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Guide to the Saint-Mémin Print Collection
1794-1808
 PR 226

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


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Jenny Gotwals

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on January 05, 2012
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

 
Title: Saint-Mémin Print Collection
Dates: 1794-1808
Abstract: Collection of engravings by the French engraver Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret de Saint-Saint-Mémin. Most are profile portrait engravings, but several early views of New York City are also included.
Quantity: 4.0 Linear feet (3 boxes, 1 drawer)
Location note: Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections
Call Phrase: PR 226

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Biographical Note

Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret de Saint-Mémin was born in France in 1770. He served as an officer in the French Army, and was exiled after the French Revolution. When he arrived in the United States in 1793, he began to teach himself the arts of engraving and painting, producing some views of New York City as early as 1794. His first work was published in 1796, the year he began a portrait business with Thomas Bluget de Valdenuit, a fellow Frenchman. The two utilized the physiognotrace, a device whereby a sitter's profile was traced by a bar, and a pantograph, with a piece of chalk attached to its end, drew the same profile in a smaller dimension onto a piece of paper. Details were then added to the outline drawing. Another pantograph was used to trace the drawing and produce a continuous line engraving on a copper plate. Saint-Mémin then utilized a roulette, a tool of his own invention, to produce shading on the engravings. The sitter usually received the drawing, the copper plate and a dozen engravings for a set fee.

While in business with Valdenuit, Saint-Mémin produced the engravings from his partner's drawings. The partnership dissolved after about a year, and Saint-Mémin went on to create both the portrait drawings and engravings himself. He left New York in 1798, and traveled down the east coast of the United States, with stays in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, and Charleston. In 1810, Saint-Mémin returned to France, effectively ending his portrait business. He returned briefly to America, but moved to France in 1814, where he lived until his death in 1852. During his stay in America, Saint-Mémin drew a total of more than 900 portraits and engraved more than 800 of these.

Sources:

  • Miles, Ellen G. Saint-Mémin and the Neoclassical Profile Portrait in the America. Washington: National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Institue Press, 1994.
  • Morgan, John Hill. "The Work of M. Fevret de Saint-Mémin," in the Brooklyn Museum Quarterly, January 1918, Vol. V, No. 1.

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Scope and Content Note

The Saint-Mémin Print Collection spans the period from 1794-1808 and contains engravings made by Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret de Saint-Mémin. The collection is divided into two series: Portraits; and Views.

Arrangement

The collection is divided into two series:

  1. Series I. Portraits
  2. Series II. Views

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Valdenuit, Thomas Bluget de, 1763-1846

Document Type

  • Engravings
  • Portraits

Subject Topics

  • Legislators — United States — Portraits

Subject Places

  • New York (N.Y.) — Pictorial works

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Administrative Information

Provenance

The collection is comprised of gifts from various donors. The album of portrait engravings was a gift from the Estate of Hall Park McCullough in 1973.

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to thirty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. See guidelines in Print Room for details.

Use Restrictions

Permission to reproduce any Print Room holdings through publication must be obtained from:
Rights and Reproductions
The New-York Historical Society
Two West 77th Street
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282
Fax: (212) 579-8794

The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. Unpublished materials created before January 1, 1978 cannot be quoted in publication without permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Saint-Mémin Print Collection, PR 226, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society.

Related Material at the New-York Historical Society

Original printing plates by Saint-Mémin, including several for prints in this collection, can be found in the Printing Plate File (PR 057). Modern restrikes of Saint-Mémin's plates can be found throughout the Portrait File (PR 052). The Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Drawings also holds a copy of The St-Memin Collection of Portraits, with photographs of 760 etchings by Gurney & Son (New York: E. Dexter, 1862). At least one map by Saint-Mémin is in the N-YHS Library's Map Collection. Drawings by Saint-Mémin can be found in the N-YHS Museum.

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Container List

Series I: Portraits

Scope and Contents note

Series I. Portraits date from 1796 to 1808 and contains profile portrait engravings, made after drawings by Saint-Mémin and his early partner Valdenuit, assisted by a physiognotrace mechanism. Profile portraits in this collection were made in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Richmond, Baltimore, and Burlington, NJ, often of government notables and upper-class urban dwellers. The series is arranged into three subseries: Portrait album; Framed portraits, and Loose portraits.

In 1862, Elias Dexter published a book of Saint-Mémin's American portraits, each of which was photographed by Gurney & Son. While some sitters were misidentified in Dexter's volume, it has been used as a standard means for identification of the Saint-Mémin portraits. Dexter's number (which does not correspond to a chronological or alphabetical listing) follows the sitter's name in the Container List.

