Franz R. and Kathryn M. Stenzel collection of western American art
Scope and Contents
For the most part the collection has been organized by artist. The principal exceptions are for prints from books or periodicals featuring the work of multiple artists, which have been kept together under the title of the larger work in which they appeared, and bird's-eye views, which have been organized by subject. The collection consists of eight series: James Madison Alden Artwork and Associated Material, James G. Swan Artwork and Associated Material, Other Collections of Artwork & Associated Material, Other Artwork, Book and Serial Illustrations, Bird's-Eye Views, Maps, Other Manuscripts and Papers.
Series I, James Madison Alden Artwork and Associated Material , 1728-1894 (boxes 1-4), consists of 78 watercolors and drawings by Alden (1834-1922), an artist with the Northwest Boundary Commission on board the U.S.S. Steamer Active. The artwork is organized by California Views, Columbia River and Related Views, Fraser River and Related Views, and Other Views. Within each section the works are arranged by date, with undated artworks at the end. Manuscript captions appear on versos except where noted. The versos also contain Stenzel's notes indicating the provenance of the items, many of which were obtained from Alden family members. Most of the pieces (68 items) date from Alden's service with the Commission between 1854 and 1860, and depict scenes in British Columbia, California, Oregon, and Washington Territory, particularly the Columbia River (17 views), Fraser River (8 views), and Yosemite (6 views). The remainder depict scenes in New England from as early as 1851 to as late as 1894.
Franz Stenzel's book on Alden, James Madison Alden, Yankee Artist of the Pacific Coast, 1854-1860 (Fort Worth, Tex.: The Amon Carter Museum, 1975) carries reproductions of many of the artworks present in the collection. The Alden pieces were exhibited in 1975 at the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art in Fort Worth, Texas, and traveled to museums in Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, Canada, and Alaska in 1975 and 1976. Accompanying the artwork is a letter from an Alden relative in San Francisco, dated 1850, to his father, and a 1728 land grant from Charles, the first Lord Baltimore, to John Howard, also obtained by Stenzel from an Alden descendant. The Stenzels' research files on Alden, drafts of James Madison Alden, Yankee Artist of the Pacific Coast, and correspondence with Alden family members may be found in the Franz R. and Kathryn M. Stenzel Research Files on Western American Art, WA MSS S-2369.
Series II, James G. Swan Artwork and Associated Material , (1852-1911) (boxes 5-11), consists of artwork, correspondence, writings, printed material, photographs, and miscellaneous documents by or about the early Pacific Northwest settler, artist, and ethnographer James Gilchrist Swan (1818-1900). Also included are works by his Haida Indian interpreter Johnny Kit Elswa. Swan was the author of The Northwest Coast, or Three Years' Residence in Washington Territory (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1857), the first ethnographic work on the people and culture of the Pacific Northwest. He also wrote The Haidah Indians of the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1874) and contributed numerous articles to newspapers and periodicals concerning the history and Native Americans of the area.
The series, containing 108 watercolors and drawings, is organized into Works by Swan (97 items) and Works by Johnny Kit Elswa (11 items). Many of the watercolors and drawings carry manuscript notes with ethnographic information. Artwork by Swan is organized topically: Botanicals (taken from specimens in Shoalwater Bay and Neah Bay), Ethnographic Objects (Haida and Makah Indian objects, totem poles, and tattoos), Fish, Views of Native American Life (views of lodges and villages in Neah Bay and Port Townsend, Washington, and Queen Charlotte Island, Graham Island, and North Island, British Columbia), and Views of Pacific Northwest Scenes (including Port Townsend and Swan's home on the Neah Bay Indian Reservation). The artwork by Johnny Kit Elswa depict figures from Haida Indian mythology. Forty-four of the Swan and Elswa drawings were featured in an exhibit at the Portland Art Museum in 1959. The exhibition catalog, entitled Early Days in the Northwest, written by Franz Stenzel, features reproductions of eight drawings present in this series (a copy of this catalog may be found in the Stenzel Research Files, WA MSS S-2369).
