Mary Margaret Sittig research material on Louis Prang, 1860-1978

A Finding Aid to the Mary Margaret Sittig research material on Louis Prang, 1860-1978 , in the Archives of American Art, by Jean Fitzgerald

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Table of Contents:



Biographical Information

Mary Margaret Sittig was a doctoral student at George Washington University in Washington D.C. working on a dissertation about the life and work of Boston lithographer Louis Prang (1824-1909), often referred to as the "father of the American Christmas card." Sittig completed her Master's theses L. Prang and Company, Fine Art Publishers in 1970, but died before completing her doctoral dissertation.

In 1864, Prang visited Europe to study the latest techniques in German lithography. He returned to Boston to create high quality reproductions of major works of art using a lithographic process he called "chromos." In 1874, he began producing greeting cards for the popular market in England and began selling the Christmas card in the United States the next year. Also in 1874, Prang began publishing books for drawing and elementary art study for public schools. This latter activity proved so successful that he formed the Prang Educational Company in 1882.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

Art historian Mary Margaret Sittig's research material on Louis Prang dates from 1860 to 1978 and measures 3.5 linear feet. Found within the papers are biographical material for Louis Prang and for Mary Margaret Sittig, collected letters from various members of the Prang family, and scattered letters to Sittig from friends. Additional collected research materials include scattered personal business records for Louis Prang and his wife, notes and writings, art work, printed material, and photographs.

Biographical material concerning Louis Prang includes a record book and genealogy listing Prang family members, ephemera, and scattered family papers. Biographical material concerning Mary Margaret Sittig includes resumes, a photograph of Sitting, and scattered ephemera. Letters primarily consist of scattered communications between miscellaneous Prang family members, and a few business-related letters. Letters to Mary Margaret Sittig are primarily from friends and discuss her research activities. Personal business records consist of an account book for Louis Prang's wife, Rosa, and miscellaneous receipts for Louis Prang.

Notes and writings primarily consist of photocopies of research material on Louis Prang collected by Mary Margaret Sittig and include a typescript of her thesis L. Prang and Company, Fine Art Publishers. Art work consists of ink drawings, watercolor sketches, an etching, a block print, and an oil painting on fabric.

Printed material concerning Louis Prang includes clippings, commercial lithographs of book illustrations, chromolithographs of ceramics from the Walters Collection, and printed reproductions of work by others.

Photographs are of Louis Prang, his wives Rosa Prang and Mary Dana Hicks Prang, miscellaneous Prang family members, and of scattered art work. There is also the Prang Family Photograph Album that contains annotations, but no photographs.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged as 7 series:

Subjects and Names

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

Subjects:

  • Heinzen, Rosa Prang
  • Prang, Louis, 1824-1909
  • L. Prang & Co.

Subjects-Topical:

  • Art historians--Pennsylvania
  • Chromolithography
  • Greeting cards industry
  • Lithographers
  • Lithography

Types of Materials:

  • Drawings
  • Etchings
  • Paintings
  • Photographs
  • Prints
  • Watercolors

Provenance

The papers were donated by Mary Margaret Sittig's brother James C. Sittig in 2001, in memory of Charlotte, Edgar, and Mary Sittig.

Separated and Related Materials

The Archives also holds the Louis Prang papers, 1848-1932.

How the Collection was Processed

The collection was processed by Jean Fitzgerald in December 2010.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of original papers requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Mary Margaret Sittig research material on Louis Prang is 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

Mary Margaret Sittig research material on Louis Prang, 1860-1978. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1881-1973
(Box 1; 10 folders)

Biographical material concerning Louis Prang includes listings of Prang family members, a certificate of esteem for Louis Prang, a ship's passenger list, material from Prang's funeral and from the funeral of his mother, and an employment application for Prang's granddaughter Henriette Heinzen. Biographical material concerning Mary Margaret Sittig includes resumes, application forms for federal employment, receipts, and a photograph of Sittig.

