Leigh H. Hunt papers, 1870-1937

A Finding Aid to the Leigh H. Hunt Papers, 1870-1937, in the Archives of American Art, by Jean Fitzgerald

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Table of Contents:

Biographical Information

Leigh Harrison Hunt was born on May 19, 1858 in Galena, Illinois, the son of businessman Leigh A. Hunt and Eliza (Harrison) Hunt. He was a maternal descendant of Benjamin Harrison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The family moved to New York City in the early 1860s, and in 1877, Hunt graduated from the City College of New York, receiving medals in history, belles-lettres, mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, and English. He was also appointed as tutor in the City College's Art Department. In the same year, he entered Bellevue Medical School to study anatomy but was persuaded to finish the course and was graduated with the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1880.

While continuing to teach at City College, Dr. Hunt taught histo-pathology at the medical school, and for a brief time practiced medicine. In 1882, he received an M.S. degree and soon after abandoned all medical pursuits to devote himself entirely to producing art and teaching art history. Hunt was made head of the art department in 1918 and continued in that position until his retirement in 1928.

Hunt was a member of several art-related organizations including the New York Etching Club, the Salmagundi Club, the Society of American Etchers and the Artists' Fund Society. In 1931, he founded the Haden Etching Club whose members were artists who were also physicians.

Hunt and his wife, Grace (n�e Grace Anna Storrs), enjoyed travel and made frequent voyages to Europe between the 1880s until the outbreak of the first World War in 1914. Several of their voyages were on R. M. S. Lusitania.

Leigh Harrison Hunt died Dec 16, 1937 in New York City.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of art history instructor, printmaker, and physician Leigh H. Hunt measure 5.8 linear feet and date from 1870-1937. Found within the papers are scattered biographical material for Hunt; letters from friends and colleagues primarily concerning the celebration of Hunt's 50-year teaching career; auction records and miscellaneous receipts; diaries written by his wife Grace Storrs Hunt describing daily life and specific European trips; notes and writings including art history lecture notes; art work by Hunt; scrapbooks of clippings; miscellaneous printed material including voyage-related ephemera; photographs of Hunt, his family, friends, and residence; and commercial printing blocks.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection has been arranged into 10 series. All series are arranged chronologically, except for the lecture notes which are arranged alphabetically. Oversized material from various series has been housed in Box 11 (Sol), OV12 and OV13, and is noted in the Series Description/Container Listing Section at the appropriate folder title with see also/see references.

Subjects and Names

This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following index terms:

  • Diaries
  • Drawings
  • Etchers--New York (State)--New York
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Sketches


The Leigh H. Hunt papers were donated in 1967 by Phyllis Leon, the executor of the Hunt Estate.

How the Collection was Processed

The papers were processed to an intermediate level arrangement in June 2005 by Jean Fitzgerald.

How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. research facility.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Leigh H. Hunt 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.

How to Cite this Collection

Leigh H. Hunt papers, 1870-1937. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1877-1937, undated
(Box 1, 11, OV12; 3 folders)

Biographical material includes a passport, diplomas, a medical report and death certificate for Hunt.

Box Folder
1 1 Calling Card, Passport, Medical Report, and Death Certificate, 1914-1937, undated
11 Oversized Diplomas, 1880
OV 12 Oversized Diplomas, 1877-1883

Series 2: Letters, 1881-1937, undated
(Box 1; 16 folders)

Letters are from friends and colleagues and primarily consist of messages of congratulation on Hunt's 50th anniversary as a faculty member at City College of New York. There is also an etching, 1888, used as an invitation to the Salmagundi Club.

Box Folder
1 2-16 Letters, 1881-1937, undated

Series 3: Financial Records, 1904-1911, undated
(Box 1; 2 folders)

There are two pages of auction records listing the prices of miscellaneous household items. Receipts are for dues payments for the Thomas Hunter Association and entrance fees for the American Universities Club of London.

Box Folder
1 17 Auction Records, undated
1 18 Miscellaneous Receipts, 1904-1911

Series 4: Grace Hunt Diaries, 1884-1931
(Box 1; 11 folders)

Travel diaries describe trips to New York City, Milwaukee, Canada, and Holland. Also included is a diary describing various cycling trips. Five-year diaries contain brief daily annotations and ephemera including dried flowers, clippings, ticket stubs, and photographs. The diary for 1911-1915 contains entries describing passage on the R. M. S. Lusitania.

