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William Trost Richards papers

Creator:
Richards, William Trost, 1833-1905  Search this
Names:
Avery, Samuel Putnam, 1822-1904  Search this
Coates, Edward Hornor, 1846-1921  Search this
Eakins, Thomas, 1844-1916  Search this
Lambdin, George Cochran, 1830-1896  Search this
Lanman, Charles, 1819-1895  Search this
Whitney, George, D. 1885  Search this
Wilcox, William H.  Search this
Extent:
1.8 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Daguerreotypes
Photographs
Date:
1848-1920
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.
Scope and Contents note:
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, Rhode Island.
Arrangement note:
The collection is arranged into 6 series:

Series 1: Correspondence, 1851-1917, undated (Box 1-2; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 2: Writings, 1849-1905, undated (Box 2-4; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 3: Business Files, 1865-1920, undated (Box 4; 3 folders)

Series 4: Printed Material, 1850-1906, 1976, undated (Box 4-5; 5 folders)

Series 5: Miscellany, 1848-1876, undated (Box 5; 5 folders)

Series 6: Photographs, circa 1850-1900 (Box 5; 7 folders)
Biographical/Historical note:
William Trost Richards was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1833. From 1850 to 1858 he worked as a designer and illustrator of ornamental metalwork, and briefly studied draughtsmanship and painting with the German artist Paul Weber. Richards was also an active member of the Forensic and Literary Circle of Philadelphia during the early 1850s. In 1852 he had his first exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and a year later was elected a full Academician. He had great interest in landscapes and geological subjects, and spent summers sketching in the Catskills and Adirondacks. From 1855 to 1856 Richards toured Europe with William Stanley Haseltine and Alexander Lawrie, and was influenced by the Dusseldorf school of landscape painters.

Richards married aspiring poetess Anna Matlack in 1856, and they settled in Germantown, Pennsylvania, where they had eight children, five of which survived to adulthood. In 1858 he attended an exhibition of British art in Philadelphia, and was greatly influenced by the works of Pre-Raphaelite painters. He began painting outdoors, executing precise, naturalistic, yet atmospheric, landscapes. In 1862 he joined the National Academy of Design, and in 1863 joined the Society for the Advancement of Truth in Art, an American Pre-Raphaelite organization. From 1868 to 1874, Richards spent summers on the East Coast and began focusing on marine subjects painted in watercolor, exhibiting often with the American Watercolor Society. Richards also traveled to Europe several times, and lived there from 1879-1880 while trying to find a new direction for his artwork. In 1881 he built a summer house for his family in Newport, Rhode Island and moved there permanently in 1890. His wife Anna died in 1900, and he continued to paint landscapes and seascapes until his death in 1905.
Related Archival Materials note:
Also available on microfilm at the Archives are the Geoge Whitney papers relating to William Trost Richards, 1875-1885, which includes 112 watercolors and an oil painting by William Trost Richards. These items were lent anonymously in 1979 and returned to the lender after they were filmed. They are available on reels 1497.
Provenance:
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.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The William Trost Richards papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Marine painters -- Rhode Island -- Newport  Search this
Marine painting -- 19th century -- Rhode Island -- Newport  Search this
Landscape painting -- 19th century -- Pennsylvania -- Germantown  Search this
Landscape painters -- Pennsylvania -- Germantown  Search this
Genre/Form:
Daguerreotypes
Photographs
Citation:
William Trost Richards papers, 1848-1920. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.richwill
See more items in:
William Trost Richards papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-richwill
Additional Online Media:

