The Winterthur Library

 The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera

Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum

5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, DE  19735

302-888-4600 or 800-448-3883





Creator:         Hosmer, Harriet Goodhue, 1830-1908                                   

Title:               Letters

Dates:             ca.1860-ca.1905

Call No.:         Col. 413

Acc. No.:        [various – see detailed description]

Quantity:        16 items

Location:        34 J 2






Sculptor Harriet Goodhue Hosmer (1830-1908) was born the second child of Hiram and Sarah Grant Hosmer of Watertown, Massachusetts.   Upon the death of her mother and siblings, Harriet became quite a tomboy in the care of her father, a physician who valued exercise.  Eventually, Harriet was sent to Elizabeth Sedgwick’s school in Lenox, Mass., where she made life-long friends.  Determined to have a career, Harriet decided to become a sculptor, an unusual choice for a woman at the time, and studied in Boston under Peter Stephenson.  Next, she studied anatomy in an all-male medical school in St. Louis, Missouri.  She moved to Rome in 1852 to study with English sculptor, John Gibson.  She remained in Europe, chiefly in Rome, for most of the remainder of her life.  Her Neo-Classical style of sculpture was noted in both the United States and Europe.  However, as taste in art changed, her style fell out of favor, and her work had not been well-regarded for a number of years before her death in 1908.





This collection contains primarily letters to various friends by sculptor Harriet G. Hosmer.  Most letters concern personal news and plans for social events. Several recount her travels and her work, and one refers to her perpetual motion machine.  Two photographs, one of Hosmer and the other of Mme La Grange, are also included.  In addition, one letter from Anne Thackeray [Ritchie] to Mary James mentions that Miss Hosmer lives nearby and includes a sketch of her.  Miss Hosmer’s handwriting is not the easiest to read.





The items are in accession number order.





The materials are in English.





Collection is open to the public.  Copyright restrictions may apply.





Purchases from various sources.





Harriet Hosmer is mentioned in the New Orleans Artists Roster, available at this repository on microfilm, Mic. 893, in volume III, 1874.






            Ritchie, Anne Thackeray, 1837-1919.



            Voyages and travels.




            Artists - Correspondence.

            Caricatures and cartoons.






Location: 34 J 2



67x71.-.2         To Minnie, from Hosmer,  n.d., London. 

                        Two personal letters that talk about meeting.  In the first letter, written from Alford House, Princes Gate, S.W., Hosmer thanks Minnie for a stitched gift (“I send you as many thanks as stitches…”).



67x71.3           To my dear Kinswoman, from Hosmer, 48 Lake Shore Drive, [Chicago], Jan. 16, n.y. 

                        Mentions a reception.  Mrs. Gross will lend her carriage “if this will facilitate your coming out on the 24th.  I have lived in perfect seclusion….”


                        [Emily and Samuel Gross, a successful businessman, lived at this address in Chicago.  Hosmer stayed with them in 1894 and perhaps at other times as well.]



67x71.4           To my dear Kinswoman [a cousin], from Hosmer, 1600 Prairie Ave. [Chicago], March 12, n.y. 

                        Accepts invitation to visit, and solicits an invitation for Mrs. Gross as well.   “I have just come from the South Side Club.”  “My nose to the grindstone almost perpetually,” but manages some pleasures.


                        [John G. Shortall, a wealthy Chicago businessman, lived at 1600 Prairie Avenue.  Shortall owned two of Hosmer’s sculptures.  Hosmer stayed in the Shortall home during a visit to Chicago in the late 1880s, and may have been there are other times as well.]



67x149            To Capt. Lewis from Hosmer, Aug. 6, n.y., Bournemouth.

                         Discusses the closure of a gypsum quarry near Hastings.  Inquires whether possible to obtain large pieces of such stone mentions sending him a piece of marble.  Requests that he send reply to Alford House, London.



67x150.6         To Mrs. Putnam from Hosmer, Oct. 13, n.y. Berlin. 

