The most complete source of information on Frank W. Benson is the collection of his papers at the Peabody Essex Institute in his birthplace of Salem, Massachusetts. In the James Duncan Phillips Library the Frank W. Benson Papers contain correspondence, his artist’s scraphooks, awards, photograph albums, his portfolio, some student sketches, even the hood given to him by Tufts University when they gave him his honorary degree. Also at the Peabody Essex are the papers of Daniel Henderson a close friend of Benson’s who saved their correspondence from 1881 to 1924. The papers and travel journals of Ellen Perry Peirson, Benson’s wife are also at the Peabody Essex.

Another rich source of original documents is the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. and New York, N.Y. There I was able to read on micro film the following papers : Frank W. Benson Papers, Guild of Boston Artists Papers, Willard L. Metcalf Papers, Philip Leslie Hale Papers, Scraphooks of: Edwin C. Shaw, Frank Vincent DuMond Papers, Childe Hassam Papers, J. Alden Weir Papers, Catalogues of Doll and Richards, Boston Art Club and J. Eastman Chase, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Scraphooks. Charlotte Barton West Papers, Joseph Lindon Smith Papers (unfilmed, stored in Washington), Carnegie Institute Papers (Washington office only), Milch Gallery Papers (unfilmed, stored in New York), Macbeth Gallery Papers, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Directors’ Correspondence.

Calm Morning

Calm Morning, 1904. Oil on canvas

Benson’s Correspondence

The following institutions have correspondence files in which can be found letters from Benson to the museum directors and, occasionally, carbon copies of the director’s letters to him:


Benson Works in Museums

The following museums, libraries and historical sites have one or more Bensons in their collections. Since a number of these institutions may not have their Bensons on permanent display, it is recommended that you call ahead to see if the painting in which you are interested is currently being exhibited. With advanced notice, it is often possible to arrange to view a painting that is in a museum’s stacks or storage area.

Portrait of My Daughters_small