The photographs of painter Edwin Burrage Child measure 2.2 linear feet and date from 1902-1936. Included in this collection are original photographic prints and copy prints; 101 negatives; 59 glass plate negatives; and one folder of miscellaneous papers including a sketch by Edwin Burrage Child. Photographs depict artwork, interiors, furniture, and people.
Scope and Contents:
The photographs of Edwin Burrage Child measure 2.2 linear feet and date from 1902-1936. Included in this collection are original photographic prints and copy prints; 101 negatives; 59 glass plate negatives; and one folder of miscellaneous papers including a sketch by Edwin Burrage Child. Photographs depict artwork, interiors, furniture, and people.
Photographs of people and other subjects depict several portrait images of Edwin Burrage Child, as well as many photographs and negatives of unidentified groups and events, children, men building a log cabin structure at Child's Dorset, Vermont home, and several models for painting.
Photographs of landscapes, buildings, and animals include a series of landscape photographs of Central Park, complete with the city in the background; many images of the Dorset, Vermont landscape with Child's house and barn structures depicted; landscapes with rainclouds and lightning, also in Dorset, Vermont; and images of horses attached to carriages and wagons, and cows and sheep, as well as several images of a dead horse on the streets of a small town.
Photographs of interiors, furniture, and lighting are made up primarily of copy prints and negatives, and include images of pieces of furniture, light fixtures and sconces, as well as entire interior rooms of what is probably Child's Dorset home. Additionally, photographs of Child's studio with paintings hung on walls are also found here.
Photographs of artwork make up the bulk of the collection, with original prints, copy prints, negatives, and glass plate negatives of primarily portrait paintings by Edwin Burrage Child. Many of the original photographic prints have been annotated on the backs with descriptive information about the portrait model, where they are from, and their occupation. Some annotations contain anecdotal information about Child's interactions or experiences with the sitters, and have been written by Child's youngest son, Sargent Burrage Child. While some of the descriptive information has been identified as written by both Edwin Burrage Child and Sargent Burrage Child, some writing could not be identified. A set of glass plate negatives without prints also depicts several of Child's landscape paintings. Additionally, a dismantled photograph album contains original prints of Child's portraits of men, women, and children, as well as containing the most descriptive information of all the prints in the collection.
Miscellaneous papers contains a sketch with note by Edwin Burrage Child; a handwritten letter in pencil, on Child's stationery, by Child; a typed exhibition inventory of portraits in the Washington, D. C. exhibit, "Portraits by Edwin Burrage Child," in 1930; and a copy of the 5 x 7 glass plate negatives box that previously stored glass plate negatives.
The collection is arranged as 6 series. Glass plate negatives are housed in Series 6 and are closed to researchers.
Series 1: Photographs of People and Other Subjects, circa 1908-circa 1936 (15 folders; Box 1)
Series 2: Photographs of Landscapes, Buildings, and Animals, 1903-circa 1936 (24 folderst; Box 1)
Series 3: Photographs of Interiors, Furniture, and Lighting, circa 1902-circa 1936 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 4: Photographs of Artwork, 1902-1936 (28 folders; Boxes 2-3, 6)
Series 5: Miscellaneous Papers, circa 1930 (1 folder; Box 3)
Series 6: Glass Plate Negatives, 1910-circa 1930 (0.9 linear feet; Boxes 4-5)
Biographical / Historical:
Edwin Burrage Child (1868-1937) was a landscape and portrait painter who lived and worked in New York City and Dorset, Vermont, and was most known for his male portraiture.
Child was born in Gouverneur, New York in 1868 to Jonathan Bush Child and Sarah Burnham. In the 1880s, Child attended Amherst College and received art lessons during the summers from artist Margaret C. Whiting (1860-1946). In 1890, he graduated from Amherst College and moved to New York City to pursue a career as an artist, becoming a student in 1891 at the Art Students League. Child's artistic debut was in 1892 at the National Academy of Design annual exhibition. From 1891 to 1895, he studied under painter, muralist, and stained-glass designer John LaFarge (1835-1910), and worked as his assistant from 1896-1901. Edwin Burrage Child then spent many years working as an illustrator and writer for leading periodicals such as Scribner's, Harper's, McClure's, and others.
