William E. Phelps papers, 1939-1979

Phelps, William E., b. 1897 d. 1967
Collector, Art patron
Active in Montchanin, Del.

Collection size: 0.2 linear ft. (141 items on partial microfilm reel)

Collection Summary: 12 letters (2 are illustrated) from Andrew Wyeth to William E. Phelps; 6 letters from Wyeth's wife Betsy to Phelps and his wife Mary, 1939-1969; 8 letters to Andrew Wyeth and Phelps from friends and colleagues. Wyeth's letters were written from Chadds Ford, Pa. and Port Clyde, Cushing, and Thomaston, Me. and concern the business of borrowing paintings for exhibitions but also contain family news and some personal insights.

Also contains letters from Wyeth's dealer, E. Coe Kerr of M. Knoedler and Co., Inc. to Wyeth and receipts from sales of his paintings; 91 photographs of Andrew, Betsy, Henriette, N.C. Wyeth, Peter Hurd, and others at the Wyeths' house in Maine and the Hurds' house in New Mexico. Included are photographs of the Wyeths painting in their studios, an exhibition of the Phelps' collection; and clippings.

Biographical/Historical Note: Collector, art patron; Montchanin, Delaware. Resided in the Brandywine Valley between Wilmington, De. and Chadds Ford, Pa. where he and his wife, Mary, became friends with many local artists. He was an early patron of Andrew Wyeth and a close friend of the Wyeth family.

The donor, Mary C. Parrish, is the niece of William E. Phelps. She found these papers in the furniture she inherited from the estate.

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reel 3589 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
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