Kenyon and Louise Cox papers, 1876-1977

A Finding Aid to the Kenyon and Louise Cox Papers, 1876-1977, in the Archives of American Art, by Erin Corley

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

Table of Contents:

Biographical Information

Kenyon Cox was a prominent American painter, lecturer, and art critic. He was born in 1856, in Warren, Ohio, and he studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and in Paris, where he befriended artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Cox returned to the United States and made a living illustrating magazines and books, and teaching at the Art Students League in New York. In 1892 he married his student Louise Howland King, born in San Francisco in 1865. Together they became prominent painters and were responsible for the murals that decorated the Liberal Arts Building at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. During his career, Cox contributed articles and essays on art subjects to various magazines. He was a member of the Society of American Artists, the National Academy of Design, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Kenyon Cox died in 1919 and Louise in 1945. Their son, Allyn, born in 1896, became a successful muralist.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of Kenyon and Louise Cox measure 0.3 linear feet and date from 1876 to 1977. Included are Kenyon and Louise's Certificate of Marriage, autobiographical notes by Louise focusing on her time at the National Academy of Design, writings, and correspondence, primarily from Kenyon Cox, including several illustrated letters. Also found is artwork by Kenyon and others, including Julian Alden Weir, biographical material on Jacob Dolson Cox, Keyon's Father, photographs and printed reproductions of artwork, magazine and newspaper clippings, an unpublished bibliography on Kenyon Cox, and a handwritten list of Kenyon Cox paintings in the National Academy of Design permanent collection.

Arrangement and Series Description

Due to the small size of this collection, items are categorized into one series. Items are arranged chronologically within each folder.

Subjects and Names

This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following index terms. People, families and organizations are listed under "Subjects" when they are the topic of collection contents and under "Names" when they are creators or contributors.


  • Painting, American
  • Art critics
  • Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York

Types of Materials:

  • Photographs
  • Works of art
  • Illustrated letters


  • Cox, Louise Howland King, 1865-1945


The collection was donated by Charles E. Feinberg, 1955-1968, the National Museum of American Art in 1967 and 1984, and the Cooper Hewitt Museum in 1983. The material was microfilmed upon receipt as two separate manuscript collections.

Separated and Related Materials

Also found in the Archives of American Art are the Allyn Cox papers, 1870-1982. His papers contain correspondence, biographies, photographs, sketchbooks, writings, and printed material, some of it relating to his father, Kenyon Cox.

How the Collection was Processed

The collection was microfilmed upon receipt as two separate manuscript collections on reels 3060, D8, 2803 and 3134. It was fully merged, arranged, and described by Erin Corley in 2005, and the bulk of it was scanned, with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

The bulk of this collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Use of material not digitized requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Kenyon and Louise Cox 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.

Available Formats

The bulk of the collection was digitized in 2006 and is available online via AAA's website..

How to Cite this Collection

Kenyon and Louise Cox papers, 1876-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Kenyon and Louise Cox papers, 1876-1977
(Box 1, OV 2; 0.3 linear feet)

Box Folder
1 (pam) 1 Certificate of Marriage, 1892
1 (pam) 2 Correspondence, 1876-1877, 1882
(See Also OV 2)
1 (pam) 3 Correspondence, 1893-1929
1 (pam) 4 Autobiographical Notes by Louise Cox, 1945
1 (pam) 5 Speech by Kenyon Cox, 1915
1 (pam) 6 Writings, "Artist and Public" by Kenyon Cox, undated
1 (pam) 7 Writings, Miscellaneous, 1892, 1933, 1967
1 (pam) 8 Drawings, 1876, undated
(See Also OV 2)
1 (pam) 9 Biographical Material on Jacob Dolson Cox, circa 1929
1 (pam) 10 Photographs of Artwork, 1888-1922, undated
(not scanned)
1 (pam) 11 Printed Material, Reproductions of Artwork, undated
(Not scanned; see Also OV 2)
1 (pam) 12 Printed Material, Clippings, 1884-1977, undated
(See Also OV 2)
1 (pam) 13 Printed Material, Miscellaneous, 1901-1923
(not scanned)
1 (pam) 14 Bibliography on Kenyon Cox, circa 1954
1 (pam) 15 List of Paintings by Kenyon Cox in the N.A.D. Permanent Collection, undated
OV 2 Oversize Correspondence
(See Box 1, F2)
OV 2 Oversize Drawings
(See Box 1, F8)
OV 2 Oversize Printed Material, Reproductions of Artwork
(Not scanned; see Box 1, F11)
OV 2 Oversize Printed Material, Clippings
(See Box 1, F12)