The Thomas Prichard Rossiter and Rossiter Family papers measure 0.5 linear feet and date from 1840 to 1961. Included are letters to painter Thomas Prichard Rossiter and letters to his son, architect Ehrick Kensett Rossiter, documenting their friendships with many artists and Thomas Prichard Rossiter's sketchbook and loose sketches. Edith Rossiter Bevan's papers include her writings on her grandfather, Thomas Prichard Rossiter; a scrapbook; photographs of the Rossiter family; notes by Bevan; news clippings; and other printed material. Also found is Bevan's collection of artists' letters.
Scope and Content Note:
The Thomas Prichard Rossiter and Rossiter Family papers measure 0.5 linear feet and date from 1840 to 1961. Included are letters to painter Thomas Prichard Rossiter and letters to his son, architect Ehrick Kensett Rossiter, documenting their friendships with many artists. Notable letters are from James Fenimore Cooper, William Morris Hunt, John Jay, J. F. Kensett, William H. Morris, Samuel F. B. Morse, George Peabody, Cecelia Beaux, William A. Coffin, Daniel Chester French, Will H. Low, Gari Melchers, William Sartain, Augustus Vincent Tack, Dwight Tryon, and many others.
The collection contains Thomas Prichard Rossiter's sketchbook drawn while living in Italy in 1943, and three other sketches including a portrait of his family.
Also found are letters to Edith Rossiter Bevan and her writings on her grandfather, Thomas Prichard Rossiter, including a biography and checklist of his paintings. Bevan also compiled a scrapbook on his career and family history which includes drawings by Rossiter, photographs of the Rossiter family and his artwork, notes by Bevan, news clippings, and other printed material.
A collection of Edith Rossiter Bevan's artists' letters is found within the papers. Letters are from Alexander Archipenko, J. Carroll Beckwith, Reginald Birch, Emma M. Cadwalader-Guild, Andre Castaigne, Fanny Cory, Kenyon Cox, Frank Craig, Charles Dana Gibson, Jay Hambridge, Henry Hutt, A. J. Keller, Rockwell Kent, Fiske Kimball, David Scott Moncrieff, H. Siddons Mowbray, Peter Newell, Rhoda Holmes Nicholls, Ralph M. Pearson, Frederic Remington, Otto Soglow, and Elizabeth Whitmore.
The collection is arranged into 2 series:
Series 1: Thomas Prichard Rossiter and Rossiter Family Papers, 1840-1961 (Box 1-2; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 2: Edith Rossiter Bevan Collection of Artists' Letters, circa 1891-1939, 1951 (Box 1; 2 folders)
Thomas Prichard Rossiter (1818-1871) was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He first learned painting as an apprentice for a Mr. John Boyd, and also studied with Nathaniel Jocelyn. In 1838 he exhibited two paintings at the National Academy of Design, and in 1939 moved to New York City and opened a studio.
In 1840, Rossiter traveled to Europe with Asher B. Durand, John Kensett, and John Casilaer, and while there visited Rome with Thomas Cole. He decided to stay in Italy until 1846 when he moved to New York City and shared a studio with Kensett and Louis Lang. During this period he relied on portrait painting for his income, but also painted historical and religious paintings.
In 1851 Rossiter married Anna Ehrick Parmly and they toured Europe in 1853. They settled in Paris where Anna gave birth to twins Ehrick Kensett and Charlotte. Rossiter exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1855. Anna died shortly after the birth of their daughter Anna, and the family moved back to New York.
For a brief period of time Rossiter had an art gallery, exhibiting his work and the work of his friends. In 1860 he married Mary (Mollie) Sterling and moved his family to Cold Spring, New York on the Hudson River. He continued to paint portraits, historical, and religious paintings, and exhibited at the National Academy of Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, until his death in 1871.
Ehrick Kensett Rossiter (1854-1941), named after his father's friend John Frederick Kensett, attended Cornell University and became an architect in New York as part of the firm Rossiter & Muller. He was a member of the Architectural League, United States Public Architects' League, and trustee of the American Fine Arts Society. In 1877 he married Mary Heath and they had three sons and a daughter. Their daughter Edith Rossiter Bevan was a historian and avid collector of historical autographs.
Also found in the Archives of American Art is a Thomas Prichard Rossiter letter to Elias Beirs dated January 12, 1840.
A portion of the collection was donated in 1957 by Edith Rossiter Bevan, daughter of Ehrick Kensett Rossiter, and granddaughter of Thomas Prichard Rossiter. Additional material was donated in 2007 by Patti Rossiter Ravenscroft, Rossiter's Great Great Granddaughter.
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
The Thomas Prichard Rossiter and Rossiter 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.