Arthur Wesley Dow papers, circa 1826-1978, bulk 1879-1922

Dow, Arthur W. (Arthur Wesley), b. 1857 d. 1922
Educator, Printmaker, Landscape painter
Active in New York, N.Y.; Ipswich, Mass.

The papers of Arthur W. (Arthur Wesley) Dow in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2008. The bulk of the papers have been scanned and total 1,378 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art


Collection size: 1.3 linear ft.

Collection Summary: The collection documents aspects of the life and work of the landscape painter, printmaker, photographer and educator. Papers include correspondence, diaries, writings, lecture notes, clippings, catalogs, ephemera, artwork, and photographs.

Biographical/Historical Note: Arthur Wesley Dow (1857-1922) was a landscape painter, teacher, and printmaker from Ipswich, Mass. and New York, N.Y. Dow taught art at Pratt Institute, 1895-1904, and at Teachers College, Columbia University, 1904-1922. Influenced by Ernest Fenollosa, Dow introduced principles of Japanese art to Americans and made a major impact on art education. Published COMPOSITION 1899 and wrote many other books and articles on art. Max Weber and Georgia O'Keeffe were among his students.

Material on reels 1027 and 1033-34 lent for microfilming by the Ipswich Historical Society, 1975. The diary on reel 1079 was lent by the Society for Preservation of New England Antiquities, 1976. Dow's grand-niece, Mrs. George N. Wright, donated material on reels 1208-1209 in 1976, and lent the photographs on reel 1271 the following year. Unmicrofilmed papers were received from Frederick Moffatt in 1989, who had obtained them in preparation for his book Arthur Dow (1977).

How to Use this Collection

  • Read the Finding Aid for this digitized collection
  • The bulk of this collection was digitized in 2008 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website. Materials that generally have not been scanned include duplicates, negatives, and modern copy prints of vintage photographs as well as photographs of works of art. For some publications, such as catalogs, only the cover and title pages have been scanned.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.

Related Materials

Additional photographs of Dow, members of his immediate family, group photographs taken at the AcadÔemie Julian, Paris, as well as unidentified group photographs, were loaned to the Archives of American Art for microfilming after which they were returned to the lender, Mrs. George N. Wright, of Bernardsville, New Jersey. These photographs can be viewed on microfilm reel 1271.
In 1975, the Ipswich Historical Society loaned biographical material, correspondence, manuscripts, printed material, and photographs for microfilming on reels 1027 and 1033-34. Additionally, the Society for Preservation of New England Antiquities loaned one diary in 1976 for microfilming on reel 1079.
Also found at the Archives of American Art are the William H. Elsner papers relating to Arthur Wesley Dow, which include color photographs of Dow's works of art and correspondence regarding Dow between Frederick Moffatt and Rudolph Schaeffer. In 1975 the Ipswich Historical Society loaned biographical material, correspondence, manuscripts, printed material, and photographs for microfilming on reels 1027 and 1033-34. Additionally, the Society for Preservation of New England Antiquities loaned one diary in 1976 for microfilming on reel 1079.