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Bolton Coit Brown papers, 1882-1987, bulk, 1882-1936

Bolton Coit Brown papers, 1882-1987, bulk, 1882-1936

Brown, Bolton, 1864-1936

Educator, Lithographer, Author

Collection Information

Size: 1.7 linear feet

Summary: The papers of lithographer, educator, and author Bolton Coit Brown measure 1.7 linear feet and date from 1882 to 1987 with the bulk of the material dating from 1882 to 1936. Found within the papers are biographical material; extensive personal correspondence with family members and friends; writings, including drafts of "Art of Art Study and Lithography Since Whistler"; and printed material.

Biographical/Historical Note

Lithographer, educator, and author Bolton Coit Brown (1864-1936) lived and worked in Woodstock and New York City, New York, and Stanford, California.

Provenance

The Bolton Coit Brown papers were donated in 1987 and 1991 by Brown's granddaughter, Marian Sweeney. Brown's great granddaughter, Barbara Bandy, donated additional materials in 1989.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Bolton Coit Brown Papers in the Archives of American Art
AAA.browbolt
Author
Finding aid prepared by Judy Ng
Biographical/Historical note
Lithographer, educator, and author Bolton Coit Brown (1864-1936) lived and worked in Woodstock and New York City, New York, and Stanford, California. He is known for his extensive writings on lithography technique, and for his interest in tonalism effects in painting and printmaking.
Brown was born in Dresden, New York to Edmund Woodward Brown, a minster of the Presbyterian church, and his wife Martha Coit Brown. His early aptitude in art was supported by his family and he received a Bachelor's and Master's degree in painting from Syracuse University. Upon graduation, Brown taught art at Cornell University, became principal of the Toronto Government Art School, and was invited to head the newly formed art department at Stanford University from 1891 to 1902. During his tenure at Stanford, his proximity to the Sierra Nevada ranges inspired him to climb the mountains and he published several articles, line drawings, and maps that document his explorations in the
Sierra Club Bulletin
.
In 1901, Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead, an aristocrat and progressive idealist, approached Brown with the idea of developing an arts and crafts colony based on the utopian ideals of John Ruskin. Brown agreed to the project and worked with Whitehead and Hervey White to establish Byrdcliffe Colony near the village of Woodstock, New York. After a break from Whitehead over management of the Colony, Brown focused his energies on landscape paintings and worked out of studios located in Woodstock and New York City.
Many of his paintings experimented with tonalism, and interest in this style led him to the explore the gradational effects and mechanics of lithography. In 1915, he traveled to England and spent a year studying with the lithographer F. Ernest Jackson. When he returned home, he continued to document his experiments and technical findings in detailed journals. Many of these discoveries were published in several books and essays on the topic, including
Lithography Since Whistler
. He printed over 400 of his own lithographs and printed the artworks of George Bellows, John Sloan, and Rockwell Kent, among others. Brown died in Woodstock , New York in 1936.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 4 series.
Series 1: Biographical materials, circa 1914-1936 (4 folders; Box 1)
Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1882-1949 (0.9 linear feet; Box 1, 3)
Series 3: Writings, circa 1914-1933 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1-2)
Series 4: Printed Material, 1882-1987 (0.3 linear feet; Box 2)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of lithographer, educator, and author Bolton Coit Brown measure 1.7 linear feet and date from 1882 to 1987 with the bulk of the material dating from 1882 to 1936. Found within the papers are biographical material; extensive personal correspondence with family members and friends; writings, including drafts of
Art of Art Study
and
Lithography Since Whistler
; and printed material.
Biographical information consists of a curriculum vitae, job application, list of artworks, and a photograph of Bolton Coit Brown.
Correspondence is primarily with Brown's immediate and extended family and with friends. The series includes extensive correspondence to his mother, Martha C. Brown, his sister, Ellen Coit Elliott, and letter drafts to his wife Lucy Fletcher Brown. Letters to Brown's family dating from 1887 to 1888 document his travels to Europe as an art student and include pen and ink and color washes of historical sites, art deco details, and illustrative scenes.
Writings include essays on lithography and the artist J.J. Lankes; typescripts of
Art of Art Study
and
Lithography Since Whistler
; and miscellaneous notes and writings on lithography. There is also a copy of a short play by Brown titled
Spoiled Meat
.
Printed material includes articles by and on Bolton Coit Brown, clippings, exhibition catalogs, and periodicals.
Provenance
The Bolton Coit Brown papers were donated in 1987 and 1991 by Brown's granddaughter, Marian Sweeney. Brown's great granddaughter, Barbara Bandy, donated additional materials in 1989.
Related Archival Materials note
The Archives borrowed Bolton Coit Brown papers held by Bryn Mawr College Library, Special Collections in 1990 and microfilmed them on reels 3654-3655 as part of the Archives' Philadelphia Arts Documentation Project.
Processing Information note
Materials received a preliminary level of processing at some point after donation. All materials were merged, processed, and described by Judy Ng in 2013 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Bolton Coit Brown papers, 1882-1987, bulk, 1882-1936. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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