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William E. Phelps papers, 1939-1979

Phelps, William E., 1897-1967

Collector, Art patron


Collection Information

Size: 0.2 Linear feet, (141 items on partial microfilm reel)

Summary: 12 letters (2 are illustrated) from Andrew Wyeth to William E. Phelps; 6 letters from Wyeth's wife Betsy to Phelps and his wife Mary, 1939-1969; 8 letters to Andrew Wyeth and Phelps from friends and colleagues. Wyeth's letters were written from Chadds Ford, Pa. and Port Clyde, Cushing, and Thomaston, Me. and concern the business of borrowing paintings for exhibitions but also contain family news and some personal insights.
Also contains letters from Wyeth's dealer, E. Coe Kerr of M. Knoedler and Co., Inc. to Wyeth and receipts from sales of his paintings; 91 photographs of Andrew, Betsy, Henriette, N.C. Wyeth, Peter Hurd, and others at the Wyeths' house in Maine and the Hurds' house in New Mexico. Included are photographs of the Wyeths painting in their studios, an exhibition of the Phelps' collection; and clippings.

Biographical/Historical Note

Collector, art patron; Montchanin, Delaware. Resided in the Brandywine Valley between Wilmington, De. and Chadds Ford, Pa. where he and his wife, Mary, became friends with many local artists. He was an early patron of Andrew Wyeth and a close friend of the Wyeth family.


The donor, Mary C. Parrish, is the niece of William E. Phelps. She found these papers in the furniture she inherited from the estate.

Language Note

English .

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reel 3589 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

William E. Phelps papers, 1939-1979. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.