William Penhallow Henderson papers, 1876-1987, (bulk 1876-1943)

A Finding Aid to the William Penhallow Henderson Papers, 1876-1987 (bulk 1876-1943), in the Archives of American Art, by Jean Fitzgerald

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Biographical Information

Painter, architect, and furniture designer, William Penhallow Henderson was born in 1877 in Medford, Massachusetts. His father, William Oliver Henderson was a friend of painter William Edward Norton and an amateur painter himself. During Henderson's childhood, the family moved several times, settling in Turkey Creek, Texas, in 1879, and Clifton, Kansas, in 1886.

Returning to Boston in 1891, Henderson studied at the Massachusetts Normal Art School and, and in 1899, entered the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, studying under Edmund C. Tarbell. In the following year, he won the Paige Traveling Scholarship for two years of study in Europe. His travels, from 1902-1903, included London, where he became acquainted with the family of John Singer Sargent. He also traveled to Paris, Berlin, Dresden, Madrid, and the Azores.

From 1904 to 1910, Henderson taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago. In 1904 he painted in Mexico and Arizona with colleague Carl N. Werntz. He married the poet-editor of Poetry magazine, Alice Corbin in 1905, and their only child, Alice Oliver Henderson, was born in 1907.

Between 1906 and 1907 Henderson completed ten murals for the Joliet Township High School. Mrs. Henderson's book Anderson's Best Fairy Tales, illustrated by her husband, provided the funds for a second trip to Europe from 1910-1911. In 1914, Henderson built a house and studio of his own design at Lake Bluff, Illinois, and in the same year he was commissioned by Frank Lloyd Wright to design murals for Midway Gardens, Chicago. Unfortunately, the murals were painted over shortly after completion. In the following year, he designed the scenery and costumes for the Chicago Fine Arts Theatre production of Alice in Wonderland.

Due to his wife's failing health, the family moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1916, and in 1918, Henderson was employed by the U. S. Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation in San Francisco to paint camouflage onto the hulls of ships during World War I.

In 1925, Henderson, with his first son-in-law John Evans, formed the Pueblo-Spanish Building Company, through which he designed and built many private homes and some public buildings, including the Railroad Ticket Office in Santa Fe. Henderson was also successful at designing carved wooden furniture. In the mid-1930s, he was appointed to the Federal Arts Project, for which he completed easel paintings and six murals for the Santa Fe Federal Court Building.

In 1937, Henderson completed the impressive Navajo House of Religion, built in the style of an American Indian hogan and later re-named the Museum of Navajo Ceremonial Art.

William Penhallow Henderson died in 1943 in Tesuque, New Mexico.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of Chicago and Santa Fe painter, architect, and furniture designer William Penhallow Henderson measure 10.5 linear feet and date from 1876 to 1987 (bulk dates 1876-1943). Found within the collection are biographical material; a file concerning Henderson's father William Oliver Henderson; correspondence primarily with colleagues discussing art-related topics; two diaries describing his student days in Paris, 1902-1903, and one concerning the latter part of his life; personal business records; subject files for the Santa Fe Painters and Sculptors and the Art in Embassies Program; architecture and furniture files containing notes, designs, and photographs of Henderson's work in these areas; additional project files concerning other projects, including a play, architectural projects, and a mural; exhibition files; notes and writings; artwork, including 64 sketchbooks by Henderson; miscellaneous printed material; and photographs of Henderson, his family, colleagues, and artwork.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged into 13 series primarily according to type of material; materials within series are arranged chronologically.

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:

  • Henderson, William Oliver
  • Santa Fe Painters and Sculptors
  • Art in Embassies Program (U.S.)

Subjects-Topical:

  • Furniture designers -- New Mexico -- Santa Fe
  • Painters -- New Mexico -- Santa Fe
  • Architects -- New Mexico -- Santa Fe
  • Art -- Study and teaching

Types of Materials:

  • Works of art
  • Photographs
  • Sketchbooks

Names:

  • Henderson, Alice Corbin, 1881-1949

Provenance

The William Penhallow Henderson papers were donated by Carlton Colquitt, on behalf of the estate of his late wife, Alice Henderson Rossin, the daughter of William Penhallow Henderson, in 1988.

