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Frederick William MacMonnies papers, 1874-1997

More Information

Jean Fitzgerald
Scope and Contents
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, printed material, and photographs. Well over one-half of the collection consists of Mary Smart's research files for her biography of MacMonnies, A Flight with Fame, as well as clippings regarding her research and a copy of the book.
Biographical material consists of a student card to the École 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, New York, 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.
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.
Separated Material
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reels D245 and 3042) including five scrapbooks and letters from Augustus Saint-Gaudens to MacMonnies. Lent materials were returned to the lenders and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Related Material
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.
Processing Information
Papers were originally loaned for microfilming on reels D245 and 3042. Some, but not all, of the loaned materials on reel 3042 were included in later donations. A later transfer of papers from the Smithsonian's American Art Museum Library cataloged separately and microfilmed on reel 3134; this reel is no longer in circulation. All accretions were merged, processed, and described by Jean Fitzgerald in February 2011.