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Hiram Powers papers

Creator:
Powers, Hiram, 1805-1873  Search this
Names:
Adams, John Quincy, 1767-1848  Search this
Astor, William B. (William Backhouse), 1792-1875  Search this
Atlee, Samuel Yorke, b. 1808  Search this
Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 1806-1861  Search this
Bryant, William Cullen, 1794-1878  Search this
Calhoun, John C. (John Caldwell), 1782-1850  Search this
Crawford, Thomas, 1813 or 14-1857  Search this
Dix, John A. (John Adams), 1798-1879  Search this
Durand, Asher Brown, 1796-1886  Search this
Everett, Edward, 1794-1865  Search this
Fuller, Charles Francis  Search this
Gray, Henry Peters, 1819-1877  Search this
Greeley, Horace, 1811-1872  Search this
Healy, G.P.A. (George Peter Alexander), 1813-1894  Search this
Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845  Search this
Kinney, E. Clementine  Search this
Kinney, William  Search this
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882  Search this
Marsh, George Perkins, 1801-1882  Search this
Morse, Samuel Finley Breese, 1791-1872  Search this
Peabody, George, 1795-1869  Search this
Powers, Longworth, 1835-1904  Search this
Powers, Preston, 1842 or 1843-1904  Search this
Sartain, John, 1808-1897  Search this
Story, William Wetmore, 1819-1895  Search this
Taylor, Bayard, 1825-1878  Search this
Trollope, Francis  Search this
Webster, Daniel, 1782-1852  Search this
Extent:
12.4 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Writings
Drawings
Poetry
Date:
1819-1953
bulk 1835-1883
Summary:
The papers of sculptor Hiram Powers measure 12.4 linear feet and date from 1819 to 1953, with the bulk of the material dating from 1835 to 1883. Over two-thirds of the collection consists of Powers' correspondence with business associates, purchasers of his artwork, and numerous friends in the United States and Florence, Italy. Of note is Powers' "Studio Memorandum," from 1841 to 1845, which contains dated notations of letters written, receipts and expenditures, business contacts, works in progress, commissions and price quotations for work, comments on problems encountered during studio work, and other notes. Additional papers include scattered biographical material, financial and legal records, printed materials, photographs of Powers, his family, artwork, as well as an extensive collection of carte de visite and cabinet card portraits of many notable figures. Also found is a small amount of artwork by Powers and others, a scrapbook, and two autograph and memorabilia albums.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of sculptor Hiram Powers measure 12.4 linear feet and date from 1819 to 1953, with the bulk of the material dating from 1835 to 1883. Over two-thirds of the collection consists of Powers' correspondence, which is particularly rich in documenting his artwork, methodology, and his interaction with business associates, purchasers of his artwork, and his numerous friends in the United States and Florence, Italy. Other papers include scattered biographical material, writings by Powers and others, financial and legal records, news clippings and printed items, photographs of Powers, his family, artwork, as well as an extensive collection of carte de visite and cabinet card portraits of many notable figures. Also found is a small amount of artwork by Powers and others, a scrapbook, and two autograph and memorabilia albums.

Biographical material consists of documents for honors conferred on Powers, price lists and inventories of his artwork, papers regarding his death, including a translation of his will, and ephemera, such as his studio cap.

The bulk of the collection consists of Powers' correspondence with family, friends, business associates, and others, documenting his career as an artist and his personal life after he and his family moved to Florence, Italy, in 1837. Almost all of the letters have typed unconfirmed transcriptions completed by volunteers at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Besides details of his studio work and business dealings, his letters often discuss his views on aesthetics, American politics, slavery and the Civil War, and Spiritualism. Notable correspondence is with William B. Astor, Edward Everett, Samuel York Atlee, William and E. Clementine Kinney, George P. Marsh, George Peabody, Presidents Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams, William Cullen Bryant, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, John C. Calhoun, Thomas Crawford, John A. Dix, Asher Durand, Charles Francis Fuller, Henry Peters Gray, Horace Greeley, George P. A. Healy, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Samuel F. B. Morse, W. W. Story, John Sartain, Frances Trollope, and Daniel Webster.

Writings by Powers include his "Studio Memorandum," a journal-type notebook he kept from 1841 to 1845, which contains dated notations of letters written, receipts and expenditures, business contacts, works in progress, commissions and price quotations for work, comments on problems encountered during studio work, and other notes. Additional writings include poetry and autobiographical essays and instructions for handling his sculptures. Writings by others include poetry, most of which was written in praise of Powers' artwork. Of note are handwritten transcripts of poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Bayard Taylor, and John Quincy Adams. Also found here are short writings about Powers and his artwork.

