Via, Ida Virginia Woods, 1914-2010 -- 20th century Search this
23.1 Cubic feet (71 boxes, 3 map-size folders)
Motion pictures (visual works)
Maryland -- Family farms
Prince George's County (Md.)
Arizona -- Motion pictures
Charles County (Md.) -- Family farms
Calvert County (Md.) -- Family farms
California -- Motion pictures
Bahamas -- Motion pictures
Yosemite National Park (Calif.)
Puerto Rico -- Motion pictures
Washington -- motion pictures
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St. Thomas, V.I. -- Motion pictures
Florida -- Motion pictures
United States of America -- Maryland -- Carroll County -- Westminster
United States of America -- Maryland -- Carroll County -- Marston
United States of America -- Maryland -- Carroll County -- New Windsor
Papers documenting the farming and family life of the Robinson family of Prince George's County and after 1975, Charles County, Maryland. Papers documenting the farming and family of the Via family of Greene County, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Prince George's and Calvert Counties, Maryland, by 1949.
Scope and Contents:
An extensive and comprehensive collection of papers relating to family, farming, and the Southern Maryland tobacco culture, the Robinson and Via Family Papers cover many aspects of family and farm life. The papers are particularly important in regard to the tobacco culture that defined Southern Maryland for generations. The papers concern two distinct family groups, the Robinson and Via families who are connected through the marriage of Franklin A. Robinson and Adina Mae Via. The papers consist of material generated by the Robinson and Via families in their personal and working lives and as farm owners and operators.
The papers are especially strong in 20th century material. They consist of various types of farm records: account books, bills, receipts, tenant farming agreements, ephemera, land rental and purchase agreements, insurance policies, photographs and 8mm and 16mm films of farming practices and procedures, equipment and landscapes, related to the farming of tobacco, small grains, and livestock. The personal records include diaries, letters both personal and business, greeting cards, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, high school yearbooks, baby books, house plans, recipe books, photographs and 8mm films of birthdays, holidays, weddings, baptisms, family occasions, and family travel, oral histories, and funeral ephemera including photographs, and transcription discs. Of particular interest are the "Serenity Farm Tobacco Production Photographs" documenting the crop year 1999-2000 and the films detailing agricultural practices. There is a memorandum book for Black Walnut Thicket, 1885-1901, the Baden farm in Baden, Prince George's County.
This collection includes a comprehensive range of 8mm and 16mm films and photographs documenting farming practices and landscapes as well as family gatherings, birthdays, holidays, and vacations. The researcher is alerted to the fact that in some cases with the memorandum and account books, books printed for a given year were often saved and used for subsequent years, some were dated, some were not.
The collection is divided into seven series arranged by subject and most often chronologically at folder level within each series.
The collection is divided into seven series:
Series 1: Ferndale Farm (Potomac Landing), Prince George's County, Maryland, 1861-1973, undated
Subseries 1.1: Farm papers, bill, and receipts, and publications, 1861-1973, undated
Subseries 1.2: Farm papers, bill, and receipts, 1945-1960, undated
Subseries 1.3: Farm papers, bills, and receipts, 1960-1965, undated
Series 2: Robinson Family, 1845-2017, undated
Subseries 2.1: Family Papers and Publications, 1845-1993, undated
The Robinson family is thought to be of Scottish origin and appear in the records of Prince George's County, Maryland by the early 18th century. The line has been definitively traced to James Robinson (?-1849). James' father was probably Benjamin Robinson (?-1810), of Prince George's County, Maryland. (Will Book TT1, pg. 15, Records of Prince George's County, Maryland, Maryland State Archives (MSA))
James Robinson and Sarah Wynn were issued a marriage license on February 28, 1802 in Prince George's County, Maryland. (Marriage Records of Prince George's County, Maryland) Eleven children lived to maturity (not listed in birth order); Thomas Wells (1803-1869), Ann, Priscilla, James Monroe, Benjamin (1813-1882), John C. (1819-1895), Mary Sophia, Thomas Stanley (1800-1874), Alfred, Sarah Ann, Matilda, and Rebecca Maria.
James worked as overseer for Benjamin Oden on Oden's estate Bellefields near Upper Marlborough, Prince George's County. (Oden Papers, Maryland Historical Society) The Robinsons and their children, moved to Wood County, Virginia (now West Virginia) on April 18, 1818 where James acted as Oden's land agent (Deed Book 6, pg. 123, Land Records of Wood County, West Virginia). They brought with them three slaves described in the above reference as, "Kate a woman 45 years of age very black; Colonel a boy aged 8 years yellow complexion: and George a boy aged six years of a dark brown complexion." They settled on part of what was known as the "Burnt Mill" tract in the general area where the Hughes River meets the Little Kanawha River. (Deed Book 9, pg. 110 and Deed Book 14, pg. 40, Land Records of Wood County)
Thomas Wells Robinson may not have accompanied his family to Virginia as he has a presence in Prince George's County prior to 1822 and was employed as overseer for Benjamin Oden at least until 1832. He married Elizabeth I. Richards on December 15, 1829 (Robinson Family Bible). They had nine children; Richard Thomas (1831 1906), Rebecca Maria (1832-1895), Mary Wynn (1834-1916), James George (1835-1883), Virlinda Victoria (1837-1838), Elizabeth Ann (1839-1916), Sarah Ann Sophia (1840-1874), Franklin Alexander (1841-1905) and John Alfred (1843); seven lived to maturity. (Robinson Family Bible) Elizabeth died on August 17, 1843 from complications in childbirth. She was buried in the churchyard of Page's Chapel (later known as St. Thomas Episcopal Church), Croom, Prince George's County.
In 1843, Thomas purchased the plantation of Dr. Benjamin B. Hodges for $10,000 or approximately $15 an acre. Hodges was a brother-in-law of Benjamin Oden. The deed dated September 7, 1843 describes the parcel as containing, "Six hundred and twenty nine acres of land more or less and constitute that plantation or Estate of the said Benjamin Oden heretofore commonly called "Brown's Quarter Place" being the Land tracts and parcels of land sold by the said Benjamin Oden to the said Benjamin B. Hodges and by deed bearing date the tenth day of December eighteen hundred and thirty five and recorded in Liber AB no. 10 folio 162 also one of the land Records of the County aforesaid". (JBB no. 3 pgs. 312 314, Land Records of Prince George's County) The land was level to rolling bordered on the north by a tributary of Piscataway Creek and generally termed "white oak land". Underlying the whole property was a large strata of gravel and sand. The entire parcel went by the name, Potomac Landing.
Thomas supplemented his land holdings with later purchases. With the exception of twenty acres purchased from Sarah Talbert in 1844, (JBB no. 3 pg. 475, Land Records of Prince George's County) and the purchase of lot #3 consisting of 195 acres, part of the estate of John Townshend in 1856, these purchases were not contiguous to Potomac Landing. By the time of his death in 1869 these non-contiguous parcels had been sold. Thomas sold eighty-six acres of Potomac Landing and Jeffries to Edward Eversfield in October of 1843. (JBB no. 3, pg. 198, Land Records of Prince George's County) On January 13, 1846 Thomas married the widow Martha Ann Walls, daughter of George and Martha Naylor Walls. They had two sons; Benjamin Wells (1848-1849) and Robert Henry (1851-1937).
In addition to his sons, Thomas owned slaves. The number varied from six in 1849 (JBB 6, folio 186, Land Records of Prince Georges' County) to eleven as noted in the census for 1850, and finally six as noted in the census of 1860. The 1867 Maryland Slave Statistics noted that, "at the time of the adoption of the Constitution of Maryland, in the year 1864, . . ." Thomas owned six slaves, their names and ages being; Isaac Franklin age 31, Alfred West age 19, Susan West age 17, Margaret Franklin age 14, Fannie Franklin age 12, and Peter Franklin age 9. All were noted as being in good physical condition. (Prince Georges' County Slave Statistics 1867 1869, C 1307 1, MdHR:6198, page 185, MSA)
In April 11, 1855 Thomas excuted a deed of trust to J.W. & E. Reynolds of Baltimore for securing a loan. At that time the farm was described as, "about five hundred and seventy acres . . . also the following personal property to wit Eight head of horses, nine cows, two mules, twelve work oxen, twenty Eight Sheep, one bull, two colts and all other stock of every description now on the aforesaid land, also the farming utensils and the following named Slaves, Stephen aged Sixty three years, Isaac aged twenty six years, Elvia aged twenty Eight years Alfred aged twelve years, Hanson aged ten years, Henrietta aged twelve years Susanna aged eight years, and Margaret aged three years. Together with the crop of Tobacco now in the house and the crop of wheat now growing." (EWB 1 pages 155 156, Land Records of Prince Georges' County)
Thomas's financial problems began in the mid-1800s when Deeds of Trust appear in the county records securing outstanding loans. In 1856 and 1857 Thomas joined with others as bondsman for his son, Richard who was serving as "Collector of the State and County Taxes" for the 4th collection district, making he and the other signatories liable for any uncollected taxes. This, coupled with poor investments, led to his almost being "sold out" in 1859-1860 by J.W. & E. Reynolds of Baltimore to pay his debts. He executed three drafts on Penn & Mitchell, also of Baltimore, to pay off J.W. & E. Reynolds. (Equity Case #597, Prince Georges' County) Thomas was in poor health and his son James managed the plantation in 1857 and 1858, and again from 1861 to October of 1862 (Equity Case #873, Prince Georges' County)
In October of 1862 Thomas' two sons, James and Franklin, traveled to Richmond to join the Confederate States Army. James enrolled in the 5th Battalion, Local Defense Arsenal and Franklin enrolled in the 5th Virginia Infantry, the Stonewall Brigade. (CSA Military Records, National Archives) James visited home frequently but was captured by the Union Army in St. Mary's County, Maryland on May 15, 1864 and spent the remainder of the war in Point Lookout Prison Camp. He was released on May 14, 1865. Franklin was not able to visit home at all during the war but survived to return home in 1865.
In 1865, Thomas surveyed a parcel of 172 acres for his daughter Rebecca Maria. Rebecca had married her second cousin, William B. Robertson, on November 18, 1855. He made a gift of fifty acres, and Rebecca agreed to purchase the remainder. The Robertsons named this parcel Holly Grove. In Equity Case #849 (1872) filed after Thomas' death, his widow Martha and Samuel H. Berry, as executrix and executor, sought to recover payment for this land. At that time, William B. Robertson described this 172 acres of Potomac Landing: "There was no fences on the line which separated this land from the old gentleman's land, but he was to put a fence on it which he agreed to do before we agreed to come there. The land was thin, unimproved, with gullies and scrubby pine. If witness had been a judge of land he would not have given five dollars for it. All the improvements were one comfortable quarter the other indifferent with a poor oak shingle roof, worn out which made it not tenantable." Further along in his testimony, William gave an account of a conversation, "In a few days my father in law Thos. W. Robinson came to Washington and told me there his children had returned from the South, his two sons, that his debts were small and he was a happy man." Rebecca and William built a house on the property, a side-hall, double parlor plan that most likely her brother James was builder. They also built accompanying farm structures. (Records of Prince George's County, Maryland, Equity Case #849, MSA)
Thomas' son, Franklin, managed the farm after the War. In December 1868 Thomas entered into a sharecropping agreement with Edward Hanson, an African-American. After about a year-long illness, on May 16, 1869, Thomas died, deeply in debt. He was buried beside Elizabeth in the graveyard at St. Thomas' Church. He named as executrix his wife, Martha, and his friend and lawyer, Samuel H. Berry, as executor. His will divided the farm into thirds, one third going to his wife and their son Robert Henry, one third to his son James, and one third to his son Franklin. The land was surveyed according to the will. His personal property was sold but not enough profit was realized to pay off his creditors. The Commissioners of Prince George's County sued the estate on behalf of Thomas' creditors. The outcome was that in 1876 the property was sold at public auction. The Notice of Sale dated September 1, 1876 in the local county newspaper, The Prince Georgian, describes the farm as, "containing 514 2/3 acres More or less. The Improvements consist of a SMALL DWELLING, Three Barns, Stabling, and other necessary outbuildings. It is well wooded and watered, and the soil of fair quality. It has recently been divided into three lots and will be offered in lots, a description of which will be given at the time of sale." The sale was held on September 27, 1876, Lot No. 1 was purchased by Robert for $6.00 an acre, Lot #2 was purchased by Franklin for $5.00 an acre and Lot #3 was purchased by James for $4.00 per acre. Robert and Franklin eventually paid off their mortgage, but James defaulted on his purchase and later moved to St. Mary's County, Maryland. His portion later came to be owned by the Hawkins family, some members who had worked on the Robinson farm. (Equity Case #873, Prince Georges' County, MSA)
Lot #1, purchased by Robert from his fathers' estate, consisted of 177-1/3 acres, including the dwelling and farm buildings. On July 24, 1872, he married Amanda Malvina Baden (1849-1940), daughter of Robert W. G. and Margaret Caroline Early Baden. The Baden and Early families were both prominent south county families. Robert and Amanda had eight children; Caroline Early (1873 1967), Lucy Tennent (1875 1958), Albert Henry (1878 1914), Martha Perry (1880 1961), Robert Gover (1882 1882), Frank Alexander (1883 1970), Margaret Baden (1886 1956) and Grace Malvina (1889 1965).
By 1880 Robert had paid off his debt on the property and was fully engaged in farming. Unlike his father, or perhaps because of his father, Robert did not add to his land holdings, choosing to remain relatively debt free for his lifetime. The only land transactions he participated in were the sales of 79-3/4 acres in 1921 of Amanda's inheritance from her father and her interest in two smaller parcels of her father's land sold in 1894 and 1928 respectively. In 1928 he transferred 3.09 acres to his son Frank.
As late as the Federal census of 1880, Franklin was living with Robert and his household, both men engaged in farming. Sometime after 1880, Franklin took up residence on his part of Potomac Landing. His brother James most likely built the side-hall double parlor house that copied the main house at Potomac Landing. On February 18, 1897, Martha Robinson, died at the age of ninety. She was buried in the graveyyard of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden, Prince George's County.
Robert continued cultivation of tobacco and small grains as his father before him. The first reference to the farm being named Ferndale is found in the "Communion Record" of Robert's daughter, Martha Perry "Pattie", dated 1896. (Robinson and Via Family Papers) The exact origin or reason for this new name is lost but perhaps the name Potomac Landing held such bitter memories of debt and hardship that, as a symbolic break with the past, a new name was found. It also may have simply been a way to distinguish this portion of Potomac Landing from the others. The farm continued to be listed on tax bills as Potomac Landing well into the 20th century, but was known to the general public and businesses as the Ferndale Farm. (Robinson and Via Family Papers)
Robert served as deputy inspector at the State Tobacco Warehouse in Baltimore for eight years under W.B. Bowie. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Brandywine. In July of 1905, Franklin died, a bachelor farmer. He was buried facing south in the graveyard of the Church of the Atonement, Cheltenham, (a chapel in St. Thomas' Episcopal Parish) where he had served as vestryman, treasurer, and cemetery custodian. Franklin died intestate and a lengthy process of dividing his estate began. This resulted in the sale of his part of Potomac Landing (Lot #2) in July 1908 to William E. Boswell. The court declared Robert ineligible for any inheritance due to his being " . . . a brother of the half blood." The Boswell family later sold the property to the Billingsley family of St. Mary's County. (Equity Case 3209, Prince George's County)
In 1910, after living in the farm's original home for approximately sixty seven years, the Robinson family built a new home. It was described in a 1956 insurance policy as, "2 story, frame, metal roof, 16x43, wing 14x28, 9 rooms." (Robinson and Via Family Papers) The house design was a simple Victorian with plastered walls, and lit by carbide gas. Electrical lighting was installed in 1951. The house was built with monies from Robert and Amanda, and their son Frank, who served as builder and contractor.
On Tuesday March 9, 1937, "During a celebration in honor of his wifes birthday anniversary, Mr. Robinson collapsed at the table and died immediately without a word or a sigh." (Robinson and Via Family Papers) Robert was buried beside his mother in the cemetery at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden.
