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Nelson and Henry C. White research material, circa 1851-1961

White, Nelson C. (Nelson Cooke), 1900-1989

Painter, Author, Art historian

This site provides access to the research material of Nelson and Henry C. White in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2016, and total 9,815 images.

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

Collection Information

Size: 4.5 linear feet

Summary: The research material of Connecticut artists and authors Nelson and Henry C. White, measures 4.5 linear feet and dates from circa 1851-1961. The bulk of the collection consists of Nelson C. White's correspondence, writings, and research, primarily related to J. Frank Currier and Abbott Handerson Thayer, and referencing Thomas Wilmer Dewing. Also found are the correspondence, writings, and research files of Nelson's father, Henry C. White, primarily relating to Dwight W. Tryon. Research files include artist correspondence, writings and notes, printed material, photographs of the artists, and photographs of artwork and exhibition installations.
Nelson C. White's correspondence is with Elizabeth Currier, gallery owners, and other individuals in possession of artwork by Currier, conducted during his research on J. Frank Currier, as well as with Elizabeth Dewing Kaup and others concerning his research on Thomas Wilmer Dewing. Miscellaneous material includes reviews of White's autobiography on Abbott Handerson Thayer, and White's ink sketches for a holiday card.
Nelson C. White's writings and notes consist of annotated drafts of "Abbott H. Thayer: Painter and Naturalist," "The Life and Art of J. Frank Currier," and articles including "Cremona," and "The Art of Thomas W. Dewing."
White's research files form the bulk of the collection. 9 folders of research material on J. Frank Currier consist primarily of photos of artwork and of an installation at Lyman Allyn Museum, but also include a transcript of Currier's 1870 diary, and 3 photographs (copy prints) of Currier. White's research material on Abbott Handerson Thayer is substantial and includes: biographical material on Thayer, such as family reminiscences by Thayer's daughter, Gladys Thayer, and his father, William Henry Thayer; copies and originals of Thayer's letters to his first wife, Kate Thayer, and his second wife, Emma Beach Thayer, and correspondence with William Henry Thayer; typescript copies and originals of Thayer's correspondence with artists, politicians, naturalists and others including George Grey Barnard, Frank Weston Benson, George de Forest Brush, Royal Cortissoz, Maria Oakey Dewing, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Charles Lang Freer, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John Singer Sargent, Edward Martin Taber, and George Alfred Williams; annotated drafts of Thayer's writings and notes on art, philosophy, and nature including his theories on concealing coloration and wildlife preservation; printed material including 2 Thayer exhibition catalogs and news clippings of Thayer's letters to editors; and photographs of Thayer, his family and friends, his home and studio, and his artwork.
Henry C. White's papers include a folder of White's correspondence relating to the publication of his book, "The Life and Art of Dwight William Tryon and including a letter from Elizabeth Currier; drafts of his biography of Tryon, including revisions by Mrs. Bender, Alfred Vance Churchill, and Mr. Rossiter; research material on Tryon including transcripts of letters from Tryon to George Alfred Williams, from Charles Lang Freer to Tryon, and from James McNeill Whistler to Henri Fantin-Latour; a typescript of autobiographical "notes and recollections" by Tryon; and photographs of Tryon, his home and studio, his artwork, and the Tryon Art Gallery at Smith College.

Biographical/Historical Note

Connecticut painter, art historian, and collector, Nelson C. White (1900-1989) was born in Waterford, Connecticut, to artist Henry C. White.


The collection was acquired by the Archives of American Art in three installments and microfilmed after receipt. 2 linear feet of material were purchased from Nelson C. White in 1956, followed by two gifts from White in 1978 and 1983.

Related Materials

The Archives of American Art holds several collections related to the Nelson and Henry C. White research material on Abbott Handerson Thayer and Dwight William Tryon. These include research material on Abbott Handerson Thayer and other artists, 1895-1990, donated by Thomas B. Brumbaugh; the Abbott Handerson Thayer letter and drawings to Caroline Peddle Ball, circa 1890-1893; and the Dwight William Tryon papers, 1872-1930.


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