Jayna M. Josefson
Scope and Contents
The papers of painter and muralist Harry Siddons Mowbray (1858-1928) and the Mowbray family measure 7.5 linear feet and date from 1872 to 1976. The papers document Mowbray's career as a painter and decorative muralist as well as his activities with the Commission of Fine Arts, the American Academy in Rome, and the Sculpture Commission of Connecticut. The papers include biographical materials, scattered correspondence, nineteen diaries, personal business records, commission files, organization files, writings and notes, printed materials, three scrapbooks, photographs, and artworks. There are scattered family papers of Helen Mowbray, Florence Mowbray, George Mowbray, and George Siddons Mowbray.
Biographical material includes biographical sketches, certificates, obituaries and estate records, and school material. Also found are printed materials from memorial dedications, ceremonies, and dinners held in Washington, D.C., such as menus, invitations, and admission tickets.
Correspondence is scattered and consists of letters from family, professional colleagues, artists, and architects including Charles McKim and William R. Mead. Florence Mowbray's correspondence includes thank you notes and condolences.
Diaries include seventeen written by Harry Siddons Mowbray, one by Helen Mowbray, and one by Florence Mowbray. Harry Siddons Mowbray's diaries date from 1876 to 1927 and reference a trip to the Azores, current events, his career and works of art, and his service with the Commission of Fine Arts.
Writings and notes consist of Mowbray's handwritten autobiography, school writings, lists, and a biography of Mowbray by Herbert Sherwood.
Personal business records consist of a French military sponsorship, gift acknowledgements and receipts.
Commission files include correspondence, printed materials, and writings relating to Mowbray's works of art at: Larz Anderson House, Appellate Court in New York City; Federal Building in Cleveland, Ohio; Gunn Memorial Library in Washington, CT; the Life of Christ Series; Madison Square Church in New York City; Morgan Library in New York City; St. John's Church in Washington, CT; University Club in New York City; and F. W. Vanderbilt House in Hyde Park, New York.
Organization files document Mowbray's participation with the American Academy in Rome, the Commission of Fine Arts, and the Sculpture Commission of Connecticut. Files generall include organizational history, correspondence, printed material, writings, reports, meeting minutes, and printed material. Of note are materials relating to the standardization of the flag of the United States.
Printed material includes blank stationery and postcards, clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, and an issue of Collector's News.
Photographs include two photo albums complied by the Mowbray family, portraits of Mowbray, snapshots with colleagues and friends, and photos of works of art.
One scrapbook compiled by Harry Siddons Mowbray relates to his travels in Rome in 1903-1904. Annother documents his artwork and career, and the third contains clippings concerning his chemical inventions.
Artworks include sketches, prints, and etchings by Harry Siddons Mowbray and others.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Harry Siddons Mowbray and Mowbray family papers were donated in multiple accretions by Mrs. Henry S. Mowbray, Mowbray's widow, Hugh McKittrick Jones, Jr., Mowbray's son in law, and Mrs. Helen M. Rogers from 1979-1983. Mrs. Helen M. Rogers also loaned materials for microfilming in 1983.
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reel 2895) including Mowbray's letters to his son George, travel diaries of Helen Mowbray, writings, artworks, and a photograph. Lent materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.
The Harry Siddons Mowbray and Mowbray family papers were arranged upon receipt and microfilmed onto reels 1898-1902, 2029, 2895 and 3768. In 2013, the collection was fully merged, processed, and described by Jayna Josefson with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Glass plate negatives were re-housed in 2014 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.