At Robert's death, Ferndale Farm was valued at $30.00 an acre, the total acreage, 174 acres, being valued in the whole at $5,220.00. Robert died intestate, again the fate of the land was in question. He left eight heirs, his widow, Amanda, six of his children and his son Albert Henry's only surviving child, R. Henry Robinson. Rather than have the farm sold and his mother's life disrupted, Frank purchased the estate and personal property from the heirs. Before this could take place, a deed had to be granted the heirs for the property since one had never been recorded after the 1876 sale. Equity case 873 was reopened sixty-two years after its supposed resolution. Frank testified, "over a period of about thirty years I would on a number of occasions, talk about the fact that he had purchased and paid for this property and that a deed had never been executed to him and [he] kept saying he was going to have someone straighten this matter out for him." It was discovered that Robert had fully paid for his part of Potomac Landing. On February 14, 1938 the farm was deeded from Amanda along with Robert''s heirs to Frank. (Book 499, page 334, Land Records of Prince George's County) According to the deed and a 1937 fire insurance policy the farm consisted of 177 1/3 acres, "1 two story dwelling, one tenant house, 1 barrack, 1 tobacco barn, 1 corn house & cow stable, 1 Stable, and 1 Granary & Stable." (Robinson and Via Family Papers)
Frank A. Robinson, now the sole owner of Ferndale Farm, was born August 17, 1883. He learned farming and in addition took up the trade of builder and contractor. As a young man, he worked in the general store of his uncle Robert Baden. He was the contractor for the first Bank of Brandywine and many homes in and around the town of Brandywine, including the home of his cousin Robert E. Baden, DDS. He was secretary of the Building Committee for construction of the Chapel of the Incarnation in Brandywine, a mission chapel for St. Thomas' Episcopal Parish. His success in the building trade gave him disposable income that he invested in land. His first purchase was in August, 1915 of a 2-9/100 acre of land in Brandywine that was being sold by the Board of County School Commissioners; the purchase price was $300. In March 1916 he purchased 38.09 acres of his Uncle Franklin's farm. This property adjoined Ferndale Farm.
Over the next fifty-four years of his life, Frank bought and sold many pieces of real estate. Perhaps his most significant purchases were: 18-1/3 acres purchased from The German American Colonization Land Company of Maryland in October 1915 (Book 115, pg. 140, Land Records of Prince George's County); 147.99 acres purchased from August and Wilhelmina Noltensmeir in December 1917 (Book 129, pg. 263, Land Records of Prince George's County) and 320 acres called the Vineyard purchased from William M. Wilson in March 1928. Frank used these three parcels as collateral for other purchases. Never once did he mortgage Ferndale Farm, insuring that no matter what financial stormy seas might blow, his home was secure. Over the course of his life, especially in the case of the Noltensmeir farm, when cash was needed a parcel of land would be surveyed off and sold. He inherited his grandfather Thomas' love of land but had fortunately developed a shrewd business sense to go along with it.
On November 20, 1929, he married Elizabeth Freeland Bourne, daughter of Joseph Blake and Maria Gantt Bourne of Calvert County, Maryland. They had three children: Mary Elizabeth (1930-2009), Franklin Alexander (1932), and Robert Lee (1935-1997). In addition to his construction business he continued farming, raising tobacco, hay, and small grains. He engaged in sharecropping with tenants on his various properties. He was active in community affairs serving on the Board of The Maryland Tobacco Growers Association (MTGA), the Vestry of St. Thomas Parish, and as sheriff of Brandywine. On January 9, 1940 Amanda Baden Robinson died. She was buried next to her husband at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden. In February 1958, Frank and Elizabeth conveyed 1.57 acres of Ferndale Farm to son Franklin where he and his fiancée, Adina M. Via, were building their new home prior to their marriage in July of that same year.
The booming economy and suburbanization of the Washington metropolitan area in the early 1960's led to the high quality gravel lying beneath Ferndale into becoming a valuable commodity. In October 1962, Franklin and his parents granted a three-year lease to William C. Nolte for mining sand and gravel on the Ferndale Farm at .174 per yard. (Book 2747, pg. 11, Land Records of Prince George's County) From now until 1975 when the property was sold, gravel would be mined from under the farm by various companies. In November 1962, Elizabeth and Frank transferred to Franklin the 38.09 acres Frank had purchased from Fitzhugh Billingsley in 1916. (Book 2754, pg. 99, Land Records of Prince George's County) That same year they transferred 6.754 acres, part of the Vineyard, to son Robert and his wife Lois, (Book 2765, pg. 201, Land Records of Prince George's County)
On December 28, 1965, Frank and Elizabeth participated in a land exchange/purchase of the farm of Ralph W. and Cordelia H. Brown located along the Patuxent River in Benedict, Charles County, Maryland. Franklin had rented this farm the year before and was impressed enough by its location and arability to work out a purchase. Frank and Elizabeth traded 65.9920 acres that would eventually become Franklin's under Frank's will. On February 21, 1966 they deeded the Charles County farm to Franklin and Adina. Adina named this property Serenity Farm. The property consisted of 480.66 acres. (Liber 179, page 708 etc., Land Records of Charles County)
On February 5, 1970, after a short illness, Frank died at Cafritz Memorial Hospital. He was buried at St. Paul's Episcopal Church near his parents. In his will, probated March 4, 1970 he left thirty acres of the property purchased from the German American Land Company and A. Noltensmeir to Elizabeth. He willed forty acres of the same parcel to daughter Mary Robinson Conner. The remainder of Ferndale Farm was willed to Franklin and the remaining acreage of the Vineyard was left to Robert Lee.
Franklin Alexander Robinson was born August 13, 1932 at the Garfield Hospital in Washington, D.C.. He received his schooling in the public school system of Prince George's County, graduating from Gwynn Park High School in June 1951. He was a charter member of Gwynn Park's chapter of The Future Farmers of America. He was extremely active in FFA, achieving the Degree of Maryland Farmer in 1950 and their highest award, the Degree of American Farmer at their convention in Kansas City, Missouri in October 1953. He obtained his private pilots license in 1954. He entered the United States Army in February 1955 and went through basic training at Camp Gordon, Augusta, Georgia. After basic training he was transferred to Camp Hanford, Washington State. There he worked part time on the farm of Dick and Theresa Laurent during his off duty hours and began a lifelong friendship with them. He returned home to farming on an agricultural discharge in October of 1956. On July 27, 1958 he married his high school sweetheart, Adina Mae Via, daughter of Robert Milton and Virginia Woods Via. They had three children: Franklin Alexander (1959), Robert David (1962), and Adina Theresa (1963).
Franklin continued expanding and improving the farming operation by modern methods and means. At times, he farmed over one thousand acres, both owned and rented. On February 21, 1966, his parents deeded their purchase of the Ralph W. and Cordelia H. Brown farm in Benedict to he and Adina, later known as Serenity Farm Franklin and Adina engaged an architect to draft house plans for an anticipated new residence. A small A frame vacation home was built on the property so the family could spend weekends there.
On December 14, 1966, after a long illness, Adina died from complications associated with Hodgkin's Disease. She was buried in Trinity Memorial Gardens, Waldorf, Charles County. Franklin married Margaret Walker Lennox (nee Tallen, known as Rita) on August 21, 1970 (Marriage Records of Prince George's County, Maryland). This marriage ended in divorce in 1977. There were no children from this marriage.
On July 14, 1975 the Robinson family, Franklin, his second wife, Margaret, her daughter Margaret W. Lennox, Franklin, Jr., R. David, A. Theresa and Elizabeth B. Robinson, moved to Serenity Farm. On July 17, 1975 Franklin and Elizabeth sold the remaining acreage of Ferndale Farm to Brandywine Sand and Gravel, thus ending 131 years of ownership by the Robinson family. Elizabeth Bourne Robinson died on July 15, 1976 and was buried beside her husband at St. Paul's Church, Baden. Franklin married Hiltrud (Ceddie) Harris (nee Sedlacek) on July 15, 1978. (Robinson Family Bible) This marriage ended in divorce in 1986. There were no children from this marriage. Franklin married Diedre Gale Merhiage on April 19, 1989; this marriage ended in divorce in 1997. There were no children from this marriage. He married Remelda Henega Buenavista on January 13, 2007.
The Robinson family continue day-to-day operations of Serenity Farm. The land is well suited to the growing of tobacco and small grains, which crops, (with the exception of tobacco) along with a flock of sheep, are cultivated there to the present time. After the crop year 2001 the Robinson family took the tobacco buyout program offered by the state of Maryland and ceased growing tobacco. Franklin is active in farming and community affairs having served on the vestry of St. Thomas Episcopal Parish, the Board of Directors of MTGA, the Board of the Production Credit Association, the Boards of three schools, Holy Trinity Day School, Queen Anne School, and Calverton School, and numerous other organizations. Currently the farm consists of approximately 275 acres. In 1981 a state agricultural land preservation district of 222.755 acres was created. This was the first such district in Charles County and one of the first in the state of Maryland.
In 1985, R. David began a greenhouse business for the sale of spring flowering bedding plants and hanging baskets but currently works in conjunction with Farming 4 Hunger to grow produce for local area foodbanks. A. Theresa is involved in the daily running of the farm along with Franklin. Franklin, Jr., obtained a BFA degree in Drama from The Catholic University of America in 1981 and an MA from The American University in Film and Video Production in 1988. He was a civilian employee of the United States Air Force (USAF) from November 1981 to January 1986. He pursued a full time career as a professional actor from 1986-2007 and is a published author and produced playwright. The three siblings have been involved in community affairs, with R. David sitting on the Charles County Agricultural Preservation Board, A. Theresa having served on the vestry of Trinity Episcopal Parish, Charles County, and Franklin, Jr. having served on the vestries of both Trinity Parish and St. Thomas Episcopal Parish, the Board of the Washington Literacy Council, a choir member of the choir at St. Thomas Church, among other church related posts and as chair of the Charles County Historic Preservation Commission.
The Via family traces its origins to the colony of Virginia, where the probable progenitor of the line, Amer Via, a French Huguenot, settled in Manakin Town, Albemarle County between 1670-1700. It is impossible to trace the Via line definitively due to the loss of Virginia county records during the Civil War.
The Via family line covered in this collection can be definitively traced to William Via of Fredericksville Parish, Louisa (later Albemarle) County, Virginia. The William Via family lived west of the present day town of Whitehall at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, an area commonly known as Sugar Hollow. William Via III served in the Virginia Line during the Revolutionary War. He married Mary Craig, daughter of Thomas Craig and Jane Jameson, on March 17, 1784. William died on June 27, 1836, in Albemarle County (Rev. War Pension Appl. 6363, National Archives). His son Thomas married Sally, widow Griffin, on January 1, 1811 (Albemarle County Marriage Records). Their son, Hiram Karl Via (1812-1893), married Harriet Ardenia Naylor by license dated March 7, 1836 (Albemarle County Marriage Records).
Hiram and Harriet's son, Robert St. Clair Via (1844-1925), served as a private in Company I, 7th Virginia Infantry of the Confederate States Army (CSA Military Service Records, National Archives). After the war he married his first cousin, Mary Frances Naylor, daughter of Samuel Chapman Naylor and Eliza Jane Gardner, on April 3, 1866 in Rockingham County (Rockingham County, Virginia, Marriage Records). Sometime between 1870 and 1872, they moved to Linn County, Missouri, and settled about seven miles from the town of Bucklin. Their son, Hiram Chapman Via (1872-1933), was born there. In 1893, the family returned to Virginia, and settled on a farm in Greene County near the town of Stanardsville.
Hiram Chapman Via operated a mill as well as a farm. On March 15, 1899, he married Adina Eleanor Eusebia Runkle, daughter of Milton D. L. Runkle and Roberta A. Beadles (Greene County, Virginia, Marriage Records). They had three children: Bernice Olive (1902-1999), Robert Milton (1906-1983), and Deward Daniel (1909-1977).
Robert moved to Washington, D.C.. In December 1927 he began employment with the Capitol Traction Company as a streetcar conductor (Robinson and Via Family Papers). During the early 1930s, Robert rented a townhouse at 715 A St., SE, where he lived with his sister Bernice V. McMullan and her son, William C. McMullan; his brother and sister in law, and his parents. Next door, at 717, lived the Moses Albright family, including Moses's stepdaughter Ida Virginia Woods (1914-2010), daughter of Jesse Lee Woods (1894-1918) and Donna Mae Barker (1896-1928) of Frederick County, Maryland. Robert and Virginia began a courtship and on September 3, 1932 were married in Frederick, Frederick County, Maryland (Frederick County, Maryland, Marriage Records).
After their marriage, Robert and Virginia lived in various locations in the Washington metropolitan area. Their first child, Robert Delano, was born on March 24, 1933, and their second child, Adina Mae, was born on April 12, 1937. Virginia was employed outside the home while her children were in school. Her first job before her marriage had been with Woolworth's in Martinsburg, WV working the candy counter and then before the birth of her son at The Hecht Company on F St. in Washington, D.C.. After her marriage she worked briefly for the United States Postal Service in Capitol Heights, Maryland. Beginning in the 1950s, she worked for Charles of the Ritz as a receptionist in their beauty salon located in Woodward & Lothrop's F Street store in Washington, D.C.. She also worked as salon manager at the Charles of the Ritz salons in the Woodward & Lothrop stores in Seven Corners, Virginia, and Chevy Chase, Maryland. She retired due to health reasons in 1973.
On September 10, 1941, Robert and Virginia purchased Lot #43 in Woodlane subdivision in Prince George's County. (Book 619, pg. 12, Land Records of Prince George's County) A house was designed for them for this lot by Clyde E. Phillips. They did not construct a home on this property due to the outbreak of World War II. Robert, due to his employment in public transportation, did not serve with the Armed Services in World War II. On October 18, 1946, they purchased approximately thirty acres bordering on Burch's Creek near the towns of Clinton, also know as Surrattsville, and T.B. in Prince George's County from Joseph H. and M. Pauline Blandford. (Book 873, pg. 483, Land Records of Prince George's County) Over the next three years, hiring private contractors, doing work themselves, and with the help of Robert's brother Deward, they built the two story house designed by Phillips in 1941. They moved to the farm from Capitol Heights in 1949. Robert raised hogs, small grains and a crop of tobacco yearly on this farm and also maintained his job with Capitol Transit (formerly Capitol Traction).
In 1954, Robert and Virginia purchased a farm of approximately 150 acres in Island Creek, Calvert County, Maryland. The intention was for Robert and his son to enter into a full time farming operation on expanded acreage. Robert D. Via, known as Delano, graduated from Gwynn Park High School in June 1951. Delano was a part-time farmer and pursued a career as a country and western singer with Bashful Bob and the Rhythm Rangers, he being Bashful Bob. He was employed in various jobs, and began a tour in the Army in 1953. By the time the Via family moved to Calvert County in 1956, he decided to pursue careers other than farming. He eventually traveled and worked in various parts of the United States. He married first Delores Cooper, second Gloria J. Irick, and finally Candice Marinelli in December 1974, they had two children, Robert Marin (1975) and Kirstin Marin (1976).
On June 1, 1956 Robert resigned from his position at Capitol Transit due to health reasons. He and his family moved to the farm in Island Creek, Calvert County where he began full time farming. He and Virginia sold the thirty-acre farm in Prince George's County on June 21, 1956 to Melvin C. and Geraldine H. Rardia. (Book 2003, pg. 564, Land Records of Prince George's County) Virginia continued her employment with Charles of the Ritz. Adina, now a graduate of Gwynn Park High School, was employed by the USAF at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, Maryland. They both commuted daily from Calvert County to their places of employment.
Robert farmed in Calvert County, raising hogs, cattle, small grains and tobacco. Over the course of the next twenty-seven years, Robert and Virginia sold smaller parcels off the farm. In 1974, Robert and Virginia built a small retirement home designed for them by Calvert Masonry Contractors. Robert died on December 22, 1983. He was buried beside his daughter Adina in Trinity Memorial Gardens. At the time of Robert's death, the farm consisted of 28.694 acres. In 1998, Virginia deeded the remainder of the farm, then less than six acres, to her grandson, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr. who sold all but a one-acre lot in April 1999.
