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Dorothea Gilder papers regarding Cecilia Beaux, 1897-1920

Gilder, Dorothea, 1882-1920


The papers of Dorothea Gilder in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2007. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 1,093 images.

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

Collection Information

Size: 0.6 Linear feet

Summary: The Dorothea Gilder papers regarding Cecilia Beaux date from 1897 to 1920 and include correspondence between Beaux and Gilder, scattered printed materials, a photograph of Beaux with Gilder, and a photograph of the two with other friends. The papers are comprised primarily of correspondence between Cecilia Beaux and her close, life-long friend and intimate companion Dorothea Gilder between 1897 and 1920. The letters recount daily activities, travels, work, social life, attitudes, and aspects of their intimate relationship. Also found is scattered third party correspondence. Two folders of printed materials include newspaper reviews of Beaux's 1903 exhibition, and four exhibition catalogs, several of which are not found in the papers of Cecilia Beaux. The photograph is a single snapshot of Beaux with Gilder. One additional photograph of Beaux, Gilder, and friends is found attached to a 1906 letter.

Biographical/Historical Note

Dorothea Gilder was born in 1882 to socially prominent parents Richard Watson Gilder, a poet and publisher of Century Magazine , and Helena De Kay Gilder, an artist who had studied with Albert Pinkham Ryder and John La Farge, and who helped to found the Art Students League and the Society of American Artists. Painter Cecilia Beaux enjoyed a close friendship with the New York family from the mid 1890s until the end of her life. They travelled together in France in 1896, where Beaux had gone to see her paintings hung at the Paris salon. In her memoir, Background with Figures , Beaux describes extended visits at the Gilder's summer farm in Tyringham, Massachusetts, where the Gilders set up a studio for her in a tobacco barn, in which she painted Dorothea and Francesca , a.k.a. The Dancing Lesson (1899). She also attended the Gilders' private salon in New York, frequented by prominent artists, writers, musicians, and actors including Mark Twain and Walt Whitman.


The papers were donated by Helena Newman, Dorothea Gilder's daughter, in two separate accessions in 1971 and 1978.

Related Materials


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