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Douglas Volk and Leonard Wells Volk papers, circa 1858-1965, bulk bulk 1870-1935

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Series 2: Leonard Wells Volk Papers , circa 1858-circa 1930
0.45 Linear feet
Boxes 11-12

Series provides scattered documentation of Chicago sculptor Leonard Wells Volk's life and career through biographical material, checks, land records, letters, memoirs, printed material, and photographs of Volk, his family, and artwork.
Biographical material consists of 4 fragments with notes on Volk's family, colleagues, artwork, and Stephen A. Douglas.
Found are two canceled checks from 1894, and land records which include an 1865 receipt for a house and an 1887 deed for land in Florida. Also found are 1892-1894 letters from the United States Land Office and the Alchua County Tax Collector's office in Gainesville, Florida, including 6 diagrams/plats of Volk family land.
Letters and memoranda include an 1887 letter from Leonard Wells Volk to Douglas Volk enclosing six photographs of scenes in Illinois; an 1886 memorandum written for Volk's wife in case of his sudden death, regarding the value of the Lincoln and Douglas statues at the Illinois State House, which describe his financial investment in the creation of the statues and their subsequent value; a copy of an 1887 letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune regarding an error the publication printed about the making and disposition of his Lincoln life casts; and an 1895 letter from S. S. McClure, Limited, regarding the use of Volk's memoirs.
Of particular note are seven volumes of Volk's memoirs which were handwritten in pencil in stenographic notepads, probably between 1885 and 1887, and record Volk's youth, his training in Italy, his artistic career, and his sightseeing trips. Volume 4 recounts his first visits to London, Paris, Rome, and Florence in the mid-1850s, financed partially by Stephen A. Douglas. Volume 5 recalls his journey home, and his first meeting with Lincoln during Lincoln's 1858 senate election campaign and the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Later volumes record his move to Chicago and his involvement with the American Academy of Design. The numbering used for the memoirs in this finding aid was established by Volk researcher John Hoffman who, after consulting the other volumes of Volk's memoirs at the Library of Congress (volumes 1, 3, 6-7, and 9-10) numbered the volume that Volk numbered as 10 and 12, as number 12, and supplied the number 13 to the final volume. Dates in parentheses are the approximate dates of Volk's life as covered in the memoirs.
Photos of Leonard Volk and family include Leonard Volk in the studio carving his bust of Lincoln with his bust of Stephen A. Douglas in the background, a portrait of Volk taken in Rome in 1871, and a copy of a later portrait. Also found are a studio portrait of Volk's wife, Emily Clarissa King Barlow Volk, and several photos of houses and scenes in woods and camps, at least five of which include Emily Volk and probably other family members.
Photos of artwork by Volk include photos of his Lincoln statue installed in Rochester, New York, as well as photos of two men at the statue; photos of his Lincoln life mask, hands, and bust, and a photo of Volk's statue of Stephen A. Douglas. Of additional note is a carte de visite showing a plaster model of the Douglas tomb by Chicago photographer, John Carbutt.
Printed material is primarily related to Volk's Lincoln life mask and hands but also includes a review of Blanc's Grammar of Painting and Engraving (1883) in which Volk is quoted.
Records are arranged as one series.
Series is scanned in entirety.
Description Container Select
Biographical Material, circa 1860s-circa 1880s
11
44
Cancelled Checks, 1894
11
45
Land Records , 1865-1895
11
46
Letters and Memorandum, 1872-1895
11
47
Memoirs, Volume 2 (1840-1844), circa 1885-1887
11
48
Memoirs, Volume 4 (1854-1857), circa 1885-1887
11
49
Memoirs, Volume 5 (1857-1860), circa 1885-1887
11
50
Memoirs, Volume 8 (1869-1870), circa 1885-1887
11
51
Memoirs, Volume 11 (1872-1884), circa 1885-1887
11
52
Memoirs, Volume 12 (1872-1886), circa 1885-1887
11
53
Memoirs, Volume 13 (1874-1875), circa 1885-1887
11
54
Printed Material, circa 1858-circa 1890s
11
55
Photographs of Leonard Volk and Family, 1860-circa 1890s
Oversized material housed in Box 12, Folder 9
11
56
Photographs of Leonard Volk and Family, 1860-circa 1890s
11
57
Photographs of Leonard Volk and Family, 1860-circa 1890s
11
58
Photographs of Artwork by Volk, circa 1890s-circa 1930s
11
59
Oversized Photographs of Leonard Volk and Family scanned with Box 11, Folders 56-58
12
9

Make a Request

  • To request an appointment to view materials, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reading Room" button. Please note, you will receive the full box.
  • To request reproductions, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reproduction" button.