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Bela L. Pratt papers, 1876-1986

Pratt, Bela L. (Bela Lyon), 1867-1917

Sculptor, Educator


Collection Information

Size: 5 Reels, ca. 450 items (on 5 microfilm reels)

Summary: Biographical materials, letters and correspondence, photographs, diary, subject files, and printed ephemera.
REEL 2527: Biographical sketches; sculpture contracts; lists of Pratt's work compiled by his son, Dudley Pratt; a pencil sketch; photographs of Pratt at work in his studio; portraits of him; 172 photographs of his sculpture and a memorial exhibition installation; photographs of Frank Weston Benson and Alexander Phimister Proctor; clippings; and printed material.
REELS 3995-3998: An award from Yale School of Fine Arts; admission tickets; marriage certificate; identification card for his wife, Helen, from the Societe des Artistes Francais for the 1897 Salon; a 25-page diary of Helen, 1896-1898, describing the Pratts' wedding and their experiences in Italy and France; notices of Pratt's appointment to the Visiting Committee of Classical Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; biographical sketches; an anecdote by a nephew; and a letter of reminiscence by his son Dudley, 1941. Also included are letters from Pratt to his mother, Sarah Victoria Whittlesey Pratt, describing his activities, his contemporaries and his work; correspondence with friends, family, students, and associates and letters of condolence to Mrs. Pratt; subject files, arranged alphabetically by correspondent, containing letters, photographs and clippings from and about Pratt's friends and colleagues, including Frank Weston Benson, Bryson and Edith Woodman Burroughs, Daniel Chester French, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who gives Pratt advice and critiques two of his busts.

Biographical/Historical Note

Sculptor, teacher; Boston, Mass.; b. 1867; d. 1917 Studied at Yale, Art Students League, and with Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Kenyon Cox, and William Merritt Chase, and others.


Material on reel 2527 lent for microfilming 1982 by Thomas Leavitt, a descendant of Pratt. Material on reels 3995-3998 lent 1987 by Cynthia Kennedy Sam, Pratt's granddaughter.

Location of Originals

  • Reel 2527: Originals returned to the lender, Thomas Leavitt, after microfilming.
  • Reel 3995-3998: Originals returned to the lender, Cynthia Sam, after microfilming.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reels 2527 and 3995-3998 available for use only at Archives of American Art offices.

Restrictions on Access

The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.

How to Cite This Collection

Bela L. Pratt papers, 1876-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.