A Finding Aid to the Nancy Douglas Bowditch and Brush Family papers,
circa 1860-1985
, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.bowdnanc
Creators:
Bowditch, Nancy Douglas
Dates:
circa 1860-1985
Languages:
The papers are in English.
Physical Description:
6.2 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of painter, author, and designer Nancy Douglas Bowditch and the George de Forest Brush family measure 6.2 linear feet and date from circa 1860 to 1985. The majority of the collection consists of Bowditch's correspondence with family and friends and her notes and writings, particularly concerning her biography of her father George de Forest Brush The Joyous Painter, and her unpublished biography of her husband painter William Robert Pearmain. Brush family material includes scattered correspondence of George de Forest Brush and other family members, notes, sketches, clippings, and the family home building files, five scrapbooks, including two on William Robert Pearmain, and numerous photographs of the Brush family, Bowditch, and William Robert Pearmain. There is also correspondence between William Robert Pearmain and his family and artwork by Pearmin.

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
The papers of painter, author, and designer Nancy Douglas Bowditch and the George de Forest Brush family measure 6.2 linear feet and date from circa 1860 to 1985. The majority of the collection consists of Bowditch's correspondence with family and friends and her notes and writings, particularly concerning her biography of her father George de Forest Brush The Joyous Painter, and her unpublished biography of her husband painter William Robert Pearmain. Brush family material includes scattered correspondence of George de Forest Brush and other family members, notes, sketches, clippings, and the family home building files, five scrapbooks, including two on William Robert Pearmain, and numerous photographs of the Brush family, Bowditch, and William Robert Pearmain. There is also correspondence between William Robert Pearmain and his family and artwork by Pearmin.
Scattered family biographical materials include invitations, biographical sketches of George de Forest Brush, a ship's register, certificates, an obituary, and a sound recording of Nancy Bowditch.
Scattered personal business records include deeds of gift from various institutions and agreements from the publishing of The Joyous Painter.
One-third of the collection is correspondence with Nancy Douglas Bowditch, William Robert Pearmain, George de Forest Brush, and other members of the Brush, Pearmain, and Bowditch families. The majority of Nancy Douglas Bowditch's correspondence is from family and friends, although professional correspondence is also found. Nancy's notable correspondents include Jane Clemens, Barry Faulkner, Rockwell Kent, members of the Abbot Handerson Thayer family, and Nelson C. White. Also found are Nancy's letters to her first husband, William Robert Pearmain. Pearmain's correspondence includes letters from his parents, siblings, and his father-in-law, and a few letters from Pearmain to his family. George de Forest Brush's correspondence includes letters from friends and a few copies of letters written by Brush.
Writings and notes are primarily by Nancy Douglas Bowditch, the majority of which pertain to her biography of George de Forest Brush, The Joyous Painter, and her unpublished biography of William Robert Pearmain. Other writings are by George de Forest Brush, Tribbie Brush, Barry Faulkner, and William Robert Pearmain.
Artwork consists of approximately 78 drawings and sketches by William Robert Pearmain, 5 drawings and paintings by Nancy Bowditch, and one drawing by George de Forest Brush.
Brush family home and building files contain materials relating to a log cabin in New Hampshire, and the family home Brushwood which was built by William Robert Pearmain in 1911.
Five scrapbooks were compiled by members of the Brush, Pearmain, and Bowditch families. Two are about Pearmain, two are about George de Forest Brush, and one was organized by Harold Bowditch that contains family photographs.
Within printed materials are exhibition announcements and catalogs for George de Forest Brush, Barry Faulkner, Stephen Parrish, and Abbot Handerson Thayer.
Extensive photographs are of members of the Brush family, the Pearmain family, the Bowditch family, friends, and works of art by Bowditch, Brush, Pearmain and Douglas Volk. Included are portraits, snapshots, travel photos, wedding photos, and photos of the Brush family homes.

