A Finding Aid to the Francis Davis Millet and Millet Family Papers,
1858-1984 (bulk 1858-1955), in the Archives of American Art, by Catherine S. Gaines
Funding for the digitization of the microfilm of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Table of Contents:
- Biographical Information
- Overview of the Collection
- How to Use the Collection
- Detailed Description and Container Inventory
During his lifetime, Francis Davis Millet (1846-1912), always known as Frank, was a prominent artist who was well known for murals that contained exactingly accurate historical details. His broad-ranging career included work with worlds' fairs in Vienna, Chicago, Paris, and Tokyo as a juror, administrator, mural painter/decorator, or advisor. In addition, Frank Millet was a newspaper writer who published short stories and enjoyed adventures as a war correspondent during the Russo-Turkish War and in the Philippines during the Spanish American War.
Millet was among the founders of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and was influential in the early days of the American Federation of Arts. Millet was involved with the American Academy in Rome from its inception and served as Secretary from 1904-1911. In 1911, Millet went to Rome as Chief Administrator of the newly combined Schools of Fine Arts and Classical Studies. He died aboard the Titanic while traveling to New York City on Academy business.
Overview of the Collection
Scope and Contents
The Francis Davis Millet and Millet family papers measure 3.25 linear feet and are dated 1858-1984, with a few scattered early eighteenth-century items, such as legal documents and printed matter. The bulk of the material dates from 1858 to 1955. Found are biographical materials, diaries/journals, family letters, notes and writings, art work, printed matter, miscellaneous records, and photographs documenting Millet's wide-ranging artistic and writing career and personal life, including his death aboard the Titanic. Also of interest are approximately twenty ink caricatures attributed to John Singer Sargent.
Biographical material consists of biographical and genealogical notes; also, memorial resolutions, invitations, and programs with several related items tipped in. Diaries/journals for the period 1858-1911 (16 vols., plus excerpts and transcripts) record Civil War experiences, the Russo-Turkish War, travels throughout Europe, to the northwest United States and Alaska, the Orient, and Panama.
Letters from F. D. Millet to his family date from his years at Harvard, art training in Antwerp, residence in Italy, and service as a correspondent during the Russo-Turkish War. Millet's letters include a few received from friends and associates, original letters sent by Millet to others, along with typescript copies of incoming letters. Also included is a file of letters addressed to Millet and others concerning the purchase and restoration of the Grange, his Broadway studio. There are four letters from Millet to his girlfriend Velma Marie Morse and scattered letters to Velma's father, A.P. Morse, and Fred Chapman. Photocopies of letters from sister Kathleen Millet to her friend Margherita describe her brother's adventures during the Russo-Turkish War, and include an account of his wedding. His sister Lucia Millet's letters to her family were written while she was in England living as a member of her brother's household, and are rich with details of Frank's daily life, work, travels, friends, and the American colony in Broadway. The letters of Lily Millet consist mainly of condolence messages sent upon the death of her husband, but also include letters from Samuel L. Clemens, Henry James, Ellen Terry [Carew], Charles Dudly Warner, her children, and others.
Included in the collection are Millet's extensive research notes about costumes and artifacts of various historical periods and locations that served as reference for details in his murals. Also included are his notebooks about Italian art, Bulgarian history and costume, and the Philippines. Writings by Millet consist of articles, short stories, lectures and speeches. Writings about him include texts by various relatives (all but one are unpublished). The most extensive written piece is by niece Hilda Millet Booth and son John [Albert] Parsons Millet, and is accompanied by early drafts, notes, and related correspondence.
Art work by Millet includes twelve volumes of sketchbooks dating from his student days in Antwerp through 1896, along with loose sketches, drawings, and two watercolors. Most were executed while traveling, and include landscapes, building, and local peoples. Works by other artists include 20 caricatures drawn in ink, attributed to John Singer Sargent.
Among the printed matter are newspaper articles by F. D. Millet, along with clippings about or mentioning him, reproductions, exhibition catalogs and announcements. Of interest are Vienna Exposition memorabilia, and a full length biography, Soldier of Fortune: F. D. Millet, 1846-1912 by granddaughter Joyce A. Sharpey-Schafer. Miscellaneous records include drawings sketches, notes, printed matter, and photographs relating to the Abbot's Grange in Broadway that served as Millet's studio.
