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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 867

Papers of I. Rice Pereira, 1931-1981


These papers of I. Rice Pereira represent the American abstract artist, poet, and philosopher during her career and after her death. The collection is comprised mainly of correspondence, both personal and professional in nature. Also represented are writings about and by Pereira, clippings, photographs of her work, and exhibition catalogs.


  • 1931-1981

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by I. Rice Pereira is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1.67 linear feet ((4 file boxes) plus 6 photograph folders)
Series I, PERSONAL DOCUMENTS AND BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION, 1951-1968 (1.1-1.14), contains mostly notebook entries made by Pereira. These document the thoughts and feelings she had about her writing and the suspicions she had about surveillance. In these entries, Pereira outlines her suspicions of her phones being tapped, mail being tampered with, and her art being suppressed. Also included in this series are materials relating to her work such as inventories, receipts, and notes.

Series II, WRITINGS BY OTHERS REGARDING PEREIRA, 1957-1978 (1.15-1.25), contains clippings and articles. Authors wrote on Pereira's work as an artist, philosopher, and metaphysicist. Her work as a groundbreaking, new type of artist is often the focal point of the writing.

Series III, STATEMENTS ON HER ART BY PEREIRA, 1942 (1.26), is a small series. It contains only one folder with Pereira's statements on her piece, "White Lines."

Series IV, PAPERS OF THE PEREIRA FOUNDATION, 1961-1978 (1.27-1.33), are varied in its contents. It contains financial papers, correspondence, contracts, and memos. The financial papers consist of blank checks and deposit slips. The correspondence includes topics including Pereira's life and work and the foundation's part in maintaining her spot in the art world. The main correspondents include Foy C. Casper, Djelloul Marbrook, Edith Fisch, as well as Jim and Helene Rice. The contracts include the declaration of the trust, registration of the trust, and trustee appointments. The memos and notes in the series are mainly scraps of paper.

Series V, POEMS, n.d. (2.1), is comprised of only one folder. It contains a poem written by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Jarrell.

Series VI, PHILOSOPHICAL NOTES, MANUSCRIPTS, AND RELATED PAPERS, 1954-1968 (2.2-2.10), is comprised of Pereira's notes on her philosophical and professional writing including "The Transcendental Formal Logic of the Infinite" and "The Self-Destroying Machine of Mindlessness." Also included in the series are her reviews of the work of others.

Series VII, CLIPPINGS, 1958-1976 (2.11), contains newspaper articles on a variety of topics, mainly relating to art and the art world. Pereira couldn't have seen some of the clippings since they were published after her death.

Series VIII, ART EXHIBITION CATALOGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS, 1947-1981 (2.12-2.19), contains mostly materials from exhibitions while Pereira was alive. Only one series is from an exhibition after she passed away. It contains catalogs in addition to mailers for exhibition publicity.

Series IX, PHOTOGRAPHS, 1938-1958 (PD.1-PD.6sl), contains seven black and white photographs, three negatives and one color slide. All photographs are of Pereira's work; all but two of titles are identified.

Series X, CORRESPONDENCE, 1931-1970 (2.20-4.43), documents a variety of subjects ranging from the arranging of exhibitions and loans, to publication rejections, and wire-tapping. However, a large portion of the correspondence is between Pereira and her friend, Foy C. Casper, Jr. and her nephew, Dejelloul Marbrook.


Irene Rice (Pereira) was born on August 5, 1902, in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Her parents, Hilda (Vanderbilt) and Emery Rice, also had three other children, Juanita, Dorothy, and James. They lived in different towns across Massachusetts until 1918, when her father died. The family left their home in Massachusetts to live in Brooklyn, New York. It was there that Irene attended high school and, in 1922, began a job as a stenographer. Working during the day, she began taking night classes at the Art Students' League in New York in 1927, studying under the likes of Jan Matulka, Richard Lahey, and Hans Hoffman.

She married Humberto Pereira, a commercial artist, in 1929. They lived in Manhattan and Pereira continued working as a secretary. Beginning in 1931, Pereira spent two years traveling and studying in North Africa and parts of Europe. Later, she would reference her time spent traveling and the impact it had on her work. After returning to United States, she had her first solo exhibition at American Contemporary Arts Gallery in 1933. As she continued her painting, she also became involved with the education of new artists. Pereira became a founder and faculty member of the Design Laboratory in New York City in 1935 as part of the Works Progress Administration. She would go on to teach at Pratt Institute from 1942-1943 and at Ball State University in 1951. She divorced Pereira in 1938, married George Wellington Brown in 1942. She divorced him in 1950 and later that year, married George Reavey until their divorce in 1959. Pereira would continue to go by "I. Rice Pereira," despite her marriages, as her professional name. She believed that this would aid in preventing discrimination that women were facing in the art world at the time.

