University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Enit Kaufman:

An Inventory of Her American Portraits Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Kaufman, Enit, 1908?-1961
Title: Enit Kaufman American Portraits Papers
Dates: 1914-1958
Abstract: The papers consist of letters and manuscripts collected by Enit Kaufman for the publication of American Portraits, a volume of portraits of prominent Americans by Kaufman accompanied by text written by Dorothy Canfield Fisher.
RLIN Record # TXRC99-A1
Extent: 1 box (.42 linear feet)
Languages English, French, and German.
Repository: Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Enit Zerner Kaufman (1908?-1961) was born near Vienna, where she later studied art. Her primary interest was portraiture, and she soon created a name for herself painting prominent Europeans, including Albert Sarraut and Georges Duhamel, among others. Her work was featured in several successful exhibitions in Paris, where her skillful paintings of women and children also attracted attention. Her life and career were changed dramatically by the onset of World War II, and she fled the turbulence of Europe for an uncertain future in New York City in 1939, along with her husband Edward, a lawyer.

Kaufman worked with great determination in the United States to resume her interrupted career and achieved some success, teaching art and working to rebuild her reputation as a portraitist. As had been the case in Europe, many of her subjects were prominent figures in government, education, and the arts. She had the distinction of painting four American Presidents, including Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Her work was featured in a number of exhibitions in the 1940s and 1950s, including an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and another at the New York Historical Society.

Enit Kaufman's participation in the creation of American Portraits (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1946) grew out of her experience both as a painter of the prominent figures of the time, and as a refugee from a region whose leadership had run amok. Dorothy Canfield Fisher wrote the biographical profiles which accompanied Kaufman's portraits of eminent Americans. The authors were interested in the nature of leadership, and asked many of their subjects, often leaders in their fields, to write down their thoughts on the subject. Kaufman and Canfield Fisher initially considered incorporating these responses into American Portraits; instead, these Statements of Leadership were featured in a piece in the Sunday edition of the New York Times in 1951.

Kaufman died in New York City on January 17th, 1961.

Scope and Contents

Letters and manuscripts collected by the artist Enit Kaufman in preparation for the publication of American Portraits make up the bulk of these papers, 1914-1958. The papers are subdivided into two series: Correspondence, 1914-1958, and Statements of Leadership, 1933-1944.

Series I., Correspondence, consists of letters from prominent Americans, many of whom were ultimately featured in the book. The letters are arranged alphabetically by writer, with the exception of those letters written by an assistant or spouse on behalf of someone; these letters are filed under the name of the apparent subject. A number of the letters are addressed to people other than Enit Kaufman, most often to her collaborator Dorothy Canfield Fisher.

Included in the collection are letters from three of the four presidents Kaufman painted, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Other letters come from an eclectic range of correspondents: Walter B. Cannon, Willa Cather, James Bryant Conant, John Dewey, Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, Helen Hayes, Ernest Hemingway, Mordecai Johnson, Rufus Jones, Archibald MacLeish, Reinhold Niebuhr, John D. Rockefeller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Some of these are responses to Kaufman's request to schedule sittings, others are letters of introduction to friends and acquaintances who might be willing to participate in the project. Examples of this include a letter from Harry Scherman of the Book-of-the-Month-Club to the writer John Gunther; there is also a letter in the collection from the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Robert A. Millikan to Walt Disney. Other letters, which are dated after the book's publication in 1946, concern either invitations to exhibits of Kaufman's work or the receipt of a gift copy of the book. Also included is a signed black-and-white photograph of Wendell Wilkie, along with several of his letters to the artist. All correspondents are listed in the Index of Correspondents at the end of this guide.

A group of unidentified correspondence can be found at the end of this series. These letters pre-date or do not appear to relate to American Portraits. Several of the signatures are unclear. Some of these letters are written in French or German, and appear to refer to Kaufman's life in Europe before she immigrated to New York City in 1939.

Series II., Statements of Leadership, consists of a single folder of handwritten and typed reflections and quotations on the nature of leadership by many of the subjects of American Portraits. These statements are arranged alphabetically by source name. Several seem to have been cut from accompanying letters, some are written on note pads and odd scraps of paper or envelopes, while others are presented more formally, within the body of a typed letter.

An Index of Statements of Leadership in this guide contains all names represented in this series.

The Ransom Center Art Collection holds a collection of 68 portrait drawings by Kaufman.



