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A Finding Aid to the Polly Thayer (Starr) papers, 1846-2008, bulk 1921-2008

Polly Thayer (Starr) papers, 1846-2008, bulk 1921-2008

Thayer, Polly, 1904-2006


Collection Information

Size: 21.4 linear feet

Summary: The papers of Boston portraitist and painter Polly Thayer (Starr) (1904-2006) measure 21.4 linear feet and date from 1846 to 2008, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1921-2008. The papers document Thayer's personal life and career as a painter, portraitist, and pastel artist. Found within the papers are biographical materials, extensive family papers, correspondence with artists and art venues, interviews, writings, subject files, organization files, exhibition files, art inventory records, printed materials, five sketchbooks, artwork, and photographs. An addition of one notebook donated 2106 includes Thayer's firsthand account of the Great Kanto Earthquake from on board the Empress of Australia steamship docked at Yokohama, Japan, September 1, 1923, written by Thayer 48 hours after the event.

Biographical/Historical Note

Polly Thayer (Starr) (1904-2006) was a Boston painter of portraits, landscapes, and still lifes.


The Polly Thayer (Starr) papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Polly Thayer in 1998 and again in 2008 by Thayer via Stephanie S. Wright, executor. An additional notebook was donated 2016 by Dinah Starr, daughter of Polly Thayer (Starr).

Related Materials

The Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust holds archival materials and artwork by Polly Thayer.


Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust.