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Frederick William MacMonnies papers, 1874-1997

MacMonnies, Frederick William, 1863-1937


Collection Information

Size: 7.0 linear ft.

Summary: The papers of sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies date from 1874 to 1997 and measure 7.0 linear feet. Found within the papers are biographical material, a diary, correspondence, personal business records, project files, two sketchbooks and sketches, writings, Mary Smart's research files for her biography of MacMonnies, "A Flight With Fame," printed material, and photographs.
Biographical material consists of a student card to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, a certificate of registration as an American Citizen, the wills of MacMonnies and his second wife, Alice, and a biographical note by Alice MacMonnies.
The most significant item in the collection is MacMonnies' diary that documents his first voyage to Europe where he was anxious to pursue his studies in sculpture. His well-described activities during his first year of study in Paris, Munich, and in Italy illustrate the excitement and challenges faced by serious art students in the mid-1880s.
Correspondence includes letters exchanged between MacMonnies and colleagues including George Grey Barnard, Paul Bion, and John Flanagan. There are also letters from MacMonnies to his second wife Alice and to his daughters, Berthe Helene (Betty) and Marjorie MacMonnies.
Personal business records include deeds for land in Long Island, N.Y., certificates of copyright for MacMonnies' art work, and a rental agreement for and inventory of MacMonnies' studio in Giverny, France.
Project files are found for the Fountain Barge of State at World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and other sculpture pieces. There is also a sheet of preliminary sketches for the statue General George B. McClellan.
Art work consists of two sketchbooks, drawings, and plaster casts of sketches for planned sculpture projects for the New York Public Library, a memorial statue for Edwin Booth, and a drinking fountain.
Writings include a manuscript by MacMonnies concerning the adverse effects modernity was having on beauty in art, a typescript concerning George Grey Barnard's statue of Lincoln, and memoirs by Mary Fairchild MacMonnies Low in which she describes her early life, her first encounter with MacMonnies, and their life together in Paris and Giverny, including a visit from Stanford White and his wife.
Well over one-half of the collection consists of Mary Smart's research files for her biography of MacMonnies, "A Flight with Fame." Printed material includes clippings and a copy of Mary Smart's book.
Photographs are of Frederick MacMonnies, family members, his studio, a horse used as a model for The Horse Tamers, and art work.

Biographical/Historical Note

Frederick William MacMonnies (1863-1937) was a sculptor from New York, N.Y.


The bulk of Frederick William MacMonnies papers were donated by the artist's granddaughters Louise Wysong Rice and Marjorie Vander Velde in 1988 and 1998. Some, but not all, of the papers were originally loaned for microfilming and were later included in the donations. A small addition to the papers was transferred from the Smithsonian's Museum of American Art Library in 1981.

Related Materials

Also found in the Archives of American Art are four letters from MacMonnies to Allan Marquand cataloged separately, and a typescript "The Form of the Princeton Monument" lent by Elric Endersby in 1976 and microfilmed on reel 1094.

Location of Originals

  • Letters on reel 3042 and entire reel D245: Originals returned to the lenders after microfilming.