The Lewis & Valentine Company Collection contains records of the Lewis & Valentine Company dating from 1916 to 1971 including photographs, negatives, brochures, books, trade catalogs, company papers, letters from clients, customer lists and a history of the company written by Harold Carman Lewis. Photographs document the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, estates in Long Island, New York, and the properties of Hugh D. Auchincloss, Eugene du Pont, Walter P. Chrysler, Otto H. Kahn, F. W. Woolworth, Pierre S. du Pont (Longwood Gardens), Charles M. Schwab and Edward T. Stotesbury. This collection contains only a sampling of the records of Lewis & Valentine and should not be considered comprehensive.
The collection is arranged into 3 series:
Series 1: Documents
Series 2: Photographs
Series 3: Videotape
Specializing in moving and replanting large trees, Lewis & Valentine was one of the most prominent landscape contracting companies in the eastern United States during the first half of the twentieth century. The Lewis & Valentine Company was formed by five brothers whose father had hoped that his sons would grow up to be lawyers. Instead, the Lewis brothers formed a landscape design, installation and nursery firm that specialized in developing "successful methods for transplanting full-grown trees." Their success was based on "doing well the task which is usually considered impossible."
The company was the inspiration of H.C. Lewis, the oldest of seven brothers, who believed that estate owners should have the luxury of immediate landscapes, rather than waiting decades for their landscapes to mature. The Lewis brothers started their business in the early 1900s. Shortly afterwards, a Mr. Valentine, roommate of Albert Addison Lewis at the Amherst Landscape School in Massachusetts, invested in the business. After three years Mr. Valentine moved on and the Lewis brothers bought back his interest, but continued to keep Valentine part of the company's name.
Lewis & Valentine was the largest firm in America devoted to transplainting mature trees in the years leading up to the Great Depression. It claimed to be "the most experienced and most versatile, backed by an intimate knowledge of horticulture and the development of fine estates." The company was noted as a leader in providing complete landscape services, from selling and guaranteeing the plants, to designing and installation, requiring that its staff be men "of good character and not afraid of hard work." This was evident in the firm's principle of no limitations to the size of trees that they were willing to deliver. The trees were often full-grown and ranged in age from twenty to a hundred years old. Many were so large that 20 or more tons of earth had to be moved during the relocation process.
During its first 25 years in business, Lewis & Valentine opened nineteen offices east of the Mississippi serving such notable clients as Charles A. Schwab and Pierre du Pont at his estate, Longwood. The business was set up as an organization of independent companies. Each was incorporated under the laws of the state in which it operated. The offices were located in Connecticut (Darien), Florida (Palm Beach), Illinois (Chicago), Maryland (Baltimore), Massachusetts (Boston and Hanover), Michigan (Detroit), Pennsylvania (Ardmore and Pittsburg), New Jersey (Ashbury Park and Morristown), New York (Buffalo, Roslyn-Long Island, Rye, Valley Stream-Long Island, New York City), North Carolina (Winston-Salem) and Ohio (Cleveland and Cincinnati). Although no longer owned by any members of the Lewis family, the company still exists and operates in Long Island under the name Lewis & Valentine Nurseries.
Dozens of historic photographs from the Lewis & Valentine Co. were found In the Eleanor Weller Collection at AAG amongst images that had been amassed by Weller for possible use in The Golden Age of American Gardens: Proud Owners, Private Estates, 1890-1940. These photos were removed from the Weller Collection and added to the Lewis and Valentine Co. Records.
Gift from Hewlett Withington Lewis, former owner of Lewis & Valentine Nurseries.
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Correspondence, printed material, and photographs relating to Rosenthal's work, primarily as a portrait painter and collector of American art and artists' papers. Some material pertains to Rosenthal's father, the engraver Max Rosenthal.
Included are: biographical notes and articles by and about Rosenthal and his father, Max; writings by Albert about his father; and reproductions of Albert's work.
Rosenthal's research material on early American art consists of articles on artists, notes about portrait painters, typescript copies of letters of or about early American artists, among them Rembrandt Peale, G.P.A. Healy, and John Rampage, several original letters, including 5 from John Quincy Adams Ward to various people, and one from Ben Silliman to Asher B. Durand, and an engraved copy of a letter from Ben Franklin to Mr. Strahan, July 5, 1775.
Other material includes files on Rosenthal's portraits of French officers who served in the American Revolution; Gilbert Stuart's (George) Washington portraits, 1922-1923; the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia (includes correspondence with Jules Mastbaum, the founder of the museum, and others, 1925-1932); Jean Antoine Houdon's busts of Washington and Lafayette, 1925-1932; Harry T. Peters' book "America on Stone", 1931; and on "Rosen-Thal," Albert's home that was originally the Huffinagle mansion in Buck's County, Pa.
There is voluminous business and other correspondence, 1860-1940, relating to Max, Louis, and Albert Rosenthal's work and to Albert's portraits of Supreme Court Justices. Among the diverse group of correspondents are: Samuel Putnam Avery, William Hunt Diederich, Charles Henry Hart, Sakakichi Hartmann, Oliver Wendell Holmes, A. Mitchell Palmer, Alfred Stieglitz, William Howard Taft, and J. Alden Weir.
Photographs are of Rosenthal's work and of unidentified portraits possibly by Rosenthal; reproductions of European paintings, miniatures, sculptures; and miscellaneous portraits by various artists.
Unmicrofilmed material (0.4 feet) consists of miscellaneous photographs and reproductions.
Biographical / Historical:
Albert Rosenthal (1863-1939) was a portrait painter, printmaker, writer, and collector in Philadelphia, Pa. Rosenthal was a student of his father, engraver Max Rosenthal, and later published a book about him. He is also known for his portraits of Supreme Court Justices, and his collection of American drawings, which he donated to the Free Library of Philadelphia in 1927.
Donated by Albert Duveen, 1959. Duveen collected American artists' and art related papers with the intention of forming an American artists reference facility. He purchased at least some of Rosenthal's papers and much correspondence from the Albert Rosenthal Estate, and subsequently gave them to AAA upon its formation.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.