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BURGESS MEREDITH - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 02/07/1938 - HFSID 175328

BURGESS MEREDITH The actor sends a letter as Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Federal Arts Committee of New York Typed letter signed: "Burgess Meredith" as Chairman, Executive Committee, 1p, 8½x11. New York City, 1938 February 7.

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BURGESS MEREDITH
The actor sends a letter as Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Federal Arts Committee of New York
Typed letter signed: "Burgess Meredith" as Chairman, Executive Committee, 1p, 8½x11. New York City, 1938 February 7. On letterhead of Federal Arts Committee to Mr. Irwin S. Chanin, New York, N.Y. In full: "Because of your recognized position in the cultural field, I am writing to invite your co-operation in the work of our Committee, toward the establishment of a Bureau of Fine Arts in the Federal Government. We believe that America, having attained a position of world supremacy in the fields of industry, science and finance, should now proceed toward a concentrated and organized development of her cultural resources in the field of the fine arts. The great national experiment conducted through the medium of the Federal Art Projects has shown to what an enormous extent the lives of the citizenry can be enriched by an active participation in and extensive use of the arts. The eager and spontaneous response on the part of the public to the various activities inaugurated under these projects has fully justified this experiment. We believe that it is now time to proceed from experimentation to orderly accomplishment and the Federal Arts Committee h as been organized with a view to bringing about such accomplishment. The Federal Arts Bill, S 3296, a copy of which I send you herewith [not included] and which I urge you to read, embodies the essential provisions for the fulfillment of our goal. The same bill was introduced in the House, on January 21, by Rep. Coffee - H.R. 9102. I need hardly emphasize to you the tremendous importance of the work we have in hand and which I believe will merit your support. I sincerely hope that you may be disposed to accept this invitation and look forward to hearing from you promptly. An enrollment card is enclosed [not present] for your convenience. We should appreciate any comments or suggestions that you may have to offer in connection with our plan." The Federal Art Project mentioned in this letter was part of a variety of New Deal programs developed between 1933-1943. This particular project was a "relief" program in which out-of-work artists were classified according to skill and assigned to use their skills on various public buildings. We could find no record of a Bureau of Fine Arts being established in the federal government, so the bill mentioned in this letter was likely not passed. Burgess Meredith (1907-1997), who made his stage debut in 1929 and his film debut in 1936 (Winterset, reprising his stage role), was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor for The Day of the Locust (1975) and Rocky (1976). Meredith appeared in feature films as both a character and lead actor, and his credits include Of Mice and Men (1939), Advise and Consent (1962), In Harm's Way (1965), Hurry Sundown (1967), Foul Play (1978), Grumpy Old Men (1993) and its sequel, Grumpier Old Men (1995). He was also a frequent guest TV performer, appearing in a number of made-for-television movies and on Playhouse 90 (1957), The Twilight Zone (1959, 1961, 1963), Bonanza (1967), The Monkees (1968) and Batman, in one of his most memorable roles, "The Penguin" (series and film, 1966). Lightly shaded at margins from prior framing. "8" written (unknown hand) at upper left margin. Nicked at right edge. Upper right corner torn off.

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