Jayna M. Josefson
Scope and Contents
The Charles Henry Hart autograph collection dates from 1731-1917 and measures 1.71 linear feet comprised of 232 letters, portrait prints, and other documents signed by American artists. There is a .01 linear foot (6 items) unprocessed addition to this collection donated in 2021 that includes a letter from Winslow Homer to Mr. Clarke, November 28, 1892; typed and annotated lists of autographs of artists in the collections of Charles Henry Hart; handwritten note about English painter and engraver, John Keyse Sherwin, undated; handwritten note regarding Gennearino Persico, miniature artist, July 18, 1826.
Originally titled by Hart as "The History of Art in America as Told in a Remarkable Collection of Autograph Letters and Documents of Celebrated American Artists of the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Century," the collection includes letters and other items signed by Thomas Anshutz, John J. Audubon, William Merritt Chase, Frederic Edwin Church, John Singleton Copley, Kenyon Cox, Thomas Eakins, Jervis McEntee, Samuel F.B. Morse, Charles Willson Peale, Raphaelle Peale, Rembrandt Peale, Rubens Peale, Titian Peale, James Daivd Smillie, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Sully, Abbott Handerson Thayer, John Vanderlyn, Elihu Vedder, John Quincy Adams Ward, Benjamin West, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, and many others.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Charles Henry Hart autograph collection was donated to the Archives of American Art in 1954 as an anonymous gift. It is assumed that Hart assembled the letters. Original collation was two letterbooks entitled "The History of Art in America as Told in a Remarkable Collection of Autograph Letters and Documents of Celebrated American Artists of the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Century." Additional six items donated in 2021 by Ty West, who found the compiled material among his grandfather-in-law's belongings.
The Archives of American Art also holds the personal papers of Charles Henry Hart, dating from 1774-1930, bulk 1888-1918.
Papers of Charles Henry Hart, 1888-1894, are also located at The New York Public Library Archives & Manuscripts.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
The original letterbooks were microfilmed onto reel D5. In 2014, Jayna Josefson prepared a finding aid for the collection with support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.