Warren "Pete" and Elizabeth "Betty" Schmitt Jennerjahn Papers, PC.7061


Warren "Pete" and Elizabeth "Betty" Schmitt Jennerjahn Papers, PC.7061


Warren "Pete" Jennerjahn (1922 - 2020) and Elizabeth "Betty" Schmitt Jennerjahn (1923 - 2007) grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During the 1940s, both attended Black Mountain College, near Black Mountain, N.C. Betty attended the 1944 Summer Art Institute. In 1948 she returned to BMC with her husband, Pete., a WWII veteran.

The couple attended classes and were later appointed to faculty positions, Pete in art, and Betty in dance. During their tenure at BMC, the Jennerjahns introduced the campus to the multi-disciplinary avant-garde Light, Sound, Movement Workshop. They stayed on at BMC until 1951.
After spending a year in Paris, they settled in New York City.

The Warren "Pete" and Elizabeth "Betty" Schmitt Jennerjahn Papers contain correspondence, sketchbooks, academic transcripts, drawings, and recipts.

Descriptive Summary

Warren "Pete" and Elizabeth "Betty" Schmitt Jennerjahn Papers
Call Number
Jennerjahn, Warren "Pete"
3.400 cubic feet
Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina

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Available for research

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Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item,] PC.7061, Warren "Pete" and Elizabeth "Betty" Schmitt Jennerjahn Papers, State Archives of North Carolina, Western Regional Archives, Asheville, NC, USA.

Collection Overview

The Warren "Pete" and Elizabeth "Betty" Schmitt Jennerjahn Papers contain correspondence, sketchbooks, academic transcripts, drawings, and recipts.


Warren "Pete" Jennerjahn (1922 - 2020) and Elizabeth "Betty" Schmitt Jennerjahn (1923 - 2007) grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where they attended Milwaukee State Teacher's College.

Betty's father, Rupert Schmitt, specialized in ecclesiastical design, especially in stained glass windows. She envisioned becoming a stained-glass artist and was eager to study under Josef Albers, at Black Mountain College (BMC). In 1944, Betty attended the Black Mountain's Summer Art Institute. However, after meeting Merce Cunningham, she became interested in dance. In 1945, Betty left BMC to study dance in New York with Martha Graham.

Pete enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and served in Europe during World War II. When he returned to the states, he and Betty married, and Pete went back to school on the G.I. Bill. He earned an art education degree from Milwaukee State University and a master's degree in art at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

After graduating, Pete hoped to land a teaching position. While waiting for offers, Pete and Betty worked at her father's firm, Conrad Schmitt Studio. After a year with no prospects, Betty persuaded Pete to enroll at Black Mountain College. The couple arrived in the summer of 1948.

That fall, Pete was both student and an assistant to Josef Albers. In the spring and summer of 1949, he was an instructor in art. In the fall of 1949, he was appointed to the faculty to teach art. In addition to being an artist, Jennerjahn was a jazz musician. At Betty's suggestion, Pete taught a percussion class that drew many students and faculty members.

From the fall of 1948 through the summer of 1949, Betty was a student teacher in dance, and in the fall of 1949, she was appointed to the dance faculty. She took a leave-of-absence in the summer of 1951 but remained at the college for the summer to study with Katherine Litz.

During their tenure at BMC, the Jennerjahns introduced the campus to the multi-disciplinary avant-garde Light, Sound, Movement Workshop.

Pete remained at BMC through the spring of 1951, when he left the college to study art in France. Betty joined him later that year and studied dance. It was while they were in Europe that the two experienced what they had been missing while in Black Mountain - the ability to live life together as a couple. The community environment and hectic schedules at BMC gobbled up much of their time, and while they managed to often share meals together, they lacked the ability to grow together.

After their year abroad, the couple returned to the U.S. and settled in New York City. Pete taught art at Hunter College and the Cooper Union. After he was offered a position at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y. the family moved to Long Island. Following the birth of their son, Hans, Betty put her dance career on hold and began experimenting with painting and weaving, creative outlets that allowed her to spend more time with her children. For many years, Betty taught at the Waldorf School of Garden City.
In the 1980s, brought changes to their lives. Pete and Betty became born again Christians and drew much inspiration from the many blessings bestowed upon them. They also left New York and moved to Arizona.

