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Doll & Richards gallery records, 1863-1978, bulk 1902-1969

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Sarah Haug
Scope and Contents
The records of the Doll & Richards gallery of Boston measure 87.5 linear feet and date from 1863 to 1978, with the bulk of the material dating from 1902-1960s. Extensive financial and sales records, inventory records, and correspondence and letter books provide a detailed account of the business operations and sales of the gallery. Also found are notes and research files on artists and paintings, business and legal records, exhibition catalogs, six exhibition scrapbooks, printed materials, and photographs. The bulk of the collection dates from 1902 when the gallery was incorporated and new books were begun. According to gallery employee Wendell Zoehler, many records from the 19th century were discarded and periodically, especially when the gallery moved, other records were discarded.
Incoming and outgoing correspondence documents sales, consignments, appraisals, exhibitions, and inquiries by artists and others to Doll & Richards for over a century. Significant correspondents include artists John Chetcuti, Robert Freiman, Tod Lindenmuth, William Meyerowitz, Dwight Shepler, Elizabeth O'Neill Verner, Stanley Woodward, Andrew Wyeth, and others. Additional correspondents include Lloyd Goodrich from Whitney Museum of American Art, Azeez Khayat Gallery, Macbeth Galleries, Kleemann Galleries, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. There is one letter from George Inness (1866). Outgoing correspondence is limited to 46 volumes of letterpress copybooks dating from 1930-1967.
Notes and research files primarily consist of compiled information about artists in which Doll & Richards dealt. These include card files related to the provenance of paintings by Winslow Homer and William Stanley Haseltine, and a book about Winslow Homer with notations by Zoehler about the sale of paintings .
Administrative and business records of general daily operations include an address book, meeting minutes, miscellaneous lists and notes, and a large card file of contacts with clients, consignors, artists, and businesses. A detailed description of the gallery's operations by Zoehler is also found here. Legal records include contracts, agreements, certificates of stock, certificates of copyrights, and photocopies of founding documents.
Although there are limited records prior to 1902, the financial records provide comprehensive detail of the gallery's financial transactions from the turn of the century through the early 1970s. Volumes of financial ledgers provide details of artwork bought, sold, and consigned; order forms for sales, framing, restoration, and shipping; gallery expenditures and salaries; records of client purchases; and other affairs. Many of the financial records are indexed and cross-referenced, offering researchers complex but rich documentation. The financial records should be consulted with the numerous inventory records that provide detailed information about the stock of art work held at the gallery. Inventory records also include documentation about the frames held by the gallery from the mid-1880s-1950. The gallery used sometimes complex codes to index and cross reference sales and stock. When known, these codes have been outlined in the more detailed series desciptions below, or filed within the appropriate boxes.
The history of Doll & Richards' exhibitions from the 1880s-1968 are documented in six disassembled bound volumes that contained exhibition catalogs and announcements. There are also additional loose catalogs and announcements. Additional printed materials include newspaper clippings related to exhibitions and the gallery and seven scrapbooks related to Doll & Richards' exhibitions from 1909-1943.
The bulk of the black and white photographs in the collection are of works of art by artists that Doll & Richards exhibited. There are only a handful of photographs of other subject matter, but include images of the gallery spaces at 2 Park Street, 71 Newbury, and 138 Newberry; and of artists.
The Doll & Richards records were donated to the Archives of American Art in numerous accessions between 1973 and 1979 by Jeanne and Paul Sylva, who purchased the gallery in 1973, and by former employee Wendell Zoehler.
Separated Material
A daguerroteype of Gaetano Cardinal Bedini received with the records was transferred to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery on May 24, 2004.
Related Material
Among the other resources relating to the Doll & Richards gallery in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Wendell Zoehler conducted by Robert Brown on April 14 and April 27, 1978.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care Fund
Processing Information
The collection was minimally processed by Sarah Haug in 2010 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care Fund. The arrangement of the records reflects the original order of the collection for the most part.