University of New Hampshire. As of 2023 he is Professor Emeritus at the University of New Hampshire.

Abeles has received numerous grants and awards including Pastel Society of America Hall of Fame honoree in 2004 and the Artists' Fellowship 2017 Benjamin West Clinedinst Medal, he is also a National Academician. His works can be found in many public institutions including the British Museum, Chicago Art Institute, Fogg Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Philadelphia Museum and Whitney Museum of American Art.


8.25 linear feet (19 document boxes, 1 flat box, 1 oversize paper folder)


The papers of figurative artist and educator Sigmund Abeles include biographical information, correspondence, and information about his art career.

Collection Arrangement

  1. Biographical, 1900-2022
  2. Correspondence, 1967-2023
  3. Nora Lavori, 1998-2004
  4. Art Career, 1965-2021
  5. Books and publications, 1947-2020

Acquisitions Information

Materials donated in 2018 and 2023 by Sigmund Abeles.

Processing Information

Processed by Lauren Bickel, August 2023.



Inventory of the Sigmund Abeles Papers, 1900-2023 (bulk 1983-2017)
Processed by: Lauren Bickel; finding aid created by: Lauren Bickel
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections
College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424
(843) 953-8016
(843) 953-6319 (Fax)