Box Folder
1 1 Prang Family Record Book, 1891
1 2 A Genealogical List of Prang Family Members, a Certificate of Esteem for Louis Prang, and a Passenger List from the Ship Columbia, 1881-1900
1 3 Booklet "Addresses at the Memorial Services of Mrs. Rosa Prang," 1898
1 4-5 Miscellaneous Material Concerning the Funeral of Louis Prang, 1909
1 6 Employment Application of Henriette Heinzen, 1933
1 7-10 Biographical Material Concerning Mary Margaret Sittig, 1961-1973
(4 folders)

Series 2: Letters, 1864-1974
(Box 1; 23 folders)

Letters primarily consist of scattered communications between miscellaneous Prang family members. Letters to Mary Margaret Sittig are primarily from friends and discuss her research activities.

Box Folder
1 11 Letters to the Prang and Heinzen Families from Unidentified Correspondents, circa 1860-circa 1978
1 12 Letters to the Prang and Heinzen Families from Correspondents with Unknown Surnames, circa 1860-circa 1978
1 13 Letters to the Prang and Heinzen Families from Correspondents with Surnames "A" - "O," circa 1860-circa 1978
1 14 Letters to the Prang and Heinzen Families from Correspondents with Surnames "P," circa 1860-circa 1978
1 15 15 Letters to the Prang and Heinzen Families from Correspondents with Surnames "R" - "Z," circa 1860-circa 1978
1 16 Letters to the Prang and Heinzen Families, 1864-1887
1 17 Letters to the Prang and Heinzen Families, 1891-1899
1 18 Letters to the Prang and Heinzen Families, 1900-1903
1 19 Letters to the Prang and Heinzen Families, 1904-1908
1 20 Letters to the Prang and Heinzen Families, 1909-1912
1 21 Letters to the Prang and Heinzen Families, 1913-1914
1 22 Letters to the Prang and Heinzen Families, 1915-1923
1 23 Letters to the Prang and Heinzen Families, 1924-1927
1 24 Letters to the Prang and Heinzen Families, 1928
1 25 Letters to the Prang and Heinzen Families, 1963
1 26 Letters to Mary Margaret Sittig, circa 1860-circa 1978
1 27 Letters to Mary Margaret Sittig, 1968-1969
1 28-30 Letters to Mary Margaret Sittig, 1970
(3 folders)
1 31-32 Letters to Mary Margaret Sittig, 1971
(2 folders)
1 33 Letters to Mary Margaret Sittig, 1973-1974

Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1875-1917
(Box 1; 2 folders)

Personal business records consist of an account book for Louis Prang's wife, Rosa, and miscellaneous receipts for Louis Prang.

Box Folder
1 34 Account Book for Rosa M. Prang, 1875
1 35 Miscellaneous Receipts for Louis Prang, 1899-1917

Series 4: Notes and Writings, 1890-1978
(Box 1; 16 folders)

Notes and writings primarily consist of photocopies of research material on Louis Prang collected by Mary Margaret Sittig, but include a typescript of her thesis L. Prang and Company, Fine Art Publishers, compilations of writings and poems by Henriette Heinzen, and miscellaneous notes by members of the Prang and Heinzen families.

Box Folder
1 36 Hand-made Book "School Reminiscences" by Henriette Heinzen, circa 1860-circa 1978
1 37-40 Henriette Heinzen's Album of Poems and Inserted Printed Material, 1899-1931
(4 folders)
1 41 Miscellaneous Notes by Members of the Prang and Heinzen Families, 1890, circa 1860-circa 1978
1 42 Notes by Sittig: Photocopy of 1869 Article "What Pictures Shall I Hang on My Walls?" by Harriet Beecher Stowe, circa 1860-circa 1978
1 43 Notes by Sittig: Photocopy of Microfilm of an 1875 Catalog of Art Sale from the Louis Prang Collection, circa 1860-circa 1978
1 44 Notes by Sittig: Photocopy of Microfilm of an 1893 Auction Catalog, circa 1860-circa 1978
1 45 Notes by Sittig: Photocopy of an 1892 Art Work Catalog Collection of L. Prang and Company of Boston, circa 1860-circa 1978
1 46 Notes by Sittig: Photocopy of 1899 Catalog Louis Prang's Collection of Oil and Water-Color Paintings, circa 1860-circa 1978
1 47 Thesis Typescript L. Prang and Company, Fine Art Publishers by Mary Margaret Sittig, 1970
1 48 Notes by Sittig: Photocopy of Typescript "Kingly Print: An American Chromo" by Lucy E. Leitzell, 1972
1 49 Notes by Sittig: Photocopy of Indiana Historical Society Lectures, Autographed by Lillian B. Miller, 1974
1 50-51 Miscellaneous Notes by Sittig, 1978, circa 1860-circa 1978
(2 folders)

