Selections from the Tanner Papers

Allen C. Tanner (1898-1987) was an Illinois-born pianist. At fifteen he was awarded a scholarship to study music in Chicago where he met Margaret Anderson, founder of the Little Review. Tanner then moved to New York City where he performed in musical salons and accompanied many musical greats of the era. In 1922, Tanner left for Berlin, where he met Russian artist Pavel Tchelitchew and the two men became lovers. In 1924 the pair moved to Paris to pursue their artistic careers, and became great friends with Gertrude Stein and Edith Sitwell. When Tanner and Tchelitchew ended their relationship in 1934, Tanner returned to the United States. In 1967 he released the album Allen Tanner Plays Bach, Debussy, Scriabin, Granados, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Steinert.

The collection contains correspondence, writings, programs and publicity, news clippings, financial documents, sheet music, sound recordings, photographs, and books. Some of that material has been digitized and is available below. For more information about Tanner and the entire collection, please see this post and the collection inventory.

Tanner Portrait Marguerite Namara Marguerite D'Alvarez Tanner Sisters Wedding Tanner at Beach Tanner New York Thamara Swirskaya Tchelitchew Painting Tanner with Tchetlichew Hewin Field Tanner with Anderson Tanner with Sitwell Anderson Scrapbook

Browse Selections from the Tanner Papers

Life with Tchelitchew by Allen Tanner
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In this draft, Allen Tanner describes in great detail his relationship with his partner of 12 years, Russian artist Pavel Tchelitchew. Tanner also...

Location: MC 2013.3, B4, F48

Subject: LGBT History, Personal and Family Life

Format: Essays and Dissertations

Time Period:

View Item: PDF icon Life with Tchelitchew by Allen Tanner

Score by Allen Tanner
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Pianist Allen Tanner wrote this score by hand.

Location: MC 2013.3, B5, F64

Subject: Visual and Performing Arts

Format: Music

Time Period:

View Item: PDF icon Score by Allen Tanner

"Syzmanowski a Step Nearer Place in the Sun" by Cecil Smith, Chicago Daily Tribune newspaper clipping
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This news clipping describes a performance by Chicago pianist Wanda Paul of Polish composer Karol Szymanowski's symphony. Allen Tanner is listed...

"Joyce Obscenity Trial" by Allen Tanner
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Allen Tanner describes Margaret Anderson's reaction to being fingerprinted after her conviction for publishing obscene material in the Little...

Location: MC 2013.3, B4, F30

Subject: Literary Pursuits

Format: Essays and Dissertations

Time Period:

View Item: PDF icon "Joyce Obscenity Trial" by Allen Tanner

Letter from Allen Tanner to Margaret Anderson
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In this draft letter, Allen Tanner writes to Margaret Anderson about their first meeting in Chicago. He also discusses her past relationships with...

"The Social Whirl" by Mrs. Henry Field clipping from unknown newspaper
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This social column by Mrs. Henry Field describes Allen Tanner's return to the United States from Europe with Pavel Tchelitchew. Field also hints...

Letter from Allen Tanner to Parker Tyler
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In this draft letter, Allen Tanner writes to author Parker Tyler to assist Tyler in writing his book The Divine...

Location: MC 2013.3, B2, F6

Subject: LGBT History, Literary Pursuits, Personal and Family Life

Format: Letters/Correspondence

Time Period:

View Item: PDF icon Letter from Allen Tanner to Parker Tyler

Letter from Allen Tanner to Kirk Askew
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In this letter to R. Kirk Askew, owner of the Durlacher Bros. art gallery, Allen Tanner discusses the sale of several Pavel Tchelitchew paintings...

Location: MC 2013.3, B1, F8

Subject: Personal and Family Life, Visual and Performing Arts

Format: Letters/Correspondence

Time Period:

View Item: PDF icon Letter from Allen Tanner to Kirk Askew

C. W. Best Artists’ Series Russian Company concert program
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This concert program is for one of the C. W. Best Artists' Series Russian Company's performances.

Notes on Parker Tyler’s The Divine Comedy of Pavel Tchelitchew by Allen Tanner
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In these notes, Allen Tanner writes about his feelings regarding  the way Pavel Tchelitchew and Edith Sitwell are remembered in Parker Tyler's...

Letter from Allen Tanner to Kirk Askew
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In this letter to R. Kirk Askew, owner of the Durlacher Bros. art gallery, Allen Tanner tells Askew that he wants Askew's wife Constance to have...

