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Sanford Robinson Gifford papers, 1840s-1900, circa 1960s-1970s, bulk 1855-1881

Contents and Arrangement

The collection is arranged as 4 series:

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  • To request an appointment to view materials, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reading Room" button. Please note, you will receive the full box.
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Series 1: Letters , 1855-1874
(Box 1; 3 volumes, 1 folder)

Letters include three bound volumes, entitled "European Letters," of 63 typed letters written by Gifford to his father during his travels in Europe and the Middle East in 1855-1857 and 1868-1869. The letters, which provide rich, vivid, and detailed descriptions of Gifford's travels, were numbered sequentially, probably by Gifford's father at his son's request. Some are interspersed with small sketches and handwritten corrections.
Letters in Volume I describe Gifford's Atlantic crossing in the summer of 1855 and his travels to England, Scotland and Paris. The letters record his impressions of many of the principal collections of art in the United Kingdom, both public and private, and document his visits to Parisian museums, as well as excursions he took in the vicinity of the French capital.
Volume II documents spring, 1856, in Paris, Gifford's subsequent travels to the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Italy, and the fall and winter spent in Rome. He writes of time spent with Worthington Whittredge, William H. Beard and Albert Bierstadt, and his spring, 1857, tour of southern Italy with Bierstadt. Also documented are his visits to Innsbruck, Munich, Vienna, Prague, Dresden, Berlin, and Paris.
Volume III records another Atlantic voyage and Gifford's return to London and Paris in June 1868, his meeting with Jervis McEntee and his wife, trips to Italy, Mont Blanc and the Alps, and his winter in Rome. It also describes his travels in Egypt in 1869, his trip down the Nile and to the Middle East, and a visit to Venice.
Volume III concludes with a typed extract of a letter written by Gifford to Richard Butler describing his travels, that was apparently published in the New York Evening Post.
Loose letters include two from Gifford to his sister, Molly, written from Europe in July 1856 and February 1869. A letter to friends in Rome, dated July 1869, describes his visit to Cairo and his cruise down the Nile. In a November 1874 letter to to O. B. Frothingham, "in answer to your inquiries," Gifford discusses his family history, his education, his art training, and his extensive travels in Europe including touring Italy with Albert Bierstadt, visiting the American west with Worthington Whittredge, and traveling in Egypt. The letter also mentions his service during the Civil War and the paintings it inspired.
Description Container Select
European Letters, Volume I, May 1855-February 1856
1
1
European Letters, Volume II, March 1856-August 1857
1
2
European Letters, Volume III, June 1868-August 1869
1
3
Loose Letters, 1856, 1869, 1879
1
4

Series 2: Printed Material , circa 1850s-1881
(Box 2; 4 folders)

Printed material consists of catalogs of Gifford's work compiled after his death, and news clippings related to Gifford's career. A catalog of the "Gifford Memorial Meeting of The Century," held in the Century Rooms, New York on November 19, 1880, contains a list of Gifford's pictures and the transcripts of addresses by J. F. Weir, Worthington Whittredge and Jervis McEntee. A catalog for an exhibition of the Loan Collection of Paintings of the Gifford memorial collection held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 1880-March 1881, and a Catalogue of Paintings of Sanford R. Gifford, N. A., compiled and published under the auspices of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1881, can also be found here, in addition to Parts I and II of the 1881 catalogs of auctioneers, Thos. E. Kirby & Co., entitled Sanford R. Gifford Collection and Catalogue of Valuable Oil Paintings, Works of the Famous Artist Sanford R. Gifford, N.A.
Description Container Select
Catalogs, 1880-1881
2
1
Catalogs, 1881
2
2
News Clippings, circa 1850s-circa 1880s
2
3
News Clippings, 1858-1881
2
4

Series 3: Artwork , circa 1840s-circa 1870s
(Box 2, OV 3; 4 folders)

