Director William M. R. French records from the Art Institute of Chicago, Institutional Archives

Inclusive Dates: 

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

30 rolls of microfilmed of 35 letter press books containing mostly letter press copies of outgoing correspondence, with some incoming letters. Correspondents include Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Frank Duveneck, Daniel Chester French (his brother), Sara Hallowell, Augustus St. Gaudens, Lorado Taft, and many others.

Biographical Historical Note

William Marchant Richardson French was born in New Hampshire and arrived in Chicago to pursue a career in engineering and landscape gardening. He gradually became known as a writer and lecturer on art and in 1878 he became Secretary and then Director of the Chicago Academy of Design, founded in 1879 and reorganized in 1882 as the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to serving as the institution’s longtime manager as daily operations and shaping its early collections, French taught in its school. He was also a founding member of the American Association of Museums.

Additional Notes

Related collection: Charles L. Hutchinson Records, Art Institute of Chicago, Institutional Archives.