Miller, Lillian B., ed. The Collected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family. Microfiche Edition. Millwood, N.Y.: Kraus Thomson Inc., 1980.

A microfiche publication containing reproductions of all the Peale family documents the project was able to identify and photograph. The edition includes the papers of three generations of Peales in America, beginning with Charles Peale (1709-1750), his children Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827) and James Peale (1749-1831), and their children. There are additional sections for the Peale museums in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York. There is a comprehensive guide and name index.



Miller, Lillian B., Sidney Hart, and Toby A. Appel, eds. The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family. Vol. 1. Charles Willson Peale: Artist in Revolutionary America, 1735-1791. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1983.

Volume 1 begins the history of the Peale family in America, a family of artists, inventors, scientists, naturalists, and explorers. The volume opens with the indictment and conviction of Charles Peale (1709-1750), deputy secretary at the General Post Office in London, for forgery and embezzlement. Peale's sentence of death was commuted to transportation to England's North American colonies. He became a low-paid teacher in Maryland, married, and had five children, the oldest being Charles Willson Peale. Charles Peale's only extant letterbook, covering his life in Maryland in the 1740s, is included in this volume. Documents then trace Charles Willson Peale's career from his apprenticeship to an Annapolis saddle-maker to portrait painter. In the late 1760s, generous Maryland planters, perceiving a spark of genius in the self-taught artist, sent the young man to London to study with Benjamin West, an expatriate American enjoying tremendous success in England. Volume 1 includes Peale's diary of his London trip and letters from his planter patrons. Upon returning to Maryland, Peale quickly established himself as the leading portrait painter in the middle colonies. He moved to Philadelphia in June 1776, just as the city was preparing for hostilities against the British. Peale joined the Philadelphia militia. The editors have selected for this volume the diaries of Peale's wartime experiences, including a riveting firsthand account of his participation in the pivotal Battle of Princeton. After the Revolutionary War, Peale never again resumed his preeminent position as a portrait artist. His career took many directions, culminating in the founding of his Philadelphia museum of art and natural history in the mid-1780s. The rapid progress of his museum and his success as an inventor paved the way for his election to the prestigious American Philosophical Society. By the time he was fifty, this son of a convicted felon, orphaned (in the eighteenth century's definition of the term as the loss of one parent) at nine, and apprenticed at thirteen, was attending meetings and serving on committees with the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Rush, and David Rittenhouse-- the cultural and political elite of the new republic. Volume 1 contains 246 documents, 9 appendices of Peale's portrait lists, 70 illustrations,and 8 color plates.



Miller, Lillian B., Sidney Hart, and David C. Ward, eds. The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family. Vol. 2. Charles Willson Peale: The Artist in His Museum, 1791-1810. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1988.

Volume 2 is largely devoted to Peale's labors in building and expanding his museum, transforming a small collection of random specimens, not much more than a Renaissance "cabinet of curiosities," into one of America's and the world's great museums of natural history. From its beginnings as a small corner in Peale's art studio and portrait gallery, the museum grew into a large, spacious building, the former Philadelphia State House, where the Declaration of Independence had been signed. His former grouping of specimens, based on aesthetic considerations, became an arrangement of species according to the most up-to-date science of his day, the Linnaean classification. Each specimen had a label and was displayed in its natural habitat. The lay-out of the museum can be viewed today in Peale's masterpiece, The Artist in His Museum (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts). Also included are documents that point to Peale's attempt to maintain the museum as a private proprietary institution, open to all. Peale's museum represented a profound break with the past and with contemporary museums in England and Europe, which restricted entry to scholars, aristocrats, and government officials. Peale instead envisioned his museum as a republican educational institution. Volume 2 also contains numerous family documents, beginning with Peale's second marriage to Elizabeth DePeyster, a member of a prosperous New York mercantile family. Other documents relate to his growing family, which by the volume's end, added up to seventeen children, eleven of whom survived to adulthood. Volume 2, published in two parts, contains 561 documents, 114 illustrations, and 16 color plates. There is also a comprehensive appendix of the Philadelphia Museum's magnificent bird collection, an important source for Alexander Wilson's books on American ornithology.



Miller, Lillian B., Sidney Hart, and David C. Ward, eds. The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family. Vol. 3. Charles Willson Peale: The Belfield Farm Years, 1810-1820. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1991.

In 1810 Charles Willson Peale emulated his good friend Thomas Jefferson and went into rustic retirement on a 104-acre farm outside of Philadelphia. For the next decade he worked Belfield as a scientific farm as well as an ornamental garden, thereby combining his interests in the public application of both reason and art. Although nominally retired, Peale's decade was one of strenuous activity, involving both hard physical labor and continual practical experiments to improve farming and farm machinery; many of his letters contain sketches of machinery and inventions in use at Belfield. Peale's letters to and from Jefferson form a particularly rich documentary source on scientific farming in the early republic. Peale also surveyed the progress of his sons' careers as artists, naturalists, and museum keepers in their own right. There is much information in this volume on Rembrandt's career as a portraitist and museum keeper in Baltimore, Rubens's management of the Philadelphia Museum, and Raphaelle's difficult and troubled career. And of special interest is Titian Ramsay Peale's diary of his participation in Stephen Long's expedition to the American West in 1819. Volume 3 contains 323 documents, as well as 86 illustrations and 9 color plates.



Miller, Lillian B., Sidney Hart, David C. Ward, and Leslie Reinhardt, eds. The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family. Vol. 4. Charles Willson Peale: His Last Years, 1821-1827. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1996.

Volume 4 takes Charles Willson Peale from his move back to Philadelphia from Belfield to the end of his long and busy life, one which remained active up to his sudden and unexpected death at age eighty-six, shortly after his trip to court a potential fourth wife. Peale's activities included the continuation of his attempts to place the Museum on a secure footing, his re-emergence as a portrait painter (and especially a self-portraitist), his experiments with dentistry, his lectures on natural history, and the writing of his autobiography. Volume 4 contains 289 documents, 69 illustrations, and 9 color plates.



Miller, Lillian B., Sidney Hart, and David C. Ward, eds. The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family. Vol. 5. The Autobiography of Charles Willson Peale. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2000

book cover The Charles Willson Peale Family Papers, is proud to announce, with the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution and Yale University Press, the publication of volume 5 of The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family: The Autobiography of Charles Willson Peale. The volume is available through on-line booksellers, from your local bookstore, or can be ordered directly from Yale University Press. In addition, Yale University Press offers secure on-line ordering through their website, information for those placing orders from outside the United States, as well as a downloadable order form.

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