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Maxfield Parrish papers

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Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966), painter, muralist, book, magazine, art and advertising illustrator, a specialist with color and light, known for both his romantic and humorous art, was an artist of the early 20th century. Starting as a painter of carefully-detailed landscapes, Parrish found success even as abstract art was ascendent. In the 1960s, the Pop Art movement embraced the imagery of commercial art and reintroduced figurative and objective elements, but Parrish's work had a differently-faceted quality. Parrish has been compared to Salvador Dali and other Surrealists.

Born in Philadelphia in 1870, he enjoyed the privileged childhood of a son of well-to-do Quaker parents, Stephen Elizabeth Parrish who took him on the Grand Tour of Europe and generally created a cultured environment for him. Parrish attended Haverford from 1888 to 1891; later he studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. His first oil painting, Moonrise, was exhibited in 1893. Parrish traveled a number of times to Europe on commissions or to study painting masters; in his letters, he commented on the effect of the colors employed. In 1895, he married Lydia Austin who was not a Quaker and Parrish soon left the folds of the Society of Friends.

As an illustrator, Parrish's works appeared in books, magazines and posters. He also created a quantity of purely "commercial" art, earning a great deal of money through the sale of color reproductions, and, by the late 1920s, he was able to leave commercial art and to paint whatever he chose. By the 1930s, he had chosen to paint only landscapes. Maxfield Parrish's subject matter came both from his own imagination and from laid out still-life arrangements in the form of miniature landscapes and architectural models. Parrish regularly painted from photographs which he had made, and when transferring the images to his paintings, he made few major transformations in them. By 1920 when F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote his short story, "May Day," he described the reflection in a restaurant window as being the color of "Maxfield Parrish moonlight."

The papers of artist and illustrator Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) who became enamored of art while a student at Haverford College. The collection consists of letters, original drawings and illustrations, magazines to which he contributed, catalogs, calendars and his famous chemistry notebook created while a student at the college.

Collection is in 4 boxes and in packages wrapped separately on shelves. Box 1 includes photographs, transparencies and other items (see itemized list following); box 2 contains 22 letters of Parrish, drawings, clippings and other items (see itemized list following); box 3 contains magazine illustrations and other items (see itemized list following); box 4 contains letters of Maxfield and Lydia Parrish to Bertha C. Day (later Bates) (see list following of selected letters); framed artwork wrapped separately on shelves.

Original processing information unknown.

Publisher
Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Collection Inventory

Letters of Maxfield Parrish, 1870-1966.
Box 1
Christian Brinton re: "A Master of Make Believe".
Box 1
Maxfield Parrish to Bertha C. Day, 1896-1899.
Box 1
Maxfield Parrish to Bertha C. Day, 1901-1912.
Box 1
Lydia Parrish to Bertha C. Day, 1896.
Box 1
Lydia Parrish to Bertha C. Day, 1897-1898.
Box 1
Lydia Parrish to Bertha C. Day, 1899-1900.
Box 1
Lydia Parrish to Bertha C. Day, 1901-1903.
Box 1
Lydia Parrish to Bertha C. Day, 1904-1906.
Box 1
Lydia Parrish to Bertha C. Day, 1907-1951.
Box 1
Wedding announcement of Maxfield and Lydia Parrish.
Box 1

German reader.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

German reader used by Parrish as a student at Haverford. Contains drawings, doodles, and notes in his hand.

Chemistry exam.
Box 1
Name cards for class of 1889 reunion banquet in 1891.
Box 1
Pen and Ink drawings for the 1889 Haverford class book.
Box 1
1891 class reunion caricatures.
Box 1
1894 class reunion caricatures.
Box 1
Album of caricatures for class of 1889 dinner, 1891.
Box 2
Athletic Association announcement.
Box 2
Man with cigarette and cane.
Box 2
Athletic Annual, 1897-1898.
Box 2
A Compendious German Grammar.
Volume 1
Chemistry notebook.
Volume 2
Physics notebook.
Volume 3
Cuts used in the Class of 1889 Class Book.
Box 5
Book News.
Box 2
Century, 1898-1902.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Christmas Eve, Dec. 1898 A Hill Prayer, Dec. 1899 The Story of Ann Powell, July 1900 Storm Song of the Norseman, Jan. 1901 L'Allegro and John Cox his Book, Dec. 1901 The Great Southwest, May 1902 The Great Southwest II, June 1902 The Great Southwest III and A Note about M.P.'s Western Pictures, July 1902 The Great Southwest IV, Aug. 1902 The Great Southwest... and The Southwest in Color, Nov. 1902

