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Robert Henri papers, 1870-1954

Henri, Robert, 1865-1929

Painter, Educator, Illustrator


Collection Information

Size: 4 Microfilm reels

Summary: The Robert Henri papers date from 1880 to 1954. included are 26 diaries, dating from 1880 to 1928. The collection also includes writings, scrapbooks, printed material, and miscellany.
Reels 885-887: 25 diaries kept by Robert Henri, August 15, 1881 to October 20, 1928 (some entries with illustrations). Henri writes about his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and in Paris; his instructors Thomas Anshutz, Thomas Hovenden, and Adolphe Bouguereau, and fellow students Alexander Stirling Calder, Edward Redfield, Charles Grafly, and others; his opposition to the National Academy of Design and academic painting between 1902 and 1912; the exhibition of The Eight in 1908; the 1910 Exhibition of Independent Artists; the MacDowell Club; the founding of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors; and other topics. Also included 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 Memoirs of My Dead Life, by George Moore, annotated by Henri.
Reel 1654: Robert Henri diary, May to November 1880. Henri writes about his daily activities as a 15-year-old boy growing up on the Platte River, 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, Nebraska (122 pages).

Biographical/Historical Note

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


Material on reels 885-887 was 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.

Language Note

English .

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

35mm 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

The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.

How to Cite This Collection

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