The Correspondence is organized into Incoming, Outgoing, and Third Party Correspondence. Swan's letter to his brother Sam in 1879 describes in detail a visit to the Makah Indian Reservation at Neah Bay. Writings include a bound journal and memorandum book with notes taken during trading voyages in the Schooner "Sarah Newton," censuses of the Makah Tribe, vocabularies of the Chinook jargon and Makah language, and a "Synopsis of a report of work done in the Queen Charlotte Islands British Columbia, during the summer of 1883." There is also a scrapbook of clippings of articles published in Port Townsend newspapers, and the diary kept during the last year of his life.
Photographs features several pictures of James G. Swan and friends, including Johnny Kit Elswa, taken by a number of Western photographers: B.F. Steven's Photo Gallery; C.J. Huntington, General Photographer (Olympia, Washington Territory); C.W. Carter's View Emporium (Great Salt Lake City, U.T.); Coughlan & Freese, Photographers (Port Townsend); McMurry (Port Townsend, Wash.); Spencer & Hastings, Portrait and Landscape Photographers (Victoria, B.C.); and Worthington, Photo. Documents and Other Papers includes Swan's will and various receipts and account books. The Stenzels' research files on James G. Swan, including correspondence and printed material, may be found in the Stenzel Research Files.
The Stenzels also collected a significant number of artworks and in some cases related papers by fifteen additional artists. These materials comprise Series III, Other Collections of Artwork & Associated Material , boxes 12-32 (1850-1962), organized alphabetically by artist: Irving R. Bacon, A. W. Best, Gutzon Borglum, E. A. Burbank, Bob Hall, Herbert Heywood, Joseph W. Kehoe, Hans Kleiber, Pete Martinez, Jervis McEntee, William Forsyth McIlwraith, E. S. Paxson, Lute Pease, John Webber, and Daniel Winter. The subseries are generally organized by title, except when there is a great deal of material, in which case the works are organized by format and then by title. Such exceptions are noted below.
Irving R. Bacon (1875-1962), a portrait artist who traveled in the West between 1895 and 1905, some of that time with Buffalo Bill's troupe, is represented by 13 watercolor portraits, seven of them identified as Sioux Indians. The portraits, dated 1901-1911, and undated, are organized chronologically. Another artist known for his portrayals of Western Native Americans, E. A. Burbank (1858-1949), is represented by 32 paintings, pencil and pastel drawings, and prints. In addition to an oil painting of Chief Geronimo, Burbank's works include a series of pencil drawings of Indian pueblos in Arizona and New Mexico. There are five paintings of pueblos in New Mexico by A. W. Best (1859-1935), who arrived in the West in 1887. He is represented here with nine paintings in all.
The sculptor Gutzon Borglum (1867-1941), best known as the artist who designed and executed Mount Rushmore, is represented by 17 drawings, sketches and watercolors. These include ten drawings of horses or men on horses. Cowboys and Native Americans also appear in the Stenzels' collection of works by Bob Hall. Hall, whom the Stenzels knew personally, was born in 1895, and after being orphaned, drifted in the West, working as cowboy and miner. The collection includes 34 of his drawings and prints, and 34 comic and western postcards. Four of the drawings are inscribed to the Stenzels. Another cowboy artist, Pete Martinez, is also represented. Born in 1894, Martinez worked on one of Nevada's largest cattle ranches, the Union Land and Cattle Company, starting as cowhand and eventually becoming foreman, while also working as an artist of cowboys and scenes in the West. There are thirteen of his watercolors, drawings, and etchings in the collection.
Herbert Heywood (1893-1969), a Portland, Oregon artist, is represented by 19 prints depicting scenes and landmarks in and around Portland. Another Portland artist, William Forsyth McIlwraith (1867-1940), also drew many landmarks in and around Portland. The 91 artworks here make the McIlwraith group the largest collection in this series. McIlwraith's work is organized by media: drawings, watercolors, prints, and etching plates. A number of similar images are represented in the various formats. One of his best known images, "Indians Salmon Fishing at Celilo" is represented by a pencil drawing, a watercolor, three etchings, and three etching plates.
Joseph W. Kehoe (1890-1959), an Alaskan jurist and Representative in the Alaskan legislature, was for a time acting Governor of Alaska. He painted largely in watercolors and oils, and is represented here by twenty watercolors of Alaskan scenes and Aleuts. Another specific geographic focus is seen in the Daniel Winter collection. Winter (1834-1883) established a sign painting shop in San Francisco during the California gold rush, and in the late 1850's, was sent by Leslie's London Illustrated News to draw sketches of various islands in the South Pacific. The 24 Daniel Winter watercolors and drawings depict views in the Sandwich Islands, Society Island, South Island, and Australia, and are organized by title.
