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Francis Davis Millet and Millet family papers

Creator:
Millet, Francis Davis, 1846-1912  Search this
Names:
Titanic (Steamship)  Search this
Abbey, Edwin Austin, 1852-1911  Search this
Booth, Hilda Millet  Search this
James, Henry, 1843-1916  Search this
Millet, John A. P. (John Alfred Parsons), 1888-1976  Search this
Sargent, John Singer, 1856-1925  Search this
Sharpey-Schafer, Joyce A.  Search this
Extent:
3.3 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Diaries
Sketchbooks
Travel diaries
Date:
1858-1984
bulk 1858-1955
Summary:
The Francis Davis Millet and Millet family papers measure 3.3 linear feet and are dated 1858-1984, with a few scattered early eighteenth-century items, such as legal documents and printed matter. The bulk of the materials dates from 1858 to 1955. Found are biographical materials, diaries/journals, family letters, notes and writings, art work, printed matter, miscellaneous records, and photographs documenting Millet's wide-ranging artistic and writing career and personal life, including his death aboard the Titanic. Also of interest are approximately twenty ink caricatures attributed to John Singer Sargent.
Scope and Content Note:
The Francis Davis Millet and Millet family papers measure 3.3 linear feet and are dated 1858-1984, with a few scattered early eighteenth-century items, such as legal documents and printed matter. The bulk of the material dates from 1858 to 1955. Found are biographical materials, diaries/journals, family letters, notes and writings, art work, printed matter, miscellaneous records, and photographs documenting Millet's wide-ranging artistic and writing career and personal life, including his death aboard the Titanic. Also of interest are approximately twenty ink caricatures attributed to John Singer Sargent.

Biographical material consists of biographical and genealogical notes; also, memorial resolutions, invitations, and programs with several related items tipped in. Diaries/journals for the period 1858-1911 (16 vols., plus excerpts and transcripts) record Civil War experiences, the Russo-Turkish War, travels throughout Europe, to the northwest United States and Alaska, the Orient, and Panama.

Letters from F. D. Millet to his family date from his years at Harvard, art training in Antwerp, residence in Italy, and service as a correspondent during the Russo-Turkish War. Millet's letters include a few received from friends and associates, original letters sent by Millet to others, along with typescript copies of incoming letters. Also included is a file of letters addressed to Millet and others concerning the purchase and restoration of the Grange, his Broadway studio. There are four letters from Millet to his girlfriend Velma Marie Morse and scattered letters to Velma's father, A.P. Morse, and Fred Chapman. Photocopies of letters from sister Kathleen Millet to her friend Margherita describe her brother's adventures during the Russo-Turkish War, and include an account of his wedding. His sister Lucia Millet's letters to her family were written while she was in England living as a member of her brother's household, and are rich with details of Frank's daily life, work, travels, friends, and the American colony in Broadway. The letters of Lily Millet consist mainly of condolence messages sent upon the death of her husband, but also include letters from Samuel L. Clemens, Henry James, Ellen Terry [Carew], Charles Dudly Warner, her children, and others.

Included in the collection are Millet's extensive research notes about costumes and artifacts of various historical periods and locations that served as reference for details in his murals. Also included are his notebooks about Italian art, Bulgarian history and costume, and the Philippines. Writings by Millet consist of articles, short stories, lectures and speeches. Writings about him include texts by various relatives (all but one are unpublished). The most extensive written piece is by niece Hilda Millet Booth and son John [Albert] Parsons Millet, and is accompanied by early drafts, notes, and related correspondence.

Art work by Millet includes twelve volumes of sketchbooks dating from his student days in Antwerp through 1896, along with loose sketches, drawings, and two watercolors. Most were executed while traveling, and include landscapes, building, and local peoples. Works by other artists include 20 caricatures drawn in ink, attributed to John Singer Sargent.

Among the printed matter are newspaper articles by F. D. Millet, along with clippings about or mentioning him, reproductions, exhibition catalogs and announcements. Of interest are Vienna Exposition memorabilia, and a full length biography, Soldier of Fortune: F. D. Millet, 1846-1912 by granddaughter Joyce A. Sharpey-Schafer. Miscellaneous records include drawings sketches, notes, printed matter, and photographs relating to the Abbot's Grange in Broadway that served as Millet's studio.