Series 5: Art Work, circa 1880
(Box 1; 9 folders)

Art work includes ink drawings, watercolor sketches primarily of floral borders, young girls, and scenic views, an etching signed by Ellen Day Hale, a block print of a Native American design, and an oil portrait painting of an unidentified man on fabric.

Box Folder
1 52 Ink Drawings, circa 1880
1 53-58 Watercolor Sketches, circa 1880
(6 folders)
1 59 Etching Signed by Ellen Day Hale, circa 1880
1 60 Block Print of a Native American Design, circa 1880
Box Folder
5 1 Oil Portrait Painting on Fabric, circa 1860-circa 1978

Series 6: Printed Material, 1866-1972
(Box 1-8; 2.5 linear feet)

Printed material includes clippings, commercial lithographs of book illustrations, chromolithographs of ceramics from the Walters Collection and of work by others, The Card Autograph Album by L. Prang and Co., color lithographs of miniature pictures of mammals, birds, fish, insects, and miscellaneous subjects, calendars, miscellaneous greeting cards including salesmen's sample books of cards, programs, labels, and advertising cards. There are chromolithographed and block-printed fabric items including fabric squares, a fabric-covered box, shawls, and fabric-covered portfolio covers displaying images primarily of flowers and young girls. The books published by L. Prang and Co. include Prang's Standard Alphabets, American Text-Books of Art Education, The Prang Elementary Course in Art Instruction, Illustrations of the History of Art, and Yawcob's Dribulatons that is autographed by Charles Follen Adams (a.k.a. Yawcob Strauss). Books published by others are primarily German children's books with fine illustrations. There is also a large portfolio of machine-cut stencil designs.

