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Ruel Pardee Tolman papers, 1887-1958

Tolman, Ruel Pardee, 1878-1954

Museum director, Painter, Printmaker, Miniature painter


Collection Information

Size: 2 Linear feet

Summary: Correspondence; photographs; index card files; books; pages from a notebook; artwork; notes and diagrams; and printed material.
Correspondence with Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1927-1928, Ferris's widow, 1930-1941, and others, 1926-1945, regarding Ferris's gift to the Smithsonian Institution of his prints, paintings, miscellaneous items, and works of art by his father Stephen James Ferris. Included are photos of Mrs. Ferris, Jean Leon Gerome Ferris's studio, 1939, and his brass vessel collection; 21 letters from artist Jean Leon Gerome to Stephen James Ferris (in French, 9 with translations), 1887-1903; a letter and a postcard from Gerome to J. L. G. Ferris, 1903; notes to the Ferrises from Gerome's widow, 1904; and an invitation to Gerome's memorial service, 1904.
Pages from a notebook, circa 1940, and a sketch by Tolman; a 1929 letter from Mantle Fielding, regarding miniatures by Gilbert Stuart; and correspondence between Roma Harlan and Tolman, while Tolman was Director of the National Collection of Fine Arts.
Card files on art collections, artists, dealers, collectors, sales transactions and lost paintings; photographs, mostly 1930s, of Tolman's family, dealers, collectors, galleries, places visited, Smithsonian buildings, scenes of Washington, D.C., works of art and miscellaneous subjects; the book " The Life and Works of Edward Greene Malbone, 1777-1807" by Tolman, 1958; letters, 1910-1948 and undated; notes and diagrams about color and painting; artwork, undated and 1921-1951, including etchings, prints, watercolor sketches, many produced as Christmas cards; printed material including newspaper clippings, 1910-1952 and two exhibition catalogs, 1920 and 1924. Also included are a catalog of works, undated, by Charles Gruppe, signed by Gruppe, and the book "Early American Portrait Painters in Miniature" by Theodore Bolton, 1921, signed by Tolman. A photograph of Tolman and Bolton seated, 1950, is attached to the cover page of the book.

Biographical/Historical Note

Ruel P. Tolman (1878-1954) was a museum director and printmaker in Washington, D.C. Tolman was the Director of National Collection of Fine Arts, 1946-1948.


Card files and some photographs donated 1979 by Thomas M. Beggs, Tolman's successor as director of NCFA. Material on reels 2677 and 3480 transferred 1981 and 1986 from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Additional unmicrofilmed material transferred 2006 and 2015 from SAAM/NPG library.

Language Note

Reel 2677: some letters are in French.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reels 2677 & 3480 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

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

Ruel Pardee Tolman papers, 1887-1958. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.