Box Folder
1 19 Travel Diary (New York City, Milwaukee, and Canada), 1884-1885
1 20 Travel Diary (Holland), 1889
1 21 Items Found in Travel Diary, 1889
1 22 Cycling Diary, 1898-1913
1 23 Five-Year Diaries, 1901-1910
1 24 Five-Year Diaries, 1911-1920
1 25-26 Items Found in Diaries, 1911-1920
1 27 Five-Year Diaries, 1921-1930
1 28 Items Found in Diary, 1926-1930
1 29 Diary, 1931

Series 5: Notes and Writings, 1878-1937, undated
(Box 1-2, 11; 56 folders)

This series primarily consists of art history lecture notes accumulated over many years by Hunt for use in conducting his classes at City College of New York. The autograph book contains 3 drawings by Leigh Hunt and friends.

Box Folder
1 30 Autograph Book for Grace Hunt, 1878-1893
1 31 Lists of Art Work by Hunt, undated
1 32 Constitution and By-Laws of the Haden Etching Club
1 33 Minutes of a Meeting of the Quill Club, 1921
1 Lecture Notes by Leigh Hunt
1 34-36 American Art, 1927-1931, undated
1 37 "Armor,," undated
1 38 "Art 31: Aesthetics Introductory Lecture,," undated
1 39-40 Barbizon School, 1922, undated
1 41-43 "British Art,," undated
1 44-45 "Elements in Picture Criticism,," undated
1 46 "For Comparative Literature and Art,," undated
1 47 "Foreign or Today,," 1917, undated
Box Folder
2 Lecture Notes by Leigh Hunt
2 1-3 French Art, undated
2 4 "Furniture,," 1919-1929
2 5 "How to Get the Best Out of Pictures,," 1926
2 6-7 "Impressionism,," undated
2 8-11 "Italian Art,," 1919, undated
2 12 "Japanese Color Prints,," undated
2 13-14 Northern European Art, undated
2 15 "Pewter, Brass, Copper, Sheffield Plate, Etc.,," undated
2 16 "Pre-Raphaelites,," undated
2 17-18 Printmaking, 1918, undated
2 19 Sculpture, 1928-1930, undated
2 20-24 Spanish Art, undated
2 25 Watercolor and Pastel, undated
2 26-27 "Whistler,," undated
2 28 Miscellaneous Lecture Notes, undated
2 29 School Manuscript "The Scholars' Protest,," undated
2 30 Typescript for Speech at Burchard's Dinner, undated
2 31 Introduction by Leigh Hunt for book Byzantine Art by Pantelis Zografos, 1931
2 32 Notebook of Writings and Art History Notes by Leigh Hunt, 1892, undated
2 33 Notebook of Writings by Grace Hunt, 1878-1881
2 34 Manuscript "The Relation of Music to Sculpture" by Grace Hunt, 1881
2 35 Hand-written Notebook of Medical Information, undated
2 36 Typescript "Tribute to Professor Leigh Harrison Hunt" by Frederick B. Robinson, 1937
2 37 Miscellaneous Poems, 1898, undated
2 38 Miscellaneous Notes and Writings, undated
11 Oversized Chart of the Italian Schools of Painting, undated

Series 6: Art Work, 1884-1930, undated
(Box 2-3, 6-11, OV12, OV13; 1.6 linear feet)

Art work includes sketchbooks, drawings, watercolors, and prints primarily depicting scenes from Hunt's European travels. All prints, except for one lithograph, are etchings.

Box Folder
2 39-48 Sketchbooks, 1887-1908, undated
2 51 Watercolors by Hunt, undated
2 52-57 Prints by Hunt, 1884-1930, undated
Box Folder
3 1-3 Prints by Hunt, 1884-1930, undated
3 4 Bookplates for Hunt, undated
3 5-8 Prints by Others, undated
3 9-13 Etching Plates, 1887-1930, undated
3 14 Painted Notebook Covers, 1917, undated
Box Folder
6 1-6 Etching Plates, 1887-1930, undated
Box Folder
7 1-7 Etching Plates, 1887-1930, undated
Box Folder
8 1-6 Etching Plates, 1887-1930, undated
Box Folder
9 1-6 Etching Plates, 1887-1930, undated
Box Folder
10 1-5 Etching Plates, 1887-1930, undated
11 Oversized Sketchbook, 1901
11 Oversized Drawing, undated
11 Fifteen Oversized Etchings, 1888-1914, undated
11 Oversized Lithograph, undated
11 Oversized Steel-Faced Etching Plate, undated
OV 12 Six Oversized Etchings, 1888-1890, undated
OV 13 Oversized Steel-Faced Copper Etching Plate, 1892

