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Contents and Arrangement | A Finding Aid to the Thomas Anshutz papers, circa 1870-1942 | Digitized Collection

Thomas Anshutz papers, circa 1870-1942

Contents and Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 5 series. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers:

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Series 1: Correspondence , circa 1870-1911 and 1942
0.2 Linear feet
Box 1

This series includes correspondence with family members, fellow artists, and other personal and professional contacts. Early letters include letters from Anshutz to family while a student at the National Academy in the 1870s, and to his brother from Europe in 1892 and 1893. Letters from Anshutz to his wife, Effie, include many letters from Philadelphia in 1893 and 1894, and from a long river excursion in New Jersey in 1897. Letters from Anshutz to Frank Cresson Schell (1900-1903, 1911 and undated), a former student, discuss his own painting, Schell's artwork and the progress of his students at the Darby School. Correspondence dating from 1905 to 1911 consists of letters from various personal and professional contacts to Anshutz or to his wife. Several letters from clients refer to payments made for portraits. Other significant correspondents include the artists Charles Francis Browne (1908), David Wilson Jordan (1908), Francis Grafly (1910), Edward W. Redfield (1910), Malcolm Stewart (1909-1910), Samuel S. Fleisher (1911), and Daniel Garber (undated).
Three envelopes without letters may have contained illustrated letters, which were loaned to the archives for microfilming but later returned to the donor. A total of eighteen illustrated letters, which are no longer in the collection, can be viewed on microfilm reel 140.
Correspondence is arranged chronologically, with undated letters placed at the end of the group. Dates written on correspondence in pencil were transcribed from envelopes, which were then discarded, by Archives staff upon accession of the collection. Other notations may have also been made at that time.
Description Container
Correspondence, circa 1870-1911 and 1942
(19 folders)
1
1-19

Series 2: Writings , 1880s, 1893
2 Folders
Box 1

This series contains a notebook kept by Thomas Anshutz during a trip to Europe in 1892-1893. Contents include word games and French language exercises, five pages of sketches, one list of artwork, and a recipe for Spanish White. Also found is a list of contact information on letterhead for the Ladies Decorative Art Club of Philadelphia.
Description Container
Travel Notebook, 1893
1
20
Contact List, circa 1880s
1
21

Series 3: Financial Records , 1884-1910
1 Folder
Box 1

This series consists of receipts for personal expenses and accounting notes relating to the Darby School, listing total enrollment and tuition for the years 1899-1902.
Description Container
Financial Records, 1884-1910
1
22

Series 4: Printed Material , 1884-1942 and undated
2 Folders
Box 1

This series consists of clippings and other printed miscellany. Clippings include obituaries for Anshutz and his brother, Edward Anshutz, art reproductions, articles, and announcements relating to Thomas Anshutz's career. Other items include a pass to an 1884 exhibition and Thomas Anshutz's calling card.
Description Container
Clippings, 1909-1942, undated
1
23
Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1884-1910, undated
1
24

Series 5: Photographs , circa 1880-1904, 1936 and undated
2.1 Linear feet
Boxes 1-3, MGP 2

