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Philip Leslie Hale papers, 1818-1962, bulk,1877-1939

Philip Leslie Hale papers, 1818-1962, bulk,1877-1939

Hale, Philip Leslie, 1865-1931

Painter, Author

Collection Information

Size: 7.4 linear ft.

Summary: The papers of Boston painter, teacher, critic, and writer Philip Leslie Hale measure 6.7 linear feet and are dated 1818-1962 (bulk dates 1877-1939). Biographical information, correspondence, artwork, writings, printed material, and photographs document the artist's career and personal life. The collection also includes research materials and catalogs compiled by Albert J. Kennedy for his never-published Philip Leslie Hale memorial volume.

Biographical information includes financial and legal records; personal documents, such as educational records, biographical notes; printed material; and notes concerning art classes and teaching. Also included are scattered letters, invitations, schoolwork, and notebooks from his youth. Ten notebooks contain sketches, along with some class notes and essays.

Family, general, and business correspondence document the personal and professional life of Philip Leslie Hale and, to a lesser extent, several of his relatives. Family correspondence includes Hale's correspondence with various relatives, and some of their correspondence with others. General correspondence with friends, colleagues and other artists is both personal and professional in nature. Correspondents include Theodore Butler, Kenyon Cox, Nancy Hale, William H. Hart, and Edmund C. Tarbell. Business correspondence concerns many aspects of Hale's career. Correspondents include students, arts institutions, models, and publishers.

Writings by Philip L. Hale consist of lectures on anatomy, art history, and various art topics; miscellaneous articles; notes on artists, esthetics and philosophy either for classroom use or his writings; character sketches, a play, poems, and political writings. Art work by Philip L. Hale consists of 9 sketchbooks and loose sketches in pencil and ink of heads, figures, anatomical studies, landscapes, and miscellaneous subjects. A much smaller number of pastels, prints, and oil sketches are included. This series also includes a few items by other hands.

Research files and catalogs, compiled 1932-1939 by Hale's friend Albert J. Kennedy for a never-published memorial volume, include extensive correspondence and notes of interviews with friends, relatives, colleagues, former students, and models recording their reminiscences of Hale. Kennedy collected exhibition catalogs and a variety of other printed material, along with biographical and genealogical information, and photographs of Hale's work. Many of his research notes consist of handwritten transcriptions of published articles by and about Hale.

Printed material about Philip L. Hale includes articles, reviews, and miscellaneous newspaper clippings mentioning him or containing reproductions of his work. Items by Hale consist of art reviews and miscellaneous articles on art topics, copies of his columns that appeared in "Arcadia: A Journal Devoted to Music, Art and Literature," and the text of a speech.

The majority of photographs record works of art, mainly by Philip L. Hale, and also by Lilian Westcott Hale, Robert Payne, and Edmund C. Tarbell. Personal photographs include images of Hale, his relatives, and friends. Also, there are also several group portraits of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exhibition Jury, a group portrait with students, views of Hale at work in his studio and in the classroom, pictures of a summer house, and landscapes.

Biographical/Historical Note

Philip Leslie Hale (1865-1931) was a painter, teacher, critic, and writer from Boston, Mass. Hale received early training under his sister Ellen Day Hale, at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and Academy Julian in Paris, and he studied privately with William M. Chase, J. A. Weir, and Kenyon Cox. Taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for thirty years; at various times, he also was on the faculty of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Boston University. He is the son of Reverend Edward Everett Hale.