Virginia continued to live on the farm in Calvert County, maintaining a small herd of cattle. In the fall of 1989 Franklin, Jr. went to live with her. In 1993, the onset of Alzheimer's Disease required her to move to Serenity Farm and take up residence with her granddaughter A. Theresa. Virginia participated in various studies on Alzheimer's Disease conducted by the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland beginning in 1992. She was profiled in the September 1997 issue of Washingtonian Magazine. In October of 1998 she moved to All American Senior Care in Brandywine, Maryland and in 1999 she moved to Morningside, an elderly care facility in Waldorf, Maryland. In 2002, she moved to St. Mary's Nursing Center in Leonardtown, Maryland. The remainder of the farm was sold in 1999 and 2002. She died January 14, 2010 and was buried at Trinity Memorial Gardens in Waldorf.
Adina Mae Via was born April 12, 1937 at the Homeopathic Hospital in Washington, D.C.. Adina grew up in Washington, D.C. attending public schools. She moved with her family to the Burch's Creek farm, Prince George's County, in 1949. She enrolled in the Prince George's County school system, and graduated from Gwynn Park High School in June of 1955. After graduation, she was employed by the USAF at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs.
In July of 1956, she moved with her family to the Via farm in Island Creek, Calvert County. On July 27, 1958 she married Franklin A. Robinson at the Chapel of the Incarnation. They had three children: Franklin Alexander (1959), Robert David (1962) and Adina Theresa (1963). In the fall of 1958, she and Franklin took up residence in the home they had built on Ferndale Farm. She resigned from her position with the USAF in 1959.
On December 14, 1966, at Providence Hospital in Washington, DC, Adina died from complications due to Hodgkin's Disease. She had been battling this disease for many years prior to her death. She was buried in Trinity Memorial Gardens, Charles County.
Materials at Other Organizations
The Maryland Historical Society holds items (costume, farming related implements) related to the Robinson and Via families.
Materials at the National Museum of American History
The Division of Work and Industry (Agriculture Collection) holds agricultural implements and artifacts associated with both the Robinson farms and the Via farm; the Division of Home and Community Life holds clothing, textiles (crib quilt), jewelry, cosmetics and Adina M. Robinson's sewing box and dress patterns; (Costume and Textiles Collection). See accession numbers: 1989.0688, 1990.0394, 1991.0010; 1991.0722, 1992.0184, 1992.0283, 1992.0321, 1992.0474, 1992.3106, 1994.0064, 1994.0304, 1997.0327, 1998.0038, 1998.0129, 2001.0196, 2002.0087, 2003.0015, 2005.0009.
Division of Armed Forces History (National Numismatics Collection) holds the Robert M. Via Trolley Token Collection.
The collection was donated to the National Museum of American History, Archives Center, by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., in November 1993.
Collection is open for research but negatives and audiovisuial materials are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Some papers of living persons are restricted. Access to restricted portions may be arranged by request to the donor. Gloves required for unprotected photographs. Viewing film portions of the collection and listening to LP recording requires special appointment. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
The Archives Center does not own exclusive rights to these materials. Copyright for all materials is retained by the donor, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.; permission for commercial use and/or publication may be requested from the donor through the Archives Center. Military Records for Franklin A. Robinson (b. 1932) and correspondence from Richard I. Damalouji (1961-2014) are restricted; written permission is needed to research these files. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Peale, Charles Willson, 1741-1827 -- Christ at Bethesda Search this
3 Microfilm reels (1 linear foot on 3 partial microfilm reel)
Scope and Contents:
The Charles Willson Peale diaries and exhibition announcement include 26 volumes, microfilmed on Reel 3899, containing diary entries relating to family, business, travels, sittings, Peale's museum, and other topics. Microfilmed on Reel D9 is a handwritten announcement for the exhibition of Peale's Christ at Bethesda, March 20, 1821. This exhibition announcement is also available in miscellaneous manuscripts folder 048. Also included in the collection on microfilm reel N86/20 is a diary kept in Philadelphia and Annapolis from May 30, 1788 until May 5, 1789. Peale writes about working on his drawing machine "for taking perspective views"; about people sitting for portraits; techniques in painting; repairing pictures; travel conditions between Philadelphia and Annapolis; the operation of his Philadelphia museum; recipes for preserving birds and animals; business and travel expenses; experiment in making bifocals; and social activities and acquaintances.
Biographical / Historical:
Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827) was a portrait painter and engraver in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is known for his portraits of the founding fathers including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams. In 1786 he founded the Peale Museum, and was one of the founding members of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1805.
The Archives of American Art holds the Rembrandt and Harriet Peale collection, circa 1820-1932 and the Rubens Peale diaries, 1855-1865. Also found at the Archives of American Art are the microfilmed printed material relating to Rembrandt Peale, 1830-1862; microfilmed Mary Jane Peale and Peale family selected papers, circa 1815-1897; microfilmed Titian Ramsay Peale Collection, 1771-1876; microfilmed selected Peale family papers, 1803-1854; microfilmed selected papers from the Peale-Sellers collection, circa 1767-1904; and microfilmed Augusta Barker papers, 1875-1887.
The American Philosophical Society holds the Peale-Sellers Family Collection, 1686-1963 and the Peale family papers, 1705-1898.
Microfilm of 26 diaries (reel 3899) purchased in 1987 from the American Philosophical Society as part of AAA's Philadelphia Arts Documentation Project. Material on reel D9 donated 1955-1962 by Charles E. Feinberg, an active donor and friend of AAA. Material on reel N68/20 lent for microfilming 1968 by Fordham University Library.
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.
Original and photocopied correspondence, financial papers, newspaper clippings, legal documents, insurance policies, account book, genealogical notes, wills, lottery tickets, and currency, documenting the activities of the Ramsay family of Alexandria, Virginia and related families.
The collection is arranged topically.
Biographical / Historical:
William Ramsay (1716-1785), a Scottish Presbyterian minister, played a major role in the establishment of Alexandria, Virginia and later served as its mayor. His son, Dennis, also served as mayor and as a colonel in the Continental Army. Other descendants remained active in local affairs.
Collection donated by Heirs of William and Dennis Ramsay,1962, April 30.
Collection is open for research.
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.
The papers document the life and work of William R. Hutton, a civil engineer during the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Materials include diaries, notebooks, correspondence, letterpress copy book, printed materials, publications, specifications, photographs, drawings, and maps that document the construction of several architectural and engineering projects during this period. Most notable are the records containing information related to the construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, Hudson River Tunnel, the Washington Aqueduct, the Kanawha River Canal, and the Washington/Harlem River Bridge. There are also several records about railroads in the state of Maryland, the District of Columbia and elsewhere, including the Western Maryland Railroad, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Colorado Midlands Railway, Baltimore and Drum Point Railroad, the Northern Adirondack Railroad, and the Pittsfield and Williamstown Railroad. The records can be used to track the progression of these projects, and engineering innovation during the late 1800s to the early 1900s.
Scope and Contents:
These papers document William R. Hutton's professional career as a civil engineer and his personal affairs. Although the personal materials in the collection provide insight into a man and a family that have been largely forgotten by biographers, it is the professional materials that are perhaps the most interesting to researchers. They provide a compelling narrative of the push to the West that occurred in 19th century America and the internal improvements movement typified by the American System plan proposed by Henry Clay. Perhaps best remembered for the high tariffs that accompanied it, the American System plan was also concerned with the advancement of internal improvements, such as canals, that would unite the East and West in communication, travel, and trade. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal can be seen as one of the products of this movement (1) and was in fact initially heralded as the first great work of national improvement (2).
The papers in this collection that are related to the construction and maintenance of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal are an invaluable documentation of efforts during this turbulent time to unite the eastern and western United States. They provide details of the canal from its initial construction to its decline with the incline at Georgetown project. The canal also serves as an example, or perhaps a warning against, federal involvement in state improvement efforts as it was the first project to be directly funded and staffed by the federal government (3). The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by then President John Quincy Adams whose toast, "to the canal: perseverance," (4) became an ironic omen, as construction of the canal took over twenty-two years to be completed. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal materials can be used as a case study for the problems encountered during canal building (5). These problems are best typified in the collection by the papers relating to the Georgetown incline. This project was headed by Hutton and was plagued with construction problems, boating accidents, and obsolescence from the moment of its completion. Despite these issues, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal remains a structure of historical significance in America. As the third and last effort to construct an all-water route to the West (6), the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is an important artifact of 19th century attitudes and efforts towards commerce, trade, travel, and communication between the eastern and western United States. Other significant canals and water structures represented in the collection are the Kanawha Canal, the Washington Aqueduct, and a large collection of materials relating to the Kingston Water Supply (New York).
One of the most significant internal improvements made during this time was the railroad. The legal conflicts that arose between the canal companies and railroads is also represented in the materials relating to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. These materials specifically deal with the legal conflict's between the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The development and construction of the railroads is also represented in the materials documenting the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the Baltimore and Drum Point Railroad, the Northern Adirondack Railroad, the Western Maryland Railroad, the Mexican National Railroad, the Colorado Midlands Railroad, and the Columbia Railroad.
The collection also demonstrates the spirit of innovation and invention that was prevalent in the engineering field in the nineteenth century. Joseph Gies writes, "...one of the distinctive characteristics of the great nineteenth century engineering adventurers was their readiness to gamble on the translation of theory into practice" (7). In this quote, he is speaking of the civil engineer Dewitt Clinton Haskins and a project that truly encapsulates engineering invention in the nineteenth century, the Hudson River Tunnel. Responding to the increase in the population of the City of New York in the late nineteenth century from sixty thousand to three and a half million, the Hudson River Tunnel was originally devised as a way to alleviate traffic and to transport train passengers directly across the Hudson River (8). Beginning with records dating from 1881 to 1901, the Hutton papers can be used to document not only the advances in engineering during this time but also the costs of progress. Haskins' initial efforts to build the tunnel using submerged air pressurized caissons were marked by failure and in some cases fatalities. Workers on the tunnel often suffered from what came to be known as "caisson disease" or "the bends," caused by the immense forces of compression and decompression experienced while working in the tunnels (9). This problem was so prevalent that as construction progressed the rate of worker deaths caused by "the bends" rose to twenty-five percent (10). Materials in the collection document worker complaints and deaths resulting from this disease as well as providing a technical record of the construction of the tunnel. The highlight of the materials relating to the Hudson River Tunnel is an album that contains photographs of workers in the tunnel and a detailed daily report of the construction progress on the tunnel that was maintained by Hutton's assistant, Walton Aims. The first hand account in these reports provides insight not only into the construction of the tunnel, but also the problems encountered.
Another project featured in the Hutton collection that was devised in response to the population explosion in the City of New York in the nineteenth century is the Harlem River Bridge, or as it is now known, the Washington Bridge. Known as one of the longest steel arch bridges of its time, the Harlem River Bridge also represents that spirit of invention and innovation that was prevalent in the civil engineering field during the nineteenth century. The collection provides an invaluable resource for those wishing to track the construction of the bridge from early concept drawings and proposals to finalized plans. Also present are photographs of the construction and workers. Societal response to the bridge in the form of newspaper and magazine clippings help to create the narrative of the Washington Bridge, and these are supplemented by correspondence from the builders, suppliers, and planners.
This collection also includes diaries, 1866-1901; letterpress copybooks, 1858-1901; correspondence on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, Hudson River Tunnel, Washington Bridge over the Harlem River, and Maryland and Colorado railroads, 1861-1901, and on Hutton's financial and real estate affairs, 1835-1921; construction photographs of the Harlem River, Cairo, Poughkeepsie, Niagara bridges and the Hudson River Tunnel, Washington Aqueduct, and Capitol Dome (in the form of albumen, cyanotype, salted paper print); data and drawings; rolled land profile drawings; canal notes, 1828-1892; Hudson River Tunnel construction reports, 1889-1891; publications, drawings, and maps of railroad routes; pamphlets and reprints on hydraulic works and water supply; road, railway, bridge, and hydraulic construction specifications, 1870-1900; drawings (linen, oil cloth, and heavy drawing paper), and blueprints; account books, 1891-1899; and plans, drawings, field notebooks, and publications on American and European construction projects, especially in Maryland, New York, and France; personal correspondence detailing his role as executor for the estates of Benjamin H. Hutton, Joseph Hutton, Annie Theller, and the Countess H. De Moltke-Hvitfeldt and his relationships with his children, siblings, cousins, and colleagues, 1850-1942.
Materials are handwritten, typed, and printed.
Special note should be made that any materials dated after the year 1901 were added to the collection by another creator who is unidentified. It can be speculated that professional materials added after this date were contributed by his brother and colleague Nathanial Hutton or his son Frank Hutton. Personal materials contributed after this date may have been added by his wife, daughters, or other members of his extended family.
Series 1, Letterpress Copybooks, 1858-1901, consists of twenty seven letterpress copybooks containing correspondence between Hutton and other engineers, architects, and building suppliers. The letterpress copybooks in this series have been arranged chronologically. The books involve a process by which ink is transferred through direct contact with the original using moisture and pressure in a copy press. The majority of the correspondence is business- related. Some letterpress copybooks are devoted to specific projects such as the Washington/Harlem River Bridge, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, Baltimore and Drum Point Railroad, Annapolis and Elk Ridge Railroad, and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The letterpress copybooks provide a record of correspondence written by Hutton, which makes it distinctive from the other correspondence in the collection. Most of the other correspondence has Hutton as recipient.
The letterpress copybooks also document Hutton's various residences throughout his life and provide a glimpse into the civil engineering profession at the time by demonstrating how engineers shared ideas and comments about projects. This can be supplemented with the printed materials in the collection as many of the authors also appear in the correspondence. Other topics covered in the letterpress copybooks include business reports (specifically the report of the president and directors of the Baltimore and Drum Point Railroad), records of people and companies involved in projects, pasted in engineering sketches, engineering specifications and notes, travel expenses and estimates, construction histories and progress, legal issues with family estates, tax information, Colorado Railroad, payment certificate schedules, St. Paul Railroad, personal correspondence, title guarantees, Hudson River Tunnel, financial matters, real estate matters, insurance information, sketches and drawings, supply lists, cost estimates, the Memorial Bridge, Coffin Valve Company, engineering expenses, engineering calculations, payroll notes for Kingston Water Supply, proposals, account information, Hutton Park, reservoirs, contract drafts, French Society of Civil Engineers, inspection results (specifically Piedmont Bridge), land descriptions, damage reports, Morse Bridge, Illinois Central Railroad, North Sea Canal, moveable dams, iron works, site histories, Potomac Lock and Dock Company, Kanawha River canal (lock quantities, specifications, payroll information), Pennsylvania Canal, and bills for services.
Series 2, Professional Correspondence, 1861-1901, consists of correspondence that relates to Hutton's architectural and engineering projects. This series is further subdivided into two subseries: Project Correspondence and General Correspondence. Subseries 1, Project Correspondence, 1876-1899, correspondence is divided by project and arranged alphabetically. Subseries 2, General Correspondence, 1861-1901, is arranged chronologically. Both series contain handwritten and typed letters. Some letters are on letterpress copybook pages and are most likely copies. Some materials are in French and Spanish. Special note should be made that this series does not contain all of the professional correspondence in the collection. Some correspondence has been separated according to project and placed in Series 8, Professional Projects, 1830-1965, in order to make it easier for researchers to access materials related to those subjects.
Subseries 1, professional correspondence topics include comparisons between construction projects (specifically comparisons of the Kanawha River Canal to other canals), supply lists, location recommendations, sketches, construction plans and modifications, bills for supplies and works, leaks in the gates, cost estimates, Brooklyn Water Supply, use of lake storage (Ramapo Water Supply), water supply to states and counties, damages to water supply pipes, estimates of water quantities, responses to construction reports, legal issues related to projects, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and payment for services.
