The personal papers of Charles Lang Freer, the industrialist and art collector who founded the Freer Gallery of Art. The papers include correspondence, diaries, art inventories, scrapbooks of clippings on James McNeil Whistler and other press clippings, and photographs.
The personal papers of Charles Lang Freer, the industrialist and art collector who founded the Freer Gallery of Art. The papers include correspondence, diaries, art inventories, scrapbooks of clippings on James McNeil Whistler and other press clippings, financial material, architectural drawings, and photographs.
Correspondence, circa 1860-1921, includes Freer's correspondence, 1876-1920, with artists, dealers, collectors, museums, and public figures; letterpress books contain copies of Freer's outgoing letters, 1892-1910; correspondence collected by Freer of James McNeill Whistler, and his wife Beatrix, 186?-1909, with Lady Colin Campbell, Thomas R. Way, Alexander Reid, Whistler's mother, Mrs. George W. Whistler, and others; correspondence of Whistler collector Richard A. Canfield, 1904-1913, regarding works in Canfield's collection; and correspondence of Freer's assistant, Katharine Nash Rhoades, 1920-1921, soliciting Freer's letters from his associates, and regarding the settlement of his estate.
Also included are twenty-nine pocket diaries, 1889-1890, 1892-1898, 1900-1919, recording daily activities, people and places visited, observations, and comments; a diary kept by Freer's caretaker, Joseph Stephens Warring, recording daily activities at Freer's Detroit home, 1907-1910. Inventories, n.d. and 1901-1921, of American, European, and Asian art in Freer's collection, often including provenance information; vouchers, 1884-1919, documenting his purchases; five volumes of scrapbooks of clippings on James McNeill Whistler, 1888-1931, labeled "Various," "Peacock Room," "Death, etc.," "Paris, etc.," and "Boston...London" ; three volumes of newsclippings, 1900-1930, concerning Freer and the opening of the Freer Gallery of Art.
Correspondence regarding Freer's gift and bequest to the Smithsonian Institution, 1902-1916; and photographs, ca. 1880-1930, of Freer, including portraits by Alvin Langdon Coburn and Edward Steichen, Freer with others, Freer in Cairo, China and Japan, Freer's death mask, and his memorial service, Kyoto, 1930; photographs of artists and others, including Thomas Dewing, Ernest Fenollosa, Katharine Rhoades taken by Alfred Stieglitz, Rosalind B. Philip, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Abbott H. Thayer, Dwight Tryon, and Whistler; and photographs relating to Whistler, including art works depicting him, grave and memorial monuments, works of art, the Peacock Room, and Whistler's memorial exhibition at the Copley Society.
Organization of the Papers:
This collection is organized into twelve series.
Series 1: Genealogical and Biographical Data
Series 2: Correspondence
Series 3: Diaries
Series 4: Freer Colleague Materials
Series 5: Art Inventories
Series 6: Financial Materials
Series 7: Exhibition Loan Files
Series 8: Biblical Manuscripts and Gold Treasure Files
Series 9: American School of Archaeology in China
Series 10: Printed Material
Series 11: Outsize Material
Series 12: Photographs
1854 February 25 -- Born in Kingston, New York
1873 -- Appointed accountant and paymaster of New York, Kingston and Syracuse Railroad by Frank J. Hecker (1846-1927)
1876 -- Moves to Indiana to work, with Hecker, for the Detroit and Eel River and Illinois Railroad
1880 -- Moves to Detroit, participates in organization of the Peninsular Car Works with Hecker
1883 -- Becomes vice president and secretary of Peninsular Car Company when it succeeds Peninsular Car Works
1883 -- Begins collecting European prints
1884 -- Peninsular Car Company constructs plant on Ferry Avenue
1887 -- Meets Howard Mansfield (1849-1938)
1887 -- Acquires proofs of 26 etchings, Venice, Second Series(1886), by James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
1887 -- Purchases a small Japanese fan attributed to Ogata Karin(1658-1715)
1887 -- Buys land on Ferry Avenue
1889 -- Meets Frederick Stuart Church (1826-1900) and Dwight William Tryon (1849-1925) in New York
1890 -- Commissions Wilson Eyre (1858-1944) to design house on Ferry Avenue, Detroit, Michigan