Photographs of people include F. D. Millet, his father Asa Millet with granddaughter Kate, and Mary Anderson. Photographs of works of art are by Millet and other artists.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into eight series:

Series 1: Biographical material, circa 1864-1934 (Box 1, OV 5; 6 folders; Reel 5903)

Series 2: Diaries/Journals of Francis Davis Millet, 1858-1911 (Box 1; 0.5 linear ft.; Reels 5903-5904)

Series 3: Letters, 1867-1915, undated (Boxes 1-2; 0.5 linear ft.; Reel 5904)

Series 4: Notes and Writings, 1891-1970, undated (Box 3; 1.0 linear ft.; Reels 5904-5906)

Series 5: Art Work, 1872-1908, undated (Box 4; 0.5 linear ft.; Reels 5906-5907)

Series 6: Printed Matter, 1764-1984, undated (Box 4; 0.25 linear ft.; Reel 5907 and unfilmed)

Series 7: Miscellaneous Records, 1724-1897, undated(Box 4; 7 folders; Reel 5907)

Series 8: Photographs, circa 1883-circa 1910, undated (Box 4; 7 folders; Reel 5907)
Biographical Note:
During his lifetime, Francis Davis Millet (1846-1912), always known as Frank, was a prominent artist who was well known for murals that contained exactingly accurate historical details. His broad-ranging career included work with worlds' fairs in Vienna, Chicago, Paris, and Tokyo as a juror, administrator, mural painter/decorator, or advisor. In addition, Frank Millet was a newspaper writer who published short stories and enjoyed adventures as a war correspondent during the Russo-Turkish War and in the Philippines during the Spanish American War.

Millet was among the founders of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and was influential in the early days of the American Federation of Arts. Millet was involved with the American Academy in Rome from its inception and served as Secretary from 1904-1911. In 1911, Millet went to Rome as Chief Administrator of the newly combined Schools of Fine Arts and Classical Studies. He died aboard the Titanic while traveling to New York City on Academy business.

1846 -- born in Mattapoisett, Mass.

1864 -- enlisted as a private in the 60th Massachusetts Militia during Civil War, serving as a drummer; also acted as a surgical assistant to his physician father in the army of the Potomac

1869 -- graduated from Harvard University, where he studied modern languages and literature

1869-1870 -- learned lithography while working on the Boston Advertiser

1871-1872 -- studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, where he won the silver medal (1871) and was awarded the gold medal (1872); traveled through Germany with 3 other American Students

1873 -- Secretary to Charles Francis Adams, Jr., Massachusetts' commissioner to the Vienna Exposition member of the Vienna Exposition; jury correspondent for the New York Herald and the New York Tribune; traveled through southern Europe and Turkey

1873-1874 -- traveled in Greece, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany

1875 -- toured Italy; returned to Boston and set up a studio on Tremont Street

1876 -- exhibited The Bay of Naples at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, where he represented the Boston Advertiser and was a correspondent for the American Architect and Building News; assisted John La Farge in decorating Trinity Church, Boston; founded the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts with La Farge and W. M. Hunt

1877 -- exhibited portraits of Charles Francis Adams, Jr. and Samuel L. Clements at the National Academy of Design

1877-1878 -- special war correspondent to the New York Herald and Times of London, and special artist to the London Graphic, reporting on the Russo-Turkish War; Russia awarded him the Cross of St. Stanislaus and the Cross of St. Anne for military advice and exceptional service (informing Russian officers of a ford that would allow them to cross into Turkey more easily) and the Iron Cross of Romania

1878 -- returned to Paris to paint; served on fine arts jury at the Exposition Universelle in Paris; exhibited in the Paris Salon and at the British Royal Academy

1879 -- married Elizabeth (Lily) Greeley Merrill in Paris; returned to the United States, settling in East Bridgewater, Mass., where he set up a studio that included an accurate reconstruction of a colonial era kitchen

1880 -- lectured on costumes at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; birth of daughter, Katharine Field; became a member of the Society of American Artists; worked with Louis Comfort Tiffany on the decoration of the Seventh Regiment Armory, New York City

1881 -- shared studio in New York with Edwin Austin Abbey; birth of son, Edwin Abbey; commissioned by the Class of 1861 to design two windows for Harvard University Memorial Hall

