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Robert Henri diary, 1870-1954

Robert Henri diary, 1870-1954

Henri, Robert, 1865-1929

Painter, Educator, Illustrator


Collection Information

Size: 1 v.

Summary: A diary August 29-September 27, 1891, containing journal entries and and several sketches regarding Henri's travels in Europe including entries on his stay in Venice and Chioggia, Italy, his train ride from Venice to Etaples, France and his boat ride from Etaples in route to Boulogne-sur-Mer. Henri comments on sketches by [Italico] Brass, visiting artists in Etaples including American painters [Allen] Tucker, [Curtis] Williamson and [George Henry] Tagart, and British painter [Joseph Milner] Kite.

Biographical/Historical Note

Robert Henri (1865-1929) was a painter and instructor in New York, N.Y.


The diary/sketchbook, August 29-September 27, 1891, was received through purchase in 1991 from Weschler's Auction House in Washington, D.C. with funds from the Joseph Coudon VII Memorial Fund, established by Katherine H. Coudon in memory of her son. It was originally from the estate of Robert Henri and in a private collection from 1969 to 1991. Separated materials were loaned for microfilming, including those on reels 885-887 which were lent by Mrs. Janet LeClair, the widow of John LeClair, nephew of Henri's sister-in-law, Violet Organ. Organ inherited these papers and planned on using them in a biography of Henri which was never written. The papers passed to John LeClair upon Organ's death in 1959 and subsequently donated to Yale University. Organ donated other Henri papers, including correspondence, notes, notebooks, photographs and other manuscript material to Yale University's Beinecke Library in the 1960s. The diary on reel 1654 was lent by Dr. Robert Gatewood, a cousin of Robert Henri, who reported that he had at one time possessed several of Henri's illustrated boyhood stories and other diaries which were all destroyed in a fire.

Related Materials

Also available at the Archives on microfilm only are papers lent for microfilming. Included are a diary, May-November 1880, 122 pages (reel 1654), describing daily activities as a 15 year old boy growing up on the Platte Riber, including entries on family events, playing with his brothers and friends, fishing, celebrating July 4th, bailing hay for his father, a dance and fair, and houses in Cozad. Reels 885-887 contain 25 diaries, August 15, 1881-October 20, 1928, some containing illustrations by Henri. Most well covered are the late 1880s and 1890 including entries on Henri's studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and in Paris, his instructors Thomas Anshutz, Thomas Hovenden and Adolphe Bouguereau, and fellow students A. Stirling Calder, Edward Redfield, Charles Grafley, and others, Henri's activities in anti-Academy movements between 1902-1912, the exhibition of The Eight, the Independants show of 1910, the MacDowell Club, the founding of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors, and his later, less active years. Also included on the microfilm are typescripts of 4 plays; scrapbooks of clippings, 1888-1954 and loose clippings; 82 photographs of Henri, including a group photo of Henri, Elmer MacRae, Maxfield Parrish, and four unidentified women, classes, and models; a letter and receipt from John Sloan; clippings regarding The Eight; and a copy of Memories of My Dead Life, by George Moore, annotated by Henri.

Location of Originals

  • REELS 885-887: Originals in: Beinecke Library, Yale University (MSS 100).
  • REEL 1654: Original diary returned to the lender, Dr. Robert Gatewood, Las Vegas, Nevada, after microfilming, and is now located at the Sheldon Museum of Art,University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

The diary from Aug. 29-Sept. 27, 1891, has been digitized and is available on AAA's website (digital ID 5546)

microfilm reels 885-887 and 1654 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the originals of materials on reels 885-887 are in Yale University's Beinecke Library along with additional Henri papers, and that the arrangement of the papers on the microfilm does not match their finding aid.

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

Robert Henri diary, 1870-1954. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.