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Daniel Putnam Brinley and Kathrine Sanger Brinley papers, 1879-1984

Brinley, Putnam, 1879-1963

Muralist, Painter, Designer, Stained glass artist

The papers of Daniel Putnam Brinley and Kathrine Sanger Brinley in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2009. The bulk of the papers have been scanned and total 23,586 images.

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

Collection Information

Size: 14.3 Linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter and muralist Daniel Putnam Brinley and his wife, linguist and writer Kathrine Sanger Brinley, date from 1879 to 1984 and measure 14.3 linear feet. The Brinleys' careers and lives are documented in biographical materials, as well as extensive correspondence with one another, family, friends, art galleries, organizations, publishers, and others. Also found within the papers are writings by both, including 16 diaries (1 by Daniel Putnam Brinley and the rest by Kathrine), essays, manuscripts, typescripts, notes and notebooks, poetry, and various other writings. There are mural commission files, files for organizations of which the Brinleys were members, financial and legal records, exhibition catalogs, news clippings, and other printed material. Also found are photographs of the Brinleys, family, friends, travels, and artwork, and six sketchbooks and original artwork by Daniel Putnam Brinley.
Biographical material consists of biographical sketches and professional summaries for both Daniel Putnam Brinley and Kathrine Sanger Brinley, passports, personal mementos, award certificates, two radio interview transcripts, and military records documenting Daniel Putnam Brinley's service in the American Expeditionary Forces and the Camouflage Corps.
The papers contain extensive correspondence (4.6 linear feet) divided into family correspondence and general correspondence. Family correspondence includes letters between Daniel Putnam Brinley and Kathrine Sanger Brinley and with their parents and siblings. General correspondence primarily includes the Brinley's personal correspondence with friends and extended family. These letters discuss travel, mutual acquaintances, social events, and general news. Also found is professional correspondence regarding the exhibition and commission of artwork by Daniel Putnam Brinley and the publication of writings by Kathrine Sanger Brinley. Also discussed in the letters are the Brinleys' participation in art, social, and religious organizations. Correspondence of note is with Edwin Blashfield, Edward Bruce, William A. Coffin, Charles H. Davis, John Erskine, Anthony Euwer, Esperanza Gabay, Robert Henri, Hildreth Meiere, Ernest Peixotto, and Hugh Troy.
Writings and notes are by Daniel Putnam Brinley and Kathrine Sanger Brinley. Included among their writings are one diary by Daniel Putnam Brinley, 15 diaries by Kathrine Sanger Brinley, essays, notebooks and notes, manuscripts, and typescripts. Subjects of their writings include essays about religion, poetry, and autobiographical and travel essays. Also found among Daniel Putnam Brinley's writing are lecture notes, fictional stories and plays, essays about art, and historical research for his mural projects.
Mural commission files include correspondence, lists, contracts, financial agreements, notes, plans, sketches, and photographs for specific murals. There is extensive documentation on murals Brinley completed for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in New York and the Liberty War Memorial in Kansas City Missouri. Organization files document the Brinleys' participation in art and social organizations.
Scattered financial and legal records include receipts, account books, leases, estate and power of attorney documents, and records regarding their house and property in New Canaan, Connecticut. Printed material consists of published items documenting the careers, social activities and personal interest of the Brinleys, and includes books, exhibition catalogs and announcements, news clippings, newsletters, and items from their travels abroad.
Photographs depict Daniel Putnam Brinley and Kathrine Sanger Brinley, individually and with family and friends, and include photographs of Daniel Putnam Brinley working on mural commissions. Also found are photographs of their travels, their homes, Daniel Putnam Brinley's artwork, and reference photographs for his murals. Artwork in this collection includes six of Daniel Putnam Brinley's sketchbooks, primarily from his travels in Europe and Canada, loose drawings and mural studies, drawings by Albert Sterner and Reinhold Palenske, and a lithograph by John Steuart Curry.

Biographical/Historical Note

Daniel Putnam Brinley (1879-1963) was a muralist and painter in New York City and New Canaan, Connecticut. Brinley was born in Newport, Rhode Island, and studied from 1900 to 1902 at the Art Student's League under Kenyon Cox and John Henry Twachtman. Influenced by Twachtman, he became an impressionist landscape painter for a time. In 1904, he married his childhood friend, writer Kathrine Gordon Sanger (1877-1966). For the next four years they traveled throughout Europe and lived in Paris, where Brinley studied art independently and became a member of the modernist circle of painters.


The Daniel Putnam Brinley and Kathrine Sanger Brinley papers were lent for microfilming by their niece, Elizabeth Loder, in 1978-1979. Loder subsequently donated all but select family photographs in 1991 and additional material in 1992.

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