Photographs of people include F. D. Millet, his father Asa Millet with granddaughter Kate, and Mary Anderson. Photographs of works of art are by Millet and other artists.
Arrangement and Series Description
The collection is arranged into eight series:
- Series 1: Biographical material, circa 1864-1934 (Box 1; 6 folders; Reel 5903)
- Series 2: Diaries/Journals of Francis Davis Millet, 1858-1911 (Box 1; 0.5 linear ft.; Reels 5903-5904)
- Series 3: Letters, 1867-1915, undated (Boxes 1-2; 0.5 linear ft.; Reel 5904)
- Series 4: Notes and Writings, 1891-1970, undated (Box 3; 1.0 linear ft.; Reels 5904-5906)
- Series 5: Art Work, 1872-1908, undated (Box 4; 0.5 linear ft.; Reels 5906-5907)
- Series 6: Printed Matter, 1764-1984, undated (Box 4; 0.25 linear ft.; Reel 5907 and unfilmed)
- Series 7: Miscellaneous Records, 1724-1897, undated(Box 4; 7 folders; Reel 5907)
- Series 8: Photographs, circa 1883-circa 1910, undated (Box 4; 7 folders; Reel 5907)
Subjects and Names
This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:
- Abbey, Edwin Austin, 1852-1911
- James, Henry, 1843-1916
- Sargent, John Singer, 1856-1925
- Titanic (Steamship)
- Painting -- American
- Mural painting and decoration
- Art -- Study and teaching
- Artists' studios
- Russo-Turkish War, 1877-1878
- United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
Types of Materials:
- Travel journals
- Works of art
- Booth, Hilda Millet
- Millet, John A. P. (John Alfred Parsons), 1888-1976
- Sharpey-Schafer, Joyce A.
The Francis Davis Millet and Millet family papers were received between 1974 and 1996 from several family members. Most were gifts from Dr. John A. P. Millet, son of F. D. Millet, in 1974 and 1976. In 1974, Charles S. Millet, grandnephew of F. D. Millet, donated a copy of his brief biography he wrote on F. D. Millet. Also in 1974, Mrs. William King, granddaughter of F. D. Millet gave photographs of F. D. Millet and his art work, along with various printed matter. Additional letters to F. D. Millet were given by grandson, Frank D. Millet, in 1977.
In 1987, granddaughter Joyce A. Sharpey-Schafer donated documents she had used while writing a biography of Millet. In 1996, David M. Emerson, grandnephew of F. D. Millet, donated loose sketches and miscellaneous printed matter.
In 2003, additional letters were donated by grandsons Mr. Harry Flynn and Frank D. Millet, and again in 2006 by Frank D. Millet.
Separated and Related Materials
Charles S. Millet loaned photographs, biographical information, and miscellaneous items for microfilming in 1974 on reel 849. In 1976, he loaned an album of photographs of F. D. Millet's murals in the Baltimore Customs House, with related printed matter for microfilming on reel 1080. After microfilming, the materials were returned to Charles S. Millet.
Found within the holdings of the Archives of American Art are several collections related to Francis Davis Millet, including five letters from Millet to Miss Ward and "Ticknor" and a collection of Francis Millet Rogers research material regarding Francis Davis Millet. The Philip Martiny papers contains two group photographs that include F. D. Millet. A letter describing a visit to Millet's studio is among the William Cushing Loring Papers. The American Academy in Rome records include documents created by F. D. Millet in his capacity as Secretary from 1904-1907 and as Chief Administrator in Rome, 1911-1912.
How the Collection was Processed
The collection was processed by Catherine S. Gaines in 2003, merging all earlier accessions, many of which had been filmed in increments on reels 440, 848, 1052, 1117, and 3161; these reels are no longer in circulation. Upon processing, the bulk of the collection was microfilmed on reels 5903-5907. The microfilm was digitized in 2007 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
How to Use the Collection
Restrictions on Use
Use of originals requires an appointment.
