Papers concerning Freer's art collecting activities, including correspondence, diaries, art inventories, scrapbooks of clippings on James McNeil Whistler and other press clippings, and photographs. In addition to Freer's own correspondence, the papers include correspondence collected by Freer of James McNeill Whistler and of Whistler collector Richard A. Canfield, correspondence of Freer's assistant Katharine Nash Rhoades, and correspondence regarding Freer's bequest to the Smithsonian Institution.
Correspondence, ca. 1860-1921, includes Freer's correspondence, 1876-1920, with artists, dealers, collectors, museums, and public figures; 30 v. of letterpress books containing copies of letters sent, 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' 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 letters 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 Fenellosa, 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.
Among Freer's correspondents are: Otto Bacher, Bernard Berenson, Siegfried Bing, Laurence Binyon, W.K. Bixby, Sigisbert Chretien Bosch-Reitz, Charles H. Caffin, Colin Campbell, Richard Canfield, William Merritt Chase, Frederick Stuart Church, Alfred Vance Churchill, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Arthur Wesley Dow, Ernest Fenollosa, Albert Gallatin, John Gellatly, Frederick W. Gookin, Sadakichi Hartmann, Frank J. Hecker, Dikran Kelekian, M. Knoedler & Co., Berthold Laufer, Lien Hui Ching Collection, W.A. Livingstone, Frederick McCormick, Bunkio Matsuki, Gari Melchers, Agnes Meyer, Eugene Meyer, Charles Moore, Yozo Nomura, Rosalind Birnie Philip, Charles A. Platt, Theodore Roosevelt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the Smithsonian Institution, Joseph Stephens Warring, Thomas Way, Abbott Handerson Thayer, Dwight W. Tryon, Charles Walcott of the Smithsonian Institution, Beatrix Whistler, James McNeill Whistler, K.T. Wong, Yamanaka & Co., and Seaouke Yue.
All correspondence except letterpress books: arranged alphabetically by correspondent; letterpress books are chonological.
Biographical / Historical:
Art collector; Detroit, Michigan. Collected Asian, American, and European art, including a large collection of works by James McNeill Whistler. Founded the Freer Gallery of Art, which is now part of the Smithsonian Institution.
Selected for microfilming from the Charles Lang Freer papers at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Microfilmed 1992 by the Archives of American Art with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Office of Fellowships and Grants Research Resources Program. Portions of the correspondence and the letterpress books were previously filmed by the Freer in the 1970 (AAA reels 77, 453-456, and 1217-1232); those reels have been replaced by this microfilming project. See Finding Aid for information on papers not selected for microfilming.
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
One volume, three quarter-bound maroon leather with maroon bead-grain cloth and marbled endpapers. Gilt titles on front board, gilt spine, false raised bands. Bookplate of W.K. Bixby on the inside front board. Loosely inserted in the front is an obituary clipping for Fenollosa. Approximately 180 tipped-in leaves, consisting of the manuscripts of Fenollosa's poetry which would eventually be published as East and West: The Discovery of America and Other Poems. The final 10 leaves consist of Fenollosa's explanatory notes.
Contains manuscripts of his five-part poem East and West: Part I. The First Meeting of East and West; Part II. The Separated East; Part III. The Separated West; Part IV. The Present Meeting of East and West; Part V. The Future Union of East and West. .
Contains manuscripts of his minor poems: Pastoral, December, The Hour, Speak softly, The Dryad, On Opening an Album, The Question, The Snowdrop, Love's Youth, The Golden Age, Sonnet, Sonnet, Sonnet--Fuji at Sunries, Sonnet (She-), Reproach, The Mood Dove, September, New Year's Eve 1875, God's Forests, Music and Poetry, At Her Tomb, In Norway, Telepathy, Reverie, In the Aura, Song of the Wind, In Vain, Karma, Maya, May, With Death, Spring Breath.
Contains manuscripts of his symphonic poem, Discovery of America: First Movement. The Sea and the Sky; Second Movement. Dreams; Third Movement. Wedding Music; Fourth Movement. Triumph.
East and West, the discovery of America, and minor poems
Organized in one flat box.
Biographical / Historical:
Ernest Francisco Fenollosa (1853-1908) was a poet and student of Asian art. Born in Salem, Massachusetts, Fenollosa studied at Harvard, Cambridge University and the art school at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts before traveling to Japan to teach political economy and philosophy at the Imperial University at Tokyo. In 1988, he helped establish the Tokyo Fine Arts Academy and the Imperial Museum, serving as its director. For his many efforts to preserve temples and shrines and their art work, the Emperor of Japan decorated him with the orders of the Rising Sun and the Sacred Mirror. In 1890 Fenollosa returned to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to take the position of curator of the department of Oriental arts. However, his public divorce and immediate remarriage in 1895 to the writer Mary McNeill Scott (1865-1954) led to his dismissal from the Museum in 1896 and he returned to Japan to teach English literature at the Tokyo Higher Normal School. He returned to the United States in 1900 to write and lecture on Asia. His works include East and West: The Discovery of America and Other Poems (1893); Epochs of Chinese and Japanese Art (1912), compiled by his widow, Mary McNeil Fenollosa; and two works on Japanese drama (ed. by Ezra Pound, 1916).
A former chairman of the board of American Car & Foundry, William Keeney Bixby (1857-1931), like Charles Lang Freer, was an avid patron and collector of the arts. A handwritten note inscribed by Bixby on a flyleaf states that he acquired these manuscripts from a Boston dealer, having become "interested in Japanese Art and in Mr. Fenallosa & his work through seeing the collection of Chas. S. Freer on many delightful visits at his house and from frequent conversations with him [...] I feel that the Ms. of East & West should belong to my friend who taught me to appreciate early Japanese Art." In another inscription, dated March 4, 1910, Bixby dedicates the volume to Freer "with regards of his friend [...] for presentation to Smithsonian Institute or otherwise as he may elect."
FSA A.01 04.01
Collection is open for research.
Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.
Charles Lang Freer Papers. FSA.A.01. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Gift of the estate of Charles Lang Freer.