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COLLECTION Identifier: SC 3

Papers of William Innes Homer, 1953-1960


Class and research notes of William Innes Homer (MA 1954, PhD 1960) and materials related to the 1955 Matisse exhibition at the Busch-Reisinger Museum.


  • 1953-1960

Conditions on Access:


Conditions on Use:

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

Copyright: The donor has transferred any copyright held in these papers to the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright in some papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the 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.


.25 linear feet (1 half file box)
The Homer papers date from 1953 to 1960 and include his lecture and research notes. Also included are materials relating to the 1955 Henri Matisse exhibition that Homer helped organize at the Busch-Reisinger Museum. The collection is arranged topically by series. Each series is arranged chronologically. All material is in good condition and has been housed in acid-free folders. The collection consists of three series: Lecture Notes (1953-1955), Matisse Exhibition (1955), and Research Notes (1959-1960). Series I, Lecture Notes (1953-1955), contains lecture notes taken in various classes in the Fine Arts Department at Harvard University: Fine Arts 200 Criticism, Interpretation and Research taught by Professor Jakob Rosenberg, Fine Arts 197 American Art taught by Professor Benjamin Rowland, Fine Arts 275 American Seminar also taught by Professor Rowland, and Fine Arts 277 Seminar on Color Theory taught by Professor Richard F. Brown. Homer made marginal illustrations throughout the notes both related and unrelated to the content of the notes themselves. Illustrations related to the notes include those of buildings at the University of Virginia and of women in the paintings of John Vanderlyn. Most of the unrelated illustrations are of human faces. Also included in this series is the syllabus for Fine Arts 197 and correspondence regarding research on the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, dated 1955.

Series II, Matisse Exhibition (1955), contains materials relating to the Matisse Exhibition at the Busch-Reisinger Museum. The exhibition was produced by students, including Homer, in a museum training course under the guidance of Professor Charles L. Kuhn and focused on the work of Henri Matisse, who had died the previous year. Included are press releases, advertisements, fliers, newspaper clippings, and an invitation. The series also contains photographs of both the interior and exterior of the Busch-Reisinger Museum at the time of the exhibition, including one photograph of William Homer himself.

Series III, Research Notes (1959-1960), consists of Homer's notes pertaining to his doctoral dissertation on the subject of Georges Pierre Seurat's color theory. Along with more informal notes, the series includes handwritten and typed rough drafts of small portions of Homer's thesis. Two of the pages of notes are in French.


Art historian and scholar William Innes Homer was born in Merion, Pennsylvania on November 8, 1929. His father, Austin Homer, was president of the J.E Caldwell & Co. in Philadelphia. Homer attended Princeton University, where he received his B.A in Art in Archaeology in 1951. He then studied at Harvard University where he received the M.A and Ph.D in Fine Arts in 1954 and 1960, respectively. In 1961 Homer took a job as an assistant professor in the Art and Archaeology Department at Princeton. He then went on to be an associate professor of Art History at Cornell University in 1964. In 1966 Homer was hired by the University of Delaware. He was later named the H. Rodney Sharp Professor Emeritus of Art History and acted as Chairman of the Art History Department at the University of Delaware from 1966 until 1981 and again from 1986 until 1993. Homer continued to teach at the University of Delaware until his retirement in 2000. During his tenure he published several books including Thomas Eakins: His Life and Art and Alfred Stieglitz and the Photo-Secession. He has also been a consultant on documentary films pertaining to his areas of expertise including Thomas Eakins: Scenes from Modern Life. Homer married Virginia Doris Keller in 1954; he married Christine Datri Hyer in 1986.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to the Harvard Art Museums by William Innes Homer in April and July 2006.

Related Material:

Additional papers of William Innes Homer are held primarily at the University of Delaware Special Collections, the Georgia O'Keefe Research Center, and the Delaware Art Museum. There is also a set of Homer's papers held at the Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Art.

Processing Information

Processing Information: The collection was processed in March 2008 by Justine Marino with assistance from Susan von Salis and Jane Callahan.
Link to catalog
Papers of William Innes Homer (SC 3), 1953-1960: A Guide
Harvard Art Museums Archives, Harvard University

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Art Museums Archives Repository

The Harvard Art Museums Archives is the official repository for institutional records and historical documents in all formats relating to the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, 1895 to the present. Its collections include significant papers of individuals and groups associated with the museums' history, as well as correspondence with collectors, gallery owners, museum professionals, and notables throughout the twentieth century. Its holdings also document the formation of the museums' collections and its mission as a teaching institution.

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Harvard University
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