This series contains 198 vintage, original photographic prints and 49 original glass plate negatives, including many photographic studies of human figures, animals, and other scenes; group photographs; and portraits. Vintage prints include albumen, cyanotype, and platinum prints, most of which are mounted on cardboard mounts and appear to be small contact prints. Only three of these prints are from the glass plate negatives in this collection; the remaining 46 glass negatives do not correspond to any of the vintage prints. Positive digital scans have been made directly from the original negatives, which are closed to researchers.
The Photographs series is arranged into 5 subseries. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers:
  • Subseries 5.1: Photographs by Circle of Thomas Anshutz and Thomas Eakins, circa 1880-1886
  • Subseries 5.2: Photographs by Thomas Anshutz, 1890s
  • Subseries 5.3: Unattributed Photographs, 1897, 1936 and undated
  • Subseries 5.4: Professional Studio Portraits, 1904 and undated
  • Subseries 5.5: Photographs of Anshutz and Works of Art, undated
Copy negatives and prints exist for most of the images in this series, including the glass negatives. These copies are filed after originals in a separate folder and have not been digitized.
5.1: Photographs by Circle of Thomas Anshutz and Thomas Eakins, circa 1880-1886
DescriptionContainer
William H. MacDowell, circa 1883-1884
(1 vintage print)
1
25-26
Triptych of Eadweard Muybridge, circa 1884
(3 vintage prints mounted together)
1
27-28
Portraits of Susan MacDowell in PAFA Classroom, circa 1882
(2 vintage prints)
1
29-30
Bartram's Garden, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, circa 1882
(6 vintage Prints)
1
31-32
Class Groups in PAFA Classroom
Students Working, circa 1882
(3 vintage prints)
1
33-34
Class Portraits, circa 1882
(6 vintage prints)
1
35-37
Figure Studies in Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Classroom
Male Nudes, circa 1882-1883
(1 vintage print)
1
38-39
Men in Classical Costume, circa 1882-1883
(5 vintage prints)
1
40-42
Women in Empire Dress, circa 1882-1883
(5 vintage prints)
1
43-44
Susan MacDowell in Empire Dress, circa 1882-1883
(3 vintage prints)
1
45-46
Susan MacDowell in Group, Empire Dress, circa 1882-1883
(2 vintage prints)
1
47-48
Woman in Kimono, circa 1882-1883
(1 vintage print)
1
49-50
Cow, circa 1882-1883
(1 vintage print)
1
51-52
Figure Studies Outdoors, Male Nudes
Unidentified Men, circa 1883
(6 vintage prints)
1
53-54
Two Nude Models with Clothed Man, circa 1883
(2 vintage prints)
1
55-56
Thomas Eakins and J. Laurie Wallace, circa 1883
(4 vintage prints)
1
57-59
Thomas Eakins, circa 1883
(1 vintage print)
1
60-61
Costumed Groups in Staged Outdoor Scenes, undated
(12 vintage prints)
1
62-64
Works of Art, undated
(2 vintage prints)
1
65
5.2: Photographs by Thomas Anshutz, 1890s
DescriptionContainer
Boys with Fishing Boat, 1890s
(2 glass plate negatives housed in Box 3)
2
1-2
Figures with Fishing Boat, 1890s
(5 glass plate negatives housed in Box 3; includes 1 vintage print)
2
3-4
Boys on Industrial Riverfront, 1890s
(5 glass plate negatives housed in Box 3)
2
5
Riverboat Hudson, 1890s
(1 glass plate negative housed in Box 3)
2
6
Ships and Docks, 1890s
(7 glass plate negatives housed in Boxes 3 and MGP 2; 12 cyanotypes; 1 albumen print)
2
7-9
Domestic Scenes, 1890s
(10 glass plate negatives housed in Boxes 3 and MGP 2; includes 1 vintage print)
2
10-11
Beach and Water Scenes, 1890s
(6 glass plate negatives housed in Boxes 3 and MGP 2)
2
12
Cows, undated
(8 glass plate negatives housed in MGP 2; includes 1 vintage print)
2
13-14
Model in Roman Costume, undated
(1 glass plate negative housed in Box 3)
2
15
Portraits, 1890s, undated
(4 glass plate negatives housed in Boxes 3 and MGP 2; 1 cyanotype)
2
16-17
Glass Plate Negatives
31 glass negatives
3
Glass Plate Negatives
18 glass negatives
MGP 2
5.3: Unattributed Photographs, 1895, 1897, 1936 and undated
DescriptionContainer
Male Nudes, undated
(2 vintage prints)
2
18-19
Portraits, undated
(33 vintage prints)
2
20-25
Groups, 1897, 1936, undated
(14 vintage prints)
2
26-28
Animals, undated
(12 vintage prints)
2
29-31
Landscapes, Exteriors, and Views, 1895, undated
(21 vintage prints)
2
32-34
Beach and Water Scenes, undated
(4 vintage prints)
2
35
Interiors and Furnishings, undated
(6 vintage prints)
2
36
5.4: Professional Studio Portraits, 1904, undated
DescriptionContainer
Thomas Eakins by Geo. and Wm. H. Rau, undated
2
37-38
E.P. Anshutz by Chandler and Sheetz, undated
2
39
Elizabeth Davis Rogers by Gray, 1904
2
40
Cow from "Studies from Nature" Series by Schreiber, undated
2
41
Unidentified Women by Sarony, undated
2
42
Unidentified Men by Geo. and Wm. H. Rau, undated
2
43
Unidentified Child, undated
2
44
5.5: Photographs of Anshutz and Works of Art, undated
DescriptionContainer
Photographs of Anshutz and His Studio, undated
2
45-46
Group Photograph, Philadelphia Sketch Club, undated
2
47
Drawings of Harper's Ferry, undated
2
48

