A Finding Aid to the Thomas Eakins Letters, 1866-1934, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.eakithom
Creators:
Eakins, Thomas, 1844-1916
Dates:
1866-1934
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
0.2 Linear Feet
Repository:
The letters of Thomas Eakins measure 0.2 linear feet and date from 1866 to 1934. They primarily document the period between 1866 and 1869 that he spent studying art in Paris, as well as his career as a portrait artist.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The letters of Thomas Eakins measure 0.2 linear feet and date from 1866 to 1934. They primarily document the period between 1866 and 1869 that he spent studying art in Paris, as well as his career as a portrait artist.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Due to the small size of this collection, items are categorized into one series consisting of five folders. Items are arranged chronologically.

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Realist painter Thomas Eakins was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1844. He was encouraged by his parents to develop his talent in art, and in 1862 he entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Also during this period Eakins developed an interest in anatomy, revealed later in the realistically detailed Gross Clinic, painted in 1875. In 1866 he moved to Paris, where he studied painting with Jean-Léon Gérôme at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts for three years, and briefly with sculptor Augustin-Alexandre Dumont and painter Léon Bonnat. He toured Spain for six months in 1870 and then returned to Philadelphia to become a portrait artist. Eakins began teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and became its director of instruction in 1882. During this period he also met fellow artist Susan MacDowell and they were married in 1884. While at the Academy, he promoted a curriculum based on the study of the human figure, and began using photography as a method of study for his paintings. A dispute over the use of nude models forced Eakins to resign from the Academy in 1886, but he continued painting and exhibiting until his death in 1916.

Administration
Alternative Forms Available
The letters of Thomas Eakins were digitized in
2006
by the Archives of American Art. The letters have been scanned in their entirety, and total
143
images.
Processing Information
The collection received some preliminary processing and was microfilmed upon receipt on reels 640 and 2803. The collection was fully re-processed, arranged and described by Erin Corley in 2005 and the bulk of it was scanned, with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Author
Erin Corley
Sponsor
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Provenance
Letters from Eakins to his family were donated by Dr. Caroline Crowell, daughter of Frances Eakins Crowell, and niece of Thomas Eakins. Other letters were donated in 1962 and 1963 by Irving Levitt and Lawrence Fleischman. Both accessions were microfilmed upon receipt.

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
The bulk of the collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Use of material not digitized requires an appointment.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The letters of Thomas Eakins 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.
Preferred Citation
Thomas Eakins letters, 1866-1934. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Painters -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Paris (France) -- description and travel Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painting, American Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Portrait painting, American Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Portrait painting -- 19th century -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Portrait painters -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gérôme, Jean Léon, 1824-1904 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fussell, Charles Lewis, 1840-1909 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Crowell, William J. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Crowell, Frances Eakins, b. 1848 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Couture, Thomas, 1815-1879 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wallace, J. Laurie (John Laurie) Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sartain, William, 1843-1924 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Richards, Frederick de Bourg, 1822-1903 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hallowell, William R. 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/