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Etta Cone Letters

Identifier: MSS 0058

Scope and Contents

This collection contains 27 letters. Twenty one of the letters were written by Etta Cone to her cousin, Richard Guggenheimer, between 1927 and 1935. Of the remaining six letters, two are written by Richard Guggenheimer to Etta Cone and four are to Richard from other members of the Cone Family (Frederic and Maxwell Cone, Sally and Jacob Moses), dated between 1931 and 1937.

Topics include Etta's focus on building her art collection, as well as her social and business activities, travel plans, health concerns, and her support of Richard Guggenheimer's artistic endeavors.

Also included in the file are newspaper clippings about the Cones from the Greensboro Daily News and Greensboro Sun; an article from the April 1979 volume of Arts Journal; and a catalog of an exhibit of the Cone collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art.


  • 1927 - 1949


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical or Historical Information

Etta Cone was born in 1870 in Baltimore, Maryland and died in 1949 in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. With her older sister, Dr. Claribel Cone (1864-1929) she amassed one of the finest collections of modern French art in the United States. The collection, famed especially for its Matisse works, was bequeathed to the Baltimore Museum of Art upon Etta's death. Duplicate prints were left to Woman's College (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro).

A strong influence on the collecting of the Cone sisters came through their friendship with the Steins in Paris during the early 1900s. It was through the Stein family that the Cones met Matisse and Picasso; Etta Cone and Henri Matisse became especially close.

Following World War I, Etta and Claribel traveled to Europe on an annual basis to buy art, antiques, furniture, lace, and textiles. The sisters participated in the cultural life of the cities of Europe and at home in Baltimore, where they were considered rather eccentric and bohemian due to their unconvential dress, modern tastes in art, and independence.


0.20 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Etta Cone (1870-1949), along with her older sister, Dr. Claribel Cone (1864-1929) lived in Baltimore but traveled frequently to Europe, and amassed one of the finest collections of modern French art in the United States. This collection contains 27 letters between Etta Cone and other Cone family members and Etta's cousin, Richard Guggenheimer, between 1927 and 1937. Topics include art, social and business activities, travel, health and finances.

Arrangement Note

The letters are arranged chronologically, with those written by Etta appearing first.

Method of Acquisition

Purchased in 1978.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

Processed by Archives staff.


Etta Cone Letters
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Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US