Skip to main content

Winslow Homer collection, 1863-1945

Winslow Homer collection, 1863-1945

Homer, Winslow, 1836-1910

Painter, Etcher, Illustrator

Representative image for Winslow Homer collection, 1863-1945

The papers of painter Winslow Homer were digitized in 2005 by the Archives of American Art. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 196 images.

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

Collection Information

Size: 78 items (0.2 linear ft.)

Summary: The Winslow Homer collection measures 0.2 linear feet with material that dates from 1863 and 1877 to 1945. The collection documents Homer's career as a painter and lithographer through letters, printed material, family records, and photographs.

Letters primarily document Homer's later career between 1890 and 1909. Included are an illustrated letter to the art collector George G. Briggs concerning frames, and twenty-six letters to art collector and friend, Thomas B. Clarke, discussing Homer's artwork, exhibitions, sale of his work, and his family. Many of the Clarke letters are transcribed. Also found are twelve letters to Louis Prang, a friend and successful chromolithographer, concerning Homer's drawing techniques and making drawings for Prang's use. Miscellaneous letters include a letter to cellist Emil Salinger, art editor Florence Fuller, and others, discussing his artwork. Marie "Midie" W. Blanchard was Homer's cousin and the folder of her letters includes a letter from Homer to her, and two letters from her to others about Homer.

This collection also contains photograph copies of four pages from the "Family Record" in the Homer family Bible, which records births, deaths, marriages, and locations of family members. The "Century Loan Exhibition" catalog is annotated throughout with notes regarding the exhibition and contains an introduction by Booth Tarkington. Also found is a newspaper clipping about Homer's artwork. Photographs include twenty albumen and cyanotype photographs, on two pages from a photo album, of Winslow Homer and family in various activities.

Biographical/Historical Note

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) was a painter and illustrator from Prouts Neck, Maine.

Provenance

Acquired from various sources: Exhibition catalog and letter to Fuller donated 1954 and 1959 by Lawrence Fleischman; several letters donated by Charles Feinberg via Castano Galleries, 1957; letter to Emil Salinger donated 1961 by Edgar Salinger; photographs donated 1961 by Dorothy Adlow; letter to Homer's dealer donated 1966 by Jean Meissner and William T. Campbell; and 18 letters and receipts to Thomas B. Clarke donated 1979 by Joyce Tyler. Eight letters to Clarke were purchased 1989, with funds provided by the Joseph Coudon VII Memorial fund, established by Katherine Coudon, in memory of her son. Coudon acquired the letters from her mother, a collector of autograph letters. The letter to G. Briggs was donated by unknown source.

Related Materials

Funding

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

A Finding Aid to the Winslow Homer Collection,
1863, 1877-1945
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.homewinl
Biographical Note
Winslow Homer was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1836. He was raised in Cambridge, where he developed a love of art and the outdoors. At the age of 19 he began his career as an illustrator, apprenticing at the J.H. Bufford lithographic firm in Boston. He then decided to become a freelance illustrator. In 1859 Homer moved to New York to work for
Harper's Weekly
, serving as artist-correspondent for the magazine during the Civil War. After taking some art classes at the National Academy of Design, he decided to focus on oil painting. He quickly gained international recognition as a painter, and in 1866 made his first trip to Europe. In 1873 he decided to work in watercolor and found great success in his experimentation with light and color in this medium. In the mid-1880s Homer moved permanently to Prout's Neck, Maine, an isolated area where he built a studio and focused his paintings on man's struggle with nature. Also during the 1880s he worked on a series of etchings based on his paintings. Homer continued to paint for the next twenty years, vacationing summers in places such as the Adirondacks and the Bahamas to capture varied landscapes, until his death in 1910.
Arrangement
Due to the small size of this collection, items are categorized into one series consisting of twelve folders. Items are arranged chronologically within each folder.
Provenance
Acquired from various sources: Exhibition catalog and letter to Fuller donated 1954 and 1959 by Lawrence Fleischman; several letters donated by Charles Feinberg via Castano Galleries, 1957; letter to Emil Salinger donated 1961 by Edgar Salinger; photographs donated 1961 by Dorothy Adlow; letter to Homer's dealer donated 1966 by Jean Meissner and William T. Campbell; and 18 letters and receipts to Thomas B. Clarke donated 1979 by Joyce Tyler. Eight letters to Clarke were purchased 1989, with funds provided by the Joseph Coudon VII Memorial fund, established by Katherine Coudon, in memory of her son. Coudon acquired the letters from her mother, a collector of autograph letters. The letter to G. Briggs was donated by unknown source.
Processing Information
The collection was received in a series of accessions and typically microfilmed at some point after receipt on reels D24, 2814, 3483, 4281, and 1817. The entire collection was fully processed, arranged, and described by Erin Corley and scanned in 2005, with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Additional Forms Available

The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Winslow Homer collection, 1863-1945. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

  • No downloads available