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Francis Davis Millet and Millet family papers, 1858-1984, bulk 1858-1955

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Catherine S. Gaines
Scope and Contents
The Francis Davis Millet and Millet family papers measure 3.3 linear feet and are dated 1858-1984, with a few scattered early eighteenth-century items, such as legal documents and printed matter. The bulk of the material dates from 1858 to 1955. Found are biographical materials, diaries/journals, family letters, notes and writings, art work, printed matter, miscellaneous records, and photographs documenting Millet's wide-ranging artistic and writing career and personal life, including his death aboard the Titanic. Also of interest are approximately twenty ink caricatures attributed to John Singer Sargent.
Biographical material consists of biographical and genealogical notes; also, memorial resolutions, invitations, and programs with several related items tipped in. Diaries/journals for the period 1858-1911 (16 vols., plus excerpts and transcripts) record Civil War experiences, the Russo-Turkish War, travels throughout Europe, to the northwest United States and Alaska, the Orient, and Panama.
Letters from F. D. Millet to his family date from his years at Harvard, art training in Antwerp, residence in Italy, and service as a correspondent during the Russo-Turkish War. Millet's letters include a few received from friends and associates, original letters sent by Millet to others, along with typescript copies of incoming letters. Also included is a file of letters addressed to Millet and others concerning the purchase and restoration of the Grange, his Broadway studio. There are four letters from Millet to his girlfriend Velma Marie Morse and scattered letters to Velma's father, A.P. Morse, and Fred Chapman. Photocopies of letters from sister Kathleen Millet to her friend Margherita describe her brother's adventures during the Russo-Turkish War, and include an account of his wedding. His sister Lucia Millet's letters to her family were written while she was in England living as a member of her brother's household, and are rich with details of Frank's daily life, work, travels, friends, and the American colony in Broadway. The letters of Lily Millet consist mainly of condolence messages sent upon the death of her husband, but also include letters from Samuel L. Clemens, Henry James, Ellen Terry [Carew], Charles Dudly Warner, her children, and others.
Included in the collection are Millet's extensive research notes about costumes and artifacts of various historical periods and locations that served as reference for details in his murals. Also included are his notebooks about Italian art, Bulgarian history and costume, and the Philippines. Writings by Millet consist of articles, short stories, lectures and speeches. Writings about him include texts by various relatives (all but one are unpublished). The most extensive written piece is by niece Hilda Millet Booth and son John [Albert] Parsons Millet, and is accompanied by early drafts, notes, and related correspondence.
Art work by Millet includes twelve volumes of sketchbooks dating from his student days in Antwerp through 1896, along with loose sketches, drawings, and two watercolors. Most were executed while traveling, and include landscapes, building, and local peoples. Works by other artists include 20 caricatures drawn in ink, attributed to John Singer Sargent.
Among the printed matter are newspaper articles by F. D. Millet, along with clippings about or mentioning him, reproductions, exhibition catalogs and announcements. Of interest are Vienna Exposition memorabilia, and a full length biography, Soldier of Fortune: F. D. Millet, 1846-1912 by granddaughter Joyce A. Sharpey-Schafer. Miscellaneous records include drawings sketches, notes, printed matter, and photographs relating to the Abbot's Grange in Broadway that served as Millet's studio.
Photographs of people include F. D. Millet, his father Asa Millet with granddaughter Kate, and Mary Anderson. Photographs of works of art are by Millet and other artists.
The Francis Davis Millet and Millet family papers were received between 1974 and 1996 from several family members. Most were gifts from Dr. John A. P. Millet, son of F. D. Millet, in 1974 and 1976. In 1974, Charles S. Millet, grandnephew of F. D. Millet, donated a copy of his brief biography he wrote on F. D. Millet and lent materials for microfilming. Also in 1974, Mrs. William King, granddaughter of F. D. Millet gave photographs of F. D. Millet and his art work, along with various printed matter. Additional letters to F. D. Millet were given by grandson, Frank D. Millet, in 1977.
In 1987, granddaughter Joyce A. Sharpey-Schafer donated documents she had used while writing a biography of Millet. In 1996, David M. Emerson, grandnephew of F. D. Millet, donated loose sketches and miscellaneous printed matter.
In 2003, additional letters were donated by grandsons Mr. Harry Flynn and Frank D. Millet, and again in 2006 by Frank D. Millet.
Separated Material
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming. Charles S. Millet loaned photographs, biographical information, and miscellaneous items in 1974 (reel 849). In 1976, he loaned an album of photographs of F. D. Millet's murals in the Baltimore Customs House, with related printed matter (reel 1080). Lent materials were returned to Charles S. Millet.
Related Material
Found within the holdings of the Archives of American Art are several collections related to Francis Davis Millet, including five letters from Millet to Miss Ward and "Ticknor" and a collection of Francis Millet Rogers research material regarding Francis Davis Millet. The Philip Martiny papers contains two group photographs that include F. D. Millet. A letter describing a visit to Millet's studio is among the William Cushing Loring Papers. The American Academy in Rome records include documents created by F. D. Millet in his capacity as Secretary from 1904-1907 and as Chief Administrator in Rome, 1911-1912.
Funding for the digitization of the microfilm of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Catherine S. Gaines in 2003, merging all earlier accessions, many of which had been filmed in increments on reels 440, 848, 1052, 1117, and 3161; these reels are no longer in circulation. Upon processing, the bulk of the collection was microfilmed on reels 5903-5907. The microfilm was digitized in 2007 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.