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James Wells Champney collection, 1802-1904

Champney, James Wells, 1843-1903

Painter, Illustrator


Collection Information

Size: 0.2 Linear feet, ca. 1000 items (on 4 microfilm reels)

Summary: Correspondence; diaries; lists of paintings, bills, and receipts; sketchbook and sketches; clippings; tintype photograph; and printed material.
REEL 266: Pages from a scrapbook containing 14 sketches by Champney, clippings from a Lady's Home Companion, a tintype photograph of Champney and fellow painter Francis Davis Millet, and printed regulations for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter and illustrator; New York, N.Y. Born in Boston, Mass. Genre painter of rural scences and country home life. Studied with Edouard Frere and at the Antwerp Academy, 1868. Exhibited at the Paris Salon, 1869.


Scrapbook on reel 266 purchased by AAA from the Corcoran Gallery of Art 1959. Reels 121-122 were lent for microfilming 1971 by the Forbes Library, Northhampton, Mass. Sketchbook on reel 3766 lent for microfilming 1986 by Art Research of Cambridge, a firm specializing in consulting and research on 18th and 19th century American painting. The firm's owners, George Haich and Nicholas Kimer, purchased the sketchbook at auction.

Related Materials

Also in the Archives is microfilm of Champney papers held in other repositories, including correspondence; diaries, 1861, 1865, 1866; lists of paintings, bills, and receipts (reels 121-122); and a sketchbook containing primarily figure studies and portraits in black and blue pencil and pen and ink (reel 3766). Some sketches are notated, several are dated, and one is signed "Champ" - therefore attributing the work to Champney who signed his early work in this manner. [Microfilm title: Art Research of Cambridge papers]

Language Note

English .

Location of Originals

  • Reels 121-122: Originals in Forbes Library, Northampton, Mass.
  • Reel 3766: Original in: Art Research of Cambridge, Cambridge, Mass.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reels 121-122, 266, and 3766 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

James Wells Champney collection, 1802-1904. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.