1890 -- On first trip to London, meets James McNeill Whistler(1834-1903)
1892 -- Moves to Ferry Avenue house
1892 -- Tryon and Thomas Wilmer Dewing (1851-1938) undertake decoration of reception rooms
1893 -- Lends American paintings to World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago
1893 -- Purchases first piece of Chinese art, a small painting of white herons by an anonymous Ming dynasty (1368-1644) artist
1894 -- Begins yearlong trip around the world, which includes visit to the Whistlers in Paris and first trip to Asia, stopping in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), India, China, and Japan
1896 -- Meets Matsuki Bunkyo (1867-1940) in Boston
1899 -- Takes part in consolidation of railroad-car building companies then retires from active business
1900 -- Attends Exposition International Universelle in Paris
1900 -- Buys villa in Capri with Thomas S. Jerome
1901 -- Meets Siegfried Bing (1838-1905) in Paris and Ernest Fenollosa(1853-1908), who visits Freer in Detroit
1902 -- Meets Dikran Kelekian (1868-1951)
1902 -- Spends summer in Britain building Whistler collection
1902 -- Views Whistler's, Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room
1904 -- Purchases Whistler's Peacock Room
1904 -- Offers his art collections and funds to build a museum in which to house them to the Smithsonian Institution
1905 -- Smithsonian committee visits Freer in Detroit
1906 -- United States government formally accepts Freer's gift on January 24
1906 -- Freer signs Deed of Gift to Smithsonian Institution on May 5
1907 -- On second tour of Asia, meets Hara Tomitaro 1868-1939) in Yokohama, Japan
1908 -- Takes third trip to Asia, specifically to West Asia to study Rakka ware
1909 -- Tours Europe to study art museums
1909 -- On fourth trip to Asia, attends memorial ceremony for Fenollosa (d.1908 September) at Miidera, Japan, and meets Duanfang (1861-1911) in China
1910 -- On last trip to Asia, visits Longmen Buddhist caves in China
1911 -- Suffers stroke
1912 -- Lends selection of objects for exhibition at Smithsonian Institution
1913 -- Meets Eugene (1875-1957) and Agnes E. (1887-1970) Meyer
1913 -- Commissions Charles Adams Platt (1861-1933) to design museum building in Washington
1914 -- Meets Katharine Nash Rhoades (1885-1965) in Detroit
1915 -- Settles in New York City
1915 -- Site of future Freer Gallery of Art is determined
1916 -- Platt's plans for Freer Gallery are approved by Smithsonian Regents and Commission of Fine Arts and ground is broken in September
1918 -- After falling ill in Detroit, Freer travels to New York for treatment
1918 -- Work on the museum building is delayed by the war
1919 -- Freer appends codicil to will permitting acquisitions of Asian, Egyptian, and Near Eastern (West Asian) art
1919 -- Dies in New York City on 25 September and is buried in Kingston, New York
1919 -- Construction of Freer Gallery completed
1920 -- John Ellerton Lodge (1876-1942) is appointed director of the Freer Gallery
1923 -- Freer Gallery opens to the public on May 9
1930 -- Memorial ceremony for Freer is held at Koetsuji, Kyoto
Charles Lang Freer was an American industrialist who founded the Freer Gallery of Art. He was a well-known collector of Asian art, and strongly supported the synthesis of Eastern art and Western art. One of his most famous acquisitions was James McNeill Whistler's Peacock Room.
Index to cross-referenced correspondents in the series Charles Lang Freer correspondence
Beal, Junius E. -- See: -- Warring, Joseph Stephens
Black, George M. -- See: -- Saint-Gaudens, Augustus
Board of Education (Kingston, New York) See: Michael, M. J.
Bonner, Campbell See: University of Michigan
Boughton, George H. See: Yardley, F. C.
British Museum See: Binyon, Laurence; Hobson, R. L.
Brown, Harold H. See: Art Association of Indianapolis
Buchner, Evelyn B. See: Knoedler, M., and Company
Buckholder, C. H. See: Art Institute of Chicago
Butler, S. B. See: Unidentified correspondents
Carnegie Institute See: Balken, Edward Duff; Harshe, Robert B.
Carpenter, Newton H. See: Art Institute of Chicago
Caulkins, Horace James See: Pewabic Pottery
Chao, Shih-chin See: Gunn, Chu Su
Chicago & North Western Railway Co. See: Hughett, Marvin
Clark, Charles Upson See: Clark, Arthur B.
Cleveland Museum of Art See: Whiting, Frederic Allen
Columbia University See: Braun, W. A.; Gottheil, Richard; Hirth, Friederich
Commission of Fine Arts See: Moore, Charles
Corcoran Gallery of Art See: Minnigerode, C. Powell
Crocker, Anna B. See: Portland Art Association
Dannenberg, D. E. See: Karlbeck, Orvar
De Menoncal, Beatrice See: Lien, Hui Ch'ing Collection
De Ricci, Seymour See: Ricci, Seymour de
Defnet, William A., Mrs., See: Franke, Ida M.
DeMotte See: Vigouroux, J.
Detroit Institute of Arts See: Detroit Museum of Art
Detroit Publishing Company See: Livingstone, W. A.
Detroit School of Design See: George Hamilton; Stevens, Henry
DeVinne Press See: Peters, Samuel T.; Witherspoon, A. S.
Dyrenforth, P. C. See: Philip, Rosalind Birnie
Eddy, Arthur J. See: Philip, Rosalind Birnie
Eggers, George Williams See: Art Institute of Chicago
Farr, Daniel H. See: Robinson and Farr
Farrand School (Detroit) See: Yendall, Edith
Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago) See: Laufer, Berthold
Flagg, Frederick J. See: Allen, Horace N.
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University See: Forbes, Edward; Pope, Arthur Upham; Sachs, Paul J.
French, M. R. See: Art Institute of Chicago
Fu, Lan-ya See: Pang, Lai-ch'en
Fujii, Yoshio See: Yoshio, Fujii
Gerrity, Thomas See: Knoedler, M., and Company
Goupil Gallery See: Marchant, William
Gray, William J. See: Barr, Eva
Great Lakes Engineering Works See: Hoyt, H. W.
Grolier Club See: Philip, Rosalind Birnie
Heinemann, W. See: Philip, Rosalind Birnie
Holden, Edward S. See: West Point, U. S. Military Academy
Hudson, J. L. See: Weber, William C.
Hutchins, Harry B. See: University of Michigan
Hutchins, Charles L. See: Art Institute of Chicago
Kelekian, H. G. See: Kelekian, Dikran G.
Kent, H. W. See: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Lee, Kee Son See: Li, Chi-ch'un
Levy, John See: Schneider, A. K.
Library of Congress See: Rice, Richard A.; Wright, Helen
Louvre (Paris, France) See: Midgeon, Gaston
Matsuki, Z. See: Matsuki, Kihachiro
McKim, Mead and White See: White, Stanford
Mills, A. L., Colonel See: Saint-Gaudens, Augustus
Miner, Luella See: Lien, Hui Ch'ing Collection
Minneapolis Institute of Arts See: Breck, Joseph; Van Derlip, John R.
Monif, R. Khan See: Rathbun, Richard
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston See: Lodge, John Ellerton
Naser, Katen & Nahass See: Katen, K.
Nordlinger, Marie, Miss See: Meyer-Riefstahl, Marie
Panama Pacific International Exposition See: Moore, Charles C.; Trask, John E. D.
Peabody Museum See: Morse, Edward Sylvester
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts See: Trask, John E. D.
Saint-Gaudens, Augusta H. See: Saint-Gaudens, Augustus
Saint-Gaudens, Homer See: Saint-Gaudens, Augustus
Samurai Shokai See: Nomura, Yozo
San Francisco Art Association See: Laurvik, J. Nilsen
Scribner's, Charles, Sons See: Van Dyke, John C.
Shaw, Wilfred B. See: University of Michigan
Shirae, S. Z. See: Yamanaka and Company
Smith College See: Clark, Arthur B.
Smithsonian Institution See: Holmes, William Henry; Rathbun, Richard; Ravenel, Walcott, Charles D.
