The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera
302-888-4600 or 800-448-3883
OVERVIEW OF THE COLLECTION
Creator: Bierstadt, Albert, 1830-1902
Dates: 1815-1909, bulk 1854-1899.
Acc. No.: [various – see detailed description]
Quantity: 2 boxes
Location: 15 K 5
was a popular American landscape painter in the 19th century. Born in
SCOPE AND CONTENT
consists of letters, signatures and calling cards, a printed description of
Bierstadt’s painting “The Rocky Mountains,” a newspaper article, watercolors,
photographs, and a pencil sketch. Most
of the letters were written by or to Bierstadt or his sister Eliza. Topics mentioned include invitations to
social gatherings, offers to give speeches, descriptions of trips, real estate
ventures, buying and selling Bierstadt's paintings, and placing Bierstadt's
works in exhibitions. One
requests Bierstadt to contribute some of his art work to raise money for
Garibaldi's efforts in
A number of correspondents are
represented in the collection: George Bancroft, Edwin Booth, Frederic Edwin
Church, George William Clinton, Jessie Benton Fremont, Horace Howard Furness,
Winfield Scott Hancock, Constance Cary Harrison, the Marquess of Lorne
The collection is divided into three series: I. Letters; II. Artwork and art reproductions and materials about art; and III. the scrapbook and its contents, which includes additional letters, artwork, and photographs. The loose items in the scrapbook have been removed from the book and placed in separate folders.
Within each series, the items are arranged in accession number order. The letters are not in chronological order.
LANGUAGE OF MATERIALS
The materials are in English, with a few items in German or French.
RESTRICTIONS ON ACCESS
Collection is open to the public. Copyright restrictions may apply.
Purchased from various sources.
Additional Bierstadt letters are in the Carson Autograph Collection, Col. 66.
Bierstadt, Eliza, 1833-1896.
Bancroft, George, 1800-1891.
Fremont, Jessie Benton, 1824-1902.
Stoddard, W. O.
Church, Frederic Edwin, 1826-1900.
Sellstedt, Lars Gustav, 1819-1911.
Taft, Horace Dutton, 1861-1943.
United States Sanitary Commission.
Butterflies - Pictorial works.
Real property, Exchange of.
Art patrons - Correspondence.
Artists - Social life and customs.
Artists - Correspondence.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE COLLECTION
Location: 15 K 5
Series I: Letters:
[note: for letters found in scrapbook, see Series III]
68x101.1 From A. Bierstadt, San Francisco, to [W.O.] Stoddard, 1872 [month and date unclear].
Stoddard permission to start on
[possibly this is William Osborn Stoddard.]
68x101.2 From A. Bierstadt, San Francisco, to [W.O.] Stoddard, May 8, 1872.
property and mines in
68x101.3a-b From A. Bierstadt to W.O. Stoddard, no date; includes envelope
have accompanied a picture which had been insured for $25,000. Discusses a frame for the picture, such as he
had on the picture of
68x101.4a-b From A. Bierstadt,
"Emerald Pool" art work being sent to
Speaks of land speculation in
68x135.1 Letter from A. Bierstadt to Miss Harrison, no date.
Gives advice on photographs [evidently of one of her paintings] she had brought to him. “There is no demand for pictures just now and therefore I cannot advise you what dealer to go to.”
68.135.2 Letter from A.
[Gardner Brewer was a wealthy
Bierstadt to “Dear Sir,” March 26, 1873, written from
recommended the services of friend, Col. Eddy, who has access to a steamer,
available for an excursion. Also
recommends his former guide for a visit to
68x135.4 From A.
Declining invitation due to illness.
Note accompanied sketch for her daughter of autumn woods. Ill health prevented him from making delivery in person. He had been hospitalized and suffered from rheumatism. Sends his congratulations to Mrs. Clark’s daughter.
69x52 Letter from A. Bierstadt,
Haggling over price of frame, dispute over measurement and price.
69x53a-b Letter from A. Bierstadt, San Francisco, to M. Bodisco,
Imperial Consulate of
Bodisco to forward the insignia of the Russian Order of St. Stanislaus, which
had been awarded to Bierstadt, to
Also the envelope for the letter. Letter and envelope are embossed with a bee superimposed on an A.
from A. Bierstadt,
[This Mr. Tait is possibly Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, American artist, lived 1819-1905.]
