A Finding Aid to the William Henry Holmes Artists' Files, 1879-1955, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.holmwill
Creators:
Holmes, William Henry, 1846-1933
Dates:
1879-1955
Languages:
English
Collection is in English.
Physical Description:
0.2 linear feet
Repository:
The artists' files of William Henry Holmes, curator and director of the Smithsonian's National Collection of Fine Arts (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum) in Washington, D.C., measure 0.2 linear feet and date from 1879 to 1955. The artists' files consist mostly of correspondence, but also include a few photographs, artwork in the form of sketches, and printed material. There is also one file relating to Holmes' affiliation with the Washington Water Color Club.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The artists' files of William Henry Holmes, curator and director of the Smithsonian's National Collection of Fine Arts (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum) in Washington, D.C., measure 0.2 linear feet and date from 1879 to 1955. The artists' files consist mostly of correspondence, but also include a few photographs, artwork in the form of sketches, and printed material. There is also one file relating to Holmes' affiliation with the Washington Water Color Club.
Notable artists represented in the files include R.N. Brooke, William B. P. Closson, James Earle Fraser, Vinnie Ream Hoxie, Reuben Le Grand Johnston, John LaFarge, Gari Melchers, Thomas Moran, Henry Moser, Hobart Nichols, Violet Oakley, Joseph Pennell, Joseph Henry Sharp, Mary Vaux Walcott, Carl F. Weller, Max Weyl, Irving R. Wiles and George Julian Zolnay.

Arrangement
Arrangement
This collection is arranged as 1 series.
Series 1: Artists' Files, 1879-1955 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
William Henry Holmes (1846-1933) was a curator, museum director, artist, scientific illustrator, archaeologist, geologist, and anthropologist. He served in various positions in the Smithsonian Institution, and finally as director of the Smithsonian's National Gallery of Art (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum) from 1920-1932.
Holmes was born in Harrison County, Ohio in 1846. In 1870, he graduated from McNeely Normal School in Ohio and, after a short time of teaching at that school, moved to Washington, D.C. in 1871 to study art under Theodore Kaufmann. Thanks to his artistic skills, he was soon hired by Smithsonian paleontologist Francis B. Meek to do scientific drawings. In 1872, Holmes joined the geological survey of Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden, as an artist and topographer of the survey of Yellowstone National Park and surrounding area, and other regions in the west. In 1879, Holmes went to work for the newly founded U.S. Geological Survey. There he worked as a geologist and chief of scientific illustration. In addition to art and geology, his interests and expertise expanded into archaeology and anthropology.
Holmes worked as chief curator at the Field Columbian Museum (now the Field Museum of Natural History) in Chicago before returning to the Smithsonian in 1897, where he served as curator of anthropology and chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology. In 1910, he became chairman of the Division of Anthropology. In 1920, Holmes became director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Gallery of Art (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum), a position he held until 1932. William Henry Holmes died one year later.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
This collection was digitized in 2017 and is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Processing Information
Portions of the collection were microfilmed onto reels 2227 and 5438 after receipt. The collection was processed and prepared for digitization by Rihoko Ueno in 2017 with funding provided by The Walton Family Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Author
Rihoko Ueno
Sponsor
Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by The Walton Family Foundation and Terra Foundation for American Art.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These files were transferred from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American Art Library (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum) to the Archives of American Art in two installments in 1981 and 1992.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Conditions Governing Use
The William Henry Holmes artists' files 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.
Preferred Citation
William Henry Holmes artists' files, 1879-1955. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
Collections about William Henry Holmes are also located at other Smithsonian Institution archival units, including the National Anthropological Archives and Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Curators -- Washington (D.C.) Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, American Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum directors -- Washington (D.C.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketches Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Closson, William Baxter Palmer, 1848-1926 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian American Art Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wiles, Irving Ramsay, 1861-1948 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Moser, James Henry, 1854-1913 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Washington Water Color Club (Washington, D.C.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zolnay, George Julian, 1862 or 1863-1949 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Moran, Thomas, 1837-1926 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pennell, Joseph, 1857-1926 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Oakley, Violet, 1874-1961 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Messer, Edmund Clarence, 1842-1919 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Melchers, Gari, 1860-1932 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Weller, Carl F., 1853-1920 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sharp, Joseph Henry, 1859-1953 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Walcott, Mary Vaux, 1860-1940 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nichols, Hobart, 1869-1962 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fraser, James Earle, 1876-1953 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brooke, Richard Norris, 1847-1920 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
La Farge, John, 1835-1910 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Weyl, Max, 1837-1914 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Johnston, Reuben Le Grand, 1850-1914 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ream, Vinnie, 1847-1914 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/