A Finding Aid to the Mary Cassatt letters, 1882-1926, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.cassmarl
Creators:
Cassatt, Mary, 1844-1926
Dates:
1882-1926
Languages:
English
The collection is in English.
Physical Description:
0.2 Linear feet
Repository:
This small collection of sixty-three letters written by painter Mary Cassatt dates from 1882 to 1926. The bulk of these letters are to Cassatt's nephew, Robert Kelso Cassatt, and to his wife Minnie regarding family, mutual friends, and travel. The remaining letters are to friends regarding purchases of artwork, travel, and personal news. There is also one newsclipping of Cassett's obituary.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This small collection of sixty-three letters written by painter Mary Cassatt dates from 1882 to 1926. The bulk of these letters are to Cassatt's nephew, Robert Kelso Cassatt, and to his wife Minnie regarding family, mutual friends, and travel. The remaining letters are to friends regarding purchases of artwork, travel, and personal news. There is also one newsclipping of Cassett's obituary.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 1 series.
  • Series 1: Mary Cassatt letters, 1892-1926 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Painter Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) lived and worked in Paris, France. She is one of the preeminent Impressionists known for her depictions of both the social and domestic lives of women and their children.
Cassatt was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania and began her art studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts at the age of sixteen. In 1865, she traveled to Paris to further her art studies under the private tutelage of Jean-Léon Gérôme and Thomas Couture, and augmented these studies with daily copying at the Louve. From 1868 to 1877, she traveled to Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Holland to view and copy the old masters and produced works that were accepted into the Paris Salon. With the encouragement of Edgar Degas, Cassatt began painting in the avant-garde Impressionist style in 1877. For the next ten years, Cassatt exhibited Impressionist paintings to critical international acclaim. After 1887, she began to experiment with other mediums and techniques, though she continued to focus her subject matter on the lives of women and children. Through the 1890s, she became a mentor to young American artists, acted as an advisor to American art collectors, and served as an ambassador for various art institutions. In 1904, she received France's Légion d'Honneur and continued producing works through the 1900s. In 1915, Cassatt stopped painting due to her failing eyesight, and lived in Le Mesnil-Théribus, France until her death in 1926.

Administration
Separated Materials
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reel N70-77) including letters written by Cassatt to Eugene Vail and Mabel and Mathilde Valet. Loaned materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Existence and Location of Copies
This collection was digitized in its entirety in 2014 and is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Materials lent for microfilming are available on 35mm microfilm reel N70-77 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Processing Information
Each acquisition was preliminarily processed and microfilmed separately onto reels D8, 2787, and 3684. All materials were merged, processed, and described by Judy Ng in 2014 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Author
Judy Ng
Sponsor
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Items in this collection are gifts of various donors. The letters to Peter and Vollard were donated by Charles Feinberg in 1955. The letters to William T. Evans, Miss Lamb, and Miss Stillman were transferred from the National Museum of Art, Smithsonian Institution in 1980. An obituary and the letters to Robert Kelso Cassatt and his wife Minnie were donated by Alexander J. Cassatt Jr., the great nephew of Mary Cassatt, in 1986.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Mary Cassatt letters, 1882-1926. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Conditions Governing Use
The Mary Cassatt letters 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 of American Art also holds the Frederick A. Sweet research material on Mary Cassatt and James McNeill Whistler; Nancy Hale research material on Mary Cassatt; the Mary Cassatt collection (reel C1); and the Mary Cassatt correspondence with Emily Sartain (reel 3658).

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Women artists -- France -- Paris Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- France -- Paris Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cassatt, Robert Kelso 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/