Scattered financial and legal records in this collection include patent documents for tools invented by Powers, legal agreements, account statements, and bills and receipts. Printed material consists of news clippings, two booklets, an art association brochure, and an exhibition catalog for works by Powers.

This collection contains photographs of Hiram Powers, his family, friends, notable public figures, and artwork. Many of the photographs were taken by his son, Longworth Powers, who had a private photography studio in Florence. Included are portraits of Powers and his family, as well as a collection of 267 carte de visite and cabinet card portraits of artists, performers, politicians, writers, scientists, and other public figures, many of whom were friends with the Powers family. Other photographs depict Woodstock, Vermont, the marble quarry at Carrara, Italy, and artwork by Hiram and Preston Powers. Also found here is a photograph album kept by Louisa Powers.

Artwork consists of three drawings by Hiram Powers, including a caricature of Miner Kellogg. Also found in this collection is a scrapbook containing news clippings regarding the American tour of the sculpture Greek Slave, an autograph album belonging to Louisa Powers, and an album containing pencil drawings by Preston Powers and dried flowers collected on travels.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 8 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1841-1927 (Box 1, 15; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1819-1883 (Box 1-10; 9.0 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, 1827-1887 (Box 10; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 4: Financial and Legal Records, circa 1840s-1892, 1915 (Box 10, OV 17; 8 folders)

Series 5: Printed Material, circa 1845-1953 (Box 10; 5 folders)

Series 6: Photographs, circa 1860s-1900, 1927, 1932, early 1950s (Box 10-13, 16, OV 17; 1.8 linear feet)

Series 7: Artwork, 1860, mid-1800s (Box 11; 4 folders)

Series 8: Scrapbooks and Albums, 1847-1876 (Box 14; 3 folders)
Biographical Note:
American sculptor Hiram Powers (1805-1873) was born in Woodstock, Vermont, and lived and worked briefly in Washington, D.C. and Boston, before settling permanently in Florence, Italy. Powers is known for portrait busts of prominent American politicians and his idealized neo-classical sculptures, most notably the Greek Slave.

The second youngest of nine children, Powers moved with his family to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1817. When he was 18 he began working in a factory that repaired watches and organs, and he later worked in the mechanical department of Dorfeuille's Western Museum. There, he developed his interest in sculpture and received a commission to create wax figures for a tableau of Dante's Inferno. In 1825 he studied with the Prussian sculptor Frederick Eckstein, who taught him how to model clay and make plaster casts. His early commissions for portrait busts caught the attention of Nicholas Longworth, who became his first patron and funded his travel to Washington, DC, in 1834. While in Washington, Powers completed portrait busts of several prominent politicians, including President Andrew Jackson. He also briefly worked on several commissions in Boston. In 1837, thanks to the patronage of Colonel John S. Preston, he and his family moved to Florence, Italy. He intended to live there for only a few years, but remained there for the rest of his life.

Powers set up a studio in Florence with several assistants, and continued to work on portrait bust commissions. He and his family were active members of the intellectual community of American and English émigrés, such as Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Horatio Greenough, the Trollope family, and many others. His studio was also a frequent stop on tourists' visits to Florence. In 1839 Powers began working on idealized sculptures in the Neo-classical style, based on history, mythology, and religion. Perhaps most famous of these are Greek Slave and Fisher Boy. Completed in 1845, Greek Slave was exhibited in London and toured the United States. The sculpture received wide attention from the press for its depiction of female nudity and its philosophical significance, and established Powers' international success as a sculptor.

During his career Powers received private and government commissions for portrait busts and ideal sculptures, and sold many replicas of his work. He also invented improved tools for use in his studio, which were patented in the United States, and he developed a special finishing process for marble from the Carrara quarry. He maintained friendships with many Americans through extensive correspondence, and openly expressed his views on the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. Powers' son Longworth had a photography and sculpture studio nearby, and his son Preston, also a sculptor, took over many of Hiram Powers' remaining projects at the time of his death in 1873.
Related Material:
Additional Hiram Powers papers are available at the Winterthur Museum.
Separated Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds materials lent for microfilming. Reel D117 contains "The Sculpture of Hiram Powers," by Paul B. Metzler. Reels 815-818 includes a "Collection of Letters from Old Residents of Cincinnati to Hiram Powers," compiled by Clara Louise Dentler. Reels 1102-1103 are comprised of an unpublished manuscript entitled "White Marble: The Life and Letters of Hiram Powers, Sculptor," by Clara Louise Dentler. Lent materials were returned to the lenders and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Provenance:
The Hiram Powers papers were purchased by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 1967 from Christina Seeber, great-granddaughter of Hiram Powers which was subsequenlty transferred to the Archives of American Art in 1984. The Cincinnati Historical Society and Ohio State University also lent the Archives omaterials for microfilming in 1974.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Hiram Powers 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.
Topic:
Sculptors -- Italy -- Florence  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Writings
Drawings
Poetry
Citation:
Hiram Powers papers, 1819-1953, bulk 1835-1883. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.powehira
See more items in:
Hiram Powers papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-powehira
Online Media:

