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Leslie Cheek, Jr. Papers

in The Museum of Modern Art Archives

The Museum of Modern Art Archives
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019-5497
The Museum of Modern Art Museum Archives
Finding aid converted to EAD 2002 by Kathleene Konkle, 2006.

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Cheek, Leslie, Jr., 1908-
Title: Leslie Cheek Jr. Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1940-1994
Quantity: 20 filing units
One 5" document box


The Papers are processed to the folder level and are arranged chronologically.

Biographical Note

Leslie Cheek, Jr. (1908-1992) was Director of the Baltimore Museum of Art, 1939-1942 and Director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1948-1968. He attended Harvard College and received a degree in architecture from Yale. He was associated with the Museum in 1940 when, because of his innovative exhibition design skills, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller invited him to direct an exhibition "devoted to telling the American people of the dangers of Hitler's assault on the Free World and of the necessity for the United States to prepare itself for the inevitable war," tentatively titled For Us the Living.

Scope and Content Note

This record group consists of 20 folders contained in one 5" document box and includes correspondence, drawings and blueprints relating to the proposed 1942 exhibition For Us the Living. The papers document the planning process of the exhibition, also identified in its early stages to those involved as "Project X". The concept for the exhibition was developed by Leslie Cheek, Jr., Lewis Mumford, Edward Stone, Beardsley Ruml, Archibald MacLeish and Alfred H. Barr, Jr. and the material contains letters from Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and Nelson A. Rockefeller among others. Also included are papers relating to Cheek's attempt in 1983 to have an article about the exhibition published in American Heritage magazine.


Access Restrictions

The records are open for research and contain no restricted materials.

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Leslie Cheek, Jr. Papers are the physical property of The Museum of Modern Art. Literary rights, including copyright belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Rights to work produced during the normal course of Museum business resides with The Museum of Modern Art. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archivist.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in DADABASE, the library catalog of The Museum of Modern Art. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Persons and Organizations:
Cheek, Leslie, Jr., 1908-

Related Collections at MoMA and Elsewhere

See also, Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Papers, 6.B.13 for additional information regarding For Us the Living. Papers relating to Leslie Cheek, Jr.'s other activities are available on microfilm through the Archives of American Art.

Administrative Information


At the suggestion of Mrs. Leslie Cheek, Jr. following the death of her husband, the Cheek Papers related to his activities at the Museum were transferred to the Museum Archives on September 7, 1994 by The Archives of American Art, where part of the Leslie Cheek, Jr. Papers were being microfilmed.

Alternative Form Available

The Papers are catalogued in the RLIN database and are available on microfilm through the Archives of American Art, microfilm roll number 4885.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Leslie Cheek, Jr. Papers, [folder]. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.

Container List

Folder Descriptions

Folder Title Date
1 Pencil drawings

5 drawings

2 Correspondence concerning cancellation of exhibition

Includes 2 TLS Abby Aldrich Rockefeller - Leslie Cheek, Jr.; 2 TLS Alfred H. Barr, Jr. - Leslie Cheek, Jr.; 1 TLS Stephen C. Clark - Leslie Cheek, Jr.

June-October 1940
3 Exhibition financial material September 1940
4 Meeting notes July 1940
5 General notes n.d.
6 Exhibition text--Research material n.d.
7 Exhibition text--Introduction July 1940
8 Notes from Lewis Mumford's exhibition text n.d.
9 Draft of Lewis Mumford's exhibition text n.d.
10 Draft exhibition text July 15, 1940
11 Draft exhibition text July 29, 1940
12 Notes for exhibition scenarios 1-7 n.d.
13 Exhibition scenario draft n.d.
14 Exhibition scenario draft August 19, 1940
15 Exhibition scenario draft no. 4 August 29, 1940
16 Exhibition scenario draft no. 5 September 10, 1940
17 Photographs of exhibition drawings, blueprints of exhibition n.d.
18 Correspondence with American Heritage magazine re: proposed article 1983

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