Two 1929 photocopied letters from Gay to "Willie" provide an overview of Gay's life for an article the recipient was writing about Gay's birthplace, Hingham, Massachusetts..
Scrapbooks contain correspondence with Sarah Cooper-Hewitt, Royal Cortissoz, Ralph W. Curtis, Elsie De Wolfe, Henry James, Val Prinsep, Auguste Rodin, Edith Wharton, and others. Also found is correspondence between Matilda and Walter Gay, and between them and other family and friends. Subjects include Walter and Matilda's engagement and early marriage, their daily lives and social engagements in France and during travels to England and the United States, Walter Gay exhibitions and awards, and the experience of living through World War 1. Scrapbooks also include an 1867 pencil sketch; photographs including Gay's Paris studio and apartment and his 1908 exhibition at the George Petit Gallery in Paris, and photos of family, friends, and pets. Some exhibition catalogs, price lists for artwork and clippings are also found in the scrapbooks.
Three additional volumes provide typescript transcripts of all the items in the scrapbooks. The first two volumes also include a table of contents for Scrapbooks 1 and Scrapbook 2. Photocopies of a scrapbook from 1874-1882 are of news clippings regarding Gay and exhibitions of his artwork.
Sketchbooks primarily include animal studies, in addition to some figure studies, European landscapes and marine studies. The bulk of the sketches are in pencil with a few in ink and watercolor.
Three photographs include a photographic portrait of Gay as well as Gay in his Paris Studio and in an exhibition hall. An additional 1980 photograph is of an oil painting by Gay.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The Walter Gay 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.
Walter Gay papers, 1870-1937, 1980. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.