Skip to main content

Mary Margaret Sittig research material on Louis Prang, 1860-1978

Mary Margaret Sittig research material on Louis Prang, 1860-1978

Sittig, Mary Margaret

Collection Information

Size: 3.5 linear ft.

Summary: Art historian Mary Margaret Sittig's research material on Louis Prang dates from 1860 to 1978 and measures 3.5 linear feet. Found within the papers are biographical material for Louis Prang and for Mary Margaret Sittig, collected letters from various members of the Prang family, and scattered letters to Sittig from friends. Additional collected research materials include scattered personal business records for Louis Prang and his wife, notes and writings, art work, printed material, and photographs.

Biographical/Historical Note

Louis Prang (1824-1909) was a lithographer, wood engraver, and educator from Boston, Mass. With Julius Mayer, Prang founded the lithographic business, Prang & Meyer in 1856, which reproduced paintings by noted 19th century painters and introduced the Christmas card in the 1870s. The firm is considered as the founder of the greeting card industry in the U.S. It later became L. Prang & Co.

Provenance

Donated 2001 by James C. Sittig, Mary Margaret Sittig's brother, in memory of Charlotte, Edgar, and Mary Sittig.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Mary Margaret Sittig research material on Louis Prang,
1860-1978
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.sittmary
Author
Finding aid prepared by Jean Fitzgerald
Biographical Note
Mary Margaret Sittig was a doctoral student at George Washington University in Washington D.C. working on a dissertation about the life and work of Boston lithographer Louis Prang (1824-1909), often referred to as the "father of the American Christmas card." Sittig completed her Master's theses
L. Prang and Company, Fine Art Publishers
in 1970, but died before completing her doctoral dissertation.
In 1864, Prang visited Europe to study the latest techniques in German lithography. He returned to Boston to create high quality reproductions of major works of art using a lithographic process he called "chromos." In 1874, he began producing greeting cards for the popular market in England and began selling the Christmas card in the United States the next year. Also in 1874, Prang began publishing books for drawing and elementary art study for public schools. This latter activity proved so successful that he formed the Prang Educational Company in 1882.
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 7 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1881-1973 (Box 1; 10 folders)
Series 2: Letters, 1864-1974 (Box 1; 23 folders)
Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1875-1917 (Box 1; 2 folders)
Series 4: Notes and Writings, 1890-1978 (Box 1; 16 folders)
Series 5: Art Work, circa 1880 (Box 1; 9 folders)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1866-1972 (Box 1-8; 2.5 linear feet)
Series 7: Photographs, 1860-1957 (Box 3, 7; 6 folders)
Scope and Content Note
Art historian Mary Margaret Sittig's research material on Louis Prang dates from 1860 to 1978 and measures 3.5 linear feet. Found within the papers are biographical material for Louis Prang and for Mary Margaret Sittig, collected letters from various members of the Prang family, and scattered letters to Sittig from friends. Additional collected research materials include scattered personal business records for Louis Prang and his wife, notes and writings, art work, printed material, and photographs.
Biographical material concerning Louis Prang includes a record book and genealogy listing Prang family members, ephemera, and scattered family papers. Biographical material concerning Mary Margaret Sittig includes resumes, a photograph of Sitting, and scattered ephemera. Letters primarily consist of scattered communications between miscellaneous Prang family members, and a few business-related letters. Letters to Mary Margaret Sittig are primarily from friends and discuss her research activities. Personal business records consist of an account book for Louis Prang's wife, Rosa, and miscellaneous receipts for Louis Prang.
Notes and writings primarily consist of photocopies of research material on Louis Prang collected by Mary Margaret Sittig and include a typescript of her thesis
L. Prang and Company, Fine Art Publishers
. Art work consists of ink drawings, watercolor sketches, an etching, a block print, and an oil painting on fabric.
Printed material concerning Louis Prang includes clippings, commercial lithographs of book illustrations, chromolithographs of ceramics from the Walters Collection, and printed reproductions of work by others.
Photographs are of Louis Prang, his wives Rosa Prang and Mary Dana Hicks Prang, miscellaneous Prang family members, and of scattered art work. There is also the Prang Family Photograph Album that contains annotations, but no photographs.
Provenance
Donated 2001 by James C. Sittig, Mary Margaret Sittig's brother, in memory of Charlotte, Edgar, and Mary Sittig.
Related Material
The Archives also holds the Louis Prang papers, 1848-1932.
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Jean Fitzgerald in December 2010.

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

Mary Margaret Sittig research material on Louis Prang, 1860-1978. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

  • No downloads available