Primarily considered to be a painter, Pereira was also an author and philosopher. During her career, she published several books. She published her first philosophical essay, Light and the New Reality, in 1951. She would continue writing and publishing until 1969. Some of her most well known works include The Lapis, Crystal of The Rose, and The Nature of Space. Pereira travelled to Europe, settling in an apartment in Marbella, Spain. On January 11, 1971, Irene Rice Pereira died in her Spanish apartment.
BIOGRAPHY OF FOY C. CASPER, JR. Foy Clifton Casper, Jr. was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on September 16, 1941. His parents, Foy Clifton Casper and Lida Casper, raised their son in their home state of Virginia. He attended Princess Anne High School and Oceana High School, both in Virginia Beach. He continued his studies at Randolph-Macon College. He went on to New York City to study painting and sculpture conservation at the Brooklyn Museum of Fine Arts.

During his time in New York, Casper worked as a private conservator and conservation consultant for museums across the country. In the 1960's he began his professional relationship with Jean and Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. Their collections were mainly being exhibited in Massachusetts at the time. Casper was tasked with directing the move of thousands of their pieces of art from Provincetown, Massachusetts, to Norfolk, Virginia. This collection would become the basis for the Chrysler Museum of Art. It was there that Casper would serve as the chief conservator for over twenty years.

A major part of Casper's life was traveling throughout Europe and Central America. He maintained houses and storage units across the United States and in London. He collected paintings and decorative arts including fine carpets, ceramics, and glass. He frequently loaned his objects from his collection to museums and historical houses.
BIOGRAPHY OF DJELLOUL MARBROOK Djelloul Marbrook was born January 1, 1934, in Algiers, Algeria. His father, absent for most of his life, was a Bedouin and his mother, Juanita Guccione, was an American painter. He grew up in New York City, where he graduated from Dwight School and attended Columbia. He left college after three years to serve in the United States Navy.

He served five years of active duty and then remained on reserve duty. It was during his time on reserve that he began his newspaper career in Rhode Island at The Providence Journal. He worked there from 1958 until 1964. Marbrook continued his career as an editor for The Elmira Star-Gazette, The Baltimore Sun, The Winston-Salem Journal & Sentinel, and The Washington Star. Later he worked as executive editor of dailies in Ohio and New Jersey.

Marbrook has had his work published multiple times since he began writing. He began writing poetry at the age of fourteen and since then his work has been published in a variety of literary journals. He also has had fiction published and frequently contributes to international magazines such as Istanbul Literary Review. In 2007, Marbrook was the winner of the Kent State University's Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize for Far from Algiers.

Djelloul Marbrook had a hand in creating and working with the I. Rice Pereira Foundation, for his aunt, Irene Rice Pereira.


The collection is arranged in ten series:
  1. Series I. Personal documents and biographical information, 1951-1968 (1.1-1.14)
  2. Series II. Writings by others regarding Pereira, 1957-1978 (1.15-1.25)
  3. Series III. Statements on her art by Pereira, 1942 (1.26)
  4. Series IV. Papers of the Pereira Foundation, 1961-1978 (1.27-1.33)
  5. Series V. Poems, n.d. (2.1)
  6. Series VI. Philosophical notes, manuscripts, and related papers, 1954-1968 (2.2-2.10)
  7. Series VII. Clippings, 1958-1976 (2.11)
  8. Series VIII. Art exhibition catalogs and announcements, 1947-1981 (2.12-2.19)
  9. Series IX. Photographs, 1938-1958 (PD.1-PD.6sl)
  10. Series X. Correspondence, 1931-1970 (2.20-4.43)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2016-M101

These papers of I. Rice Pereira were acquired from Michael Laird Rare Books LLC in May 2016. Laird acquired the papers in August 2015 from Tim Abbot ("Wehaveit") of Evington, Virginia, who purchased the papers July 9, 2015, from the estate of Clifton Casper Jr., former director of the I. Rice Pereira Foundation.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Papers of I. Rice Pereira, 1929-1976 (MC 375).

Processing Information

Processed: March 2016

By: Megan Moltrup, for Michael Laird Rare Books LLC, Lockhart, Texas.
Link to catalog
Pereira, I. Rice (Irene Rice), 1902-1971. Papers of I. Rice Pereira, 1931-1981: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future.

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