1882 -- traveled in northern German and Scandinavia with Edwin Austin Abbey and R. Swain Gifford; elected an Associate member of the National Academy of Design

1883 -- traveled to England

1884 -- birth of Laurance, in London; settled with family in Broadway, Worcestershire (spending the winters of the next decade in New York); along with Edwin Austen Abbey, John Singer Sargent, and Alfred Parsons, he established a colony that at various times included Edwin Howland Blashfield, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, and Henry James, along with various other writers, actors, musicians

1885 -- traveled with Charles Francis Adams, Jr. throughout the U.S. and its territories, and to Mexico; elected a National Academician, National Academy of Design

1886 -- purchased "Russell House," that became his permanent home in Broadway, Worcestershire; and moved studio to "Abbot's Grange"

1887 -- translated "Sebastopol" by Tolstoy from French to English for publication

1888 -- birth of John Alfred Parsons

1889 -- awarded silver medal, Salon des Artistes, Paris

1890 -- published a collection of short stories, A Capillary Crime and Other Tales; purchased the "Abbot's Grange" that had been serving as his studio for the previous four years

1891 -- elected vice-president of National Academy of Design; for Harper's Magazine traveled with Alfred Parsons and Poultney Bigelow on a trip down the Danube in one-man canoes, from the Black Forest to the Black Sea (their illustrated narrative was published in the magazine, Feb.-May 1892; the following year, it appeared in book form as From the Black Forest to the Black Sea)

1892-1893 -- director of decorations for the White City of the World's Columbian Exposition, acting as a close advisor to the fair's architect Daniel Burnham; served on New York jury of the Columbian Exposition; once the Exposition opened, he served as Director of Functions and Ceremonies and also provided public relations and advertising services

1897 -- completed restoring "Abbot's Grange" to its 16th century appearance; completed lunette, Agriculture, commissioned for the Bank of Pittsburgh

1898 -- went to the Philippines to cover the Spanish American War as a special correspondent to Harper's Weekly, the London Times, and the New York Sun

1899 -- published Expedition to the Philippines, P. Bigelow, co-author

1900 -- appointed U. S. representative to the Paris Universal International Exposition where he was in charge of decoration of the Government Pavilion, and was a member of the Jury of Selection and the Fine Arts Jury; awarded Chevalier de la Legion of Hounneur by the French government in appreciation for his services to the Paris Exposition

1905 -- traveled to northwest United States, Alaska, and British Columbia; completed mural, The Treaty of the Traverse des Sioux, July 23, 1851, commissioned for the Minnesota State Capitol; became a charter member of the American Academy in Rome

1906 -- traveled to North Africa, Italy, and France

1907 -- completed mural, The Fourth Minnesota Regiment Entering Vicksburg, July 4, 1863, commissioned for the Minnesota State Capitol; completed mural, Foreman of the Grand Jury Rebuking the Chief Justice of New Jersey, 1774, commissioned for the Essex County Courthouse, Newark, New Jersey; traveled to Cuba

1908 -- completed The History of Shipping from the Earliest Recorded Use of Boats until the Present Time commissioned to decorate the ceiling of the Custom House, Baltimore; traveled to Japan as Special Commissioner to the proposed World's Fair in Tokyo [the fair was never held]; awarded "First Class Order of the Sacred Treasure" by the Japanese government; additional travel to Germany, Italy, Russia, Turkey, and China; elected Secretary of the American Academy in Rome; elected a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters

1909 -- completed frieze of 13 panels, The History of the Settlement of Ohio, and several portraits commissioned by the Cleveland Trust Company; also responsible for the general color scheme of the building; completed frieze of 35 panels, The History of Mail Delivery, commissioned for the Post Office in the Federal Building, Cleveland; also responsible for determining the general color

1910 -- influential in the founding of the American Federation of Arts; served as its Secretary until his death; appointed to Federal Commission of Fine Arts; elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters

1911 -- completed lunettes, The Repulse of the Dutch, September 3, 1609, and The Purchase of the Land, 1658, and 12 small historical panels, commissioned for the Hudson County Courthouse, Jersey City, New Jersey; also responsible for the general color scheme of the building; traveled to Panama with Lily and Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Adams, Jr.; elected Vice Chairman of the Fine Arts Committee, American Academy in Rome; moved to Rome to serve as Chief Administrator of the consolidated schools of the American Academy in Rome and the American School of Classical Studies in Rome following the death of Charles F. McKim (Millet was a charter member and had served as Secretary since its inception)

