Archives of American Art

A Finding Aid to the Copley Society Records, 1864-1981, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.coplsoci
Creators:
Copley Society (Boston, Mass.)
Dates:
1864-1981
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
5.3 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of the Copley Society of Boston measure 5.3 linear feet and date from 1864-1981. The collection includes administrative files, correspondence, exhibition files, financial records, printed material, and photographs.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of the Copley Society of Boston measure 5.3 linear feet and date from 1864-1981. The collection includes administrative files, correspondence, exhibition files, financial records, printed material, and photographs.
Administrative files include the Copley Society constitution and by-laws, meeting minutes, various reports, and loan forms. There are also files on art classes, lectures, and events.
This collection includes general correspondence and business correspondence. Business correspondence mostly relates to notifications of appointments to positions within the Copley Society, as well as letters regarding expenses, taxes, and legal matters. General correspondence includes letters from notable artists such as Cecilia Beaux, Frank W. Benson, John Singer Sargent, Karl Bitter, John W. Alexander, and many others.
Exhibition files consist of correspondence, exhibition lists, and printed material for various Copley Society exhibitions.
Financial records mostly consists of ledgers and cash books for various funds and operating expenses.
Printed material has a broad range of meeting and event announcements, news clippings, and miscellaneous publications. There is one scrapbook which is a Copley Society of Boston Annual Report with a few clippings pasted onto the last pages.
There are photographs of exhibitions, artwork, Copley Society members and events. There is also one photograph album appears to be of various rooms inside the Copley Society building at 296 Commonwealth Avenue. Most of the photographs are of exhibitions, but there are some photographs of artwork, events, festivals, and people in costumes.

Arrangement
Arrangement
This collection is arranged as 6 series.
  • Series 1: Administrative Files, 1879-1970 (2.2 linear feet; Boxes 1-3)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1901-1981 (0.4 linear feet; Box 3)
  • Series 3: Exhibition Files, 1879-1980 (1 linear feet; Boxes 3-4)
  • Series 4: Financial Records, 1893-1969 (0.7 linear feet; Boxes 4-5)
  • Series 5: Printed Material, 1864-1969 (0.4 linear feet; Box 5)
  • Series 6: Photographs, circa 1890-circa 1950 (0.6 linear feet; Box 5, OVs 6-8)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
The Copley Society of Boston is an art society in Boston, Massachusetts founded in 1879 by students of the School of Drawing and Painting at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The original name of the organization was the Boston Art Student's Association and its name changed to the Copley Society of Boston, after the artist John Singleton Copley, in 1901. Its purpose is to promote interest in art in Boston and to cultivate a spirit of fraternity among artists and art students. The Copley Society still continues today as the oldest non-profit art association in the United States.

Administration
Author
Rihoko Ueno
Existence and Location of Copies
Portions of the collection are available on 35mm microfilm reels 3524-3530 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Copley Society records were microfilmed as a loan in 1984 and subsequently donated to the Archives of American Art by the Copley Society in 1986.
Processing Information
The collection was processed, and a finding aid prepared by Rihoko Ueno in 2022.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Conditions Governing Use
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Preferred Citation
The Copley Society records, 1864-1981. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Arts organizations -- Massachusetts Function Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gendrot, Felix Albert, b. 1866 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Boston Art Student's Association Corporate 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