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Cecilia Beaux papers, 1863-1968

Beaux, Cecilia, 1855-1942

Art teacher, Painter, Portrait painter

The papers of Cecilia Beaux in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2007. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 6,022 images.

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

Collection Information

Size: 3.3 linfear ft.

Summary: Papers document her education, career and personal life through family and professional correspondence, twelve diaries, lectures, essays, poems, notes, clippings, catalogs, pamphlets, exhibition records, business records, photographs, certificates, diplomas, and artifacts.
Biographical Materials include autobiographical notes written by Beaux, published biographical essays, and articles about Beaux. A lengthy correspondence from Beaux to her friend A. Piatt Andrew of Massachusetts is found, as well as correspondence with family and professional associates. Lengthy letters from Beaux to her family during trips to Europe contain scattered illustrations. Professional correspondents include other artists, teachers, patrons, critics, curators, dealers, and writers.
Writings include one early diary from the 1870s, and a series of eleven additional diaries dating from 1905 to 1913, which record daily activities related to her artwork and personal life. Numerous lectures and essays from her later career are found, often in multiple drafts, as are manuscripts of published and unpublished poems by Beaux. A single sketch, a study for a portrait, is also found.
A floor plan, lists of paintings, receipts, written bids, and other notes document the exhibition and sale of Beaux's artwork. Printed materials related to her career include exhibition catalogs and other ephemera, a scrapbook of primarily clippings related to her early career, and loose clippings related to her later career. Photographs include formal portraits of Cecilia Beaux and informal photographs of Beaux alone and with colleagues, friends, and family members in various settings including Concarneau, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Gloucester, and Malines, Belgium. Also found is a photograph of John Singer Sargent painting.
A sketchbook of Beaux's was loaned by Jeffrey R. Brown Fine Arts of Boston in 1985 and is available on microfilm reel 3425.

Biographical/Historical Note

Cecilia Beaux (1855-1942) was a painter and art instructor from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Studied in Europe and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where she later taught.


Material on reels N/68-48-N/68-49 was lent for microfilming by Harrison Cultra 1968. Papers were donated 1970-1971 by Catherine Drinker Bowen, Beaux's niece and by Cultra. The sketchbook on reel 3425 was lent for microfilming by art dealer Jeffrey Brown, 1985. Palette donated by Helen Seely Wheelwright, whose former husband, Paul Seeley, was an artist and friend of Beaux. Awards and diplomas donated 1995 by Cecilia Saltonstall, a descendent of Beaux. Material and a poster reproduction of Beaux's portrait of Rear-Admiral Sampson advertising an article in Century Magazine, 1899, donated 1991 by Alfred J. Walker, a dealer who organized a Beaux exhibition. He received the material along with art work he exhibited from the estate of Richard Barker, who had received them from Harrison Cultra. Cultra had inherited them from Beaux's neice, Ernesta Drinker Barlow.

Related Materials

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts holds additional papers related to Cecilia Beaux, particularly personal photographs. Portions of these papers were loaned to the Archives of American Art for microfilming in 1985 and were microfilmed on reel 3658.

The Archives of American Art also holds the Dorothea Gilder papers regarding Cecilia Beaux.


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

Location of Originals

  • REELS N/68-48-N/68-49 (except Beaux-Andrew correspondence), 3425, 3658: Originals returned to lender after microfilming.