Worthington Whittredge papers, circa 1840s-1965, bulk 1849-1908

A Finding Aid to the Worthington Whittredge Papers, circa 1840s-1965, bulk 1849-1908, in the Archives of American Art, by Erin Corley

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

Table of Contents:



Biographical Information

Thomas Worthington Whittredge (1820-1910) was born in 1820 in Springfield, Ohio. Receiving very little formal education, he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio at the age of 17 to serve as an apprentice house and sign painter. A few years later, in his early twenties, he briefly ran a daguerreotype studio in Indianapolis, Indiana, and worked as a portrait painter in Charleston, West Virginia.

In 1843 Whittredge decided to pursue landscape painting, and was greatly influenced by Hudson River School artist Thomas Cole. In 1849 he traveled to Düsseldorf, Germany, to further his training at the Düsseldorf Academy. There, he met painter Emanuel Leutze and modeled for Leutze's painting Washington Crossing the Delaware (1850). He lived for a year in the home of landscape painter Andreas Achenbach and became friends with Carl Friedrich Lessing. Whittredge spent the summer of 1856 sketching in Switzerland with Albert Bierstadt. That fall Whittredge and Bierstadt moved to Rome where they were joined by fellow artists Sanford Robinson Gifford and William Stanley Haseltine.

Whittredge stayed in Italy until 1859 when he returned to America and settled in New York City, renting a space at Richard Morris Hunt's famous Tenth Street Studio Building, which was frequented by some of the best-known artists, writers, and actors of the time. He kept company with Jervis McEntee, Eastman Johnson, Sanford Robinson Gifford, John Ferguson Weir, and other artists of the "old guard". Whittredge quickly became a very successful artist, adapting what he had learned in Europe to the American landscape. He was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1860 and became a full member in 1862. He also served as President of the National Academy of Design from 1874 to 1877.

In 1866 Whittredge went along on a government inspection tour of the Missouri Territory and was greatly inspired by the landscape. He traveled to Colorado in 1870 with John Frederick Kensett and Sanford Gifford and, in the late 1870s, began painting these new landscapes. He moved with his family to Summit, New Jersey, in 1880. In 1893 he went on a sketching trip to Mexico with fellow artist Frederic Church and continued painting into the early 1900s. Around this time he also began writing his autobiography which he completed in 1905. Worthington Whittredge died in 1910 at the age of 89.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of landscape painter Worthington Whittredge measure 1.8 linear feet and date from the 1840s to 1965, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1849 to 1908. This small collection documents Whittredge's career as a painter, particularly his years in Europe from 1849 to 1859, through biographical materials, a manuscript of his autobiography, news clippings, catalogs, six sketchbooks and numerous drawings and paintings. Also found are two photographs of Whittredge and a nineteenth-century photo album containing photographs of 32 famous artists.

Biographical materials include a manuscript of his autobiography, passport, award certificates, and a ledger he kept while living in Düsseldorf, Germany, that documents commissions, accounts, and business activities. Printed material includes news clippings, catalogs, and the book Recollections of the Art Exhibition, Metropolitan Fair, New York, published by Mathew Brady, which includes a catalog of the art exhibition at the fair and 20 printed images by Brady.

Artwork consists of six sketchbooks and numerous drawings and paintings. The sketchbooks contain drawings Whittredge executed on a trip down the Rhine River in 1849 as well as during his travels in Italy and Mexico. Other loose drawings and paintings include numerous landscapes, figure studies, trees, animals, and other miscellaneous sketches.

There are two photographs of Whittredge, taken by M. Louise Greene, and a nineteenth-century photo album containing cartes de visite photographs of 32 artists. Most of these photographs include the artists autograph as well. Included are Albert Bierstadt, George H. Baker, William Holbrook Beard, Albert F. Bellows, John G. Brown, Seth Wells Cheney, Frederic Church, Jasper Cropsey, Thomas Seir Cummings, Mauritz De Haas, Francois Regis Gignoux, Henry Peters Gray, Seymour Guy, George Henry Hall, William Hart, William Hennessy, Richard W. Hubbard, Daniel Huntington, Henry Augustus Loop, Jervis McEntee, Samuel F. B. Morse, William Page, Horace Wolcott Robbins, Aaron Shattuck, James Augustus Suydam, Launt Thompson, Robert W. Weir, Henry Wenzler, Edwin White, and George Yewell, and two unidentified artists.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged into 4 series:

Subjects and Names

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

Subjects:

  • Metropolitan Fair (1864:New York, N.Y.)

Subjects-Topical:

  • Painting, American
  • Landscape painters--New York (State)--New York

Types of Materials:

  • Photographs
  • Sketchbooks
  • Drawings
  • Paintings

Names:

  • Brady, Mathew B., 1823(ca.)-1896. Recollections of the art exhibition, Metropolitan Fair

Provenance

The Worthington Whittredge papers were donated by William W. and L. Emery Katzenbach, grandsons of Whittredge, in 1959. Additional items were donated by William W. Katzenbach in 1968.

