The True Biographical Facts

I have read a variety of brief biographies -- and autobiographies -- of my grandfather, Armstrong Wells Sperry, which I have posted verbatim at this website, but frankly, they have all been less than accurate. This is a timeline of his early career, as derived from the records of the Yale Alumni Office, the Art Students League, ship passenger lists (new!), and private correspondence from various sources. When I have a confirmation of the dates of his service in the Navy, and where he studied in Paris, I will add it.

There is anecdotal evidence that he studied at the Académie Colarossi (10 rue de la Grande-Chaumière, Paris), which closed in 1920, its archives apparently destroyed by Madame Colarossi, wife of the school's founder. I have not been able to prove that he attended, however.

Dates Description Source
Jan. 23, 1894 Capt. Sereno Dwight Armstrong, Armstrong Sperry's great-grandfather, died in New Haven, CT New Haven Vital Records
Nov. 7, 1897 Armstrong Wells Sperry born to Sereno Clark Sperry, Sr. & Nettie (Alling) Sperry in New Haven, CT Family records
1908 -> 1915 Stamford Preparatory School Application to Yale
Oct. 1915 -> May 1916
Oct. 1917 -> May 1917
June 1917
October 1917 -> May 1918
Art Students League of New York

Studied with F. Luis Mora and George Bellows
Art Students League Records
Fall Term 1918 Attended Yale School of Art, Naval ROTC Yale Alumni Records
Sept. 12, 1918 Registered for the Draft World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, National Archives & Records Adminstration
Nov. 11, 1918 WWI Armistice  
June 28, 1919 Treaty of Versaille  
Oct. 1919 -> Nov. 1919 Attended the Art Students League of New York Art Students League Records
Jan. 3, 1920 Living at 362 Fountain St., New Haven, CT with parents and older brother Paul, employed as a commercial artist in the lithography industry. US Census Records
May 1920 Attended the Art Students League of New York Art Students League Records
Oct. 1920 -> May 1921 First Voyage to the South Pacific, to Tahiti, Raiatea, Bora Bora, New Zealand, Australia, the Fiji Islands & Hawai'i Letters home to family
July 1921 Traveled from Honolulu to San Francisco on the ship "Maui" Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at San Francisco, 1893-1953
Dec. 1921 Exhibit of paintings of the South Seas at the Art Centre, NYC Review in the New York Times
Feb. 1922 -> May 1922 Attended the Art Students League of New York Art Students League Records
Summer 1922 Introduced to Kenneth Emory, ethnologits at the Bishop Museum, Honolulu, by foster sister Anne Kinnear Keneti, the biography of Kenneth Emory by Bob Kraus
Oct. 1922 -> Mar. 1923 Attended the Art Students League of New York Art Students League Records
Spring 1923 -> June 1923 Spent time in Paris Yale Alumni Records
Oct. 1923 Attended the Art Students League of New York Art Students League Records
Sep. 1924 -> May 1925 Second Voyage to the South Seas, on the Kaimiloa, visiting Hawai'i, Fanning Island, Christmas Island, Malden Island, Penrhyn Island, Tahiti, Bora Bora & Raiatea Letters home to family & Keneti
June 1925 Traveled from Papeete, Tahiti to San Francisco on the ship "RMS Tahiti" Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at San Francisco, 1893-1953
April 5, 1930 Margaret Robertson living at 1803 King Avenue, Columbus, OH, paying $65/month rent, employed as a "Medical Adviser" at Ohio State University US Census Records
April 21, 1930 Living at 319 West 18th St., Manhattan, NY, paying $75/month rent, employed as a freelance artist. US Census Records
June 12, 1930 Married Margaret Mitchell Robertson, M.D., of San Francisco, CA, in New York City Family Records

This page last updated Friday, 04/03/09, by Margo Burns, margo@ogram.org
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