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Richard Caldwell Brewer papers, 1890-2016 (bulk 1940-2000).
BANC MSS 2017/145 oversize box 1; BANC MSS 2017/145 oversize box 2; BANC MSS 2017/145 v.1; BANC MSS 2017/145 oversize folder 1; ...
Collection Overview


Richard Caldwell Brewer papers, 1890-2016 (bulk 1940-2000)


Brewer, Richard Caldwell, 1923-2014, creator, creator.


Bell, Leland, correspondent.


Blaine, Nell, correspondent.


Calcagno, Lawrence, correspondent.


De Niro, Robert, Sr., correspondent.


Harris, Carolyn, correspondent.


Kael, Pauline, correspondent.


Snyder, Gary, correspondent.


Hyde, Solomon, correspondent.


Wagstaff, Sam, correspondent.


Whalen, Philip, correspondent.


Whalen, Philip, creator.


The papers include correspondence, professional papers, family and legal papers, as well as some artwork, photographs and a scrapbook. The papers are notable for rich correspondence that provides an intimate "slice of life" of being an "out" gay man in mid-century America. Of special interest is Brewer's "My History," a spiral notebook, beginning in his teens and continuing into the 1970s that records his moves, travels, letters to Roz, meetings with key figures in his life, and sexual encounters.


1940 (issued)


Bell, Leland
Blaine, Nell
Calcagno, Lawrence
De Niro, Robert, Sr
Harris, Carolyn
Kael, Pauline
Snyder, Gary
Wagstaff, Sam
Solomon, Hyde
Whalen, Philip
Artists, American -- California
Artists -- California -- Correspondence
Artists -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area
Gay men -- California -- San Francisco
Gay men -- Identity
Gay men -- Sexual behavior
Gay men -- Social life and customs
World War, 1939-1945
Europe -- Description and travel
New York (N.Y.) -- Description and travel
San Francisco (Calif.) -- Description and travel


COLLECTION STORED, IN PART, OFF-SITE: Advance notice required for use.
Richard Caldwell Brewer papers, BANC MSS 2017/145, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Gift of Robert Brokl and Alfred P. Crofts; 2016.
In English.
Richard Caldwell Brewer was born July 31, 1923, in Washington, D.C. and raised in Rockville, MD, attending high school in Washington, D.C., where he met his lifelong friend and fellow artist, Leland (Lee) Bell. After high school, Brewer attended the Corcoran Art Gallery School and the Abbott Commercial Art Gallery, both in Washington, D.C. Brewer's asthma prevented him from serving in the military, but speaking fluent French he was enlisted into the intelligence corps in Algiers. Brewer also served in the Merchant Marines, enlisting in 1944. Following WWII, he lived in Paris for two years, attending the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1951. Though Brewer was mainly self-educated, informal study also included associations and discussions with Karl Knaths, at the Phillips Memorial Gallery in Washington, D.C., Jean Helion in New York and Paris, and Andre Gide in Morocco. After Paris, Brewer moved to New York City, first residing at the Sloan House (YMCA) and then various apartments, working as a department store window designer. Brewer associated with the New York school of representational painters then at odds with the dominate Abstract Expressionists of the era. In 1952 and 1953, he briefly returned to San Francisco, supporting himself drawing pencil portraits in bars, sometimes accompanied by Robert Lavigne. Brewer's mother Rosiland (Roz), after separating from Brewer's father, John, Brewer, an insurance broker/manager for Dun & Bradstreet in Maryland, moved to Corinthian Island, Tiburon, Calif. Brewer bought the cottage in Tiburon where his mother lived from his aunt and uncle, Rear Admiral Robert and Elizabeth Lewis, with money from his father's estate, after his father's death in 1954. His mother lived there until her death in 1974. Brewer, then living and painting in an apartment on Polk St. in San Francisco, moved in somewhat later, with his longtime muse/companion, Steve Krstich, a young, straight Polk Street hustler that Brewer had befriended. Krstich was a constant cause of worry and responsibility. Brewer's career pinnacle was the 1979 solo exhibition at the Top Floor Gallery, at the now demolished Gay Community Center at 330 Grove Steet. Robert De Niro Sr., the artist and friend of Brewer since 1942 (introduced by Leland Bell), wrote an essay for the show which was reviewed not only in the local gay paper, "The Sentinel," but also by San Francisco Chronicle art critic, Thomas Albright. Brewer died in Tiburon, Calif. on March 4, 2014.

Physical Description:

8 (6 2 2 1 1




BANC MSS 2017/145 oversize box 1
BANC MSS 2017/145 oversize box 2
BANC MSS 2017/145 v.1
BANC MSS 2017/145 oversize folder 1
BANC MSS 2017/145 box 1
BANC MSS 2017/145 box 2
BANC MSS 2017/145 carton 1
BANC MSS 2017/145 carton 2
BANC MSS 2017/145 carton 3
BANC MSS 2017/145 carton 4
BANC MSS 2017/145 carton 5
BANC MSS 2017/145 carton 6
BANC MSS 2017/145
BANC MSS 2017/145



Copyright Note:

COLLECTION STORED, IN PART, OFF-SITE: Advance notice required for use.