Rose Lamb papers, circa 1870-1961, bulk, circa 1870-1900

A Finding Aid to the Rose Lamb Papers, circa 1870-1961, bulk circa 1870-1900, 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

Rose Lamb (1843-1927) was a portrait painter and drawing instructor of Boston, Massachusetts. Lamb was born in Boston to a prominent family and was a student of William Morris Hunt and Helen Knowlton during the 1870s. Though she did not exhibit often during her lifetime, she was a successful portraitist specializing in portraits of children. Lamb was an active member of Boston society, befriending many artists, writers, and other cultural figures, and her portraits were in great demand among prominent Boston families. She traveled to Europe in 1881, 1890, and 1914, perhaps taking art classes while there in 1881. In 1884, and possibly later, she assisted George Bartlett as a drawing instructor at the South Boston School of Art. In 1900 she suffered a severe illness and stopped painting. For the remainder of her life she instead pursued travel and social activities. Rose Lamb died in 1927.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of Boston area portrait painter and drawing instructor Rose Lamb date from circa 1870 to 1961, with the bulk of the material dating from circa 1870 to 1900, and measure 0.8 linear feet. The collection contains a diploma; letters from artists, writers, historians, and others, including nine letters from former teacher and friend William Morris Hunt; photographs of unidentified people and artwork by Lamb; and original artwork, including a sketchbook from circa 1870, charcoal drawings, two watercolors, and two oil paintings. Artwork depicts landscapes, children, and other figure studies.

Correspondence within the the collection includes 19 letters from artists, such as Albert Sterner, Ross Turner, Howard Pyle, and Charles H. Woodbury; writers Anne Thackeray Ritchie, Margaret Deland, and Alfred Noyes; and historians John Fiske and Albert Bushnell Hart. Also found are nine letters from former teacher and friend William Morris Hunt. Eight of his letters describe in detail his work on the painting of murals in the Capitol building in Albany, New York, and one letter discusses his painting of portraits in North Easton, Massachusetts. Also among the correspondence are four letters to Aimée Lamb, Rose's niece.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged into 4 series:

Subjects and Names

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

Subjects:

  • Lamb, Aimée, 1893-1989

Subjects-Topical:

  • Art teachers--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Portrait painters--Massachusetts--Boston

Types of Materials:

  • Oil paintings
  • Watercolor paintings
  • Charcoal drawings
  • Sketchbooks
  • Photographs

Names:

  • Deland, Margaret Wade Campbell, 1857-1945
  • Fiske, John
  • Hart, Albert Bushnell, 1854-1943
  • Hunt, William Morris, 1824-1879
  • Noyes, Alfred, 1880-1958
  • Pyle, Howard, 1853-1911
  • Ritchie, Anne Thackeray, 1837-1919
  • Sterner, Albert, 1863-1946
  • Turner, Ross, 1847-1915
  • Woodbury, Charles H. (Charles Herbert), 1864-1940

Provenance

This collection was donated by Aimée and Rosamond Lamb, nieces of Rose Lamb in installments, primarily from 1980 to 1985. They donated the nine letters to Lamb from William Morris Hunt in 1976.

Separated and Related Materials

Also available at the Archives of American Art are the Aimée Lamb (niece of Rose Lamb) papers, 1888-1991. Original letters to Rose Lamb from Mary Cassatt and Childe Hassam are available at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

How the Collection was Processed

The collection was microfilmed in the order in which it was received on reels 1309 and 3888. The entire collection was fully processed, arranged, and described by Erin Corley in 2008 and digitized in 2009 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of the original papers requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Rose Lamb 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 2008 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website. Photocopies of letters from originals found at outside archival repositories have not been scanned.

How to Cite this Collection

Rose Lamb papers, circa 1870-1961, bulk circa 1870-1900. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Diploma, 1881
(Box 1, OV 3; 1 folder)

This series consists of a Diploma certificate given to Rose Lamb by the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association for contributing in their fourteenth exhibition in September 1881.