How the Collection was Processed

The papers were processed by Jean Fitzgerald in October 2004.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Open for research. Use requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The William Penhallow Henderson 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.

How to Cite this Collection

William Penhallow Henderson papers, 1876-1987. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1897-1984
(Boxes 1, 12; 14 folders)

Biographical material primarily consists of miscellaneous membership documents, legal records, address books, and biographical accounts.

Box
1 Address Books, 1909-1922, undated
(4 folders)
1 Biographical Accounts, 1937-1984, undated
1 Mailing Lists, 1928-1931, undated
1 Marriage Certificate, 1905
1 Membership Certificate and Award Certificates, 1897-1938
(see also Sol 12)
1 Camouflage Service Records, 1917-1918
(2 folders)
1 Architect Licenses, 1928-1935
1 Will of Samuel H. Richardson, 1902
1 Locks of Hair, 1911, undated
Box
12 (sol) Oversize Membership Certificate for the American Art Society, 1897

Series 2: File on William Oliver Henderson, 1876-1906
(Box 1; 12 folders)

This series contains letters, certificates, writings, artwork, printed material, and photographs that document the life of Henderson's father, William Oliver Henderson. Included are 28 photographs of the 1898 Omaha Exposition, and several views of early frontier towns.

Box
1 Marriage Certificate, Membership Certificates, and Letters, 1876-1906, undated
1 Diary Page, Writings, and Artwork, 1879, undated
1 Clippings, 1877-1905, undated
1 Reproductions of Artwork by Others, undated
1 Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1877-1890
1 Photographs of Family and Friends, undated
1 Photographs of Frontier Town, undated
1 Photographs of Miscellaneous Houses, undated
(2 folders)
1 Travel Photographs, undated
(2 folders)
1 Photographs of the Omaha Exposition, 1898

Series 3: Correspondence, 1883-1987
(Boxes 1-2; 1.9 linear feet)

Correspondence consists of letters exchanged with family, friends, and colleagues. Correspondence dated after Henderson's death is primarily from his daughter, Alice, to various institutions concerning exhibitions of her father's work. There are several letters each from artists Gustave Baumann, Joseph Birren, Ernest L. Blumenschein, Maynard Dixon, Frank P. Fairbanks, E. W. Gollings, John W. Norton, Earl Reed, Jr., Joseph Lindon Smith, Maurice Sterne, Lorado Taft, and Carl Werntz, architects John Duncan Forsyth, John Gaw Meem, and William Gray Purcell, authors Peggy Pond Church, Erna Fergusson, Esther Forbes, and Carl Sandberg, and actors Tyrone Power and Roland Young. There is also a letter containing schematic drawings of architectural plans by Henderson's son-in-law, Bill Mauldin.

Box
1 Correspondence, 1883-October 1918, undated
(48 folders)
Box
2 Correspondence, November 1918-1987
(82 folders)

Series 4: Diaries, 1902-1940
(Box 3; 4 folders)

Two illustrated diaries, 1902-1903, describe Henderson's daily activities while studying art in Europe. Henderson writes about daily activities and his art studies, including meetings with Walter Gay, frequent outings to galleries and museums with Emily Sargent, and travels with fellow art student Alden Twachtman, son of John Henry Twachtman. A third diary, 1940, describes daily activities in Santa Fe.

Box
3 Diaries (2 volumes), 1902-1903
3 Loose Drawings, Receipts, Photographs, and Printed Material from Diary, 1902
3 Loose Letters, Photographs, and Printed Material from Diary, 1903
3 Diary, 1940

Series 5: Personal Business Records, 1887-1984
(Box 3; 40 folders)

Personal business records document Henderson's various personal and art business interests and contain deeds, sales records for artwork by Henderson, blankets created by Navajo Indians, and for books written by his wife Alice Corbin Henderson. Also found are lists of artwork, price lists, an inventory of photographs, and miscellaneous receipts.