Location: MC 2013.3, B1, F8

Subject: Visual and Performing Arts

Format: Letters/Correspondence

Time Period:

View Item: PDF icon Letter from Allen Tanner to Kirk Askew

Notes on Gay Life in Chicago during the 1910s by Allen Tanner
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Allen Tanner recalls his impressions of gay life (camp) in Chicago during the 1910s including the origin of the use of the word "drag." Transcript...

Location: MC 2013.3, B4, F41

Subject: LGBT History

Format: Notes and Notebooks

Time Period:

View Item: PDF icon Notes on Gay Life in Chicago during the 1910s by Allen Tanner

Notes on Gertrude Stein’s writing by Allen Tanner
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In these notes, Allen Tanner describes what he likes about Gertrude Stein's writing style.

Location: MC 2013.3, B2, F6

Subject: Literary Pursuits

Format: Notes and Notebooks

Time Period:

View Item: PDF icon Notes on Gertrude Stein’s writing by Allen Tanner

Alexander Scriabin by Allen Tanner
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In this draft essay, Allen Tanner argues that Russian composer Alexander Scriabin's talents and contributions are overlooked by younger musicians...

Location: MC 2013.3, B4, F35

Subject: Visual and Performing Arts

Format: Essays and Dissertations

Time Period:

View Item: PDF icon Alexander Scriabin by Allen Tanner

Leaving Europe for the United States by Allen Tanner
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In this essay, pianist Allen Tanner recalls the end of his relationship with his partner of 12 years, Russian artist Pavel Tchelitchew. Tanner...

Location: MC 2013.3, B4, F47

Subject: LGBT History, Visual and Performing Arts

Format: Essays and Dissertations

Time Period:

View Item: PDF icon Leaving Europe for the United States by Allen Tanner

"Regime for Naughty 'Dilletantes'" by Allen Tanner
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In this draft essay, Allen Tanner writes about piano technique.

Location: MC 2013.3, B4, F32

Subject: Visual and Performing Arts

Format: Essays and Dissertations

Time Period:

View Item: PDF icon "Regime for Naughty 'Dilletantes'" by Allen Tanner

"Thamara Swirskaya: The Chinese Lily" clipping from unknown newspaper
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This newspaper clipping depicts dancer Thamara Swirskaya in costume.

"Some Reflections upon my Early Life" by Allen Tanner
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In this essay draft, Allen Tanner writes about growing up in a musical family in rural Illinois, and his disappointment regarding Edith Sitwell's...

Piano Technique by Allen Tanner
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In this draft essay, Allen Tanner writes about piano technique, specifically the Cortot piano method.

Location: MC 2013.3, B4, F34

Subject: Visual and Performing Arts

Format: Essays and Dissertations

Time Period:

View Item: PDF icon Piano Technique by Allen Tanner

"Tanners Mt. Vernon’s Most Musical Family" clipping from unknown newspaper
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This newspaper article describes the musical talents of Allen Tanner and his siblings.

"Women in Tschelitcheff’s Life: Reverences, Infatuations, Admirations," by Allen Tanner
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In this draft essay, Allen Tanner writes about the women with whom Pavel Tchelitchew associated, including Hadley Hemingway, Russian ballerina...

"Edith Sitwell," by Allen Tanner
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In this draft essay, Allen Tanner writes about Edith Sitwell's autobiography.

Location: MC 2013.3, B4, F36

Subject: Literary Pursuits

Format: Essays and Dissertations

Time Period:

View Item: PDF icon "Edith Sitwell," by Allen Tanner

Letter from Robert Tanner to Mother
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With this letter to his mother, Robert Tanner includes a photocopy of a newspaper article about his Uncle Allen Tanner's musical accomplishments....

Location: MC 2013.3, B1, F82

Subject: Personal and Family Life, Visual and Performing Arts

Format: Letters/Correspondence

Time Period:

View Item: PDF icon Letter from Robert Tanner to Mother

Tchelitchew and Neo-Romantics by Allen Tanner
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In this draft essay, Allen Tanner describes Pavel Tchelitchew's artistic style, comparing his style with neo-romanticism and surrealism....

Location: MC 2013.3, B4, F44

Subject: Visual and Performing Arts

Format: Essays and Dissertations

Time Period:

View Item: PDF icon Tchelitchew and Neo-Romantics by Allen Tanner

"Alice B. Toklas" by Allen Tanner
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In this draft essay, Allen Tanner writes about Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.

Location: MC 2013.3, B4, F49

Subject: Literary Pursuits

Format: Essays and Dissertations

Time Period:

View Item: PDF icon "Alice B. Toklas" by Allen Tanner

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