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James Carroll Beckwith papers (in the National Academy of Design), 1871-1983

James Carroll Beckwith papers (in the National Academy of Design), 1871-1983

Beckwith, J. Carroll (James Carroll), 1852-1917

Portrait painter

Collection Information

Size: 6 microfilm reels.

Summary: 38 volumes of art-related diaries, 1871-1917; personal diaries of Beckwith and his wife, 1911 and 1917; notebooks, 1875 and 1917; a sketchbook, 1887;

Diaries, 1871-1917, contain sporadic entries describing studies and travel in Paris and Europe, teaching at the Art Students League, financial transactions, and other events. Clippings, calling cards, photographs are inserted in some volumes. The 1917 personal diary, entitled "Souvenirs and Reminiscences," includes a typescript version. Mrs. (Bertha) Beckwith's 1911 diary/datebook contains references to her Paris tour, entertainment, and acquaintances. Notebooks include "Notes/Carroll Beckwith/Paris 1875," and "Onteira" 1917, including a transcript of the latter. The bound "Record of Pictures," 1878-1917, lists titles, dimensions, and expenses of Beckwith's works in chronological order.

The sketchbook, "Amsterdam August 10, 1887" contains sketches for portraits, notes of Monet's composition at Giverny, a watercolor, and studies of hands.

Writings include transcripts by others of Beckwith's diary entries and notebooks; manuscripts by unknown authors, possibly of Beckwith's writings; notes by Beckwith; a manuscript of an article published in Art World, 1917, by Beckwith; and several biographical writings. Printed materials include a catalog of a 1918 sale of Beckwith's work at the American Art Galleries, clippings and exhibition catalogs, 1914-1956, and clippings about John Singer Sargent. One scrapbook, undated, contains clippings, mostly of art work; a second scrapbook, 1893, contains photographs taken during Beckwith's European and Egypt tour, including photographs of artist's models and artists Bonnat, Bougereau, and Mercier in their studios.

Additional photographs include portraits of Beckwith, Beckwith in his studio, mostly undated, and Beckwith with his Art Students League classes, 1888-1892; installation photographs of a 1914 Beckwith exhibition at the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy; paintings by Beckwith and others; portraits of Beckwith by other artists; and portraits of unidentified European artists.

Correspondence includes a letter to his wife, 1883; photocopies of correspondence with dealer Roland Knoedler, 1914-1920, discussing Beckwith's work; letters, 1894-1988, by Beckwith, his wife, and researchers concerning Beckwith's selection into the National Academy of Design, his paintings, and career; and undated notes to Frederick Dielman and Will Hicok Low.

Biographical/Historical Note

Portrait painter; New York, N.Y.


Lent for microfilming by the National Academy of Design, 1993, which had received Beckwith's papers as a gift in 1926 from the Bertha H. Beckwith estate. Beckwith related National Academy of Design correspondence and photographs were combined with the papers by the Academy. One transcript of entries from Beckwith diaries entitled "Paris 1874" was inadvertently microfilmed with the notebook entitled "Paris 1875".

Location of Originals

  • Originals in: National Academy of Design, New York, N.Y.

Alternative Forms Available

Microfilm reels 4798-4803 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.

How to Cite This Collection

James Carroll Beckwith papers (in the National Academy of Design), 1871-1983. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.