Hans Kleiber was born in 1897 in Germany, emigrated to the United States when he was thirteen, worked as a sheep farmer and forest ranger, and created etchings, paintings, and drawings in his Wyoming studio. He is represented here by 45 artworks, many of them scenes from the overland trail, organized into original artwork and etchings. Pen-and-ink drawings exist for eight of the etchings, though some carry different titles. Notes have been made in the finding aid in these cases. There are seven drawings and etchings of birds, for which he was well known.
Jervis McEntee is represented not by artwork but instead by correspondence and printed material. McEntee (1828-1891) was a landscape painter, a member of the Hudson River School, whose friends included George Henry Boughton, Sanford Robinson Gifford, Eastman Johnson, and Worthington Whittredge. The correspondence includes letters from these four men, discussing art and mutual friends. A letter from Eastman Johnson dated July 5, 1863 begins, "I am going down to Gettysburg tomorrow night" and invites McEntee to join him on a sketching tour of the battlefield. Worthington Whittredge wrote McEntee during a trip West to the Rocky Mountains, which he describes in detail in a letter dated July 15, 1866.
E. S. Paxson (1852-1919), Montana artist of frontiersmen and Native Americans, is represented by artwork and associated material, organized by Artwork, Printed Material, Photographs and Portraits, and Other Papers. The four framed oil paintings present were put up for auction at Sotheby's in Los Angeles June 24, 1980, and are reproduced in the auction catalog. A sketchbook entitled "Phillippines 1908-9" contains eleven pencil sketches of landscapes, including "'Corrigidor Sight' Entrance to Manila Bay," dated August 12, 1898, on the first leaf. There are color prints of Paxson's portraits of Native Americans, and among the printed material, Annie Oakley's 1891 Christmas card. The other papers in the collection include a tintype photograph of Paxson and Mexican Americans, and a notebook of Custer battle notes made by Paxson. The Stenzels' research files on Paxson, as well as Franz Stenzel's monograph E.S. Paxson - Montana Artist Montana Heritage Series No. 14, published by the Montana Historical Society, may be found in the Stenzel Research Files.
Lute Pease (1869-1963) worked as a reporter in Seattle and Portland, editor of the Pacific Monthly, and, for more than thirty years, as editorial page cartoonist for the Newark (New Jersey) Evening News. His Pulitzer Prize winning cartoon from 1949, "Who, Me?", is represented in the collection by a lithograph. Overall, there are 48 drawings and prints in the collection, many of them cartoons. The Pease material is organized by Artwork, Printed Material, Photographs, and Correspondence.
The John Webber artwork was originally published in James Cook's A Voyage of the Pacific Ocean...in the years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779 and 1780. (London, 1784.) There are nineteen engravings present from the Northwest portion of Cook's third voyage, accounting for approximately half of the Webber illustrations printed in the Cook volumes.
Series IV, Works by Other Artists (1790-1966), boxes 33-47, consists of art by other artists, many of them single examples of an artist's work. There are 306 works by 199 identified artists and 82 works by unidentified artists. The art is organized alphabetically by artist and then by title, with unidentified works listed at the end. Included in Series IV are book illustrations from works by a single artist such as George Catlin's Catlin's North American Indian Portfolio and Thomas Moran's work for F. V. Hayden's The Yellowstone National Park and the Mountain Region of Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, and Utah. Illustrations from books or periodicals featuring multiple artists are gathered by book or serial title in Series V. Consequently, a few of the artists in this section also appear in Series V, and are cross-referenced accordingly in the finding aid.
This series includes a Cleveland Rockwell oil painting, "In the Rocky Mountains." The Stenzels' research files on Rockwell, as well as drafts of Franz Stenzel's monograph Cleveland Rockwell, Scientist and Artist, 1837-1907 (Portland, Or.: Oregon Historical Society, 1972) may be found in the Stenzel Research Files. The series also includes five buffalo lithographs by George Catlin from his Catlin's North American Indian Portfolio, nine Currier & Ives prints and three N. Currier prints, three prints by Felix Octavius Carr Darley, five cartoons by Homer Davenport, one cartoon by James Montgomery Flagg, three watercolors of western Canada by Thomas Mower Martin, eleven chromolithographs of the West by Thomas Moran, (published by L. Prang & Co. in 1876 as part of F. V. Hayden's The Yellowstone National Park and the Mountain Region of Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, and Utah), a watercolor by James Henry Moser, a sketchbook of measurements of mustangs made at Kings Ranch, Texas, 1938-39 by Alexander Phimister Proctor, a self-portrait oil painting attributed to John Mix Stanley, two paintings by James Everett Stuart, seven watercolors by Peter Peterson Toft, and six watercolors and one pen-and-ink drawing by Charles Erskine Scott Wood.
