A Finding Aid to the Bolton Coit Brown Papers in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.browbolt
Creators:
Brown, Bolton, 1864-1936
Dates:
1882-1987
bulk 1882-1936
Languages:
English
The collection is in English.
Physical Description:
1.7 Linear Feet
Repository:
The papers of lithographer, educator, and author Bolton Coit Brown measure 1.7 linear feet and date from 1882 to 1987 with the bulk of the material dating from 1882 to 1936. Found within the papers are biographical material; extensive personal correspondence with family members and friends; writings, including drafts of Art of Art Study and Lithography Since Whistler; and printed material.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of lithographer, educator, and author Bolton Coit Brown measure 1.7 linear feet and date from 1882 to 1987 with the bulk of the material dating from 1882 to 1936. Found within the papers are biographical material; extensive personal correspondence with family members and friends; writings, including drafts of Art of Art Study and Lithography Since Whistler; and printed material.
Biographical information consists of a curriculum vitae, job application, list of artworks, and a photograph of Bolton Coit Brown.
Correspondence is primarily with Brown's immediate and extended family and with friends. The series includes extensive correspondence to his mother, Martha C. Brown, his sister, Ellen Coit Elliott, and letter drafts to his wife Lucy Fletcher Brown. Letters to Brown's family dating from 1887 to 1888 document his travels to Europe as an art student and include pen and ink and color washes of historical sites, art deco details, and illustrative scenes.
Writings include essays on lithography and the artist J.J. Lankes; typescripts of Art of Art Study and Lithography Since Whistler; and miscellaneous notes and writings on lithography. There is also a copy of a short play by Brown titled Spoiled Meat.
Printed material includes articles by and on Bolton Coit Brown, clippings, exhibition catalogs, and periodicals.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 4 series.
  • Series 1: Biographical materials, circa 1914-1936 (4 folders; Box 1)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1882-1949 (0.9 linear feet; Box 1, 3)
  • Series 3: Writings, circa 1914-1933 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1-2)
  • Series 4: Printed Material, 1882-1987 (0.3 linear feet; Box 2)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Lithographer, educator, and author Bolton Coit Brown (1864-1936) lived and worked in Woodstock and New York City, New York, and Stanford, California. He is known for his extensive writings on lithography technique, and for his interest in tonalism effects in painting and printmaking.
Brown was born in Dresden, New York to Edmund Woodward Brown, a minster of the Presbyterian church, and his wife Martha Coit Brown. His early aptitude in art was supported by his family and he received a Bachelor's and Master's degree in painting from Syracuse University. Upon graduation, Brown taught art at Cornell University, became principal of the Toronto Government Art School, and was invited to head the newly formed art department at Stanford University from 1891 to 1902. During his tenure at Stanford, his proximity to the Sierra Nevada ranges inspired him to climb the mountains and he published several articles, line drawings, and maps that document his explorations in the Sierra Club Bulletin.
In 1901, Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead, an aristocrat and progressive idealist, approached Brown with the idea of developing an arts and crafts colony based on the utopian ideals of John Ruskin. Brown agreed to the project and worked with Whitehead and Hervey White to establish Byrdcliffe Colony near the village of Woodstock, New York. After a break from Whitehead over management of the Colony, Brown focused his energies on landscape paintings and worked out of studios located in Woodstock and New York City.
Many of his paintings experimented with tonalism, and interest in this style led him to the explore the gradational effects and mechanics of lithography. In 1915, he traveled to England and spent a year studying with the lithographer F. Ernest Jackson. When he returned home, he continued to document his experiments and technical findings in detailed journals. Many of these discoveries were published in several books and essays on the topic, including Lithography Since Whistler. He printed over 400 of his own lithographs and printed the artworks of George Bellows, John Sloan, and Rockwell Kent, among others. Brown died in Woodstock , New York in 1936.

Administration
Processing Information
Materials received a preliminary level of processing at some point after donation. All materials were merged, processed, and described by Judy Ng in 2013 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Author
Judy Ng
Sponsor
Processing of this collection was funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Bolton Coit Brown papers were donated in 1987 and 1991 by Brown's granddaughter, Marian Sweeney. Brown's great granddaughter, Barbara Bandy, donated additional materials in 1989.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Bolton Coit Brown papers, 1882-1987, bulk 1882-1936. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Conditions Governing Use
The Bolton Coit Brown 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 Materials
The Archives borrowed Bolton Coit Brown papers held by Bryn Mawr College Library, Special Collections in 1990 and microfilmed them on reels 3654-3655 as part of the Archives' Philadelphia Arts Documentation Project.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Sketches Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Study and teaching Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lithographers -- New York (State) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Authors -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Illustrated letters Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lithography Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Coit, Martha Day, 1840-1920 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lankes, Julius J., 1884-1960 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Elliott, Ellen Coit 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/