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HC 1

Moore, Charles Herbert, 1840-1930. Papers of Charles Herbert Moore, 1894-1910: A Guide

Harvard Art Museum Archives, Harvard Art Museums, Harvard University
The President and Fellows of Harvard College

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

These papers were processed with the generous support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Getty Foundation.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: HC 1
Repository: Harvard Art Museum Archives, Harvard Art Museums, Harvard University
Creator: Moore, Charles Herbert, 1840-1930
Title: Papers of Charles Herbert Moore, 1894-1910: A Guide
Date(s): 1894-1910
Quantity: 3 linear feet (3 file boxes, oversize materials)
Abstract: These papers of Charles Herbert Moore, first director of the Fogg Museum, document his administration of the museum and the development of its early collection. The papers date from 1894 to 1910 and consist of sent and received correspondence, invoices, and shipping documents.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The papers were left at the Fogg Museum by former director Charles Herbert Moore.

Processing Information:

The collection was originally processed in March and April 2005 by Krista Ferrante. Laura Morris did further processing work on the collection in April 2008.

Conditions on Access:

Access: Unrestricted. Volume 4 is closed to research due to its fragility, but digital images of each page are available.
Copyright: The President and Fellows of Harvard College hold any copyright in Moore's papers. Copyright in some papers in the collection may be held by their authors' heirs or assigns Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the Harvard Art Museums Archives before publishing quotations from any material in the collection.

Conditions on Use:

Copying: Papers may be copied in accordance with the Harvard Art Museums Archives usual procedures.


Artist, professor, architectural historian and first director of Harvard's Fogg Museum, Charles Herbert Moore was born on April 10, 1840 to Charles and Jane Maria Moore. He grew up in New York City, where he attended public schools. Moore never attended college. He began a career as a landscape painter in the 1850s, having studied at the Thirteenth Street School in New York and in private lessons with painter Benjamin H. Coe. Beginning in 1859, Moore spent summers painting in the Catskill Mountains, where he moved permanently in 1862. Moore helped found the American Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group which proclaimed itself the "Society for the Advancement of Truth in Art." Moore married Mary Jane Tomlinson in 1865 and exhibited his paintings frequently throughout the 1860s.
In 1871 Moore moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to teach freehand drawing and watercolor at Harvard's Lawrence Scientific School. He was recommended for this position by friend and mentor Charles Eliot Norton, and in 1874 Norton selected Moore as an instructor in drawing and the principles of design in Harvard College's emerging Fine Arts program. In 1876 Moore began a two-year leave of absence in Europe, where he studied under John Ruskin and further prepared himself for his teaching responsibilities. He returned to Harvard in 1878 and began teaching a course called "Principles of Design in Painting, Sculpture and Architecture," offered as Fine Arts 1, in addition to courses in drawing and art history. Moore's wife passed away in 1880 and he remarried, to Elizabeth Fisk Hewins, the following year.
Harvard awarded Moore an honorary A.M. degree and promoted him to Assistant Professor of Fine Arts in 1891. In 1895 when the Fogg Museum opened he was named curator. The following year he became a full professor and was selected as the museum's first director, a position he held until his retirement in 1909. During his tenure at the museum, Moore focused on building the partnership between the Fogg Museum and the Harvard Fine Arts department. He also encouraged close and direct observation of objects as integral to the study of art and art history. Although the Fogg Museum's early collections largely consisted of plaster casts and photographs of original works, Moore encouraged the development of a collection of original works, including so-called masterpieces. He also encouraged gifts and loans of original works of art to the museum. The transfer of the Francis Calley Gray and the John Witt Randall collections of prints and engravings to the Fogg in the 1890s provided a stepping stone for the expansion and refinement of the collections that would come under subsequent directors.
In addition to his teaching and museum work, Moore wrote and published several books. His first book, Facsimiles or Examples in Delineation Selected from the Masters for the Use of the Student in Drawing, was published in 1882. The Development and Character of Gothic Architecture, his most renowned book, was first published in 1890, and Moore published another volume of architectural history, The Character of Renaissance Architecture, in 1905. After his retirement from the Fogg, Moore moved to Hartley Wintney in Hampshire, England, where he finished The Medieval Church Architecture of England, published in 1912.
Moore lived in Hartley Wintney until his death on February 15, 1930.

Scope and Content:

The papers in this collection document Charles Herbert Moore's career as curator and director of the Fogg Museum. They date from 1894 to 1910 and consist of both sent and received letters. The correspondence covers many topics related to Moore's administration of the museum, including collection development, staffing concerns, purchases of plaster casts and photographs of original art from Europe, humidity and temperature concerns in the galleries, international tariffs, and the transfer of the Gray and Randall Collections from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to the Fogg. There is also correspondence about whether or not the portrait of Philip IV acquired by the Boston MFA in 1904 was an authentic Vélasquez.
The loose materials (folders 1-89) have been rehoused in archival folders and boxes. The processor has maintained the order of folders and their contents as they were found. Overstuffed folders have been refoldered into several folders for preservation and numbered to indicate that they represent a part of a larger whole (for example: "folder 1 of 2".) The titles that appeared on the folders have been retained and the processing archivist has enclosed any added information in square brackets. It is unknown if the papers' arrangement was created by Moore and his staff or imposed by subsequent museum employees. Fragile materials have been enclosed in mylar and acidic materials have been isolated with archival paper.
The letters in folders 1-89 are filed alphabetically by last name; in many instances, they are filed under the name of individual correspondents rather than their institutional affiliations. Volume 4, a letter book, contains sent correspondence that is in chronological order; there is an alphabetical index of recipients' names in the front of the volume. In addition, there are several letters written by Moore interfiled with the received correspondence. These are filed under the recipient's name and found in the following folders: 13, 31, 45, 49, 51, 64, 71, 73, 74, 86 and 88. In several instances, correspondence between multiple parties about a specific topic are clipped together, in defiance of alphabetical order.
Moore corresponded with many people in the course of his work at the Fogg Museum. These papers include letters from Harvard President Charles W. Eliot; Treasurer C. F. Adams, as well as Howard Blackwell, Allen Danforth, Edward W. Hooper and A.W. Pope in the Treasurer's office; from Secretary Jerome D. Greene; and Bursar Charles F. Mason. Also included is correspondence with individuals and organizations in Europe from whom the museum purchased photographs, plaster casts, and other objects used in teaching; these correspondents include the Fratelli Alinari; the American Schools of Classical Studies in Athens and in Rome; Braun, Clément & Co.; the École Nationale at Spéciale des Beaux-Arts; W.A. Mansell & Co.; Ferdinand Meder; Romualdo Moscioni; Pouzadoux & Fils; Paul Robert; Sebah & Joaillier; and G. Sommer & Son. In addition, Moore corresponded with a range of advisors, collectors, staff of other museums and art historians; these include Bernard Berenson, Francis Bullard, Arthur Tracy Cabot, Barr Ferree, Kuno Francke, J.P. Morgan, Charles Fairfax Murray, Charles Eliot Norton, Richard Norton, Edward W. Forbes, Sylvester R. Koehler, Edward Robinson and William Ward.

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