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.
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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 from Leigh to "Brother" about plans for Easter trips and over summer

Folder 180

April 11, 1886
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding start of Easter trip and others' plans

Folder 181

April 12, 1886
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother describing walking trip in mountains visiting Gerlos, Zel, Mayenhopfer, Fugen, and Jinbach in Siller area, and Schensee

Folder 182

May 30, 1886
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother back in the Academy studying under Loefftz and continuing account of Easter trip

Folder 183

June 7, 1886
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother describing his trip to Augsburg and its industrial exposition in progress

Folder 184

June 20, 1886
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother about possible publicity for his figure drawing, summer in Munich, and Hallweg going home

Folder 185

June 28, 1886
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother about receiving money from uncle, attending King Lear, finishing heads to sell, and asking to extend stay

Folder 207

January 9, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding current work and hopes that mother will inform Uncle Chapman that Leigh wants to stay another year

Folder 208

January 17, 1887
Letter from Leigh to his mother regarding leaving Munich and returning to America for lack of money

Folder 209

January 23, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother about returning home when Academy closes for summer, borrowing money to stay another year, and opening a studio

Folder 210

January 30, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding borrowing money to be repaid by painting portraits and impracticality of selling his studies

Folder 211

February 6, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding not attending the Academy ball because of the expense

Folder 212

February 13, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother about travel plans home by Paris and London and art studies with note added March 14 asking sister to write letter to relieve Leigh's strain

Folder 214

February 27, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding holiday for Prince Regent's birthday, seeing Carmen, and nude male models in school

Folder 215

March 13, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother making comments about Meyer and Schencka

Folder 216

March 20, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding his desire to visit Schleishiam and Paris

Folder 217

March 27, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding walk out to Schlieshian comparing it with Chiemsee and Gestalt for art subjects

Folder 218

April 3, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding visit to Chiemsee and laying out a landscape

Folder 219

April 17, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother relating that Ludwig von Loefftz is pleased with his work

Folder 220

April 24, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding receipt of $100 from Uncle Alfred, seeing Theodora, Loefftz criticized his landscape and paying his Academy fee

Folder 221

May 8, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding his trip home around the end of July

Folder 222

May 16, 1887
Letter from Leigh to his mother regarding Loefftz liking his "Head", how he works, and Uhde exhibit

Folder 223

May 23, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding dental work, weather, and Meyer trying to make up with him

Folder 224

June 8, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding operettas, Loefftz hasn’t looked at his start on "Little Boy", difficulty of last week's assignment, desire to stay another two years

Folder 225

June 14, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding upcoming award which he probably will not receive and plans for trip home

Folder 226

June 20, 1887
Letter with envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding friends, comparing art schools, bringing home every scrap of his work as it is "sellable"

Folder 227

June 28, 1887
Letter with envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding last painting at school of nude girl, departing with Hallweg on August 6

Folder 228

July 5, 1887
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother about uncle's opinion that Leigh can support himself and Academy ball attendance

Folder 213

February 24, 1887
Letter with envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding Academy exhibition and departure

Folder 230

July 27, 1887
Letter from Leigh to his mother giving a detailed, 40 page, account of his voyage from New York to Antwerp enroute to Munich for his second sojourn in Europe

Folder 231

July 30, 1888
Letter from Leigh to his mother regarding two paintings of a young girl, hasn’t heard from Professor Loefftz yet

Folder 232

September 2, 1888
Letter from Leigh to his mother regarding opening a studio, Loefftz will accept him in the Academy, sending seven studies to Baltimore for sale

Folder 233

September 24, 1888
Letter with envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding setting in, plans, studies shipped to Uncle for sale

Folder 234

October 8, 1888
Letter from Leigh to his mother regarding works in progress and comments on works of colleagues

Folder 235

October 28, 1888
Letter from Leigh to his mother regarding more studies ready to send to Uncle Alfred other family news

Folder 236

November 12, 1888
Letter from Leigh to his mother regarding six studies that are to be shipped next week, the weather, practicing the zither

Folder 237

November 18, 1888
Letter with envelope from Leigh to his mother regarding high praise from Loefitz on his paintings and work on paintings of little girly and a baby nearly finished

Folder 238

December 9, 1888
Letter with envelope from Leigh to his mother advising her not to pay attention to criticisms of his work, he will try to get into Composition School

Folder 239

January 8, 1889
Letter from Leigh to his mother about his possible opportunity to join Professor Deffreger's Composition School as well as work on his painting of a mother and baby that he would be able to sell

Folder 240

January 13, 1889
Letter from Leigh to his uncle discussing a Baltimore art dealer General Shryock and the lack of sales

Folder 242

February 14, 1889
Letter from Leigh to his mother rejoicing in his good fortune in his employment with Professor Braun for the summer and fall, painting a panorama "The Entry To New York"

Folder 243

May 19, 1889
Letter with envelope from Leigh in Bayerischzell to his mother in West Virginia regarding his trip up into the mountains

Folder 244

June 11, 1889
Letter from Leigh to his mother while still in the mountains working

Folder 245

June 16, 1889
Letter and envelope from Leigh to his mother reporting he is back in Munich as the weather in the mountains was so rainy

Folder 246

June 23, 1889
Letter from Leigh to his mother mentioning an artist he admires, Carl Mar who will be exhibiting a large painting

Folder 247

June 30, 1889
Letter from Leigh sending warning to his mother regarding his employment with Professor Braun who has not followed through on his promises

Folder 248

July 7, 1889
Letter from Leigh to his mother regarding his work on a panorama of the Battle of Waterloo high up near the ceiling on clouds and sky

Folder 249

July 14, 1889
Letter from Leigh to his mother telling of a friend who is sending money, as well as his continued work on the panorama

Folder 250

September 15, 1889
Letter from Leigh beginning in Florence to his mother, finished with a note of his return to Munich December 19th

Folder 251

November 25, 1891
Letter with envelope from Leigh to his mother describing more of his trip to Italy, beginning with Naples and continuing with 26 pages of details

Folder 252

December 20, 1891