Creator: Alfred M. Duca
Dates: c. 1920s-1990s
Quantity: 6.0 linear feet 
Acquisition:  Accession #: 1998.37
Identification: A17 ; Archive Collection #17
Citation: [Document Title]. The Alfred M. Duca Papers, [Box #, Folder #, Item #], Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, MA.
Copyright: Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be addressed to the Librarian/Archivist.
Language: English
Finding Aid:  Peter Brown, 2003

View the collection here


Alfred M. Duca, a native of Milton, Mass., studied at Pratt Institute in New York from 1938 to 1941, and at the Boston Museum School in the early 40s. Mr. Duca’s artistic career expanded quickly, earning him a solid reputation as a painter, sculptor, and inventor.

He is credited with the development of many new technical processes now being widely used in modern painting and sculpture. In 1944, Duca developed the Polymer Tempera process, the forerunner to today’s acrylic paint. In 1959, he became associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology working under Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation grants to develop modern technical advances in the casting of metal sculpture.

In the 60’s and 70’s, Duca concentrated mainly on sculpture and was commissioned to produce several major pieces in Boston including “The Boston Tapestry”, at the Prudential Center, “The Computer Sphere” at the JFK Post Office Building, and “The Massachusetts Artifact” at the John McCormack State Office Building.

For the next 15 years, Duca worked with young people across the country on drug prevention, launching national programs, for which Governor Michael Dukakis presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1993, Boston’s mayor, Raymond Flynn, issued a proclamation honoring Alfred Duca’s artistic achievements and declared May 12 as “Alfred Duca Day”.

Duca resumed his career as a painter in the early 80’s. His present style is semi-abstract, intense in color and rich in painterly strokes.

His work is in the permanent collection of the Worcester Art Museum, the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, and the Fogg Museum at Harvard University. Additional information about the artist can be found in: Who’s Who in American Art; Who’s Who in America; Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Alfred Duca was born in 1920 and died in 1997. 


The majority of Al Duca’s papers are in the archives of the Smithsonian Institute. Upon the sale of his house in Annisquam, after his death, the new owners discovered numerous cartons containing Duca’s papers, correspondence, slides, and an inventory of material that went to the Smithsonian. A call to the Cape Ann Historical Association resulted in their acquisition. The material obtained completely covers his two careers – the first as an artist, and the second as a community activist working on behalf of disadvantaged children.


Series I: The Artist

a. Polymer-tempera process

i. Sculpture proposals

1. Prudential

2. State Office

3. Sacco and Vanzetti

4. M.I.T.

5. J.F.K. Post Office

6. Promotional materials

7. Smithsonian records

Series II: The Community Activist

a. Channel One

b. Gloucester Experiment

i. Writings

ii. Speeches

iii. Teacher proposals

Series III: Visual and audio

a. Artistic work

b. Family


Box #1, Series I:

Folder 1: Polymer-tempera.

Folder 2: Polymer-tempera.

Folder 3: Polymer-tempera

Folder 4: Correspondence – Rockport Art Assoc.,; speeches

Folder 5: Correspondence – miscellaneous

Folder 6: Correspondence – miscellaneous


Box #2, Series I:

Folder 1: Proposal – Boston Marathon Finish line; Noros (?) – Boston Tapestry - Prudential; correspondence – Plymouth Plantation

Folder 2: Correspondence – Exhibitions; Decordova Museum

Folder 3: Correspondence – Casting procedures; promotional material

Folder 4: Prudential controversy; removal of tapestry sculpture

Folder 5: Vancouver exhibit; proposals – Prudential, State Office Building, Sacco & Vanzetti

Folder 6: Proposal, Fishermen’s Wives sculpture; proposal M.I.T.


Box #3, Series I:

Folder 1: Biography, picture price list

Folder 2: Wills/trusts; photo –statuary work

Folder 3: Contract – State House; research techniques; miscellaneous – speech/letters

Folder 4: Promotional material for grants

Folder 5: Proposal – Prudential Center observation deck

Folder 6: Biography writings


Box #4, Series I:

Folder 1: Extended biography; exhibits listing

Folder 2: Background of Polymer-tempera

Folder 3: Teaching art for children

Folder 4: Research in art casting

Folder 5: The Boston Tapestry

Folder 6: Miscellaneous items.


Box #5, Series I:

Folder 1: Smithsonian records

Folder 2: Smithsonian Archival Chronology documents

Folder 3: Chronology of Duca career


Box #6, Series II:

Folder 1: Medical records; poems to Veronique

Folder 2: Gloucester Experiment; proposal – burial grounds restoration

Folder 3: Gloucester Experiment – burial ground; Artists for Humanity

Folder 4: Gloucester Experiment & Channel One

Folder 5: Channel One

Folder 6: Miscellaneous – community activist

Folder 7: Working with “at risk” youth 1975-1982


Box #7, Series II:

Folder 1: Teacher program proposal

Folder 2: Channel One

Folder 3: Aids benefit sale

Folder 4: Community development

Folder 5: Aids-Arts project


Box #8, Series II:

Folder 1: Channel One report, part 1, 1980

Folder 2: Channel One report, part 2, 1980

Folder 3: Correspondence Channel One

Folder 4: Correspondence Channel One

Folder 5: Proposal – teacher program

Folder 6: Correspondence Channel One


Box #9, Series II:

Folder 1: Community philosophy

Folder 2: Writings – Channel One; Gloucester Experiment

Folder 3: Writings – speeches

Folder 4: Writings – speeches, community development


Box #10, Series II:

Community Development: Reports of Restoration of Bayview Cemetery

Time Magazine May 28, Sept 3, 1928

Life Magazine Oct 7, Nov 25, 1920

Sketch plan of Boston Tapestry


Family photographs






Box #11, Series III:

10 slide trays:

1: Family slides

2: Art slides

3: Art slides

4: Art slides

5: Community Development slides

6: Community Development slides

7: Community Development slides

8: Community Development slides

9: Miscellaneous slides

10: Gloucester Experiment slides


Box # 12, Series III:

Miscellaneous loose slides


Box #13, Series III:

Miscellaneous loose slides

3 Audio Tapes

1 Carved wood block


Box # 14, Series III:

Miscellaneous slides Audio Tape


Binders, Series III:

5 binders with slides in sleeve pages

1: Miscellaneous & Plymouth Plantation

2: Waves of Light

3: Boys Clubs

4: Art – Prudential Center – Boston Tapestry

5: Art 1 binder Miscellaneous photographs of art work