Box
3 Deeds, 1917-1940
(2 folders)
3 Consignment and Sales Records with Albert Roullier, 1912-1917
3 Consignment and Sales Records with Arthur H. Hahlo & Co., 1915-1916
3 Consignment and Sales Records with Canyon Road Art Gallery, 1968-1978
3 Consignment and Sales Records with the Peters Corporation, 1978-1981
3 Miscellaneous Records of Sales of Artwork, 1898-1984
(2 folders)
3 Records of Artwork Given as Gifts, 1972-1973
3 Lists of Artwork, 1910-1982, undated
(16 folders)
3 Lists of Exhibitions and Artwork, 1945
3 Miscellaneous Price Lists, 1917-1981, undated
(9 folders)
3 Inventory of Photographs, 1982
3 Price Lists and Sales Records for Navajo Blankets, 1931-1934
3 Travel Receipts, 1910-1911
3 Book Order Receipts for Alice Corbin Henderson, 1948
3 Miscellaneous Receipts, 1887-1969

Series 6: Subject Files, 1921-1975
(Box 3; 2 folders)

Subject files contain letters, notes, and printed material concerning the Santa Fe Painters and Sculptors, and the Art in Embassies Program.

Box
3 Santa Fe Painters and Sculptors Letters, Notes, and Printed Material, 1921-1933
3 Art in Embassies Program Notes, 1975

Series 7: Architecture and Furniture Files, 1926-1983
(Boxes 3-4, 12, OV 14; 1.0 linear feet)

Architecture and Furniture files contain notes, drawings, photographs, price lists, receipts, and printed material that reflect Henderson's work as an architect and document his work as a furniture designer.

Box
3 Miscellaneous Notes on Architecture, undated
(3 folders)
3 Architecture/Construction Notebook, 1926
3 Designs for Carving, undated
(2 folders)
3 Tracings Used in Carving, undated
(2 folders; see also OV 14)
3 Miscellaneous Designs, undated
(7 folders)
Box
4 Notes and Designs of Bancos and Banquitos, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Beds and Daybeds, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Bookcases, undated
(see also Sol 12)
4 Notes and Designs of Book Shelves, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Cases, undated
(see also Sol 12)
4 Notes and Designs of Chairs, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Corbels, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Desks, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Doors, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Dressing Tables, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Fireplaces, undated
(see also Sol 12)
4 Notes and Designs of Frames, 1929, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Gates, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Low-Boys, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Lounges and Couches, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Panels and Altars, undated
(see also Sol 12)
4 Notes and Designs of Radiator Grills (Wood), undated
4 Notes and Designs of Screens and Spindles, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Signs, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Shrines, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Tables, undated
(2 folders)
4 Notes and Designs of Trasteros, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Windows, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Wooden Light Fixtures, undated
4 Notes and Designs of Wardrobes, undated
4 Photographs of Bancos and Banquitos, undated
4 Photographs of Beds, undated
4 Photographs of Chairs, undated
4 Photographs of Chests, undated
4 Photographs of Couches, undated
4 Photographs of Desks, undated
4 Photographs of Doors, undated
4 Photographs of Dressers, undated
4 Photographs of Fireplaces, undated
4 Photographs of Shelves, undated
4 Photographs of Tables, undated
4 Photographs of Trasteros, undated
4 Photographs of Miscellaneous Furniture, undated
4 Photographs of Residential Interiors, undated
4 Album of Photographs of Miscellaneous Furniture and Residential Interiors, undated
4 Notes: "Old Inventory," undated
4 Notes on Photographs of Furniture, 1931-1983
4 Recipes for Paint, Cement, Etc., 1938, undated
4 Notes on Geometry, undated
4 Notes on Color, undated
(3 folders)
4 Miscellaneous Notes, 1929-1938, undated
(2 folders)
4 Typescripts on Furniture and Gardens, undated
(2 folders)
4 Price Lists for Furniture, 1931, undated
(2 folders)
4 Miscellaneous Receipts for Furniture, 1932-1935, undated
4 Miscellaneous Printed Material on Furniture, undated
Box
12 (sol) Oversized Notes and Designs of Bookcases, undated
12 (sol) Oversized Notes and Designs of Cases, undated
12 (sol) Oversized Notes and Designs of Fireplaces, undated
12 (sol) Oversized Notes and Designs of Panels and Altars, undated
Box
OV 14 Oversized Tracings Used in Carving, undated

