Finding Aid: William R. Leigh Manuscript Collection

Institution: Thomas Gilcrease Library and Archive
Language of Material: English
Description: 500 + items
Period covered: 1883 - 1927
Subject matter: William R. Leigh (1866-1955), traveler and artist, was a painter of wild animals, primitive people, and local color. His home was in New York City, but he traveled and studied in Europe when he was a young man, and later he traveled in Africa with the Carl Akely Expedition and with the Martin Johnsons (1926).
The collection is the gift of his wife, Ethel Traphagen Leigh, presented by her brother, Edward Traphagen, after her death. It was received by the Gilcrease Institute in 1963.
The manuscripts consist of many letters, some personal and some concerning his African safaris. In addition there are a number of letters written to his mother while he was studying in Germany and touring other countries of Europe. Also included are numerous manuscripts of poems and stories plus a lengthy typescript of his autobiography.

Background: Staff, interns, and volunteers of the Thomas Gilcrease Library and Archive have contributed to the organization and maintenance of the files since the collection passed to the City of Tulsa in the 1950s. The Gilcrease Foundation acquired these materials before 1964 and is housed in the Helmerich Center for American Research (HCAR). The library currently receives most materials through community donation, board members, artists and the acquisition of manuscript collections.

Restrictions: Please, contact the Rights and Reproduction Department for information on publishing or reproducing materials included in these records. Permission will be granted by the Gilcrease Museum as the owner of the physical materials, and does not imply permission from the copyright holder. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all necessary permissions from the copyright holder.
http://gilcrease.utulsa.edu/Visit/During-Your-Visit/Policies/Reproductio...

Availability: This collection is open for use by appointment only at the Helmerich Center for American Research (HCAR). Contact the Library at 918-631-6441 or renee-harvey@utulsa.edu in advance to inquire if materials exist pertaining to your research interests.

Arrangement Title Description Date
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Ethel describing "a place where the White Fathers hold sway"

Folder 39

November 3, 1926
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Ethel describing trip on the grail, work of porters, wildlife and countryside

Folder 40

November 10, 1926
Letter with envelope from Leigh in Uganda to Ethel in New York regarding a fruitless hike up a mountain and the death and burial of Mr. Akeley

Folder 41

November 17 - 22, 1926
Letter with envelope from Leigh in Uganda to Ethel regarding his painting of two active volcanos near a lake and cautioning her not to mention Mr. Akeley's death yet

Folder 42

November 23, 1926
Letter with envelope from Leigh in Uganda to Ethel describing the jungle plants, adventures with wild animals and his pride in having Mr. Akeley trust him with painting the African trip

Folder 44

December 7 - 12, 1926
Letter with envelope from Leigh in Uganda to Ethel describing his accuracy in painting volcanos for the King of Belgium and talk of Mrs. Akeley informing the public about her husband's death

Folder 45

December 13 - 16, 1926
Letter with envelope from Leigh in Uganda to Ethel describing plans to leave Uganda

Folder 46

December 19 - 23, 1926
Letter with envelope from Leigh in Uganda to Ethel describing their travel to a new camp, an attack of man by an elephant, the terrain of lake country, and asks "what is the purpose of life"

Folder 47

December 25 - 28, 1926
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Ethel Leigh describing camp at Kebali and travel by car to Compala

Folder 48

December 29, 1926
Letter with envelope from Leigh in Eldama Ravine, Kenya to Ethel describing his travels to Victoria Lake with car troubles and getting lost

Folder 49

January 16, 1927
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Ethel regarding his contracting malaria

Folder 52

February 7, 1927
Letter with envelope from Leigh now in Lucania [sic] Camp to Ethel Traphagan Leigh describing his trip, the countryside, Mount Kenya, and reporting the start of two canvases

Folder 11

April 18, 1926
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Ethel Traphagan Leigh describing climate, the Wakomba tribe and their lifestyle

Folder 12

April 22, 1926
Letter from Leigh to his mother regarding his improved spelling and enclosing a letter to his Pa

Folder 67

November 7, 1883
Letter from Leigh to his mother regarding gifts received and distrust of Emil Meyer

