Thomas B. Brumbaugh research material on Abbott Handerson Thayer and other artists, 1876-1994, (bulk 1960s-1994)

A Finding Aid to the Thomas B. Brumbaugh research material on Abbott Handerson Thayer and other artists, 1876-1994 (bulk 1960s-1994) , in the Archives of American Art, by Erin Corley

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

Table of Contents:



Biographical Information

Art historian and educator Thomas Brendle Brumbaugh was born in 1921. He spent most of his career as a professor of fine arts at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and has published many articles on American painting, sculpture, and architecture. He was co-editor of Architecture of Middle Tennessee: The Historic American Buildings Survey and co-author of The Art of Gerald Brockhurst. Brumbaugh spent several years doing research for a book on Abbott Handerson Thayer that was never realized, and published several articles on Thayer, including "An Artist and His Model: Abbott H. Thayer and Clara May," The American Art Journal, vol. 10 (May 1978).

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

Thomas B. Brumbaugh's research material on Abbott Handerson Thayer and other artists dates from 1876 to 1994 (bulk 1960s-1994) and measures 1.4 linear feet. Brumbaugh, an art historian and educator, wrote several articles on Thayer, and these papers contain related correspondence, photocopies and transcripts of Abbott Handerson Thayer's correspondence, research files, and copyprint photographs. Also found are Brumbaugh's research files on various other artists compiled during his career.

Brumbaugh's research material on Abbott Handerson Thayer includes his correspondence with people who knew the Thayer family, other researchers, and museums, organizations, and individuals who owned works by Thayer. Also found are photocopies and transcripts of Abbott Thayer's personal correspondence with family, friends, and patrons. Brumbaugh also maintained research files on people who were friends or worked with Thayer that include correspondence, printed material, and notes. Photographs (all copyprints) that Brumbaugh gathered are of Thayer, his family and friends, models, his home and studio, and his artwork. Brumbaugh conducted most of his research beginning in 1966 in order to write a biography of Thayer, and though the book was never realized, much of this material was used for several scholarly articles about Thayer.

Brumbaugh's documentation on various additional artists, mostly contemporary, were compiled during his career as an art historian and professor at Vanderbilt University. The files include his correspondence, news clippings, exhibition catalogs and announcements, reproductions of artwork, and notes.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged into 2 series:

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.

Subjects:

  • Thayer, Abbott Handerson, 1849-1921
  • Vanderbilt University -- Faculty

Subjects-Topical:

  • Art historians -- Tennessee -- Nashville

Types of Materials:

  • Photographs

Provenance

The collection was donated in by Thomas B. Brumbaugh in 1995 and 2004.

Separated and Related Materials

The Archives of American Art also houses several collections related to Abbott Handerson Thayer. These include the Abbott Handerson Thayer and Thayer Family papers, 1851-1999; the Abbott Handerson Thayer letter and drawings to Caroline Peddle Ball, circa 1890-1893; "The Drawings of Abbott Thayer," by Elizabeth Robins Pennell, circa 1921; and the Nelson and Henry C. White research material, 1898-1978, which includes many original letters, photographs, and other material originally belonging to the Thayer family.

How the Collection was Processed

A portion of the Thomas B. Brumbaugh research material on Abbott Handerson Thayer and other artists received a preliminary level of processing after donation. The collection was fully processed by Erin Corley in 2007 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Thomas B. Brumbaugh research material on Abbott Handerson Thayer and other artists 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

Thomas B. Brumbaugh research material on Abbott Handerson Thayer and other artists, 1876-1994 (bulk 1960s-1994). Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Research material on Abbott Handerson Thayer, 1876-1994 (bulk 1960s-1994)
(Box 1; 0.9 linear feet)

Thomas Brumbaugh's research material on Abbott Handerson Thayer series is arranged into 4 subseries:

Subseries 1.1: Thomas B. Brumbaugh Correspondence, 1966-1990

Thomas Brumbaugh's correspondence documents his research on Abbott Handerson Thayer and consists primarily of incoming letters answering his requests for reproductions or photographs of Thayer's artwork from museums and private collections, as well as his attempts to locate additional works by Thayer. Also found are letters from people who knew the Thayer family and could share their memories with Brumbaugh, and letters from other researchers requesting information from Brumbaugh about Thayer. Items of note are letters from Nelson White who wrote a biography of Thayer in 1951, and many letters from the National Collection of Fine Arts (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum) which has several Thayer paintings in its collection. Correspondence with Elliott Allison discusses Allison's possession of photographs of models posing for paintings in Thayer's studio which were taken by his father, Henry Allison. Allison also discusses the Thayer family and his memories of the people who were friends with the Thayers in Dublin, New Hampshire. Correspondence is arranged chronologically.

Box Folder
1 1-4 Correspondence, 1966-1983, 1990
(4 folders)
1 5 Correspondence with Elliott Allison, 1968-1980

Subseries 1.2: Copies and Transcripts of Abbott Handerson Thayer Correspondence, 1876-1924

This subseries contains photocopies and transcripts of Abbott Handerson Thayer's correspondence, gathered by Thomas Brumbaugh, documenting Thayer's personal life and family relationships, career as an artist, and his work as an amateur naturalist. Found here are copies of Thayer's personal letters to family members, including his daughter Gladys (known as Galla), his son Gerald (known as Gra), and his wife Emma Beach Thayer (also known as Addie), as well as Emma's relatives in the Beach family. Also included are copies of correspondence with his patrons Charles L. Freer and John Gellatly, as well as correspondence with friends, including his student Rutledge Bate, the prominent writer Samuel Clemens, and the George de Forest Brush Family. Additional correspondence is with his model Clara May, his friend Dr. Partz, and the Van Loon family. Copies of Thayer's correspondence with Franklin D. Roosevelt, then the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, about his theory on using concealing coloration for warships. Miscellaneous Thayer letters are to Gertrude Bloede, Mr. Montross, Mrs. Thomas Dewing, and Dr. King. As all of the correpondence is either photocopied or a transcript, folder heading dates are those of the original letter/s.

Box Folder
1 6 Letters to Rutledge Bate, 1918-1920
1 7-8 Correspondence between the Thayer and Beach Families, 1882-1924
(2 folders)
1 9 Correspondence between the Thayer and Brush Families, 1903-1909
1 10 Letters to and from Samuel Clemens, 1904-1909
1 11 Letters to Charles L. Freer, 1893-1908
1 12-13 Letters from Abbott Handerson and Emma Beach Thayer to John Gellatly, 1903-1923
(2 folders)
1 14 Letters to Clara May, 1894-1899
1 15 Letters to and from Dr. & Mrs. A. Partz, 1876-1878, 1896-1897
1 16 Letters to and from Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1914-1918
1 17 Letters to the Van Loon Family, 1913-1922
1 18 Miscellaneous letters to others, 1891-1901

Subseries 1.3: Research Files, 1882-1992

Found here are research files created by Brumbaugh during his research on Abbott Handerson Thayer. Brumbaugh kept files on many people who were friends of or worked with Thayer, including his friend and writer Samuel Clemens; former students Barry Faulkner and Rockwell Kent; his models Clara May, Bessie Price, and Alma Wollerman (who married his son Gerald); studio assistant Grace Reasoner Clark; and family friends, the George de Forest Brush family and the Alexander James family. Materials in these folders include Brumbaugh's correspondence with people about the subject, notes, magazine articles, and other printed material. Also found is a file on the John Gellatly art collection which contains many works by Thayer and was given to the Smithsonian Institution. Other files kept by Brumbaugh include journal and magazine articles on Abbott Handerson Thayer, Dublin, New Hampshire, and other topics related to Thayer or his artwork, as well as a file containing a few handwritten notes kept by Brumbaugh. Items are arranged in chronological order within each folder.

Box Folder
1 19 Brush Family, 1923-1979
1 20 Grace Reasoner Clark, 1920-1921, 1968-1970
1 21 Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), 1882-1983
1 22 Barry Faulkner, 1917, 1966-1968
1 23 John Gellatly Collection, 1921-1978
1 24 Rockwell Kent, 1966-1977
1 25 James Family, 1917-1920
1 26 Clara May, 1921-1978
1 27 Bessie Price, 1917-1974
1 28 Alma Wollerman (Thayer), 1935-1992
1 29-30 Articles about Abbott Handerson Thayer, 1894-1982
(2 folders)
1 31 Articles about Dublin, New Hampshire, 1908-1982
1 32 Articles about various topics, 1924-1975
1 33 Miscellaneous printed material, 1886-1986
1 34 Notes, circa 1970s

Subseries 1.4: Photographs, circa 1877-1978

This subseries contains copy prints (no originals) of photographs of Abbott Handerson Thayer, his family, home, studio, and artwork. Included are a portrait of Thayer as a young man, photographs of Thayer at his home and in his studio in Dublin, New Hampshire, and photographs of him with his family, including his wife Emma Beach Thayer, and his children Mary, Gladys, and Gerald. Also found are many photographs taken by Henry Allison of the Thayer family and of models, such as Alma Wollerman, posing in Thayer's studio. Photographs of artwork were gathered by Brumbaugh from many museum collections, including the large collection of Thayer work in the National Collection of Fine Arts, now known as the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Box Folder
1 35 Photographs of Abbott Handerson Thayer, circa 1877, 1905-1921
1 36 Photographs of Thayer family and others, 1897-circa 1925
1 37 Photographs by Henry D. Allison of Thayer family & models, circa 1890s
1 38 Photographs of Thayer Home & Studio in Dublin, NH, circa 1921
1 39 Photographs of artwork by Thayer, Self-portraits, 1970s
1 40-41 Photographs of artwork by Thayer, Portraits, 1970s
(2 folders)
1 42-43 Photographs of artwork by Thayer, Angels and female figures, 1970s
(2 folders)
1 44-45 Photographs of artwork by Thayer, Still lifes & landscapes, 1970s
(2 folders)
1 46 Photographs of artwork by Thayer, owned by National Collection of Fine Arts, circa 1978
1 47 Photographs of artwork by others, 1970s

Series 2: Artists' Files, 1923-1994
(Box 1-2; 0.5 linear feet)

This series contains Brumbaugh's files on various artists, mostly contemporary, compiled during his career as an art historian and professor at Vanderbilt University. The files include his correspondence with many of the artists, as well as with curators and family members about the artists. Besides research about the artists and their work, topics of correspondence include arranging interviews, lectures, and exhibitions. Also found within the files are news clippings, exhibition catalogs and announcements, reproductions of artwork, and notes.

Folders are arranged alphabetically by artist name and items are arranged chronologically within each folder.

Box Folder
1 48 Burliuk, David, 1951
1 49-51 Cadmus, Paul, 1937-1944
(3 folders)
1 52 Cassill, H. C., 1967-1968
Box Folder
2 (hol) 1 Chafetz, Sidney, 1964-1981
2 (hol) 2 Chester, Rachel, 1950s
2 (hol) 3 Church, Frederick S., 1977-1981
2 (hol) 4 Colangelo, Angelo, 1954
2 (hol) 5 Crumbo, Woody, 1952
2 (hol) 6 Dickinson, Edwin W., 1923-1990
2 (hol) 7 Dodd, Lamar, 1960-1993
2 (hol) 8 Ellis, Fred, 1927
2 (hol) 9 Fausett, Dean, 1976-1988
2 (hol) 10 Horn, Milton, circa 1968-1978
2 (hol) 11-12 Jimenez, Luis, 1987-1994
(2 folders)
2 (hol) 13 Kirschenbaum, Jules, 1967-1972
2 (hol) 14 Knight, Daniel Ridgeway, 1981
2 (hol) 15 Kottler, Howard, 1979
2 (hol) 16 Kramer, Reuben, circa 1992-1994
2 (hol) 17 Lasansky, Mauricio, 1948-1961
2 (hol) 18 Lopez, Felix, 1990-1991
2 (hol) 19 Marx, Evelyn, 1958
2 (hol) 20 Moser, James Henry, circa 1975-1981
2 (hol) 21 Mount, Charles M., 1967-1971
2 (hol) 22 Patrick, Joseph Alexander, 1965
2 (hol) 23 Read, Thomas Buchanan, 1937-1978
2 (hol) 24 Rossiter, Thomas Pritchard, 1972-1973
2 (hol) 25 Salerno, Charles, 1988
2 (hol) 26 Takaezu, Toshiko, 1924, 1965-1989
2 (hol) 27 Waud, Alfred R., 1981
2 (hol) 27 Yvon, Adolphe, 1876-1986
2 (hol) 28 Miscellaneous research material on artists, 1950s