This series includes artwork, primarily sketches in pencil, ink, watercolor, pastel and white chalk, that appear to be by Gifford, although the marjority are not signed. In addition to sketches there is an oversized print of an engraving signed by Gifford.
Artwork by others includes 10 prints of engravings by various artists, including 2 with sketches by Gifford on the verso. Oversized artwork by others is by various artists and includes a watercolor, 2 paintings on board, and 5 prints of engravings and a lithograph. Also included is a conserved charcoal and white chalk sketch of a skeleton by an unidentified artist, possibly Gifford.
Description Container Select
Artwork by Gifford, circa 1840s-circa 1870s
Oversized material housed in Box 3
2
5
Artwork by Gifford, circa 1840s-1870s
2
6
Artwork by Others, circa 1800s
Oversized material housed in Box 3
2
7
Artwork by Others, Engravings with Gifford Sketches on verso, circa 1800s
2
8
Oversized Artwork By Gifford, circa 1840s-circa 1870s
Oversized material scanned with Box 2, folders 5-6
OV 3
Oversized Artwork By Others, circa 1800s
Oversized material scanned with Box 2, folder 7
OV 3

Series 4: Photographs and Copy Prints , circa 1856-1900, circa 1960s-1970s
(Box 2, 5, OV 4; 11 folders)

The bulk of the photographs date from the mid-1850s through the 1870s and 1900. Copy prints for which the Archives does not own the originals date from circa 1960s-1970s and were printed from orginal photographs dating from the 1860s and 1870s. Photographs of Gifford during the Civil War depict the artist in civil war uniform and with unidentified members of the Seventh New York Regiment. Pictures of the Gifford family and homes include copy prints of the exterior and interior home of Elihu and Eliza Starbuck Gifford in Hudson, New York, just after the Civil War, where Sanford Gifford had a studio. There is also a copy print of Arthur, Malcolm and Paul Gifford, sons of James Gifford and grandsons of Elihu and Eliza Starbuck Gifford.
Photographs of Ute and Shoshone Indians are displayed on photo cards from Denver and Salt Lake City studios. Two photographs of Mont Cervin include one with a pencil sketch of the mountain by Gifford on the back. There are also photographs of unidentified individuals taken abroad in Greece, the Middle East, and Jamaica.
Photographs of artwork include a copy print of a Gifford self-portrait executed in 1853, a photograph of an unidentified painting, and a photograph of an unidentified sculpture. Also included are 2 negatives and four copy prints of a "Skeleton Study" by an unidentified artist, possibly Gifford, found in Series 3: Artwork.
Oversized photographs picture San Giorgio (including a negative), two boats, the Washington monument, and an unidentified sculpture, respectively.
Description Container Select
Gifford During Civil War, circa 1861-circa 1863
Oversized material conserved and housed in Box 5
2
9
Gifford During Civil War, Negative, circa 1861-circa 1863
2
10
Gifford Family and Homes, circa 1960s-circa 1970s
(copy prints)
2
11
Gifford on 1870 Hayden Expedition, circa 1960s-circa 1970s
(copy prints)
2
12
Gifford Portrait, circa 1960s-circa 1970s
(copy print)
2
13
Gifford Portrait, circa 1960s-circa 1970s
(negative)
2
14
Indians, Ute and Shoshone, circa 1870s
2
15
Mont Cervin (Matterhorn), circa 1856-circa 1868
2
16
Unidentified Individuals, circa 1850s-circa 1870s
2
17
Photographs and Negative, Miscellaneous, circa 1900
Oversized material housed in OV 4; Partially scanned
2
18
Photographs of Artwork, circa 1860s-circa 1970s
Contains copy prints; Oversized material housed in OV 4
2
19
Oversized Photographs and Negatives, Miscellaneous, circa 1900
Oversized material scanned with Box 2, folder 18
OV 4
Oversized Photographs of Artwork, circa 1900
Oversized material scanned with Box 2, folder 19
OV 4
Gifford During Civil War, circa 1861-circa 1863
Oversized material scanned with Box 2, folder 9
5

Make a Request

  • To request an appointment to view materials, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reading Room" button. Please note, you will receive the full box.
  • To request reproductions, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reproduction" button.