Ownership & Literary Rights
The Francis Davis Millet and Millet family papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
The microfilm of this collection was digitized in 2007 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website. The collection is also available on 35 mm microfilm reels 5903-5907 at Archives of American Art offices, and through interlibrary loan.
How to Cite this Collection
Francis Davis Millet and Millet family papers, 1858-1984 (bulk 1858-1955). Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Detailed Description and Container Inventory
Biographical Material, circa 1864-1934
(Box 1; 6 folders; Reel 5903)
The biographical notes consist of typescript copies of entries about Millet that appeared in various publications. Of particular interest is the memorial volume probably compiled by J. B. Pine. Consisting mainly of printed items, it includes four tipped in photographs (portraits of F. D. Millet circa 1912, as a Civil War drummer boy, circa 1862, and two views of a bust of Millet by Albin Polasek) and three tipped in letters (two from Millet to Pine, and one from Albin Polasek to Pine regarding his portrait bust of Millet).
Miscellaneous printed material in this series consists of a copy of the program, Francis Davis Millet Memorial Meeting, The American Federation of Arts, Washington, D. C., 1912, with texts of addresses by Elihu Root, Henry Cabot Lodge, Charles Francis Adams, and Charles D. Wolcott and other tributes. Also included is the July 1912 issue of Art and Progress devoted to Francis Davis Millet featuring articles by his brother-in-law Sylvester Baxter, William A. Coffin, Edwin Howland Blashfield, Carroll Beckwith, George W. Maynard, and a notice about the Francis Davis Millet Memorial Chair of Fine Arts in the American Academy in Rome. Also bound with this volume is the 1912 issue of the Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Vol. 7, No. 6) containing the Museum's Francis Davis Millet memorial resolution.
|5903||12-28||Biographical Notes about F. D. Millet, circa 1894-1912, undated|
|5903||29-35||Genealogy, 1938, undated|
Memorial Program and Related Items, circa 1864-1912
|5903||105-111||Memorial Programs, Notices and Invitations, 1912-1934|
Memorial Resolutions, 1912
|5903||176-187||Official Papers concerning Millet's status as a Correspondent, Russo-Turkish War, 1877|
|5903||188-191||Official Papers concerning Travel in Eastern Europe, 1872-1873|
|5903||192-196||Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Student Registration Cards, 1871-1872|
Diaries/Journals of F. D. Millet, 1858-1911
(Box 1; 0.5 linear ft.; Reels 5903-5904)
Found here are 16 volumes of diaries and/or journals for the period 1858-1911 that record Millet's Civil War experiences, the Russo-Turkish War, and his travels throughout Europe, the northwest United States and Alaska, the Orient, and Panama.
|5903||200-264||January 1-July 23, 1858|
|5903||265-309||"Civil War Diary," (in four parts, includes partial transcripts), 1864-1865|
Trip to the Rhine, September 11-21, 1871
|5903||359-406||Trip to Holland, March 30, 1872|
|5903||407-519||Trip to Southern Europe and Turkey, October 9, 1873-1874|
Trip Throughout Italy, January 27-June 27, 1875
|5903||616-718||Russo-Turkish War and Trip to Sweden, June 5, 1877, June 18-July 29, 1882|
|5903||719-897||"Diary of a Trip to the West," 1885|
Canoe Trip Down the Danube, June 20-October 26, 1891
|5903||1045-1145||"Trip to the North West and Alaska," 1905|
"Trip to the Orient," September 1-November 24, 1908
|5904||13-107||"Diary of Trip to Panama," March 6-30, 1911|
Letters, 1867-1915, undated
(Boxes 1-2; 0.5 linear ft.; Reel 5904)
According to granddaughter Joyce A. Sharpey-Schafer, Lily Millet destroyed her husband's correspondence and was unwilling to cooperate with biographers. However, many of F. D. Millet's letters to his family survive for the period 1867-1879. The letters include a small number of original letters received by Millet from friends and associates augmented by typescript copies of incoming letters and a fairly large number of collected original letters sent by Millet, including two from John Singer Sargent. The sources of this material are for the most part unknown, though a few of the typescript copies are identified as coming from collections at the Library of Congress. The original outgoing letters may have been gathered by John A. P. Millet during the course of researching and writing his father's biography.
