Finding Aid for the Philip M. Isaacson papers | MC119

Summary Information

Repository
Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library
Title
Philip M. Isaacson papers
ID
MC119
Date
circa 1935-2013
Extent
6.0 Linear feet
Language
English
Abstract
Collection contains correspondence, primarily letters to his parents during World War II; typescripts of his Maine Sunday Telegram columns; various speeches, lectures and talks primarily concerning art and architecture; other material includes information on the Continental Mill and the Bates Mill Historic District and on the Philip M. and Deborah N. Isaacton house; also contains correspondence, drafts and research material for his three books and other published and unpublished material, newsclippings about Isaacson and photographs of the Isaacson house under construction.

Preferred Citation

Philip Isaacson papers, Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College

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Historical note

Philip Isaacson was born June 16, 1924 in Lewiston, Maine to Harris and Goldie (Resnick) Isaacson. After graduating from Hebron Academy, he entered Bates College and became part of the Navy V-12 officer training program. Isaacson served in the Pacific at the end of World War II and then returned to Bates, graduating in 1947. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1950, he joined his father in the firm of Isaacson and Isaacson and later was a founding partner in the firm of Isaacson and Raymond. Committed to public service he served on numerous boards including the Board of Finance for the City of Lewiston and the Board of Trustees for the Lewiston Public Library.

Isaacson was an art critic and columnist for the Maine Sunday Telegram for almost 50 years, reviewing Maine art and exhibits. He also advocated for the funding of the arts during his tenure as chairman of the Maine Arts Commission. He was a self-described architecture fanatic and a prolific photographer, primarily of buildings which he admired. He also authored three books on art and architecture, two of them for children: The American Eagle; Round Buildings, Square Buildings and Building That Wiggle Like a Fish; and A Walk Around the Pyramids and Through the World of Art. In 1961 he and his wife Deborah built a modern home near the Bates College campus. The American Institute of Architects named it one of America's outstanding homes. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.

He traveled extensively, often to exotic places such as Nepal, Mali, Iran and Pakistan, as well as many more commonly visited destinations. He was an avid skier and hiker and celebrated his 85th birthday by climbing Mt. Washington with his family. Philip Isaacson died on June 20, 2013.

Scope and Contents note

Collection contains correspondence between Isaacson and his parents during his naval service in World War II and correspondence pertaining to his interests in collecting decorated American paper and manuscript books, local historic preservation projects and responses to his reviews as an art critic; also contains typescripts of his Maine Sunday Telegram columns; typescripts and handwritten copies of speeches, talks and lectures, primarily pertaining to art and architecture; material on several subjects including Lewiston's Continental Mill, the Philip M. and Deborah N. Isaacson house, Bates Mill Historic District and Hyman Bloom; also includes correspondence, reviews and other material related to Isaacson's three books, The American Eagle; Round Buildings, Square Buildings and Buildings That Wiggle Life a Fish; and A Short Walk Around the Pyramids and Through the World of Art; other material includes newsclippings pertaining to Isaacson's interest in art and architecture, photographs of the Isaacson house under construction, a Chinese edition of the Stars and Stripes and his elementary school essays, notes and scrapbook.

Organization and arrangement

Collection is organized into six series: I. Correspondence; II. Maine Sunday Telegram; III. Speeches/talks; IV. Subject files; V. Writings and VI. Other papers.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

 Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library

70 Campus Avenue
Lewiston, Maine, 04240
207-786-6354
muskie@bates.edu

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Acquisition and Custody information

Gift of John Isaacson, 2013. Accession # 2013.113

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Collection Inventory

 MC119/01 Correspondence 1944-1948; 1973-2009   1.5 Linear feet

Arrangement note

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Contents note

Series contains primarily letters between Isaacson and his parents during World War II and documents his naval training and experiences in Chicago, Florida and San Francisco and his experiences serving in the Pacific including time spent in Hong Kong and Shanghai; also contains a small amount of personal correspondence pertaining to various topics including his interest in collecting decorated American paper and manuscript books; his interest in and support of local historic preservation issues and projects and responses to his reviews as an art critic.

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 MC119/02 Maine Sunday Telegram 1993-2013   1.5 Linear feet

Arrangement note

Arranged chronologically by year.

Scope and Contents note

Series contains typscripts of Isaacson's columns for the Maine Sunday Telegram.

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 MC119/03 Speeches/Talks 1971-2011, undated   0.5 Linear feet

Arrangement note

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Contents note

Series contains typescripts and handwritten copies of speeches, talks, lectures, and remarks, primarily concerning art and architecture, delivered at various events and venues; also contains remarks delivered at the memorial services of several friends

[Downtown revitalization project] September 19, 1971 

Louis Scolnik (endorsement for judgeship) [1974] 

[Downtown revitalization project] circa early 1980s 

[Frank Coffin] circa 1980s 

Maine Humanities Council circa 1980s 

Marsden Hartley--Maine Humanities Council circa late 1980s 

Seminar notes for Peoples Savings Bank December 23, 1980 

Catherine A. Lee (introductory remarks) December 1983 

Holman (Pop) Huntington (memorial remarks) 1983 

MCA [Maine Craft Association] April 13, 1986 

"Paper" show--Bowdoin College 1986 

Leonard Baskin [introductory remarks] February 27, 1987 

Unveiling of Hon. Louis Scolnik portrait September 1988 

John Beliveau [endorsement for judgeship] circa 1988 

Landmarks February 22, 1989 

Unidentified 1980s 

Unidentifed April 26, 1990 

Cultural Affairs Council July 15, 1990 

Clemson University, Symposium for Librarians October 13, 1990 

Timber Framers Guild of North America, Rensselaer Polytecnic Institute June 15, 1991 

"Trees" exhibition by Tom Zetterstrom, Olin Arts Center June 25, 1991 

Lowell Lectures, Museum of Science, Boston June 21, 1992 

Natalie Abromson (memorial remarks) October 14, 1992 

Unidentified October 16, 1992 

Maine Community Cultural Alliance October 30, 1992 

Michael Abromson (memorial remarks) November 24, 1993 

Leila Rosen (memrial remarks) October 1994 

[Laurier T. Raymond Sr.] (memorial remarks) May 27, 1994 

Lewiston Bicentennial May 17, 1995 

Mali May 1995 

Art Auction, Temple Shalom (remarks) September 6, 1995 

The Long Road to Good Government, Bates College May 1, 1996 

Wedding: Hannah Howland and [Bruce Judson] 1996 

Bates College May 25, 1997 

Bates College, President's breakfast September 9, 1997 

Appreciation of Gridley Barrows May 12, 2000 

[A Tribute to Leonard Baskin] July 7,2000 

Lewiston Planning Board meeting (remarks re: demolition delay provisions) July 25, 2000 

White Buildings Which Are Occasionally Yellow and Sometimes Red, Santiago, Chile 2000 

Edwin Gamble: a Maine Master, Maine College of Art January 5, 2001 

Donald Marston (memorial remarks) January 12, 2001 

Joel Babb, Great Fall Forum (introductory remarks) February 20, 2003 

Bruce Brown, Great Falls Forum (introductory remarks) February 19, 2004 

Marilyn Hirschler (memorial remarks) October 2, 2004 

Cultural Learning Center circa 2004 

Maine Preservation Award--Lewiston Public Library May 12, 2006 

Leonard Baskin and the Gehenna Press, lecture June 23, 2007 

Bates Folk Art lecture June 7, 2008 

Evolution of Burial Grounds December 3, 2008 

R. Bruce Huntington (memorial remarks) April 2009 

John Howland (memorial remarks) November 2, 2009 

Leonard Plavin (memorial remarks) [April 18, 2010] 

Shep Lee (memorial remarks) August 23, 2010 

Prize for Architecture October 1, 2010 

Dean R. Frieze (memorial remarks) March 27, 2011 

Wedding: Kimberly and Edward July 16, 2011 

Haystack: Modernism in a Forest September 7, 2011 

Temple Shalom [2011] 

A Forum for Architecture [slideshow ?] Undated 

[How and Why of Being an Art Critic] Undated 

[Legal system] Undated 

Lewiston City Council Undated 

[Remarks re: Bates College] Undated 

[Remarks re: law firm] Undated 

"Up River--the Story of a Maine Fishing Community" by Olive Pierce (remarks) Undated 

Sacco and Vanzetti Undated 

[Slideshow--sculpture] Undated 

Todd Webb Undated 

Unidentified Undated 

 

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 MC119/04 Subject files 1996-2013, undated   0.5 linear foot

Arrangement note

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Scope and Contents note

Series contains correspondence, notes and publications on various topics pertaining to art and architecture including material on the Bates Mill Historic District, Continental Mill, Philip M. and Deborah N. Isaacson house, Hyman Bloom and two of Isaacson's shows at the June Fitzpatrick Gallery.

