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Edwin and Wilfred Whitefield papers, 1854-1918

Whitefield, Edwin, 1816-1892

Lithographer, Painter, Engraver


Collection Information

Size: 0.5 Linear feet, (on 1 microfilm reel)

Summary: Letters (1856-1918), diaries (1863-1866), writings (1856-1863), printed material (1854-1857), and photographs document the activities of Edwin Whitefield and his son Wilfred and early settlement in Minnesota.
Edwin Whitefield papers consist of 2 of his business cards, a list of books and prints by Whitefield, 2 clippings "The View of Paris" (1854?) and "Minnesota Going East" (1856), a real estate advertisement for Whitefield's Minnesota Land Agency displaying a reproduction of Whitefield's drawing of Minnehaha Falls (1857), a letter of introduction written by James W. Taylor to William T. Bascom on Whitefield's behalf (1857), a letter illustrated with hand-drawn maps of a Minnesota townsite (1858?), and a letter written by Whitefield to his son Wilfred (1871). Writings consist of an 3 essays "Kandiyohi", "A Sketch of Minnesota" and "Minnesota" describing his travels as a member of the Whitefield exploration party (1856-1858).
Wilfred Whitefield papers include 17 typescripts of his letters to Louisa describing experiences as a soldier (1863), 15 letters (1895-1917) concerning his sketches from the Henry H. Sibley Expedition against the Sioux in 1863, a letter about his father's watercolors (1918), a letter supporting a pension application for a soldier from the Minnesota State Militia (1918), an essay "A Trip to the Sauk Valley" (1857?), an account of the Battle of Big Mound (1863), and minutes of a war meeting held at Sauk Center, Minnesota (1864). Diary fragments describe daily events in Kandotta, Minnesota (1859) and events during the Sibley Expedition (1863). A diary (1863-1866) contains pencil sketches and notes and is accompanied by a transcript and photographs of selected sketches.

Biographical/Historical Note

Edwin Whitefield was born in England in 1816, immigrating to the United States ca. 1840. Between 1840 and 1855, he studied and taught drawing in New York and New England. In the latter 1850s, he became a real estate speculator in the Minnesota territory and became involved in land and and townsite promotion in what is now Kandiyohi County and the Sauk River Valley, Minn. Between 1860 and 1864 he lived in Chicago, but spent his final years in Massachusetts until his death in 1892. Edwin's son Wilfred Whitefield, also an artist, was born in 1839. He traveled to Minnesota with his father in 1856 and accompanied Henry H. Sibley's expedition against the Dakota (Sioux) Indians in 1863. He died in Sauk Center, Minn. in 1926.


The microfilm was purchased from the Minnesota Historical Society.

Language Note

English .

Location of Originals

  • Originals in the Division of Library and Archives, Minnesota Historical Society.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reel 4309 available for use only in the Archives of American Art office in Washington, D. C., through interlibrary loan, and at the Minnesota Historical Society (reel MN 519).

Microfilmed by the Division of Library and Archives, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1986 (1 reel).

Restrictions on Access

The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.

Restrictions on Use

Authorization to publish, quote or reproduce requires written permission from the Division of Library and Archives, Minnesota Historical Society. Contact Reference Services for more information.

The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.

How to Cite This Collection

Edwin and Wilfred Whitefield papers, 1854-1918. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.