The Philip Leslie Hale papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in 1962 by the artist's daughter, Nancy Hale Bowers. The majority of this gift was microfilmed on reels D97-D104. Notes by Mrs. Nathan Hale on 25 anatomy lectures by Philip Leslie Hale, and the handwritten text of an art lecture by Philip L. Hale were the gift of Lilian Westcott Hale in 1963.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Philip Leslie Hale Papers, 1818-1962, bulk 1877-1939, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical/Historical note
Philip Leslie Hale (1865-1931) was the son of prominent Unitarian minister and well-known author, Edward Everett Hale. Members of this distinguished old Boston family included such ancestors as Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale, influential preacher Lyman Beecher, educator Catherine Beecher, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of
Uncle Tom's Cabin
. From a young age Philip's talent and interest in drawing was encouraged by his parents, especially his mother. An older artist sister, Ellen Day Hale (1855-1940) and an aunt, Susan Hale (1834-1910), a trained painter, provided Philip with his first art lessons.
Family tradition and expectations decreed that after completing studies at the Boston Latin School and Roxbury Latin School, Hale would attend Harvard. After passing Harvard's entrance examination, as required by his father, Philip was free to pursue art. He enrolled in the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in the fall of 1883, where he was an early pupil of Edmund C. Tarbell. The following year he continued his studies in New York at the Art Students League under J. Alden Weir and Kenyon Cox.
In early 1887, Hale went to Paris, adopted a bohemian lifestyle, and studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Julian. He became friends with fellow students Theodore Butler and William Howard ("Peggy") Hart. In the summer of 1888, the three made their first trip to Giverny, where they were among the first Americans to experiment with Impressionism. They met other American artists, including Theodore Robinson, John Leslie Breck, and Theodore Wendel, who also had been drawn to Giverny by the presence of Claude Monet. Hale returned to Boston in the summer of 1890, but was soon drawn back to Paris to be with his sweetheart Katharine Kinsella. He spent the summers of 1891-1893 continuing his experiment with Impressionism in Giverny, and during that period traveled to London, Paris, and Spain, periodically returning home and to the family's Rhode Island summer place.
In 1893 Hale began teaching cast drawing at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where he remained on the faculty until his death in 1931. Eventually he became the chief instructor of drawing, and also offered courses in life drawing, artistic anatomy, and art history. Hale also taught at the Worcester Art Museum (1898-1910), the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1913-1928), and Boston University (1926-1928).
Hale's first solo exhibition, held in 1899 at Durand-Ruel Galleries in New York City, consisted of Impressionist paintings and pastels that received mixed reviews. In subsequent years his work became increasingly academic and focused on figure paintings and portraits. He exhibited frequently in national and international shows, won numerous medals and prizes, and was elected an Associate National Academician of the National Academy of Design in 1917.
In 1902, Hale married former student, Lilian Westcott, a painter and portraitist whose success during some periods eclipsed that of her husband.
Philip Leslie Hale, like many of his relatives, was a noted writer and speaker. His column "Art in Paris" appeared regularly in the Canadian-based periodical
Arcadia: A Journal Devoted to Music, Art and Literature
between 1892 and 1893 and discussed Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Symbolism. Hale regularly contributed art columns, reviews, and miscellaneous articles to the
Boston Daily Advertiser
Boston Commonwealth
Boston Herald
, and
Boston Evening Transcript
during the first decade of the twentieth century.
Hale's teaching stressed the importance of learning Old Master's techniques. He had a life-long interest in Vermeer, and as a writer and critic he generated quite a bit of enthusiasm for that artist among the figurative painters of the Boston School, his own students, and others.
Jan Vermeer of Delft
, a highly regarded monograph by Philip Leslie Hale - the first on the subject published in the United States - appeared in 1913. He wrote several other books on art subjects, and his services as a lecturer on art topics were sought after by a variety of organizations both locally and nationally.
Philip Leslie Hale died following emergency surgery in Dedham, Massachusetts, on February 2, 1931.
Arrangement note
The collecion is arranged as 7 series:
Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1875-1939 (Box 1; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1818-1944 (Boxes 1-3; 2 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings, circa 1910-1930 (Boxes 3-4; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 4: Artwork, circa 1870-1930 (Box 4; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 5: Memorial Book, circa 1862-1962 (Boxes 4-8, OV 9; 2.8 linear feet)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1883-1951 (Box 7; 8 folders)
Series 7: Photographic Material, 1868-1931 (Box 7; 12 folders)
The Philip Leslie Hale papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in 1962 by the artist's daughter, Nancy Hale Bowers. The majority of this gift was microfilmed on reels D97-D104. Notes by Mrs. Nathan Hale on 25 anatomy lectures by Philip Leslie Hale, and the handwritten text of an art lecture by Philip L. Hale were the gift of Lilian Westcott Hale in 1963.
Processing Information note
The papers received a preliminary level of processing and were microfilmed onto reels D97-D104 in 1962; these reels are no longer in circulation. In 2004, Catherine S. Gaines organized and merged all accessions into one logical archival arrangement. In 2013, the collection was prepared for scanning by Judy Ng and digitized with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Additional Forms Available

Most of the collection is available on microfilm reels D97-D104 at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Note: Researchers should consult the finding aid's container listing for references to microfilm, as the archival arrangement of the originals as re-processed in 2004 no longer matches the arrangement at the time the collection was microfilmed in 1964.

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

Philip Leslie Hale papers, 1818-1962, bulk,1877-1939. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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