Miscellaneous letters and photographs from the files of art photographer Benjamin F. Curtis of the firm of Curtis & Cameron, Inc. The items mainly relate to portrait painter John Singer Sargent.
Included are two letters to Curtis from Charles W. Eliot, President of Harvard University, February 26 and March 2, 1925, regarding portraits of him by painters John Singer Sargent and Louis Potter, and a photo of each portrait, 1910 and undated, (one taken by Curtis & Cameron, Inc.). Eliot requests that Curtis' print of Sargent's portrait of him not be used in publication as it "looks to me like a picture of a complacent fop seven feet tall" and that he prefers Charles Hopkinson's portrait instead. Of the Louis Potter bust, he writes "my family say unanimously that it is a good looking man but that it is not I."
Also included are two letters, undated, from Isabella Stewart Gardner (another of Sargent's sitters) to "Dear Sir" and "Dear Mr. Sears"; an undated letter (plus typescript) to Mr. [Otto] Fleischner, Assistant Librarian of the Boston Public Library, from Sargent regarding a complaint about his murals in the library, writing that he does not want to get into an argument with a woman who considers his murals "a bewildering, crowded, rotten world of dogmas, distress and medievalism"; four photographs of Sargent, including a portrait of him at age eight, Sargent receiving an honorary doctorate at Harvard University in 1916, and one dated 1925, Montreal; a photo by Keystone View Co. of Sargent's painting "Artist Sketching," and two of portraits of Sargent by Raymond M. Crosby and an unidentifed artist.
Biographical / Historical:
Curtis was a fine arts photographer; Boston, Mass. with the firm of Curtis& Cameron, Inc.
Donated 1995 by John A. Parker, Benjamin F. Curtis' son-in-law.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
23 Photomechanical prints (halftone, photogravure, and collotype)
152 Photographic prints (silver gelatin and albumen)
8 Copy prints
6 Copy negatives
1 Print (offset lithography)
1 Print (probably chromolithograph)
11 Negatives (acetate)
Scope and Contents note:
Photographs relating to physical anthropologists from the 19th and 20th centuries in Europe and the United States. Many of the photographs depict Smithsonian staff, particularly Ales Hrdlicka and T. Dale Stewart, as well as people and artifacts relating to physical anthropology throughout history. Some of the portraits are signed and the collection also includes pamphlets from professional societies, prints mounted for publication, a copy of the Baltimore Sunday Sun relating to Adolph Schultz, and some correspondence.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 4822
Location of Other Archival Materials:
The National Anthropological Archives holds the Ales Hrdlicka papers, Thomas Dale Stewart papers, and John Lawrence Angel papers.
Additional photographs collected by the Division of Physical Anthropology held in National Anthropological Archives Photo Lot 8 and Photo Lot 83-41.
Numbered manuscripts 1850s-1980s (some earlier)
See others in:
Division of Physical Anthropology collection of photographs of physical anthropologists, undated