Series 8: Project Files, 1916-1942
(Boxes 4-5, 12, OV 14; 40 folders)

Project files contain a variety of material including correspondence, notes and writings, drawings, receipts, photographs, and printed material pertaining to specific projects undertaken by Henderson. The fact that these files include a play, architectural projects and a mural illustrates the wide range of Henderson's talents.

Box
4 Play, Daughter of Heaven
4 Photographs of Dress Rehearsal, 1916
(4 folders)
4 Printed Material, 1916
4 Diamond V Club, Polvadero, California, Photographs of Site, [1920s]
(2 folders; see also OV 14)
4 Museum of Navajo Ceremonial Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico
4 Correspondence, 1927-1942, undated
4 Notebook "Specifications for Sandpainting Hogan," circa 1927-circa 1942
4 Inventory of Henderson Furniture at the Museum of Navajo Ceremonial Art, circa 1927-circa 1942
4 Miscellaneous Notes, 1937, undated
4 Miscellaneous Writings, circa 1927-circa 1942
4 Photographs of a Traditional Hogan, circa 1927-circa 1942
4 Photographs of the Model, circa 1927-circa 1942
4 Photographs of Construction, circa 1927-circa 1942
(2 folders; see also Sol 12)
4 Photographs, circa 1927-circa 1942
Box
5 Photographs of Completed Museum Exterior, circa 1927-circa 1942
(4 folders)
5 Photographs of Completed Museum Interior, circa 1927-circa 1942
5 Photographs of Sandpaintings, circa 1927-circa 1942
5 Negatives, circa 1927-circa 1942
(2 folders)
5 Brochure, 1937
5 Buildings "Los Gallos" and "La Posta"
5 Correspondence, 1929-1930, undated
(3 folders)
5 Drawings and Photographs of "La Posta," undated
5 Federal Court Building Murals, Santa Fe, New Mexico
5 Correspondence, 1935-1936
(4 folders)
5 Notes and Writings, 1938, undated
5 Receipts, 1934-1937
5 Drawings and Photographs, undated
Box
12 (sol) Oversized Album of Photographs of Construction of the Museum of Navajo Ceremonial Art, undated
12 (sol) Oversized Photographs of the Museum of Navajo Ceremonial Art, undated
Box
OV 14 Oversized Tracing of Blueprint for the Diamond V Club, [1920s]

Series 9: Exhibition Files, 1927-1964
(Box 5; 25 folders)

Exhibition files contain correspondence, financial records, notes and writings, photographs, and printed material documenting exhibitions of Henderson's work. See also Printed Materials and Photographs for additional exhibition-related documentation.

Box
5 Ferargil Galleries, New York, New York
5 Correspondence, 1927-1928
(6 folders)
5 Price Lists, Writings, and Exhibition Catalog, 1927-1928
5 Retrospective Exhibition, Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe
5 Notes, 1963, undated
(2 folders)
5 Address List, undated
5 Typescripts, 1963, undated
(3 folders)
5 Price Lists, 1963
5 Receipts, 1963-1964
(3 folders)
5 Photographs, undated
5 Exhbition Announcements and Catalogs, 1963
(2 folders)
5 Solo Exhibition, Roswell Museum and Art Center, Roswell, New Mexico
5 Correspondence, 1963-1964
5 Notes, 1964
5 Financial Records, 1964
5 Exhibition Announcement and Catalogs, 1964
5 Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1964

Series 10: Notes and Writings, 1901-1985
(Boxes 5-6, OV 14; 1.0 linear feet)

Notes and writings include notebooks, loose notes, and typescripts on miscellaneous art-related topics, and travel by Henderson, his wife Alice Corbin Henderson, and by others.

