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

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Series 3: Letters , 1867-1915, undated
(Boxes 1-2; 0.5 linear ft.; Reel 5904)

According to granddaughter Joyce A. Sharpey-Schafer, Lily Millet destroyed her husband's correspondence and was unwilling to cooperate with biographers. However, many of F. D. Millet's letters to his family survive for the period 1867-1879. The letters include a small number of original letters received by Millet from friends and associates augmented by typescript copies of incoming letters and a fairly large number of collected original letters sent by Millet, including two from John Singer Sargent. The sources of this material are for the most part unknown, though a few of the typescript copies are identified as coming from collections at the Library of Congress. The original outgoing letters may have been gathered by John A. P. Millet during the course of researching and writing his father's biography.
The letters discuss Millet's travels, education, journalistic and art career, art sales and commissions, and the activities of artist friends, family members, and acquaintances. One folder of letters, addressed to F. D. Millet and others, is about 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.
Typescript copies and a photocopy of four letters from sister Kathleen Millet to her friend Margherita, 1878-1879, are from an unknown source. Written from Paris, they mention Frank's "decoration for gallantry" during the Russo-Turkish War, and detailed information about his arrival home, describing his adventures, and an account of his wedding.
Letters to Lily Millet are from Samuel L. Clemens, Henry James, Ellen Terry [Carew], Charles Dudley Warner, the Millet children, and other friends and acquaintances. The bulk of the letters are condolence messages to the family upon Millet's death aboard the Titanic in 1912.
The letters Lucia Millet wrote to her family are mostly from the period when she was in England, living as a member of her brother's Broadway household. She describes moving into Farnham House, Broadway, and their later, permanent move to Russell House. Scattered throughout the letters are frequent mentions of Frank's activities, his work, travels, friends (including John Singer Sargent, Edwin Austin Abbey, and Henry James), and the American colony in Broadway. Of particular interest are references to Sargent sending lilies for the garden, and sewing white dresses for the girls to wear in Sargent's painting ( Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose). The letters also recount trips to London where she visited Sargent's and Whistler's studios.
Attached to many of the letters are brief notes made by John A. P. Millet.
Description Container Select
F. D. Millet
To Family, 1867-1875, undated
5904
109-234
Collected Letters, 1874-1912, undated
5904
235-431
Collected Letters, A.P. Morse and Velma Marie Morse, 1874-1879
1
29
Collected Letters from John Singer Sargent, 1887 and circa 1887
1
30
Letters about the Grange, 1879-1897, undated
5904
432-508
Kathleen Millet (sister) to Margherita, 1878-1879
5904
509-523
Lily Millet (wife)
Letters, 1885-1915, undated
5904
524-624
Letters of Condolence, 1912
(3 folders)
5904
625-853
From Lucia Millet (sister) to Family, 1882-1886, undated
(6 folders)
5904
855-1176

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.