A Finding Aid to the Harry Siddons Mowbray and Mowbray Family Papers, 1872-1976, in the Archives of American Art
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.mowbharr
Creators:
Mowbray, H. Siddons (Harry Siddons), 1858-1928
Dates:
1872-1976
Languages:
English
The collection is in English.
Physical Description:
7.5 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of painter and muralist Harry Siddons Mowbray (1858-1928) and the Mowbray family measure 7.5 linear feet and date from 1872 to 1976. The papers document Mowbray's career as a painter and decorative muralist as well as his activities with the Commission of Fine Arts, the American Academy in Rome, and the Sculpture Commission of Connecticut. The papers include biographical materials, scattered correspondence, nineteen diaries, personal business records, commission files, organization files, writings and notes, printed materials, three scrapbooks, photographs, and artworks. There are scattered family papers of Helen Mowbray, Florence Mowbray, George Mowbray, and George Siddons Mowbray.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of painter and muralist Harry Siddons Mowbray (1858-1928) and the Mowbray family measure 7.5 linear feet and date from 1872 to 1976. The papers document Mowbray's career as a painter and decorative muralist as well as his activities with the Commission of Fine Arts, the American Academy in Rome, and the Sculpture Commission of Connecticut. The papers include biographical materials, scattered correspondence, nineteen diaries, personal business records, commission files, organization files, writings and notes, printed materials, three scrapbooks, photographs, and artworks. There are scattered family papers of Helen Mowbray, Florence Mowbray, George Mowbray, and George Siddons Mowbray.
Biographical material includes biographical sketches, certificates, obituaries and estate records, and school material. Also found are printed materials from memorial dedications, ceremonies, and dinners held in Washington, D.C., such as menus, invitations, and admission tickets.
Correspondence is scattered and consists of letters from family, professional colleagues, artists, and architects including Charles McKim and William R. Mead. Florence Mowbray's correspondence includes thank you notes and condolences.
Diaries include seventeen written by Harry Siddons Mowbray, one by Helen Mowbray, and one by Florence Mowbray. Harry Siddons Mowbray's diaries date from 1876 to 1927 and reference a trip to the Azores, current events, his career and works of art, and his service with the Commission of Fine Arts.
Writings and notes consist of Mowbray's handwritten autobiography, school writings, lists, and a biography of Mowbray by Herbert Sherwood.
Personal business records consist of a French military sponsorship, gift acknowledgements and receipts.
Commission files include correspondence, printed materials, and writings relating to Mowbray's works of art at: Larz Anderson House, Appellate Court in New York City; Federal Building in Cleveland, Ohio; Gunn Memorial Library in Washington, CT; the Life of Christ Series; Madison Square Church in New York City; Morgan Library in New York City; St. John's Church in Washington, CT; University Club in New York City; and F. W. Vanderbilt House in Hyde Park, New York.
Organization files document Mowbray's participation with the American Academy in Rome, the Commission of Fine Arts, and the Sculpture Commission of Connecticut. Files generall include organizational history, correspondence, printed material, writings, reports, meeting minutes, and printed material. Of note are materials relating to the standardization of the flag of the United States.
Printed material includes blank stationery and postcards, clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, and an issue of Collector's News.
Photographs include two photo albums complied by the Mowbray family, portraits of Mowbray, snapshots with colleagues and friends, and photos of works of art.
One scrapbook compiled by Harry Siddons Mowbray relates to his travels in Rome in 1903-1904. Annother documents his artwork and career, and the third contains clippings concerning his chemical inventions.
Artworks include sketches, prints, and etchings by Harry Siddons Mowbray and others.

Arrangement
Arrangement
This collection is arranged as 11 series. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
  • Series 1: Biographical Information, 1872-1965 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1, 13, 15)
  • Series 2: Correspondence, 1873-1957 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 3: Diaries, 1876-1929 (1.2 linear feet; Box 1-2)
  • Series 4: Writings and Notes, circa 1870-circa 1930 (0.2 linear feet; Box 3)
  • Series 5: Personal Business and Financial Records, 1877-1966 (3 folders; Box 3)
  • Series 6: Commission Files, 1896-1979 (0.4 linear feet; Box 3)
  • Series 7: Organization Files, 1904-1928 (0.7 linear feet; Box 3-4, 13, 15-16)
  • Series 8: Printed Material, 1876-1976 (0.2 linear feet; Box 4, 16)
  • Series 9: Photographs, circa 1874-circa 1928 (4.7 linear feet; Box 4-14, 17-18)
  • Series 10: Scrapbooks, circa 1890-1920 (0.3 linear feet; Box 5, 13-14)
  • Series 11: Artwork, 1870-1910 (3 folders; Box 5, 13)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Harry Siddons Mowbray (1858-1928) was a painter, muralist, and public servant who was active in New York, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C..
Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1858, Harry Siddons was orphaned at an early age. He was sent to live with his mother's sister Annie and uncle, George Mowbray, whose name he adopted. Harry Siddons Mowbray attended West Point Military Academy but left to pursue a career as a painter. Upon moving to Paris, Mowbray enrolled at the Atelier Bonnant where he studied under Léon Bonnat. Mowbray received attention for his decorative murals thoughout the East Coast of the United States. His commissions included the J.P. Morgan Library, F. W. Vanderbilt house, Larz Anderson house, Appellate Courthouse of New York City, St. John's Church in Washignton Connecticut, and the Federal Building in Cleveland, Ohio. Later in his career, Mowbray returned to painting and completed theLife of Christ series of works.
In addition to painting, Mowbray served on public commissions and committees. He was a member of the federal Commission of Fine Arts from 1921 until his death in 1928. During this time, he was involved in the planning of many Washington, D.C. memorials and public works including the standardization of the flag of the United States of America. He served as director of the American Academy in Rome from 1903-1904.
Harry Siddons Mowbray married Helen Amelia Millard in 1888. They had one child, George Siddons Mowbray. After his wife's death, Mowbray married her sister, Florence in 1915. Together, Florence and Mowbray had two children. He died in 1928. After her husband's death, Florence Mowbray was active in publishing her husband's autobiography.

Administration
Processing Information
The Harry Siddons Mowbray and Mowbray family papers were arranged upon receipt and microfilmed onto reels 1898-1902, 2029, 2895 and 3768. In 2013, the collection was fully merged, processed, and described by Jayna Josefson with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Glass plate negatives were re-housed in 2014 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.
Separated Materials
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reel 2895) including Mowbray's letters to his son George, travel diaries of Helen Mowbray, writings, artworks, and a photograph. Lent materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Existence and Location of Copies
Portions of the collection and material lent for microfilming are available on 35mm microfilm reels 1898-1902, 2029, 2895 and 3768 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Author
Jayna M. Josefson
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Harry Siddons Mowbray and Mowbray family papers were donated in multiple accretions by Mrs. Henry S. Mowbray, Mowbray's widow, Hugh McKittrick Jones, Jr., Mowbray's son in law, and Mrs. Helen M. Rogers from 1979-1983. Mrs. Helen M. Rogers also loaned materials for microfilming in 1983.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Preferred Citation
Harry Siddons Mowbray and Mowbray family papers, 1872-1976. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
The Harry Siddons Mowbray and Mowbray family 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
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Prints Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mural painting and decoration Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Flags -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sketches Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Etchings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Larz Anderson Park (Brookline, Mass.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- Connecticut Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McKim, Charles Follen, 1847-1909 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Academy in Rome Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mowbray, Florence Millard Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mead, William Rutherford, 1846-1928 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pierpont Morgan Library Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
University Club (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Commission of Fine Arts Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mowbray, George S. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mowbray, George Mordey, d. 1891 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sherwood, Herbert F. (Herbert Francis), 1872- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mowbray, Helen Amelia, d. 1910 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/