Sarah Haug and Christopher DeMairo
Scope and Contents note
The records of Vose Galleries of Boston measure 26.6 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, PA 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 Robert C. Vose's era running the Robert C. Vose Galleries in the 1920s-1930s and, lesser so, under Robert C. Vose, Jr.'s direction in 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. There is a handful of correspondence which covers the period of R.C. & N.M. Vose Gallery. 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.
From 1965-1994, Vose Galleries of Boston loaned materials to the Archives of American Art for microfilming. Robert C. Vose, Jr. also donated records in several installments from 1974 to 1997.
Separated Materials note
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming.
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, containing clippings and handwritten lists.
Reel 2380 includes 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 are comprised of 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.
Lent materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Related Archival Materials note
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, 1986); a sound recording and videotape of a Robert C. Vose, Jr. lecture at the Somerset Club (May 14, 1987); a sound recording of an interview with Robert C. Vose (March 1961); the Miscellaneous Art Exhibition Catalog collection containing Vose Galleries exhibition catalogs, circa 1900-1941; and, Robert C. Vose, Jr. typescripts and clippings, 1961, on microfilm reels 3480 and 4314.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collection Care Preservation Fund
The collection was processed to a minimal level and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Haug in 2012. An addition to the collection was processed and added to the finding aid by Christopher DeMairo in 2022.