Henry Sayles Francis papers, [ca. 1924-1983]

Francis, Henry Sayles, b. 1902 d. 1994
Curator
Active in Cleveland, Ohio

Collection size: 5.0 linear ft. (partially microfilmed on 6 reels)

Collection Summary: Biographical information, correspondence, subject files, notebooks, photographs, clippings, price lists concern Francis' work at the Cleveland Museum of Art, his friendship with George Kates, and his interest in painter William Sommer.

REELS 881-882: Primarily research material compiled by Francis and his wife Frances Merriman Francis for the Ten Thirty Gallery Sommer retrospective in 1946 and the Cleveland Museum of Art's William Sommer Memorial Exhibition, held November 1-December 10, 1950. Included are biographical material; correspondence of Henry Sayles Francis and other museum staff regarding Sommer, and copies and transcripts of Sommer's correspondence (including a few letters from Hart Crane); reminiscences of Sommer from friends and colleagues; exhibition catalogs; notebooks of information on Sommer's works; and a bibliography.

REELS 3838-3841: Biographical information; correspondence, arranged chronologically, with colleagues, friends, dealers, collectors, and others; and subject/correspondence files, arranged alphabetically, on colleagues, dealers, exhibitions, and various art topics; photographs of Francis, juries (Charles Sheeler is in one), Matisse in his studio, Somerset Maugham, Frits Lugt, and his wife; and clippings relating chiefly to the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Subject/correspondence file titles include: Jere Abbott, Sir Geoffrey Agnew, Winslow Ames, Harry W. Anderson Collection, R. Kirk Askew, Bernard Berenson (ca. 50 letters received), John Bergschneider, Walter Blodgett, Rowland Burdon-Muller, David Carritt, Charles Chetham, Cleveland Museum of Art, John I. Coddington, Ralph Tracy Coe, Contini Collection, Cooper Union, Richard S. Davis, Robert Tyler Davis, Harold S. Ede, Ross Edman, Everett Fahy, Julia Feininger, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Howard C. Hollis, Charles Hopkinson, Michael JaffeƩ, Harold Joachim, Lincoln Kirstein, Henry Adams LaFarge, Viktor Langen, Nicky Mariano, William Mathewson Milliken, Agnes Mongan, William Mostyn-Owen, Roger Hale Newton, Benedict Nicolson, Luisa Nicolson, Harold Woodbury Parsons, John Pope-Hennessy, Alan Priest, John Rewald, Marvin C. Ross, Henry Preston Rossiter, Paul Joseph Sachs, Meryle Secrest, Germain Seligman, Peter Shepherd, Theodore Sizer, William Sommer (exhibitions), Frederick A. Sweet, Daviel Varney Thompson, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Gertrude Underhill, Peter Vanderbilt, Langdon Warner, Nancy and William Wixom, and Richard H. Zinser.

UNMICROFILMED: Primarily letters from and material on George Norbert Kates, an authority on pre-communist China and Francis's lifetime friend and additional material on William Sommer. Kates material consists of ca. 1000 letters to Francis, ca. 1924-1984, concerning personal affairs, financial ventures, their research efforts and careers, and Kates's research on the 15th century Duchess Eleanor of Scotland. A significant number of letters from 1953 refer to Bernard Berenson and his art research and collection. Also included are a subject file on Kates' interest in Herman Hesse; and a file of Kates' research material on Duchess Eleanor of Scotland.

Unmicrofilmed Sommer material includes a letter fromSommer to C.P. Marsh, 1931; a Christmas card from Josephine and Theodor Braasch to Sommer; a page of writings by Sommer; photographs of Sommer and of a studio; several sketches and drawings; and printed material.

REEL 440 AND SCANNED One photograph of Sommer, microfilmed under Photos of Artists I, and scanned.

The remaining unfilmed material consists of Francis's notebooks (4 v.) primarily about the history of European paintings, drawings and prints, including notes about individual works of art; financial records, including price lists of European works of art, ca. 1930-1969, price list, insurance values and appraisals of two collections from the Cleveland Museum of Art, ca. 1923-1957; and minutes from two accessioning meetings at the Museum, 1930 and 1931.

Biographical/Historical Note: Art museum curator; Cleveland, Ohio. Francis worked at the Cleveland Museum of Art from 1927 to 1929, leaving for a position at the Fogg Museum as assistant to directors Edward Forbes and Paul Sachs. He returned to the Cleveland Museum in 1931, remaining there as Curator of Paintings and Prints until 1967.

Research material on William Sommer donated 1975 by Henry Sayles Francis; he donated the remainder in 1984.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reels 881-882 and 3838-3841 available for use 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.
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