1912 -- died aboard the S. S. Titanic, while heading to New York City on American Academy in Rome business
Related Material:
Found within the holdings of the Archives of American Art are several collections related to Francis Davis Millet, including five letters from Millet to Miss Ward and "Ticknor" and a collection of Francis Millet Rogers research material regarding Francis Davis Millet. The Philip Martiny papers contains two group photographs that include F. D. Millet. A letter describing a visit to Millet's studio is among the William Cushing Loring Papers. The American Academy in Rome records include documents created by F. D. Millet in his capacity as Secretary from 1904-1907 and as Chief Administrator in Rome, 1911-1912.
Separated Material:
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming. Charles S. Millet loaned photographs, biographical information, and miscellaneous items in 1974 (reel 849). In 1976, he loaned an album of photographs of F. D. Millet's murals in the Baltimore Customs House, with related printed matter (reel 1080). Lent materials were returned to Charles S. Millet.
Provenance:
The Francis Davis Millet and Millet family papers were received between 1974 and 1996 from several family members. Most were gifts from Dr. John A. P. Millet, son of F. D. Millet, in 1974 and 1976. In 1974, Charles S. Millet, grandnephew of F. D. Millet, donated a copy of his brief biography he wrote on F. D. Millet and lent materials for microfilming. Also in 1974, Mrs. William King, granddaughter of F. D. Millet gave photographs of F. D. Millet and his art work, along with various printed matter. Additional letters to F. D. Millet were given by grandson, Frank D. Millet, in 1977.

In 1987, granddaughter Joyce A. Sharpey-Schafer donated documents she had used while writing a biography of Millet. In 1996, David M. Emerson, grandnephew of F. D. Millet, donated loose sketches and miscellaneous printed matter.

In 2003, additional letters were donated by grandsons Mr. Harry Flynn and Frank D. Millet, and again in 2006 by Frank D. Millet.
Restrictions:
Use of originals requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Francis Davis Millet and Millet family papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Mural painting and decoration  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Painters  Search this
Russo-Turkish War, 1877-1878  Search this
Artists' studios  Search this
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865  Search this
Painting, American  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Diaries
Sketchbooks
Travel diaries
Citation:
Francis Davis Millet and Millet family papers, 1858-1984 (bulk 1858-1955). Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.millfran
See more items in:
Francis Davis Millet and Millet family papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-millfran
Online Media:

John White Alexander papers

Creator:
Alexander, John White, 1856-1915  Search this
Names:
MacDowell Club of New York  Search this
Abbey, Edwin Austin, 1852-1911  Search this
Alexander, Elizabeth A., d. 1947  Search this
Carnegie, Andrew, 1835-1919  Search this
Chase, William Merritt, 1849-1916  Search this
Gibson, Charles Dana, 1867-1944  Search this
James McNeill Whistler, 1834-1903  Search this
James, Henry, 1843-1916  Search this
La Farge, John, 1835-1910  Search this
Levy, Florence N. (Florence Nightingale), 1870-1947  Search this
Millet, Francis Davis, 1846-1912  Search this
Remington, Frederic, 1861-1909  Search this
Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894  Search this
Extent:
11.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Awards
Interviews
Photographs
Sketchbooks
Scrapbooks
Medals
Date:
1775-1968
bulk 1870-1915
Summary:
The papers of the painter, muralist, and illustrator John White Alexander measure 11.9 linear feet and date from 1775 to 1968, with the bulk of materials dating from 1870 to 1915. Papers document Alexander's artistic career and many connections to figures in the art world through biographical documentation, correspondence (some illustrated), writings, 14 sketchbooks, additonal artwork and loose sketches, scrapbooks, photographs, awards and medals, artifacts, and other records. Also found is a souvenir engraving of a Mark Twain self-portrait.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of the painter, muralist, and illustrator John White Alexander measure 11.9 linear feet and date from 1775 to 1968, with the bulk of materials dating from 1870 to 1915. Papers document Alexander's artistic career and many connections to figures in the art world through biographical documentation, correspondence (some illustrated), writings, 14 sketchbooks, additonal artwork and loose sketches, scrapbooks, photographs, awards and medals, artifacts, and other records. Also found is a souvenir engraving of a Mark Twain self-portrait.

