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William Trost Richards papers, 1848-1920

Richards, William Trost, 1833-1905

Painter, Printmaker, Illustrator

This site provides access to the papers of William Trost Richards in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2010. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 4,388 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 1.8 linear ft.

Summary: The William Trost Richards papers measure 1.8 linear feet and date from 1848-1920. The collection documents Richards' personal life and his career as a landscape and seascape painter. The collection consists of correspondence, writings, business files, printed material, photographs, and other miscellaneous materials.
Correspondence files date from 1851 to 1917 and include family correspondence between Richards and his wife Anna as well as with their children. Of note are letters written by William Trost Richards to his wife while he was in Europe, which include many illustrations of his travels. Also found is general correspondence of a personal and professional nature between Richards and friends, artists, art dealers, and collectors, many of whom played a prominent role in Philadelphia society. Writings include essays written by Richards, homemade magazines written and illustrated by the Richards family, and writings by his wife Anna and others.
Business files contain financial, legal, and real estate records, and printed material contains an exhibition catalog from 1976, news clippings, and event programs. Miscellany found in this collection include artwork by others, and inventory of paintings by others, compiled by Richards, and an interview transcript with Miriam Thayer Richards. Photographs include images of Richards, his wife Anna, and their home in Newport, R.I.

Biographical/Historical Note

William Trost Richards (1833-1905) was a marine and landscape painter in Newport, R.I. and Germantown, Pa.


The bulk of the collection was donated in 1980 by Mrs. James B. Conant, Richards's granddaughter. The Archives microfilmed this portion of the collection on reels 2296-2299 upon receipt. The inventory of paintings by others was donated by Victor Spark in 1954 and filmed on reel 3470.

Related Materials


Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.