Carl W. Peters Papers

Other Views:  PDF  |  EADNote: You may browse using the navigation on the left, or use Ctrl-F to search within this finding aid.

Collection Overview
Title: Carl W. Peters papers
Creator: Peters, Carl William, 1897-1980
Call Number: D.422
Dates: 1899-2004
Physical Description: 10 boxes
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation

Biographical/Historical Note
Carl William Peters (1897-1980) was an American regionalist painter. Born in Rochester, New York, he moved to a small farm in the nearby town of Fairport in 1911. The rural landscape inspired a love of nature that would later define Peters's work as an artist. Two years later the University of Rochester's Memorial Art Gallery was established. The exhibits organized by its first director, George Herdle, left another strong impression on young Peters, who at age seventeen established his own Rochester studio and declared himself an artist in the city directory.

With the outbreak of World War I, Peters left high school to attend the Mechanics Institute, now the Rochester Institute of Technology, where his art studies included anatomy, perspective, and illustration. He left for Europe as a cavalry soldier in 1918 and was assigned to the Camouflage Corps as a designer. He settled in New York City following the war, where he joined the Arts Student League and attended their summer school in Woodstock. It was here in 1921 that Peters heard the lectures of Robert Henri and was enthralled by the egalitarian values of the Ash Can School, who were known for their realist depictions of daily life in New York City's working class neighborhoods. This influence remained with Peters throughout his career. He established his landscape style at Woodstock and was soon submitting his work to prominent national shows.

In 1925 Peters moved to Gloucester, Massachusetts, having grown fond of the art colony life. Alternating between rural and urban landscapes, his style quickly became so unique his works were said to be instantly distinguishable from those of his Rockport friends, who were mostly realists and American Scientists. During this time he began winning high honors such as the Hallgarten Prize from the National Academy of Design for his oil paintings and became the first recipient of the Lillian Fairchild Award from the Memorial Art Gallery. Throughout his career, other prizes would include the silver medal and two first places from the Rochester Art Club, the Mr. and Mrs. Spencer White Award from Academic Artists, and numerous medals and awards from the Rockport Art Association.

In Rochester Peters is perhaps best known for the large mural Rochester Past, Present, and Future formerly at the Genesee Valley Trust Company Building (today the Times Square Building), but now destroyed. Completed along with the building in 1930, the mural was contemporaneous with those of three other artists in New York City (Thomas Hart Benton, Boardman Robinson, and D. Putnam Brinley) who also drew on iconography from American history. Together, these four murals contributed to a national popularization of the Depression-era mural, which is distinguished by its American historical themes as opposed to the 'timelessness' of earlier murals. As the Depression continued, Peters joined thousands of other artists in the Public Works Art Projects and painted additional murals. He also kept up his plein air works, often depicting the agrarian community in which he had grown up.

Peters divided his time between his studios in Fairport near the Erie Canal and Rocky Neck in Cape Ann. While living in Massachusetts during the summer, he taught art classes and enjoyed painting the fishermen of Rockport. Beginning in the 1940s his style leaned towards a more colorful bravura although his interest in landscapes and everyday scenes remained constant until his death in 1980.

Carl W. Peters married Christine and had two daughters, Elaine and Gay. The couple divorced in 1948. Peter later married Blanche Peaslee, who survived him.

Scope and Content
The Carl W. Peters Papers consists primarily of his sketches and sketchbooks, but also include material related to his life, career, and artistic legacy.

New York (State)--Rochester
Peters, Carl William, 1897-1980
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Carl W. Peters Papers were donated in February 2009 by Nancy Miller Batty, whose father had been a neighbor and student of Peters's. The papers consist primarily of his sketches and sketchbooks, but also include material related to his life, career, and artistic legacy. Another collection of Carl W. Peters papers is located in the . More information about Peters is also available from , the , and the .Access
The Carl W. Peters papers is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], Carl W. Peters papers, D.422, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Administrative Information
Author: Finding aid prepared by Rare Books and Special Collections staff
Publisher: Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055