Text relates to possible purchase of property; he appears to be seeking a business partner.
72x41 From A.
describes trip to
73x158a-b Letter from Albert Bierstadt,
two photo prints of a picture entitled "Indians Travelling." Bierstadt intended to reproduce them in India
ink for publication. Bierstadt offered
his large picture of the
[Lars G. Sellstedt, Swedish-born artist who lived in
Note: Additional correspondence was found in the scrapbook in Series III, and those letters are described under that series.
75x29 Artwork (butterfly) done by Miss Eliza Bierstadt,
sister of Albert. Dated
[no acc. no.] Reproduction of a butterfly drawing by Bierstadt, with a note on the back about how it was done and the location of the original
12x108 “The Rocky Mountains,” by Albert Bierstadt, a two-page flyer describing the painting by this name, which depicted the Wind River Range, including Mt. Lander, and a Shoshone village. The painting was done after Bierstadt’s 1858 trip.
Note: Additional artwork was found in the scrapbook in Series III, and those items are described under that series.
64x39.2 From A. Bierstadt to [Mr. Taft], no date, fragment of letter only.
Mentions presenting work to art gallery and trying to change his room on a steamer.
64x39.9 Signature of Albert Bierstadt,
64x39.10 Two signatures of Albert Bierstadt,
64x39.13 Signed by J.B. Aldrich, addressed "Dear Madame,"
“I can give you until the 16th.”
64x39.14 From W. B.
64x39.15 From Geo.
Directed Bierstadt to finish within the year the best picture that he could for $750.00 Bancroft said he was a "man of letters" and apologized for his limited resources.
64x39.16 From Geo.
Postpones commission of picture Bierstadt would do for him.
64x39.17 From Geo.
Extends dinner invitation.
64x39.18 From Geo. Bancroft to Miss Bierstadt, May 31, 1866.
Confirmed meeting to take place at Bierstadt's studio.
64x39.19 From Geo.
Bierstadt to exhibit his work in
64x39.20 P. T. Barnum(?), [place illegible,] to Bierstadt, March(?) 18(?), no year.
“Let the Indians(?) come … to see the curiosities, but .. let them see the play only in the evening.”
64x39.21a-b From W.H. Beard,
Apologizes for delay in answering her letter. Mr. LeClear and he have been buying a house. Said he had sold art work for $12,000 over past summer, including sales in Cleveland and Chicago. He was currently painting a companion to the "Old Woman in a Shoe" to be entitled "Gulliver's Foot," which he intends to reproduce as a chromolithograph. [He described the painting.] Has a pet monkey which is constantly getting into mischief. Mrs. LeClear does not improve in health. Mrs. Beard has also been unwell.
[The letter writer is William Holbrook Beard, lived 1824-1900. His friend was Thomas LeClear, lived 1818-1882.]
64x39.22 From W. H. Beard,
His answer to her request for a print that he had sold to Harper Bros. He would attempt to get it back, making a substitution.
64x39.23 From Henry W. Bellows,
arrangements for meeting between Bierstadt and Mrs. T. Starr King. She and her children were staying at
64x39.24 No addressee, signed
Writer was upset at administration's figure of $71 million for the year. Asked for total number of army and navy [i.e. personnel in each branch], and expense to obtain and sustain them.
64x39.25 From W. P. Blake, San Francisco, to Bierstadt, December, 8, 1865.
Wilkinson has arrived. Blake has had
Bierstadt's chromo of "Light and Shadow" framed and hung in his
parlor. Refers to stereoscopic picture
of the moon. W. has photos of
64x39.27 Printed letter, from V. Botta, President [of the Italian
contribution of a sketch, drawing, or painting to help raise aid for
Garibaldi's efforts for Italian freedom and nationality. Funds raised would be sent to Gen. Garibaldi
as the donation of artists in
64x39.29 From Geo. H. Boughton,
Unable to fulfill his commission – suggests Bierstadt write to the council of the Art Union. Happy for Bierstadt’s success.