5.1: Photographs by Circle of Thomas Anshutz and Thomas Eakins , circa 1880-1886

This group of 66 vintage prints includes photographic figure studies, both clothed and nude, in classroom and outdoor settings; individual portraits; class portraits from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; informal photographs of students in the classroom; staged scenes of groups outdoors; and photographs of works of art. Among those pictured are Thomas Anshutz, Thomas Eakins, Eadweard Muybridge, William H. MacDowell, Susan MacDowell (later Eakins), and J. Laurie Wallace.
The photographs in this series are attributed to the Circle of Anshutz and Eakins from the period when the two worked together at the Pennsylvania Academy and the University of Pennsylvania, between 1880, when Eakins first acquired a camera, and 1886, when Eakins was dismissed from the Academy and presumably ceased contact with Anshutz. Although the prints bear no information regarding who took them or when, many of these photographs are known to have been taken by someone in Eakins' circle because duplicate images or close variants exist in other collections associated with Eakins. The most notable of these collections is the Charles Bregler collection, which consists of papers rescued from Eakins' studio in 1938 by Charles Bregler, friend of Susan MacDowell Eakins, and acquired from Bregler's widow by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1985. Other photographs have been attributed and dated to that period based on their content, such as the portraits of Susan MacDowell, who was a student at the Academy until 1882.
Some of the sessions and excursions represented in this series are well-known in the literature on Eakins, particularly the outdoor nudes and the figure studies of models in classical dress. In some cases, published sources have credited Eakins as the photographer, even of photographs in which he appears. Others have noted that students, assistants, and teacher alike served as both models and photographers. Given this atmosphere of collaboration, and in the absence of any identifying marks, it is nearly impossible to attribute these photographs to a specific photographer. While it is likely that Eakins took some of these photographs, it is equally likely that Anshutz took some as well, especially considering the collection's provenance. Anshutz may also have printed photographs that he did not take and kept the prints among his papers. Students known to have taken photographs at PAFA during this period, who may also have taken photographs in this series, include John Laurie Wallace and Covington Few Seiss. Susan MacDowell was also a photographer at that time and could conceivably have assumed that role in her classes.
The photograph of William H. MacDowell, Eakins' father-in-law, is attributed to Eakins in several published sources, and this attribution is maintained here. A print of Eakins' painting The Gross Clinic may have been made from a negative taken circa 1875-1876, when Eakins is said to have used the photograph to introduce his painting to the public.
Additional photographs taken during this period may also be among the Unattributed Photographs.
Description Container
William H. MacDowell, circa 1883-1884
(1 vintage print)
1
25-26
Triptych of Eadweard Muybridge, circa 1884
(3 vintage prints mounted together)
1
27-28
Portraits of Susan MacDowell in PAFA Classroom, circa 1882
(2 vintage prints)
1
29-30
Bartram's Garden, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, circa 1882
(6 vintage Prints)
1
31-32
Class Groups in PAFA Classroom
Students Working, circa 1882
(3 vintage prints)
1
33-34
Class Portraits, circa 1882
(6 vintage prints)
1
35-37
Figure Studies in Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Classroom
Male Nudes, circa 1882-1883
(1 vintage print)
1
38-39
Men in Classical Costume, circa 1882-1883
(5 vintage prints)
1
40-42
Women in Empire Dress, circa 1882-1883
(5 vintage prints)
1
43-44
Susan MacDowell in Empire Dress, circa 1882-1883
(3 vintage prints)
1
45-46
Susan MacDowell in Group, Empire Dress, circa 1882-1883
(2 vintage prints)
1
47-48
Woman in Kimono, circa 1882-1883
(1 vintage print)
1
49-50
Cow, circa 1882-1883
(1 vintage print)
1
51-52
Figure Studies Outdoors, Male Nudes
Unidentified Men, circa 1883
(6 vintage prints)
1
53-54
Two Nude Models with Clothed Man, circa 1883
(2 vintage prints)
1
55-56
Thomas Eakins and J. Laurie Wallace, circa 1883
(4 vintage prints)
1
57-59
Thomas Eakins, circa 1883
(1 vintage print)
1
60-61
Costumed Groups in Staged Outdoor Scenes, undated
(12 vintage prints)
1
62-64
Works of Art, undated
(2 vintage prints)
1
65

