2 Reels (ca. 150 items (on 2 partial microfilm reels))
Scope and Contents:
Letters, mainly from artists, and documents selected from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's miscellaneous manuscript collection (Society Collection). Letters are to various people; 46 of them are to Townsend Ward and a few are to John A. McAllister, photographer. Many of the letters refer to paintings, portraits, commissions, and awards.
Writers of letters include: Edwin Austin Abbey, Mary Gertrude Abbey, F.W. Bayley, Albert Bierstadt, George Catlin, Joseph Ceracchi, John Gadsby Chapman, John Cheney, James Claypool, James Cox, F.O.C. Darley, Joseph Delaplaine, Humphrey Donnehue, William Dunlap, Pierre Eugene Du Simitiere, S. Eliot, Charles Fevret De Saint-Memin, Charles Dana Gibson, Harold Edgar Gillingham, Horatio Greenough, George Harding, Levi Hollingsworth, William Morris Hunt, Daniel Huntington, Henry Inman, Horatio Gates Jones, James Reid Lambdin, Will Hicok Low, Edward Dalton Marchant, William Henry Moody, John Neagle, Albert Newsam, Bass Otis, Thomas Paine, Charles Willson Peale, Franklin Peale, James Peale, Jr., Mary Jane Peale, Rembrandt Peale, Titian Ramsay Peale, Joseph Pennell, Clement Penrose, Robert Piggot, Thomas Buchanan Read, William Trost Richards, Thomas Prichard Rossiter, Peter Frederick Rothermel, William Rush, John Sartain, Stephen Alonzo Schooff (to Townsend Ward), Russell Smith, Charles H. Stephens, Thomas Sully, Philip Syng, John Vanderlyn, N.P. Willis, Alexander Wilson and Patience Wright.
Among the recipients of letters are Archibald Alexander, David S. Brown, William Belcher, Col. Brodhead, B. Burrell, Carey & Hart, Edward L. Carey, Henry C. Carey, Miss Clarke, Mr. Curren, Joseph Delaplaine, John Dickinson, Dr. Dickson, William Dillwyn, William Duane, James B. Elliott, Mrs. Langdon Elwyn, Mantle(?) Fielding, John W. Francis, Charles P. Hayes, David Hosack, Mr. Howell, Major William Jackson, Horatio Gates Jones, John W. Jordan, H.H. Kjmball, C.G. Leland, Joseph Leidy, J.B. Lippincott, George Livermore, James Madison, J. Hill Martin, John McAllister, James McMurtrie, James Monaghan, J. Murray, Albert Cook Myers, Rebecca and Isabella Nathans, John Neagle, C.S. Ogden, John Paca, Charles Willson Peale, Rembrandt Peale, David Rittenhouse, Albert Rosenthal, John Sartain, Jacob Schreiner, James Shrigley, James Ross Snowden, W.D. Snyder, Dr. Sommerville, J.C. Stanbridge, F.D. Stone, Henry Troth, Mr. Vaux, Townsend Ward, William Hill Wells, G.M. Wharton, Thomas Wharton, Henry J. Williams, and Samuel B. Wylie.
Other items include a sonnet of S.T. Coleridge by Washington Allston; business card of Pennel Beale; catalog of medals and coins of silver in the possession of Hon. John Smith compiled by Du Simitière, 1772; printed address by Mrs. John C. Montgomery soliciting donations for the repair of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, destroyed by fire, 1845; William Morris Hunt's admission ticket to Peale's Museum, 1836, stating his height and weight; description of objects on display at the Peale Museum, 1820; a photograph and business card of Benjamin Randolph; invitations and notes to Gilbert Stuart; typescript by Frank H. Taylor on lithography, 1923; subscription book for engravings of paintings by John Trumbull; and a page from John Archibald Woodside's daybook, 1802-1803.
Microfilmed by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania for the Archives of American Art, 1955.
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
The collection consists of thirteen (13) silhouettes produced by the Peale Museum.
Included are images of Shegagahega (Chaticks Si Chaticks/Pawnee); Pagesgatse (Chaticks Si Chaticks/Pawnee); Tahawarra (probably Missouria/Missouri); Macapaba (probably Missouria/Missouri); Waconsca (probably Kaw/Kansa); Sagessage ("The Wind"; 0sage); Joseph Barron (spelled "Joseph Baume" on image), interpreter; and Paul Chouteau (Osage), interpreter. There are two items labelled number 10, one of which is possibly Mechenecka (Sac and Fox/Sauk & Fox).
The other silhouettes are undated. They include two labelled "Titian R. Peale" (Charles Willson Peale's son), and one labelled "Black Hawk's son."
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or National Anthropological Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.
In December 1805, Thomas Jefferson hosted a delegation of representatives of Native American tribes from Louisiana Territory in Washington D.C. In January 1806, several members of the delegation traveled to Philadelphia. There they visited Charles Wilson Peale's Museum and had their silhouettes made.
Charles Willson Peale (1741–1827) was an American painter, soldier, scientist, inventor, politician and naturalist who established one of the first museums in the United States, known as Peale's Philadelphia Museum. The silhouettes were made using a physiognotrace, a device developed by British inventor John Hawkins (1772-1855) which allowed the artist to produce multiple silhouettes simultaneously by impressing a traced image onto a folded piece of paper. The artist then cut away the center of the paper, leaving a "hollow cut" image. African American artist Moses Williams (1776-1883), an indentured servant of Peale, cut thousands of silhouettes for visitors to the museum and may be the artist responsible for the silhouettes in this collection.
NAA MS 7129
OPPS NEG MHT 55,527-536
OPPS NEG 84-14405-407
The silhouettes are described in Ewers, J. C. (1966). "Chiefs from the Missouri and the Mississippi" and Peale's Silhouettes of 1860. Smithsonian Journal of History, 1, 1-26.
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Works of art
MS 7129 Silhouettes of members of a 1805-06 delegation to Washington, and others, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution