Skip to main content

William Christopher papers, circa 1920s-circa 1973

Christopher, William R. (William Rodolphus), 1924-1973


Collection Information

Size: 8.2 linear feet

Summary: The William Christopher papers measure 8.2 linear feet and date from circa 1920s to circa 1973. Materials include biographical materials, correspondence, writings and notes, five diaries, subject/project files, printed materials, photographs, numerous sketches and eleven sketchbooks, and five film reels. The subject/project files include correspondence, printed materials, and two additional diaries about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
Biographical materials include address books, annotated memorabilia, awards and certificates, curriculum vitae and resume materials, and identification materials. Correspondence is with friends and fellow artists, including actress Osceola Archer and Henry Crapo, galleries, and others. Writings and notes include eleven notebooks, miscellaneous undated notes and papers, annotated drafts and writings by William Christopher, and writings by others. There are five diaries written by William Christopher from the 1940s to the 1960s.
Subject files document miscellaneous projects in which Christopher was involved and/or interested, and include several about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. containing correspondence, printed material, and two diaries written by Christopher during his attendance of the Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery.
Scattered personal business papers concern artwork sold and loaned and personal finances. Printed materials include clippings, exhibition catalogs and materials, magazines and programs, and posters. Photographs are of William Christopher, Henry Crapo, Margaret French, Charles Howard, Bernard Perlin, George Tooker, male models and figures, furniture, landscapes, buildings, and artwork.
Christopher's papers include over one hundred sketches and watercolors, eleven sketchbooks, an artwork by Dimitri Von Mohrenshildt, and one sketch by George Tooker. Also found among the papers are five short film reels made by Christopher for an unfinished project, containing primarily footage of New York City street scenes.

Biographical/Historical Note

William Christopher was a painter, art instructor, and Civil Rights activist living and working in New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont.


William Christopher donated his papers to the Archives of American Art in 1972.


Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fun.