Bragdon Annotated Correspondence, 1918


1.   January 7, 1918

Claude Bragdon to Fritz Trautman[1]
Addressed from:  Claude Bragdon, Architect, Cutler Building, Rochester, NY

  • Bragdon will be in Cleveland to address the Cleveland Advertising Club on Thursday (10th) and expects that Trautman will come see him, as Trautman is in Toledo.

2.   April 25, 1918

Claude Bragdon to Fritz Trautman
Addressed from:  Cutler Building, Rochester, NY

  • Bragdon wants Trautman to stay with him and Eugenie for a few days when he passes through.  He wants to introduce Trautman to a new friend from Buffalo who has become interested in theosophy.  The war has put an end to Bragdon's architectural practice—he has rented out half his office and is selling his books and furniture.  He is counting on a few thousand dollars still coming from the Chamber of Commerce (Rochester, NY, for design of their building) and hopes to make money in other ways.  He has begun writing for the Architectural Record and the Dial.  Bragdon doesn't worry because "it is the greatest good fortune, in these days not to be caught in the debacle of the Aristocracy."

3.   May 30, 1918

Francis Grierson to Claude Bragdon
Addressed from:  380 Richmond Road, Twickenham, London, S.W.

  • Grierson has read Bragdon's works, including an essay in the Forum and feels that Bragdon's writing is the result of "deep thinking and ripe knowledge."  Grierson agrees with Bragdon's views on music and feels that few have written on music from a spiritual perspective.  He hopes to travel to America in September and will probably give some psychic piano recitals and teach some private classes.  Grierson plans to write of his experiences in Vermont in the autumn of 1874 when he met [Madame Blavatsky] and when she met Colonel Olcott.  He believes that America is on the verge of a "great spiritual awakening" and that the Panama Canal brings a new cycle of "Egyptian psychic forces reuniting and reawakening in Mexico."

4.   June 15, 1918

S. Komuro to Claude Bragdon
Addressed from:  No. 33 Hakusan Cho, Nagoya, Japan

  • Komuro writes for permission to translate Beautiful Necessity into Japanese and to publish it in Japan for use at the [Aich?] Technical School, where he teaches.

5.   June 18, 1918

Claude Bragdon to Fritz Trautman

  • In answer to Trautman's letter about his trouble in Toledo, Bragdon advises him to leave.  Bragdon is seriously contemplating leaving Rochester and will be away all summer.  He has recently discovered a young Russian[2] who "seems to us remarkable in many ways."  The man has introduced him to Uspenskii and his book on the fourth dimension called Tertium Organum.  Bragdon believes this book to be the "long sought New Testament of the Sixth Race which will justify the meekness of the saint, the vision of the mystic, and create a new heaven and a new earth."  He is currently collaborating with Bessaraboff on an English translation.  Bragdon has a new book coming out in the fall[3] about architecture and fine arts "more radical than anything I have written."

6.   December 6, 1918

Fritz Trautman to Claude and Eugenie Bragdon
Addressed from:  Lebanon, Ohio

  • Trautman has learned what it means to be a day laborer and repeats the same routine day after day.  He had tried to enlist in the navy, but failed to pass the physical and is now working at an ammunition plant as a tester.  He describes his daily work in detail and also describes the "class hatred" he has felt from the other men at work.  Now that the fighting is over, Trautman plans to leave and is looking for work.  Trautman says he is "very anxious to get hold of a paint brush again, but I have a feeling that the time is not quite ripe."  He sees his work as an exercise in data collection for the art he hopes to produce in the future.  Trautman hopes that a new "cosmopolitan consciousness" will emerge from the war and feels that he must conform his experiences with the demand he believes will be placed on artists to have a sympathy of the world's "enlarged understanding" as a result of the war. 

7.   June 26, 1918

Henry Wilkinson[4] to Claude Bragdon
Addressed from:  The American Red Cross, Hospital Port of Embarkation, St. Mary's Hospital, Hoboken, N.J.

  • Wilkinson received Bragdon's letter about Fred and is upset to learn of his death.  He feels that Fred was like a father and a brother, backing all his schemes.

8.   July 1, 1918

Ethel Mundy[5] to Claude Bragdon
Addressed from:  Ethel Frances Mundy, 121 College Place, Syracuse, NY

  • Mundy writes to tell Bragdon that The American Magazine of Art has accepted their article on her portraits and will publish it soon.

9.   September 4, 1918

Fritz Trautman to Claude and Eugenie Bragdon
Addressed from:  Lebanon, Ohio

  • Trautman writes to ask for Bragdon's interpretation of a dream he had, " sort of higher-space picture of a feeling."

10. September 1918

Robert Garrison to Claude Bragdon

  • Garrison describes his experience in France—"a beautiful country."  His squad is stationed in a small village.  He wonders how the U.S. is feeling about the war now, but feels limited in his ability to discuss this in a letter.

11. November 12, 1918

Claude Bragdon to Francis Bacon[6]
Addressed from:  414 Cutler Building, Rochester, NY

  • Bragdon feels the war was "settled right" and that the task at hand is "dealing with the Kaisers, big and little who infest our own country."  He is working on a bridge in Canada with engineer Frank Barber and feels it a great advantage to know and work with Barber as it may lead to future projects.  He asks Bacon to tell his architect friends about Bragdon's new book.  Bragdon spoke with Goodhue in New York recently and also "gave a wonderful Song and Light in Central Park" on September 17.  He feels this was the "best yet, from every point of view," even under terrible conditions.

12. December 11, 1918

Claude Bragdon to Fritz Trautman

  • Bragdon shares Trautman's sentiment about aristocracy and working class and is thinking of moving from East Avenue and resigning from the Genesee Valley Club.  He is gaining a better understanding of the Russian revolution through Bessaraboff and compares it to Hamlet, "with Russia as the incestuous queen, her dead husband, the King, as the old religion, her paramour, the new king as capitalism, Polonius as the Bourgeoise, and the Bolshoviki as the Dane:  spiritual, intellectual, idealistic, but unfitted for action, cankered by hate, and so messing up his beautiful plan of justice horribly, and himself caught in his own net."  Translation of Tertium Organum continues and Uspenskii has widened Bragdon's outlook.  Bragdon offers an interpretation for Trautman's dream.  He hopes Trautman will come visit so they can discuss Bragdon's latest projects.







  • Francis Grierson (3)
  • Marlane Blauatsky (3)
  • Colonel Alcott (3)
  • S. Komuro (4)
  • Fred (7)
  • Ethel Mundy (8)
  • Goodhue (11)


  • Chamber of Commerce Building (2)
  • Beautiful Necessity (4)






[1] First Trautman ref.

[2] Bessaraboff?

[3] ???

[4] A close friend and fellow architect, Henry Wilkinson lived in Syracuse.  Bragdon was often a guest at his house while on his way to and from New York City.

[5] Ethel Frances Mundy was a portrait artist from Syracuse, NY.  Later in her life, she discovered a new composition for use in wax portraiture and revived the art of wax portraiture, which had been known in Europe for centuries until it was lost in the 18th century (Who's Who of American Women, 1958-59).

[6] First Bacon ref.


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