The papers of Edward Gay and the Gay family measure 2.6 linear feet and date from 1852 to 1983. Found within the papers are biographical materials on Edward and Duncan Gay; personal correspondence from Edward Gay, his wife Martha Feary Gay, and other family members; artwork by Edward and Duncan Gay; writings; printed materials; and photographs of Edward and Duncan Gay, their family, and their work.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Edward Gay and the Gay family measure 2.6 linear feet and date from 1852 to 1983. Found within the papers are biographical materials on Edward and Duncan Gay; personal correspondence from Edward Gay, his wife Martha Feary Gay, and other family members; artwork by Edward and Duncan Gay; writings; printed materials; and photographic materials of Edward and Duncan Gay, their family, and their work.
Papers of Edward Gay include legal documents; family and business correspondence, including correspondence from fellow artists; writings, including reminiscences by Martha Gay; printed materials; artwork, including one sketchbook; a small selection of business papers related to the Artists' Fund Society; and photographs of Edward and Martha Gay, their homes, and Gay's artwork.
Papers of Duncan Gay include biographical materials; family correspondence; printed material; artwork, including three sketchbooks and sketches of house plans; and photographic materials of Duncan Gay, his travels, and his artwork.
Gay family papers consist primarily of correspondence to Ingovar Gay and Helen Gay Learned, and photographs of the Gay family, extended family members, and friends.
The collection is arranged as 3 series.
Series 1: Edward Gay Papers, 1852-1983 (0.8 linear feet; Box 1, OV 4-5)
Series 2: Duncan Gay Papers, 1870-1983 (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)
Series 3: Gay Family Papers, 1888-1970 (1.3 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)
Biographical / Historical:
Landscape painter Edward Gay (1837-1928) lived and worked in Mount Vernon and Cragsmoor, New York and was known for his works depicting the local countryside of upstate New York and the Hudson River Valley.
Born in Mullingar, Ireland to Richard and Ellen Gay, his family immigrated to Albany, New York in 1848. After showing an early affinity for art, Gay began his studies in the studio of local landscape painters William and James Hart. Under the Harts' advisement, Gay traveled to Karlsruhe, Germany in 1862 to continue his studies with Johann Wilhelm Schirmer and Karl Friedrich Lessing. After returning to America in 1864, Gay married the art critic Martha Feary and lived for a short time in New York City before moving his family to Mount Vernon and eventually purchasing a home there in 1870. He exhibited in museums and galleries throughout America and painted murals for public libraries in Mount Vernon and Bronxville, New York. Gay was a member of the National Academy of Design, New York Artists' Fund Society, and Lotus Club, and was a recipient of the National Academy's George Inness Gold Medal and the Society of American Artists' Shaw Prize.
Duncan Gay (1865-1948), Edward Gay's eldest son, was also an artist. Duncan worked as a draftsman and designer for Louis Comfort Tiffany, where he remained employed prior to becoming a self-employed artist and stained glass designer.
The papers were donated in separate accessions beginning in 1959 by Edward Gay's daughter, Dorothy Gay Gordon. Additional materials on Edward Gay were donated by Gay's grandson, Richard G. Coker, in 1974. From 1983 to 1995, materials on Edward and Duncan Gay and the Gay family were donated by Susanne G. Linville, Duncan Gay's daughter.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Edward Gay and Gay family papers, 1852-1983. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for digitization of the Edward Gay and Gay Family Papers was made possible by a gift from Edward Gay's descendants Gay Fort Boswell, Wickie Fort Bridgforth, Melanie Fort Christian, Caleb Fort, Edward Fort, Hamlet Fort, James Fort, William Fort, Claudia Fort Heath, Jack Linville, and Jim Linville, in memory of Daniel Wilkins Fort