Folder 71

November 18, 1833
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother concerning news of the Academy and his trial drawing of a death masque

Folder 72

November 25, 1883
Letter from Leigh to his father regarding acceptance in the Academy and receipt of letters from family members

Folder 68

November 7, 1883
Letter from Leigh to his Aunt Lizzie regarding life at the Academy, his lack of German, and family news

Folder 69

November 11, 1883
Letter from Leigh to his mother regarding Christmas presents and the difficulties of and art student's life

Folder 70

November 12, 1883
Letter from Leigh to his cousin Susie Robinson regarding his correspondence and comparing German and French art schools

Folder 74

December 2, 1883
Letter from Leigh to his mother discussing improving his spelling and Meyer's wardrobe

Folder 73

December 2, 1883
Letter from Leigh to his Aunt Lizzie regarding Saturday evening student club entertainment

Folder 75

December 9, 1883
Letter from Leigh to his mother discussing student meanness, moving up to mature class, and sending her two sketches

Folder 76

December 16, 1883
Letter from Leigh to his mother concerning why he doesn't attend Harper's receptions and more about Meyer

Folder 77

December 23, 1883
Letter from Leigh to his mother regarding sketching limbs and Christmas visits to several churches for décor and music

Folder 78

December 30, 1883
Letter from Leigh to his mother describing visit to skating pond

Folder 79

January 6, 1884
Letter from Leigh to his mother concerning refusal to attend Wagner on Sunday

Folder 80

January 13, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother reporting his return from the Tyrol and Meyer dropping out of the trip

Folder 92

April 14, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother concerning Meyer, Leigh, and Paul moving to separate rooms and the new school year bringing a group of, in Leigh's judgment, questionable students

Folder 93

April 27, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother reporting veterans parade, "King's" carriage ride, and Leigh maintaining that his "health was neglected in America"

Folder 95

May 11, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother discussing Leigh's charcoal drawing of Venus, time frame to begin painting, and his health issues

Folder 96

May 19, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother concerning his health, date to return to school, drawing schedule, and sketch to be sent to her

Folder 97

June 8, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother regarding his improving German and his daily schedule

Folder 98

June 15, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother regarding his Grandfather's opposition to Aunt Ana's marriage and Leigh's dumbbell exercises

Folder 99

June 22, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother describing July 4th supper and July 5th Academy "picnick,"and his expectation to enter "Nature" school in the fall

Folder 101

July 7, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother regarding examination and medal time at Academy

Folder 102

July 15, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother regarding his Rothenburg visit with his friend, Huben

Folder 104

August 3, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother describing the walled city of Rothenburg

Folder 105

August 10, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother describing girls gathering water at Rothenburg fountains and also enclosing a letter to Mr. Fry, an uncle who helps financially

Folder 107

August 24, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother describing a town he visited and meeting Meyer in Munich

Folder 110

September 22, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother discussing the merits of European and American mountain scenery and describing the art of Professor Raupp of Munich

Folder 111

September 29, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother decorated with border sketches of trees at Chiensee, a still life with pistols and a skull, and boots bought by Meyer and also mentioning Mr. Hugh Newell

Folder 112

October 5, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother with sketches of a woman spinning, a man with a walking stick, and the toe of a boot. Leigh's Mother added a note to the letter regarding his age

Folder 113

October 13, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother relating that school begins the following day and Professor Nicolas Gysis will be his drawing teacher

Folder 114

October 19, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother describing attendance a performance of "The Magic Flute" with a post script regarding finances

Folder 115

October 26, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother describing work at school and ending with a sketch of a building in Rothenburg

Folder 116

November 2, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother regarding his birth year and describing in detail the making of etchings on zinc plates

Folder 118

November 16, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh in Munich to his Mother in West Virginia about his plan to help pay for models for afternoon class, learning to ice skate and the Presidential election.

Folder 119

November 30, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother regarding his sending some etchings for Christmas gifts, and news that some Negroes in Baltimore had hanged themselves in fear after the US elections.

Folder 120

December 8, 1884
Letter with envelope from Leigh to Mother describing a nice walk to Grosshesselake and the beauty of nature as well as apologizing for not attending church

Folder 121

December 14, 1884