Series 7: Scrapbooks, 1877-1925, undated
(Box 3; 9 folders)

Scrapbooks contain clippings mentioning Hunt, and topics of interest to Hunt including James Abbott McNeill Whistler and cartoons of social commentary.

Box Folder
3 15-16 Scrapbooks Containing Cartoons of Social Commentary, undated
3 17 Scrapbook about Whistler, undated
3 18 Scrapbook of Clippings, undated
3 19 Scrapbook of Clippings, 1877-1879
3 20 Scrapbook of Clippings, 1888-1899
3 21 Scrapbook of Clippings, 1925, undated
3 22-23 Scrapbook of Clippings and Programs by Grace Hunt, 1878-1899

Series 8: Printed Material, 1870-1937, undated

Printed material includes clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, lecture announcements, and miscellaneous programs and brochures. Also included is voyage-related printed material primarily consisting of passenger lists, menus, brochures, and maps of the Hunts' voyages to England, Holland, and Belgium, including material concerning R.M.S. Lusitania.

Box Folder
3 24-39 Clippings, 1880-1937, undated
3 40-42 Exhibition Announcements and Catalogs for Hunt, 1897-1933, undated
3 43 Exhibition Announcements and Catalogs for Others, 1907-1935, undated
3 44 Lecture Announcements, 1921, undated
3 45-47 Programs and Presentation Books Honoring Hunt's 50-Year Teaching Career at City College of New York, 1927-1928
3 48 Miscellaneous Programs, 1881-1928, undated
3 49-54 Voyage-Related Printed Material, 1889-1914, undated
3 55-60 Picture Postcards of Europe, Canada, and the United States, undated
Box Folder
4 1-3 Picture Postcards of Europe, Canada, and the United States, undated
4 4 Brochures, 1883-1927, undated
4 5-7 Booklets, 1870-1923, undated
4 8 Auction Catalogs, 1905-1925, undated
4 9-10 Reproductions of Art Work by Others, undated
4 11 Yearbook from City College of New York, 1928
4 12-17 Miscellaneous Books About Art History and Travel, 1881-1932
4 18 Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1887, undated
11 Oversized Program, 1913
11 Oversized Voyage-Related Map, 1889
11 Oversized Souvenir Certificate from a Dinner Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of Graduation, 1887
OV 12 Oversized Floor Plan for S.S. Lapland, 1914

Series 9: Photographs, 1880-1934, undated
(Box 4-5, 11; 30 folders)

Photographs are of Hunt and his wife, including childhood portraits and six tintypes, that show them at home, on board ships, and riding in several of their early automobiles. Photographs of friends include several of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bowker. Commercially produced photographs are of locations visited by the Hunts in England, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States. A photograph of painting Arrangement in Gray and Green is autographed by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, including his signature butterfly.

Box Folder
4 19 Photograph Album, undated
4 20 Photographs of Hunt's Parents, undated
4 21-23 Photographs of Hunt, 1861?-1937?
4 24-25 Photographs of Grace Hunt, 1880, undated
4 26-30 Photographs of Hunt and His Wife, 1902, undated
4 31-33 Photographs of the Hunts with Friends, 1898-1934, undated
4 34-37 Photographs of Hunt's Residence, undated
Box Folder
5 1 Photographs of Hunt's Office at City College of New York, undated
5 2 Photograph of a Print Shop, undated
5 3-8 Commercially Produced Photographs of European and American Scenes, 1887, undated
5 9 Miscellaneous Travel Photographs, undated
5 10-11 Photographs of Art Work by Others, undated
11 Oversized Photograph of Hunt, undated
11 Oversized Photograph of Early European Altarpiece, undated

Series 10: Artifacts, undated
(Box 5; 2 folders)

Artifacts consist of two photomechanical printing blocks for reproductions of Hunt's art work, and a commercial engraving plate for Hunt's coat of arms.

Box Folder
5 12-13 Commercial Printing Blocks, undated