Subseries I. Portrait Album

Scope and Contents note

The Portrait album holds twenty-eight portraits, bound together in a small, leather-covered album. In general, these engravings were trimmed to their plate borders and pasted on to the album pages. There does not seem to be an order to the portraits; they have been listed in the container list in the order they appear in the album.

The portraits in the album are listed as they appear. Inscriptions are noted.

Container 1     Title Date
Box: 1 Saint-Mémin, Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret de (D. 5)

General note

Philadelphia

1804
Box: 1 Somerville, William Clarke (D. 624)

General note

Richmond

1808
Box: 1 Bayard, James Asheton (D. 421)

General note

Inscr. "Drawn & engrd. by St. Memin Philadela."

1801
Box: 1 Griffin, Thomas (D. 479)

General note

Washington

1805
Box: 1 Clarke, William (D. 477)

General note

Washington

1807
Box: 1 Gilmor, Mary Ann Smith (D.284)

General note

Inscr. "St. M. delt. & sct." Baltimore

1803
Box: 1 Dana, Samuel Whittelsey (D. 430)

General note

Washington

1806
Box: 1 Dallas, Alexander James (D. 138)

General note

Philadelphia

1801
Box: 1 Campbell, Levin Hicks (D. 376)

General note

Baltimore

1804
Box: 1 Ormsby, Sarah Mahon (D. 38)

General note

Philadelphia

[1801]
Box: 1 Darieu (D. 256)

General note

Inscr. "Drawn & engrd. by St. Memin Philada."

1800
Box: 1 Henry, Isaac (D. 421)

General note

Inscr. "Drawn & engrd. by St. Memin Philada."

1802
Box: 1 Thieubert (D. 249)

General note

Philadelphia

1803
Box: 1 Bryan, Joseph (D. 486)

General note

Washington

1805
Box: 1 Coale, Edward Johnson (D. 338)

General note

Baltimore

1804
Box: 1 Gilmor, William (D. 353)

General note

Baltimore

1803
Box: 1 Bartlett, Bailey (D. 472)

General note

Inscr. "Drawn & engrd. by St. Memin Philadela."

1800
Box: 1 Purviance, Samuel Dinsmore (D.431)

General note

Washington

1805
Box: 1 Tucker, Thomas Tudor (D. 412)

General note

Washington

1805
Box: 1 Lewden, Joseph (D. 294)

General note

Inscr. "Drawn & engrd. by St. Memin Philada."

1802
Box: 1 Guenet (D. 324)

General note

Philadelphia

1803
Box: 1 Newton, Thomas Jr. (D.497)

General note

Washington

1806
Box: 1 Huger, Benjamin (D. 488)

General note

Washington

1805
Box: 1 Burrall, Jonathan (D. 41)

General note

Philadelphia

1798-1803
Box: 1 Powell, Leven (D. 462)

General note

Inscr. "Drawn & engrd. by St. Memin Philadelphia"

1800
Box: 1 Morton, Cornelia Schuyler (D. 37)

General note

Inscr. "St. Memin & Valdenuit No. 27 Pine St. N. York"

1797
Box: 1 Boyd, John Parker (D. 222)

General note

Inscr. "Drawn & engrd. by St. Memin Philada."

1802
Box: 1 Rush, Benjamin (D. 153)

General note

Inscr. "Benjamin Rush" Philadelphia

1802

Subseries II. Framed Portraits

Scope and Contents note

Framed portraits include three small individual engravings and two larger frames holding composite portraits. The frames may or may not have been contemporary with the engravings, but all seem to be nineteenth century in origin. The largest frame, with a total of twenty engravings, includes eighteen Saint-Mémin portraits of United States Congressmen, as well as two profiles, not by Saint-Mémin, of George Washington and John Adams. Another frame holds four portraits, all New Yorkers.

Container 1     Title Date
Box: 1 Lincklaen, Helen Ledyard (D. 735)

General note

Philadelphia

1798
Box: 1 Lincklaen, John (D. 111)

General note

New York

1796-1797
Box: 1 Thurman, John [Dr. Hill] (D. 56)

General note

Inscr. "St. Memin No. 27 Pine St. N.York"

1797-1798
Box: 1 Van Rensselaer, Stephen (D. 55)

General note

Inscr. "St. Memin No. 27 Pine St. N.York"

1797
Composite of Four Portraits
Container 1     Title Date
Box: 1 Barclay, Andrew B.? (D. 60)

General note

Inscr. "St. Memin No. 27 Pine St. N.York"