Pete Jennerjahn's art has been shown in over three hundred exhibitions in sixteen states, as well as Paris and Madrid.

Contents of the Collection

Box 1

Scope and Content:

1. Schmitt Family History
2. Elizabeth Jennerjahn- General bio information
3. Elizabeth Jennerjahn- Artist Statement, 1985
4. Elizabeth Jennerjahn- Awards
5. Elizabeth Jennerjahn- Education
6. Elizabeth Jennerjahn- Class Notes, General
7. Elizabeth Jennerjahn- Class Notes, Adelphi
8. Elizabeth Jennerjahn- Waldorf Institute
9. Elizabeth Jennerjahn- Teaching- course descriptions and announcements
10. Elizabeth Jennerjahn- Teaching- Penland, 1966
11. Elizabeth Jennerjahn- Dance Program
12. Elizabeth Jennerjahn- Military Transport Service Murals

Box 2

Scope and Content:

Biographical Information, Warren Pete
1. W.P. Jennerjahn- General bio information
2. W.P. Jennerjahn- Adelphi
3. W.P. Jennerjahn- Artist Statement, 2000
4. W.P. Jennerjahn- Education, high school
5. W.P. Jennerjahn- Class Notes, General
6. W.P. Jennerjahn- Class Notes, BMC
7. W.P. Jennerjahn- Interview transcript, 2002
8. W.P. Jennerjahn- Military, Sketches and photos
9. W.P. Jennerjahn- Military, Bombardier School yearbook, 1943
10. W.P. Jennerjahn- Notes, On Color
11. W.P. Jennerjahn- Word Play
12. Exhibitions- Programs and flyers- Elizabeth
13. Exhibitions- Programs and flyers- W.P.
14. Exhibitions- Programs and flyers- Joint
15. Financial
16. Professional Earnings
16. Jennerjahn
17. Black Mountain College artists and information
18. Between Elizabeth "Betty" and W. P. "Pete"

Box 3

Scope and Content:

Box 3
1. Rupert Schmitt, Sr. (Betty's father)
2. Elizabeth Schmitt (Betty's mother)
3. Elizabeth Schmitt to Rupert Schmitt, Sr.
4. Letters to Mr. and Mrs. Rupert Schmitt, Sr.
5. Letters to Betty, pre marriage
6. Betty to Parents, pre BMC
7. Betty to Parents, BMC
8. Betty to Parents, post BMC
9. Elaine Schmitt
10. Conrad Schmitt
11. Rupert Schmitt, Jr.
12. Misc. Schmitt Family Letters
13. Helen Jennerjahn (Pete's mother)
14. Jack Jennerjahn (Pete's brother)
15. Letters to Pete and Betty- General

Box 4

Scope and Content:

Box 4
1. Letters to Pete and Betty- Black Mountain College (note most of these are single letters with the bulk being From Asawa and Richards)2. Galleries and Museums
3. From Ray and Lorna Obermayr, 1940s, 1990-2003
4. From Ray and Lorna Obermayr, 2004-2010, nd
5. Misc. Correspondence
General Files
6. BMC Exhibitions
7. BMC Reunion, 1992 San Francisco, CA
8. BMC Reunion, 1995 Lake Eden, NC
9. Conrad Schmitt Studio
10. Misc. Ephemera

Box 5

Scope and Content:

Box 5
1. Sketchbook- Elizbeth Black and White Drawings
2. Sketchbook- Pete and Elizabeth Drawings
3. Sketchbook- Elizabeth 1981/1982
4. Sketchbook- Europe 1978
5. Sketchbook- Form Drawings and Crayon Sketches
6. Sketchbook- Pete, St. Francis 2007
7. W.P. Sketches- Christmas Cards
8. W.P. Sketches- Loose
8. Elizabeth Sketches- Loose
10. Elizabeth Watercolors
11. Sketchbook- no date, no name

Box 6

Scope and Content:

Box 6
Visual Materials- Photographs
1. Elizabeth
2. Pete
3. Elizabeth, Paintings
4. Pete, Paintings- BMC
5. Pete, Paintings- 1980s/1990s
6. Pete, Portfolio of Work
7. Pete, Stained Glass
8. Studio- Jay, NY
9. Studio- New Jersey
10. Exhibitions
11. Miscellaneous
Visual Materials- Slides
12. Exhibitions and Paintings etc.

Box 7

Scope and Content: