Washington Society of Landscape Painters records, 1917-2000

A Finding Aid to the Washington Society of Landscape Painters Records, 1917-2000, in the Archives of American Art, by Catherine S. Gaines

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Table of Contents:

Historical Information

Today one of the oldest artists organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region, the Washington Society of Landscape Painters traces its inception to 1913. After meeting by chance while each was painting outdoors, Charles Seaton and Winfield Scott Clime began going on painting outings together. Soon other men began joining them, and by 1916 the informal group of landscape painters began calling itself the Ramblers.

By 1919, the organization was formally named the Landscape Club of Washington. It met at 1221 15th Street, N.W., in a wing of the home of Florida's Senator Fletcher, where they began holding exhibitions, an arrangement that lasted until the late 1920s.

Activities were curtailed during World War II, but exhibitions continued on a slightly reduced schedule. The annual banquet, a tradition begun in 1927, continued until the start of World War II; more than 35 years later, in 1976, another annual dinner was held. In 1996, the annual luncheon/dinner was reinstated as an annual event, although it is no longer a formal affair.

During the 1950s several outspoken members of the Landscape Club were vocal about their dissastisfaction with modern art, making newspaper headlines. Membership and local press coverage of their exhibitions declined during the 1960s and 1970s, though the group remained active during this period.

In the mid 1980s Landscape Club activities increased. There were more painting excursions, the exhibition schedule expanded, and a number of memorial prizes were established. The organization formally changed its name to the Washington Society of Landscape Painters in 1986. Painting on location and critiques of members work were held quarterly. Field trips, sometimes called "paint outs," sometimes extended longer than a weekend and might be in locations farther from home than previously. The group commemorated its 80th anniversary in 1993, at which time its constitution was amended, opening membership to women.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The records of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters date from 1917 to 2000 and measure 1 linear foot. At various times in the society's history, there has been a club historian who collected material produced by or about the organization and its members that was assembled in a set of scrapbooks titled "W.S.L.P. Archives," covering the years 1919-circa 1976. From the mid 1970s until the mid 1980s recordkeeping was less systematic and very few items have survived to fully document activities of the organization during this period. With a resurgence of interest in the club around the mid 1980s came improved attention to recordkeeping.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged as six series. Unless otherwise specified in the series descriptions, material within each folder is arranged chronologically.

Subjects and Names

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


  • Art -- Societies, etc. -- Washington (D.C.)
  • Landscape painters -- Washington (D.C.)
  • Landscape painting -- 20th century -- Washington (D.C.)

Types of Materials:

  • Photographs


  • Landscape Club of Washington, D.C.


Gift of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters, via its past historian and archivist, 1999 and 2004.

How the Collection was Processed

The collection was processed by Catherine S. Gaines in 2001. The finding aid was modified by Stephanie Ashley in 2001 prior to EAD conversion. The 2004 addition was incorporated in 2006, and the finding aid revised at that time.

How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of original papers requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Washington Society of Landscape Painters' records 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

Washington Society of Landscape Painters records, 1917-2000. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Administrative Records, 1934-1993, undated
(5 folders)

This series contains administrative records of the society including the organization's constitution and by-laws and notes for a later proposed revision; minutes and meeting notes; notices of meetings and other club-sponsored activities; membership lists; and a treasurer's worksheet.

1 Constitution and By-Laws, 1937-1958
(contains photos)
1 Minutes and Meeting Notes, 1955-1992, undated
1 Notices of Meetings and Activities, 1934, 1959-1993, undated
1 Membership Lists, 1954-1993, undated
1 Treasurer's Worksheet, 1962

Series 2: Correspondence, 1960-1993, undated
(4 folders)

This series mainly concerns exhibitions, field trips, and membership. General correspondence concerns striking of medals, and a letter confirming a speaker's acceptance for the 80th anniversary luncheon. Exhibition correspondence documents arrangements for exhibitions including correspondence with host institutions, instructions for members, and contracts. Field trip correspondence confirms arrangements and contains printed attachments about various facilities. Member correspondence mainly concerns elections and acceptances but also concerns delinquent dues, resignations, thank you notes, Preston Baustian and Arthur F. Harless memorial award funds, and news of members who moved away.

1 General, 1960-1993
1 Exhibitions, 1961-1991, undated
1 Field Trips, 1975-1987
1 Members, 1958-1992

Series 3: Printed Matter, 1929-2000, undated (bulk 1955-1993)
(7 folders)

Printed matter consists of club exhibition announcements, catalogs and reviews, member files, a club newsletter, and miscellaneous material. The member files contain mainly newsclippings, obituaries, exhibition announcements, and catalogs regarding: Bittinger, Charles; Cupoli, James V.; Crockett, Gib; Dunn, Charles; Eboli, Jules Luis; Eyer, Charles Robert; Firestone, Louis; Gilden, Meyer; Greene, Gary G.; Hennessey, Shawn; Jex, Garnet W.; Karafyllakis, Antonios L.; Mangus, Marvin; Miller, Garver; Moore, Benson; Needham, Thomas; O’Hara, Eliot; Petrie, Kenneth; Rittase, Roger; Rolle, August H. O.; Schmidt, Alfred G.; Schmidt, William J.; Shankman, Gary; Smith, Ralph; Sudduth, Newman; and Wendelin, Randolph. Miscellaneous material includes a membership application form, membership lists, the cover for a small booklet (possibly another edition of the membership list), and letterhead samples.

1 WSLP Exhibitions, 1955-1991, undated
1 Group Shows (not WSLP) Featuring Members, 1973, undated
1 Members, A-Z, 1929-2000, undated
(2 folders)
1 Newsletter, 1970, 1975
1 Articles About the Landscape Club, 1936-1983
1 Miscellaneous, undated

Series 4: Scrapbooks, 1929-circa 1976
(0.5 linear ft.)

This series consists of two scrapbooks compiled by the club historian. The three volume "W.S.L.P. Archives," contains newsclippings including exhibition notices, reviews, and feature articles about the club and its members; other printed matter including exhibition announcements and catalogs of the Landscape Club and shows of individual members; membership lists; form letters; meeting notices; the society's constitution and by-laws; annual banquet invitations and programs; photographs (and some copies of photographs) of exhibition venues and installations, works of art, annual banquets, and members on field trips; reports of field trips; and a small number of letters and Christmas cards from members. Another scrapbook is about members. It contains biographical notes, photographs, exhibition announcements, reviews, and catalogs. Labeled sheets indicate that spaces were reserved for artists for whom no material was collected.

The members scrapbook is arranged alphabetically by artist.

1 "WSLP Archives"
(3 disbound volumes)
1 Members, circa 1975-1976
(1 disbound volume)

Series 5: Miscellaneous Material, 1917, 1969-1997, undated
(3 folders)

The miscellaneous records include organizational histories, guest registers, notes and lists and the Ramblers' 1917 Logbook. Organizational histories include a one page historical summary by Meyer Gilden with editorial comments; a copy of the history with a list of past presidents from the program of the 80th anniversary celebration in 1993; and "A Brief History of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters," by Dick Ray, dated 1997. The series also includes guest registers for the following: Old Towne Gallery, Alexandria, Virginia, February 1969; Alexandria Show, October 1969; November 1971; Hodges Gallery, November 1972; Annual Show, Arts Club, September 1973; and Hodges Gallery, December 1973.

1 Logbook of the Ramblers, 1917
1 Histories, 1989-1997
1 Guest Registers, 1969-1973
1 Notes and Lists, undated

Series 6: Photographs, 1967-1989
(1 folder)

1 Photographs, 1967-1989