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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Eng 1900

William B. Osgood Field collection of European prints and drawings


Contains mainly English but also Irish, French, German, and Dutch prints, as well as a few drawings, the majority of which are from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with a few printed in the twentieth century.


  • circa 1700-1941

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.


5.45 linear feet (20 boxes)

Contains mainly prints from England, Ireland, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, along with some drawings, dating from the early eighteenth century. Most of the prints date from the eighteenth to the end of the nineteenth century, though some were printed in the twentieth century. Artists include: Louis Philippe Boltard (the younger), Henry William Bunbury, Samuel Collings, George Cruikshank, Isaac Cruikshank, Robert Cruikshank, Robert Dighton, John Doyle, Richard Doyle, James Gillray, C. J. Grant, Giles Grinagain, H. Heath, Theodore Lane, Thomas Rowlandson, James Sayers, Robert Seymour, A. Sharpshooter, C. Williams, George Moutard Woodward, and many others. Many of the topics of the prints relate to contemporary popular culture, including numerous political and cultural satires.

Biographical / Historical

William Bradhurst Osgood Field was a landowner, collector and philanthropist from a New York family. He was the son of William Hazard Field and Augusta Currie Bradhurst Field, and the nephew of Osgood Field, a society figure in London and Rome. William's sister, Mary Pearsall Field, was also a socialite.

In 1902 he married Lila Vanderbilt Sloane Field, the great-granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt. They divided their time between their three family properties, 645 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, High Lawn in Lenox and Westfield in Mohegan Lake. They had four children: William Osgood Field, who became a respected glaciologist, Frederick Vanderbilt Field, who became a communist and writer on Asia's economy, Marjorie Lila who turned High Lawn estate into a top dairy farm with her husband H. George Wilde, and Mary Augusta. The death of William's first wife in 1934 led to subsequent marriages to Erika Segnitz in 1936 (divorced in 1940) and Mary Hemenway in 1944.

Field graduated from the Stevens Institute of Technology in 1894 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He later took courses in biology and zoology at Columbia University. He initially worked as a member of the engineer corps of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad. He was a member of many commercial and charitable organisations in New York and sat on numerous boards. Between 1903 and 1909 he was vice-president of M. W. Kellogg Company. He was also appointed to the Board of Managers for the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents in New York in 1907.

Field travelled extensively throughout his life and formed a collections of prints, stamps, coins, crucifixes and books. He was a member of the Grolier Club from 1904, serving as president from 1925-1928. In 1920 loans from his print collection were made to an exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In 1942 he bequeathed his books and Edward Lear drawings to the Harvard College Library.


Materials are arranged in alphabetical order by the artist's surname, followed by the title. The materials printed by Thomas Tegg were separated at some point, and now follow after the alphabetical list, loosely arranged in numerical order.

Other Finding Aids

An original inventory from 1947, which is the basis for this finding aid, is available on-site at Houghton Library. There is a 2022 updated guide that may provide additional information, also available by request on-site in the internal file at Houghton Library.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of William B. Osgood Field, 1942.

Separated Materials

Many prints that were originally a part of this collection were separated over time at Houghton Library, and have been described separately. The largest groupings of these can be found by searching the following call numbers: pFB8 N1627 Z804n, pFB8 N1627 Z805n, pFB8 N1627 Z806n, pFB8 N1627 Z807n, *44W-3121F, and *44W-2077PF. The original inventory describes additional separated material.

Processing Information

Processed by Betts Coup and Rebecca Kelly-Bowditch, 2022, based on an inventory by Ross Taggart from 1947.

Field, William B. Osgood. William B. Osgood Field collection of European prints and drawings, circa 1700-1941 (MS Eng 1900): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
2022 October 21
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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