Separated and Related Materials

One sketchbook was loaned by William W. Katzenbach for microfilming in 1959 and returned. Loaned material is available on microfilm reel 153, but is not described in container listing of this finding aid.

Also found in the Archives of American Art are several collections relating to Whitteredge: the Anthony F. Janson research material on Worthington Whittredge, 1969-2003; the Worthington Whittredge sale records, 1900; the Edith Wilkinson Letter to E.P. Richardson and biographical notes on Worthington Whittredge, 1957; and a Worthington Whittredge letter to John Ferguson Weir, 1871.

How the Collection was Processed

The collection received preliminary processing shortly after donation. Most of the collection was microfilmed in the order of receipt on reels D28, 153, and 1817. The entire collection was fully merged, processed, arranged, and described by Erin Corley and digitized in 2008 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Worthington Whittredge 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.

Available Formats

The collection was digitized in 2008 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website.

How to Cite this Collection

Worthington Whittredge papers, circa 1840s-1965, bulk 1849-1908. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1849-circa 1940s
(Box 1, 5, OV 9; 0.4 linear feet)

Biographical documents about Worthington Whittredge include his passport from his travels throughout Europe in the 1850s, a certificate of marriage to his wife Euphemia Foot, and a National Academy of Design certificate of appreciation presented to him on his 88th birthday and signed by many members. Also found here is Whittredge's ledger from Düsseldorf which contains many memorandums, addresses, lists of letters received, lists of his commissions (which often include small sketches of the artwork), and copies of documents such as his grandfather's will. This series also contains a handwritten draft of Whittredge's autobiography, which he finished writing in 1905. Additional items include a typed copy of Whittredge genealogical information, a brief letter to Whittredge from politician Nicholas Longworth, and four letters of correspondence between his daughter Euphemia Whittredge and others regarding Emauel Leutze's painting Washington Crossing the Delaware. There are also additional notes written by E. Whittredge (probably Euphemia) about Whittredge's paintings. Her notes also include a few photographs and reproductions of his artwork. Of note is a photograph of an 1849 painted miniature portrait of Whittredge.

This series has been scanned in its entirety.

Box Folder
1 (hol) 1 Passport, 1849-1859
1 (hol) 2 Ledger, 1849-1856
(Oversized, see Box 5, F1)
1 (hol) 3 Marriage Certificate, 1867
1 (hol) 4 Certificates, 1889, 1904, 1908
(Oversized in OV 9)
1 (hol) 5-9 Manuscript of Autobiography, circa 1905
(5 folders)
1 (hol) 10 List of Whittredge Family Births & Deaths, 1906
1 (hol) 11 Letters, 1906, 1932
1 (hol) 12 Biographical Notes compiled by E. Whittredge (probably daughter Euphemia), circa 1940s
1 (hol) 13 Handwritten Lyrics to "Remember, Love, Remember," circa 1860s
Box Folder
5 (sol) 1 Ledger, 1849-1856
(Scanned with Box 1, F2)
Box
OV 9 Certificates, 1889, 1904, 1908
(Scanned with Box 1, F4)

Series 2: Printed Material, 1861-1965
(Box 1, 4-5, OV 9; 0.4 linear feet)

Three catalogs include an 1875 National Academy of Design and a catalog of wallpaper designed by William Katzenbach from drawings by Worthington Whittredge. There are news clippings about Whittredge, a price list for etchings by Anders Zorn, and several printed engravings of Whittredge's artwork. Also of note is the book Recollections of the Art Exhibition, Metropolitan Fair, New York, published by Mathew Brady, which includes a catalog of the art exhibition at the fair and 20 images by Brady. The book includes an image of Whittredge with a group of men (probably the Committee of the Fine Art, of which Whittredge was a member) and nineteen images of the art installation of the exhibition.

This series has been scanned in its entirety.

Box Folder
1 (hol) 14 Catalogs, 1875, 1944, 1951
1 (hol) 15 News Clippings & Magazine Articles, 1861-1908
1 (hol) 16 News Clippings & Magazine Articles, 1932-1965
1 (hol) 17 List, "Original Etchings by Anders Zorn," circa 1910
1 (hol) 18 Book, Recollections of the Art Exhibition, Metropolitan Fair, New York, by Mathew Brady, 1864
(Oversized, See Box 4)
1 (hol) 19 Prints of Whittredge Paintings, 1889- early-1900s
(Oversized in Box 5, OV 9)
Box
4 Book, Recollections of the Art Exhibition, Metropolitan Fair, New York, by Mathew Brady, 1864
(Scanned with Box 1, F18)
Box Folder
5 (sol) 2 Prints of Whittredge Paintings, 1889- early-1900s
(Scanned with Box 1, F19)
Box
OV 9 Prints of Whittredge Paintings, 1889- early-1900s
(Scanned with Box 1, F19)

Series 3: Artwork, circa 1840s-1902
(Box 2, 5, OV 6-9; 0.6 linear feet)

Six sketchbooks and loose drawings and painting studies by Worthington Whittredge primarily document scenes from his travels in the American mid-west and west, Europe, and Mexico. An 1849 sketchbook documents his trip down the Rhine River to Düsseldorf, Germany, and includes pencil and ink sketches of the Rhine River valley, such as panoramic landscapes, architectural ruins, vegetation, and people. The 1857-1861 sketchbook contains sketches done while in Rome, including landscapes and figure sketches. The 1874-1897 sketchbook includes sketches and watercolors documenting his travels in Mexico in the late 1890s. Three additional sketchbooks include sketches of landscapes, figures, vegetation, and animals. Some of the sketches contain annotations such as the date and location.

