The Howard Chandler Christy Papers (1873-2001) document the personal life and artistic career of Christy, noted American illustrator and painter. While a photograph of Christy’s birthplace dating 1873 is the earliest item found in the papers, the bulk of the material dates from ca. 1915-1952 and pertains to Christy’s career as an illustrator, portraitist, poster and program artist, and painter of large-scale historic murals. Other topics of interest throughout the papers include the social lives of Christy and his second wife, Nancy Palmer Christy; their travels across the United States and abroad; and their patriotic, humanitarian, and philanthropic efforts for various organizations.
The papers (34 linear feet– 25 record cartons, 46 special format boxes, 3 drawers) contain correspondence, record books, financial records, various forms of manuscript and printed documents, photographic materials, films, original artwork, scrapbooks, and miscellaneous ephemera. Papers are organized into eleven series as follows:
|I.||Correspondence of Howard Chandler Christy||Box 1-4|
|II.||Correspondence of Nancy Palmer Christy||Box 5-7|
|III.||Address Books, Date Books, and Guest Books|
|1. Howard Chandler Christy||Box 8|
|2. Nancy Palmer Christy||Box 9|
|IV.||Financial and Legal Papers||Box 10|
|1. General||Box 11-14|
|2. Illustration||Box 15-18|
|3. Paintings||Box 19|
|4. Portraits||Box 20|
|5. Posters||Box 20-21|
|6. Programs||Box 21|
|1. Paintings||Box 22-24|
|2. Portraits||Box 24-29|
|3. Posters||Box 30|
|4. Sculpture||Box 30|
|5. Illustration||Box 30|
|6. Works By Other Artists||Box 31|
|7. Individuals||Box 32-38|
|8. Groups||Box 39|
|9. Locations||Box 40-41|
|10. Animals||Box 42|
|1. Sketches and Drawings||Box 43|
|2. Sketchbooks||Box 44|
|3. Paintings||Box 45|
|X.||Miscellaneous Ephemera||Box 64-65|
|1. Jane Conneen Files||Box 66-69|
|2. Holly Christina Longuski Files||Box 69|
|Oversize Materials||Box 70-71; Spec. Coll. Flat Files|
Oversize materials in Boxes 70-71 and Special Collections Flat Files Drawer 10 follow the same series arrangement I-XI, as noted above. Cross referencing to these oversize locations appears on the original folders within Series I-XI and on the accompanying container lists.
Series I and II primarily contain the manuscript and typescript correspondence received by Christy and his wife, Nancy Palmer Christy, during their married life together. These letters document much of Christy’s career as an artist and the couple’s social life.
Series III contains record books maintained by Christy (Subseries 1) and Nancy Palmer Christy (Subseries 2). These address, date, and guest books are valuable records of Christy’s clients, friends, and acquaintances. They also provide a chronological view of Christy’s career in fragments.
Series IV includes financial and legal records maintained by Christy and his wife and contains notable painting contracts and estate papers.
The subject files of Series V are the largest group of records in the Christy Papers and include manuscript and typescript documents, all reproductions other than photographs, and clippings. The series is organized into six subseries highlighting the major focuses of Christy’s career as artist. Subseries 1, General, offers a wide range of files relating to Christy’s life. Topics of note include Christy’s work as an advertisement artist, the many clubs and organizations he held membership in throughout his career, articles written about him, biographical manuscripts for unpublished works on his life, and exhibitions featuring his works. Subseries 2, Illustration; 3, Paintings; 4, Portraits; 5, Posters; and 6, Programs contain documents relating to the most prolific areas of Christy’s artwork. Subseries 2 contains both original clipped examples as well as photocopies of Christy magazine illustrations. Subseries 3, 4, and 5 contains various sizes and reproduction formats of Christy paintings, portraits, and posters, as well as any supporting documents. Finally, Subseries 6 contains both clipped program covers and complete programs designed by Christy throughout his career.
The photographic material of Series VI is another extensive area of the Christy Papers, involving photographs, negatives, and slides. Most images of this series are black and white photographs, with a small percentage in color. In many cases the photographs were moved from other series due to concerns regarding appropriate conservation housing; in these cases, photocopies of the photographs were left in their original locations with a cross reference to Series VI. Photographic material is arranged into ten subseries, reflecting major visual topics. Subseries 1, Paintings; Subseries 2, Portraits; Subseries 3, Posters; Subseries 4, Sculpture; Subseries 5, Illustration all contain photographs of Christy artworks by format. These series are a valuable visual record of Christy’s career. Subseries 6 contains a small group of photos of works by artists other than Christy. Subseries 7, Individuals, houses the largest group of photos with extensive sections on Christy and his wife, Nancy Palmer Christy. Subseries 8, Groups, contains many wonderful images of the Christys socializing. Subseries 9, Locations, features several significant places in Christy’s life, from his birthplace in Ohio to the Hotel des Artistes studio where he died in 1952. Subseries 10, Animals, contains a small amount of beloved pet photographs.
Series VII houses all original Christy artwork in the papers. It is organized into three subseries by format. Subseries 1 and 2 contain sketches, drawings, and watercolors on individual sheets and in complete sketchbooks. Some of the most valuable items of the papers are found within these subseries, including sketches from the Spanish-American War. Subseries 3 contains two oil paintings on canvas that appear to be studies for larger works.
Series VIII contains sixteen scrapbooks compiled by Nancy Palmer Christy. Scrapbooks contain photographs, clippings, correspondence, and memorabilia. The scrapbooks are particularly rich, offering extensive information pertaining to Christy’s artistic career, social life, and travels.
Series IX contains 16 mm films, VCR tapes, and DVD and DigiBeta copies. Films document Christy’s personal and professional life. Significant portions of this series were filmed by Christy during his lifetime.
Series X houses miscellaneous ephemera in 3D from Christy’s life, including medals he received, props he used in paintings, and objects featuring examples of his artwork.
Series XI contains collections related to the Christy Papers and are organized into two subseries. Subseries 1 houses the research note cards, correspondence, and files accumulated by donor Jane Conneen during her preparation for the Allentown Art Museum exhibition in 1977. Subseries 2 contains photocopies of Elise Ford’s scrapbook and journal in the collection of Holly Christina Longuski, daughter of Christy and Ford.