Sanford Robinson Gifford papers, 1840s-1900, circa 1960s-1970s, bulk 1855-1881

Gifford, Sanford Robinson, b. 1823 d. 1880
Active in Paris, France; New York, N.Y.

The papers of Sanford Robinson Gifford in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2007. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 850 images.

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

Collection size: 0.8 linear feet (130 items)

Collection Summary: The small collection contains circa 130 items that provide scattered documentation of Gifford's life, primarily extensive biographical accounts of his travels in the mid 1850s and late 1860s in the form of bound letters to his father. These serve as detailed journals of his impressions of Europe and the Middle East, the development of his painting, and his relationships with other artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Worthington Whittredge. The collection also contains sketches by Gifford, printed material including catalogs of Gifford's paintings, and photographs of Gifford and others.

Biographical/Historical Note: Sanford Robinson Gifford (1823-1880) was a painter from N.Y. Born Greenfield, N.Y. Studied at the National Academy of Design, New York. Elected National Academician, 1854. Studied in Paris and Rome, 1855-57; traveled in Italy, Greece, Syria, Egypt, Great Britain, the Rocky Mountains and Alaska. A Hudson River school artist.

Donated 1955 and 1957 by by Edith Wilkinson and in 1973 by George and Frances Gifford Cummings. Copyprints of photographs were donated in 1964 by James C. Gifford. Five sketchbooks on reel D254 were lent for microfilming by the Vassar College Art Library in 1966, and in 1974 sixteen sketchbooks, photographs, and other materials on microfilm reel 688 were lent for microfilming by Dr. Sanford Gifford, Gifford's great-nephew.

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

How to Use this Collection

  • Read the Finding Aid for this digitized collection
  • The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Sketchbooks, photographs and other documents lent for microfilming on reels D254 and l 688 are available on microfilm at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan, but are not described in the container listing of the finding aid.
  • Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
  • For more information on using the Archives’ resources, see the FAQ or Ask Us.

Also in the Archives

Related Materials

Five sketchbooks were loaned by Vassar College in 1966 and the originals were returned to the donor after microfilming on reel D254.
Sixteen sketchbooks, photographs, passports and certificates, an 1888 European travel diary of Mary Louise Willard, wife of Gifford's nephew, Harold, and a 1966 letter were loaned by Dr. Sanford Gifford in 1974 and were returned to the donor after microfilming on reel 688.