Century, 1903-1915.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Illustrations for series on Italian villas: Dec. 1903, Feb. 1904, April 1904, Aug. 1904, Oct. 1904 Keat's "To Autumn," Nov. 1904 I'm Sick of Being a Princess, Dec. 1904 Seven Green Pools, Aug. 1910 Sing a Song of Sixpence, Feb. 1911 Decoration for...James T. Storrow, April 1912 Curtis Company murals, Aug. 1912 Pipe-night at the Players, Dec. 1915

Century, 1921.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Hire's Root Beer advertisement, June 1921

Collier's.
Box 4 (ovs)
Scope and Contents

frontispiece "Circe's Palace", color, Jan. 25, 1908 cover "The Palace Guards", color, Dec. 12, 1908 cover "The Prospector", color,Feb. 4, 1911 cover "The Three Shepherds", color, cropped, Dec. 3, 1904 cover, Father Time winding clock, one color, Jan. 7, 1905 cover "Easter", color, April 15, 1905 cover "Spring", color, May 6, 1905 cover "Christmas Number", color, Dec. 16, 1905 cover, two characters in conversation, used in different colors for various issues: June 3 1905, July 8 1905,Mar. 4 1905, May 20 1908

Country Life, Harper's Bazar, Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Harper's Round Table.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Country Life, "Fit for a King" (Fisk Tire advertisement), color Harper's Bazaar, Easter", color, April 1895

Harper's Weekly.
Box 4 (ovs)
Scope and Contents

Cover, Christmas, Dec. 19, 1896

Ladies' Home Journal.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

cover "Air Castles" [also called "Bubbles"], color, Sept. 1904

Life, Literary Digest.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Life Magazine, cover (two men and Father Time), Dec. 1, 1900 cover (Three characters serving plum pudding), Dec. 1, 1921 (man in masquerade costume,)Oct. 19, 1922 Literary Digest, (Fisk Tire advertisement), May 11, 1918

McClure's Monthly.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

cover and illustrations for "Rawhide" Nov. 1904(2 items) Photoreproduction of article "Rawhide" cover (allegorical figure with landscapes), Jan. 1905

Saturday Evening Post.
Box 4 (ovs)
Scope and Contents

Edison Mazda advertisement, Sept. 20, 1924(line drawing) as above, with store window background, Dec. 27, 1924 as above, with additional figures, Feb. 7, 1924 Broadmoor Hotel (Maxwell House advertisement),July 4, 1925

Scribner's Magazine, 1897-1899.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Its Walls were as of Jasper, Aug. 1897 cover, Dec. 1897 At an Amateur..., Nov. 1898 Wagner's Ring..., Dec. 1898 cover, April 1899 Christmas cover, 1899

Scribner's Magazine, 1900.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

cover, 1900

Scribner's Magazine, 1900-1912.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

The Duchess at Prayer and Play Up Piper, Aug. 1900 Phoebus on Halzaphon, Aug. 1901 cover, "The Turquoise Cup," Dec. 1901 The Desert, Dec. 1902 A Venetian Night's Entertainment, Dec 1903 Romance, July 1903 The Vigil-at-arms, Dec. 1904 Potpourri, Aug. 1905 Old Romance, Aug. 1907 The Errant Pan, Aug. 1910 Make Believe, Aug. 1912

St. Nicholas Magazine.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

The Sandman, 1925

Miscellaneous.
Box 3
Scope and Contents

"The Pied Piper" black and white (magazine proof?) Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater... color print (advertisement brochure for Ferry and Co. Seeds) "The Clown" color print from a Parrish drawing winged globe footing (advertisement for Collier's Magazine) in Century Magazine 72:1 1906

Head and tail pieces for Collier's.
Box 3
Pencil sketch showing figures, architecture, and flora.
Box 4 (ovs)
The Dragon's Tale.
Box 3
"A rare chance".
Box 3
Two caricatures.
Box 3
Collier's: The National Weekly headpiece.
Case Oversize Folder 1
"CHRISTMAS" study (for Collier's).
Case Oversize Folder 1
The Adlake Camera.
Man Writing.
Box 4 (ovs)
Photographs of Sue Lewin.
Box 6 (ovs)
Scope and Contents

15 photographs; mostly glass positives

Ruler with drawings.
Box 4 (ovs)
Painted Guitar.
Box 7 (ovs)
Old King Cole.
Box 3
Jello advertising booklet.
Box 3
Arabian Nights prints.
Box 3
Christmas cards.
Box 3
Calendars.
Box 3
Oversize calendar, 1986.
Box 4 (ovs)

News clippings.
Box 3
Oversize news clippings.
Box 4 (ovs)
Exhibits and publicity.
Box 3
David Fraser articles and drafts.
Box 3
Dealer catalogs.
Box 3

Print, Suggest