This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
The papers of the prominent New York and Connecticut Weir family of artists measure 0.8 linear feet and date from 1809-circa 1961, with the bulk of the material dating from 1830-1920. The papers are a collection of correspondence and photographs that constitute a small but vivid record of the influence and relationships of this family of Hudson River School, landscape, and miniature painters. Correspondence consists primarily of letters to painter John Ferguson Weir when he was director of the Yale School of Fine Arts, with scattered letters to his daughter Edith Weir (Perry), and a small amount of correspondence of Robert Weir, his daughter Carrie M. Mansfield, son-in-law Lewis William Mansfield, and Julia Bayard. Letters to John F. Weir are from many late-19th century artists, as well as actors, poets, lawyers, scholars, and clergymen, often concerning arrangements for visiting lectures at the school. Photographs are of Robert Walter Weir, Susan Bayard Weir, Julian Alden Weir, and artwork.
Weir family papers, 1809-circa 1961. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The collection was digitized in 2019 and is available on the Archives of American Art website. Material lent for microfilming on reels 529-531, 533, 565, 936 and 949 is available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Location of Originals:
Reels 529-531, 533, 565, 936 & 949: Originals returned to Rev. DeWolf Perry after microfilming.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming by Reverend DeWolf Perry. Included on reels 529-531 are correspondence of John Ferguson Weir, much of it with his brother Julian Alden Weir, with his future wife which he wrote while serving in the Civil War, and with artists; 77 letters, 1823-1881, of Robert W. Weir with members of the Congress and War Dept. regarding commissions, and with artists and others, including Horatio Greenough, William Page, Thomas Cole, William Cullen Bryant, and George P. Morris; a pocket diary of John F. Weir, 1860, with occasional poems and sketches; 2 sketchbooks, and 71 drawings, watercolors, and oils by John F. Weir; 3 sketchbooks and 165 original drawings, lithographs, watercolors and oils by Robert Weir; 4 portraits of John F. by others; sheet music with words and lithograph on the cover by Robert; 81 photographs of John and Robert, family, and work; exhibition material of Robert; a list of John F. Weir's paintings with prices; drafts of Robert W. Weir, Artist by Irene Weir (1947); and a typescript of a biography of John F. Weir by his daughter, Edith Weir (Perry); genealogical material; and clippings. Reel 533 includes a typescript of "The Story of My Life: The Inner Life of a Human Soul," by Mary French Weir, ca. 1920 (94 p.), and a typescript of a biography of her mother, Clara Miller-French, ca. 1920 (28 p.). Reel 565 contains family correspondence, 1866-1927, of Mary French Weir; an excerpt from the French family genealogy; and an obituary of Mary French Weir written by her daughter Edith Weir Perry. Reel 936 contains a sketchbook, 1826, by Robert Weir, of figures, statues, and buildings in Rome done while a student. The drawings are in pencil, ink wash, and pen and ink. (111 p.); reel 949 contains three sketchbooks, 1869-1902, by John F. Weir, done in watercolor, pencil and ink wash. (69 p.), of landscapes, figures, and heads of individuals in Italy, Switzerland, Dordricht, Holland, and Fr
The New York and Connecticut Weir family of artists included painter and West Point professor Robert Walter Weir (1803-1889), his sons John Ferguson Weir (1841-1926) and Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919), and granddaughter Edith Weir (Perry) (1875-1955). Julian Alden Weir was a renowned American Impressionist painter and a founding member of "The Ten," a loosely allied group of American artists dissatisfied with some of the established professional art organizations of the time who exhibited their work as a unified group. He also taught at the Women's Art School of the Cooper Union in New York. John Ferguson Weir became acquainted with many of the rising young artists of his day when he took a room in the Tenth Street Studio in his early twenties and developed proficiency in landscape and still life painting. Like his brother, he then studied art abroad and returned to become director and later dean of the School of Fine Arts at Yale University from 1869-1913. John Ferguson Weir married Mary Hannah French in 1866. Their daughter, Edith Weir Perry, was a noted miniature painter who studied under Lucy Fairchild Fuller.
Photographs were donated to the Archives of American Art in 2019 by Mary and John McGuigan, Jr. Letters to John Ferguson Weir were donated by Harold O. Love in 1961. Material on reels 529-531, 533, 565, 936 and 949 was lent for microfilming 1973-1975 by Rev. DeWolf Perry, grandson of John F. Weir. He also donated two photographs in 1975. The donor and date of acquisition of the manuscript draft of Julian Alden Weir's biography are unknown.
This site provides access to the papers of Weir family in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2019, and total 675 images.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001