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Catalog Data

Thayer, Abbott Handerson, 1849-1921  Search this
Thayer, Gerald Handerson, 1883-1939  Search this
May, Clara Adelaide, 1872-1946  Search this
Thayer, Abbott Handerson, 1849-1921  Search this
Thayer, Gerald Handerson, 1883-1939  Search this
Thayer, Gladys, 1886 or 7-1945  Search this
Turner, David, Dublin.  Search this
Collection Creator:
Brumbaugh, Thomas B. (Thomas Brendle), 1921-  Search this
6 Items (Letters, written in ink, graphite)
4 Items (Envelopes)
Archival materials
Scope and Contents:
This folder is an amalgamation of letters written by Abbott H. Thayer to his model and friend, Clara A. May. Also included is a thank-you letter from Thayer's son, Gerald, to May.
Organized chronologically.
Biographical / Historical:
Abbott Handerson Thayer was born in Boston, Massachusetts on August 12, 1849 to a distinguished family. He moved from Boston to Brooklyn during his childhood, where he attended the National Academy of Design. Thayer often used his wife, Kate Bloede Thayer, her sister Gertrude, and his three children Mary, Gerald and Gladys as models. He also used Clara A. May as a model. His subjects included ethereal angels, landscapes, women, children, and flowers. When Kate died, Thayer's entire outlook on art and life changed. It had been Kate's family that introduced Thayer to the sense of idealism that comes from a German family who had immigrated to the United States. He had learned about the romanticism surrounding art and literature from the Bloedes, all of which encouraged the artist to paint perfectly beautiful figures. Later in life, Thayer established a permanent household in Dublin, New Hampshire, with his new wife, Emma Beach. He loved to paint the surrounding mountains and birds. Interestingly, Charles Lang Freer was one of Thayer's patrons.
Clara May was one of Thayer's models. May met Thayer at the summer colony of Dublin in New Hampshire, where the two families were neighbors. Their friendship lasted around ten years, but this friendship withered following May's marriage to Reverend Paine. Following her marriage, May no longer worked as a model for Thayer.
Gerald Thayer was one of Abbott Thayer's sons, who wrote an unfinished thank you letter to May which was sent along with Abbott's letter.
Local Numbers:
FSA A2009.06 2
Other Archival Materials:
Thomas B. Brumbaugh research material on Abbott Handerson Thayer and other artists, 1876-1994 (bulk 1960s-1994); Also located at Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.
Art, American  Search this
Correspondence -- 19th century
Correspondence -- 20th century
FSA.A2009.06, Series FSA A2009.06 2
See more items in:
The Brumbaugh Collection of Artist Letters
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives