Shaw-Wells Family papers and Wells-Shaw Family photograph collection

Inclusive Dates: 
1792–1977, 1870–1929 (bulk 1880–1899)
Survey Repository: 

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

Shaw-Wells family papers (11 linear feet) consists of correspondence, diaries, articles, poems, short stories, plays, clippings, mementos, estate documents, and other family papers of Chicago author Frances Wells Shaw and her husband, architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, and of their parents, daughters, other relatives, and ancestors. Correspondents include Shaw’s daughter, sculptor Sylvia Shaw Judson [Haskins]. 

Wells-Shaw family photograph collection (5 albums of photographs, 96 photographs of various sizes, and other graphic material) consists of cartes de visite albums including portraits of Chicago area residents, members of the Wells, Shaw, and Searls families; photoprint albums showing a house party for Martha Wells at Lake Geneva (Wis). The collection also includes snapshots of Howard Van Doren Shaw family, presumably taken in the Chicago area. Loose photoprints are primarily portraits of members of the Wells and Shaw families plus friends, Ragdale estate in Lake Forest, and Howard Shaw's living quarters as a student at Yale (circa 1890). A large rolled photograph shows a panoramic view from the veranda of the Mountain Meadows Inn in Asheville (N.C.). Nitrate negatives depict a Canadian camping trip. One photonegative has a portrait of Frances Wells Shaw. The ink drawing is a page decoration for a book.​

Biographical Historical Note

Sylvia Shaw Judson [Haskins], daughter of architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, was a prominent sculptor who specialized in garden sculpture. Born in Chicago, she studied at the Art Institute. She traveled abroad and established a studio in New York before returning to Chicago in 1921. In 1942, she moved permanently to her family home of Ragdale, in Lake Forest, Illinois, and established a studio there.

Additional Notes

Related collections: Sylvia Shaw Judson Collection, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, Art Institute of Chicago; Sylvia Shaw Judson Haskins papers, Chicago History Museum; Clay Judson Papers, Newberry Library; Virginia Stewart collection on Sylvia Shaw Judson, Lake Forest College; Reference Files, Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society.