The letters discuss Millet's travels, education, journalistic and art career, art sales and commissions, and the activities of artist friends, family members, and acquaintances. One folder of letters, addressed to F. D. Millet and others, is about the purchase and restoration of the Grange, his Broadway studio. There are four letters from Millet to his girlfriend Velma Marie Morse and scattered letters to Velma's father, A.P. Morse, and Fred Chapman.
Typescript copies and a photocopy of four letters from sister Kathleen Millet to her friend Margherita, 1878-1879, are from an unknown source. Written from Paris, they mention Frank's "decoration for gallantry" during the Russo-Turkish War, and detailed information about his arrival home, describing his adventures, and an account of his wedding.
Letters to Lily Millet are from Samuel L. Clemens, Henry James, Ellen Terry [Carew], Charles Dudley Warner, the Millet children, and other friends and acquaintances. The bulk of the letters are condolence messages to the family upon Millet's death aboard the Titanic in 1912.
The letters Lucia Millet wrote to her family are mostly from the period when she was in England, living as a member of her brother's Broadway household. She describes moving into Farnham House, Broadway, and their later, permanent move to Russell House. Scattered throughout the letters are frequent mentions of Frank's activities, his work, travels, friends (including John Singer Sargent, Edwin Austin Abbey, and Henry James), and the American colony in Broadway. Of particular interest are references to Sargent sending lilies for the garden, and sewing white dresses for the girls to wear in Sargent's painting (Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose). The letters also recount trips to London where she visited Sargent's and Whistler's studios.
Attached to many of the letters are brief notes made by John A. P. Millet.
|5904||F. D. Millet|
|5904||109-234||To Family, 1867-1875, undated|
|5904||235-431||Collected Letters, 1874-1912, undated|
|1||29||Collected Letters, A.P. Morse and Velma Marie Morse, 1874-1879|
|1||30||Collected Letters from John Singer Sargent, 1887 and circa 1887|
|5904||432-508||Letters about the Grange, 1879-1897, undated|
|5904||509-523||Kathleen Millet (sister) to Margherita, 1878-1879|
|5904||Lily Millet (wife)|
|5904||524-624||Letters, 1885-1915, undated|
Letters of Condolence, 1912
From Lucia Millet (sister) to Family, 1882-1886, undated
Notes and Writings, circa 1891-1970, undated
(Box 3; 1.0 linear ft.; Reels 5904-5906)
Millet's murals and paintings were noted for the historical accuracy of their costumes and period details. Many of the notes from his extensive research are recorded in eleven undated copybooks, titled for easy reference. Additional volumes of notes by Millet concern 17th century Italian art, Bulgarian history and costume (probably from his student days in Antwerp since it is in French), and the Philippines, compiled circa 1898-1899.
Writings by Millet consist of manuscripts of published and unpublished articles and short stories, and texts of lectures and speeches. Writings about Millet are by relatives. "Frank D. Millet: A Versatile American," by niece Hilda Millet Booth and son John A. P. Millet, is accompanied by notes, drafts, and related correspondence. "In Search of an Ancestor," by granddaughter Joyce A. Sharpey-Schafer, was published in 1984 as Frank D. Millet: Soldier of Fortune, 1846-1912. A copy of the book is included with Series 6.