64x39.30 Samuel Bowles, Brevout(?) House, to Bierstadt, no date.
Appears to be dinner invitation - mentions "mule meat and mustard,"
Bowles, lived 1826-1878, was a journalist in
64x39.31 Samuel Bowles,
waterproof cardboard and where it could be found.
[Bowles’ book Switzerland of America was published in 1869.]
64x39.33 Signature of Bierstadt(?), dated February 28, 1863.
64x39.34 From Frederic E. Church,
64x39.35 From Frederic E. Church,
64x39.36a-b From Frederic E. Church to Mr. W. Forrest, August 18, 1873.
Mr. McClure, living in
[William Forrest was a Scottish engraver, lived 1805-1889.]
64x39.37 No date, no signature.
Note on engraving of “
64x39.38 Receipt, signed W. Forrest, October 15, 1878,
from H. B. Thompson, Esq. (per A. Bierstadt), the sum of two hundred pounds
ster. as payment in full of price for picture of
With Inland Revenue stamp.
Request that Miss Bierstadt will allow Judge to join her in looking for shells. Also mentions Mr. Selllstedt.
George William Clinton, of the distinguished New York Clinton family, had been
64x39.41 G. W. Clinton, Buffalo, to Miss Bierstadt, November 15, 1868.
Sends a copy
of publication mentioning Vesuvius.
Gives the location of
64x39.42 Signature, unable to read, no date.
64x39.43 Schuyler Colfax,
Setting time to meet.
64x39.44 Schuyler Colfax,
Instructions to send the companion to the "Barefoot" as soon as possible.
64x39.45 Signature: Schuyler Colfax, V.P., no date.
64x39.46 From Saml. Colman,
He did not
have water colors for
[Samuel Colman, American artist, lived 1832-1920.]
64x39.47 Signature of Dr. Crockett, Feb. 10 [no year].
64x39.49 Signature of Jasper F. Cropsey, no date.
64x39.50 From G. W. Curtis,
Declining invitation for dinner.
64x39.51 From G. W. Curtis,
Declining invitation to club meeting.
Thanking him for donation to the Society.
64x39.53 Signature of Richard H. Dana,
64x39.54 Anna [surname illegible, but appears to end in -kinson],
Expressing thanks for Eliza's letter in which she praised Anna and her work.
64x39.55 Calling card of A. Bierstadt; on back: signature of John A. D[illegible].
64x39.56 From Mary A. Dodge to Miss Bierstadt, no date.
Dodge explained she had had no photographs taken.
64x39.57 From Mr. Dufferin (?),
Apologizes for not being able to see Bierstadt due to work schedule.
64x39.58a Note from Dunraven to Bierstadt, no date.
Asks Bierstadt to accompany him to see a collection.
64x39.58b Envelope for invitation, addressed to Bierstadt at Brevort House.
64x39.59 From Timothy Dwight,
Declining invitation for dinner.
64x39.60 Scrap of paper, no date.
Lists three names (and addresses, possibly in
64x39.61 From O. L. Elliott, March 19, 1866 [possibly 1868], to "Madam."
the enclosed "Carte D'Visite" for the “artists album” to be presented
to the “
64x39.62 memorandum in pencil, noted as being in the handwriting of
Edward Everett, instructing receiver of note to request Mr. Barringer at
64x39.63 From James T. Fields,
Complimenting art work.
64x39.64 From J. T. Fields to Bierstadt,
64x39.65 Signature of John Fiske,
64x39.66 For Mr. Bierstadt, October 4, 1865, a list of five names, possibly signatures: W. B. Franklin, Maj. Gen. [illegible], C. [illegible] Reach(?), R. [illegible] Jarvis, [illegible]
64x39.67 From Mrs. J. D. Freeman ("Periwinkle"),
to her visit to Bierstadt's studio in company with
64x39.68 From E.(?) B.(?) Fremont, Pocaho, near
addresses of Anna de Raasloff, who was traveling in
64x39.69 From J. B. [Jessie Benton]
Remarks about the art being so appreciated by a certain man [probably reference to her husband] and about selling art only to those who truly appreciate it. Invitation to dinner.
64x39.70 From J. B. [Jessie Benton]
Invitation to visit their new place.