Loose drawings and paintings include numerous landscape drawings by Whittredge, drawn from nature during his travels in Germany, Switzerland, and Rome in the 1850s, as well as his travels throughout the Midwest and New England during the 1860s and 1870s. Most of the drawings are not labeled or dated. There are several watercolor sketches of landscapes, three large drawings of the Lagio Maggiore, a lake in Italy, and several drawings and paintings of people, including Roman peasants. Also found here are sketches of trees and miscellaneous drawings of animals and other objects. Additionally, there are two pencil drawings, one watercolor, and one print of artwork by Wilhelm Camphausen, a Düsseldorf painter of historical scenes.

This series has been scanned in its entirety. Sketchbooks are arranged in chronological order. Loose drawings and paintings are are arranged by subject matter.

Box Folder
1 (hol) 20 Sketchbook, 1849
Box Folder
2 (hol) 1 Sketchbook, 1857-1861
2 (hol) 2 Sketchbook, circa 1865-1891
2 (hol) 3 Sketchbook, 1874-1897
2 (hol) 4 Sketchbook, 1881
2 (hol) 5 Sketchbook, circa 1894-1902
2 (hol) 6 Landscape Drawings, circa 1852-1881
(Oversized in Box 5, Folders 3 & 4, and OV 6-9)
2 (hol) 7 Watercolor Sketches of Landscapes, circa 1850s
(Oversized in Box 5, Folder 5)
2 (hol) 8 Drawings of Lagio Maggiore, Italy, 1857
(Oversized, see Box 5, Folder 6)
2 (hol) 9 Drawings of Trees, circa 1840s-1850s
(Oversized in Box 5, Folder 7)
2 (hol) 10 Drawings & Paintings of People, circa 1857
(Oversized, see Box 5, Folder 8)
2 (hol) 11 Sketches of Roman Figures, circa 1850s
2 (hol) 12 Miscellaneous Loose Drawings and Paintings, circa 1850s-1865
(Oversized in Box 5, Folder 9)
2 (hol) 13 Artwork by Wilhelm Camphausen, 1854
Box Folder
5 (sol) 3-4 Landscape Drawings, circa 1852-1881
(Scanned with Box 2, F6)
Box
OV 6-9 Landscape Drawings, circa 1852-1881
(Scanned with Box 2, F6)
Box Folder
5 (sol) 5 Watercolor Sketches of Landscapes, circa 1850s
(Scanned with Box 2, F7)
5 (sol) 6 Drawings of Lagio Maggiore, Italy, 1857
(Scanned with Box 2, F8)
5 (sol) 7 Drawings of Trees, circa 1840s-1850s
(Scanned with Box 2, F9)
5 (sol) 8 Drawings & Paintings of People, circa 1857
(Scanned with Box 2, F10)
5 (sol) 9 Miscellaneous Loose Drawings and Paintings, circa 1850s-1965
(Scanned with Box 2, F12)

Series 4: Photographs, circa 1850s-1860s, circa 1900
(Box 2-3; 0.3 linear feet)

This series consists of two photographs taken by M. Louise Greene of Worthington Whittredge painting in his studio, a copyprint of a carte de visite portrait of Whittredge, and four photographs of unidentified artwork. Also found is a photograph album containing 32 autographed cartes de visite of artists, collected by Whittredge. Two photographs are unidentified. Three photographs have been removed and only an autograph appears on the page. Some of the photographs may have been moved to different pages within the book, and the researcher will need to verify that each photograph actually matches the autograph on the page.

This series has been scanned in its entirety.

Box Folder
2 (hol) 14 Photographs of Worthington Whittredge, circa 1864, 1900
2 (hol) 15 Photographs of Artwork, circa 1900
Box Folder
3 (pam) 1 Photograph Album, circa 1850s-1860s
(Included are Albert Bierstadt, George H. Baker, William Holbrook Beard, Albert F. Bellows, John G. Brown, Seth Wells Cheney, Frederic Church, Jasper Cropsey, Thomas Seir Cummings, Mauritz De Haas, Francois Regis Gignoux, Henry Peters Gray, Seymour Guy, George Henry Hall, William Hart, William Hennessy, Richard W. Hubbard, Daniel Huntington, Henry Augustus Loop, Jervis McEntee, Samuel F. B. Morse, William Page, Horace Wolcott Robbins, Aaron Shattuck, James Augustus Suydam, Launt Thompson, Robert W. Weir, Henry Wenzler, Edwin White, and George Yewell, and two unidentified artists.)