Archives of American Art

James McNeill Whistler collection in the University of Glasgow, Special Collections

Collection ID:
Whistler, James McNeill, 1834-1903
[ca. 1830-1963.]
Physical Description:
29 Microfilm reels

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
15 vol. of letterbooks containing original letters, drafts and copies written by Whistler, or copies written by third parties and family members, 1892-1950; voluminous correspondence with family, artists, patrons, collectors, publishers and others; notebooks and ledgers, containing lists of etchings, copper plates, cataloges of silver china, copies of letters, the Valparaiso notebook, and other notes and biographical information; exhibition catalogs, 1874-1903, for Whistler's one-man shows; annotated proofs of publications and unpublished writings by Whistler; the typescript of an unpublished manuscript, "Whistler's Mother," by Kate McDiarmid, 1936; 25 v. of newspaper clippings compiled by and for Whistler, and by D.C. Thomson, J. W. Revillon, and A.P.A. Goodall; and photographs of Whistler, his family, friends, studios and homes, and of monuments to him and his family.
Scope and Contents
Also microfilmed are abstracts of both the letterbooks and correspondence, a list of the books owned by Whistler and copied from the University of Glasgow Library catalog; and a list of photographs in the collection, including five series not on microfilm.

I. Letterbooks, reels 4600-4601; arranged chronologically. II. Notebooks and ledgers, reels 4601-4602. III. Correspondence, reels 4602-4611 and 4683-4686; arranged alphabetically by correspondent and thereunder chronologially. IV. Exhibition catalogs, reel 4686; arranged chronologically. V. Corrected proofs, reel 4686. VI. Press clippings, reels 4687-4690; in part, arranged chronologically. VII. Photographs, reels 4691-4692. VIII. Abstracts of correspondence, reels 4692-4699; arranged alphabetically and thereunder chronologically; letterpress books included. IX. Catalog of Whistler's library, reel 4699. X. Philip v. Pennell Lawsuit Documents. XI. List of photographs in Whistler collection, reel 4699.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Painter, etcher; born Lowell, Mass. Lived alternately in Paris and London. Whistler was a cadet at West Point, 1851-1853. Draftsman at the Coast Survey, Washington, D.C., 1854-1855. Sailed to Paris in 1855. Published first group of French etchings in 1858. Well-known for portrait of his mother, first shown in 1872. Published The Gentle Art of Making Enemies in 1890. Served as President of the Society of British Artists and the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, 1890-1901.

Existence and Location of Copies
35mm microfilm reels 4600-4611 and 4683-4699 available for use at Archives of American Art offices, through interlibrary loan, the Glasgow (Scotland) University Library, Dept. of Special Collections, and the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.
Existence and Location of Originals
Originals in: Glasgow University Library, Dept. of Special Collections.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Microfilmed 1985-1992 by the Glasgow University Library with funds provided the Archives of American Art. The bulk of the collection was donated to the University by Whistler's sister-in-law, Rosalind Birnie Philip in 1935 and 1954, and by her estate in 1958. Whistler's great nephew, Joseph Whistler Revillon, donated several hundred letters and documents in 1955. Correspondence with collector J.J. Cowen was donated in 1970 by Cowen's daughter, Lady Maconochie of Inverewe. E.A. Walton correspondence was received from Mrs. Dorothy Walton in 1974, and hundreds of letters were received through purchase.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
Conditions Governing Use
Authorization to publish, quote or reproduce requires written permission from: Glasgow University Library, Keeper of Special Collections, Hillhead Street, Glasgow G12 8QE, Scotland, U.K. All unpublished Whistler letters and other Whistler material subject to copyright is vested with the University Court of the University of Glasgow, Whistler's residuary legatees. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Terms of 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 such 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.

More Information
Other Finding Aids
Other Finding Aids
Finding aid, including an index to correspondents, prepared by Glasgow University Library is available at Archives of American Art offices.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Painting, Modern -- 19th century Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- Texas -- Houston Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- France -- Paris Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- United States Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001