Biographical Information includes multiple essays related to Alexander, his family, and others in his circle. Also found is an extensive oral history of Alexander's wife Elizabeth conducted in 1928. Correspondence includes letters written by Alexander to his family from New York and Europe at the start of his career, and later letters from fellow artists, art world leaders, and portrait sitters of Alexander's. Significant correspondents include Charles Dana Gibson, Florence Levy, Frederick Remington, Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry James, John La Farge, Francis Davis Millet, and Andrew Carnegie. Correspondence includes some small sketches as enclosures and illustrated letters.

Certificates and records related to Alexander's career are found in Associations and Memberships, Legal and Financial Records, and Notes and Writings, which contain documentation of Alexander's paintings and exhibitions. Scattered documentation of Alexander's memberships in various arts association exists for the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy in Rome, the National Academy of Design, the Onteora Club in New York, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Germany, the Ministère de L'Instruction Publique et des Beaux-Arts, the Union Internationale des Beaux Arts et des Lettres, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Notes and Writings include speeches written by Alexander, short stories and essays written by his wife, and articles by various authors about Alexander. Extensive documentation of the planning and construction of the Alexander Memorial Studio by the MacDowell Club is found, along with other awards, medals, and memorial resolutions adopted by arts organizations after Alexander's death.

Artwork includes fourteen sketchbooks with sketches related to Alexander's commercial illustration and cartooning, murals, paintings, and travels. Dozens of loose drawings and sketches are also found, along with two volumes and several dozen loose reproductions of artwork, among which are found fine prints by named printmakers. Many sketches are also interspersed throughout the correspondence. Eight Scrapbooks contain mostly clippings, but also scattered letters, exhbition catalogs, announcements, invitations, and photographs related to Alexander's career between 1877 and 1915. Additional Exhibition Catalogs and later clippings, as well as clippings related to the career of his wife and other subjects, are found in Printed Materials.

Photographs include many portraits of Alexander taken by accomplished photographers such as Zaida Ben-Yusuf, Aimé Dupont, Curtis Bell, Elizabeth Buehrmann, and several signed Miss Huggins, who may have been Estelle Huntington Huggins, a New York painter and photographer. Portraits of others include Alexander's friends William Merritt Chase and Edward Austin Abbey. Also found are photographs of groups, juries, family, friends, and studios in New York, Paris, and New Jersey, and a handful of scenic photographs of Polling, Bavaria, where Alexander had an early studio. A large number of photographs of works of art are found, many with annotations. Among the photographs of murals are a small collection of snapshots of the Carnegie Institute murals in progress. Miscellaneous artifacts include a palette, several printing plates, and an inscribed souvenir engraving of a self-portrait caricature of Mark Twain.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 11 series. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.

Series 1: Biographical Information, circa 1887-1968 (Box 1, OV 23; 0.1 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1870-1942 (Box 1; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 3: Associations and Memberships, circa 1897-1918 (Box 1; 2 folders)

Series 4: Legal and Financial Records, 1775, 1896-1923 (Box 1; 5 folders)

Series 5: Notes and Writings, circa 1875-1943 (Boxes 1-2; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 6: Awards and Memorials, circa 1870-1944 (Box 2, OV 24; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 7: Artwork, circa 1875-1915 (Boxes 2-3, 6, 14-16, OV 23; 1.5 linear feet)

Series 8: Scrapbooks, circa 1877-1915 (Boxes 17-22; 1.8 linear feet)

Series 9: Printed Materials, circa 1891-1945 (Boxes 3-4, OV 23; 1.5 linear feet)

Series 10: Photographs, circa 1870-1915 (Boxes 4-8, MGP 1-2, OV 25-43, RD 44-45; 4.2 linear feet)

Series 11: Artifacts, circa 1899-1915 (Box 6, artifact cabinet; 0.4 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
John White Alexander was born in 1856 in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. He was orphaned at age five and taken in by relatives of limited means. When Alexander left school and began working at a telegraph company, the company's vice-president, former civil war Colonel Edward Jay Allen, took an interest in his welfare. Allen became his legal guardian, brought him into the Allen household, and saw that he finished Pittsburgh High School. At eighteen, he moved to New York City and was hired by Harper and Brothers as an office boy in the art department. He was soon promoted to apprentice illustrator under staff artists such as Edwin A. Abbey and Charles Reinhart. During his time at Harpers, Alexander was sent out on assignment to illustrate events such as the Philadelphia Centennial celebration in 1876 and the Pittsburgh Railroad Strike in 1877, which erupted in violence.

