Hermann Dudley Murphy papers, circa 1878-1982

Murphy, Hermann Dudley, b. 1867 d. 1945
Active in Boston, Mass.

Collection size: 2.8 linear feet (on 2 microfilm reels).

Collection Summary: Letters, essays, sketches, photographs, clippings and other materials documenting the career of painter and frame-maker Hermann Dudley Murphy.

Correspondence (1887-1962) includes letters from Erwin S. Barrie, Ettore Caser, Gennaro Favai, Edmund Tarbell and a 1916 letter from Maurice Prendergast thanking Murphy for sending a watercolor. Most letters concern the sale of paintings, but the collection contains some correspondence from family and friends discussing Murphy's interest in canoeing. Three ledgers (1897-1900, 1911-1944, and 1921-1943) record the sale of works of art. In addition to an address book and miscellaneous notes, writings include a four-page essay about art criticism, a seven-page poem, "Hermandudley's Voyage"; a four-page story about a rabbit by Murphy's daughter, Carlene Bowles Murphy; and an essay, "The Loss of Style" by Ettore Caser.

Art works consist of 142 unbound sketches, primarily of people and scenes in Mexico, 16 sketchbooks (1892-1937), one of which is entitled "Father's Notes on Picture Framing", an etching of a man smoking a pipe and a scrapbook containing 6 cyanotypes of Murphy and his pets and ink drawings of helmets and halberds. Printed materials include clippings (1898-1982), reproductions of works of art, exhibition catalogs (1906-1982), 4 books, THE ART GALLERY ILLUSTRATED: WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION (1893), JEAN-FRANCOIS MILLET by Mrs. Schuyler Van Rensselaer, DESIGN AS A SCIENCE by Denman W. Ross (1901) and ART AND THE PEOPLE by Otto H. Kahn and printed material concerning Gennaro Favai.

Photographs show Murphy and his family, including his second wife Nellie Littlehale Murphy and her paintings, and friends and colleagues; canoeing trips (1891-1927); an installation at the Chicago Art Institute; works of art and frames. A subject file about Ettore Caser (1916-1918) includes war citations and a medal.

Biographical/Historical Note: Painter and frame-maker; Boston, Mass. Attended the Boston Museum school, and studied at the Academie Julien, Paris. Taught at Harvard School of Architecture and Worcester Art Museum School. Murphy and his second wife shared a life-long interest in deck-seat canoeing.

Donated 1985 by Alexander Samoiloff, son of Murphy's daughter, Carlene Bowles Murphy Samoiloff.

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