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Dorothea Gilder papers regarding Cecilia Beaux, 1897-1920

Dorothea Gilder papers regarding Cecilia Beaux, 1897-1920

Gilder, Dorothea, 1882-1920

Collector

Representative image for Dorothea Gilder papers regarding Cecilia Beaux, 1897-1920

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.

The collection was fully digitized in 2007 as part of the Terra Foundation for American Art Digitization Grant.

Collection Information

Size: 0.6 linear ft.

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 the daughter of Richard Watson Gilder and Helena De Kay Gilder and lived in New York. Cecilia Beaux was a painter and art instructor. She studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where she later taught.

Provenance

Papers reel 600 donated by Helena Newman, Dorothea Gilder's daughter, to NMAA Library 1968 and subsequently transferred to AAA 1971. She donated papers reels 2786 in 1978.

Related Materials

Funding

The collection was fully digitized in 2007 as part of the Terra Foundation for American Art Digitization Grant.

A Finding Aid to the Dorothea Gilder Papers Regarding Cecilia Beaux,
1897-1920
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.gilddoro
Author
Finding aid prepared by Megan McShea
Biographical 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.
Dorothea Gilder was a favorite portrait subject of Beaux's, sitting for numerous sketches and several major paintings, including
Dorothea and Francesca
,
Dorothea in the Woods
(1897), and
After the Meeting
(1914). Letters between Beaux and Dorothea Gilder contain constant references to their intimite, often physical affection for one another, and suggest a romantic relationship between them. In 1911, Gilder began what was to be a brief stage career under the name of Dorothea Coleman. In 1916, she married Dallas D.L. McGrew, a New York architect who had designed Beaux's summer home in Gloucester, Massachusetts and who had recently returned from the ambulance service in France. She had a child, Helena Gilder McGrew in 1917, and died in 1920 at the age of 38.
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into 3 series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1897-1920 (Boxes 1-2; 0.6 linear feet)
Series 2: Printed Material, 1897-1910 (Box 2; 2 folders)
Series 3: Photograph, undated (Box 2; 1 item)
Scope and Content Note
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.
Provenance
Papers reel 600 donated by Helena Newman, Dorothea Gilder's daughter, to NMAA Library 1968 and subsequently transferred to AAA 1971. She donated papers reels 2786 in 1978.
Related Material
The Archives of American Art holds the papers of Cecilia Beaux, as well as an oral history with Rosamund Gilder, Dorothea Gilder's sister and a prominent theater critic.
Processing Information
The collection was microfilmed upon accession on microfilm reels 600 and 2786. Papers were merged and re-processed and described in this finding aid by Megan McShea in 2006 and digitized in 2007 as part of the Terra Foundation for American Art Digitization Project.

Additional Forms Available

The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Dorothea Gilder papers regarding Cecilia Beaux, 1897-1920. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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