Open for research

Index Terms

Allen, Florence Ellinwood, 1884-1966
Anderson, Marian, 1897-1993
Beard, Charles
Cannon, Walter B. (Walter Bradford), 1871-1945
Cather, Willa, 1873-1947
Catt, Carrie Chapman, 1859-1947
Conant, James Bryant, 1893-1978
Counts, George S. (George Sylvester), 1889-1974
Dewey, John, 1859-1952
Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969
Fisher, Dorothy Canfield, 1879-1958
Frost, Robert, 1874-1963
Harris, Roy, 1898-
Hayes, Helen, 1900-
Hemingway, Ernest, 1899-1961
Johnson, Mordecai W. (Mordecai Wyatt), 1890-1976
Jones, Rufus Matthew, 1863-1948
Langmuir, Irving, 1881-1957
Lewis, John Llewellyn, 1880-1969
MacLeish, Archibald, 1892-
Marin, John, 1870-1953
Niebuhr, Reinhold, 1892-1971
Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976
Rockefeller, John D. (John Davison), 1874-1960
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945
Sulzberger, Arthur Hays, 1891-1968
Thompson, Dorothy, 1893-1961
Truman, Harry S., 1896-1972
Whipple, George Hoyt, 1878-
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959
Wright, Orville, 1871-1948
United States -- Biography -- Portraits
Document Types

Administrative Information


Purchase, 1962 (R1349)

Processed by

Genevieve Buentello, 1997, Laura Gottesman, 1998


Fisher, Dorothy Canfield and Kaufman, Enit, American Portraits. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1946.

New York Times. Obituaries, Friday, January 20, 1961.

