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Esther Baldwin Williams and Esther Williams papers, 1887-1984

Williams, Esther Baldwin, 1867-1964


This site provides access to the papers of Esther Baldwin Williams and Esther Williams in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2012, and total 2,938 images.

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

Collection Information

Size: 2.1 linear feet

Summary: The papers of Boston and New York area painters Esther Baldwin Williams and daughter Esther Williams measure 2.1 linear feet and date from 1887 to 1984. The scattered papers of both women include biographical information, personal business records, correspondence, writings and notes, two diaries, four sketchbooks, printed materials, photographs, and one photograph album.
For clarity, Esther Baldwin Williams and Esther Williams are referred to by their proper names throughout this finding aid.
Biographical information includes a membership card to the Rockport Art Association for Esther Williams and a biographical sketch of Esther Baldwin Williams.
Personal business records include receipts for purchases of artwork by Esther Baldwin Williams, banking documents, exhibition entry forms and sales receipts for Esther William's works.
Correspondence includes incoming letters and drafts of outgoing letters. The majority of the correspondence is that of Esther Williams, including a considerable amount of letters to her parents. There are letters to Esther Williams from her friends Louis Eilshemius, Furman J. Finck, and Leon Kroll, and both Grace Horne Galleries and Kraushaar Galleries. Esther Baldwin Williams' correspondence includes personal letters from Maurice Prendergast.
Writings and notes include two diaries kept by Esther Baldwin Williams that date from 1892 until 1902 and cover her life in Paris and later in Boston. Some of the diary pages are illustrated with sketches. The series also includes scattered notes, including Charles Prendergast's Notes on Formula of Ebonizing Technique.
There are four sketchbooks, likely by Esther Baldwin Williams, of pencil and watercolor sketches of cats, babies and children, orchestral scenes, portraits, and architecture.
Scattered printed materials include a copy of "Cezanne's Studio" given to Esther Baldwin Williams by Maurice Prendergast, a copy of a family history by Nadia Williams, exhibition announcements and catalogs, clippings, and miscellany.
There is one photograph of an unidentified work of art and a circa 1900 family photo album with mostly unidentified photos of babies, children, and family members.

Biographical/Historical Note

Esther Baldwin Williams (1867-1964) and her daughter Esther Williams (1907-1969) were painters active in Boston, Paris, and New York City. Esther Baldwin Williams was born Esther Mabel Baldwin, Dec. 11, 1867. She studied painting under Maurice Prendergast and became his friend and patron. Her daughter was married to museum director Roland McKinney (1898-1971).


The Esther Baldwin Williams and Esther Williams papers were donated in two installments by Peter McKinney, step-son of Esther Williams in 1974 and by Nadia Williams, Esther Baldwin William's daughter-in-law, in 1985.

Related Materials


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