1796
Box: 1 Cuyler, James (D. 78)

General note

Inscr. "Valdenuit & St. Memin No. 27 Pine St. N.York"

1796-1797
Box: 1 De Peyster, Nicholas Jr. (D. 86)

General note

Inscr. "St. Memin No. 27 Pine St. N.York"

1797
Box: 1 Thompson, Thomas (D. 91)

General note

Inscr. "St. Memin No. 27 Pine St. N.York"

1797
Composite of Twenty Portraits (Eighteen by Saint-Mémin). All members of Congress, taken in Washington
Container 1     Title Date
Box: 2 Baldwin, Simeon (D.448)
1807
Box: 2 Betton, Silas (D. 500)
1805
Box: 2 Campbell, John (D. 427)
1806
Box: 2 Dana, Samuel Whittelsey (D. 430)
1806
Box: 2 Davenport, John (D. 426)
1806
Box: 2 Dwight, Thomas (D. 436)
1806
Box: 2 Griffin, Thomas (D. 479)
1805
Box: 2 Hastings, Seth (D. 435)
1806
Box: 2 Hunt, Samuel Jr. [Thompson] (D. 498)
[1805]
Box: 2 Lewis, Joseph (D. 474)
1805
Box: 2 Livingston, Henry Walter (D. 433)
1804
Box: 2 Lowndes, Thomas (D. 496)
1805
Box: 2 Nicholson, Joseph Hopper [Stephenson, James] (D 475)
[1806]
Box: 2 Pickering, Timothy (D. 434)
1806
Box: 2 Plumer, William (D. 481)
1806
Box: 2 Purviance, Samuel Dinsmore (D.431)
1805
Box: 2 Stedman, William (D. 437)
1805
Box: 2 Van Rensselaer, Kiliaen Kiliaen (D. 438)
1805

Subseries III. Loose Portraits

Scope and Contents note

Seventeen loose portraits are filed alphabetically.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Armstrong, William (D. 8)

General note

Inscr. "Valdenuit & St. Memin No. 27 Pine St. N.York 97"

1797
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Bloomfield, Joseph (D. 186)

General note

New York

1798
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Bruce, Archibald (D. 51 )

General note

Inscr: "St. Memin & Valdenuit No. 27 Pine St. N.York"

1796-1797
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Bullus, John (D. 511)

General note

Washington

1807
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Clinton, Cornelia Tappen (no Dexter #)

General note

Inscr. "St. Memin No. 27 Pine St. N.York"; Four copies

1797
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Clinton, George (no Dexter #)

General note

Inscr. "St. Memin No. 27 Pine St. N.York"; Four copies

1797
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Clinton, James (D. 57)

General note

Inscr. "St. Memin No. 27 Pine St. N.York"

1797
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Clinton, Mary Little Gray (D. 742)

General note

Inscr: "St. Memin No. 27 Pine St. N.York"

1798
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Izard, Ralph II (D. 395)

General note

Washington

1805
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Lawrence, James (D. 35)

General note

possibly Burlington, N.J.

1810
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Livingston, Eliza Barclay (D. 302)

General note

Inscr. "Valdenuit & St. Memin No. 27 Pine St. N.York 97"

1797
Box: 3 Folder : 8 McIlvaine, Joseph (D. 22)

General note

Inscr. "Drawn & engrd by St. Memin Burlington"

1798
Box: 3 Folder : 9 Robertson, Thomas Bolling (D. 614)

General note

Richmond

1807-1808
Box: 3 Folder : 10 Simmons, James (D. 216)

General note

Washington

1806
Box: 3 Folder : 11 Tayloe, John, III (D. 408)

General note

Washington

1806
Box: 3 Folder : 12 Washington, William Augustine III (D. 924)

General note

Washington

1804
Box: 3 Folder : 12 White, John Moore (D. 168)

General note

Inscr. "Drawn & engrd by St. Memin Philada."

1798-1803

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Series II: Views

Scope and Contents note

Series II. Views contains two views of New York City made in 1794-1796, while Saint-Mémin was developing his engraving skills. Shortly after arriving in New York with his father, Saint-Mémin was offered a place to stay by John R. Livingston. Both views are from the Brooklyn shoreline, one from Livingston's home at Mount Pitt (near the present day intersection of Henry and Montgomery Streets.)

These prints are housed in a flat file drawer.

Container 1     Title Date
Folder: 13 "View of the City and Harbour of New York taken from Mount Pitt, the Seat of John R. Livingston Esqre," etching after his own design, published 1794-1796.
Folder: 13 "View of the City of New York taken from Long Island," etching after his own design, published 1796. Two copies, one colored.

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