Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Knapik mss., 1936-1979, consist of the papers of Harold L. Knapik, 1916-1976, and Virginia Knapik, 1911-1975. In 1948 the Knapiks moved to Paris where Harold studied counterpoint music at the Ecole Normale de Musique , while Virginia worked at the American Embassy. An accomplished musician, Harold Knapik published several musical compositions, as well as a text on the musical style of Counterpoint. While living in Paris, the Knapiks befriended Alice B. Toklas (1877-1967) and were introduced to her social network of friends and admirers. After returning to the United States Harold and Virginia opened the Knapik Gallery in New York City. Harold also published a cookbook titled Haute Cuisine Without Help. Virginia Knapik died in June 1975 from a heart attack; Harold Knapik died in February 1976, after apparently taking his own life.

The collection is organized into the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Alice B. Toklas; III. Writings; IV. Miscellaneous; V. Personal/Financial; VI. Printed.

The bulk of the collection consists of the Knapiks' correspondence with family and friends. It includes eight letters from Harold to Virginia, as well as a number of letters to and from Harold's brother, Eugene Knapik (1913-1983). Other correspondents include Osborn Andreas, Joseph Amber Barry, William Nelson Copley, Gilbert A. Harrison, Darius Milhaud, Man Ray and his wife Juliet, Carl Van Vechten, Charles William White, Isabel Wilder, and Thornton Niven Wilder. The Knapiks also corresponded with a number of friends affiliated with the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Mission Society of the Hindu religion. Filed separately are twenty-six letters from Alice B. Toklas and a small group of photographs relating to her.

Other items in the collection include a typed carbon draft of Osborn Andreas' "Henry James and the Expanding Horizon," published by the University of Washington Press in 1948; a small group of notes or handwritten copies of articles relating to frescoes; some miscellaneous financial papers for the Knapiks; and a file of printed clippings, etc., relating chiefly to Harold Knapik's books and to the Art Galley the Knapiks ran in New York.

An inventory of collection with a list of index entries of correspondents is available.

Gift. Estate of Eleanor Knapik. Chesterton, IN. 1988; Transfer. Main Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 1989

Collection size: 145 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.