As a landscape painter, Child was awarded a medal at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition in St. Louis in 1904, and the majority of his landscapes were modeled from his summer home in Dorset, Vermont. In 1908, his focused moved to easel painting -- primarily landscapes and portraits. Child was most known for his portraits of intellectual males, with sitters including Senator Dwight M. Morrow, Governor Wilbur L. Cross of Connecticut, Professor John Dewey, and painter Ivan G. Olinsky, among many others. His work appeared in shows at the National Academy of Design and the Society of Independent Artists in New York, as well as the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. He also had many one-man shows over the years, primarily in New York City. In 1930, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. held an exhibition of his portraits.
Child was married to Anna Gertrude Sykes in 1894, and they had three children: Katherine E. (1895-1966), Bradford (1896-1948), and Sargent Burrage (1900-1972). Child also made furniture as a hobby and remodeled his home in Dorset Hollow, as well as Gray's Tavern, which later became the Dorset Village Public Library. Additionally, he was a frequent lecturer, speaking at colleges and universities, including Yale, Michigan State College, Columbia, City College of New York, and Massachusetts State College at Amherst. Child spent the last ten years of his life living in Dorset, Vermont, and died in 1937.
The Edwin Burrage Child photographs were transferred to the Archives of American Art on June 6, 1979, from the National Collection of Fine Arts (NCFA) Library.
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Glass plates are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Edwin Burrage Child photographs, 1902-1936. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.
This collection is composed of two series: (1) 22 stereographs by several publishers, many of which relate to or were actually printed from negatives in the Underwood & Underwood Glass Stereograph Collection; and (2) a pamphlet. The fourth group of cards illustrates certain aspects of how stereographs were used by various companies, including two variant images taken on the sugar levee in New Orleans, apparently in 1893 by a Strohmeyer & Wyman photographer, which later appeared in different versions by other publishers. This demonstrates how two negatives, apparently taken by the same photographer minutes apart, were published by four different publishers, although a nearly identical caption was retained for all five versions of the published photographs.
The other stereographs include comic and genre scenes (posed or staged), travel views, etc. Included is a tinted French tissue published by American Stereoscopic Co.
The pamphlet, published by Underwood & Underwood in 1902, illustrates one of the company's marketing techniques.
Most of these items are in fair to good condition.
The collection is arranged into two series.
Series 1: Stereographs
Series 2: Pamphlet
Biographical / Historical:
Anne E. Peterson, the donor of this material, is a photographic historian who served as project manager for the Underwood & Underwood Videodisc Project in 1990-1992.
Ms. Peterson earned a B.A. in art history at the University of Texas (Austin) in 1970 and an M.A. in American civilization from George Washington University (Washington, D.C.) in 1980, with a concentration in history of photography and American arts. Working for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Decatur House, and Wilson House from 1975-1980, she was a guest curator at Wilson House for the exhibition and catalogue, Hornblower & Marshall, Architects (1976-1978). From 1978 to 1980 she worked for the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress, cataloging the Frances Benjamin Johnston photographic collections, and later served as a guest curator at the Library. She was Curator of Photography for the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans from 1981 1982, and later worked on exhibitions and publications for the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery (University of Maryland Baltimore County) and Lousiana State University (Baton Rouge).
Ms. Peterson became associated with the Archives Center in 1985, working on the Donald Sultner Welles Collection, especially the manuscript material, then worked on the Underwood & Underwood Collection from 1990, during which time she also prepared the Sultner Welles Collection brochure and assisted with the final editing and preparation of the register.
She has lectured and participated in seminars and symposia widely. Her most recent publication at this writing is the book, Frances Benjamin Johnston: The Woman and Her Work.
Collection donated by Anne E. Peterson, 1990, December 31.
Unrestricted research use on site. Photographs must be handled with white cotton gloves, unless they are housed in plastic sleeves.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.