Thomas Weston Fels (AC 1967) Papers
Scope and Contents
The Thomas Weston Fels Papers document the professional activities of Thomas Weston Fels (AC 1967), including research, writing, correspondence, and exhibition planning documents and notes from throughout his professional education and career as a curator and writer. Also included are materials relating to Fels' book Farm Friends: From the late sixties to the west seventies and beyond, which chronicles his life on a communal farm in Montague, Massachusetts in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and follows the lives and activities of selected farm members.
- Creation: 1972-2009
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1983-2004
- Fels, Thomas Weston (AC 1967) (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Some series and subseries of the Thomas Weston Fels Papers are temporarily restricted for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes. This collection is housed in off-site storage and requires advance notice before use. Please contact Archives and Special Collections.
Conditions Governing Use
Requests for permission to publish material from the Thomas Weston Fels Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Published material in the collection may be subject to copyright restrictions.
Biographical / Historical
Thomas Weston Fels (AC 1967) is an art historian, curator and writer specializing in American culture, photography and art. Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1946, Fels attended The Putney School in Vermont before enrolling at Amherst College. He was part of a group of Amherst College alumni and others who established and lived on a communal farm in Montague, Massachusetts in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He attended the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art, earning his MA in 1984. Since 2005, Fels' research and writing has focused on the era of the 1960s, including the founding of the Famous Long Ago archives at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Fels resides in southern Vermont, and is active in arts programming locally and beyond.
Thomas Weston Fels has worked as consultant and curator to a number of museums, including the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Elizabeth de C. Wilson Museum at the Southern Vermont Arts Center. In 1986 he was named a Chester Dale Fellow of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in 1998-1999, he was a Fletcher Jones Foundation Fellow of the Huntington Library in California. Among the numerous exhibitions he has organized are presentations of the work of the photographers Eadweard Muybridge, and A. J. Russell. His exhibition Carleton Watkins: Western Landscape and the Classical Vision was presented at the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1990. Fire and Ice: Treasures from the Photograph Collection of Frederic Church at Olana, was shown at the Dahesh Museum, in New York, and the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Its companion volume, published by Cornell University Press in 2002, was nominated for numerous awards. Fels is the author of many other catalogs and articles, including O Say Can You See: American Photographs 1839-1939 (MIT Press and the Berkshire Museum, 1989), Watkins to Weston: 101 Years of California Photography, 1849-1950 (Roberts Rinehart Publishers and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1992), Sotheby's Guide to Photographs (H. Holt, 1998), and Farm Friends (RSI Press, 2008). He has given public lectures at the Boston Athenaeum, the Addison Gallery, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others.
See Appendix A for a list of Fels' exhibitions, projects, and publications.
25 Linear feet (23 records storage boxes, 2 flat boxes, 1 media box)
Language of Materials
The Thomas Weston Fels Papers document the professional activities of writer and curator Thomas Weston Fels (AC 1967), including research, writing, correspondence, and exhibition planning documents and notes from throughout his professional education and career. Also included are materials relating to his book Farm Friends: from the late sixties to the west seventies and beyond.
This collection is organized into four series:
- Series 1: Curatorial Projects and Exhibitions 1978-2006, undated
- Series 2: Arts and Cultural Organizations 1987-2009, undated
- Series 3: Writings and Research 1972-2008, undated
- Series 4: Biographical Material 1969-2008, undated
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The material in this collection was gathered and maintained by Thomas Weston Fels. The collection was gifted to the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections in 2009-2011 and is ongoing.
Processed in 2011-2012 by Sara Smith, Archives and Special Collections Specialist; Christina Barber, graduate student intern, Simmons College; and Lauren Delapenha (AC 2014), Student Assistant.
Genre / Form
- Sara Smith, Archives and Special Collections Specialist
- Language of description
- Script of description