Subseries 2, general correspondence topics include employment opportunities, committee meetings and elections, land surveys, sketches, engineering plans and ideas, work on projects, dismissal from projects, notes on supplies, Washington Aqueduct, construction progress, land purchases, Civil War, Jones Falls, cost of water pumps, steam drills, lots divisions and prices, repairs, report of the engineering bureau, tidewater connection at Annapolis, bridge construction, construction costs, statement of vessels that entered and cleared Baltimore, technical questions from colleagues, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, supply costs, letters of introduction, requests for reference, changes to plans and designs, survey reports, St. Andrew's lot, Canal Coal Company, publication process, American Society of Civil Engineers and its members, responses to project inquiries, Graving Dock gross revenue, job offers, specifications, trade figures, contracts, water levels, appointment dates and times, moveable dams, proposals for membership, salaries, Piedmont Coal Lands, maps, land profiles, Washington Bridge, board payments, Nicaragua Canal, Grant Coal Company, statistics, engineering notes, Hartford Bridge, water pressures, coal deposits, Colorado Coal, pipe lines, reservoirs, boat costs for canals, floods, bridges, letters of resignation, engines, Ruxton Viaduct, Colorado and Midland Railroad, Morse Bridge, share values, railroad locations, membership invitations, call for submissions, structural tests, record of accounts for room and board, appointments, water rights (Putnam County), publications, blueprints, visitation programs, cotton compresses, street trenches, pressures in dams, level tests, Portland Transportation bureau, trade information, concrete steel, Chicago drainage canal, ship canals, Augusta Cotton and Compress Company, Sooysmith case, Consolidated Gas Company, masonry, book binding, Columbia Railway Company, jetties, land grades, Chesapeake and Delaware canal, water wheels, pneumatic lock, tunnel arches, rifton power, Hutton's health, elevators, Brooklyn Bridge Terminals, girder weights, legal issues and their results, rating table for the Potomac, land profiles, transmission lines, transformers, water turbines, and water power on the Potomac River.
Correspondents for this series include the following: Captain Montgomery C. Meigs, Captain T.W. Symons, William Bryan, Ernest Flagg, John Hurd, Jake Wolfe, J.C. Saunders, J.H. Dolph, Charles J. Allen, G.H. Mendell, Virgil S. Bogue, B.A. Mounnerlyn, Edward Burr, H.G. Prout, R. William, H. Dodge, C.R. Suter, M. Mink, W.R. King, John Lyons, Alex Brown and Sons, John G. Butler, D. Condon, Bernard Carter, R.P. McCormick, D.R. Magruder, Andrew Banks, Isaac Solomon, C.J. Mayer, C.W. Kern, John Herring, James S. Mackie, D.R. Magunde, D. Rittaguide, R.S. Stevens, J.L. Raudolph (Baltimore and Ohio Railroad), J.M. Lane, W.D. Stuart, W.G.P. Palmer (Committee Church of the Ascension), C. Crozet, General W. Hughes, V.R. Maus, J.M. Hood (Western Maryland Railroad Company), Ernest Pontzen, M. Haus, William F. Craighill, Harry Hutton, John W. Pearce, Reverend James A. Harrald, William Watson, A.L. Rives, Thomas Monro, A.F. Croswan (Commander United States Navy), H.R. Garden, William McAlpine, James Forrest, Wm. Bloomsfield, Daniel Ammen, Linel Wells, A. and Otto Sibeth, Alfred Noble, Clemens Hershel, Sidney Warner, E.H. de Rheville, Theodore Cooper, William Findlay Shunk, Lewis S. Wolfe, Rufus Mead, Theodore F. Taylor, John Bogart, J. Whaler, B. Williamson, Colonel F.V. Greene, Robert H. Sayre (Lehigh Valley Railroad Company), Charles W. Pussey, Louis Q. Rissel, V.C. Bogue, H.C. Eckenberger, Melville E.G. Leston, Edwin Parson, Rudolph Hering, R.S. Hale, F.M. Turner, Thosl Martindale, Justus C. Strawbridge, William M. Ayresm, R.L. Austin, A.M. Miller, P. Livingston Dunn, T.J. Cleaver, C.S. Dutton, H.A. Carson, William Bainbridge Jaudon, H.A. Presset, Thomas H. McCann, Russel Sturgis, H.G. Prout, Alexis H. French, John K. Cowen, F.W. Williams, J. Waldorf, B.H. Byrant, B.H. Jones, M.H. Rogers, J.W. Ogden, General W. Cashing, William Longhudge, A.J. Cameron, T.L. Patterson, J.J. Hagerman, H. Wigglesworth, Charles B. Rowland, E. Bantz, W.G. Lathrop, Clarence King, George Rowland, George A. Tibbals (Continental Iron Works), George N. Vanderbilt, Eugene C. Lewis, F.P. Burt, Colonel John C. Clarke, Lieutenant Thomas Turtle, W.S.M. Scott, E. Bates Dorsey, Bernard Carter, George M. Shriver (Baltimore and Ohio Railroad), Russel Sturgis, Macmillan Publishing, James Abernethy, B. Baker, J.G.W. Fynje, A. Mallet, Jean Hersuy, L.F. Vernon Horcourt, Robert Lilley, A.J. Johnson, F.M. Colby, Henry D. Loney, A.S. Cameron, James A. Harrald, William Watson, John B. Lervis, A.L. Rives, Edwin F. Bidell, Frank H. Stockett, E. McMahon, C.F. Elgin, Enrique Budge, G. Clayton Gardiner, Dwight Porter, William A. Chapman, T.E. Sickels, Theodore Cooper, C.J. Warner, Institution of Civil Engineers, Robert Gordon, United States Coast of Geodetic Survey Office, C.P. Pattun, J.N. Putnam, Sidney B. Warner, H.D. Fisher, Union Pacific Railway Company, Lewis S. Wolle, George E. Waring Junior, The American Exhibition, G.F. Swain, American Society of Civil Engineers, N.H. Whitten, U.S. Engineer Office, Government Works Committee, J.J. Hagerman, D. Jackson, Sterling Iron and Railway Company, E.P. Alexander, E. Williamson, Central Railway Company of New Jersey, William A. Underwood, F. Collingwood, James Dun (Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company), Henry F. Kilburn, Louis A. Bissell, Virgil G. Boque, H.C. Eckenberger, Melville Egleston, Charles Parson, George Swain, Continental Iron Works, Rudolph Hering, J.B. Gordon, Mayor's Office (Baltimore), Harry Robinson, Pennsylvania Railway Company, W.H. Gahagan, L. Luiggi, B.H. Bryant, T.J. Cleaver (Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Company), H.A. Carson, H.A. Presset (Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey), John K. Cowen, Vernon H. Brown, J. Waldorf, B.H. Bryant, L.F. Root, P.W. White, Metropolitan Railroad Company, Charles F. Mayer (Consolidated Coal Company, Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad Company), J.M. Lane (Western Maryland Railroad), Dr. R.S. Stewart (Annapolis and Elk Ridge Railroad), Baltimore and Drum Point Railroad (John Lyons, John G. Butler, D. Candon, R.P. McCormick, Andrew Banks), Thomas F. Rowland, J.A. Bensel, Walton Aims, S.D. Coykendall, H.C. Rogers, John F. Ward, T.B. Jewell, H.A. Pressey, C.S. Armstrong, J. Nennett, V.G. Bague.
Series 3, Personal Correspondence, 1850-1942, contains correspondence with immediate and extended family, specifically the heirs to the Benjamin H. Hutton and Joseph Hutton estates and Adele Gorman. Correspondence is primarily arranged chronologically, but some files have been divided based on subject or author (the Deer Park and Adele Gorman files), or by form (the Telegrams, and Cablegrams file). Special note is made of the posthumous correspondence file, which includes correspondence both relating to Hutton's death and correspondence that was written by family members after the years of his death. The series contains both hand written and typed letters. Some correspondence is in French. The correspondence demonstrates his relationship with his children specifically Elizabeth (Bessie) Hutton, and illuminates his role in his family. This series also provides details about nineteenth century upper class society and activities. Special note should be made that this folder does not contain all of the personal correspondence contained in the collection. Some correspondence has been separated according to recipient, or subject in order to make researching these recipients or subjects easier.
Series 3 correspondence topics include: estate payments, distribution of assets, funds transfers, estate lines, conflicts with tenants, sketches, lot maintenance, real estate sales, deeds, real estate sales negotiations, congratulations wishes on new babies, family illnesses, family affairs and travels, traveling directions, personal investments, invitations for social occasions, family debts, professional interests, professional and personal appointments, family issues, requests for money, sketches, advice to children (specifically Frank Hutton), life insurance, books, letters of introduction, legal issues, funeral expenses, charity donations, advertisements, minutes from professional organizations, army enlistment, deaths of friends and family, recipes, estimates of personal expenses, renovations, stock certificates (Great Northern Railway Company, New York), food, social activities, the weather, marriages, real estate and construction plans, and loan agreements.
Correspondents include the following: Frank Hutton, Thomas B. Brookes, J.L. Marcauley, C.M. Matthews, Edward J. Hancy, John M. Wilson, H.A. Carson, William H. Wiley (of John Wiley and Sons Scientific Publishers, New York), Georgina Hutton, Pierre and Jane Casson, George McNaughlin, Henrietta Hutton, Aaron Pennington Whitehead, J.B. Wheeler, B. Williamson, Robert De Forest, Elizabeth (Bessie) Hutton, Grace Beukard, J.C. Saunders, Mary Hutton, William J. Pennington, C.S. Hurd, Henry C. Cooper, Henry J. Segers, S.F. Miller, Annie Theller, Alfred Noble, Maria Burton, Joseph Hobson, E. Lennon, F. Hulberg, Charles Gordon Hutton, Edward C. Ebert, A. William Lewin, E.R. Dunn, William P. Craighill, Theodore Cooper, P.I. Chapelle, Anita McAlpine, Clarence King, Victoria Raymond, and Adele Gorman.
Series 4, Personal Materials, 1835-1946, contains documentation about Hutton's personal finances, role as executor of the Benjamin H. Hutton, Joseph Hutton, Annie Theller, and Countess H. De Moltke-Hvitfeldt estates, Mary Augusta Hutton (wife), Mary Hutton (daughter), Frank Hutton, John Caulfield (son-in-law), and B.F. and C.H. Hutton. The series has been divided into four subseries: Financial Records, 1876-1901, Estate and Real Estate Records, 1835-1921, Other Huttons, 1876-1936, and Personal Material, 1878-1946. Subseries 2, Estate and Real Estate Records, 1835-1921, contains correspondence relating to specific family estates and family members. This correspondence was separated from Series 3, Personal Correspondence, 1850-1942, to make it easier for researchers to access all records relating to the family estates. This series includes hand written, typed, and printed materials. Some materials are in French. All material dated after 1901 has been added to the collection by other creators such as Hutton's wife and children.
Subseries 1, Financial Records, 1876-1901, includes account books, account records, correspondence related to bank accounts, bank statements, financial notes, bills and proofs of payment, rent receipts, tax bills (New York, Flatbush, Montgomery County), checks, money exchanges, receipts for tax payments, real estate receipts, stock and bond certificates, loan agreements, executor accounts, rebate calculation sheet, and tax and insurance payments.
Subseries 2, Estate and Real Estate Records, 1835-1921, includes property maps and information (rent, mortgage costs, deeds), correspondence, notes on estate distribution, estate assets, value of estate and estate payments, account records, loan agreements, receipts, proof of payments, checks, financial records, legal documents, insurance documents, tax bills, auction receipts, and wills relating to the estates of Benjamin H. Hutton, Joseph Hutton, Countess H. de Moltke-Hivtfeldt, Annie Theller, and William R. Hutton. Also included are correspondence, property maps and information, and deeds and mortgages on Hutton properties.
Subseries 2, the estate and real estate records correspondence topics include: Virginia state building codes, construction costs, construction notices, purchasing offers for property, real estate prices, receipts of payments, property lines, real estate purchases and sales, real estate sales negotiations, deeds insurance estimates and costs, loan costs, property estimates, renovation costs, mortgages, property damages and repairs, property tax payments, insurance rates and payments, rent payments, telephone installation, building permits, rental agreements, reports on property condition, contracts of sale, conflicts with tenants, changes of address, deeds, distribution of estate monies, details about the Countess' illness, estate arrangements, changes of address, problems arising out of estate distribution, payment of debts, will details, selling of mortgage shares, accounts, estate settlement, money cables and transfers, dealings with lawyers, rent on Hutton Park property, legal and accounting fees, power of attorney transfer, investments, property security, land appraisals, lists of assets, legacy taxes, mortgages transfers, property management, Flatbush property, property rent and values, and physicians bills.
Correspondents include the following: A.C. Weeks, Walter I. Green, John D. Probsh, A.G. Darwin, Thomas H. McCann, Allan Farguhar, Thomas Dawson, Potter and Crandall Real Estate and Insurance Brokers, George C. Tilyou, H.D. Olephant, F. Winston, Richard E. Calbraith, Frank P. Martin, Henry DeForest, Henry C. Cooper, Metropolitan Telephone and Telegraph Company, John Ecker, C.K. Avevill, Georgina Hutton, Edward J. Hancy, Robert Graham, W.M. Bennett, Willis E. Merriman, Nathan L. Miller, Harry Hutton, Marquise de Portes (Adele Gorman), Annie Theller, Samuel L. Theller, Mrs. R. Locke, Frank Z. Adams, John Palmer (Secretary of State, New York), J.T. Cammeyer, Frank P. Martin, Florence Theller, Francis H. Seger, Henry C. Cooper, D.W.G. Cammeyer, Campbell W. Adams, Jane Casson, Elizabeth Hutton, Rene de Portes, H.G. Atkins, Grace Beukard, Aaron Pennington Muikhead, J.E. Delapalme, T.H. Powers, Egerton L. Winthrop Junior, George B. Glover, William Jay and Robert W. Candler, B. Williamson, J.E. Knaff, Cornelius C. Vermeule, S.V. Hayden, Charles G. Landon[?], H.A. Hurlbert, F.A. Black, John L. Calwalder, the Health Department of New York, A.G. Darwin, William Laue, Frederick Frelinghuysen, Charles S. Brown, Henrietta Hutton, Edward Gelon.
Subseries 3, Other Huttons, 1874-1936, includes professional drawings and proposals, checks, insurance information, correspondence, tax information, medical information, tax bills, relating to Mary Augusta Hutton (wife), Mary Hutton (daughter), Henry and Harry Hutton, Frank Hutton (son), John Caulfield (son-in-law), B.F. Hutton, and C.H. Hutton.
Subseries 4, Personal Materials, 1878-1946, contains handwritten property notes, school notes, sermons, travel documents, menus, Christmas cards, jewelry box, postal guide, typed religious materials and flyers.
Series 5, Diaries, 1866-1901, contains twenty nine diary books that document both Hutton's personal and professional life. These diaries provide not only a record of Hutton's life, but were also used by Hutton himself as a reference tool. When working on projects he would refer to notes and observations he made in his diary (as evidenced by notes made in his diaries). The first pages of the diaries often list his height, weight and clothing sizes as they varied from year to year. A researcher could probably use the cashbooks (see Series 7) and the diaries in conjunction as both detail the purchases made by Hutton. Many of the diaries also include a short record of accounts in the back. The diaries are arranged chronologically.
Topics found in the diaries include short form accounts of daily activities and appointments, records of the weather, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal project, construction progress on projects, steam pumps, sketches and calculations, extension of Washington railroads, cost of food, work supplies, travel costs, costs of goods and food, work deadlines, home renovations, visits to family, cash accounts, accounts of household duties, produce on Woodlands property, records of deaths, debts owed, account of clearing Woodlands property, church visits, Hancock and Tonoloway Aqueduct, canals, Drum Point Railroad, Montgomery C. Meigs, Washington Aqueduct, Annapolis Water Works, telegram costs, wages for Chesapeake and Ohio Canal project, William Craighill, Morris Canal, Annapolis Railroad and Canal, professional duties (inspections), Kanawha River Canal, travel schedules, professional expenses, cash received from Chesapeake and Ohio Canal project, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, John's Dam, cathedral construction (St. Patricks?), Piedmont Bridge, Cumberland, account of farm property belonging to Major Campbell Bruns, Cunard Pier, Marquise de Portes, rent costs, Baltimore Canal, Kingston Water Supply, Croton Orange Estate, Pierre Casson, Hudson River Tunnel, Washington/Harlem River Bridge, entertainment costs, Greenwood cemetery, train schedule, notes on illness, real estate sales, Hutton Park, Benjamin H. Hutton estate and heirs, estimates, accounts of correspondence received and sent, Central Railroad, rent on Orange properties, addresses, contracts and building supplies for projects, personal finances, Joseph Hutton property on Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, amounts paid and received, medical appointments, Ramapo Water Company, drawing progress of maps and diagrams, Harbor Board (New York), property repairs, inspection and test reports, reservoirs, lists of birthdays, Boston Tunnel, family financial issues, tax payments, and prayers.