Box
5 Notebook on Etching, undated
5 Notebooks of Geometric Calculations, undated
5 Notebooks by Alice Corbin Henderson, 1934-1947, undated
(3 folders)
5 Notes on the Smart Shop, undated
5 Notes on the Studio and the Shop, undated
5 Notes on Pigments, undated
5 Color Charts for Sand Paintings, undated
5 Notes on Inspirational Quotations, undated
5 Notes on Père Marquette, 1909
5 Travel Notes, 1910-1911
5 Notes from Play Alice in Wonderland, 1915
5 Notes on Mat and Frame Sizes, 1917-1971
5 Notes on Reference Publications, 1919-1936, undated
(2 folders)
5 Notes on the Santa Fe Country Club Murals, 1922, undated
(see also OV 14)
5 Notes on Henderson's Death, 1943
5 Notes on Certificates for Henderson Works, 1971-1978
5 List of Lenders to Exhibition at National Collection of Fine Arts, 1978
5 Miscellaneous Notes, 1931-1977, undated
(6 folders)
Box
6 Miscellaneous Notes, 1931-1977, undated
(5 folders)
6 Poems by Henderson, 1905-1910, undated
(3 folders)
6 Typescript for Exhibition Catalog, 1913
6 Miscellaneous Typescripts, 1914, undated
6 Writings by Others, 1901-1985, undated
6 Manuscript on Travels by Alice Corbin Henderson, undated
6 Manuscript "Col. Mallory" by Alice Corbin Henderson, undated
6 Typescript "Notes for Your Use in Selecting Indian Paintings" by Alice Corbin Henderson, undated
6 Miscellaneous Typescripts from a Composition Course at the University of Chicago by Alice Corbin Henderson, 1901
(4 folders)
6 Typescript "The Development of Modern Indian painting" by Alice Corbin Henderson, 1933
6 Typescript "From Another Age," undated
6 Typescript Biography of William Penhallow Henderson by David Bell, undated
(3 folders)
6 Typescript on Henderson by Carl Sandberg, 1921
6 Manuscript for the Canyon Road Art Gallery Exhibition by Alice Henderson Rossin, 1968
6 Typescript "Federal Support for the Visual Arts in the State of New Mexico: 1933-1943" by William H. Spurlock, 1973
6 Typescript on Henderson by Carolyn Roberts, 1985
6 Miscellaneous Typescripts, undated
Box
OV 14 Oversized Wall Plans for the Santa Fe Country Club Murals, undated

Series 11: Artwork, 1886-1929
(Boxes 6-8, OV 14; 1.9 linear feet)

Artwork primarily consists of sketchbooks by Henderson. There are also unbound sketches by Henderson, a travel sketchbook by his wife Alice Corbin Henderson, artwork by others, and oversized Japanese prints. The albums of sketches were assembled by Henderson's daughter, Alice Henderson Rossin.

Box
6 Sketchbooks, 1886-1903, undated
(17 folders)
Box
7 Sketchbooks, 1903-1920s
(22 folders)
7 Album of Miscellaneous Sketches, undated
(5 folders)
7 Album of Sketches of New Mexico, 1916, undated
(4 folders)
Box
8 Album of Sketches of New Mexico, 1916-1929
(4 folders)
8 Studies for Murals, undated
8 Miscellaneous Sketches, 1902-1919, undated
(4 folders)
8 Artwork by Others, 1910-1911, undated
8 Sketchbook by Alice Corbin Henderson, 1910-1911
8 Block Print Cover for Book on Frank Brangwyn, undated
8 Japanese Prints, undated
(see also OV 14)
Box
OV 14 Oversized Japanese Prints, undated

Series 12: Printed Material, 1891-1988
(Boxes 8-9; 1.7 linear feet)

Printed material primarily consists of loose clippings, a scrapbook of clippings, and exhibition announcements and catalogs. There are also press releases, programs, and brochures and booklets on miscellaneous topics.