Arrangement note
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 9 series:
  • Series 1: Biographical Information, 1909-1965 (Box 1; 7 folders)
  • Series 2: Personal Business and Financial Records, 1908-1974 (Box 1; 3 folders)
  • Series 3: Correspondence, 1895-1979 (Boxes 1-3; 2.0 linear feet)
  • Series 4: Writings and Notes, circa 1900-1975 (Boxes 3-4; 1.0 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Artwork, 1898-1950 (Boxes 4, 9-10; 4 folders)
  • Series 6: Printed Material, 1889-1974 (Box 4; 0.2 linear feet)
  • Series 7: Brush Family Home Building Files, 1910-1971 (Boxes 4, 8, 10; 0.7 linear feet)
  • Series 8: Scrapbooks, circa 1907-circa 1985 (Boxes 5, 8; 0.7 linear feet)
  • Series 9: Photographs, circa 1860-1979 (Boxes 5-7, 11; 1.0 linear feet)

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
Nancy Douglas Bowditch (1890-1979) worked primarily in the New Hampshire area as a painter, author, and costume and set designer. Bowditch's father was painter George de Forest Brush and she was first married to painter William Robert Pearmain, who died at an early age.
Nancy Douglas Bowditch was born to Mary and George de Forest Brush on July 4, 1890 in Paris, France. Along with her siblings Mary, Jane, Thea, Gerome, Tribbie, and Georgia, she often served as a subject of her father's paintings. The family lived in the artist colony of Dublin, New Hampshire where Nancy became close friends with their neighbor Samuel Clemens' (Mark Twain) daughter Jean Clemens.
Nancy met and became close to one of her father's pupils, William Robert Pearmain while traveling through Europe in 1907. Two years later, Nancy married Robert at the Brush family farm in Dublin, New Hampshire. Together, they had one daughter, Mary Alice whom they called Polly. Robert developed a strong political interest in growing anarchist movements, gave up painting and went to Pittsburgh to work in a factory. Shortly after, he became seriously ill and, upon the advice of a doctor, moved back to New Hampshire with Nancy. He soon died from leukemia in September 1912. In 1918, Nancy married her second husband Dr. Harold Bowditch from Boston, Massachusetts. With her second husband, Nancy had three more children, Martha, Henry, and George de Forest Bowditch.
Professionally, Nancy worked as a painter, wrote plays, and designed theatrical sets and costumes. In 1971, Bowditch published a biography of George de Forest Brush entitled The Joyous Painter. Nancy Douglas Bowditch died in 1979.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies note
This site provides access to the papers of Nancy Douglas Bowditch in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in
2011
, and total
9056
images.
Generally, materials not scanned include duplicates, blank pages and versos, and drafts and edits of Nancy Douglas Bowditch's biography The Joyous Painter.
Processing Information note
Portions of the collection were microfilmed in increments upon receipt on reels 2826-2831 and 3134; these reels are no longer in circulation. In 2011, all accessions were merged, including a small collection that was previously cataloged separately, and fully processed and described by Jayna Hanson and digitized in 2011 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Author
Jayna M. Hanson
Sponsor
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
The Nancy Douglas Bowditch papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in several installments by Nancy Douglas Bowditch between 1968 and 1979. Bowditch's daughter, Mary A. Marlowe donated additional materials in 1982. In 2008, Joan Morgan, biographer of George de Forest Brush, donated additional papers she had acquired during her research.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation note
Nancy Douglas Bowditch and Brush family papers, circa 1860-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access note
Use of originals requires an appointment.
Conditions Governing Use note
The Nancy Douglas Bowditch and Brush 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.

Related Archival Materials note
Also among the collections at the Archives of American Art are the William Robert Pearmain and Pearmain family papers, 1888-1955, and an oral history with Nancy Douglas Bowditch conducted on January 30, 1974 by Robert F. Brown.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Biographies Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New Hampshire Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Paintings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Designers -- New Hampshire Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketches Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Authors -- New Hampshire Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Notes Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women artists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pearmain, William Robert, 1888-1912 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Parrish, Stephen, 1846-1938 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clemens, Jane Lampton, 1880-1909 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Thayer, Abbott Handerson, 1849-1921 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Faulkner, Barry, 1881-1966 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brush, George de Forest, 1855-1941 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
White, Nelson C. 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/