This series is arranged into 4 subseries:
- 4.1: Notes by F. D. Millet, 1872-circa 1899, undated
- 4.2: Writings by F. D. Millet, circa 1891-1910, undated
- 4.3: Writings about F. D. Millet, 1915 -1966, undated
- 4.4: Miscellaneous Writings, 1937
4.1: Notes by F. D. Millet, 1872-circa 1899, undated
|5904||1180-1232||Arms and Armory, undated|
Greek Costume: Archaic, Doric, Ionic; Greek Costume, undated
|5904||1260-1267||Military Costume, Crowns and Decorations, Gladiators, undated|
|5905||14-61||Military Costume, Crowns and Decorations, Gladiators, undated|
|5905||62-93||The Poenula, Head and Foot Gear, Leg Covering, Toilette, Ornaments, undated|
Roman Costume; Costume of Women, Roman; Costume Notes; The Toga and its Variations, undated
|5905||262-282||The Tunic, undated|
Student Notes, "L'art italien au 17 siècle;" "History and Costume" of Bulgaria, 1871-1872
(1 volume in French)
|5905||336-373||Notes on the Philippines, etc., circa 1898-1899|
4.2: Writings by F. D. Millet, circa 1891-1910, undated
|5905||Article and Short Stories|
|5905||375-385||"A Balkan Bivouac," undated|
|5905||386-416||"Benozzo Gozzoli," undated|
|5905||417-441||"Dash Across the Line," undated|
"The Expedition to the Philippines," circa 1898-1899
|5905||849-858||"Fifteen Minutes with an American Lady" and "Seven Minutes with an American Lady," undated|
|5905||859-900||"From Plevna to Constantinople," undated|
|5905||901-1014||"From the Black Forest to the Black Sea," circa 1891-1893|
|5905||1015-1029||"A Malay Monte Carlo," undated|
|5905||1030-1041||"A Moment in a Hostile Bivouac," undated|
|5905||1042-1072||"Mrs. Burden's Baby," undated|
|5905||Lectures and Speeches|
|5905||1105-1148||"War Correspondence," Buffalo Club, April 23, 1904|
|5905||1149-1213||"Conditions and Possibilities of Art in the United States," Yale University, June 1, 1904|
|5905||1214-1221||"The American Federation of Arts," The Washington Society of The Fine Arts, Continental Hall, May 4, 1910|
4.3: Writings About F. D. Millet, 1915 -1966, undated
|5905||Hilda Millet Booth and John [Albert] Parsons Millet, "Frank Millet: A Versatile American"|
Correspondence, 1915-1970, undated
Correspondence, 1915-1970, undated
Early Drafts and Notes, circa 1934-1939
Early Drafts and Notes, circa 1934-1939
|3||45||Miscellaneous Notes, circa 1934-1939|
4.4: Miscellaneous Writings, 1937
|3||50||John A. P. Millet, Untitled Manuscript about Psychology (the author is the son of F. D. Millet), 1937|
Art Work, 1872-1908, undated
(Box 4; 0.5 linear ft.; Reels 5906-5907)
Art work by Millet includes twelve sketchbooks, containing pencil sketches, a few finished drawings, and a small number of ink drawings. The sketchbooks were executed over a quarter of a century, from his student days in Antwerp through 1896, mostly during periods of travel. Subjects, many of which are identified, include landscapes, buildings, and local peoples with emphasis on their clothing. Loose sketches and drawings, 1872-1874 and undated, record Millet's travels are arranged by location. Two watercolors are "Menu, Nov. 14th, Peking" with a finished painting of a hillside pagoda by the water, on board; and a small sketch of a man and boy, on paper.
Work by other artists includes 20 caricatures drawn in ink, several of which are annotated by John Singer Sargent. Sargent experts Richard Ormond and Stanley Olson, in 1985 correspondence with the Archives of American Art attribute the caricatures to Sargent. Depicted are Sargent, Edwin Austin Abbey, Lily and Frank Millet, Mrs. Gosse, Mrs. Alma-Tadema [?], Mrs. Blashfield [?], and unidentified tennis players.
The series is arranged into 2 subseries:
5.1: By F. D. Millet, 1872-1908, undated
Holland; Vol. 2: Italy, undated
|5906||1058-1078||"E.A.A.," (probably United States), undated|
|5906||1079-1107||Belgium, Austria, and Germany, 1872-1873|
Turkey, Russia, Romania; Turkey and Greece, 1873-1874
Russo-Turkish War, 1877-1878
(includes notes in English and Russian)
The Danube, circa 1891
|5907||14-56||"Algiers," (includes Tripoli and Tunisia), 1896|
|5907||Loose Sketches and Drawings|
|5907||57-68||Antwerp Sketches, undated|
|5907||73-90||England, 1872, undated|
|5907||93-101||Italy, 1874, undated|
|5907||112-115||Watercolors, 1908, undated|
5.2: By Other Artists, circa 1885-1886, undated
Unidentified Artists, undated
(1 pencil drawing, and 1 ink drawing)
John Singer Sargent, circa 1885-1886, undated
Printed Matter, 1764-1984, undated
(Box 4; 0.25 linear ft.; Reel 5907)
Among the printed matter are newspaper articles by F. D. Millet, along with clippings about or mentioning him, reproductions, exhibition catalogs and announcements. Of interest are Vienna Exposition memorabilia, and a full length biography, Soldier of Fortune: F. D. Millet, 1846-1912 by granddaughter Joyce A. Sharpey-Schafer.