Russell, Xanthus, and Mary Smith family papers

Creator:
Smith family (Philadelphia, Pa.)  Search this
Names:
Smith, Mary Priscilla, 1819-1874  Search this
Smith, Mary Russell, 1842-1878  Search this
Smith, Russell, 1812-1896  Search this
Smith, Xanthus, 1839-1929  Search this
Extent:
5.12 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Sketchbooks
Writings
Scrapbooks
Tintypes
Drawings
Daguerreotypes
Ambrotypes
Photographs
Sketches
Date:
1793-1977
bulk 1826-1977
Summary:
The Russell, Xanthus, and Mary Smith family papers comprise 5.12 linear feet and are dated 1793-1977, bulk 1826-1977. Correspondence, writings, artwork, financial records, printed material, miscellaneous items and photographs provide documentation of the lives and works of painter, illustrator and poet, Russell Smith, and his son, painter Xanthus Smith, and scattered documentation of the lives of his wife, painter and educator Mary Priscilla Smith, and daughter and painter Mary Russell Smith.
Scope and Content Note:
The Russell, Xanthus, and Mary Smith family papers comprise 5.12 linear feet and are dated 1793-1977, bulk 1826-1977. Correspondence, writings, artwork, financial records, printed material, miscellaneous items and photographs provide documentation of the lives and works of painter, illustrator and poet, Russell Smith, and his son, painter Xanthus Smith, and scattered documentation of the lives of his wife, painter and educator Mary Priscilla Smith, and daughter and painter Mary Russell Smith.

Family papers include correspondence, writings, printed material, and miscellaneous items. Correspondence, the bulk of which is comprised of letters to and from Russell and Xanthus Smith, covers both personal and professional matters. Among the correspondents are family, friends, colleagues, and arts organizations. Writings, printed material, and miscellaneous items in this series refer either to the entire Smith family or multiple individuals. Miscellaneous items also concern Horace Binder, father-in-law of Xanthus Smith.

The Russell Smith papers are comprised of biographical information, writings, artwork, and financial records. Biographical information includes some personal documents such as passports and marriage certificates. Among Russell Smith's writings are an autobiography, transcripts of correspondence, and notes. Artwork consists of loose pages and sketch books containing sketches and drawings in pencil, ink, and watercolor. His financial records are cash books recording professional and personal expenses, and receipts and memorabilia from the family's 1851-1852 travels in Europe. The printed material consists of loose clippings and a scrapbook of clippings from Philadelphia newspapers, as well as a small number of exhibition catalogs.

The Xanthus Smith papers consist of biographical information, artwork, financial records, and printed material. Among the writings are his unpublished autobiography, biographies of his father and sister, impressions of the Centennial art exhibition, journals, notes, and poems. Artwork consists of loose sketches in pencil and ink, and sketchbooks containing sketches and finished drawings in pencil and ink, some colored with gouache or watercolor washes. Financial records are cash books recording personal and professional expenses. Printed material includes clippings and a scrapbook.

The Mary Smith papers consist of writings, sketches, and printed material. The papers of her mother, Mary Priscilla Smith, are comprised of writings and printed material.

Photographs are of people, artwork, and miscellaneous subjects. People represented are Russell and Mary Priscilla Smith, their children Xanthus and Mary Smith, and several other relatives including Xanthus's wife and Russell's sister, granddaughter, and uncle. Photographs include ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, and tintypes, along with glass negatives and a small number of original prints. Copy prints have been produced from the glass negatives and other cased photographs. Photographs of artwork are of paintings by Russell Smith, Xanthus Smith, and other artists.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 6 series:

Series 1: Smith Family Papers, 1793-1977 (Box 1; 0.9 linear ft.)

Series 2: Russell Smith Papers, 1805-1954 (Boxes 1-2; 1.2 linear ft.)

Series 3: Xanthus Smith Papers, 1850-1953 (Boxes 3-4; 1.9 linear ft.)

Series 4: Mary Smith Papers, 1852-1877 (Box 5; 4 folders)

Series 5: Mary Priscilla Smith Papers, 1839-1874 (21 folders)

Series 6: Photographs, circa 1845-1934 (Box 6-7, MGP 3, Black Cabinet; 0.9 linear ft.)

Microfilm reel numbers and frames are referenced at folder headings in parenthesis when known. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Biographical Note:
Russell Smith (1812-1896) was a native of Glasgow, Scotland whose family came to the United States in 1819 and settled near Pittsburgh. The Smith children were educated at home, and Russell showed an early interest in art. His first formal training in portraiture and landscape painting was in Pittsburgh under James Reid Lambdin. Around 1827, Smith began painting backdrops for theaters and within 6 years had achieved a national reputation for his theatrical painting. In 1835 he moved to Philadelphia to paint for the Walnut Street Theater, and soon received commissions to paint for theaters in Boston and Washington. Around this time, he also began writing poetry. Even while engaged in theatrical work, Smith continued to paint landscapes which were exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Artists' Fund Society of Philadelphia as early as 1834.

