The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. research facility.
The Sylvester Rosa Koehler papers measure 5.4 linear feet and date from 1833 to 1904, with the bulk of the material dating from 1870 to 1890. The collection consists primarily of Koehler's extensive correspondence to and from many notable artists and printmakers such as Jean F. Harfin, John M. Falconer, Frederick Juengling, and James D. Smillie, as well as friends, and family members and professional correspondence concerning Koehler's activities as a writer, curator, and editor of the American Art Review. The collection also contains financial records and other miscellaneous items.<br /> Correspondence includes hundreds of letters to and from Koehler. Correspondents include many prominent artists, engravers, architects, art critics, curators, historians, journalists, authors, educators, publishers, and others during the late 1800s. Also found is correspondence with family, most of which is in German. Much of the correspondence concerns Koehler's role as editor of the publication American Art Review, and his work promoting American graphic arts.<br /> Financial Records include Koehler's receipts, primarily from 1885, and a handwritten estimate of costs for publishing the American Art Review. Miscellany includes biographical information on the wood engraver, Alexander Anderson, various notes by unidentified authors, news clippings, programs and handwritten song texts for music performances.
Sylvester Rosa Koehler papers, 1833-1904, bulk 1870-1890. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The collection was digitized in 2018 and is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Walton Family Foundation.
Additional correspondence can be found at the Library of Congress, which houses the Papers of S. R. Koehler, 1868-1904, and includes approximately 3,500 letters. Syracuse University Library houses S. R. Koehler Correspondence, 1879-1896, and includes 107 items.
Sylvester Rosa Koehler (1837-1900) was a curator, editor, and art historian. Koehler was Curator of Prints at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, honorary curator of prints of the Smithsonian, and editor of the American Art Review.
Significant portions are in German.
The collection was purchased from Argosy Book Stores, Inc, in 1959. A letter from John Sartain and eleven letters from William Merritt Chase were donated by Charles E. Feinberg, 1955-1962. Two postcards were donated in 2009 by William A. Turnbaugh, an autograph collector. In 2017, John F. McGuigan Jr. and Mary K. McGuigan donated sixty-nine letters from A. Barry, Truman Howe Bartlett, William Merritt Chase, Timothy Cole, Edward Henry Clement, Cyrus Edwin Dallin, Robert Swain Gifford, George Inness, Anna Lea Merritt, Stephen Parrish, John Sartain, Francis Hopkinson Smith, and Frederic Porter Vinton.
This site provides access to the papers of S. R. (Sylvester Rosa) Koehler in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2018, and total 16,110 images.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001