Alexander carefully saved money from his illustration work and traveled to Europe in 1877 for further art training. He first enrolled in the Royal Art Academy of Munich, Germany, but soon moved to the village of Polling, where a colony of American artists was at its peak in the late 1870s. Alexander established a painting studio there and stayed for about a year. Despite his absence from the Munich Academy, he won the medal of the drawing class for 1878, the first of many honors. While in Polling, he became acquainted with J. Frank Currier, Frank Duveneck, William Merritt Chase, and other regular visitors to the colony. He later shared a studio and taught a painting class in Florence with Duveneck and traveled to Venice, where he met James Abbott McNeill Whistler.

Alexander returned to New York in 1881 and resumed his commercial artwork for Harpers and Century. Harpers sent him down the Mississippi river to complete a series of sketches. He also began to receive commissions for portraits, and in the 1880s painted Charles Dewitt Bridgman, a daughter of one of the Harper brothers, Parke Godwin, Thurlow Weed, Walt Whitman, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Alexander met his wife Elizabeth, whose maiden name was also Alexander, through her father, James W. Alexander, who was sometimes mistaken for the artist. Elizabeth and John White Alexander married in 1887 and had a son, James, in 1888.

Alexander and his family sailed for France in 1890, where they became a part of the lively literary and artistic scene in Paris at the time. Among their many contacts there were Puvis de Chavannes, Auguste Rodin, and Whistler, who arrived in Paris shortly thereafter. Alexander absorbed the new aesthetic ideas around him such as those of the symbolists and the decorative style of art nouveau. Critics often note how such ideas are reflected in his boldly composed paintings of women from this period, who titles drew attention to the sensual and natural elements of the paintings. His first exhibition in Paris was three paintings at the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts in 1893, and by 1895 he has become a full member of the Société.

Independent and secession artist societies emerged throughout Europe during this period, and Alexander exhibited with several of them, including the Société Nouvelle in Paris, the Munich Secession, and the Vienna Secession. He was also elected an honorary member of the Royal Society of Belgian Artists and the Royal Society of British Painters in London. His exhibited works sold well, and his influence began to be felt back in the United States. Andrew Carnegie and John Beatty of the Carnegie Institute consulted closely with Alexander in the planning and execution of the first Carnegie International Exhibitions. Alexander also became active in supporting younger American artists who wanted to exhibit in Europe, a stance which resulted in his resignation from the Society of American Artists in Paris, which he felt had become a barrier to younger artists. His promotion of American art became an central aspect of his career for the remainder of his life, most visibly through his presidency of the National Academy of Design from 1909 until shortly before his death in 1915. He also served frequently on juries for high-profile exhibitions, and was a trustee at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, and the national Institute of Arts and Letters. Around 1912, he helped to form the School Art League in New York, which provided art instruction to high school students.

Alexander returned to the United States nearly every summer while based in Paris, and among his commissioned paintings were murals for the newly-constructed Library of Congress, completed around 1896. In 1901, the Alexanders returned to New York permanently. The demand for portraits continued, and he had his first solo exhibition at the Durand-Ruel Galleries in 1902. Around 1905 he received a commission for murals at the new Carnegie Institute building in Pittsburgh for the astounding sum of $175,000. He created 48 panels there through 1908. During this period, the Alexanders spent summers in Onteora, New York, where Alexander painted his well-known "Sunlight" paintings. There they became friends and collaborators with the actress Maude Adams, with Alexander designing lighting and stage sets, and Elizabeth Alexander designing costumes for Adams' productions such as Peter Pan, the Maid of Orleans, and Chanticleer. The couple became known for their "theatricals" or tableaux, staged at the MacDowell Club and elsewhere, and Elizabeth Alexander continued her design career when her husband died in 1915.

