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.
Letters, photographs, writings and notes.
REEL D10: A memoir of Francis Martin Drexel, said to have been written for his children, ca. 1830. He writes of his youth, going from town to town in Italy, Switzerland, and Austria, and of Paris, to find work painting coaches, portraits, etc. He details his emigration to the U.S. leaving Amsterdam on the JOHN OF BALTIMORE, with much about the contract between Captain Richards and passengers, reneging, dishonesty of fellow passenger Mr. Bayer, and his early years in Philadelphia.
UNMICROFILMED: Research material mainly on 18th c. French artists, including correspondence, notes, transcripts, articles, photographs, etc., ca. 1948-1963, about or arising from Benisovich's research into the lives and work of Jacques Louis David, Jean Etienne Liotard (incl. typescript of a biography), Frans Post, Nicolas Antoine Taunay (incl. typescript of biography and catalogue), Adolph Ulrich Wertmuller, Francisco de Miranda, Francis Martin Drexel, et al. His correspondence was mostly with editors, scholars, and museum and library staff. Some letters related to sales of art, others to personal matters.
Michel N. Benisovich research material, 1901-1963. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Microfilm reel D10 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Location of Originals:
Original copy of Drexel's memoir is in the possession of John D. Laukenau.
Art historian; New York, N.Y. Benisovich came to the U.S. from Russia and studied at N.Y.U. A member of the College Art Association, he wrote N.A. TAUNAY, 1753-1830, UNDERCURRENTS IN FRENCH PAINTING.
Many of the letters are in French and German.
Katherine Drexel Penrose typed Francis Martin Drexel's memoir from the original in 1901.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001