Series 6, Notebooks, 1860-1900, document the engineering and architectural projects worked on by Hutton. The series has been divided into three subseries: Subseries 1, Engineering and Survey Field Notes, 1860-1899; Subseries 2, Notebooks, 1871-1886; and Subseries 3, Notes, 1863-1900. Subseries 1, Engineering and Survey Field Notes, 1860-1899, contains sixteen field notebooks used by Hutton. Subseries 2, Notebooks, 1871-1886, contains seven notebooks. Subseries three, Notes, 1863-1900, contains four documents.
Some notebooks correspond to specific projects such as the Kanawha River Canal (lockgate and Phoenix Waterline), Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, Buffalo Reservoir, Potomac Lock and Dock Company, Northern Adirondack Railroad account, Washington Aqueduct, Little Rock Bridge, Wilson-Adam Dock, Croten Brick Works, Hutton Park, Centennial Iron Works, Cumberland Canal, Williamsport Aqueduct, Catoctin Aqueduct, Alexandria Canal, Miller's Saw Mill, Seneca Dam, Union Tunnel, Cumberland Waterworks, Victoria Bridge, Welland Canal, North Sea Canal, Ramapo Water Company, Annapolis Water Company, Antietam Aqueduct, Interoceanic Canal, San Quentin Canal, Suez Canal, Amsterdam Canal, Harlem Bulkhead, Morris Canal, Blue Lake Canal, and Nicaragua Canal.
These notebooks should be used in conjunction with the other materials in the collection related to professional projects, as they often provide more detailed accounts of the construction and land surveys. Some of the notebooks contain entries from several different sources. The notebooks were probably shared among the engineers working on these projects. The notebooks also contain looseleaf ephemera such as hand written calculations, newspaper clippings, and blueprints. Languages found in this series are English and French.
Notebook topics include construction projects, supply needs, costs for labor, sketches (Woodland Mills, landscapes, dams, railway cars, Noland Tunnel), costs of crops, survey measurements, cost of livestock, aqueducts, inspections, canal bridges, seed prices, dams, measurements, coffer dam, canal maintenance, worker salaries, calculations, towpath sketches and measurements, shipping rates, worker accidents, water and coal used, geometrical sketches (Washington Aqueduct), locks, damage reports, interactions with other engineers (William Reading), coal shipments on the canal, travel expenses, land survey notes, drafts for correspondence, William Craighill, Victoria docks, lists of personal supplies used, construction time estimates, surveying expenses, telegram costs, sand pump, canal from Sherling to Tuxedo Bay, analysis of several artificial lakes and reservoirs, distances of reservoirs to main pipes, calculations for the Austin Wheel, engine construction, bridges, gauging water depth, results and observations of tests and performance, problems with construction, to-do lists, cost of land surrounding towpaths, Fawcett's Lock, Tarman's Lock, comparison of costs in transporting coal by water and by rail, inspection notes, iron work, drainages, leaks, cost of supplies, watergates, harbor ferries, railroad station distances, flood protection, Panama Canal via the Nicaraguan route, cost of jetties, water levels, pressure of steam, boilers, steam and water cycle, water depth, cement, Great Falls, Virginia, waterflow, soundings, time of floats, flow of currents, rain fall measurements, tunnel measurements, cost of trenching San Francisco water supply, record of livestock, cost of food, rates of sawing woods and mills, preliminary railroad line measurements, profile of final line, and railroad line profiles.
Series 7, Cash Books, 1856-1899, contains seven cashbooks which list prices for personal items purchased by Hutton. Topics include groceries, church dues, clothes, hygiene products, cigars, some short journal entries about his work (Williamstown), concerts, dinners, family addresses, cakes, meals, cars, stamps, office supplies (pencils and papers), valentines, glasses, gloves, fabric, medicine, needles, diapers, tobacco, shoes (adult and childrens), travel expenses, telegrams, candles, newspapers, liquor, coal oil, jewelry, allowances given to family members, bank deposits, monies paid and received, taxes, subscriptions, tailoring costs, deposits and payments into estate trusts, and notes about payments to Benjamin H. Hutton heirs. The cashbooks also contain some personal loose leaf ephemera such as prayers, sketches, and engineering notes collected by Hutton.
Series 8, Professional Projects, 1830-1965, contains documents about engineering and architectural projects throughout Hutton's career, including information about the professional organizations and the legal issues in which he was involved. This series has been divided into eight subseries based on project, document form, and document subject. Some materials are in French and Italian.
Series 8, Professional Projects, also includes correspondence related to specific projects, primarily the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, the Hudson River Tunnel, the Washington/Harlem River Bridge, and the Georgetown Incline.
Topics include construction and repair to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, engineering and use of Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, worker contracts, supply and labor purchases, design plans and proposals, construction and repair costs, supply notes and costs of supplies, water pressure and power, shipping materials and routes (specifically the shipping of coal), inspections and their findings, condition of canal dam and locks, water supply, drainage, sketches, board proceedings, business meetings, deeds, cost comparisons to other shipping methods, hiring processes, wages, cost estimates, Hutton's consulting fees, measurements and calculations, funding issues, worker conflicts, negotiations with municipal governments, payment schedules, bills for services, air pressure in Hudson River Tunnel, permission for construction, specifications, mortality rate among workers on the Hudson River Tunnel, construction reports, outlet incline, proposals for construction, letters of introduction, railroad versus water for trade, controversy with Tiersey, construction contracts, construction schedules, construction issues, construction progress, construction damage, basis for estimates, supply requests, internal politics, changes to construction plans, contract and price adjustments, issues with suppliers, construction delays, work permits, bills, worker issues, engineering notes, construction excavations, expenses, construction instructions, Union Bridge Company, lighting installations, construction processes, hiring practices, electrical conductors, water proofing, hydraulics, cement, concrete, payment of contributors, processes of approval for construction, meeting dates of the Harlem River Bridge Commission, and contract restrictions.
Correspondents include the following: W.W.M. Kaig, Henry Dodge, E. Mulvany, John Shay, James Clarke, H.D. Whitcomb, Horace Benton, J. Rellan, J.R. Maus, W.E. Merrill, A.P. Gorman, J.H. Staats, Vernon H. Brown, Charles H. Fisher (New York Central and Hudson River Railway Company), B. Baker, John Fowler, Benjamin and John Dos Passos, Charles B. Colby, Charles B. Brush, S. Pearson, Stanford White, Horace E. Golding, R.H. Smith, Daniel Lord, A. Fteley, Herbert Hinds, J.R. Bartlett, D.M. Hirsch, M.H. Bartholomew, Thomas O. Driscoll, W.E. Porter, Thomas F. Rowland, George Edward Harding, R.H. Dames, William Watson, James B. Eads, J.D. Bright, H. Aston, Charles Suley, A.M. Maynard, W.R. Henton, G. Geddes, H.P. Gilbut, Malcolm W. Niver (Secretary of the Harlem River Bridge Commission), J.D. Patterson, George Devin (Assistant Engineer Washington/ Harlem River Bridge), J.B. Wheeler, John Bogart, Charles Burns, J. McClellon, Rob Bassee, B. Williamson, Theodore Cooper, Lewis Cass Ledyard, R.M. Hunt, John Cooper, Henry Wilson, A.A. Caille, Myles Tierney, W. Pentzen, L.B. Cantfield, George Q. Grumstaid Junior, M.J. Funton, George Pierce, W.O. Fayerweather, Noah S. Belthen, Herbert Steward, W.M. Habirsham.
Subseries 1, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, 1828-1965, consists of plans, blueprints, land profiles, drawings, boat rates, contract forms, order forms, descriptions of the canal, design information, engineering data, sketches, cost estimates, land titles, microfilm, business papers, supply bills, patent bills, news clippings, reports, specifications, stockholder's reports, receipts, water leases, printed materials, and correspondence.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal project was started in 1828 and completed twenty two years later in 1850. The canal's main objective was to connect Georgetown to the coal banks above Cumberland, Maryland, providing a short and cheap trade route between the eastern and western United States. It was also hoped that the canal would provide greater communication and travel between these two regions. Plagued by natural disasters, and construction setbacks, the canal was never completed in time to be useful and became obsolete shortly after its completion. Canal trade was eventually put out of business by the increase of railroads. Although it was an important development in engineering at its inception, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is no longer in use and has become what locals affectionately refer to as "the old ditch." The canal was designated a National Historical Park in 1971 and consists of 184.5 miles of hiking and biking trails.
Subseries 2, Hudson River Tunnel, 1887-1901, consists of agreements for construction, certificates, contracts, and cost estimates, construction reports, engineering notebooks, engineering notes, sketches, land profiles, maps, progress profiles, plans, proposals, printed material, statements of expenses, and correspondence.
The Hudson River Tunnel project was started in 1874, and the final tubes were opened in 1910 after several construction setbacks. The tunnel connects Weehawken, New Jersey and Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan, New York City. Today the Hudson River Tunnel, known as the North River Tunnels is used by Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and New Jersey Transit rail lines.
Subseries 3, Harlem River Bridge, 1878-1982, consists of blueprints, printed materials, photographs, engineer's estimates, schedules, costs, reports, proposals, contracts, specifications, and correspondence.
The Harlem River Bridge project was started in 1885 and was completed in 1889. It spans the Harlem River in New York City, New York and connects the Washington Heights section of Manhattan with the Bronx. It was later named and is still known as the Washington Bridge and has been adapted over time to carry highway traffic. These adaptations have allowed the bridge to remain in use today.
Subseries 4, Other Projects, 1858-1832, consists of drawings, maps, blueprints, plans, proposals, cost estimates, bills, correspondence, sketches, land profiles, dimensions, engineering notes, account records, photostats, supply lists, calculations, legal documents, surveys, inspection reports, financial data, and measurements on architectural and engineering projects. Highlights of this subseries include: Western Maryland Railroad, Washington Aqueduct, Panama Canal, Ramapo Water Company, Piedmont Bridge, Northern Adirondack Railroad, Columbia Railroad, Morris Canal, Pittsfield and Williamstown Railroad, Suez Canal, St. Gothard Canal, Tansa Dam, Colorado Midland Railroad Company, Memorial Bridge, Mersey Tunnel, Little Rock Bridge, Kingston Water Supply, Kanawha River Canal, Florida Ship Canal, East Jersey Water Company, Consolidated Coal Company, Dismal Swamp Canal, Boston and Baltimore Tunnels, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Annapolis Water Company, Baltimore and Drum Point Railroad Company, and the Baltimore Beltline.
Subseries 5, Unidentified Project Files, 1872-1900, consists of bills of sale, engineering forms and regulations, cement test results and methods, census bulletin, contracts, cost estimates, correspondence, notes on publications, engineering data and notes, drawings, surveys, sketches, payrolls, photographs, and reports.
Subseries 6, Specifications, 1870-1900, consists of documents related to some of Hutton's projects, including specifications for bridges, reservoirs, canals, viaducts, docks, buildings, water works, and tunnels. Some specifications are more general, and some are blank proposal/specification forms. There are also proposals for estimates and a "call" or advertisement to contractors to bid on certain projects. Many of the specifications deal with projects in New York State, but projects in Pennsylvania, the City of Baltimore, and Europe are represented. The materials are arranged alphabetically by project name. There is one folder of documentation for the Potomac River Bridge (Arlington Memorial Bridge) in Washington, D.C. The Arlington Memorial Bridge was part of the 1901 McMillan Commission's plan for restoring Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant's original plan for the capital. Two decades passed before construction was initiated by the architectural firm McKim, Mead, and White. The documentation for the Memorial Bridge consists of calculations and monetary figures for materials such as granite.
Subseries 7, Legal Documents, 1886, contains documents related to a patent infringement suit for moveable dams involving Alfred Pasqueau vs. the United States. This file contains both a printed version of the case and a handwritten statement from Hutton.
Subseries 8, Professional Organizations, 1870-1902, contains documents related to professional organizations where Hutton held membership. Specific organizations represented are American Institute of Architects, American Society of Civil Engineers, Institution of Civil Engineers, Boston Society of Civil Engineers, Societe des Ingenieurs Civils de France, Librarie Polytechnique, American Agency of "Engineering" in London, Imperial Institute, League of Associated Engineers, Railroad Corporation, American Institute of Mining Engineers, and the Century Association. Material in the subseries includes correspondence, candidates for membership, membership payments, membership lists, meeting minutes, schedule of terms, professional practices, charges, articles of association, invitations for membership, and election notes. Some materials are in French.
Series 9, Printed Materials, 1850-1913, contains a variety of printed materials relating to engineering and architectural projects written by Hutton and fellow engineers. This series can be used to examine not only professional developments of the period and responses to those developments, but also to track how ideas were transferred between engineers across countries and continents. This series should be used in conjunction with the professional correspondence found in this collection, as many of the authors also appear there. Some materials are in French, German, Spanish, and Italian.
Subseries 1, Printed Materials by Hutton, 1852-1900, includes printed papers on the Missouri flood wave, the Ravine du Sud, the Potomac waterfront, the Colorado midlands, and the application of water supply machinery.
Subseries 2, Printed Materials by Others, 1826-1913, includes printed materials on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canals, Tehuantec Ship Railway, Interoceanic canals and railways, jetties, Nicaragua Canal, uses of cements, mortars, concretes, steam power, harbors, Niagara Falls, Kanawha River canal, Mississippi River, Hudson River Bridge, sewage disposal, Washington Aqueduct, specifications, construction progress reports, hydraulic experiments, water supply, drainage, road surfacing, sea walls, water-cooling apparatus, pollution reports, bridges, pipes, channels, reservoirs, irrigation, water power, and sewers.
Subseries 2 contains an issue of The North American Review in which Hutton has specifically highlighted an article entitled, "The Inter-Oceanic Canal." Please see the container list for names of authors.
Subseries 3, Printed Materials with No Author, 1852-1903, includes printed materials on harbor reports, Annapolis Water Company, Ramapo Water Company, water departments and boards, maps, engineer's reports, sea walls, preservation of structures, annual reports, Coal and Iron Railway Company, sewers, Baltimore and Drum Point Railroad, contract specifications, proposals, social club life, Croton Water Supply, law suits, water supplies, moveable dams, reservoirs, East River Bridge, Eastern Canal, water filtration, Kingston New Water Supply, water pipes, locks, docks, contracts, construction reports, Croton Water Supply, and surveys. Also included are issues of journals such as Le Correspondant, Circular of the Office of Chief Engineers, The Club, VIII Congres International de Navigation, Journal of the Association of Engineering Studies, and Journal of the Franklin Institute.
Subseries 4, Newspaper, Journals and Magazine Clippings, 1873-1900, contains clippings from a variety of newspapers such as Scientific American, andRailroad Gazette. Subjects included are the Union Tunnel opening in Baltimore, Drum Point Railroad, railroad company conflicts, Washington/Harlem River Bridge, Metropolitan Railroad, Western Maryland Railroad, crop prospects, lumber trade, North Avenue Bridge, Nicaraguan Canal, harbors, river improvements, reactions to engineering projects, Belt tunnel, city transit, Washington, D.C. flood in 1880, tunnel shields, Springfield Bridge, railroad patents, Panama Canal, jetties, Hudson Tunnel, steel boilers, composition and use of cement, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Subseries 5, Oversized Printed Materials, 1889-1892, contains large printed materials related to the Washington Aqueduct, General Post Office Building, subway arches, cornices, Warwick's Castle, Neuschwanstein Castle, Renaissance paintings, botanical drawings, school buildings, church architecture, the Hospital for the Insane of the Army and Navy and the District of Columbia, the Panama Canal, Morningside Park, and the Mississippi Jetties. Also includes engravings of Hutton, T.N. Talfound, and F. Jeffrey and photographs of Montgomery C. Meigs, and Hutton. Some materials are in German and French.
