Bragdon Annotated Correspondence, 1919



1.   January 18, 1919

Claude Bragdon to Fritz Trautman
Addressed from:  Rochester, NY



  • Bragdon sympathizes with Trautman and his experience in moving to New York.  He urges Trautman to visit Hampden[1] and Brice should he need anything.  Bragdon tells Trautman that "new York contains as fine souls as Heaven itself" and that he must give himself time to find them.  Bragdon has just given a successful speech in Montreal and spoke on the 4th dimension after lunch.

2.   January 28, 1919

Claude Bragdon to Fritz Trautman
Addressed from:  Rochester, NY

  • Bragdon is "deep in the Ouspensky book" and feels that Chapter 7 is particularly noteworthy.  He spent the previous day developing page decorations for the book, which he is determined to have published.  He continues working on the bridge in Ontario.

3.   February 1919

Claude Bragdon to Fritz Trautman
Addressed from:  Hotels Statler, Cleveland

  • Bragdon is unable to see Trautman as he is off to New York and cannot change his plans.  He asks Trautman to write more often and "tell some human thing about yourself."

4.   March 16, 1919

S. Komuro to Claude Bragdon
Addressed from:  No. 38 Hakusan Cho, Nagoya, Japan

  • Komuro thanks Bragdon for allowing her to translate Beautiful Necessity into Japanese and has enclosed a copy.

5.   April 5, 1919

Claude Bragdon to Fritz Trautman
Addressed from:  Harvard Club, 27 West, 44th Street

  • Bragdon apologizes for being unable to answer Trautman's last letter – he is working on a production of Hamlet for Walter Hampden, designing scenery, costumes, etc., all to be done by the 17th.  He began this work on March [11?].  Considering that Gordon Craig had three years to design Moscow Art Theatre's Hamlet, Bragdon feels rushed.  Bragdon met Merrill and has seen Mukerji[2], but mainly lives "the life of a monk."  He expects to be working on the production until May and has never done anything so intriguing.  He enjoys New York and thinks of moving there.

6.   May 21, 1919

Dorothy [Carsen?] to Claude Bragdon
Addressed from 106 East 52nd Street

  • Carsen writes to say that she found the Hamlet set "very fine indeed."  His designs have the "rare quality of really being a setting," an accompaniment to Hampden's "superb" work.  Carsen hopes to see a great deal more of Bragdon's designs.

7.   June 12, 1919

Dorothy Straight[3] to Claude Bragdon
Addressed from:  Old Westbury, Long Island

  • Straight has seen the Scribner article[4] as a finished product and writes to thank Bragdon.  The more she reads the article, the more impressed b she is by the "beauty of your own technique and feeling."  She thanks Bragdon for his "understanding and appreciation" of Willard[5].  Straight saw Hamlet the other night and comments "what a curiously simple thing greatness is!"  She believes Bragdon is setting new standards of beauty.

8.   June 17, 1919

[Robert Bridges?] to Claude Bragdon
Addressed from:  Charles Scribner's Sons, Publishers—Importers, Fifth Avenue at 48th Street, New York

  •  Bridges writes to thank Bragdon for his letter about Mrs. Straight.  He is interested in any biography of Straight or collection of his letters.

9.   October 17, 1919

Claude Bragdon to Fritz Trautman
Addressed from:  414 Cutler Building, Rochester, NY

  •  Bragdon asks Trautman to send a copy of his folder to Mr. Spier, care of Alfred Knopf and will also write to him.  Bragdon wishes he could be a pupil of Trautman and believes he has much to learn from him about color.  Bragdon believes, from looking at descriptions and pictures, that Southern has "lifted a good many of my ideas for his revival."

10. October 28, 1919

Claude Bragdon to Fritz Trautman
Addressed from:  414 Cutler Building, Rochester, NY

  •  Trautman's last letter has interested Bragdon in the "Great Discovery," and in many other ways as well.  Trautman's tying of color with magic numerical arrangements reaffirms Bragdon's believe in the Uspenskiian view of time.  Bragdon is excited by Trautman's theory on colors and mathematics and this is the "Great Discovery."







  • Gordon Craig (5)
  • Merrill (5)
  • Mukerji—Dan Gopal? (5)
  • Dorothy [Carsen?] (6)
  • Dorothy Straight (7)
  • Willard (7)
  • Mr. Spier (9)


  • Scribner article (7)




[1] Bragdon first came in contact with actor-producer Walter Hampden sometime around 1911 while Hampden was acting in summer productions in Rochester.  They felt an immediate friendship and Hampden was the force that drew Bragdon to New York in 1918 for the purpose of designing his production of Hamlet (MLTO, 62-63).  Bragdon and Hampden went on to produce more than 15 plays together, between 1918 and 1934.  Hampden acted on the stage, big screen, and television and was probably best known for his Shakespearean roles and his role in CyranodeBergerac

[2] Dhan Gopal Mukerji (1890-1936) was an Indian novelist and poet who wrote 8 novels (Dictionary of Literature in the English Language).

[3] Bragdon came in contact with Dorothy Straight after her husband's death in 1918.  Willard Straight had been a friend of Bragdon's who once sought his advice in pursuing a career in painting.  Mrs. Straight had an interest in theater and often invited Bragdon to attend the experimental productions she was fond of financing. (More Lives Than One, 99-100.)

[4] The article to which Straight is referring is the publication of her husband's letters to Bragdon in Scribner's Magazine. (More Lives Than One, 100.)

[5] Major Willard D. Straight died of pneumonia in Paris on December 1, 1918 (New York Times, 12/2/1918 obits).  He first met Bragdon while he was a student of architecture at Cornell University and applied to Bragdon for a position as a draughtsman.  Bragdon was impressed with his abilities as a painter and encouraged him to visit India and China to study painting.  He joined the army just prior to America's entrance into World War I and was given an opportunity to go to China.  He eventually became an artist-correspondent in the war between Japan and Russia and directed the War Risk effort in France at the time of his death.


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