Printed matter about the Abbot's Grange, used by Millet and his associates as their Broadway studio, is filed with Series 5. A copy of "In Search of an Ancestor," the manuscript for Joyce A. Sharpey-Schafer's book Soldier of Fortune: F. D. Millet, 1846-1912 is included with other writings in Series 4.
|5907||136-170||Articles About or Mentioning F. D. Millet, 1872-1934, undated|
|5907||171-225||Articles by F. D. Millet, 1877-1896|
|5907||226-228||Auction Catalogue, Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., March 7, 1940|
|5907||229-236||Exhibition Catalogs and Announcements, 1876-1971|
|5907||237-241||Miscellaneous Items, 1875, undated|
|5907||242-243||Newspaper Clipping about Russian General Joseph Gurkow, undated|
|5907||Newspapers (item dated 1723 is a facsimile; not microfilmed), 1764-1807|
|5907||245-260||Reproductions of Illustrations by E. A. Abbey, F. S. Gifford, and C.K.S., undated|
|5907||261-274||Reproductions of Works by F. D. Millet, undated|
|5907||275-373||Soldier of Fortune: F. D. Millet, 1846-1912 by Joyce A. Sharpey-Schafer, 1984|
|5907||unfilmed||The Story of an Old English Hostelry by S. B. Russell (about the Lygon Arms in Broadway), 1914|
|5907||375-417||Vienna Exposition Memorabilia, 1873|
|5907||unfilmed||The Young Ladies' Assistant in Drawing and Painting by Maria Turner, 1833|
Miscellaneous Records, 1725-1897, undated
(Box 4; 7 folders; Reel 5907)
Material about the Abbot's Grange, which served as Millet's studio, may have been compiled preparatory to restoration of the structure. Series 3 includes letters concerning its purchase and restoration.
|5907||unfilmed||Currency, 1785-1851, undated|
|5907||421-466||Drawings, Sketches, Notes re: Architectural Details, undated|
|5907||471-480||Miscellaneous Notes, undated|
|5907||481-518||Printed Matter, 1819-1895, undated|
|5907||519-523||Photographs, circa 1896-1897|
|5907||524-527||Legal Documents, 1725-1739|
Photographs, circa 1872-circa 1910, undated
(Box 4; 7 folders; Reels 5907)
Among the photographs of people are portraits of Millet, as well as pictures of Millet and wife, Lily, with their children. Also included are photographs of Mary Anderson, Asa Millet with granddaughter Kate, and F. D. and Lily Millet with Charles F. Adams, Jr. Photographs of works of art primarily depict paintings by Millet. In addition there are photographs of drawings by other artists that appeared in Puck magazine, circa 1897-1898. Photographs of Millet's Broadway studio, the Abbot's Grange, are filed with Series 7. See related microfilmed collections of loaned materials, on reels 849 and 1080, for additional photographs of family and the Millet's Russell House.
The series is arranged into 2 subseries:
8.1: People, circa 1872-circa 1910
|5907||530-531||Mary Anderson as "Galatea," (inscribed "To Jack from his loving friend Mary de Navarro, 1894"), circa 1894|
|5907||532-534||Asa Millet and Granddaughter Kate, circa 1883|
|5907||535-537||F. D. Millet (carte de visite), circa 1872|
|5907||538-539||F. D. Millet, circa 1910|
|4||44||F. D. Millet in his studio with assistants, 1907|
8.2: Works of Art, circa 1897-1898, undated
|5907||541-544||Drawings by F. D. Millet, undated|
|5907||545-556||Paintings by F. D. Millet, undated|
|5907||557-575||Cartoons and Photographs from Puck Magazine by Other Artists (including images of F. D. Millet), circa 1897-1898|