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Elizabeth Campbell Fisher Clay papers, circa 1873-circa 2015, bulk 1890-1930

Elizabeth Campbell Fisher Clay papers, circa 1873-circa 2015, bulk 1890-1930

Clay, Elizabeth Campbell Fisher, 1871-1959

Lithographer, Etcher

Collection Information

Size: 1.9 linear feet

Summary: The papers of Massachusetts lithographer and etcher Elizabeth Campbell Fisher Clay measure 1.9 linear feet and date from circa 1873 to circa 2015, with the bulk of materials from 1890 to 1930. This collection includes biographical materials, correspondence, writings, fifteen diaries, six travel diaries, teaching files, artwork, printed materials, and photographs.

Biographical/Historical Note

Elizabeth Campbell Fisher Clay (1871-1959) was a lithographer and etcher who worked in Massachusetts and Halifax, England. Clay studied under Robert Henri and William Merritt Chase from 1898-1909 in New York and Paris.

Provenance

This collection was donated to the Archives of American Art in 2015 by Harriet Fisher Bemus, Elizabeth Campbell Fisher Clay's daughter.

A Finding Aid to the Elizabeth Campbell Fisher Clay papers, circa 1873-circa 2015, bulk 1890-1930, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.clayeliz
Author
Finding aid prepared by Rihoko Ueno
Biographical/Historical note
Elizabeth Campbell Fisher Clay (1871-1959) was a lithographer and etcher who worked in Massachusetts and Halifax, England.
Elizabeth Campbell Fisher Clay was born in West Dedham, Massachusetts in 1871. Her parents were Joseph and Mary Elizabeth Fisher and she had 2 siblings, Hattie and Joseph. Clay graduated from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1892. She then attended the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the New York School of Art, where she studied under Robert Henri and William Merritt Chase from approximately 1898 to 1909. Around this same time, Clay traveled abroad and studied art in Holland and Spain. She also attended the Art Students League of New York and studied in Paris where she shared a studio with other art students. Robert Henri, whom Clay considered a mentor, regularly visited the Paris studio to review the students' work.
In 1908, Clay had a solo exhibition at Rowland’s Gallery in Boston. In 1909, she married Howard Clay in Dedham, Massachusetts. Henry was the alderman of Halifax, England, and the couple moved there sometime after their marriage. They had three children, Howard Fisher Clay, Monica Mary, and Harriet.
Clay continued to exhibit her artwork in England for over 30 years. She exhibited at the British Society of Women Artists, the New English Art Club, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art, the Royal Society of British Artists, the Women's International Art Club, and the Yorkshire Union of Arts. In Massachusetts, her artwork was in exhibitions at the Boston Art Club, the Copley Society of Art, and other venues.
Elizabeth Campbell Fisher Clay eventually returned to the United States and passed away in Philadelphia in 1959.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 7 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1906-circa 2015 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1897-1960 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 3: Writings and Notebooks, circa 1898-1959 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 4: Diaries, 1887-circa 2010 (1 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)
Series 5: Artwork, circa 1890-circa 1957 (0.3 linear feet, Boxes 2-3, OV 4)
Series 6: Printed Materials, 1894-1957 (0.1 linear feet; Box 3, OV 4)
Series 7: Photographs, circa 1873-1987 (0.2 linear feet; Box 3)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of Massachusetts lithographer and etcher Elizabeth Campbell Fisher Clay measure 1.9 linear feet and date from circa 1873 to circa 2015, with the bulk of materials from 1890 to 1930. This collection includes biographical materials, correspondence, writings, fifteen diaries, six travel diaries, teaching files, artwork, printed materials, and photographs.
Biographical materials include ephemera from a Spain trip, floppy disks labeled "Bill Bemus" and "Tape 4-5", and other miscellany.
The bulk of the correspondence consists of letters from artist Robert Henri giving advice and information about travel plans and visits. Other correspondents include family members, the artist William Rothenstein, and a few others.
Writings include annotated appointment calendars, art class notes, notebooks, and a book register. Diaries and travel diaries describe Smith College, feedback from Robert Henri regarding artwork, and travels abroad to England, France, and Holland, as well as to New York and California. There are a few sketches scattered throughout the diaries. There is an audiocassette and electronic disk with content related to the diaries. There is also an annotated chronological list of the diaries.
Artwork consists of one sketchbook and several folders of loose sketches, drawings, and paintings of people and places.
Printed materials consist of a few news clippings about Smith College, a newspaper image of an art class trip to Spain, 2 reviews of exhibitions, and a clipping about the New York School of Art.
Photographs are of Elizabeth Campbell Fisher Clay, family, friends, artists, travel, and houses. There are three photograph albums: one of the woods around Smith College; another album of travel photographs in France and Holland that includes photographs of Clay and fellow art students painting at various locations; and an album of Paris photographs that depict the studio Clay shared with other students, friends, and a few images of Robert Henri. Some photographs are annotated.
Provenance
This collection was donated to the Archives of American Art in 2015 by Harriet Fisher Bemus, Elizabeth Campbell Fisher Clay's daughter.
Processing Information note
This collection was processed by Rihoko Ueno in August, 2016.

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. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

How to Cite This Collection

Elizabeth Campbell Fisher Clay papers, circa 1873-circa 2015, bulk 1890-1930. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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