Enit Kaufman Papers--Folder List

Series I. Correspondence, 1914-1958

box folder
1 1 A-E
2 F-K
3 L-N
4 P-U
5 W-Z; Unidentified

Series II. Statements of Leadership, 1933-1944

box folder
1 6 A-Z

Index of Correspondents

  • Allen, Florence Ellinwood, 1884-1966 (United States Circuit Court of Appeals)--1.1
  • Arnold, Henry Harley, 1886-1950--1.1
  • Arnold, William R. (William Richard), 1881-1965 (War Department, Office of the Chief of Chaplains)--1.1
  • Austin, Warren Robinson, 1877- --1.1
  • Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956--1.1
  • Baruch, Bernard M. (Bernard Mannes), 1870-1965--1.1
  • Beard, Charles--1.1
  • Beebe, William, 1877-1962--1.1
  • Birkhoff, George David, 1884-1944--1.1
  • Byrd, Richard Evelyn, 1888-1957--1.1
  • Byrnes, James F. (James Francis), 1882-1972--1.1
  • Canfield Fisher, Dorothy--see Fisher, Dorothy Canfield
  • Cannon, Walter B. (Walter Bradford), 1871-1945 (National Academy of Sciences)--1.1
  • Carlson, Anton J. (Anton Julius), 1875-1956 (University of Chicago. Department of Physiology)--1.1
  • Cather, Willa, 1873-1947--1.1
  • Catt, Carrie Chapman, 1859-1947--1.1
  • Cattell, James McKeen, 1860-1944 ( Science)--1.1
  • Childs, Marquis William, 1903- ( Washington Calling)--1.1
  • Cleghorn, Sarah Norcliffe, 1876-1959--1.1
  • Compton, Arthur Holly, 1892-1962 (Metallurgical Laboratory)--1.1
  • Compton, K. T. (Karl Taylor), 1887-1954 (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)--1.1
  • Conant, James Bryant, 1893-1978 (Harvard University)--1.1 (one addressed to Dorothy Canfield Fisher with autograph addition, one by his wife)
  • Coolidge, William David, 1873- --1.1 (autograph signature only)
  • Counts, George S. (George Sylvester), 1889-1974 (Columbia University. Teachers College)--1.1
  • Craven, Thomas, b. 1889--1.1
  • Csoker, Franz Theodor, 1885- --1.1 (in German)
  • Dewey, John, 1859-1952--1.1
  • Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955--1.1 (to Mary S. Rosenberg, in German)
  • Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969--1.1
  • Finkelstein, Louis, 1895- (Jewish Theological Seminary of America)--1.2
  • Fisher, Dorothy Canfield, 1879-1958--1.2
  • Flexner, Simon, 1863-1946--1.2
  • Fosdick, Harry Emerson (The Riverside Church), 1878-1969--1.2
  • Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965--1.2
  • Frost, Robert, 1874-1963--1.2 (to Scott Buchanan)
  • Gibbs, William F. (Francis), 1886-1967--1.2
  • Glasgow, Ellen Anderson Gholson, 1873-1945--1.2
  • Glass, Carter, 1858-1946--1.2
  • Green, William, 1872-1952 (American Federation of Labor)--1.2
  • Hansen, Alvin H. (Alvin Harvey), 1887- (Harvard University. Graduate School of Public Administration)--1.2
  • Harris, Roy, 1898- (Cornell University. College of Arts and Letters; Colorado College)--1.2
  • Hayes, Helen, 1900- --1.2
  • Hemingway, Ernest, 1899-1961--1.2
  • Hershey, Lewis Blaine, 1893- --1.2
  • Hull, Cordell, 1871-1955-1.2
  • Hutchins, Robert M. (Robert Maynard), 1899- (University of Chicago)--1.2
  • Johnson, Alvin W. (Alvin Walter), 1895-1958 (New School for Social Research)--1.2 (one to Felix Frankfurter)
  • Johnson, George, 1889-1944 (National Catholic Welfare Conference)--1.2
  • Johnson, Mordecai W. (Mordecai Wyatt), 1890-1976 (Howard University) --1.2
  • Jones, Robert T. (Robert Taylor), 1884- --1.2
  • Jones, Rufus Matthew, 1863-1948 (Haverford College)--1.2
  • Kettering, Charles Franklin, 1876-1958--1.2
  • Kieran, John, 1892- ( New York Times)--1.2
  • Knox, Frank, 1874-1944--1.2
  • Kohn, Felix--1.2 (in German)
  • La Guardia, Fiorello H. (Fiorello Henry), 1882-1947--1.3 (written and signed by his secretary)
  • Lamont, Thomas W. (Thomas William), 1870-1948--1.3
  • Landis, Kenesaw Mountain, 1866-1944--1.3
  • Langmuir, Irving, 1881-1957 (General Electric)--1.3
  • Larsen, Roy E. (Roy Edward), b.1899 (Time, Inc)--1.3
  • Lawrence, Ernest O. (Ernest Orlando), 1901-1958 (University of California. Berkeley)--1.3
  • Leahy, William D.--1.3
  • Leggette, Jeanne H.--1.3 (written on behalf of Captain Vardaman, regarding the schedule of President Truman)
  • Lewis, John Llewellyn, 1880-1969 (United Mine Workers of America)--1.3
  • Lewis, Sinclair, 1885-1951--1.3
  • Lilienthal, David Eli, 1899-1981 (Tennessee Valley Authority)--1.3
  • MacLeish, Archibald, 1892- --1.3
  • Manship, Paul, 1885-1966-1.3 (autograph signature only)
  • Marin, John, 1870-1953--1.3
  • Markel, Lester, 1894- ( New York Times)--1.3
  • Marshall, George C. (George Catlett), 1880-1959--1.3
  • McConnell, Francis John, 1871-1953--1.3 (one written by Mardi McConnell on behalf of Francis John McConnell)
  • McCord, David Thompson Watson, 1897- --1.3
  • McCormack, John W., 1891- --1.3
  • Melchers, Robert--1.3 (in German)
  • Millikan, Robert Andrews, 1868-1953 (California Institute of Technology) --1.3
  • Morgan, H. A.--1.3
  • Morgan, Thomas Hunt, 1866-1945 (California Institute of Technology)--1.3
  • Nathan, Reuben S.--1.3
  • Niebuhr, Reinhold, 1892-1971 (Union Theological Seminary)--1.3
  • Perkins, Frances, 1880-1965--1.4
  • Pershing, John J. (John Joseph), 1860-1948--1.4
  • Pond, Cordelia Sargent (Mrs. John D.) (George Walker Vincent Smith Art Museum)--1.4
  • Rayburn, Sam, 1882-1961--1.4
  • Rice, Elmer, 1892-1967--1.4
  • Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976--1.4 (autograph signature only)
  • Rockefeller, John D. (John Davison), 1874-1960--1.4
  • Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962--1.4 (two written on behalf of President Roosevelt)
  • Roosevelt Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945--1.4 (one letter written on behalf of the President by William D. Hassett, four by Grace G. Tully)
  • Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967--1.4 (one autograph signature and one written by Mrs. Sandburg)
  • Sarraut, Albert--1.5
  • Scherman, Harry, b. 1887 (Book-of-the-Month Club)--1.4
  • Schlesinger, Arthur Meier, 1917- --1.4
  • Schneiderman, Rose, 1882- --1.4
  • Schuster, M. Lincoln (Max Lincoln), 1897-1970--1.4
  • Shapley, Harlow, 1885-1972--1.4 (one by his wife; one signed by secretary)
  • Shea, Francis Xavier--1.4
  • Stevenson, Adlai E. (Adlai Ewing), 1872-1946--1.4
  • Stone, Harlan Fiske, 1872-1946--1.4
  • Sulzberger, Arthur Hays, 1891-1968--1.4 (one by his wife)
  • Swing, Raymond, 1887-1968--1.4 (one addressed to Dorothy C. Fisher)
  • Swope, Gerard, 1872-1957--1.4
  • Taylor, Deems, 1885-1966--1.4
  • Thompson, Dorothy, 1893-1961--1.4
  • Trebitsch, Siegfried, 1869-1956--1.5
  • Truman, Harry S., 1896-1972--1.5 (three written and signed by his secretary); see also Leggette, Jeanne H.
  • Untermeyer, Louis, 1885-1977--1.4
  • Urey, Harold Clayton, 1893- --1.4
  • Vertes, Marcel, 1895-1961--1.5
  • Wallace, DeWitt, 1889-1981--1.5 (one written by his secretary; one by his wife Lila Acheson Wallace)
  • Wallace, Henry Agard, 1888-1965--1.5
  • Warner, Carlos I.--1.5
  • Whipple, George Hoyt, 1878- --1.5
  • White, William Allen, 1868-1944--1.5 (one to Walter Lippman)
  • Whitney, Willis Rodney, 1868-1958--1.5 (one letter and six signed copies of “Postscriptum,” letters of introduction)
  • Wilkie, Wendell L. (Wendell Lewis), 1892-1944--1.5 (includes one signed photograph)
  • Williston, Samuel, 1861-1963--1.5
  • Woodruff, Caroline S.--1.5
  • Wooley, Mary E.--1.5
  • Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959--1.5 (one written, signed by secretary)
  • Wright, Orville, 1871-1948--1.5
  • Zook, George Frederick, 1885-1951--1.5 (one addressed to Dorothy Canfield Fisher with her autograph addition)