The art in the series by Maynard Dixon, Manning de Villaneuve Lee, N. Plonnin, Cleveland Rockwell, Frank Earle Schoonover, John Mix Stanley, Olaf Wieghorst, as well as James Everett Stuart's "Pilot Rock," was put up for auction at Sotheby's in Los Angeles June 24, 1980, and are all reproduced in the auction catalog with the exception of the Plonnin and Stuart.
Series V, Book and Serial Illustrations (1847-1900), boxes 48-51, is organized alphabetically by book or periodical title, and within each subseries, by artist and then by title. The prints in this series come from books or periodicals featuring the work of multiple artists and are gathered by title of the larger work in which they appeared. There are nineteen prints depicting Aleuts and Eskimos from Giulio Ferrario's Il Costume Antico e Moderne...: America (Firenze: V. Batelli, 1826-1828). There are over a hundred prints from the United States War Department's Reports of Explorations & Surveys, to Ascertain the Most Practicable and Economical Route for a Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. (Washington, 1855-1860), and over eighty prints from Albert G. Walling's History of Southern Oregon, comprising Jackson, Josephine, Douglas, Curry and Coos Counties (Portland, Or., 1884). Prints in this series are also taken from Harper's Weekly, The Illustrated London News, San Francisco Examiner Art Supplement, San Francisco News Letter, Sportsman Review, Truth, and The West Shore.
Series VI, Bird's-Eye Views (1860-1959), box 52, is organized into eight subseries: British Columbia, California, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The subseries are organized alphabetically by city, and then by date. Series VII, Maps (1851-1890), box 53, is organized into two subseries: Oregon and Washington. Within each subseries the maps are organized chronologically. Every bird's-eye view and map in these two series is printed, with the exception of an 1855 manuscript map of Portland by A. B. Hallock.
Series VIII, Other Manuscripts and Papers (1676-1915), box 54, is organized into two subseries: Manuscripts & Ephemera and Photographs. The Manuscripts and Ephemera, which consists of miscellaneous early material from both the east and west coasts, are organized by George Andrews Family Correspondence, John McLoughlin Papers, Dover/Smith Papers, Thomas Smith Documents, Valentine Smith Family Correspondence, Miscellaneous Correspondence, Miscellaneous Documents, Miscellaneous Writings, Miscellaneous Printed Material, and Other Material. This series includes three presidential autographs: Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Abraham Lincoln, all signatures on temporary appointments for Thomas M. Smith as Auditor of the Treasury. A letter from Valentine Smith in Louisville to John Edwards Smith in Durham, New Hampshire, dated 1838 May 28, one of a series of four letters written or received by Valentine Smith, discusses slavery in Kentucky. There are also early deeds of land in Dover, New Hampshire, dated 1676-1717. The Photographs are organized by Western photographs and Other photographs. Western photographers represented here are Charles L. Gillingham (Colorado Springs, Colo.); Crow and Lussier (Portland, Oregon); Eklund Studio (Great Falls, Montana); R. H. Gardiner, Photo (Albina, Oregon); Scherer, Photographer (St. Louis); and Taber (San Francisco).
Oversize , boxes 55-63, broadside folders 1196-1232, artstore folder numbers 1233-1279, and rolled folders 1280-1281, contains material from Series I-VIII, and is organized in box order.
