Esther Baldwin Williams and Esther Williams papers, 1887-1984

Williams, Esther Baldwin, b. 1867 d. 1964
Painter
Active in Paris, France; Boston, Mass.; Rockport, Mass.; Winchester, Mass.

Williams, Esther, b. 1907 d. 1969
Painter
Active in New York,N.Y.; Boston,Mass.; Rockport,Mass.

Collection size: 2.1 linear ft. (on 4 microfilm reels)

Collection Summary: Correspondence; and a photograph album; printed material; clippings; and miscellany of painter Esther Baldwin Williams and her daughter Esther Williams (McKinney).

REEL 917 frames 192-240: Photocopies of sixteen letters from Maurice Prendergast, to his friend and patron, Esther (Mrs. Oliver) Baldwin Williams, Boston, 1904-1918. In addition to customary personal and friendly comment, he writes of his loss of hearing in 1905, the "eye strain" which forced him to give up painting that year, sales of his paintings to her, his reaction to French paintings in Paris in 1907, influence of C├ęzanne on him, details a jury's rejection of a Luks painting in 1904 and its superiority over a Sargent painting which was accepted, exhibitions of his work, mutual friends Charles Prendergast, Arthur B. Davies, William Glackens, and his illness in Venice in 1911.

REELS 917-918: Frequent lengthy, descriptive and endearing letters to Williams and her husband, from her daughter, Esther Williams, in Paris. She discusses her painting, her thoughts on various aspects of life, impressions of current events, her daily activities; routine business correspondence with galleries, institutions and associations, e.g. Rockport Art Association (in many cases rough drafts of her replies); letters to Esther Williams from Louis Eilshemius, Furman J. Finck, Leon Kroll, and friends in which they talk about their work, refer to world events (1930's), their daily routines (in some instances her response is in rough draft); clippings; printed material; and miscellany.

REEL 921: One family photograph album including ca. 328 photographs of babies, mothers and children, and group photographs, undated.

REEL 3975: A biographical account, 1979; 2 diaries, 1892 and 1902; 4 sketchbooks, undated and ca. 1910; an exhibition catalog of portraits by Adelaide Cole Chase; and a book CHARLES ABBOT BALDWIN AND HIS FAMILY by Nadia Williams, 1984.

Biographical/Historical Note: Painters; Rockport, Mass. and New York, N.Y. Esther Baldwin Williams was born Esther Mabel Baldwin, Dec. 11, 1867. She studied painting under Maurice Prendergast and became his friend and patron. Her daughter was married to museum director Roland McKinney (1898-1971).

Material on reels 917-918 & 921 donated 1974 by Peter McKinney, step-son of Esther Williams (McKinney); material on reel 3975 donated 1985 by Nadia Williams, daughter-in-law of Esther Williams.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reels 917-918, 921 & 3975 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.