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Henry Mosler papers, 1856-1929

Mosler, Henry, 1841-1920


This site provides access to the papers of Henry Mosler in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2009, and total 2,680 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 4.8 linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter Henry Mosler (1841-1920), who began his career in Cincinnati, Ohio, lived in Germany and Paris for at least 2 decades, and finally settled in New York, measure 4.8 linear feet and date from 1856-1929. The collection documents Mosler's life and career through biographical material, personal and professional letters from members of the military, museums, family, friends and colleagues, writings including an 1862 Civil War diary, personal business records, printed material, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographs of Mosler, his family, colleagues and artwork.
Biographical material includes passports for Mosler's travel during the Civil War and to the American West in 1875-1876, as well as identification cards and awards from Mosler's years in Germany and Paris, including the Ordre National Légion d'Honneur awarded to him in 1892.
Letters record Mosler's service as an aide-de-camp for the Army of Ohio and his activities as an artist correspondent for Harper's Weekly from 1861-1863 in the Western Theater of the Civil War. However, the bulk of the letters document Mosler's career from the 1880s onward. Found are letters from museums, art associations, government agencies including the Minsistere de l'Instruction Publique et des Beaux-Arts, and colleagues in Europe and the United States including artists James Henry Beard, Julien Dupré, Gabrier Ferrier, Ernest Hébert, William Henry Howe, William Ordway Partridge, and Leon Germain Pelouse, among others. There are also scattered letters from Mosler.
Writings and notes include an 1862 Civil War diary and two illustrated notebooks from 1862 and 1863 containing sketches, and travel and financial notes. Also found are two biographical accounts of Mosler's career and poems by various authors, many inspired by Mosler's paintings.
Personal business records include an account book documenting Mosler's income and expenses from 1869-1878 and 1886-1892, and Library of Congress copyright certificates for four of Mosler's pictures.
Printed material documents Mosler's career in the United States and Europe through news clippings, a brochure, and an exhibition catalog for an 1897 exhibition of his paintings at Galleries of Pape Bros.
Artwork and sketchbooks include six sketches and an engraving by Mosler, and two books containing sketches by Mosler and other artists including James Henry Beard. The series also contains one ink drawing each by Leon Germain Pelouse and E. Hillery.
Photographic material includes albums and individual photographs of Mosler in his studio and with others including his immediate and extended family, and students. Also found are photos of artists including Gabriel Ferrier, Ernest Hébert and Thomas Buchanan Read, Brigadier General R. W. Johnson and opera singers Emma Nevada Palmer and Renée Richards. Photographs of artwork are primarily found in 2 oversized albums dedicated by Mosler to his children, Edith Mosler and Gustave Henry Mosler respectively.

Biographical/Historical Note

Henry Mosler (1841-1920) worked primarily in Ohio, New York City, and Europe as a painter of portraits and scenes of rural life in Europe. Henry Mosler spent his early years in Cincinnati, Ohio, studying art under James H. Beard. During the Civil War, he documented the western campaigns for HARPER'S WEEKLY for two years. Immediately afterward, Mosler went to Dusseldorf, and then to Paris, where he entered the studio of Ernest Hebert. In 1874, following a brief return to the United States, he entered the Academy at Munich where he studied under Piloty and won a medal at the Royal Academy. From Munich, Mosler returned to Paris where he became a regular participant in Salon exhibitions.


The bulk of the collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by J. F. McCrindle, a great-grandson of Mosler, in 1976 and 1977, having been previously lent to AAA for microfilming. A photograph album was donated in 1993 by Paul M. Hertzmann, a dealer who acquired it through purchase. Additional materials were donated in 2008 and 2009 by McCrindle via John T. Rowe, president and CEO of the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation.

Language Note

Half the letters are in French.

Thirty letters are in German.


Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.