5.2: Photographs by Thomas Anshutz , 1890s

In this series, Anshutz is assumed to be the photographer because he possessed the original negatives, and/or because the images were used as studies for his paintings of the 1890s and 1900s. The series consists of 49 images from glass plate negatives, 3 with vintage albumen prints made from those negatives, and 14 additional prints without negatives, most of which are cyanotype (blue) prints.
Images are grouped by subject matter and setting. Fishing boat scenes, domestic scenes, and beach scenes were probably taken at Holly Beach, NJ, where Anshutz often vacationed with his family. One photograph of a child with Anshutz in the background (filed with Portraits) suggests that others in the family may have been involved in taking these photographs. Images of boys on an industrial riverfront were taken on the Ohio River near Wheeling, then in Virginia, now in West Virginia. Images of Ships and Docks may have been taken during Anshutz's long river excursion down the Delaware and Maurice Rivers in 1897.
The original format of most of these images is the original glass plate negative, either 4x5" or 6 ½ x 8 ½". Vintage contact prints, presumably made by Anshutz, are present for only 3 of these images, all cropped. Digital scans have been made from the original glass negatives, and the negatives themselves are closed to researchers. Copy negatives and copy prints have been created by the Archives for all of the images in this series, and are filed after originals. Copies have not been digitized.
Additional photographs taken by Thomas Anshutz may be filed in Photographs by Circle of Anshutz and Eakins or Unattributed Photographs.
Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Description Container
Boys with Fishing Boat, 1890s
(2 glass plate negatives housed in Box 3)
2
1-2
Figures with Fishing Boat, 1890s
(5 glass plate negatives housed in Box 3; includes 1 vintage print)
2
3-4
Boys on Industrial Riverfront, 1890s
(5 glass plate negatives housed in Box 3)
2
5
Riverboat Hudson, 1890s
(1 glass plate negative housed in Box 3)
2
6
Ships and Docks, 1890s
(7 glass plate negatives housed in Boxes 3 and MGP 2; 12 cyanotypes; 1 albumen print)
2
7-9
Domestic Scenes, 1890s
(10 glass plate negatives housed in Boxes 3 and MGP 2; includes 1 vintage print)
2
10-11
Beach and Water Scenes, 1890s
(6 glass plate negatives housed in Boxes 3 and MGP 2)
2
12
Cows, undated
(8 glass plate negatives housed in MGP 2; includes 1 vintage print)
2
13-14
Model in Roman Costume, undated
(1 glass plate negative housed in Box 3)
2
15
Portraits, 1890s, undated
(4 glass plate negatives housed in Boxes 3 and MGP 2; 1 cyanotype)
2
16-17
Glass Plate Negatives
31 glass negatives
3
Glass Plate Negatives
18 glass negatives
MGP 2

5.3: Unattributed Photographs , 1895, 1897, 1936 and undated

Photographs in this series consist of 92 vintage albumen or cyanotype prints, both mounted and unmounted. Some are similar in subject matter and format to those attributed to the Circle of Anshutz and Eakins, and others bear more similarity to the later photographs made by Anshutz. Despite similarities, however, images in this series have not been directly associated with the photography of Eakins and his circle or with Anshutz as have the photographs above. Due to this ambiguity and lack of identifying information on the photographs themselves, they have not been attributed.
Several unidentified individuals, interior spaces, and furnishings re-appear in portraits and groups, and may depict family and friends of Anshutz. Occasionally multiple prints are mounted on a single backing; in these cases, they have been counted as a single print.
Description Container
Male Nudes, undated
(2 vintage prints)
2
18-19
Portraits, undated
(33 vintage prints)
2
20-25
Groups, 1897, 1936, undated
(14 vintage prints)
2
26-28
Animals, undated
(12 vintage prints)
2
29-31
Landscapes, Exteriors, and Views, 1895, undated
(21 vintage prints)
2
32-34
Beach and Water Scenes, undated
(4 vintage prints)
2
35
Interiors and Furnishings, undated
(6 vintage prints)
2
36

5.4: Professional Studio Portraits , 1904, undated

This series includes 11 photographs taken in professional photographers' studios and mounted on commercially-stamped backing. A few individuals are identified, including one photograph of Thomas Eakins, and another of E.P. Anshutz, Thomas Anshutz's brother.
Description Container
Thomas Eakins by Geo. and Wm. H. Rau, undated
2
37-38
E.P. Anshutz by Chandler and Sheetz, undated
2
39
Elizabeth Davis Rogers by Gray, 1904
2
40
Cow from "Studies from Nature" Series by Schreiber, undated
2
41
Unidentified Women by Sarony, undated
2
42
Unidentified Men by Geo. and Wm. H. Rau, undated
2
43
Unidentified Child, undated
2
44

5.5: Photographs of Anshutz and Works of Art , undated

This series includes twelve prints that appear to have been made at a later time, including a portrait of Anshutz, Anshutz painting a sitter's portrait, Anshutz's studio, a group photograph of the Philadelphia Sketch Club, and six reproductions of drawings of Harper's Ferry by Anshutz. Some of the photographs are annotated by Anshutz's son, Edward Anshutz.
Description Container
Photographs of Anshutz and His Studio, undated
2
45-46
Group Photograph, Philadelphia Sketch Club, undated
2
47
Drawings of Harper's Ferry, undated
2
48

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.