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Henry Bacon papers, 1849-1931

Henry Bacon papers, 1849-1931

Bacon, Henry, 1839-1912

Painter

Representative image for Henry Bacon papers, 1849-1931

This site provides access to the papers of Henry Bacon in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2015, and total 1,828 images.

Processing and digitization of this collection was funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 1.9 linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter and writer Henry Bacon date from 1849-1931 and measure 1.9 linear feet. The collection documents Bacon's career and travels through France and Egypt. Included are biographical materials, correspondence, writings by Bacon and others, scattered business records, printed material, scrapbooks, photographs, eight sketchbooks and additional sketches.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter and writer, Henry Bacon (1839-1912) spent much of his career and life in France and Egypt.

Provenance

The collection was donated in 1987 by Nancy N. Brecht, the grandniece of Henry Bacon and granddaughter of Bacon's brother, Earle.

Related Materials

Funding

Processing and digitization of this collection was funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Location of Originals

  • Sketchbooks 1, 5, and 11: Originals returned to the lender, Mrs. Nancy N. Brecht after microfilming.

A Finding Aid to the Henry Bacon Papers, 1849-1931, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.bacohenr
Author
Finding aid prepared by Jayna M. Josefson
Biographical/Historical note
Painter and writer, Henry Bacon (1839-1912) spent much of his career and life in France and Egypt. He is best known for his watercolor depictions of Egyptian desert scenes.
Henry Bacon was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1839. During the Civil War, ee enlisted in the Union Army and served as corporal in Company D, 4th Battalion of Rifles of the 13th Massachusetts Regiment. Also during the war, he worked as a field artist for
Leslie's Weekly
. He suffered an injury at the Second Battle of Bull Run and was discharged in 1864. That same year, he married Lizzie Lord and moved to France. The couple settled in Paris where Bacon studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under Alexandre Cabanel. He spent many summers in Étretat, France--a subject he painted and wrote about in his book
Étretat: Hamlet of the Setting Sun
.
After the death of Lizzie Lord, Bacon married Louisa Lee Andrews. In the 1890s, Henry and Louisa spent their time split between London and Egypt. It was during this time that Bacon produced his many watercolor scenes of the desert, the Nile River, and of the Egyptian people. Henry Bacon died in Cairo in 1912.
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged as 8 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1864-circa 1930 (Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1849-1931 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1875-circa 1912 (Box 1-2, 5; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 4: Personal Business and Financial records, 1864-1871 (Box 2; 2 folders)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1882-1931 (Box 2; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1866-1923 (Box 3; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 7: Photographs, circa 1862-circa 1930 (Box 3-5; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 8: Artwork and Sketchbooks, 1864-1912 (Box 4-5; 0.4 linear feet)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of painter and writer Henry Bacon date from 1849-1931 and measure 1.9 linear feet. The collection documents Bacon's career and travels through France and Egypt. Included are biographical materials, correspondence, writings by Bacon and others, scattered business records, printed material, scrapbooks, photographs, eight sketchbooks and additional sketches.
Scattered biographical materials include an address book, a photo identification card, genealogical material, and autobiographical notes and resumes. The bulk of correspondence is in French written by French artists included in Bacon's book
Parisian Art and Artists
, including Beaumont, E. Berne-Bellecourt, Vincent Chevillard, Luigi Chialiva, Georges Clairin, Edmond Dupain, Carolus Duran, Antonio Gonzalez, Ferdinand Heilbuth, Madeleine Lemaire, Luc Oliver Merson, and Leon Olivie. Also found is correspondence between Louisa Lee Bacon with museums and institutions concerning her husband's art.
Writings and notes contain short stories, personal accounts, and poems by Henry Bacon, as well as a biographical work on Bacon by Louisa Bacon, and unsigned poems in French. Manuscripts of Bacon's books are not found.
Scattered personal business records include a sales record notebook, an expense journal, and a lease. Printed materials consist primarily of clippings, a few exhibition catalogs, a copy of Bacon's book
Étretat: Hamlet of the Setting Sun
, and printed images of works of art. Two scrapbooks document Bacon's career as an artist through clippings, photos, exhibition catalogs, and announcements.
Photographs include portraits and snapshots of Bacon and his wife, travel photos used as reference, and photos of works of art. Artwork by Bacon includes eight sketchbooks, watercolor sketches, and pen and ink sketches.
Provenance
The collection was donated in 1987 by Nancy N. Brecht, the grandniece of Henry Bacon and granddaughter of Bacon's brother, Earle.
Separated Materials note
Also found in the Archives are three sketchbooks lent by Nancy C. Brecht for microfilming on reels 4040-4041. The scrapbooks are not described in the container listing of this finding aid but are available for viewing in Archives of American Art offices and via interlibrary loan.
Location of Originals
  • Sketchbooks 1, 5, and 11: Originals returned to the lender, Mrs. Nancy N. Brecht after microfilming.
Processing Information note
The Henry Bacon papers were arranged and microfilmed upon receipt on reels 4040 and 4041. In 2013, the collection was fully processed, arranged and described by Jayna Josefson and digitized with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Additional Forms Available

The bulk of this collection was digitized in 2013 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Henry Bacon papers, 1849-1931. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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