Russell Smith married Mary Priscilla Wilson, a flower painter and teacher of French and drawing, in 1838. By the 1840s, in addition to painting landscapes and theatrical backdrops, Smith was advertising his services as an "illustrator for lectures on various branches of natural science painted in distemper." He accompanied the scientific expeditions of geologists William Barton Rogers and Henry Darwin Rogers to Virginia and the Susquehanna and Juniata River valleys of Pennsylvania in 1844 and 1845 as an illustrator. During this period, Smith also traveled extensively in New Hampshire and upstate New York for summer painting expeditions. The Smiths traveled to Europe with their two children in 1851-1852, touring Wales, Scotland, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, London, and Paris. Smith visited major museums and private collections, as well as architectural attractions, making sketches and keeping detailed notes of the trip.

Smith continued painting landscapes well into old age, even though his long out of fashion works were rejected with increasing frequency by the juries of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He died in 1896.

Born in Milestown, Pennsylvania in 1819, Mary Priscilla Smith (1819-1874) studied at a female seminary in Germantown, Pennsylvania operated by noted educator William Russell (Russell Smith's uncle) in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and at Charles Picot's school in Philadelphia. She eventually became a teacher of French, drawing, and painting at the Picot school, and later taught at a school established by William Russell in Philadelphia.

At her husband's urging, Mary Priscilla Smith, already an accomplished flower painter, began painting figures and landscapes, and participated in exhibitions of the Artists' Fund Society exhibitions. After becoming a mother, she painted very little but taught her children, Xanthus and Mary, to draw and paint. Mary Priscilla Smith died in 1874.

Xanthus Smith (1839-1929) was born in Philadelphia and was educated at home. During the family's European tour of 1851-1852 he saw a wide variety of art and, upon returning home, began painting with enthusiasm. Around 1858 he enrolled in a cast drawing class at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

At the start of the Civil War Xanthus Smith enlisted in the Navy, where he served as clerk to the commander of a flagship guarding Port Royal, South Carolina. He began producing detailed drawings of the ships both for official purposes and his own enjoyment. After the war, he continued painting ships and exhibited many of these paintings at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Further commissions of Civil War subjects followed, and Xanthus Smith was soon recognized as the foremost painter of Civil War naval battle scenes.

In the 1880s, Xanthus Smith began painting European landscapes, probably based on his father's sketches made during their 1851-1852 tour of Europe. By the 1900s, he was concentrating on portraiture and figure subjects, and continued painting well into old age. His final years were spent in an unsuccessful attempt to publish his autobiography, "An Unvarnished Tale." Xanthus Smith died in 1929.

Mary Russell Smith (1842-1878) was born near Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. Her mother provided her with instruction in flower painting and she sketched animals and insects independently. At age fourteen Mary Smith completed her first oil painting and by 1858 had begun compiling a list of her completed pictures. She was encouraged by her parents to pursue a career as a professional artist. From 1859-1869, and in 1876 and 1878, Mary Smith exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She also participated in exhibitions at the National Academy of Design in New York, and in the 1876 Centennial Exhibition held in Philadelphia.

From early childhood, Mary Smith enjoyed raising poultry, and chickens became her favorite painting subject. Her paintings of chickens were popular with Philadelphia art collectors, and sought after in England.

Always sickly, Mary Smith died of gastric fever in 1878. At her request, Russell Smith established the Mary Smith Prize, awarded annually by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, for the best painting exhibited by a woman resident of Philadelphia.
Provenance:
The Smith family papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in 1978 and 1979 by Franklin R. Smith, a family descendent.
Restrictions:
The collection is partially microfilmed. Use of material not microfilmed requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Smith family papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Works of art  Search this
Educators -- Pennsylvania  Search this
Painting, Modern -- 19th century -- Pensylvania  Search this
Landscape painting  Search this
Women painters -- Pennsylvania  Search this
Illustrators -- Pennsylvania  Search this
Poets -- Pennsylvania  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketchbooks
Writings
Scrapbooks
Tintypes
Drawings
Daguerreotypes
Ambrotypes
Photographs
Sketches
Citation:
Smith family papers, 1793-1977, bulk 1826-1977. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.smitfami
See more items in:
Russell, Xanthus, and Mary Smith family papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-smitfami
Additional Online Media:

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