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Guide to the Papers of Edwin Howland Blashfield
1870-1956 (bulk 1889-1936)
  MS 61

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400

© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Gregory Tavormina

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on April 23, 2013
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

Edwin Howland Blashfield accumulated his personal papers over a period of more than 60 years. They range from correspondence and travel writings to essays on art and sketches. As a whole, they tell the story of a turn of the century New York muralist and his artistic motivations.

One strength of the papers is the series entitled Writings on Art. In these notes and essays, Blashfield discusses his personal thoughts on art in general. He also writes about the life and works of Italian Renaissance painters. By elaborating on where he thought art was going, and on what he found appealing and distasteful in others' art, Blashfield provides insight into his motivations as an artist.

Notable items include his correspondence and sketches. The correspondence is a large and important part of the collection, consisting of over 400 letters from prominent artists and patrons such as Cass Gilbert and state officials. Their contents often discuss paintings by Blashfield, or his input on the work of his peers. Sometimes they are letters expressing gratitude for a meeting or a copy of a newspaper article. The WWI correspondence includes letters written by the War Commissions of Allied Powers and branches of the U.S. Armed Services who were recipients of Blashfield's work. In addition to correspondence, there are 9 small sketches on scrap paper. Depicting people and architecture, Blashfield drew some of them during his travels to Europe. There are few visual materials within the collection. However, they do provide a taste of the academic art style he championed.

The collection is physically divided between manuscripts and bound volumes. The boxes can be located with the call phrase Blashfield Papers, the volumes with the call phrase BV Blashfield.


The records are organized into series:

  1. Series I. Correspondence, 1870-1956
  2. Series II. Writings, [1870-1936], undated
  3. Series III. Art Organizations,[1889-1956]
  4. Series IV. Clippings and Memorabilia, [1917-1956], undated
  5. Series V. Visual Materials, [1890-1923]
  6. Series VI. Library Items, [1929], undated
  7. Series VII. Legal, 1899-1926