A Finding Aid to the Charles Henry Caffin Papers,
circa 1883-1973, bulk circa 1883-1918
, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.caffchar
Creators:
Caffin, Charles Henry, 1854-1918
Dates:
circa 1883-1973
bulk 1883-1918
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
1.2 Linear feet
Repository:
The scattered papers of art critic and writer Charles Henry Caffin measure 1.2 linear feet and date from circa 1883-1973, bulk circa 1883-1918. Found within the papers are an interview transcript, two letters, printed materials, one scrapbook, and family photographs dating from circa 1883 to circa 1911, many by noted photographers Arnold Genthe, Frances Benjamin Johnston, Gertrude Käsebier, Edward Steichen, and Alfred Stieglitz. The scrapbook contains Caffin's columns for the New York American, 1913-1915.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The scattered papers of art critic and writer Charles Henry Caffin measure 1.2 linear feet and date from circa 1883-1973. Found within the papers are an interview transcript, two letters, printed materials, one scrapbook, and family photographs dating from circa 1883 to circa 1911, many by noted photographers Arnold Genthe, Frances Benjamin Johnston, Gertrude Käsebier, Edward Steichen, and Alfred Stieglitz. The scrapbook contains Caffin's columns for the New York American, 1913-1915.
Biographical information includes an autograph book, and a transcript and written summary of a 1973 interview with Caffin's daughter, Donna Layton, conducted by Wanda Corn and Deborah Loft concerning Charles Henry Caffin. The two letters found within the papers are written to Caroline Caffin. Printed material consists of play announcements, a play written by Charles Rann Kennedy, and excerpts from a 1974 published book on photography mentioning Caffin.
Photographs are of the Caffin family, including Charles Henry, Caroline, Donna, Freda and Charles's mother Harlet. Also found are photographs of Ben Greet. Notable photographers include Arnold Genthe, Frances Benjamin Johnston, Gertrude Käsebier, Edward Steichen, and Alfred Stieglitz. There is one scrapbook containing Charles Henry Caffin's articles written for the New York American magazine from 1913-1915.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into 5 series:
  • Series 1: Biographical Information, 1915, 1973 (Box 1; 2 folders)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1920 (Box 1; 1 folder)
  • Series 3: Printed Material, 1908, circa 1920, 1973 (Box 1; 3 folders)
  • Series 4: Photographs, circa 1883-circa 1910s (Box 1, 3-4; 0.6 linear feet)
  • Series 5: Scrapbooks, 1913-1915 (Box 2; 0.4 linear feet)

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Charles Henry Caffin was born in 1854 in England. After graduating from Oxford University, Caffin served as stage manager for outdoor productions with Ben Greet and His Shakespearean Players. During this time, he met actress Caroline Scurfield, whom he later married and had two daughters, Freda and Donna. Caffin moved to United States in 1892 where he began to write about art, drama, and dance. He was an early supporter of the Photo-Secessionists and American modern art.
Initially, Caffin worked for several years executing murals from designs prepared by other artists for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and the new Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Shortly thereafter, however, he began writing for Alfred Stieglitz's Camera Notes and later Camera Work. He moved to the New York City area and worked as a critic for the New York Evening Post, New York Sun, and later for the New York American. Caffin wrote many books about art, drama, and dance, including Photography as Fine Art (1901), American Masters of Painting (1902), How to Study Pictures (1905), and Art for Life's Sake (1913).
Charles Caffin died in 1918.

Administration
Alternative Forms Available
The papers of Charles Henry Caffin in the Archives of American Art were digitized in
2009
, and total
167
images.
Materials not scanned include duplicates, negatives, and some printed and published works that are not annotated.
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Catherine S. Gaines in 2003, merging the two accessions. The collection was digitized in 2009, with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Author
Catherine S. Gaines
Sponsor
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Provenance
Donna Caffin Layton, daughter of Charles Caffin, donated most of the papers in 1974. Stephen D. Rockstroh, Caffin's son-in-law, donated additional material in 1985.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Charles Henry Caffin papers, circa 1883-1973, bulk circa 1883-1918. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Restrictions on Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Charles Henry Caffin 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.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photography, Artistic Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, Modern -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Theater -- History -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art critics -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kennedy, Charles Rann, 1871- Servant in the house Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Layton, Donna Caffin Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Genthe, Arnold, 1869-1942 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Käsebier, Gertrude, 1852-1934 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Steichen, Edward, 1879-1973 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Andreyev, Leonid, 1871-1919. Sorrows of Belgium Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Greet, Ben, Sir, 1857-1936 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Corn, Wanda M. 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/