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Harriet Blackstone papers, 1870-1984

Blackstone, Harriet, 1864-1939


Collection Information

Size: 5.4 Linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter Harriet Blackstone date from 1870-1984 and measure 5.4 linear feet. The collection provides documentation of Harriet Blackstone's career through scattered biographical material; personal and professional correspondence, including letters from Maria Oakey Dewing, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Alice Tisdale Hobart, Joseph Cummings Chase, Stell Anderson, Mary Landis, Esther Morgan McCullough, and Booker T. Washington; writings by Blackstone, Esther Morgan McCullough, Richard P. Wunder, and Florence Holbrook; personal business records; clippings, exhbition material, and other printed material; one scrapbook; photographs of Blackstone, family, friends, and notable artists William Merrit Chase, Jean Paul Laurens, and John Singer Sargent; artwork; and four sketchbooks. Also found are a few artifacts found on Blackstone's easel.

Biographical/Historical Note

Harriet Blackstone (1864-1939) was a painter in New York, New York. Blackstone was born on November 13th, 1864 in New Hartford, New York. In 1883, she moved to Illinois where she became a high school elocution teacher. She did not start her studies to be an artist until 1903 when she enrolled at the Pratt Institute of Art in Brooklyn, New York. While there her art teacher was William Merritt Chase. Later, Blackstone went to the Academie Julian in Paris, France to gain more experience with Jean Paul Laurens as her instructor. Blackstone started to gain attention as a renowned artist in 1907 when her painting, Soldat de Crimée , was exhibited in The Salon, Paris. She moved back to Glencoe, Illinois and focused more on her artwork by painting commissions and joining different art organizations, such as the Chicago Society of Artists and the Arts Club. Blackstone travelled to different locations, including Taos, New Mexico and Bruges, Belgium, to help inspire her creativity. In 1920, Blackstone moved back to New York City where she would spend the remainder of her life; she never married or had children. She died on March 16, 1939 and was survived by her brother and friends. During her art career, Blackstone often painted portraits of well-known people and over time she developed her own style of work. Her artwork was displayed in several prominent cities in the United States: Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and New York City. Some of Blackstone's artwork became part of permanent collections, such as Soldat de Crimée , which was acquired by the National Gallery of Art in 1921, now known as the Smithsonian American Art Museum.


Microfilmed material transferred in 1978 from the National Collection of Fine Arts, who had acquired it in 1967 along with Harriet Blackstone's paintings from Stell Anderson, Blackstone's friend and a collector of her work. Anderson had received the papers from Blackstone's brother, Edward, in 1939. Upon Anderson's death, additional material was turned over to her niece Pat Rauchenstein, who donated them in 1989. Prior to the donation, the papers were in possession of Esther McCullough, who annotated some items and added research material in preparation for her unpublished manuscript "Harriet Blackstone, 1864-1939."

Related Materials

Language Note

Collection is in English.


Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.