1. Ward, George Washington, "The Early Development of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Project," Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science Series XVII, no. 9-11 (1899): 8.
2. Ibid., 88.
3. Ibid., 55.
4. Ibid., 90.
5. Sanderlin, Walter S., "The Great National Project: A History of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal," Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science Series LXIV, no. 1 (1946): 21.
6. Ibid., 282.
7. Gies, Joseph, Adventure Underground (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Company Inc., 1962): 134.
8. Ibid., 131-132.
9. Ibid., 135-136.
10. Ibid., 145.
The collection is arranged into ten series.
Series 1, Letterpress Copybooks, 1858-1901
Series 2, Professional Correspondence, 1861-1901
Subseries 1, Project Correspondence, 1876-1899
Subseries 2, General Correspondence, 1861-1901
Series 3, Personal Correspondence, 1850-1942
Series 4, Personal Materials, 1835-1946
Subseries 1, Financial Records, 1876-1901
Subseries 2, Estate and Real Estate Records, 1835-1921
Subseries 3, Other Huttons, 1874-1936
Subseries 4, Personal Materials, 1878-1946
Series 5, Diaries, 1866-1901
Series 6, Notebooks, 1860-1900
Subseries 1, Engineering and Survey Field Notes, 1860-1899
Subseries 2, Notebooks, 1871-1886
Subseries 3, Notes, 1863-1900
Series 7, Cashbooks, 1856-1899
Series 8, Professional Projects, 1830-1965
Subseries 1, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, 1828-1965
Subseries 2, Hudson River Tunnel, 1887-1901
Subseries 3, Harlem River Bridge, 1878-1892
Subseries 4, Other Projects, 1858-1932
Subseries 5, Identified Project Files, 1872-1900
Subseries 6, Specifications, 1870-1900
Subseries 7, Legal Documents, 1886
Subseries 8, Professional Organizations, 1870-1902
Series 9, Printed Materials, 1826-1913
Subseries 1, Printed Materials by Hutton, 1852-1900
Subseries 2, Printed Materials by Others, 1826-1913
Subseries 3, Newspaper, Journals, and Magazine Clippings, 1855-1901
Not much is known about the history of William Rich Hutton outside of his role in architectural and engineering projects of the late 1800s and early 1900s. In many cases, he is spoken of only in reference to his projects, and the short biographies that have been written read more like a resume than a life story. Because of this lack of information, this note will focus on Hutton's professional accomplishments, but will attempt to make some comments on his personal life.
William Rich Hutton was born on March 21, 1826 in Washington, D.C., the eldest son of James Hutton (died 1843) and his wife, the former Salome Rich (1). He was educated at the Western Academy (Washington, D.C.) from 1837-1840 under George J. Abbot and then at Benjamin Hallowell's School in Alexandria, Virginia, where he received special training in mathematics, drawing, and surveying (2). Hutton began his professional career in California when he, along with his younger brother James, accompanied their uncle William Rich to work for the United States Army. His uncle was a paymaster for the army and Hutton became his clerk. They traveled around the new state paying the various platoons stationed there, but Hutton also occupied his time by drawing the landscapes and structures he saw in the settlements of Los Angeles, San Francisco, La Paz, Mazatlan, Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Pedro, San Diego, and Cape San Lucas (3). These drawings are now held by the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Hutton held the position of clerk until the spring of 1849, and in July of that year he began working with Lieutenant Edward O.C. Ord and completed the first survey of Los Angeles and its surrounding pueblo lands and islands. Hutton continued surveying in California from 1850-1851. He was hired by William G. Dana to survey the Nipomo Ranch in San Luis Obispo County and also surveyed the ranches Santa Manuela and Huer-Huero, both owned by Francis Z. Branch. After his employment with Dana, he became the county surveyor for San Luis Obispo County, where he prepared the first survey and map of the region. He also continued to survey ranches for Captain John Wilson during this time. In August 1851, he resigned from his position as county surveyor and moved to Monterey where he worked as an assistant to Captain (later General) Henry W. Hallack, superintendent of the New Almaden Quicksilver Mine in Santa Clara County (4). He remained in this position until March, 1853 when he returned to Washington, D.C. by way of Mexico (5).
Hutton began his career as a civil engineer in Washington, D.C. He was first assigned to the position of assistant engineer on a survey of the projected Metropolitan Railroad in 1853, which was chartered to connect Washington, D.C. with the mainline of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. In 1855 he began his professional relationship with Montgomery C. Meigs when he was appointed to the position of assistant engineer on the Washington Aqueduct. He also served as division engineer on this project until construction was shut down in 1861 because of the outbreak of the Civil War. Fortunately for Hutton, the construction on the Aqueduct was resumed in 1862, and when Congress transferred the supervision of the aqueduct project from the War Department to the Department of the Interior, Hutton was made chief engineer. By the end of the Civil War, Hutton's reputation as a civil engineer was established (6).
During this decade Hutton also served as the chief engineer for the Annapolis Water Works (1866) and as chief engineer for one of his most famous projects, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (1869-1871). Although some historians minimize Hutton as just one of many engineers to work on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, he did make one major contribution to its construction: the Georgetown Canal Incline. Perhaps the final effort of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal company to compete with the emerging and fast expanding railroad, the Georgetown Incline was designed to allow canal boats to travel through the canal with low water levels and to alleviate canal congestion. Unfortunately, by the time the incline was completed use of the canal had decreased so significantly that it was no longer needed to help control traffic (7). Despite this, Hutton continued to work as a consulting engineer for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company until 1881, when he was let go because of the dwindling fortunes of the company (7).
In the 1870s and 1880s Hutton was busy with several engineering projects. During 1871-1873, he was the chief engineer in the completion of the Western Maryland Railroad to Hagerstown and Williamsport (9). He also practiced as an architect with his brother, the prominent Baltimore architect Nathanial Henry Hutton, during the years 1873-1880. He relocated to New York in 1880, serving as chief engineer for the Washington Bridge in 1888 and 1889 and the Hudson River Tunnel from 1889 to 1891. In 1886, he became the consulting engineer for the New Croton Aqueduct and served in the same position for the Colorado Midland Railway between the years of 1886-1889 (10).
As his personal and professional correspondence shows, Hutton continued to work on various engineering and architectural projects until his death on December 11, 1901. In addition to these projects, he also invented the innovative system of locks and moveable dams used in the Kanawha River Canal. He was awarded the Diplome d'Honneur for this featat the Paris Exposition in 1878 (11). His correspondence also demonstrates how Hutton was respected within his professional community. These letters refer to the accuracy of his work, his willingness to help other colleagues and supply them with reference materials and information, and, in addition to all this, his politeness. It seems that these qualities defined not only his personality but also his ideology. In one of the cashbooks in the collection, dated 1899, a hand written note contains a religious parable of "The Straw." The phrase in this parable that speaks most to Hutton's work ethic, and to the spirit of inventors everywhere, is this: "Even so however lowly may be the act, however little opportunities we may have of assisting others, we may still do something. Let us beg to fulfil our duty in this regards by making ourselves useful to others by some little act of thoughtful charity..." (12). Hutton, in his dedication to civil engineering, seems to have lived up to this virtue, and in his work he changed the landscape of Washington, D.C. and New York.
The Fairy Godfather: Hutton's Personal History
His professional records reveal a man who was fiercely dedicated to his work. His obituary references his professional life more than his personal life (13). Despite his reputation in the professional engineering community, his personal records demonstrate that Hutton was also dedicated to his family and children. In 1855, he married Montgomery County native Mary Augusta Clopper (died 1915). Together they lived on her family's estate known as the Woodlands, and had five children: Frank C. Hutton, Mary Hutton, Elizabeth Hutton (later Caulfield), Rosa Hutton, and Annie Salome Hutton (14). It is at this estate that Hutton died and was buried. The personal letters to his wife found in the Woodlands Collection held at the Montgomery County Historical Society show a man in love and willing to take time from his work to write to his wife. His letters to his children show a similar interest and compassion. In the many letters found in this collection from his daughter Elizabeth (Bessie) one can see a father who is interested in not only his daughter's activities abroad, but also in her opinion. This interest also extends to his son Frank Hutton, as their correspondence shows Hutton offering his son advice on his own engineering projects.
Hutton also served as executor to many of his extended family's estates. Many letters show the conflicts that Hutton had to mediate and the dependence of his cousins on him for advice and money. Although his family was wealthy (his cousin was Benjamin H. Hutton whose daughters married into the court of Napoleon III), they were volatile, and his records seem to indicate that he served as a mediator for many of their disputes. In addition to this, as his nickname of Fairy Godfather suggests, Hutton was always willing to lend his family either financial or moral support when needed. Unfortunately, little other documentation concerning Hutton's personal life exists outside of this collection and the one held at the Montgomery County Historical Society.
1. Waters, Willard O., "Introduction," California 1847-1852 (San Marino: The Huntington Library, 1942).
2. Waters, Willard O., "Memoir," Glances at California 1847-1853 (San Marino: The Huntington Library, 1942): ix.
3. Waters, Willard O., "Introduction," California 1847-1852 (San Marino: The Huntington Library, 1942). and Waters, Willard O., "Memoir," Glances at California 1847-1853 (San Marino: The Huntington Library, 1942): x-xi.
4. Waters, Willard O., "Introduction," California 1847-1852 (San Marino: The Huntington Library, 1942).
5. Waters, Willard O., "Memoir," Glances at California 1847-1853 (San Marino: The Huntington Library, 1942): xvii.
6. Waters, Willard O., "Memoir," Glances at California 1847-1853 (San Marino: The Huntington Library, 1942): xvii-xviii.
7. Skramstad, Harold, "The Georgetown Canal Incline," Technology and Culture, Vol. 10, no. 4 (Oct. 1969): 555.
8. Business Correspondence, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, 22 February 1881, William R. Hutton Papers, 1830-1965, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, box number 27, folder number 29.
9. "William Rich Hutton," The Club: A Journal of Club Life for Men and Women,(July 1894):37
12. Cashbook, 1899, William R. Hutton Papers, 1830-1965, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, box number 23, folder number 5.
13. The Woodlands Collection, Montgomery County Historical Society.
Materials in the Archives Center
The Montgomery C. Meigs Papers, 1870-1890, (AC0987). Contains materials relating to the construction of the Washington Aqueduct including a book of drawings illustrating reservoirs, tunnels, culverts, and other structural elements, a Government Senate Document relating to construction progress, scrapbooks created by Meigs that include newspaper clippings about the Washington Aqueduct project, water supply, engineering projects, building construction, architecture and other subjects. Collection is currently unprocessed, but is available for research.
Materials in Other Organizations:
The William Rich Hutton Papers, 1840-1961, are located at the Huntington Library in California (see http://catalog.huntington.org).
The collection contains 95 drawings, 13 letters, and 39 facsimile copies of letters and manuscripts. The illustrative material includes both watercolor and pencil drawings of California (including Los Angeles, Monterey, San Francisco, the New Almaden Quicksilver Mine, and the California missions), Baja California, Mexico, and Peru. There are also five pieces in the collection related to the author María Amparo Ruiz de Burton. In 1942, the Huntington Library published Glances at California 1847--853: Diaries and Letters of William Rich Hutton, Surveyor and California 1847--852: Drawings by William Rich Hutton.
The Hutton family papers are located at the Montgomery County Historical Society, Sween Library (see http://www.montgomeryhistory.org/sites/default/files/Family_Files.pdf).
The collection contains account books from the Woodlands estate, recipe books, livestock records, records of Mary Augusta Hutton (wife), Mary and Rose Hutton (daughters), newspaper clippings (including his obituary), correspondence, record books, deeds, bills and receipts, engineering papers, religious momentos (funeral service cards), and insurance papers.
The collection was donated by Mr. and Mrs. James J. Madine, a relative of Hutton's and last owners of the Woodlands estate; the Department of Forests and Parks, Maryland; Louis Fischer; and Mr. and Mrs. Mayo S. Stuntz, 1965-1966, 1974.
The collection is open for research. Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives.
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.
The correspondence, financial and legal materials, writing and notes, and various other materials of the Wainwright family who lived in early 1800s New York.
Scope and Contents:
Most of the correspondence between members of the Wainwright Family dates from around 1800 to 1840. Early correspondence of Elisa Mayhew dates from around 1777 to 1800. Other correspondence is to members of the Wainwright family from friends and business associates. Included also, are financial and legal materials of the Wainwright family dating from 1804 through 1837 plus some undated writings and notes. Additionally, a group of other material dated 1804 1893 composed of correspondence, financial and legal materials of various people, perhaps unassociated with the family are included.
The collection is divided into four series.
Series 1: Correspondence, circa 1777-1830
Series 2: Financial and Legal Materials, 1817-1819
Series 3: Writings and Notes, undated
Series 4: Other Materials, 1804-1893
Biographical / Historical:
In the early 1800's, Peter Wainwright Sr. of New York had two sons. Peter Jr., was a banker in Boston, and Jonathan Wainwright was a minister in New York. Jonathan married Elisa (Eliza) Mayhew, and they had two children named Elizabeth and Mayhew. Peter married Charlotte Mayhew (perhaps the sister of Elisa).
Collection purchased, August 1986.
Collection is open for research.
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.
Family papers -- 18th century
Financial records -- 19th century
Correspondence -- 1930-1950
Correspondence -- 18th century
Legal documents -- 19th century
Wainwright Family Papers, 1777-1893, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
The Joseph Cornell Study Center collection measures 196.8 linear feet and dates from 1750 to 1980, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930 to 1972. Documenting the artistic career and personal life of assemblage artist Joseph Cornell (1903-1972), the collection is primarily made up of two- and three-dimensional source material, the contents of the artists' studio, his record album collection, and his book collection and personal library. The collection also includes diaries and notes, financial and estate papers, exhibition materials, collected artifacts and ephemera, photographs, correspondence, and the papers of Robert Cornell (1910-1965) and Helen Storms Cornell (1882-1966), the artist's brother and mother.
Scope and Contents:
The Joseph Cornell Study Center collection measures 196.8 linear feet and dates from 1750 to 1980, with the bulk of the material dating from 1930 to 1972. Documenting the artistic career and personal life of assemblage artist Joseph Cornell (1903-1972), the collection is primarily made up of two- and three-dimensional source material, the contents of the artists' studio, his record album collection, and his book collection and personal library. The collection also includes diaries and notes, financial and estate papers, exhibition materials, collected artifacts and ephemera, photographs, correspondence, and the papers of Robert Cornell (1910-1965) and Helen Storms Cornell (1882-1966), the artist's brother and mother.
Correspondence is with collectors, museums, galleries, artists, friends, family, charity organizations, admirers and those admired by Cornell, and World War II European pen pals. Discussions about the appreciation, donation, sale, purchase, and exhibition of Cornell's works are frequent, with the inclusion of shipping and loan documentation or notices of payment installments. Galleries and museums frequently request that Cornell agree to an exhibition, which he often declines, and fans request free works be mailed or affordable works be sold to them. With friends, artists, and those he admired, Cornell discussed topics that fascinate him, included bits of poetry or philosophical musings, sent clippings or a collaged letter, and occasionally discussed a project or work in process. After World War II, when so many were displaced by the war in Europe, Cornell answered ads for pen pals in the "Christian Science Monitor," often responding to requests for clothing or other goods, and sometimes exchanging many letters over several years. Family correspondence is with his mother, sisters, brother, and others, and often notes activities of the day, foods eaten, and general musings, as well as occasionally mentioning a project or artwork. Correspondents of note include Stan Brakhage, Betty Freeman, Charles Henri Ford, Allegra Kent, Yayoi Kusama, Roberto Matta, Marianne Moore, Octavio Paz, Sonia Sekula, Pavel Tchelitchew, Parker Tyler, Dorothea Tanning, and Betsy von Furstenberg, among others.