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
88.49 Linear Feet ((65 boxes) + 2 rolls, 35 broadside folders, 47 art storage items)
Language of Materials
The collection also includes small groups of associated papers belonging to James Gilchrist Swan, Jervis McEntee, E. S. Paxson, and Lute Pease. There is artwork, correspondence, writings, printed material, photographs, and miscellaneous documents by and about James Gilchrist Swan (1818-1900), an early Pacific Northwest settler, ethnographer and artist. The artwork includes 11 works by Johnny Kit Elswa, Swan's Haida Indian interpreter. Many of Swan's art, correspondence and writings reflect his study of Haida and Makah Indians and the history of the Pacific Northwest. McEntee (1828-1891), a landscape painter and member of the Hudson River School, is represented not by artwork but by correspondence and printed material. His correspondence is with fellow artists George Henry Boughton, Sanford Robinson Gifford, Eastman Johnson, and Worthington Whittredge. E. S. Paxson, a Montana artist of frontiersmen and Native Americans, is represented by artwork, printed material, photographs and portraits, and other papers. Lute Pease (1869-1963), who worked as a reporter in Seattle and Portland, editor of the Pacific Monthly, and as editorial page cartoonist, is represented by artwork, printed material, photographs, and correspondence.
FRANZ ROBERT STENZEL (1906-1998)
Dr. Stenzel married Kathryn Marie Mathison in 1951 and the couple began collecting art of the American Northwest in 1955 after Dr. Stenzel was given a painting by a patient. While amassing a collection that eventually included approximately 2500 works of art, Dr. Stenzel became an authority on the early pictorial art of the Northwest, specializing in the period between 1800 and 1950. Research done while investigating sources for their collection evolved into a projected book on artists born before 1900 who worked in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, southern British Columbia, and southern Alberta. Though this book was never published, research for this book contributed to his studies of two prominent Northwest artists: Cleveland Rockwell, Scientist and Artist, 1837-1907 (Portland, Or.: Oregon Historical Society, 1972) and James Madison Alden, Yankee Artist of the Pacific Coast, 1854-1860 (Fort Worth: Amon Carter Museum, 1975).
As an expert in his field, Dr. Stenzel was often called upon to give lectures and advice. He also wrote the text of several exhibition catalogues. Another offshoot of Dr. Stenzel's collecting was an interest in art restoration, a skill he taught himself. He constructed a conservation studio in his basement, which may be seen in an April 13, 1959 Life magazine article.
Works from the Stenzels' collection were exhibited many times, including major exhibits at the Amon Carter Museum, the Cheney Cowles Memorial Museum in Spokane, the Montana Historical Society, the Museum of Art at the University of Oregon, Eugene, and the Portland Art Museum. In 1973, four Stenzel pieces were the only privately owned art included in the first art exhibit by the United States Information Agency shown in former communist countries since World War II. Over the years, the Stenzels donated pieces of their collection to the C.M. Russell Gallery, the Montana Historical Society, the Oregon Historical Society, the Alaska State University in College, Alaska. In addition, the Stenzels offered 206 works of art for sale at a Sotheby's sale in Los Angeles June 24, 1980.
Dr. Stenzel died March 29, 1998 in Portland, Oregon at age 92, after a long illness.
- Alden, James Madison, 1834-1922
- Boughton, George Henry, 1834-1905
- Burbank, E. A. (Elbridge Ayer), 1858-1949
- Drawings (visual works)
- Elswa, Johnny Kit
- Engravings (prints)
- Etchings (prints)
- Flagg, James Montgomery, 1877-1960
- Gifford, Sanford Robinson, 1823-1880
- Haida Indians
- Indians of North America -- Northwest, Pacific
- Indians of North America -- Washington (State)
- Johnson, Eastman, 1824-1906
- Kehoe, Joseph, 1890-1959
- Kleiber, Hans, 1887-1967
- Makah Indians
- McEntee, Jervis, 1828-1891
- McIlwraith, William Forsyth
- Moser, James Henry, 1854-1913
- Northwest, Pacific -- Pictorial works
- Oil paintings (visual works)
- Pastels (visual works)
- Paxson, E. S., 1852-1919
- Pease, Lute, 1869-1963
- Pioneers -- Washington (State)
- Rockwell, Cleveland, 1837-1907
- Stuart, James Everett
- Swan, James G., 1818-1900
- Toft, Peter Peterson
- Watercolors (paintings)
- West (U.S.) -- Pictorial works
- Whittredge, Worthington, 1820-1910
- Winter, Daniel
- Wood, Charles Erskine Scott, 1852-1944
- Guide to the Franz R. and Kathryn M. Stenzel Collection of Western American Art
- by Diana Smith
- October 2000
- Description rules
- Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
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