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Selected Peale family papers, 1803-1854

Peale fam, Peale family


Collection Information

Size: 3 Microfilm reels, 3 partial microfilm reels

Summary: The microfilmed selected Peale family papers contain papers of Charles Willson Peale, Rembrandt Peale, and Titian Ramsay Peale, mainly related to Peale's Museum. Also included are one item pertaining to Franklin Peale, and one to Rubens Peale.
Microfilmed on Reel P21 are manuscript of memoranda of the Philadelphia Museum, giving records and accessions for 1803-1842; financial statements (1808-1819) listing current expenditures; a manuscript of A Walk Through the Philadelphia Museum by Charles Willson Peale (after 1802); minutes of the Museum (1841-1845); manager's reports to the Board of Trustees (1833-1835), signed by Titian R. Peale (10 reports); Titian Peale's correspondence with George Ord (1827-1854), and his drawing book (circa 1820); extracts of letters written by Charles Willson Peale from Belfield and Philadelphia (1821-1823); extracts of letters written by Rembrandt Peale to Reuben Haines and Coleman Sellers (1828 September 24 and 1829 November 30), and to his wife (1830). Also included (frames 164-182) is a "Catalog of the National Portrait and Historical Gallery, illustrative of American history, comprising 269 original portraits and historical paintings, formerly belonging to Peale's Museum, to be sold without reserve, on Friday 6th October 1854... M. Thomas & Sons, Auctioneers."
Microfilmed on Reels P23 and P29 are miscellaneous Peale related documents from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Society Collection. Included are a report of the Committee of Councils on the use of Charles Willson Peale's windmill (1815 January 5); C. W. Peale's appeal to aid for a soldier; Rubens Peale memorial of the Trustees of the Philadelphia Museum (1831 October 25); and a register made by Franklin Peale of the medal dies of the U. S. Mint, with notes (1841) (reel P29, frames 5-31).

Biographical/Historical Note

The Peale family was a family of painters, primarily in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827) was a portrait painter and engraver and studied in London with Benjamin West. He is known for his portraits of the founding fathers including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams. In 1786 he founded the Peale Museum, and was one of the founding members of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1805.


Microfilmed by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania for the Archives of American Art, 1955.

Related Materials

The Archives of American Art holds the Rembrandt and Harriet Peale collection, circa 1820-1932 and the Rubens Peale diaries, 1855-1865. Also found at the Archives of American Art are the microfilmed Charles Willson Peale diaries and exhibition announcement, 1765-1826; microfilmed printed material relating to Rembrandt Peale, 1830-1862; microfilmed Titian Ramsay Peale Collection, 1771-1876; microfilmed selected papers from the Peale-Sellers collection, [circa 1767-1904]; and microfilmed Augusta Barker papers, 1875-1887.
The American Philosophical Society holds the Rembrandt Peale papers, 1808-1833 and the Peale family papers, 1705-1898. New York Public Library Archives and Manuscripts Division holds the Rembrandt Peale letters, 1835-1857.

Language Note

English .

Location of Originals

  • REEL P21: Originals in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Peale family papers.
  • REEL P23, P29: Originals in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Society Collection.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reel P21 (fr. 164-182, 261-675); P23 (fr. 158-159, 217); and P29 (fr. 5-31) available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

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

Selected Peale family papers, 1803-1854. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.