64x39.71 From Jessie B.
Explained that rain and plumbing work would prevent them from taking planned outing.
64x39.72 From J. B. [Jessie Benton] Fremont, Pocaho, near
inability to purchase picture due to lack of funds. Notes that A. Bierstadt's "Storm in the
64x39.73 [illegible] de Ville(?), Washington, to Miss Bierstadt, dated May 2, 1868.
Bierstadt had had a question about sending package; writer instructs her to
send it to Danish Consul in
64x39.74 From J. B. [Jessie Benton]
Sent news of mutual friends, including Anna de Raasloff
64x39.75 From J. C. [John C.]
Note with check for $4000. “I promise myself much pleasure in seeing the picture at the Academy.”
64x39.76 From Horace Howard Furness,
Furness was a lawyer and Shakespeare scholar, living in
64x39.77 Scrap of paper with signature: "Lucretia R. Garfield." No date.
64x39.78 Admission ticket for Mrs. William Gay to Reception Ball in
honor of H.I.H. The Grand Duke Alexis at the
64x39.79 From W. Allan Gay,
64x39.80 Regis Gignoux,
been told by Bierstadt that McHenry wanted to buy art work entitled
"Spring." It was presently
owned by W. A. Fowler who offered to sell it for $2000. Offers his most important work, a view from
the top of
a painter from
64x39.81 From Parke Godwin, Roslyn, to Bierstadt, May 29, 1865.
Invitation to visit.
64x39.82 From Arthur T. Hadley,
64x39.83 From Constance Cary Harrison to Mr. Taft, no date.
Archie, a student of Mr. Taft.
[Mrs. Burton Harrison was a noted writer in her day. Archie was her youngest son.]
64x39.84 Reproduction of document dated June 1775, signed by John
Hancock. Begins “The delegates of the
64X39.85 From Winfield Scott Hancock, Governor’s
printed letter of Lt. Gen. Sheridan concerning his trip through
Winfield Scott Hancock, Governor’s
information concerning an artist named Rev. Johannes A. Oertel who had a studio
64x39.87 From Townsend Harris to Bierstadt,
Declining Bierstadt's invitation to come and meet the "Travellers."
64x39.88 From Thomas Hicks to Bierstadt,
Invitation to lunch with Miss Cozzens, the Hicks family, and others.
64x39.89 From M. J. Holmes, Brown Cottage,
Declining invitation to speak at her church.
64x39.90 From D.
Sends Christmas greetings and promises to visit Bierstadt's studio the following evening after attending "old-fashioned tea party."
64x39.91 From J. B. Irving, Jr.,
accompanying likenesses of
64x39.92 From J.F. Kensett to Bierstadt, Jan. 2, 1866.
64x39.93 Small card, no date. Signature of and note from Thomas Starr King.
64x39.94 From George B. Lambdin,
Bierstadt on reviving the Rotary exhibition project. Promises to aid Bierstadt in plans and to see
what directors of the Academy [in
64x39.95 From George B. Lambdin, Lanark, to Mr. Taylor,
64x39.96 From F. W. Lander, to Bierstadt, May 4, 1859.
introduction for the Honorable Delegate from
Milton Bernhisel was
64x39.97 From Charles Lanman, Newburyport, Massachusetts, to Bierstadt, Glen House, New Hampshire, August 4, 1862.
recent meeting at Glen House, N.H.
Mentions visiting Athenaeum Gallery in
64x39.98 Card signed Charles Lanman,
64x39.99a-b No date, fragments of letter signed E. [Emanuel]. Leutze.
Offers praise for Bierstadt.
fragment mentions Mr. Whitridge, and is signed by A. Achenbach, Jno. B. Irving,
64x39.101 From Cecilia Lewis, Roxbury, to Bierstadt,
Poem she wrote in praise of Bierstadt's talent.
64x39.102 Signature of Will (?) H. Les[illegible]. No date.
64x39.103 From John A. Logan,
Pledging his support of art and artists.