History of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia : a paper read before the Photographic Society, December 3, 1883 / by John C. Browne, 1884

Creator:
Browne, John C., 1838-1919  Search this
Subject:
Photographic Society of Philadelphia  Search this
Topic:
Photography -- Societies, etc. -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9999
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)212789
AAA_collcode_browjohc
Theme:
Communities, Organizations, Museums
Photography
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_212789

Correspondence

Collection Creator:
Powers, Hiram, 1805-1873  Search this
Extent:
(Box 1-10; 9.0 linear feet)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1819-1883
Scope and Contents note:
This series contains 9.0 linear feet of correspondence between Hiram Powers and family, friends, business associates, and others, primarily documenting his career and personal life after he and his family moved to Florence, Italy, in 1837. Found here are thousands of incoming letters as well as copies of outgoing letters written by Powers. Outgoing letters were copied by a process of placing moistened paper in a press, and because of this, these letters are often difficult to read and very fragile. Some of the personal correspondence is addressed to both Powers and his wife Elizabeth, or just to Elizabeth, and much of the business correspondence from the 1870s, while Hiram Powers was in ill health, was written by or addressed to his son, Preston Powers. Almost all letters have typed transcriptions completed by volunteers at the Smithsonian American Art Museum before the collection was donated to the Archives of American Art. Researchers should note that archivists have not verified these transcripts for accuracy.

Correspondence in this collection reveals much about Hiram Powers' artwork, methodology, and his interaction with business associates, patrons, and purchasers of his artwork. His business correspondence is with patrons such as William B. Astor, Edwin C. Litchfield, and John S. Preston, his business agents, such as Theodore Dehon in New York and M. M. Holloway in London, banking firms and shipping companies, and committees for U. S. government commissions. These letters often discuss financial details, his progress on commissioned sculptures, shipping instructions, his tool inventions and patent applications, and legal issues. Powers also corresponded with numerous individuals who privately commissioned works or inquired on purchasing works.

Powers and his family maintained a large circle of friends in the United States and Europe, including many artists, writers, as well as politicians whom he met while working in Washington, DC. In his very detailed letters he discusses his artwork and current studio projects, his views on the art world, the art community in Florence, ideal sculpture, and aesthetics. He also shares his thoughts on American politics, abolition of slavery and the Civil War, and Spiritualism. Letters sent to Powers from friends and acquaintances discuss general news of family, friends, travels, invitations, and inquiries on studying with Powers. Also found are many letters of introduction for people wishing to visit his studio in Florence. Powers corresponded extensively with family members, including his brothers Benjamin and Sampson Powers, and his wife, Elizabeth, during the period that he lived in Washington, DC.

Also of note in this series is extensive correspondence with his close friends Edward Everett, Samuel York Atlee, Sidney Brooks, William and E. Clementine Kinney, George P. Marsh, George Peabody, and John P. Richardson. Other notable correspondence includes letters to Powers from Presidents Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams, and letters to or from William Cullen Bryant, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, John C. Calhoun, Thomas Crawford, Samuel Colt, John A. Dix, Asher Durand, Charles Francis Fuller, Henry Peters Gray, Horace Greeley, George P. A. Healy, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Morris, Samuel F. B. Morse, Edmund Niemann, W. W. Story, John Sartain, Frances Trollope, and Daniel Webster.
Arrangement note:
Letters have been arranged alphabetically. Letters from individuals who had correspondence with Powers of four letters or less are found within the miscellaneous folders. This series has been scanned in its entirety, including the transcripts.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
The Hiram Powers 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.
Collection Citation:
Hiram Powers papers, 1819-1953, bulk 1835-1883. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.powehira, Series 2
See more items in:
Hiram Powers papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-powehira-ref33