Box
8 Clippings, 1891-1988, undated
(59 folders)
8 Scrapbook of Clippings, 1913-1915
8 Exhibition Announcements and Catalogs, 1904-1913
(6 folders)
Box
9 Exhibition Announcements and Catalogs, 1914-1987
(24 folders)
9 Exhibition Announcements and Catalogs for Others, 1927-1931
9 Album of Reproductions of Artwork by Henderson, undated
9 Reproductions of Artwork by Others, undated
(4 folders)
9 Press Releases, 1963-1978
9 Programs, 1906-1916
9 Brochures, undated
9 Booklets, 1927, undated
9 Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1927-1940, undated
(2 folders)

Series 13: Photographs, 1887-1985
(Boxes 9-11, 13; 1.6 linear feet)

Photographs are of Henderson, his family, and friends including American Indians Elias Suazo and Klah, stunt riders, an expedition by horseback through the mountains, and Henderson's trip to a mine. Photographs of Henderson's architectural projects, include his own homes in Lake Bluff, Illinois, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Henderson also was the architect of the White Residence, McComb Garden, Railroad Ticket Office, and the Otis Residence, all in Santa Fe. There are also photographs of exhibitions and of artwork by Henderson and others. The albums of photographs of artwork were assembled by Henderson's daughter, Alice Henderson Rossin. Additional photographs may be found in the Project Files and Furniture Files.

Box
9 Photographs of Henderson, 1887-1840
(4 folders; see also Sol 13)
9 Photographs of Family Members, 1920s
9 Photographs of Miscellaneous Friends, 1919-1939, undated
(6 folders)
9 Photographs of the House in Lake Bluff, Illinois, 1912
9 Photographs of Henderson's Studio in Santa Fe, 1919-1922
9 Photographs of Henderson's House "Hen-Cor" in Santa Fe, 1924-1934
9 Photographs of the White Residence, 1924-1929
(8 folders)
Box
10 (hol) Photographs of the McComb Garden, 1926
(3 folders; see also Sol 13)
10 (hol) Photographs of the Railroad Ticket Office, Santa Fe, 1926-1927
(4 folders)
10 (hol) Photographs of the Otis Residence, 1930
10 (hol) Photographs of Rodin's House, Paris, France, undated
10 (hol) Photographs of Miscellaneous Architecture, 1916, undated
10 (hol) Photographs of an Exhibition at Art Institute of Chicago, undated
10 (hol) Photographs of an Exhibition at Fonda Gallery, Santa Fe, 1933
10 (hol) Photographs of an Exhibition at New York Architectural League, 1938
10 (hol) Photographs of the Opening of Exhibition "Master Colorist of Santa Fe" at Phoenix Art Museum, 1984
(2 folders)
10 (hol) Photographs of the Opening of Exhibition "Master Colorist of Santa Fe" at Museum of Western Art, Denver, 1985
(3 folders)
10 (hol) Albums of Photographs of Artwork, 1963, undated
(3 folders; see also Sol 13)
Box
11 (hol) Photographs of Miscellaneous Artwork by Henderson, 1970-1981, undated
(16 folders; see also Sol 13)
11 (hol) Photographs of Set and Costume Designs for Alice in Wonderland, 1915
11 (hol) Photographs of Henderson's Murals Commissioned by Frank Lloyd Wright for Midway Gardens, Chicago, 1915
11 (hol) Photographs of a Santa Fe Billboard Design, 1916
11 (hol) Photographs of Miscellaneous Architectural Drawings and Models by Henderson, undated
11 (hol) Photographs of Artwork by Others, undated
11 (hol) Photographs of Artwork by American Indians, undated
Box
13 (sol) Oversized Photograph of Henderson with his Hockey Team, 1892
13 (sol) Oversized Photograph of Henderson with an Unidentified American Indian, 1940
13 (sol) Oversized Photographs of the McComb Garden, 1926
13 (sol) Oversized Album of Photographs of Artwork by Henderson, undated
13 (sol) Oversized Photographs of Miscellaneous Artwork by Henderson, undated