Cornell was often preoccupied with his thoughts, feelings, memories, a project or thematic "exploration," and jotted notes on seemingly any surface available. Notes and musings are on napkins, the backs of envelopes, newspaper clippings, and paper bags from record and magazine stores. Frequently, an observation would trigger a lengthy nostalgic moment, or a "feé," fairy-like child or girl, would capture his imagination and lead him to thoughts of 18th-century ballerinas and silent film stars. Cornell wrote longer diary notes, sometimes expanding on an earlier notation or emotion, and often wrote when he experienced trouble sleeping or woke early. Drafted letters to imaginary muses or admired individuals are interspersed among diaries, often revealing Cornell's yearnings to find emotional intimacy and human connection. Over time, Cornell revisited his notes and occasionally made further notations about renewed thoughts on a topic, dating the note with "revisited" or "reviewed." Notes are often written in a stream-of-consciousness style, for example, jumping from the mention of a record album or composer, to a ballerina of the same period, a note about a French poet, the memory of childhood, or an observation made earlier in the day, all in the space of a few lines. Notes about artistic processes or meanings behind works or images do occasionally emerge from the tangled, poetic notations. Notes also often provide insights into Cornell's internal emotional state and give clues about his intentions behind an artwork or a particular thematic fixation.
Financial materials document Cornell's professional and personal business activities, including the sale of artworks, annual expenses for supplies and household incidentals, payments and schedules for personal assistants, receipts for donations to charities and nonprofits, and tax documents. There is also information about who worked as assistants, or "helpers," in his later years and where Cornell purchased art supplies. Additionally, specific details are documented through receipts and invoices, such as what kind of paint he purchased. Estate records include preparations made for Cornell's artworks after his death, and clippings about other deceased artist's estates show that he thought often about such arrangements in his later years.
Exhibition files highlight several select solo exhibitions for Cornell, as well as preparations and planning for the "Robert Cornell: Memorial Exhibition" in honor of his brother in 1966. Also included are several early exhibition catalogs and announcements, including "Surréalisme" (January 9-29, 1932) and "Exhibition of Objects (Bibloquet) by Joseph Cornell" (December 6-31, 1939) at the Julien Levy Gallery, and "Romantic Museum: Portraits of Women, Constructions and Arrangements by Joseph Cornell" (December 1946) at the Hugo Gallery.
Film projects and collected film materials consist of files related to Cornell's various experimental film projects: "Aviary," "Cappuccino," "Centuries of June," "Fable for Fountains," "Nymphlight," "Serafina's Garden," and unrealized film scenario "Monsieur Phot." Files include film-making notes, correspondence, and photographs. Cornell's interest in film also led him to collect film-related materials, such as film stills, film posters, and screening programs. Scattered correspondence documents the interest other institutions and individuals had in purchasing and viewing his collection. Though most of his collected film stills and movie posters were donated to the Anthology Film Archives, film stills from "Escape Me Never" (1935) and "The Passion of Joan of Arc" (1928) are still within the collection, as well as film-screening programs for Cornell's collection of films.
Writing and design projects document Cornell's work authoring articles and designing issues of specialty dance magazine "Dance Index," and his layouts for popular magazines like "Good Housekeeping," "House and Garden," and "Mademoiselle." Other writing projects include brochures dedicated to opera singers Maria Malibran and Giulia Grisi, "Maria" and "Bel Canto Pet." Materials used for these brochures, such as copper photo engraving plates, are also found. Design work includes a series of Christmas cards created with The Museum of Modern Art as well as traced patterns ("textile tracings") and design clippings from Cornell's time working as a "textile designer" for Traphagen Commercial Textile Studio.
Cornell acquired troves of source material from bookstalls, antique stores, sporting good and department stores, hardware stores, and magazine and record shops. He kept boxes and files of material on admired individuals, such as actresses, artists, dancers, and singers, as well as on art projects or thematic "explorations." Files are on general topics such as American history, scientific phenomena, animals, plants, and humankind, as well as on series of artworks, such as "Castles," "Homage to the Romantic Ballet," and "Medici Slot Machines." Focused "exploration" projects include "Celestial Theatre," "Colombier," "GC 44," and "Switzerland," among others. Materials include photographs, photostats, maps, book fragments, autographed letters, notes, collage clippings and cutouts, collected prints and engravings, box and collage fragments, and scattered artifacts.
Collected ephemera includes large amounts of blank postcards and greeting cards, stamps, collected bus and train tickets, food labels and packaging, decals, and other materials. Artifacts are three-dimensional collected objects and source objects, which include found objects from the streets, dried flowers, and pieces of nature gathered from walks around his neighborhood. Cornell may have gathered materials because they inspired a memory or nostalgic feeling, or because they fit with a bin of other similar objects to select from for an artwork in progress.
Photographs found within the collection are of Cornell at work and as a child with family. Also found are assorted personal and family photographs, photographs of Cornell's attic and garage storage, and photographs of his Utopia Parkway house. Photographs of artwork include few installation photographs, in addition to photographs of Cornell's boxes and collages. Collected photographic materials include vintage photographs, such as tintypes, a cyanotype, stereoscopic glass slides, albumen prints, cabinet cards, and cartes-de-visite. Cornell also collected cased photographs, such as daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and one opalotype. Negatives and photostats were often produced from various prints and even other photographs and used in Cornell's boxes and collages. Images are of men and women, actors, authors, dancers, performers, well-known men and women, royalty, places, and artwork. Photographs of note include those by Hans Namuth of Willem and Lisa de Kooning and of Edward Hopper's bedroom; photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson; a photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron; photographs by Brassai; and a photogravure by Alfred Stieglitz from "Camerawork."
Also found in the collection are works of art by others, including a sketch by Pavel Tchelitchew, as well as artwork by Cornell, such as unfinished collages, Rorschach drawings or ink blots, and childhood artwork. Printed material includes assorted bulletins, flyers, exhibition materials for other artists, journals, and sent printed membership and charity materials. Magazines, including "View," are also included, and often have annotations by Cornell or a note to "cut" or "review" with page numbers. A large amount of magazine and newspaper clippings are in the collection, sometimes collected with a group of like material by Cornell, and at other times simply gathered in heaps. Occasional annotations are also found on the clippings.
Cornell's personal library and book collection includes over 2500 titles, ranging from fiction, poetry, and cinema, to history, science, and travel. Notable among the titles are "Baedeker's" travel guides that Cornell often sourced for his "Hotel" box series, as well as an influential publication by Max Ernst, "La Femme 100 têtes," which includes a typed letter and exhibition flyer tucked within. Books often have annotations, some fairly extensive, by Cornell, and assorted collected items, notes, and correspondence tucked between pages. Pages were often cut by Cornell, either to make photostats and use in a box, or to file with other thematic "explorations." A wide range of authors and topics provide insight into Cornell's interests and to ideas behind artwork and diary notes. Cornell's collection of record albums includes over 145 records. These contain inserted notes and clippings and are often referenced in diary notes Cornell made, noting a recent album or song listened to while at work in his studio.
The papers of Cornell's mother, Helen Storms Cornell, and his brother, Robert Cornell, are also included in the collection. Both lived with Cornell his whole life, spending the most time with him at their home at 3708 Utopia Parkway. Financial materials document shared responsibilities for billing, utilities, household fixes and chores, and expenditures, and Helen kept detailed financial records in a series of ledgers. Robert notes when he borrowed money from Cornell, or when he means to pay Cornell back for the purchase of a typewriter. Activities documented in diaries also occasionally cross paths with Cornell, noting his visitors or an exchange of letters continued after introductions through Cornell. Personal activities, such as Robert's interest in his train collection and his drawing projects and cartoon series, are also documented.
The Joseph Cornell Study Center Collection is arranged into 15 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1917-1972 (Boxes 1, 98, OV118; 0.9 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1813, 1934-circa 1973 (Boxes 1-8, 86; 6.5 linear feet)
Series 3: Diaries and Notes, 1940-1976 (Boxes 8-10, 98-99, 135, OV108, OV119; 3.5 linear feet)
Series 4: Personal Business and Estate Records, 1950-1978 (Boxes 10-14; 4.1 linear feet)
Series 5: Exhibition Files, 1932-1973 (Box 14; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 6: Film Projects and Collected Film Materials, circa 1924-1972 (Boxes 14-16, 100, 133; 1.6 linear feet)
Series 7: Writing and Design Projects, circa 1910s, 1936-1962 (Boxes 16-18, 86, 100, 131-132, OV109-OV111, OV120-OV122; 3.6 linear feet)
Series 8: Source Material, 1750-circa 1911, 1926-1972 (Boxes 19-49, 86-92, 96, 100-105, 126-130, 132-137, OV112-OV115, OV125; 42.2 linear feet)
Series 9: Artifacts and Ephemera, 1768, circa 1839-1972 (Boxes 49-52; 3.2 linear feet)
Series 10: Photographic Material, circa 1800s-1972 (Boxes 52-56, 80-86, 93, 106, 128, 133, OV116, OV123-OV124; 7.5 linear feet)
Series 11: Artwork, circa 1810-1972 (Boxes 56-57, 107, OV117; 1.2 linear feet)
Series 12: Printed Material, 1855-1972 (Boxes 57-76, 94-96, 107; 16 linear feet)
Series 13: Book Collection and Personal Library, 1722-1980 (99.8 linear feet)
Series 14: Record Album Collection, circa 1925-1974 (3.2 linear feet)
Series 15: Cornell Family Papers, 1910-1980 (Boxes 77-79, 97, 107; 3.2 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) was a self-taught assemblage and collage artist, and filmmaker, active in New York City. He was born in Nyack, New York on December 24, 1903, and died of heart failure at his home in Queens, New York on December 29, 1972. The oldest of four children, he was born Joseph I. Cornell to his mother, Helen Storms Cornell (1882-1966), and his father, Joseph I. Cornell (1875-1917). Cornell had two younger sisters, Elizabeth ("Betty") Cornell Benton (1905-2000) and Helen ("Sissy") Cornell Jagger (1906-2001), as well as one brother, Robert Cornell (1910-1965), who had cerebral palsy.
Cornell attended the Phillips Academy, a preparatory boarding school in Andover, Massachusetts, beginning shortly after his father's death in 1917. He attended for four years but did not receive a diploma, and soon began work as a textile salesman for the William Whitman Company in Manhattan. His work took him, by foot, through the city, visiting secondhand bookshops on Fourth Avenue, browsing music stores and magazine shops, and catching early shows at the Metropolitan Opera House. He would occasionally wait outside the stage doors for favorite singers and dancers to emerge, requesting signatures on photographs or bits of costumes.
Around 1926, Cornell joined the Christian Science Church, joined by his brother Robert shortly thereafter, and both continued to be lifelong members. Cornell kept a number of books in his personal library on Christian Science teachings and regularly subscribed to "The Christian Science Monitor."
After living in several rental houses in Bayside, New York, Cornell's mother purchased a house for the family in 1929 in Flushing, Queens. Cornell, along with his mother and brother, would live at 3708 Utopia Parkway, for the rest of their lives. His two sisters soon married and moved away, eventually settling in Westhampton, Long Island and in the poultry-farming business.
With no formal art training to speak of, Cornell's first work was a Max Ernst-inspired collage, "Untitled (Schooner)," created in 1931. He was especially inspired by Ernst's collage novel, "La Femme 100 têtes," published in 1929. French artist Odilon Redon was also among the few artists Cornell named as an influence on his art. His first sculptural works were small, cardboard pill boxes with bits of ephemera, costume adornments, and nature hidden inside. Cornell also created a series of glass bell jar works, placing small trinkets and Victorian-era-like compositions within. It was these early collages and bell jar works that were included in Cornell's debut exhibition, "Surréalisme" (January 9-29, 1932), a group show at the Julien Levy Gallery. Cornell designed the announcement for the show and exhibited alongside Max Ernst, Man Ray, Pierre Roy, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Eugène Atget, George Platt Lynes, Jean Cocteau, and Salvador Dalí. Months later, Cornell was invited to have his first solo show, "Objects by Joseph Cornell: Minutiae, Glass Bells, Shadow Boxes, Coups d'Oeil, Jouets Surréalistes" (November 26-December 30, 1932), also at the Julien Levy Gallery.
In 1932, after eleven years of work, Cornell was laid off from the William Whitman Company due to the Great Depression. Soon after, he took on more responsibility in the church, working part-time as an attendant in the Christian Science Reading Room in Great Neck, New York. Beginning in 1933, he taught Sunday school classes for three years and in 1935, became the Sunday school librarian. However, his religious activities and artistic ventures continued to remain separate.
In the early 1930s, Cornell progressed from movie lover to filmmaker. When Julien Levy began his New York Film Society in 1933, holding screenings of various experimental films in the gallery, Cornell began buying and collecting films and film stills in earnest. He set up a 16-millimeter projector in his home to screen favorites, such as those by Georges Méliès, D.W. Griffith, and Louis Feuillade. His collection quickly grew to over 2,500 film stills and several hundred films, and included silent era films, such as nature documentaries, goofy newsreels, travelogues, early cartoons, and slapstick comedies, as well as several feature films. In 1933, Cornell wrote a screenplay, or "scenario," entitled "Monsieur Phot." Between 1935 and 1937, Cornell also occasionally created publicity photomontages for Universal and Columbia studios. Of the nearly thirty films Cornell created, periods of activity can generally be separated into two areas: collage films of the late 1930s, consisting of combined elements from films in his own collection, and films he directed in the 1950s, which were collaborations with other filmmakers set in New York City. "Rose Hobart," Cornell's most celebrated collage film, was created and shown in the Julien Levy Gallery in 1936 and includes clipped footage from "East of Borneo." Later films were directed and filmed with cinematographers Stan Brakhage, Rudy Burckhardt, and Larry Jordan.
In 1934, Cornell began a job at the Traphagen Commercial Textile Studio as a "textile designer," a job he held for six years. Continuing to work at his kitchen table in the evenings, Cornell completed his first assemblage box construction, "Untitled (Soap Bubble Set)," in 1936. It was first exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art's show, "Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism" (December 9, 1936-January 17, 1937). This work was also the first to be acquired by a museum, purchased for $60.00 by the Wadsworth Atheneum in Massachusetts in 1938. Cornell's European debut was also in 1938, as one of three Americans represented in the "Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme" (January 17-Febuary 24, 1938) at the Galerie Beaux-Arts in Paris, alongside Man Ray and Anne Clark.
At the end of 1939, Cornell began corresponding with poet Charles Henri Ford, founder of avant-garde magazine "View," Pavel Tchelitchew, and Parker Tyler. After his "Soap Bubble Sets," this period saw the development of Cornell's homages to singers and actresses, including "Untitled (Fortune-Telling Parrot for Carmen Miranda)," the destroyed "Garbo (Greta Garbo in the Legendary Film 'The Crystal Mask,' c. 1845)," and "Dressing Room for Gilles." He also began using photostats of art reproduction prints, as with the print of Jean Antoine-Watteau's painting, "Pierrot" (circa 1719), used in his "Gilles" box.
In the 1940s, the Romantic ballet emerged as Cornell's new topic of interest. Through his friend Pavel Tchelitchew, Cornell was introduced to the School of American Ballet and New York City Ballet founders, Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine. Cornell collected dance memorabilia and had a great love of the Romantic ballet. His favorite dancers were primarily ballerinas of the nineteenth century, including Fanny Cerrito, Marie Taglioni, Fanny Elssler, Lucille Grahn, and Carlotta Grisi. Cornell's "Homage to the Romantic Ballet" works largely took the shape of jewel-box style wooden boxes with glass overlays and included bits of velvet, tulle, sequins, crystals, and chiffon, occasionally collected from dancers themselves. His most well-known work of this series is "Taglioni's Jewel Casket" (1940). Cornell also admired several living ballet dancers, including Tamara Toumanova, Zizi Jeanmaire, and Allegra Kent, who would all make their way into Cornell's box works and/or collages. Collecting for the "exploration," "Portrait of Ondine," Cornell's cased portfolio dedication to Fanny Cerrito and her role in the ballet "Ondine," began in the 1940s, though not completed until around 1960.
