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Charles James Madison Eaton correspondence with Hiram Powers, and a letter received from Thomas Sully, 1845-1867

Eaton, Charles James Madison, 1808-1893

Arts administrator


Collection Information

Size: 21 Items, (on partial microfilm reel)

Summary: Nineteen letters from Hiram Powers in Florence to Eaton, 1845-1867, concerning: the future of the Fine Arts in America; sculpture for the Capitol building; government patronage and politics; his commissions for portrait busts and ideal figures; his biographer, C.E. Lester, whom Powers rejects as "a scroundrel capable of any amount of falsehood"; the London exhibition and the American tour of the sculpture the GREEK SLAVE; European reaction to the outcome of the American Civil War; the art community in Florence; Powers' 1846 trip to Turin and Rome; and his health, family, and personal ambitions. In closing his letters, Powers often sends regards from Miner Kellogg.
Also included is a letter from Eaton to Powers, December 5, 1864, regarding a shipment of modelling clay from Baltimore to Florence, and a letter from Thomas Sully in Philadelphia to Eaton, September 27, 1847. Eaton was disappointed to learn that a painting he had inspected was not a Sully. "I am mortified at your disappointment," Sully wrote, "...had the picture been an original by me, I should have charged double the price."

Biographical/Historical Note

Eaton was a founder of the Maryland Historical Society, a trustee of the Peabody Institute, and a collector of art. Eaton probably met Hiram Powers on one of his trips to Florence in the 1840's. They became lifelong friends and Eaton served as an American agent of sorts, promoting Powers' interests in Washington and Baltimore.


Lent for microfilming 1985 by the Maryland Historical Society.

Location of Originals

  • Originals in Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, Maryland.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reel 3416 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

35mm microfilm reel also available in the Maryland Historical Society.

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

Charles James Madison Eaton correspondence with Hiram Powers, and a letter received from Thomas Sully, 1845-1867. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.