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Sanford Robinson Gifford papers, 1840s-1900

More Information

Stephanie Ashley
Scope and Contents
The collection dates from the 1840s through 1900, and circa 1960s-1970s with the bulk of the material falling between 1855-1881. Material from circa 1960s-1970s consists of photographic copy prints of original photographs from the mid to late 1800s for which the Archives does not own the originals. The papers measure 0.9 linear feet and provide detailed documentation of the life of Hudson River School landscape painter, Sanford Robinson Gifford, during the mid 1850s and late 1860s. The papers contain extensive accounts of Gifford's travels in 3 bound volumes of typewritten letters from Gifford to his father. These letters serve as travel journals and provide extensive and vivid descriptions of Gifford's work and experiences in Europe and the Middle East, and document his relationships with a variety of other artists, including Alfred Bierstadt and Worthington Whittredge, during this period.
Additional records provide scattered documenation of other periods of Gifford's life. Letters refer to his travels in the American west and his Civil War service and its effect on his painting. Printed material includes clippings and exhibition catalogs, and includes a catalogue of his paintings published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1881. Artwork by Gifford includes sketches by the artist and prints, engravings and paintings by various others. Original photographs date from 1856-1900 and include images of Gifford during the Civil War. Copyprints for which the Archives does not own the originals date from the circa 1960s-1970s and include two images of a family home in Hudson, New York, where Gifford had a studio in the mid 1860s, a portrait photograph of Gifford, and an image of Gifford on the Hayden expedition.
Edith Wilkinson first donated the Sanford Robinson Gifford papers in 1955 and 1957. James C. Gifford donated copy prints of photographs in 1964. Five sketchbooks were lent for microfilming by the Vassar College Art Library in 1966 and George and Frances Gifford Cummings donated additional material in 1973. In 1974, sixteen sketchbooks, photographs, and other materials were lent for microfilming by Dr. Sanford Gifford, Gifford's great-nephew.
Separated Material
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reels D254 and 688) including twenty-one sketchbooks, photographs, passports and certificates, an 1888 European travel diary of Mary Louise Willard, wife of Gifford's nephew, Harold, and a 1966 letter. Loaned materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Related Material
Five sketchbooks were loaned by Vassar College in 1966 and the originals were returned to the donor after microfilming on reel D254.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Processing Information
All donated accessions were microfilmed at some point after receipt on reels D10, D21, D33, 672 and 4994. The various accessions were merged and processed as one collection by Stephanie Ashley in 2007 and digitized in 2007 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.