Index of Statements of Leadership

  • Anderson, Marian, 1897-1993--1.6
  • Austin, Warren Robinson, 1877- --1.6
  • Beebe, William, 1877-1962--1.6
  • Biddle, Francis, 1886-1968--1.6
  • Birkhoff, George David--1.6
  • Bush, Vannevar, 1890-1974 (Carnegie Institution of Washington)--1.6
  • Byrnes, James F. (James Francis), 1882-1972 (Office of War Mobilization)--1.6
  • Cannon, Walter B. (Walter Bradford), 1871-1945--1.6
  • Catt, Carrie Chapman, 1859-1947--1.6
  • Compton, K. T. (Karl Taylor), 1887-1954--1.6
  • Conant, James Bryant, 1893-1978 (Harvard University)--1.6
  • Coolidge, William David, 1873- (General Electric Company)--1.6
  • Counts, George S. (George Sylvester), 1889-1974--1.6
  • Davis, John W.--1.6
  • Dewey, John, 1859-1952--1.6
  • Finkelstein, Louis, 1895- --1.6
  • Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965--1.6 (written on his behalf by Lee Watters)
  • Frost, Robert, 1874-1963--1.6
  • Green, William, 1872-1952 (American Federation of Labor)--1.6
  • Hansen, Alvin H. (Alvin Harvey), 1887- --1.6
  • Harris, Roy, 1898- (Cornell University)--1.6 (includes a music manuscript)
  • Hull, Cordell, 1871-1955--1.6
  • Johnson, Alvin W. (Alvin Walter), 1895-1958--1.6
  • Johnson, George, 1889-1944 (The Catholic University of America)--1.6
  • Johnson, Mordecai W. (Mordecai Wyatt), 1890-1976--1.6
  • Jones, Robert T. (Robert Taylor), 1884- --1.6
  • Jones, Rufus Matthew, 1863-1948--1.6
  • King, Ernest Joseph, 1878-1956--1.6
  • Langmuir, Irving, 1881-1957--1.6
  • Lewis, John Llewellyn, 1880-1969 (United Mine Workers of America)--1.6
  • Manship, Paul, 1885-1966--1.6
  • Marin, John, 1870-1953--1.6
  • Marshall, George C. (George Catlett), 1880-1959--1.6
  • McCormack, John W., 1891- --1.6
  • Moulton, Harold Glenn, 1883-1965--1.6
  • Murray, Phillip (United Steelworkers of America)--1.6
  • Nelson, Donald Marr, 1888-1959 (War Production Board)--1.6
  • Niebuhr, Reinhold, 1892-1971--1.6 (not signed)
  • Norris, G. W.--1.6
  • Rayburn, Sam, 1882-1961--1.6
  • Richards, A. N.--1.6
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945--1.6 (not signed)
  • Ryan, John Augustine, 1869-1945 (National Catholic Welfare Conference)--1.6
  • Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967--1.6
  • Shapley, Harlow, 1885-1972--1.6
  • Somervell, Brehon Burke, 1892-1955--1.6
  • Stimson, Henry Lewis, 1867-1950--1.6
  • Sulzberger, Arthur Hays, 1891-1968--1.6
  • Swing, Raymond, 1887-1968--1.6
  • Thomas, Norman--1.6
  • Wallace, Henry Agard, 1888-1965 (St. John's College)--1.6
  • Whitney, Willis Rodney, 1868-1958--1.6
  • Williston, Samuel, 1861-1963 (Law School of Harvard University)--1.6