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Annie Burr Lewis and Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis Photographs

Call Number: LWL MSS 22
Scope and Contents

The Annie Burr Lewis and Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis Photographs consists of prints, negatives, transparencies, slides, and tintypes that provide visual documentation of the couple’s lives, family, friends, and activities. The images range from formal portraits by noted artists such Arnold Genthe and Yousuf Karsh, to hundreds of snapshots taken by friends and family. A good portion of the photographs were taken by Annie Lewis herself. She was an avid photographer and unfortunately, because she was behind the lens, images of her form only a small part of the collection—a rare photo of her posing with her camera in San Francisco in March 1939 can be found in the album in Box 31. Fortunately, however, Annie Lewis was mindful about captioning photographs, especially in the eleven albums she composed, and it is because of her careful work that many of the faces and places in the couple’s picture collection can be identified today. She mounted prints in standard commercially available albums, but also created albums by affixing prints to pages in leather-bound volumes purchased as blank books or that formerly held Walpoliana collected by the couple.

The images span a full century in date, from a group of tintypes to photographs of family members through snapshots taken of Wilmarth Lewis before his death in 1979, though most are from the first half of the twentieth century and cover the couple’s childhoods through the death of Annie Lewis in 1959. Both brought into their marriage, or later inherited, a variety of family photographs. Wilmarth Lewis, in particular, was the recipient of pictures and genealogical material owned by his brothers in California, which had been sent east by Charles, his only surviving sibling, prior to his death in 1969. The earliest item in the collection is not a photograph but the case that once held a daguerreotype or ambrotype of Annie Lewis’s father Hugh Dudley Auchincloss (1858-1913) and his mother Elizabeth Buck Auchincloss, taken in 1859; the image itself is unlocated.

While much of the material in the collection is in black and white, there are many color photographs present. Notable are the approximately 250 sheet film transparencies and more than 600 slides taken by Annie Lewis, and from which she regularly had color prints made by the Pavelle laboratory in New York. Another remarkable group of color images exists in the two sets of stereo slides in the collection, which document the interiors of the Lewises’ homes, the Major General Solomon Cowles House (1784) in Farmington, Connecticut, and the Jahleel Brenton farmhouse (1720) at Hammersmith Farm in Newport, Rhode Island. They are accompanied by a Realist Red Button stereo slide viewer which provides that format’s intended three-dimensional effect.

Language of Materials

In English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Annie Burr Lewis and Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis Photographs is the physical property of the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the W. S. Lewis Librarian/Executive Director.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bequest of Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis (Yale 1918), 1979.


Organized into six series: I. Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis, 1895-1979. II. Annie Burr Lewis, 1903-1959. III. Wilmarth and Annie Burr Lewis, 1927-1958. IV. Family and Friends, 1859-1975. V. Places, 1860-1978. VI. Unsorted and Unidentified Images, 1900-1979.

Related Materials

Associated Material: Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis Papers (LWL MSS 20). The Lewis Walpole Library.

Associated Material: Annie Burr Lewis Papers (LWL MSS 21). The Lewis Walpole Library.

1859 - 1979
Majority of material found within 1900 - 1959
37.1 Linear Feet (36 boxes + 1 broadside + 1 roll)
Related Names
Lewis, W. S. (Wilmarth Sheldon), 1895-1979
Lewis, Annie Burr Auchincloss, 1902-1959
Bell, Curtis
Chamberlain, Samuel, 1895-1975
Covell, William King, 1904-1975
Fullerton, Henry Suydam, 1916-2001
Genthe, Arnold, 1869-1942
Hewitt, Mattie Edwards, 1869-1956
Karsh, Yousuf, 1908-2002
Stoller, Ezra
Alman & Co
Runnels & Stateler
W. F. Miller & Co
Underwood & Underwood
Language of Materials