Scope and Content Note
The S. LANE FAISON PAPERS, 1907-2003, contain papers documenting his professional life as an academic, both as an educator and a scholar, and include a few personal items, such as a leather-bound scrapbook, loose photographs, and items from his correspondence. Professor of Art History at Williams College from 1936 to 1976, and Director of the Williams College Art Museum from 1948 to 1976, the collection contains documents which provide a glimpse into his pedagogical philosophy, research materials which reveal Faison's professional interests, and manuscripts and drafts which demonstrate his approach to the writing process. Among his correspondence, he has a striking number of letters from students which attest to his impact as an educator, mentor, and art historian. However, although Faison has amassed a large amount of papers, there are very few files which deal directly with the courses he taught?practically no lecture notes or syllabi. The Collection has been arranged into five series: I. Books, II. Teaching, III. Professional, IV. Personal/Correspondence, V. Getty/UCLA Interview.
The Collection is organized both chronologically and according to subject matter, and at times, alphabetically. Where possible, the organization Faison had created and set up for his papers has been maintained.
Series I. Books is subdivided into two sub-series: The Art Museums of New England, and Art Tours and Detours in New York. For The Art Museums of New England sub-series, the organization Faison had has been maintained and the files have been organized by region. For the Art Tours and Detours in New York sub-series, original organization was not as clear and the papers have been organized by region and subject. The series comprises background and publication information, including brochures and museum bulletins and catalogues, maps, newspaper and magazine clippings, notes, correspondence, photographs, and publication-related materials such as drafts and manuscripts, page proofs and galleys.
Series II. Teaching is subdivided into three sub-series: A. Art Courses, B. Other Lectures, C. Miscellaneous. This part of the collection comprises materials related to his tenure as a professor, and sub-series A. Art Courses contains such material as photographs, slides, newspaper and magazine clippings, correspondence, student work, syllabi, directories, materials pertaining to other faculty members' courses, such as Michael Lewis's course reader for ARTH 264 and notes on Guy Hedreen's lectures. Sub-series B. Other Lectures deals with lectures he gave outside of the context of a course and contains material related to his engagements as a guest lecturer. Sub-series C. Miscellaneous contains administrative papers and items not directly related to either a lecture or a course, e.g. a recommendation letter written for Kirk Varnedoe.
Series III. Professional is by far the largest series in the collection, and is divided into five sub-series: A. Collected Research Material, B. Card Files, C. Writing, D. Consulting, E. Museums. Sub-series A. Collected Research Material comprises travel itineraries, proposals, articles, background information and notes on any number of topics, ranging from European architecture to sculpture to organs and libraries. The visual component (photographs and postcards) is fairly large. Sub-Series B. Card Files is made up of the postcards and index cards he catalogued and documented pertaining to a similarly diverse range of subjects. Sub-series C. Writing groups together Faison's published, non-book length works along with his contributions to books. The bulk of this sub-series is made up of his art review columns in The Nation and Saturday Evening Post, and the many articles he wrote for The Berkshire Eagle. It includes copies of his published articles and the drafts leading up to their publication. Sub-series D. Consulting consists of material, including correspondence, related to his work as a consultant to and/or committee member of various colleges, universities, and museums. Sub-series E. Museums encompasses any number of papers related to his involvement in various museums' boards and committees, and the majority of this sub-series is devoted to his long-lasting directorship of WCMA.
Series IV. Personal/Correspondence comprises Faison's personal papers and correspondence. In the latter, no clear distinction could be made between his personal and business correspondence; as with much of the rest of the collection, Faison's personal and business correspondence crossed-over most of the time. His correspondence has been organized into sustained correspondence, which consists of on-going correspondence, and the more incidental correspondence has been organized chronologically, where possible. Letters that Prof. Faison had taken with him to Sweetwood, and that were donated later, follow the general correspondence folders and have been maintained in their original order. These letters were received from individuals with whom Faison was most closely tied.
The non-correspondence, personal papers comprise the materials in the collection that do not have any direct relevance to Faison's academic or professional interests. In other words, these are materials that are not as tied to or rooted in art as the rest of his papers. This series comprises such things as speeches given by either himself or others, personal photos, a scrapbook, a set of watercolor paintings painted for him by a Delta Psi brother, random clippings, playbills, a file on Jessy Park, material related to his will and testament, pieces he published as an undergraduate in the Williams Graphic, material related to his capacities as the Secretary for the Class of 1929, and miscellaneous papers.
Series V. Getty/UCLA Interview contains the tapes and unpublished transcript of Faison's October 1992 interview with Richard Candida Smith for the Getty and UCLA Art History Oral Documentation Project.