Alexander left several commissions unfinished upon his death at age 59, including murals in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Elizabeth Alexander held a memorial exhibition at Arden Galleries a few months after his death, and a larger memorial exhibition was held by the Carnegie Institute in 1916. Alexander won dozens of awards for artwork in his lifetime, including the Lippincott Prize at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1899, the Gold Medal of Honor at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900, the Gold Medal at the Panama Pacific Exposition of 1901, and the Medal of the First Class at the Carnegie Institute International Exhibition in 1911. In 1923, the Alexander Memorial Studio was built at the MacDowell colony in New Hampshire to honor his memory.
Provenance:
Papers were donated in 1978 and 1981 by Irina Reed, Alexander's granddaughter and in 2017 by Elizabeth Reed, Alexander's great grandaughter.
Restrictions:
Use of the original papers requires an appointment. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Rights:
The John White Alexander papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Portrait painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Portrait painting -- 20th century  Search this
Portrait painting -- 19th century  Search this
Illustrators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Portrait painting, American  Search this
Genre/Form:
Awards
Interviews
Photographs
Sketchbooks
Scrapbooks
Medals
Citation:
John White Alexander papers, 1775-1968, bulk 1870-1915. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.alexjohn
See more items in:
John White Alexander papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-alexjohn
Online Media:

Francis Davis Millet and Millet family papers, 1858-1984, bulk 1858-1955

Creator:
Millet, Francis Davis, 1846-1912  Search this
Subject:
Sharpey-Schafer, Joyce A.  Search this
Booth, Hilda Millet  Search this
Abbey, Edwin Austin  Search this
James, Henry  Search this
Millet, John A. P. (John Alfred Parsons),  Search this
Sargent, John Singer  Search this
Titanic (Steamship)  Search this
Type:
Sketchbooks
Topic:
United States  Search this
Mural painting and decoration  Search this
Painting, American  Search this
Russo-Turkish War, 1877-1878  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9048
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211239
AAA_collcode_millfran
Theme:
Sketches & Sketchbooks
Diaries
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211239
Online Media:

Metropolitan Museum of Art scrapbooks on American illustrators, 1870-1938

Creator:
Card, Helen L. (Helen Luise)  Search this
Subject:
Smedley, W. T. (William Thomas)  Search this
Reinhart, Charles Stanley  Search this
Frost, A. B. (Arthur Burdett)  Search this
Kemble, E. W. (Edward Windsor)  Search this
Remington, Frederic  Search this
Abbey, Edwin Austin  Search this
Keller, Arthur Ignatius  Search this
Topic:
Caricatures and cartoons  Search this
Illustration  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)7049
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)209182
AAA_collcode_cardhele
Theme:
Lives of American Artists
Audio - Visual
Communities, Organizations, Museums
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_209182

Theodore R. Davis

Artist:
Edwin Austin Abbey, 1 Apr 1852 - 1 Aug 1911  Search this
Sitter:
Theodore R. Davis, 1840 - 1894  Search this
Medium:
Pencil on paper
Dimensions:
30.5cm x 22.8cm (12" x 9"), Accurate
Type:
Drawing
Date:
c. 1884-1894
Topic:
Caricature  Search this
Theodore R. Davis: Visual Arts\Artist  Search this
Theodore R. Davis: Male  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
Owner: Yale University Art Gallery
Website: www.yale.edu/artgallery/
Object number:
1965.9.12.8
See more items in:
Catalog of American Portraits
Data Source:
Catalog of American Portraits
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sm4c69c551f-38e9-45db-a235-bb365b8d6583
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_1965.9.12.8

Edwin Austin Abbey

Attribution:
Francis Davis Millet, 3 Nov 1846 - 15 Apr 1912  Search this
Sitter:
Edwin Austin Abbey, 1 Apr 1852 - 1 Aug 1911  Search this
Medium:
Caricature on paper
Dimensions:
Unrecorded
Type:
Drawing
Topic:
Artist's Effects\Palette  Search this
Caricature  Search this
Artist's Effects\Easel  Search this
Edwin Austin Abbey: Visual Arts\Artist  Search this
Edwin Austin Abbey: Male  Search this
Edwin Austin Abbey: Visual Arts\Artist\Illustrator  Search this
Edwin Austin Abbey: Visual Arts\Artist\Painter\Muralist  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
Owner: Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
Website: artarchives.si.edu/
Object number:
DC900002
See more items in:
Catalog of American Portraits
Data Source:
Catalog of American Portraits
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sm47d283015-d81d-4de9-a496-621278e1a354
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_DC900002

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