64x39.104 From Lorne [John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne,] to Bierstadt, May 25, 1882.
to see Bierstadt in
64x39.105 From Lorne [John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne,]
his and the Princess’ [his wife, Princess Louise] sympathy for disaster at
Bierstadt's place on the
64x39.106 From Jervis McEntee, Rondout, to Bierstadt, May 14, 1864.
Bierstadt for sending check for $150 for the Count's picture. Lamented lack of news in the country. Am getting settled in new home. Debating whether to go trout fishing or to
64x39.107 From Jervis McEntee,
Apologizes for not having sketches for her to purchase. Suggests she visit his studio in the city. Preparing to leave for a sketching season.
64x39.109 From T. Moran,
with prescription for Salicylic Acid for rheumatism and gives direction for
taking it. Prescription is by Dr. W. O.
Gorman [or Ogorman] of
64x39.110 From Levi P. Morton, Paris, to the Hon. Alonzo Taft, U.S. Minister in Vienna, Dec. 3, 1883.
withdrawal of a decree of 1881 which prohibited the importation of American
64x39.111 Name card of M de Munkacsy, Hoffman House, with note in German, no date.
64x39.112 Name card of M de Munkacsy, with note in German, no date.
64x39.113 two signatures of M de Munkacsy, 1886.
64x39.114 Signature of M de Munkacsy, 1886.
64x39.115 two signatures of M de Munkacsy, 1886.
64x39.116 From Hugo Musterburg,
64x39.117 Signature of Joel Parker, no date.
64x39.118 From William Lyon Phelps,
64x39.119 From Wendell Phillips to Eliza Bierstadt, no date.
Note with something he had sent to her, no indication what this was.
64x39.120 From Sir Morton Peto, Clarendon Hotel, to Eliza Bierstadt, October 28, 1865.
Invitation for concert and dinner at Delmonico's.
[Sir Samuel Morton Peto lived 1809-1889. He was a civil engineer and entrepreneur.]
64x39.121 From to H.J.
Declining invitation to give lecture.
64x39.122 address for Mr. Bierstadt,
64x39.123 From William T. Richards,
Note accompanied a carte de visite. Too busy at present to contribute to her art table for the fair.
64x39.124 From P.F. Rothermel,
Bierstadt's Rotary exhibition; wishes to advance art in the
64x39.125 From W.
Thanked Miss Bierstadt for photographs of Anna; included a sketch of two Danish flags, one used on merchant ships and the other for a man-of-war.
Waldemer Raasloff, 1815-1883, father of Anna Raasloff; was representative of
64x39.126 From W. Raasloff ,
delivery of box. Anna is indisposed in
64x39.127 From F. B. Sanborn,
articles written by Sanborn dealing with genealogy of Sanborn family. Refers to Rev. S. Bachler, founder of town of
64x39.128 From C. Samm(?),
Text in German.
refused to give a lecture in
64x39.129 From John Sherman, Senate Chamber,
Had received Bierstadt's letter and referred it to Secretary of Treasury.
64x39.130 Signature of John Sherman, cut from a letter, no date.
64x39.131 From W. T. [William Tecumseh]
Invitation to dinner with Sherman and friends.
64x39.133 From Edward Seymour, Earl of
Invitation to meet the Lord Chief Baron(?); please bring some sketches.
64x39.134 From William L. Sonntag,
Short note mentioning Bierstadt's brother.
64x39.136 From E. C.
\Accepting Bierstadt's invitation to join him at the Union League Club.
64x39.138 From W. J. Stillman,
for Bierstadt to come to
Invitation to visit Stoddard and friends.
Note sent along with gift.
64x39.141 From Charles Sumner, Senate Chamber, [
recipient’s cooperation with Bierstadt as he traveled to
64x39.142 Place card with name of Mrs. Horace D. Taft, March 4, 1909, decorated with watercolor of The White House.
[Winifred Shepard Thompson Taft died in December 1909.]
64x39.143 Place card with name of Mr. Horace D. Taft, March 4, 1909, decorated with watercolor of The White House.
Dutton Taft, 1861-1943, founded the Taft school in
64x39.144 Signature of William Howard Taft, signed Wm. H. Taft, taken
from letter to his brother Horace D. Taft, the
64x39.145 From Theodore Tilton, The
Introducing Lyman Beecher Carhart and ladies who wished to see his studio.