History of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia : a paper read before the Photographic Society, December 3, 1883 / by John C. Browne

Creator:
Browne, John C., 1838-1919  Search this
Names:
Photographic Society of Philadelphia  Search this
Extent:
17 Pages ((on partial microfilm reel))
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Date:
1884
Scope and Contents:
Browne describes a January, 1860 meeting convened to discuss the formation of the Society. He lists officers Constant Guillou, Fairman Rogers, S. Fisher Corlies, Coleman Sellers, and Frederick Graff; early photographic developments such as the globe lens, dry plates, and magnesium light; excursions made, an 1867 exhibit of prints by Salomon and Reutlinger; and a list of members from 1862-1883.
Biographical / Historical:
Established 1862.
Publication, Distribution, Etc. (Imprint):
Philadelphia, Pa.: Photographic Society of Philadelphia, 1884.
Provenance:
Lent for microfilming 1985 by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Restrictions:
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
Topic:
Photography -- Societies, etc. -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.browjohc
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-browjohc

Photograph album of nineteenth century artists

Creator:
Whittredge, Worthington, 1820-1910  Search this
Subject:
Baker, George Augustus  Search this
Beard, W. H. (William Holbrook)  Search this
Bellows, Albert Fitch  Search this
Bierstadt, Albert  Search this
Brown, John George  Search this
Browne, John C.  Search this
Cheney, Seth Wells  Search this
Church, Frederic Edwin  Search this
Cropsey, J.F.  Search this
Cropsey, Jasper Francis  Search this
Cummings, Thomas Seir  Search this
De Haas, Mauritz Frederik H  Search this
Duveen, Albert  Search this
Gignoux, Régis François  Search this
Gray, Henry Peters  Search this
Guy, Seymour J.  Search this
Hall, George Henry  Search this
Hart, William McDougal  Search this
Hennessy, William John  Search this
Hubbard, Richard William  Search this
Huntington, Daniel  Search this
Loop, Henry Augustus  Search this
McEntee, Jervis  Search this
Morse, Samuel Finley Breese  Search this
Robbins, Horace Wolcott Jr.  Search this
Shattuck, Aaron Draper  Search this
Suydam, James A.  Search this
Suydam, James Augustus  Search this
Weir, Robert Walter  Search this
Wenzler, Anthon Henry  Search this
White, Edwin  Search this
White, Edwin D.  Search this
Yewell, George Henry  Search this
Type:
Albums
Date:
185-?
Topic:
Portraits  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)5443
See more items in:
Worthington Whittredge papers, circa 1840s-1965, bulk 1849-1908
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_5443

In memoriam, John A. Roebling : born June 12, 1806, died July 22, 1869, aged 63 years

Author:
Brown, John C  Search this
Former owner:
Mearns, Edgar Alexander 1856-1916 DSI  Search this
Subject:
Roebling, John Augustus 1806-1869  Search this
Physical description:
32 p., [1] leaf of plates : port. ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1869
1869]
Call number:
TA140 .R71 1869
TA140.R71 1869
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_432141

History of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia : organized November 26, 1862 : a paper read before the Photographic Society, December 5, 1883. [Microform] / by John C. Browne

Author:
Photographic Society of Philadelphia  Search this
Browne, John C  Search this
Physical description:
36 p. ; 26 cm
Type:
Microforms
Date:
1982
1884
Call number:
mfm 814
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_377325

The Jones Pond shell heap : an excavation by The Narragansett Archaeological Society of Rhode Island / by John C. Brown

Author:
Brown, John C  Search this
Narragansett Archaeological Society of Rhode Island  Search this
Physical description:
26 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Rhode Island
East Providence (R.I.)
Date:
1939
Topic:
Antiquities  Search this
Call number:
E78.R4 B76 1939
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_934621

American portrait cameo cutting : an alternate apprenticeship in relief sculpture, 1830-1870 / Karen S. York

Author:
York, Karen S  Search this
Physical description:
xii, 221 p. : ill
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
2005
Topic:
Relief (Sculpture)  Search this
Cameos  Search this
Art--Study and teaching--History  Search this
Call number:
NB1280 .Y67 2005a
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_991371

John C. Brown (1827-89), (painting)

Painter:
Unknown  Search this
Subject:
Brown, John C  Search this
Medium:
Oil
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Tennessee State Capitol (Ln: Tenn. Historical Society) Nashville Tennessee 37219
Date:
Before 1880
Topic:
Portrait male  Search this
Control number:
IAP 49620049
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_61354

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