The photographs of painter Edwin Burrage Child measure 2.2 linear feet and date from 1902-1936. Included in this collection are original photographic prints and copy prints; 101 negatives; 59 glass plate negatives; and one folder of miscellaneous papers including a sketch by Edwin Burrage Child. Photographs depict artwork, interiors, furniture, and people.
Scope and Contents:
The photographs of Edwin Burrage Child measure 2.2 linear feet and date from 1902-1936. Included in this collection are original photographic prints and copy prints; 101 negatives; 59 glass plate negatives; and one folder of miscellaneous papers including a sketch by Edwin Burrage Child. Photographs depict artwork, interiors, furniture, and people.
Photographs of people and other subjects depict several portrait images of Edwin Burrage Child, as well as many photographs and negatives of unidentified groups and events, children, men building a log cabin structure at Child's Dorset, Vermont home, and several models for painting.
Photographs of landscapes, buildings, and animals include a series of landscape photographs of Central Park, complete with the city in the background; many images of the Dorset, Vermont landscape with Child's house and barn structures depicted; landscapes with rainclouds and lightning, also in Dorset, Vermont; and images of horses attached to carriages and wagons, and cows and sheep, as well as several images of a dead horse on the streets of a small town.
Photographs of interiors, furniture, and lighting are made up primarily of copy prints and negatives, and include images of pieces of furniture, light fixtures and sconces, as well as entire interior rooms of what is probably Child's Dorset home. Additionally, photographs of Child's studio with paintings hung on walls are also found here.
Photographs of artwork make up the bulk of the collection, with original prints, copy prints, negatives, and glass plate negatives of primarily portrait paintings by Edwin Burrage Child. Many of the original photographic prints have been annotated on the backs with descriptive information about the portrait model, where they are from, and their occupation. Some annotations contain anecdotal information about Child's interactions or experiences with the sitters, and have been written by Child's youngest son, Sargent Burrage Child. While some of the descriptive information has been identified as written by both Edwin Burrage Child and Sargent Burrage Child, some writing could not be identified. A set of glass plate negatives without prints also depicts several of Child's landscape paintings. Additionally, a dismantled photograph album contains original prints of Child's portraits of men, women, and children, as well as containing the most descriptive information of all the prints in the collection.
Miscellaneous papers contains a sketch with note by Edwin Burrage Child; a handwritten letter in pencil, on Child's stationery, by Child; a typed exhibition inventory of portraits in the Washington, D. C. exhibit, "Portraits by Edwin Burrage Child," in 1930; and a copy of the 5 x 7 glass plate negatives box that previously stored glass plate negatives.
The collection is arranged as 6 series. Glass plate negatives are housed in Series 6 and are closed to researchers.
Series 1: Photographs of People and Other Subjects, circa 1908-circa 1936 (15 folders; Box 1)
Series 2: Photographs of Landscapes, Buildings, and Animals, 1903-circa 1936 (24 folderst; Box 1)
Series 3: Photographs of Interiors, Furniture, and Lighting, circa 1902-circa 1936 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 4: Photographs of Artwork, 1902-1936 (28 folders; Boxes 2-3, 6)
Series 5: Miscellaneous Papers, circa 1930 (1 folder; Box 3)
Series 6: Glass Plate Negatives, 1910-circa 1930 (0.9 linear feet; Boxes 4-5)
Biographical / Historical:
Edwin Burrage Child (1868-1937) was a landscape and portrait painter who lived and worked in New York City and Dorset, Vermont, and was most known for his male portraiture.
Child was born in Gouverneur, New York in 1868 to Jonathan Bush Child and Sarah Burnham. In the 1880s, Child attended Amherst College and received art lessons during the summers from artist Margaret C. Whiting (1860-1946). In 1890, he graduated from Amherst College and moved to New York City to pursue a career as an artist, becoming a student in 1891 at the Art Students League. Child's artistic debut was in 1892 at the National Academy of Design annual exhibition. From 1891 to 1895, he studied under painter, muralist, and stained-glass designer John LaFarge (1835-1910), and worked as his assistant from 1896-1901. Edwin Burrage Child then spent many years working as an illustrator and writer for leading periodicals such as Scribner's, Harper's, McClure's, and others.
As a landscape painter, Child was awarded a medal at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition in St. Louis in 1904, and the majority of his landscapes were modeled from his summer home in Dorset, Vermont. In 1908, his focused moved to easel painting -- primarily landscapes and portraits. Child was most known for his portraits of intellectual males, with sitters including Senator Dwight M. Morrow, Governor Wilbur L. Cross of Connecticut, Professor John Dewey, and painter Ivan G. Olinsky, among many others. His work appeared in shows at the National Academy of Design and the Society of Independent Artists in New York, as well as the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. He also had many one-man shows over the years, primarily in New York City. In 1930, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. held an exhibition of his portraits.
Child was married to Anna Gertrude Sykes in 1894, and they had three children: Katherine E. (1895-1966), Bradford (1896-1948), and Sargent Burrage (1900-1972). Child also made furniture as a hobby and remodeled his home in Dorset Hollow, as well as Gray's Tavern, which later became the Dorset Village Public Library. Additionally, he was a frequent lecturer, speaking at colleges and universities, including Yale, Michigan State College, Columbia, City College of New York, and Massachusetts State College at Amherst. Child spent the last ten years of his life living in Dorset, Vermont, and died in 1937.
The Edwin Burrage Child photographs were transferred to the Archives of American Art on June 6, 1979, from the National Collection of Fine Arts (NCFA) Library.
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Glass plates are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Edwin Burrage Child photographs, 1902-1936. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.