Society of Arts and Crafts (Detroit) See: Plumb, Helen
Societe des Beaux-Arts See: Reid, Alexander
Stevens, George W. See: Toledo Museum of Art
Stratton, Mary Chase Perry See: Pewabic Pottery
Tanaka, Kichijiro See: Yamanaka and Company
Tuttle, William F. See: Art Institute of Chicago
Union Trust Company (Detroit) See: Philip, Rosalind Birnie
United States Military Academy See: West Point, U. S. Military Academy
University of Chicago See: Zug, George Breed
University of Pennsylvania, Univ. Mus. See: Gordon, George Bryon
Ushikubo, D. J. R. See: Yamanaka and Company
Wallis & Son See: Barr, Eva; Thompson, C. Croal Ward, Clarence See: Oberlin College
Warren, Edward K. See: Philip, Rosalind Birnie
Warring, Stephen See: Warring, Joseph Stephens
Watkin, Williams R. T. See: Philip, Rosalind Birnie
Watson, Margaret, Miss See: Parker, Margaret Watson
Whistler, Anna See: Stanton, Anna Whistler
Whiting, Almon C. See: Toledo Museum of Art
Williams College See: Rice, Richard A
Wright, F. G. See: Orbach and Company
Yatsuhashi, H. See: Yamanaka and Company
Index to cross-referenced correspondence in the series Whistler correspondence
Bell, William See: Unidentified correspondents
Brown, Ernest See: Painter Etchers' Society, Committee
Cowen, John T. See subseries: Charles Lang Freer Correspondence
Ford, Sheridan See: Reid, Alexander
Haden, Francis Seymour See: Painter Etchers' Society, Committee
Haden, Francis Seymour, Lady See: Haden, Deborah Whistler
Leighton, Frederick, Baron See: Campbell, Lady Colin
Moore, Albert See: Reid, Alexander
Morley, Charles See: Pall Mall Gazette
Morris, Harrison S. See: Reid, Alexander
Pennell, Joseph See: Miscellaneous typescripts
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts See: Reid, Alexander
Prange, F. G. See: Reid, Alexander
Societe des Beaux-Arts See: Reid, Alexander
Society of Portrait Painters See: Reid, Alexander
Stevens Fine Art See: Reid, Alexander
Studd, Arthur See: Miscellaneous typescripts
[Vanderbilt?], George, Mrs. See: George, Mrs.
Whistler, William McNeill, Mrs. See: Whistler, Nellie
Whistler Memorial Committee See: Miscellaneous typescripts
The Archives of American Art microfilmed portions of the Freer papers in 1992. The microfilm is available at the Archives of American Art's Washington D.C. office, the Freer Gallery of Art Library, and through interlibrary loan.
Gift of the estate of Charles Lang Freer.
Collection is open for research.
Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.
National Museum of African American History and Culture. Office of the Director Search this
6.5 cu. ft. (6 record storage boxes) (1 document box)
2000, 2003, 2008-2016
This accession consists of the records documenting the activities and management of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) during the
tenure of founding Director, Lonnie G. Bunch, 2005-2019. Topics covered include the design, development, and administration of the museum, acquisitions, programs, and exhibitions.
Some records date from before the creation of the museum in 2003. Materials include correspondence, memoranda, reports, floor plans, notes, meeting minutes, scripts, outlines,
agendas, object lists, brochures, news clippings, budget reports, illustrations, and other related materials.
Restricted for 15 years, until Jan-01-2032; Transferring office; 12/17/2015 memorandum, Milhoan to Thomas; Contact reference staff for details.
Smithsonian Institution. Office of Public Affairs Search this
1 cu. ft. (1 record storage box)
Enid A. Haupt Garden (Washington, D.C.)
This accession consists of photographs used by the Office of Public Affairs to publicize Smithsonian Institution museums and their collections, research institutes,
and other Smithsonian Institution facilities. Represented in this collection are the Smithsonian Institution Building; the Quadrangle; the Enid A. Haupt Garden; the Arts &
Industries Building; the National Museum of Natural History; the National Museum of American History; the National Air and Space Museum; the Anacostia Museum; the National
Postal Museum; the National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center; the National Museum of American Art; the National Portrait Gallery; the Freer Gallery
of Art; the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery; the National Museum of African Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center; the Smithsonian
Tropical Research Institute; and the Museum Support Center. Materials include black-and-white photographs and slides; color slides; contact sheets; and lists of photographs
and negative numbers.
Smithsonian Institution. Office of Public Affairs Search this
1.58 cu. ft. (1 record storage box) (1 tall document box)
Mall, The (Washington, D.C.)
This accession consists of images maintained in the Office of Public Affairs. Events and subjects covered include the announcement of Lawrence M. Small as the eleventh
secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; the Mall; the Anacostia Museum; Arthur M. Sackler Gallery; the Arts and Industries Building; the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum;
the Freer Gallery of Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the Archives of American Gardens; the National Air and Space Museum; the National Museum of American History;
the National Museum of the American Indian; the National Museum of African Art; the National Museum of Natural History; the National Portrait Gallery; the National Postal
Museum; the National Zoological Park; the Renwick Gallery; the S. Dillon Ripley Center; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; the Smithsonian Institution Building; the Smithsonian
Tropical Research Institute; the Smithsonian Folklife Festival; the Smithsonian Kite Festival; gardens at the Smithsonian; and children at the Smithsonian. Materials include
color slides, photographs, and a color transparency; black-and-white slides, photographs, and transparencies; and contact sheets.
