The collection is arranged as seven series. Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1897-circa 1960, 2003 (Boxes 1, 7-8; FC 20; 0.45 linear feet) Series 2: Correspondence, 1911-1984 (Box 1; 0.9 linear feet) Series 3: Writings, 1904-1963 (Boxes 2, 8; 0.55 linear feet) Series 4: Chester Dale Collection, circa 1930-1968 (Boxes 2-3; 1 linear foot) Series 5: Printed Material, 1925-circa 1972 (Boxes 3-4, 8, OV 9; 1.2 linear feet) Series 6: Scrapbooks, circa 1920s-1963 (Box 4, BVs 10-14; 1.2 linear feet) Series 7: Photographs, circa 1883-1972 (Boxes 4-6, 19, BVs 15-17, OV 18; 3.3 linear feet)
Access Note / Rights:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D. C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate copy requires advance notice.
The papers of New York art collector Chester Dale measure 8.4 linear feet and date from circa 1883-2003. Dale amassed one of the world's most complete collections of nineteenth and twentieth century French art, was a collector of eighteenth century American portraitists, and a patron and collector of twentieth American artists including George Bellows and Mary Cassatt. The bulk of the collection dates from 1920 to 1970 and documents Dale's activities through biographical material, correspondence, memoirs and other writings, purchase, sales and estate records, printed material, scrapbooks, and photographs.
Chester Dale papers, circa 1883-2003, bulk 1920-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The bulk of the collection was digitized in 2018 and is available on the Archives of American Art website. Materials which have not been digitized include blank pages, blank versos of photographs, negatives and transparencies for which prints exist, stereo slides, the dictaphone recordings, the home movie, and duplicates. In some cases, exhibition catalogs and other publications have had only their covers, title pages, and relevant pages digitized.
Funding for the processing and digitization of the Chester Dale papers is provided by The Walton Family Foundation. Funding for the reformatting of the 16mm film reel was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
Holdings at the Archives of American Art also include the Chester Dale papers concerning George Bellows, 1919-1956, comprising correspondence, a photograph, and invoices relating to Chester Dale's relationship with George Bellows and Dale's interest in artwork by Bellows; and the Chester Dale eulogy, consisting of one 35 minute, 9 second sound tape reel of a eulogy delivered by an unidentified speaker.
New York art patron and collector of French and American art Chester Dale (1883-1962), made his fortune as a banker who pioneered the sale of public utility securities. He began purchasing French paintings in the mid-1920s and retired from the investment security business in 1935 in order to focus full time on the acquisition of art.
The collection is in English.
The collection was donated in 1972 by Mary Dale, Chester Dale's second wife, and in 1985 by Mary Dale's estate.
This site provides access to the papers of Chester Dale in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2018, and total 8,963 images.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001