Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Chapman Family Correspondence and Other Documents
MSS 0048  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (58.82 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Related Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Custodial History
  • Biography
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights
  • Digital Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Languages: English
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla 92093-0175
    Title: Chapman Family Correspondence and Other Documents
    Creator: Chapman (Family : 1808- : Chapman, J. G. (John Gadsby), 1808-1889)
    Creator: Chapman, J. G. (John Gadsby)
    Creator: Chapman, Conrad Wise
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0048
    Physical Description: 1.5 Linear feet (10 oversize folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1791-1898
    Abstract: A small collection of the family papers of American painter John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1898), consisting mostly of letters to Chapman from colleagues and associates, and correspondence with his son, Conrad Wise Chapman. Of special interest are Conrad Chapman's letters to his family, written while he served in the Confederate army during the Civil War.

    Related Materials

    A scrapbook containing John G. Chapman's designs in wood is housed at the Virginia State Library, Richmond.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    A small collection of the family papers of American painter John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1898), consisting mostly of letters to Chapman from colleagues and associates, and correspondence with his son, Conrad Wise Chapman. Of special interest are Conrad Chapman's letters to his family, written while he served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. The collection also includes a number of letters dating from the 1890s written by Conrad to his brother John; a letter from the U.S. Congress regarding John Gadsby Chapman's commission for the Capitol rotunda; a letter written by American painter Thomas Sully (1783-1872), dated 1830; and letters documenting everyday 19th century life, including the sale of slaves and a description of the Washington homestead in Fredericksburg, VA.
    The collection is arranged in two series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE and 2) ENGRAVINGS.

    Custodial History

    The Chapman Family Papers were collected by Conrad's brother, John Linton Chapman. He gave the materials as a gift to Helen Kaley, a friend of the family. Mrs. Kaley carried the materials with her as she moved throughout the U.S., finally donating the collection to the UC San Diego Library in 1972.

    Biography

    John Gadsby Chapman (1808-1889) was an American painter. Born in Alexandria, Virginia, he was a pupil of George Cooke and C. B. King. A student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, he was elected a member of the National Academy in 1836.
    Chapman worked in New York City and Washington, D.C., and gained a successful reputation as a painter of historical scenes and portraits. He also produced wood engravings and etchings, and often contributed pictures to Harper Brothers' publications. His American Drawing Book, published in 1847, became a standard text. Among Chapman's most famous works were his illustrations for Harpers' Bible and his painting "The Baptism of Pocahontas," commissioned by the U.S. Congress for the Capitol rotunda.
    In 1848 Chapman returned to Italy, where he established a studio in Rome and raised his family. He eventually returned to the United States in 1884, and died in New York. Among his children were his daughter Mary and his two sons, John Linton Chapman and Conrad Wise Chapman.
    Conrad Wise Chapman (called "Cooney") also became a painter. After living in Rome and Paris, Conrad left for America in 1861 to join the Confederate army. He served in the 3rd Kentucky Regiment and later as Ordnance Sergeant in the 59th Virginia Regiment. In 1863, as a result of his mother's ill-health, he took a furlough and travelled to Italy. Between December 1863 and March 1864, under the command of General P.G.T. Beauregard in Charleston, Chapman was assigned to draw coastal fortifications, resulting in a series of paintings that included images of Fort Sumter. After the war, he led a nomadic life in Texas and Mexico, eventually going back to Italy. By 1896 he was in Mexico again, and by 1898 he was married and living in Richmond, Virginia. He also developed a reputation as a photographer.

    Preferred Citation

    Chapman Family Correspondence and Other Documents, MSS 48. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Publication Rights

    Digital copies of this material are intended to support research, teaching, and private study. This work may be used without prior permission. The original manuscripts for this collection are held by Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego Library.

    Digital Content

    Correspondence from this collection has been digitized.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives, Confederate
    Painters -- America -- Manuscripts
    Engravings -- 19th century
    Chapman, J. G. (John Gadsby) -- Correspondence
    Chapman, Conrad Wise -- Correspondence
    Chapman, John Linton -- Correspondence
    Chapman (Family : 1808- : Chapman, J. G. (John Gadsby), 1808-1889) -- Archives
    Sully, Thomas -- Correspondence