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1.2: Correspondence , 1814-1944

Included are letters between Oliver Ingraham Lay and Marian Wait Lay, as well as the respective correspondence files of Oliver Ingraham Lay, Marian Wait Lay, Wilfrid Lay (Oliver's son), Charles Downing, and various family members, reflecting the mutual interaction between friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. Topics include daily events, personal reflections, creative activities, trips, and residences.
Oliver Ingraham Lay's letters to family members and friends describe his painting activities, working methods, and projects, including his commissioned portraits for Edwin Booth and Cyrus Field. Many contain references to Lay's prominent clients, such as Cornelia Curtis and family, Frederick and Mathilda Shelton, and Mary Shannon and the Shannon family. Also found are letters from Alexander Lawrie discussing his painting and financial difficulties. Lay's letters contain references to his colleagues, Henry Bellows, Fidelia Bridges, Sanford Gifford, Jervis McEntee, and William Trost Richards, among others. There are scattered references to Lay's exhibitions at the Artists' Fund Society, the Brooklyn Society of Artists, and the Century Association. One letter to Annie Brown describes his meeting with Oscar Wilde at the Century Association.
Condolence letters to Marian Lay upon Oliver Ingraham Lay's death include letters from Fidelia Bridges and George Henry Story. A file of transcriptions contains miscellaneous correspondence and two theatrical scenarios by Lay, reflecting the artist's enduring interest in the stage productions of his day.
Also of interest, are items found in the correspondence files of Lay family members. Charles Downing's letters to Marian Wait Lay discuss his experimental fruit plantings conducted at his residence in Newburgh, New York. The Brown family correspondence contains numerous references to Fidelia Bridges; also found is an illustrated letter from Annie Brown to Oliver Ingraham Lay. Letters exchanged between Samuel Wait and his son and namesake, Samuel, wholesale dealers in cattle and grain illustrate the manner in which mercantile activities were conducted during the early half of the nineteenth century.
The files are organized according to family members' surname; material within each folder is arranged chronologically.
Description Container Select
Oliver Ingraham Lay to Marian Wait Lay, 1878-1887, undated
1
8-9
Oliver Ingraham Lay, 1871-1890, undated
1
10-29
Oliver Ingraham Lay, Condolence Letters, 1890, undated
1
30-31
Transcriptions of Letters and Writings by a Family Member, 1881-1890, undated
1
32
Marian Wait Lay, 1870-1895, undated
1
33-42
Wilfrid Lay, 1886-1944, undated
1
43-48
Charles Downing, 1851-1885, undated
1
49-55
The Brown Family, 1814- 1901, undated
1
56-81
The Brown Family, 1902-1923, undated
2
1-5
Alice Brown, undated
2
6-9
Annie Brown, undated
2
10-12
Ella Brown, undated
2
13-14
Phebe Crowell Brown, undated
2
15
William Augustus Brown, undated
2
16
Fragments, undated
2
17-19
The Wait Family, undated
2
20-28
Other Family Members, undated
2
29
Transcriptions of Letters of Various Family Members, 1835-1876
2
30-31
Loose Envelopes, 1882-1926, undated
2
32-34

Make a Request

  • To request an appointment to view materials, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reading Room" button. Please note, you will receive the full box.
  • To request reproductions, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reproduction" button.