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Cecilia Beaux papers, 1863-1968

More Information

Megan McShea
Scope and Contents
The papers of the painter Cecilia Beaux measure 3.3 linear feet and date from 1863 to 1968.
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lectures and essays from her later career are found, often in multiple drafts, as are manuscripts of published and unpublished poems by Beaux.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.
Portions of the papers were first lent for microfilming by Harrison Cultra in 1968. The bulk of the collection was donated in1970-1971 by Catherine Drinker Bowen, Beaux's niece, and by Cultra. In 1985, the sketchbook on reel 3425 was lent for microfilming by art dealer Jeffrey Brown with additional material by The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. A palette was donated by Helen Seely Wheelwright, whose former husband, Paul Seeley, was an artist and friend of Beaux. Awards and diplomas were gifted in 1995 by Cecilia Saltonstall, a descendant of Beaux. Material and a poster reproduction of Beaux's portrait of Rear-Admiral Sampson advertising an article in Century Magazine, 1899, was donated in 1991 by Alfred J. Walker, a dealer who organized a Beaux exhibition. He received the material along with artwork he exhibited from the estate of Richard Barker, who had received them from Harrison Cultra. Cultra had inherited them from Beaux's niece, Ernesta Drinker Barlow.
Separated Material
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reels 3425 and 3658) including a sketchbook and other related papers. Lent materials were returned to the lenders and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Related Material
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
Processing Information
Papers were donated in four separate accessions between 1970 and 1995 and partially microfilmed on reels 426-429 and 1369. At this time, nitrate negatives in the collection were printed and copy negatives made. Loaned materials that were later donated were microfilmed on reels N/68-48 - N/68-49. All accretions were integrated, re-processed, and described in a finding aid by Megan McShea in 2006 and scanned in 2007 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.