Content List
Series I: Career and personal papers, 1919-2004
Box 1, Folder 1Appraisals, 1985-1998
Box 1, Folder 2Archives of American Art, 1981-1984
Box 1, Folder 3Biographical
Box 1, Folder 4Blanche Peters (Personal)
Box 1, Folder 5Cape Ann Historical Association correspondence, 1994-1995
Box 1, Folder 6"Catalogue of the One-Hundred-and-Twenty-Second Annual Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts", 1927
Box 1, Folder 7"Catalogue of the One-Hundred-Twenty-Eighth Annual Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts", 1933
Box 1, Folder 8Clippings and press releases, 1946-2000s
Box 1, Folder 9-10Correspondence, 1954-1978, 1980-1999
Box 1, Folder 11Exhibit comments
Box 1, Folder 12-14Exhibit catalogues, 1930-1957, 1963-after 1980
Box 1, Folder 15Financial, 1948-1984
Box 1, Folder 16Gold leaf ("for Mrs. Peters")
Box 2, Folder 1Labels (brass - for paintings)
Box 2, Folder 2Memorial Art Gallery, 1922-1980
Box 2, Folder 3Military and personal papers, 1919-1987
Box 2, Folder 4Miscellaneous
Box 2, Folder 5Obituaries, 1980
Box 2, Folder 6-7Photographs, circa 1900's-1989
Box 2, Folder 8Photographs of paintings and exhibits
Box 2, Folder 9Printed reproductions
Box 2, Folder 10R.H. Love Galleries correspondence, 1993-1995
Box 2, Folder 11Rochester Art Club, 1948-1975
Box 2, Folder 12Rockport Art Association, 1930-2004
Box 2, Folder 13Second Annual Festival of the Arts - Gloucester, Massachusetts, 1953
Box 2, Folder 14Spanierman Gallery, 1997-1998
Box 9Scrapbook, 1915-1964
Box 10Painter's kit
Series II: Books, 1899-1994
Box 3, Folder 1E.A. Kimball, The Peaslees and Others of Haverhill and Vicinity, 1899
Box 3, Folder 2Rochester Chamber of Commerce, 100 Years: a century of commerce in Rochester
Box 3, Folder 3(Peter's mural on cover), 1934
Box 3, Folder 4Artists of the Rockport Art Association, 1964, 4th edition
Box 3, Folder 5Marlene Park and Gerald Markowitz, New Deal for Art, 1977
Box 3, Folder 6Charles Movalli, "Looking for patterns: a conversation with Carl W. Peters" (American Artist, 1977)
Box 3, Folder 7R.H. Love Galleries, The Art of Carl William Peters, 1994 exhibit
Box 3, Folder 8Miscellaneous - other artists
Series III: Sketchbooks, 1927-1978
Box 4, Folder 1Notebook, 1927
Box 4, Folder 2Sketchbook, 1947
Box 4, Folder 3Sketchbook, circa 1949
Box 4, Folder 4Sketchbook, circa 1950
Box 4, Folder 5Notebook, circa 1952-1954
Box 4, Folder 6Sketchbook number 12, circa 1954
Box 4, Folder 7Accounts and sketch book, circa 1956-1957
Box 4, Folder 8Notebook, 1956-1978
Box 4, Folder 9Sketchbook, 1957
Box 5, Folder 1Sketchbook, July 1957
Box 5, Folder 2Sketchbook number 21
Box 5, Folder 3Sketchbook number 23, 1963
Box 5, Folder 4Sketchbook number 31, circa 1976
Box 5, Folder 5Sketchbook number 36
Box 5, Folder 6Sketchbook number 42
Box 8, Folder 6Sketchbook number 58
Box 5, Folder 7Sketchbook number 71
Box 5, Folder 8Sketchbook number 75
Box 5, Folder 9Sketchbook number 84
Box 5, Folder 10Sketchbook number 86
Box 6, Folder 1Sketchbook number 87, 1966-?
Box 6, Folder 2Sketchbook number 94
Box 6, Folder 3Sketchbook number 97
Box 6, Folder 4Sketchbook number 100
Box 6, Folder 5Sketchbook number 108
Box 6, Folder 6Sketchbook number 112
Box 6, Folder 7-10;
Box 7, Folder 1-6
Sketchbooks, undated
Series IV: Works
Box 8, Folder 1, 3Sketches
Box 8, Folder 2Small watercolors
Box 8, Folder 4Advertisement for Great Western Wines with Peter's painting, circa 1950's-1960's
Box 8, Folder 5Oversized photographs, 1970's

Other Views:  PDF  |  EAD