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Vose Galleries of Boston records, circa 1876, 1890s-1996, bulk 1920s-1930s

Vose Galleries of Boston

Collection Information

Size: 25.6 linear feet

Summary: The records of Vose Galleries of Boston measure 25.6 linear feet and date from circa 1876, 1890s-1996 with the bulk of materials dating from 1920s-1930s. Nearly 90 percent of the collection documents the gallery's handling of American paintings and portraits through incoming and outgoing business correspondence with artists, clients, galleries, and museums, including considerable correspondence with portrait artist Alfred Jonniaux and clients regarding commissioned portraits. Other materials include client files; artists' biographies; records of sales, consignments, framing, restoration, and banking, mostly from the 1940s-1960s; and scattered exhibition catalogs, newspaper clippings, and postcards. Also found is a handwritten manuscript regarding the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a 1991 videotape about the Vose Galleries and its founding family.
Correspondence of note is with artists Childe Hassam, Malvina Hoffman, Alfred Jonniaux, and John Singer Sargent; galleries Ehrich Galleries, Clapp & Graham Co., M. Knoedler & Co., Macbeth Galleries, Milch Galleries, Newhouse Galleries, Arthur U. Newton Galleries, Norton Galleries, and Howard Young Galleries; the estates of Anna Coleman Ladd and William E. Norton; and the family of Abbott H. Thayer.
Researchers should note that the records do not comprehensively span the gallery's history or operations. The bulk of the collection is correspondence from the 1920s-1930s and, lesser so, from the 1970s. There is little material in the collection which dates before the 1910s or the 1950s-1960s, other than correspondence regarding Alfred Jonniaux and some financial records. Records loaned for microfilming should be consulted for materials outside of the bulk dates of this collection, especially for materials from the late 1800s-early 1900s.

Biographical/Historical Note

Vose Galleries (founded 1841) is a long time family run art gallery based in the Boston, Massachusetts area.


The Vose Galleries of Boston records were donated in several installments from 1974 to 1997 by Robert C. Vose, Jr.

Related Materials

Reel B1 contains a scrapbook compiled by Seth Vose and annotated by Robert Vose that contains clippings, 1886-1900, and an 1889 letter from author and critic Alfred Trumble; and a scrapbook compiled and annotated by Robert C. Vose spanning the years 1920-1940, 1897, and 1905, and containing clippings and handwritten lists.

Reel 2380 contains numerous photographs, circa 1890-1964, of Seth Morton Vose, Robert C. Vose, Sr., artists, collectors, and dealers associated with Vose Galleries; a Macbeth Gallery "smoker" in honor of Emil Carlsen; a drawing of Charles Emil Heil by George F. Wing, and a charcoal drawing after Monticelli by Albion Harris Bicknell. Many of the photographs are annotated by Robert C. Vose.

Reels 3936-3940 contain account books, 1871-1887; a journal, 1889-1903, a ledger, 1889-1901; invoice books, 1896-circa 1954, inventories of paintings and drawings in stock, 1884, 1892 and 1906; exhibition records, 1911-1982?; traveling exhibition records, 1915-1949; and a record of paintings sold, 1876-1894. Written permission is required to access these reels.

Reels 4593-4594 contain clippings, undated and 1891-1989, chiefly about purchases, sales and exhibitions, but also pertaining to art dealers, museums, artists, and art events.

Reel 4909 contains a scrapbook of clippings, announcements, programs, and other printed materials, 1882-1993.

The Archives of American Art holds several separately cataloged collections related to Vose Galleries of Boston, including the Carrig-Rohane Shop records (1903-1962); oral history interviews with Seth Morton Vose (July 24, 1986 - April 28, 1987) and Robert C. Vose, Jr. (June 27 - July 23, 198


Funding for processing was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care Preservation Fund.

Location of Originals

  • Reels B1, 2380 & 3936-3940: Originals in the possession of the Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts.