[Archive: Byrdcliffe Art Colony Records, c.1869–Early 20th Century].
A substantial archive documenting this unique arts colony
The Arts and Crafts utopian art community Byrdcliffe was founded in 1902 near Woodstock, New York. The principal founders were Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead and his wife Jane Byrd McCall. Whitehead had been a student of influential English Art critic John Ruskin and was a friend of William Morris, a key proponent of the Arts and Crafts movement in England. This archive includes material associated with Radcliffe, McCall, and their families as well as original artworks, stencils, photographs, and other objects associated with Byrdcliffe.
Highlights include original drawings for Byrdcliffe furniture and other ink or pencil drawings by artist Zulma Steele, two drawings by artist Edna M. Walker, and an original pastel portrait attributed to Jane Byrd McCall Whitehead. A significant group of 20 stencils reproducing floral and other naturalistic designs are attributed to Edna Walker; two are signed “Walker ‘05.”
Other objects include: a photograph of Ralph Whitehead and 40 additional photographs; a letter to Whitehead from his son; approx. 30 glass plate negatives; Jane Byrd McCall Whitehead’s pastel box and pastel crayons; printing blocks and related ephemera depicting the Byrdcliffe logotype with its Florentine lily motif; and various drawings for furniture designs and hardware.
SERIES I: DESIGNS, DRAWINGS AND PAINTINGS, AND STENCILS
– Large pastel portrait identified on back in various places McCall. Attributed to Jane Byrd McCall Whitehead. Believed to be a portrait of her sister, Gertrude McCall.
– 4 pencil drawings signed “Z.[ulma] Steele,” one for a bookcase, two dated 1904. Another for a woodbine desk, also dated 1904.
– 1 ink and wash drawing attributed to Zulma Steele showing flowers and insect.
– 6 pencil drawings of flowers, floral motifs, furniture designs and hardware attributed to Zulma Steele and Edna M. Walker.
– 2 drawings signed “E. M. W.” or “Edna M. Walker,” 1904–1905.
– 20 stencils attributed to Edna M. Walker, reproducing floral and other natural designs including a fleur-de-lis, pine boughs and cones, and a thistle. Of these 20 stencils, two stencils are signed “Walker ’05.”
– 1 pencil drawing (unattributed) showing design and measurements for furniture pull handles.
– 6 pencil drawings, mostly landscapes and trees, 19th century in manner and style.
– 1 ink drawing of a lily on monogrammed paper.
– Fragment paper backing for a painting with framer’s printed label and a manuscript label: “Painted by Byrd Whitehead of the Estrellas in Cannes.”
SERIES II: DESIGN BOOKS
– “The Witter Charts of Historic Ornament & Design [Gothic],” ten folio plates. (See Winterthur’s “Series III: Design Books”, Box 9, within Finding Aid to the Byrdcliffe (Art Colony) Records, ca. 1869-2000 for “Greek” and “Egyptian” folios.)
SERIES III: BUSINESS AND REAL ESTATE RECORDS, MANUSCRIPTS, AND PRINTED EPHEMERA
– 5 envelopes with the “Byrdcliffe 1909” imprint.
– 2 different styles of Brydcliffe bill heads. The first on tan paper and mentioning “Pottery” (5 leaves) and the second on pale green paper and mentioning “Frames” (a bound pad or tablet of multiple leaves), both with a variant “Byrdcliffe 1903” logotype (also see Series VI below).
SERIES IV: PHOTOGRAPHS
– 17 family and other photographs, including: a portrait of “Ralpho,” Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead at “Arcady” [California], a small ferrotype or tintype portrait in a textile frame likely depicting Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead, and two photographs showing various members of the Keating family and Mark Willcox, relatives of Jane Byrd McCall Whitehead. One photo possibly of Peter Whitehead, seated, horn-rimmed glasses.
– 2 large format photographs of Venice, Italy, possibly by Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead and/or influenced by John Ruskin.
– 4 photographs, all on similar mounts, reproducing Renaissance paintings, one of which bears the inscription “Mr. Whitehead” on the verso
– 18 mounted photographs depicting scenes and landscapes in Italy or portraits of peasant women or clerics in native costume or in religious habits.
SERIES V: LETTERS
– Typed Letter Signed, p. to Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead from his son, Ralph Whitehead, on stationery from The National Arts Club, New York, April 17, 1928.
– An envelope, postmarked 1874 addressed to Peter McCall, Mayor of Philadelphia (1844), father of Gertrude McCall and Jane Byrd McCall Whitehead.
SERIES VI: OBJECTS, EPHEMERA, AND MISCELLANEOUS
– Two hand forged iron furniture bales or drawer pulls in the Arts and Crafts style.
– Wooden pastel box with pastels belonging to Jane Byrd (McCall) Radcliffe Whitehead, signed in pencil on lid “J. B. Radcliffe Whitehead.”
– Another identically constructed wood pastel box with pastels. Pencil annotations on inside lid referring to “1 Month in Paris,” “Travelling [?] [sic] to Italy,” and “1 Month in odd places.”
– Metal and wood printing block for the bookplate of Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead incorporating his initials “RW” and the Byrdcliffe Florentine lily (fleur-de-lis).
– 2 metal and wood printing blocks for printing Byrdcliffe logotype on stationery.
– 1 printing block for a letter or bill head and another for envelopes, each with the legend “Byrdcliffe 1909” and incorporating the Florentine lily motif (see also Series VI above).
– 2 engraved copper plates for printing calling cards for “Mr. Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead” and “Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead, Byrdcliffe.
– A printed calling card from the former for Mr. Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead.
– A printed calling card of “Mrs. Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead.”
– A half tone printing plate on block depicting James W. Willcox
– Two engraved metal printing blocks depicting the coat of arms of the Roberts family with the motto Virtue et Valore, with a proof from the larger block.
– 1909 cloth photographic exposure book and diary (1909), likely kept by R. R. Whitehead.
– Small stencil or tracing guide initialed “R. W.,” likely belonging to Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead.
– Small cobalt blue glass mug with the gilded legend “Remember 1920[?].”
– Small, pressed clear glass drinking vessel with red overlay with the legend “Old Orchard [Beach, Maine?] 1902 / M. E. Pierce to Gertrude [McCall?],” sister of J. B. McCall Whitehead.
– Terra cotta figure of a peasant woman stamped on base “B K” within a triangle and with a pine tree motif; also incised on base with letter “E.”
– Wooden letter opener or paper knife marked “Greasewood,” a shrub native to California.
– Two small paintings of flowers reverse painted on glass and with decorative paper edges.
– A small handkerchief embroidered with golden flowers.
– A metal plate, possibly a stencil, with floral design cut-outs.
– Scrapbook leaf and envelope relating to the Keating family, relatives of J.B. McCall Whitehead.
– 1 White Pines paper label
– Wooden box lid. Addressed to “Mrs. McCall c/o Mr. R. Radcliffe Whitehead Woodstock Ulster Co N.Y.”
– Leather covered box with hobnail decorations and lined with wallpaper. Within: keepsakes likely associated with the Marr family; believed related to the McCall or Whitehead families. One small box containing hair of Mary B. Marr (1877–1888), small piece of jewelry from the Isle of Man, a pin cushion.
– Artist’s knife or sculptor’s tool.
– Wooden graining tool or rocker head for creating wood grain or moiré effect.
– 15 glass negatives, boxed, showing drawn thread work. 1 plate fragmented, an interleaved sheet with an 1895 patent date. Possibly identified in pencil as “Spanish work” on the box.
– Approx. 15 glass negatives by an amateur or semi-professional photographer, possibly (R. R. Whitehead, Jesse Tarbox Beals, or Eva Watson Schutze?). One image shows a fire place with an engraved motto from Ajax known to have been in the “Loom Room” at Byrdcliffe. About half of these images are landscape scenes; the other half show buildings, interiors, individuals, possible Whitehead family members.
Description: [Archive: Byrdcliffe Art Colony Records, c.1869–Early 20th Century].
[Byrdcliffe, near Woodstock, New York]. c.1869–early 20th century.
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