Box Folder
1 1 Diploma, 1881
(Oversized, housed in OV 3)
Box
OV 3 Oversized Diploma, 1881
(Item scanned with Box 1, F1)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1878-1914, 1952-1961
(Box 1; 5 folders)

Correspondence includes nine letters to Rose Lamb from her former teacher William Morris Hunt. Eight of his letters describe in detail his work on the painting of murals in the Capitol building in Albany, New York, and one letter discusses his painting of portraits in North Easton, Massachusetts. Also found in this series are 19 other miscellaneous letters sent to Rose Lamb from friends and acquaintances, including artists Howard Pyle, Albert Sterner, Ross Turner, and Charles H. Woodbury; writers Anne Thackeray Ritchie, Margaret Deland, and Alfred Noyes; and historians John Fiske and Albert Bushnell Hart. Also found is a typed invitation sent to her from Henry James. Topics of letters include replies to invitations, thank-you notes, and other general news.

Also found here, but not scanned, are photocopies of letters located at other repositories, including four letters from Mary Cassatt and one letter from Childe Hassam.

There are also four letters to Aimée Lamb, Rose Lamb's niece. Letters to Aimée Lamb consist of two letters from art historian John Frost and two letters from Harvard University Library. These letters inquire about Rose Lamb's friendship with the novelist Sarah Orne Jewett.

Correspondence is arranged chronologically within each folder. The bulk of this series has been scanned; photocopies of letters have not been scanned.

Box Folder
1 Letters to Rose Lamb
1 2 From William Morris Hunt, 1878
1 3 Miscellaneous Letters, 1890-1898, 1914
1 4 Undated Miscellaneous Letters, circa 1890-1900
1 5 Photocopies of Letters located at other repositories, 1890s
(Not scanned)
1 6 Letters to Aimée Lamb regarding Rose Lamb, 1952, 1960-1961

Series 3: Photographs, circa late 1800s
(Boxes 1-2; 0.2 linear feet)

Photographs of people include a photograph of a woman and child, a woman outdoors with two children, and two portraits of an elderly woman, all unidentified. Additional photographs are of artwork, believed to have been painted by Rose Lamb, though most of the photographs are not labeled or dated.

This series has been scanned in its entirety.

Box Folder
1 7 Photographs of People, circa late 1800s
1 8-12 Photographs of Artwork, circa late 1800s
(5 folders; oversized items housed in Box 2)
Box
2 Oversized Photographs of Artwork, circa late 1800s
(Items scanned with Box 1, Folders 8-12)

Series 4: Artwork, circa 1870-late 1800s
(Box 1-2, OV 3; 0.3 linear feet)

Found here are drawings and paintings by Rose Lamb. One sketchbook found here includes sketches in charcoal, pencil, and watercolor of human figures and landscapes. Also found are ten loose charcoal drawings of portraits and landscapes. One of the landscapes is signed "RL" and dated 1876. Watercolors include a portrait of an unidentified woman and two landscapes. Also found in this series are two paintings on canvas, one unfinished work depicting a woman and two children and the other a portrait of a child.

This series has been scanned in its entirety.

Box Folder
1 13 Sketchbook, circa 1870
1 14 Charcoal Drawings, circa 1870s-1880s
(Oversized items housed in Box 2)
1 15 Watercolor Portrait of a Woman, circa late 1800s
1 16 Watercolor Landscape Paintings, circa late 1800s
1 17-18 Paintings on Canvas, circa late 1800s
(2 oversized canvases housed in Box 2 and OV 3)
Box
2 Charcoal Drawings, circa 1870s-1880s
(Items scanned with Box 1, F14)
2 Oversized Painting on Canvas, circa late 1800s
(Item scanned with Box 1, F17)
Box
OV 3 Oversized Painting on Canvas, circa late 1800s
(Item scanned with Box 1, F18)