Indians of North America -- Southern States Search this
Fort Yates (N.D.)
Fort Thompson (S.D.)
Scope and Contents note:
Mostly images of Cherokee Indians, including informal portraits, group portraits, and views of Cherokee Indians engaged in agriculture, food preparation, craft, and games. There are also several images of the town of Cherokee, including the museum building, a school, homes, and the main street, as well as Cherokee artifacts. Numerous photographs depict the Thomas' Confederate Legion of Cherokee Indians, and the statue and sculptor of Sequoyah in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. In addition, there are photographs of Fort Thompson and Fort Yates, including one of the Indian boarding school at Fort Yates and another of an encampment at the Fort Yates Fourth of July celebration in 1902.
There are several photographs made at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, including one taken at the ceremony in 1918 in which the school was turned over to the United States Army. The Carlisle photographs include images of Nez Perce Indians and other tribes. There is also a photograph of a group of Shoshonis, including Arimo. Photographers include Sherrill's Studio, Waynesville, North Carolina; Vivienne Roberts; Clifton Adams; Guth and Hensel; and F. B. Fiske.
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian, established in 1948, has as its mission, "To perpetuate the history, culture, and stories of the Cherokee people." It does so through exhibits, education and outreach, and its collections and archives.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot R82-1
Copy prints made by Smithsonian Institution, circa 1981.
Location of Other Archival Materials:
Additional photographs from the Carlisle School can be found in the National Anthropological Archives in MS 4241, MS 4537, MS 4544, MS 4574, MS 4988, and Photo Lot 73-8, Photo Lot 81-12 and Photo Lot 90-1.
Additional Fiske photographs can be found in the National Anthropological Archives in Photo Lot 24, Photo Lot 25, Photo Lot 59, and Photo Lot 89-14, MS 4602, and the BAE historical negatives.
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Photo lot R82-1, Museum of the Cherokee Indian photograph collection, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution. Office of Government Relations Search this
3.15 cu. ft. (3 record storage boxes) (1 oversize folder)
Mall, The (Washington, D.C.)
National Mall (Washington, D.C.)
These records consist of correspondence between Secretary Robert McC. Adams and various leaders of the United States Congress on matters such as funding for the establishment
of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), the repatriation of Native American Indian artifacts at the National Mall, acquisition of the United States Customs House
in New York City for its conversion to a museum, and constructing new facilities for the National Air and Space Museum near Dulles International Airport. There are also copies
of the Secretary's testimony before congressional committees; memoranda between the Secretary and Mark W. Rodgers, Director, Office of Government Relations; memoranda and
notes between the Director and his staff, Senior Government Relations Officers, Pablita Abeyta and A. Bradley Mims; and correspondence between the Secretary and Richard West,
Director, National Museum of the American Indian.
Other records include posters and a map showing historical territories of Native Americans, national historical landmarks and parks in the United States, brochures, and
newspaper and magazine articles.
Smithsonian Institution. Office of Development Search this
3 cu. ft. (3 record storage boxes)
This accession consists of materials from the Office of Development concerning the Quadrangle Campaign. Records include various correspondence, committee meeting notes,
plans, strategies, and campaign coordination reports, luncheon lists and files, news releases, miscellaneous reports and brochures. There is also information pertaining to
donors, construction and direct mail.
Smithsonian Institution. Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs Search this
2 cu. ft. (2 record storage boxes)
Enid A. Haupt Garden (Washington, D.C.)
This accession consists of records that were maintained by Jeffrey LaRiche, Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs. The records pertain to the opening of the
Quadrangle: the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the National Museum of African Art, the S. Dillon Ripley Center (International Gallery), and the Enid A. Haupt Garden. Most of the
records are memoranda documenting the preparation for the opening of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. There are also invitations; letters inviting guests to speak; notes/slides/cassette
tapes from various lectures that were given; and memoranda discussing the Smithsonian Press Book about the Quadrangle (mostly in terms of its underground architecture).