The Jervis McEntee papers have been arranged into five series, based on material type. Series 1: Letters, 1850-1905, undated (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet) Series 2: Vaux Family Letters and Correspondence, 1850-1890, undated (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet) Series 3: Third Party Letters, 1861-1873, undated (Box 2; 0.1 linear feet) Series 4: Miscellany, 1796, 1848-1895, undated (Box 2; 0.1 linear feet) Series 5: Diaries, 1872-1890 (Box 3-4; 0.6 linear feet)
Access Note / Rights:
Use of original papers requires and appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
The papers of Hudson River School painter Jervis McEntee measure 1.6 linear feet and date from 1796 and 1848 to 1905. Letters from close friends and family members to McEntee include many from his mentor Frederic Edwin Church, and fellow artists Samuel Putnam Avery, George Henry Boughton, Sanford Gifford, Richard Henry, Eastman Johnson, Elizabeth B. Stoddard, John Ferguson Weir, Worthington Whittredge, and others. Papers relating to the McEntee family include obituaries, a family genealogy, and letters from and regarding family members. There are also papers relating to the Vaux family (McEntee's brother-in-law's family) and American architect and landscape artist Calvert Vaux, who designed a studio for McEntee. Of special significance are five volumes of diaries dating from 1872 through 1890 which provide a detailed depiction of the American art world in the 1870s and 1880s.
Jervis McEntee papers, 1796, 1848-1905. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Letters, family papers, and five volumes of diaries of Jervis McEntee in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2007, 2017, and 2018, and are available on the Archives' website. Transcripts of the entries are available at https://www.aaa.si.edu/collection-features/jervis-mcentee-diaries.
Material lent for microfilming is available on 35mm microfilm reel D9 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reel D9) including a diary dated June 12, 1851-August 17, 1851. This material was returned to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York and is not described in the collection container inventory.
Jervis McEntee was born in Rondout, New York, July 14, 1828. He had early literary and artistic aspirations and studied under Frederic E. Church, who had himself studied under the Hudson River School master, Thomas Cole. McEntee was to maintain a close relationship with Church for the rest of his life. After an unsuccessful stint as a businessman, McEntee settled in New York in 1857 as one of the charter residents of Richard Morris Hunt's Tenth Street Studio Building. Since many of the other occupants were either bachelors or commuters, and since Mrs. McEntee was a lively, sympathetic hostess, the couple became the center of a spontaneous salon frequented by some of the best-known artists, writers, and actors of the time. After his wife died in 1878, McEntee stayed on, an increasingly neglected widower until his death in 1891.
The Adirondack Museum lent one diary for microfilming in 1964. The rest of the collection was acquired from several donors between 1959 and 1997. The noted collector Charles E. Feinberg donated letters in 1959 and, Mrs. Helen S. McEntee, who married the nephew of Jervis McEntee, donated the five volumes of diaries in 1964. William Gaffken, director of the insurance company that acquired the McEntee family insurance business, donated the remaining papers in 1997.
Letters, family papers, and five volumes of diaries of Jervis McEntee in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2007, 2017, and 2018, and are available on the Archives' website. Transcripts of the diary entries are available at https://www.aaa.si.edu/collection-features/jervis-mcentee-diaries.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001