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Lockwood de Forest papers, 1858-1980, bulk 1870-1930

De Forest, Lockwood, 1850-1932

Collector, Industrial designer, Architect, Author, Landscape painter

This site provides access to the papers of Lockwood De Forest in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2017, and total 5,527 images.

Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by The Walton Family Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 3.8 linear feet

Summary: The papers of New York and California based interior designer, architect, collector and painter Lockwood de Forest measure 3.8 linear feet and date from 1858 to 1980, bulk dates 1870 to 1930. The collection includes correspondence, writings, diaries, journals, exhibition files, personal business records, printed material, sketchbooks, drawings, and photographs.
Lockwood de Forest's professional correspondence includes letters regarding de Forest's wood carving business in India. Notable correspondents from friends and colleagues include Stewart Culin, Alfred Korzybski, and Purushottam M. Hutheesing & Sons. Also included are two letter books which contain copies of letters written by de Forest. There is a fair amount of correspondence with family members, especially de Forest's parents, his brother Robert, and his wife Meta Kemble. There are also a few folders of Meta Kemble de Forest's correspondence with family.
Writings include drafts of Lockwood de Forest's book, "Indian Domestic Architecture," along with essays and notes. Essays by de Forest are on assorted topics such as art, education, museums, furniture construction, and psychic research. There is also a draft of a Lockwood de Forest biography by Anne Lewis.
Diaries and journals kept by Lockwood de Forest and his wife Meta focus on travels abroad to Europe, the Middle East, and India.
Exhibition files consist of materials related to a Lockwood de Forest exhibition (1976) at the Heckscher Museum in New York and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in California. Documentation includes correspondence, exhibition lists, inventories, and loan forms.
Personal business records include a wide range of financial and legal records. Financial records consist of ledgers, account records, receipts, invoices, and shipping records. Legal records include contracts, certificates, and deeds related to assets, properties, and businesses.
Printed material consists of exhibition catalogs, auction catalogs, magazines, books, announcements, event invitations, and clippings. Most of the material is about Lockwood de Forest, but there are some clippings and publications about his brother Robert and other subjects.
There are numerous sketchbooks usually depicting places de Forest visited in Europe and the Middle East. There are also a few loose drawings.

Biographical/Historical Note

Lockwood de Forest (1850-1932) was an architect, interior designer, collector, landscape painter, and writer based in New York City and Santa Barbara, California.


The Lockwood de Forest papers were donated in 1982 by Mrs. Lockwood de Forest III, daughter-in-law of Lockwood de Forest.


Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by The Walton Family Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.