In late 1940, Cornell quit his job at Traphagen to concentrate on freelance commercial magazine design and editorial work during the day and his artwork at night. That same year, Charles Henri Ford started "View" magazine to promote Surrealists and Neo-Romantics in New York City and often asked Cornell to contribute. Published in the December 1941-January 1942 issue, one of his early contributions was a collage dedication to stage actress Hedy Lamarr: "Enchanted Wanderer: Excerpt from a Journey Album for Hedy Lamarr" (1941). Along with writing the accompanying text, he created a photomontage of Lamarr with her face overlaying the painted portrait of a Renaissance boy by Italian painter Giorgione. Peggy Guggenheim, at the advice of Marcel Duchamp, purchased multiple Cornell works prior to opening her new gallery, Art of This Century. Cornell also befriended Roberto Matta Echaurren, another Surrealist living in exile, who introduced him to Robert Motherwell.
After deciding to fully dedicate his time to his art in early 1940, he set up a studio in his basement. Complete with floor-to-ceiling wooden shelving, he kept his large collection of boxed source material stacked with handwritten labels in cardboard boxes. Themed folders of materials such as "Stamps" or "Maps" were kept in stacks and works in progress and finished works were stored in the basement, garage, and attic. Entering a renewed period of productivity, Cornell embarked on many new and important box projects in 1942. One of the first boxes created in his new basement studio, and the first of the "Penny Arcade" or "Medici Slot Machine" series, was "Medici Slot Machine" (1942), which includes a photostat of "Portrait of Marquess Massimiliano Stampa" (1557) by Sofonisba Anguissola. Another work from this time is the first of his "Castle" or "Palace" series, "Setting for a Fairy Tale" (1942), which uses a photostat of a French building from Jacques Androuet du Cerceau's book, "Les Plus excellents bastiments de France" (1576). "Untitled (Pharmacy)" (circa 1942) was the first of his "Pharmacy" series and included twenty-two apothecary jars. Cornell tended to work in series and created thirteen "Palace" boxes between 1942 and 1951, and ultimately created six "Pharmacy" works.
In 1943, Cornell began working at an electronics company, the Allied Control Company, Inc., to do his part to contribute to the defense effort during the war. He also sent correspondence and care packages to displaced Europeans, who listed their needs in "The Christian Science Monitor." Influenced by World War II, one of his strongest works to emerge in 1943 was "Habitat Group for a Shooting Gallery." Another notable work to come out of this period, "The Crystal Cage (Portrait of Berenice)," was an excerpt from one of his album "explorations" that was published in the January 1943 issue of "View."
Cornell left his job at Allied Control in 1944, but soon began working at the Garden Centre in Flushing, owned by a fellow Christian Scientist. Cornell was often nostalgic for this time in his life, devoting an entire "exploration" of material fondly remembered as "GC 44." He rode a bicycle to work and enjoyed collecting trips gathering dried grasses, driftwood, shells, and other relics of nature on the same bicycle as he rode through the streets of Queens. During this time, he continued to tend to his projects for "Dance Index," a magazine founded in 1942 by Lincoln Kirstein, but taken over by Donald Windham in 1944. Cornell designed several covers for the magazine and was given control of the entire summer 1944 issue, which he devoted to the Romantic ballet. He also devoted a special 1945 issue to Hans Christian Andersen, making great use of the New York Public Library Picture Collection.
Throughout the 1940s, Cornell continued to support himself with commercial design work for magazines like "Vogue," "Good Housekeeping," "Harper's Bazaar," "Town & Country," and "Mademoiselle." In 1946, after thirteen years at the Julien Levy Gallery, he joined the Hugo Gallery. In December 1946, Cornell's solo exhibition, "Romantic Museum at the Hugo Gallery: Portraits of Women by Joseph Cornell," celebrated his favorite movie stars, singers, and ballet dancers, and included his work created for the show, "Untitled (Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall)." Cornell's "Greta Garbo" box, as well as "Souvenir for Singleton," an homage to Jennifer Jones and her role in the film "Love Letters," were also included in the show. In late 1948, his West Coast debut was in the exhibition, "Objects by Joseph Cornell," held at the Copley Gallery. The end of the 1940s saw the final issue of "View" magazine in 1947, the closure of the Julien Levy Gallery in April 1949, and Cornell's departure from the Hugo Gallery after his last show in November 1949.
In late 1949, Cornell joined the Charles Egan Gallery, known primarily for showing Abstract Expressionists. At this time, Cornell was working on a new series of boxes known as his "Aviary" works, most of which include a white-painted box with cutouts of birds mounted on wood. Though he had worked on bird-related boxes before, including an "Owl" series in the mid-1940s, his "Fortune Telling Parrot" (1939), and "Object 1941" (1941), these newer works were stripped of French elements and left "clean and abstract" by design. His first show at the Egan Gallery, "Aviary by Joseph Cornell" (December 7, 1949-January 7, 1950), included twenty-six "Aviary" works, nearly all created in 1949. Donald Windham agreed to write the foreword for the exhibition catalog, a single folded sheet, and Cornell gave him one of the boxes in the show, "Cockatoo: Keepsake Parakeet," in appreciation. Through the Egan Gallery, Cornell became friends with a new group of artists, including Franz Kline, Jack Tworkov, and Willem de Kooning. Cornell also held two screenings of a selection of his collected films at Subjects of the Artist, an art school founded by Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, David Hare, and William Baziotes.
In 1950, Cornell's second show at the Egan Gallery, "Night Songs and Other New Work" (December 1, 1950-January 13, 1951), introduced his new "Observatory" series. These works are largely defined by stark, whitewashed spaces with astronomical charts and constellations replacing colorful birds. The Museum of Modern Art purchased its first Cornell work from this show in early 1951, "Central Park Carrousel, in Memoriam" (1950).
For three months in 1951, Cornell was beset by various ailments and had trouble finding the energy to create new work. He worried more for his aging mother and the health of his brother. After a monthlong vacation with his sisters in Westhampton, he returned with renewed interest in Emily Dickinson's poetry. His whitewashed boxes took on a new form in his newest "Dovecote" series, using grids and circular cutouts. The works then transformed into homages to Dickinson, notably "Toward the Blue Peninsula: For Emily Dickinson" (circa 1953), and then to his "Hotel" series. Cornell's "Hotel" boxes include photostats of vintage European ads for hotels collected from vintage travel guides, especially "Baedeker's," adhered to the back walls of the boxes. Another new series of work, his "Juan Gris" series, was dedicated to Cubist artist Juan Gris. Between 1953 and the mid-1960s, Cornell created at least fifteen "Juan Gris" boxes, which often include a cutout of a white cockatoo in a Cubist-collage habitat. Cornell's third and last show at Egan Gallery, "Night Voyage" (February 10-March 28, 1953), included some of these newest works. After leaving Egan Gallery, his work was introduced to Chicago collectors in a solo show at the Frumkin Gallery, "Joseph Cornell: 10 Years of His Art" (April 10-May 7, 1953), which included nearly thirty pieces. Cornell's first museum retrospective was this same show held at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (July 12-August 30, 1953).
As New York City continued to change, Cornell grew more nostalgic for the city he had explored since the 1920s. The impending closure of the Third Avenue El train prompted him to dream up a film project to capture its last days, resulting in "Gnir Rednow," a reworking of Stan Brakhage's 1955, "Wonder Ring." During this time, Cornell joined the Stable Gallery, run by Eleanor Ward, interacting often with Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, and Joan Mitchell, remaining there until the end of the 1950s. His astronomy-themed exhibition, "Winter Night Skies" (December 12, 1955-January 13, 1956), included his "Night Skies" series of work with celestial chart fragments, Greek mythological figures, and paint-splattered "windows" representative of star-filled night skies. In 1956, he became aware of ballerina Allegra Kent, and began a series of work devoted to her, the first of which was "Via Parmigianino (Villa Allegra)" (1956), which included a photostat of a painting by Parmigianino, "The Madonna of the Long Neck" (circa 1540). In late 1957, after two years, Cornell had his last show at Stable Gallery, "Joseph Cornell: Selected Works" (December 2-31, 1957), consisting of a series of "Sand Fountain" boxes and "Space Object" or "Celestial Navigation" works. The "Sand Fountain" boxes included different colors of sand meant to flow within, often from the tops into cordial glasses. His "Celestial Navigations" included galaxy-like compositions set within the boxes, with rolling, painted cork balls, metal rings, and constellation charts, sometimes hovering over cordial glasses or clay pipes. This last Stable Gallery show earned him his first published profile, written by Howard Griffin for the December 1957 issue of "Art News." Also in 1957, he won the Kohnstamm Prize for Construction at the Art Institute of Chicago's 62rd Annual Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture.
Towards the end of the 1950s, Cornell spent less time creating new bodies of work, and focused more on revisiting previous series and reviewing piles of collected source material. In 1959, Cornell returned to making collages, frequently sourcing popular magazines. In December 1959, Cornell was awarded $1,500 for his "Orion" collage, entered in the Art Institute of Chicago's "63rd American Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture." Also in December, he was offered a show at Bennington College in Vermont, which he titled, "Bonitas Solstitialis: Selected Works by Joseph Cornell and an exploration of the Colombier" (November 20-December 15, 1959). The show included one of his newest "explorations" of collected material related to "colombier," or pigeon houses.
By 1962, Cornell was working diligently on new collages, using Masonite boards and colorful magazine clippings. He also began creating collages using nude images interspersed with constellation clippings or hazy blue dyes. As in previous decades and art movements, Cornell became acquainted with new artists, spending less time in the city and more time hosting visitors at his Utopia Parkway home. Visitors included artists Walter De Maria, Robert Whitman, Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, and Robert Indiana. Tony Curtis also became a frequent visitor and friend, introduced by Richard Feigen in 1964. The early 1960s was also the first time Cornell put out an advertisement for assistants in the "Long Island Star-Journal," employing a number of young men and women who helped organize clippings and run errands. Cornell also met Joyce Hunter, a young runaway waitress at a city coffee shop, who would occupy his thoughts and diary notes for the next several years. When she was murdered at the end of 1964, Cornell paid for her funeral. He went on to make several "Penny Arcade" collages in memoriam to her, including, "Penny Arcade (re-autumnal)" (1964).
In 1964, Cornell began friendships with several women including artist Carolee Schneeman, who was his first assistant in the early 1960s. He also met artist Yayoi Kusama through art dealer Gertrude Stein. After becoming friends, she visited him often and they exchanged letters and notes. As he did with other artist friends, Cornell supported her by purchasing several of her early watercolor paintings, and they stayed connected until his death in 1972.
Cornell's life greatly changed in 1965 with the death of his brother, Robert. By this time, his mother lived with his sister in Long Island, and Cornell was alone in the Utopia Parkway house for the first time. He exchanged frequent letters and phone calls with his mother and devoted much time to thinking about Robert and Joyce, often aligning them in his diary notations. Cornell also created a series of collages dedicated to his brother's memory, incorporating photostats of Robert's hundreds of drawings into Cornell's work, as with the later collage, "The Heart on the Sleeve" (1972). Cornell's "Time Transfixed" series of collages were also dedications to Robert's memory, referencing Magritte and Robert's love of trains. He mounted an exhibition, "Robert Cornell: Memorial Exhibition" (January 4-29, 1966), at the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, where he showed Robert's artwork alongside his newly created collage dedications.
After Robert's death, Cornell relied more heavily on assistants, going through many part-time "helpers." In October 1966, Cornell's mother died, adding her to his constant thoughts and diaries. Though he was still grieving, he was given two major retrospectives in 1967. The first was at the Pasadena Art Museum, put on by James Demetrion and Walter Hopps, "An Exhibiton of Works by Joseph Cornell" (January 9-February 11, 1967). The second retrospective was at the Guggenheim Museum just three months later, "Joseph Cornell" (May 4-June 35, 1967), organized by Diane Waldman. After these shows, he was highlighted in the December 15, 1967 issue of "Life" in the article, "The Enigmatic Bachelor of Utopia Parkway."
In 1968, Cornell was given an "award of merit," which included a medal and $1,000, by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He was also given a medal and $1,000 by the Brandeis University Creative Arts Awards in the painting category, along with an exhibition. Days later, "The New York Times" announced Cornell the winner, along with Donald Judd, of India's first Triennale of Contemporary World Art. The Brandeis exhibition, "Boxes and Collages by Joseph Cornell" (May 20-June 23, 1968), was organized by William Seitz and concentrated on Cornell's more recent 1960s collages. Cornell was also included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's hundredth anniversary show, "New York Painting and Sculpture: 1940 to 1970" (October 18, 1969-February 1, 1970), where twenty-two of Cornell's boxes were shown in their own gallery. At the end of 1970, Cornell was given a solo show at the Metropolitan, "Collages by Joseph Cornell" (December 10, 1970-January 24, 1971), which included forty-five of his newest collages.
Now preferring to stay closer to his home in Flushing, Cornell was more interested in sharing his art with young adults and children, than an adult audience. He hosted a group of high school students, sponsored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's education department, at his home in conjunction with his collage show (1970-1971). He also showed his work in the art department of Queens College of the City University of New York. Cornell still hosted visitors on occasion, having Yoko Ono and John Lennon at his home at least once. Leila Hadley, Betsy von Furstenberg, and Anne Jackson also made frequent visits. With his deteriorating health, Cornell worried about what would happen to his work after his death and hired lawyer Harry Torczyner to help him plan his estate and get his affairs in order.
In 1972, Cornell had a show at the Cooper Union, a college in New York, specifically for children. He displayed his boxes and collages at child-height and had cherry soda and brownies at the opening reception on February 10. He then held a show at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, also for children: "Children's Preview of the Exhibition of Joseph Cornell – Collages and Boxes (April 18-June 17, 1972). In the winter of 1972, at the request of the Phoenix House drug treatment and prevention program, Cornell contributed to a charity project compiling limited-edition lithographic prints for a portfolio, which included artists like David Hockney, James Rosenquist, and Ellsworth Kelly.
On December 29, 1972, a week after turning sixty-nine, Cornell died of heart failure at his home. He was cremated and interred near the graves of his mother, father, and brother, overlooking the Hudson River in Nyack, New York.
1. Hartigan, Lynda Roscoe. "Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination." New Haven, Connecticut and London: Yale University Press, 2007. Exhibition Catalog.
2. McShine, Kynaston. "Joseph Cornell." New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1980.
3. San Francisco Cinematheque and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Joseph Cornell: Films." 2007. Exhibition Program. (Presented in conjunction with SFMOMA's exhibition of "Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination").
4. Schaffner, Ingrid and Lisa Jacobs. "Julien Levy: Portrait of an Art Gallery." Cambridge, Massachusetts and London: The MIT Press, 1998.
5. Solomon, Deborah. "Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell." New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997.
The Smithsonian Archives of American Art houses the Joseph Cornell papers, 1804-1986, bulk 1939-1972.
The Joseph Cornell Study Center collection was donated to the Smithsonian American Art Museum by Joseph Cornell's sister and brother-in-law, Elizabeth Cornell Benton and John A. Benton, in 1978, which prompted the creation of the Joseph Cornell Study Center. Additional materials were donated in installments by the artist's estate, the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, from 1985 to 1997. Elizabeth and John A. Benton originally donated 66 linear feet of three-dimensional and non-textual source material and 50 linear feet of books to the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, which were subsequently transferred to the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Joseph Cornell Study Center in 1994 and 1995.
Access to the collection requires an advanced appointment. Contact collection staff at least two weeks prior to preferred date, at AmericanArtCornellStudy@si.edu.
Series 9: Artifacts and Ephemera, Series 13: Personal Library and Book Collection, and Series 14: Record Album Collection, are still undergoing processing and preservation and may not be available for research use. Record albums are unavailable for playback. Contact collection staff for full lists of publications and record albums.
Unpublished materials are protected by copyright. Permission to
publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.