75th birthday June 1999 

American Institute of Architecture, Design Awards 2001 

Bates College walking tour Undated 

Bates Mill Historic District--National Register of Historic Places registration form 2010 

Camden Public Library 1996 

Carl Sprinchorn 1998 

Continental Mill 1998-1999 

Cultural Center Visioning Forum--Marsden Hartley 2004 

Dwell Magazine--Isaacson house 2010 

Grain elevators 2009 

Hyman Bloom 2009 

Interview for Hyman Bloom video 2004 

John Frazer collages 2010 

Maine Jewish Museum 2013 

Maine Modern: 50 Years of Modern Architecture in Maine (exhibit) 2010 

Maine Prize for Architecture 2010 

Philip M. and Deborah N. Isaacson house--National Register of Historic Places 2011 

"Walls"--June Fitzpatrick Gallery show (includes photos) 2004 

"Walls, Tombs, Graveyards and a Few Faces"--June Fitzpatrick Gallery show 2001 

Wyeth 2000 

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 MC119/05 Writings 1974-2012   1.0 linear foot

Arrangement note

Arranged alphabetically by title of work.

Scope and Contents note

Series contains correspondence, essays, manuscripts, drafts and research material pertaining to Isaacson's published and unpublished work, including his three books, The American Eagle; Round Buildings, Square Buildings and Buildings That Wiggle Like a Fish and A Short Walk Around the Pyramids and Through the World of Art; also contains a biographical sketch of his father, Harris Isaacson and an unpublished article concerning preservation in Lewiston.

The American Eagle--correspondence 1974-1975 

The American Eagle--research material re: John Bellamy 

Bread--typescript of unpublished article 2006 

Buildings Are Great Performers (unpublished mss)-- correspondence 1992-1993 

Buildings Are Great Performers (unpublished mss)-- final draft circa 1993 

Graveyards, Tombs and Cemeteries (unpublished)-- drafts of chapters 1 & 2 2004 

Graveyards, Tombs and Cemeteries -- contract 

Graveyards, Tombs and Cemeteries -- correspondence 2001-2004 

Graveyards, Tombs and Cemeteries -- Modena (final draft) 

Graveyards, Tombs and Cemeteries -- photocopies of photographs 

Graveyards, Tombs and Cemeteries -- Research materials 

Harris Isaacson -- biographical sketch 1987 

Hyman Bloom: the Lucbec Woods (exhibit catalog) -- essay 2001 

[Lewiston Preservation]--unpublished article? circa 1999 

Maine Art New by Edgar Beem -- forward 2012 

Round Buildings, Square Buildings and Building That Wiggle Like a Fish -- book reviews 1988-1996, undated 

Round Buildings, Square Buildings and Buildings That Wiggle Like a Fish -- correspondence 1986-1996, undated 

Round Buildings, Square Buildings and Buildings That Wiggle Like a Fish -- fifth typed draft 

Round Buildings, Square Buildings and Buildings That Wiggle Like a Fish -- galleys August 11, 1987 

A Short Walk Around the Pyramids and Through the World of Art -- contract 

A Short Walk Around the Pyramids and Through the World of Art -- correspondence July 1989-May 1990 

A Short Walk Around the Pyramids and Through the World of Art -- correspondence May 1990-August 1990 

A Short Walk Around the Pyramids and Through the World of Art -- correspondence September 1990-May 1991 

A Short Walk Around the Pyramids and Through the World of Art -- correspondence June 1991-May 1993, undated 

A Short Walk Around the Pyramids and Through the World of Art -- final mss with editor's notations 

A Short Walk Around the Pyramids and Through the World of Art -- galley proofs 

A Short Walk Around the Pyramids and Through the World of Art -- permissions 

A Short Walk Around the Pyramids and Through the World of Art -- post publication correspondence and reviews 1993-1995 

A Short Walk Around the Pyramids and Through the World of Art -- research materials 

Two American Potters (exhibit catalog) -- essay 2005 

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 MC119/06 Other papers 1944-2009, undated   0.5 Linear feet

Arrangement note

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Scope and Contents note

Series contains an assortment of material including photographs of Isaacson and of the construction of his house; newsclippings pertaining to his interest in art and architecture; a Chinese edition of the Stars and Stripes and elementary school essays, notes and scrapbook.

Exhibit poster--"A Personal View--new photographs by Philip Isaacson" [1993] 

A Heritage for the Future: a Plan for Preserving Maine's Historic and Archaeological Resources 2005 

Honorary degree, Bates College 1996 

Honorary degreee, Bowdoin College 1983 

The Italy Travel journal--John Tagliabue and note 1990, 1998 

The Lewiston Historic Preservation Design Manual 1999 

Maine U.S. District Court certificate 1951 

Miscellaneous material 

Navy documents 1945-1946 

Newsclippings/articles 1975-2009, undated 

Notes re: Why Obama June 2008 

The Pacific World (the Infantry Journal) 1944 

Photographs 

Photographs--house construction circa 1960 

[School scrapbook of Early America] 

School writings/notes 

Stars and Stripes (China edition) September 28, 1945 

V-12 directory 2006 

Vitae 

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