Skip to main content

Thomas Seir Cummings papers, circa 1824-1983, bulk circa 1824-1894

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.

Series 1: Thomas Seir Cummings Papers , circa 1824-1983
0.4 Linear feet
Box 1

Correspondence includes letters to Cummings from the National Academy of Design inviting him to events and inquiring about his plans for the disposition of his papers relating to the academy, with responses from his daughter, Lydia M. Cummings. In addition, there are copies of eight Cummings letters from the National Academy of Design records, referencing various aspects of academy business. Correspondence from 1981-1983 is National Academy of Design correspondence related to Cummings's papers, and includes notes and correspondence with Whitney Hartshorne, a relative of Cummings.
Writings and notes include handwritten manuscripts of three essays by Cummings: "History of the Early State of the Arts of Design," "On the Education of the Eye," and "Cummings, Cards of Design." Two of the essays include illustrations in pen and ink. There is also a photocopy of Cummings's manuscript for "Cummings, The House of...," notes relating to the National Academy of Design, an account of an incident involving an intoxicated Charles Loring Elliot's visit to an academy exhibition, and a folder of papers given to the academy by Cummings's daughter, Lydia M. Cummings, described in the transmittal envelope as "Private papers." These papers include handwritten memoirs with accounts of Cummings meeting Henry Inman, their subsequent partnership, and Cummings's development as a painter. Also of note is an account of a visit from General Lafayette who brought a miniature of George Washington to the studio for repair. The account describes how Lafayette was accompanied by Alexander Hamilton's widow, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, who brought a miniature for inspection. Writings and notes also include notes on Samuel F. B. Morse, notes and lists of artwork and of exhibitions at the academy, and other fragments of writings on portraiture, art, and artists.
Business and financial records include receipts for payments from Cummings to Samuel F. B. Morse for paintings, National Academy of Design receipts for advertisements, four 1852 checks co-signed by Cummings, an 1854 mortgage signed by Cummings, a resolution that a 1863 credit for the academy given by Thomas be put into a trust, and a draft of Cummings's resignation as treasurer of the academy. There are also records relating to the William Ranney fund, which was organized by fellow artists after Ranney's death to raise money for his wife and two children through an exhibition at the academy and donations from fellow artists; records related to properties occupied by the academy; and an inventory of paintings at the Academy of Fine Arts which the National Academy of Design offered to purchase in circa 1841.
Cummings's personal business records include a copy of his circa 1824 agreement with Henry Inman and a letter from Cummings to Inman's wife, as well as copyright applications for Cummings's marginal drawing cards, and for "A Course in the Elements of Design." Also found is a document produced by the committee to report on the academy's constitution and bylaws, and a handwritten letter of transmittal of the document written by Cummings as head of the committee, as well as Cummings's 1852 copy of the academy's constitution and bylaws with annotations.
Printed material includes a pamphlet entitled "Life and Antique Schools of the National Academy of Design Presentation of a Testimonial to Thoms. S. Cummings, Vice-President, by the Students;" an article printed in the Monthly Illustrator by Cummings, after his death, entitled "Memoirs of a Miniature-Painter-I;" and a copy of Cummings's Historic Annals of the National Academy of Design (1865).
The bulk of this series has been digitized. Materials which have not been digitized include blank pages and duplicates. Publications have had only their covers, title pages, and relevant pages digitized.
Description Container Select
Correspondence, 1894-1896
1
1
Correspondence, 1981-1983
1
2
Correspondence, Copies of Cummings Letters, 1843-1861, from National Academy of Design Collection, circa 1980s
1
3
Writings and Notes
Account of Incident Involving Charles Loring Elliot, 1860
1
4
Essays, circa 1840s-circa 1850s
1
5
Essay on Alfred T. Agate, 1846
1
6
Notes on National Academy of Design, circa 1830s-circa 1860s
1
7
"Private Papers," Memoirs, circa 1825-circa 1860s
1
8
Business and Financial Records
Agreement with Henry Inman, circa 1824, 1846
1
9
Copyright Applications, 1846, 1858
1
10
Correspondence and Receipts for "Historic Annals…", 1915-1919
1
11
Inventory of Paintings in Rooms of the Academy of Fine Arts, 1841
1
12
National Academy of Design, circa 1834-1865
1
13
National Academy of Design Constitution and Bylaws, 1844-1849
1
14
National Academy of Design Properties, 1840-1860
1
15
National Academy of Design Ranney Trust, circa 1859-1863
1
16
Printed Material, 1857, 1869
1
17
Printed Material, Historic Annals of the National Academy of Design, 1865
1
18

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.