64x39.146 From Theodore Tilton to Bierstadt, no date.
Asking price of Bierstadt's picture "Light and Shadow."
64x39.147 From George Otto Trevelyan,
Answering questions about the impending publication of his book on the American Revolution.
64x39.148 From Ross Turner,
Answering her questions about prices of his watercolors.
64x39.149 From Richard Grant White, Secretary, Metropolitan
about Indians then performing at the
64x39.150 Signature of W. Whittredge, no date, on portion of a letter to unknown person.
64x39.151 From Geo. Wickersham to Mr. Taft,
sympathy for Mrs. Taft's illness and operation.
Offers assistance while she is in
64x39.152 From O. B. [Orlando Bolivar] Willcox,
and party did not visit. Inquires if
Bierstadt plans to paint any battle pieces.
64x39.153 Printed visiting card of N.P. Willis, Idlewild, no date.
64x39.154 From O. Jennings Wise, Secretary, Legation of the
In answer to
Bierstadt's question about a passport and travel in
64x39.1 Photograph of Eliza Bierstadt, no date. [in frame]
64x39.3 carte-de-visite photograph of Albert Bierstadt, with signature, no date.
back: Bierstadt Brothers, photographers,
64x39.4 Photograph of unknown man. He is elderly, with beard and appears to be wearing a cloak.
64x39.5 Photograph of unknown man, no date. Elderly with full beard.
Blind-embossed on paper: Photo-plate Printing Co., Alberttype Process, E. Bierstadt supt. N.Y.
64x39.6 oil on paper, 1889. Title - "Butterfly," signed and dated: Albert Bierstadt, July 15/89. [in frame]
64x39.7 oil on paper, 1889. Title - "Butterfly," signed and dated: Albert Bierstadt, July 15/89. [in frame]
64x39.8 oil painting of butterfly, unsigned, undated
64x39.11 Albert Bierstadt's calling card, no date, with two men’s heads drawn onto the card. [in frame]
64x39.137 carte-de-visite photo of Theo. R. Stevens,
64x39.155 carte-de-visite photograph of a woman, inscribed to Miss
Bierstadt, no date. Photographer: Bushby
& Hart, in
64x39.156 Pencil sketch of water mill, rural scene. Unsigned, undated.
Scrapbook and items in scrapbook
Note: the items in Col. 276 whose accession numbers begin with 64x39 came out of this scrapbook. Most of the items were loose and have been removed from the scrapbook and placed into separate folders. However, a very few items remain in the book and are described below.
64x39.40 Letter, G. W. Clinton,
Sending her some shells; thanks for hospitality.
64x39.26 A. F. Bonheur, Magney-les-Hameaux, to Bierstadt, no date.
letter in French.
Will be happy to receive him and his traveling companions.
[French artist August-Francois Bonheur, brother of Rosa Bonheur, lived 1824-1884.]
64x39.32a a loose page, almost certainly describing the men in the photo in .32b. The names include Anson Burlingame, J. M’Leavy Brown, and E. de Champs. There are also a number of Chinese characters, probably the names of the Chinese in the photo.
64x39.32b photo of 8 men on a footbridge leading to
The man on the far left is Anson Burlingame. Undoubtedly, these men are members of the Chinese diplomatic mission formed in 1867.
64x39.48 Note, G. Croly to “My dear Sir,” July [day and year illegible.]
Invitation to take coffee with Croly’s mother.
[someone has identified this as the English poet George Croly]
64x39.28 Edwin Booth to Miss Bierstadt, June 6, 1864.
Thank you for the gift.
64x39.135 signature of Jared Sparks
64x39.108 Don G. Mitchell [in pencil underneath:
Ike [sic, i.e. Ik] Marvel], Edgewood, [
64x39.12 Ls [Louis] Agassiz,
His young friends are not able to accompany Bierstadt on his travels. Hears only praise for Bierstadt’s latest picture.
64x39.132 “B. P. [Benjamin Penhallow] Shillaber with compliments to A. B.,” [date illegible]; written in pencil: Mrs. Partington
[Mrs. Partington was a creation of the humorist Benjamin Penhallow Shillaber.]