Box Folder
1 61 Clippings, circa 1860-circa 1978
1 62 Clippings, 1918-1946
1 63 Clippings, 1952-1972
1 64 Commercial Lithographs of Book Illustrations, circa 1860-circa 1978
1 65-68 Chromolithographs of Ceramics from the Walters Collection, circa 1860-circa 1978
(4 folders; Oversized Material Housed in Box 4)
1 69-73 Chromolithographs of Art Work by Others, 1866-1903, circa 1860-circa 1978
(5 folders; Oversized Material Housed in Box 4)
1 74 The Card Autograph Album by L. Prang and Co., 1871
Box Folder
2 1 Color Lithographs of Miniature Pictures of Mammals, circa 1860-circa 1978
2 2 Color Lithographs of Miniature Pictures of Birds, circa 1860-circa 1978
2 3 Color Lithographs of Miniature Pictures of Fish and Sea Creatures, circa 1860-circa 1978
2 4 Color Lithographs of Miniature Pictures of Insects, circa 1860-circa 1978
2 5 Color Lithographs of Miniature Pictures of Miscellaneous Subjects, circa 1860-circa 1978
2 6-7 Calendars, 1888-1952
(2 folders; Oversized Material Housed in OV 8)
2 8 New Year's Cards, circa 1860-circa 1978
2 9-11 Valentine's Day Cards, circa 1882-1893
(3 folders)
2 12-13 Easter Cards, 1880s
(2 folders)
2 14-17 Christmas Cards, circa 1881-1890
(4 folders)
2 18 Birthday Cards, 1870s-1890s
2 19-21 Miscellaneous Printed Cards, circa 1870-1887
(3 folders; Oversized Material Housed in Box 4)
2 22-23 Programs, 1881-1903
(2 folders; Oversized Material Housed in Box 4)
2 24 Miscellaneous Labels and Advertising Cards, circa 1860-circa 1978
(Oversized Material Housed in OV 8)
2 25-26 Chromolithographed and Block-Printed Fabric Items, circa 1860-circa 1978
(2 folders; Oversized Material Housed in Box 5 and Box 6)
2 27 Book Prang's Standard Alphabets, circa 1860-circa 1978
2 28 Book Prang's Prize Babies, circa 1860-circa 1978
2 29 Book Language of Flowers, Illustrated by Kate Greenaway, circa 1860-circa 1978
2 30 Book Prang's Natural History Series for Children, 1878
2 31-37 Books American Text-Books of Art Education, Numbers 2-7 and 9, Published by L. Prang and Co., 1879-1888
(7 folders)
2 38 Book Der Kinder Wundergarten by Friedrich Hofmann, 1882
2 39 Book Prinzessin Wunderhold by J. Trojan, 1883
2 40 Book Drei Gute Freunde, 1884
2 41 Book A Gay Day for 7 by Mrs. Rose Mueller Sprague, Published by L. Prang and Co., 1887
2 42 Book Autograph Recipes Published by L. Prang and Co., 1888
2 43 Book The Baby's Bouquet by Walter Crane, 1890
2 44 Book Das Schönste UBC Buch für die Jugend, 1890
2 45 Book Yawcob's Dribulatons, Published by L. Prang and Co., 1894
2 46 Book Flora's Feast by Walter Crane, 1895
Box Folder
3 1 Book Dream Pansies by Bessie Gray, 1897
3 2-3 Books The Prang Elementary Course in Art Instruction, 1897-1898
(2 folders)
Box Folder
4 1 Oversized Commercial Lithograph of Abraham Lincoln, 1865
4 2 Oversized Chromolithographs of Ceramics from the Walters Collection, circa 1860-circa 1978,
(from Box 1, Folder 68)
4 3 Oversized Chromolithographs of Art Work by Others, circa 1866-1869
(from Box 1, Folder 73)
4 4 Two Oversized Salesmen's Sample Books of Miscellaneous Cards, circa 1860-circa 1978,
(from Box 2, Folder 19)
4 5 Five Oversized Miscellaneous Printed Cards, 1870-1884,
(from Box 2, Folder 21)
4 6 Two Copies of Oversized Program The Prang Souvenir, 1881
(from Box 2, Folder 22)
Box Folder
5 2-5 Two Oversized Chromolithographed and Embroidered Shawls (?) and a Chromolithographed Portfolio Cover; Oversized Fabric-Covered Portfolio Decorated with a Block Print Design, circa 1860-circa 1978,
(from Box 2, Folder 25)
Box Folder
6 1 Oversized Chromolithographed Fabric-Covered Box; Eight Chromolithographed Fabric Squares, circa 1860-circa 1978,
(from Box 2, Folder 25)
Box Folder
7 1-4 Oversized Books Illustrations of the History of Art, Series 1 - IV, 1879
(4 folders)
7 5-6 Oversized Portfolio of Machine-Cut Stencil Designs, circa 1860-circa 1978
(2 folders)
Box
OV 8 Oversized Calendar Page, 1952,
(from Box 2, Folder 7)
OV 8 Oversized Advertisement for Prang's Valentines, circa 1860-circa 1978,
(from Box 2, Folder 24)

Series 7: Photographs, 1860-1957
(Box 3, 7; 6 folders)

Photographs are of Louis Prang, miscellaneous Prang family members, and scattered art work including the painting The Valley of Wyoming by Jasper Cropsey, and a still life arrangement of a table setting signed by Antoinette Perrett. There is also the Prang Family Photograph Album that contains annotations, but no photographs.

Box Folder
3 4 Prang Family Photograph Album, circa 1860
3 5 Photographs of Louis Prang, Rosa Prang, and Mary Dana Hicks Prang, 1905, circa 1860-circa 1978
(Oversized Material Housed in Box 7)
3 6 Photographs of Miscellaneous Prang Family Members, 1925-1957, circa 1860-circa 1978
3 7 Photograph of Painting The Valley of Wyoming by Jasper Cropsey, circa 1860-circa 1978
3 8 Photograph of Drawing of an Unidentified Woman and of a Lithograph of an Unidentified Man, circa 1860-circa 1978
Box Folder
7 7 Oversized Photograph of Louis Prang, circa 1860-circa 1978,
(from Box 3, Folder 5)
7 7 Oversized Photograph of a Still Life Arrangement of a Table Setting Signed by Antoinette Perrett, circa 1860-circa 1978