                        Writes of visiting.  Plans to live on Monday next.  Invites Mrs. Putnam to visit her new studio in Rome.


                        [This might be a reference to the studio Hosmer had built in 1864.]



67x150.7         To an unidentified friend from Hosmer, n.d., n.p. 

                        Cancels a meeting due to an urgent telegram received.



67x150.8         To Ellen from Hosmer, Sept. 18, ?2 [date unclear],  n.p.  

                        Thanks her for her letter and kind wishes.  Sends a copy of “Seasong” in return. 


                        A mounted photo of Mme La Grange, perhaps taken in the late 1860s, is affixed to the letter.



68x17.5a-c      Letter from  Anne Isabella Thackeray [Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie], Warsash, Titchfield, Hants., to Miss Mary James, Hound House, Shire, N. Guildford, postmarked September 23, 1867.

                        Tells Mary about the house in which she is now living.  Thackeray mentions that Miss Hosmer is in the same household; gives a description of her, and includes a little sketch of her (showing Miss Hosmer’s “short hair & petticoats & neatest little boots”).  Wishes that someone would order a novel from her (Thackeray) in the same way that Miss Hosmer has just received an order for a statue of Lincoln. 

                        Thanks Mary for ferns and for recent hospitality.  Williamson furniture arrived.  Made an umbrella stand.    Will send photos.



69x56              To Mr. Gray from Hosmer, Nov. 28, n.y. [possibly 1878], Kent House, Knightsbridge. 

                        Discusses the public argument she is engaged in with Mr. Chapman.  Mentions an exhibition of the perpetual motion machine.


                        [James L. Chapman had assisted Hosmer as she worked on a perpetual motion machine.  In 1878 Chapman claimed the work as his own.  Her friends defended her, offering proof of her long years of work on the machine.  Kent House was the London home of Lady Ashburton, a close friend of Hosmer.]



69x84.1           To Miss Dempster from Hosmer, 38 Gregoriana, [rome,] n.d. 

                        Prefers to put off the visit to the Vatican.  Speaks of illness.  Inquires if she enjoys concerts. 


                        [For several years in the 1850s and early 1860s, Hosmer shared a home with Charlotte Cushman and others at 38 Via Gregoriana in Rome.  This letter was damaged along one edge when it was removed from an album.]



69x84.2           To Miss Dempster from Hosmer, n.d. [1864 penciled in], [place illegible, but possibly London]. 

                        Speaks of contemporary and historical art.  Mentions her “sister sculptors,” rocks for work, drapery on statues, Mr. Gibson (“the kindest of men”), Mr. Gibson’s “Cleopatra,” etc.


69x84.3           To Kate from Hosmer, Friday, oct. 4, n.y. [but ’67 penciled in], Castle Ashby, Northampton [embossed on notepaper]. 

                        Describes her travels.  Mentions a Miss Erskine and Lady Ashburton.


69x84.4           To Kate from Hosmer, n.d. [Sept. 1872 penciled in], Buxton.

                        News of family and travels.  Mentions a course of bathing [Buxton is a spa town] and trying to cheer up Lady Ashburton.  Hopes they can meet.



69x84.5           To Kate from Hosmer, n.d., Arniston, Gorebridge, N.B. [printed on paper]. 

                        Writes of visits.  Plans to be in Arniston until Sept. 1. 


                        [Refers to Kate as Charley’s sister.]



69x229.1         To Mr. Penn from Hosmer, June 8, n.y., Rome. 

                        Talks about her sculpture work; hopes to exhibit 3 of them next year: two belonging to Lady Ashburton and her statue of the Queen of Naples.  Mentions a Mr. Boxah[?] as a staunch friend; also mentions Mr. Gibson.


                        [The statue of Maria Sophia, Queen of Naples, was begun in 1868.] 



69x229.2         Carte-de-visite photo of Hosmer mounted on cardboard.   Published by E. & H.T. Anthony, New York, from a photographic negative in Brady’s National Portrait Gallery.