The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Chamberlain, Samuel V., 1895-1975
Samuel V. Chamberlain (1895-1975)
52.75 Linear feet (89 boxes)
The Samuel V. Chamberlain
papers contain the personal and business papers of Samuel and Narcissa Chamberlain
as well as a large amount of research material on France and England and
SERIES I. Personal Papers
A. Early Years
B. Correspondence with Parents
C. Correspondence with Wife, Narcissa
D. Correspondence with Daughters
SERIES II. Business Papers
A. Publisher Correspondence
B. Book Contracts, Copyrights
C. Personal Business Files
D. Index to Print Subjects
E. Photograph Albums
SERIES III. Publications
A. Bouquet De
SERIES IV. Narcissa G. Chamberlain Papers
A. Papers and Ephemera
B. Fundraising for Preservation of King Hooper
E. The American Scene Records
Scope and Content Note
The Samuel V. Chamberlain papers contain the personal and business papers of Samuel
and Narcissa Chamberlain as well as a large amount of research material on France
and England and ephemera. It has been organized into four series.
Series I. Personal Papers is divided into five
subseries, which are arranged chronologically. Subseries A.
Early Years contains papers belonging to Chamberlain's mother, Cora Lee
Chamberlain, including photographs of Chamberlain and his parents (1895-1897) and
his mother's diary beginning with her pregnancy (1895-1899). Subseries B. Correspondence with Parents contains weekly letters from
Chamberlain to his parents while he was at the University of Washington (1913-1914),
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1915-1917), during World War I
(1917-1919), and immediately after the war. Subseries C.
Correspondence with Wife, Narcissa (1922-1962) contains many letters
written to his wife, Narcissa, when they were separated by travel or war. It also
contains photographs and clippings. Subseries D. Correspondence
with Daughters (1942-1957) contains letters to Narcisse and Stephanie.
Subseries E. Other contains a scrapbook made by
friends after a visit to California in 1971, his postcard collection (most are
blank; many were received from others).
Series II. Business Papers is divided into five
subseries. Subseries A. Publisher Correspondence
(1936-1971) contains correspondence, contracts, press clippings, and photographs
from Chamberlain's publisher, Walter Frese, at Hastings House. It is arranged
chronologically. Subseries B. Book Contracts, Copyrights
(1937-1979) contains correspondence, contracts, and copyright registrations for many
books of Samuel Chamberlain, Narcissa G. Chamberlain, and Narcisse Chamberlain. It
is arranged alphabetically. Subseries C. Personal Business
Files (1896-1984) contains Chamberlain's home office files. They consist
of personal correspondence, correspondence about his work, photographs, newspaper
and magazine article clippings, and awards. It is arranged alphabetically, as
Chamberlain had arranged it in his office. Subseries D. Index to
Print Subjects contains a typed index to the subjects which Chamberlain
etched. Subseries E. Photograph Albums consists of pages
from large format photo albums which contain photographs Chamberlain took in Europe
while in the military.
Series III. Publications (1939-1983) contains files
on many of Sam and Narcissa Chamberlain's published books and articles. For Bouquet de France and British
Bouquet, there is a folder on each region of the country containing
research notes, menus, drafts, photographs, correspondence, and often the Gourmet Magazine issue in which the article appeared.
There are numerous photographs for the calendars that he published in the 1960s and
1970s. There are copies of Gourmet Magazine from the
1960s, but not every month is represented. It is divided into four series.
Series IV. Narcissa G. Chamberlain Papers
(1919-1989) is divided into five series. Subseries A. Papers and
Ephemera contains correspondence, photographs, and clippings from
Narcissa's personal life as well as papers from a lawsuit she filed in 1979
regarding misuse of etched images of Yale University. It also contains many
condolence letters to Narcissa, after Chamberlain's death. They are arranged
alphabetically. Subseries B. Fundraising for Preservation of
King Hooper Mansion contains letters, news clippings, and records of
fundraising to save the King Hooper Mansion where the Marblehead Arts Association
was eventually located. Subseries C. Recipes contains
notebooks of recipes that Narcissa gathered and tried before publishing them in
cookbooks. Subseries D. Photographs contains photographs
and negatives of the Chamberlains from childhood through adulthood. They are
arranged chronologically. Subseries E. The American Scene
Records contains records of transactions created when Chamberlain
marketed his postcards to various individuals and businesses in the late 1930s. The
folders contain correspondence, order forms, and payment vouchers. They are arranged
alphabetically as Narcissa originally kept them.
Samuel Vance Chamberlain was born in Iowa in 1895 and
raised in Washington state. Chamberlain began his academic career at the University
of Washington in 1913. In 1915 he enrolled in the architectural program at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, but his education was
interrupted by World War I. He joined the American Field Service and drove
ambulances in France. In 1919, Chamberlain returned to the United States where he
worked for various architectural firms and as a commercial artist. In 1922 he moved
back to Paris for a few months and on the return voyage he met his future wife,
Narcissa Gellatly (1899-1988). They wed in 1923 and had two daughters, Narcisse
(1924-2008) and Stephanie (1931-1993). In the mid-1930s they settled in Marblehead,
Massachusetts. He had a sister, Helen, who was called Betty.
During his career, Chamberlain worked for a number of publications such as Pencil Points, and published widely on subjects he
encountered during his travels. He also wrote and/or illustrated nearly 100 books of
architecture and interiors. Chamberlain taught graphic arts at MIT from 1934 until
World War II. He worked as a reconnaissance photographer during that war. Throughout
the 1940s and 1950s Chamberlain broadened his focus to include cookbooks and fashion
illustrations. The Chamberlains' love for Europe would lead to the publication of
superb travel books on France, Italy, and England. He invented the week-by-week
photographic engagement calendar in 1940.
During his lifetime Chamberlain was widely respected for his work as a
printmaker, artist, photographer, and writer. He was a member of the esteemed
National Academy of Design, the American Institute of Architects, and other
prestigious societies in America and Europe. He received many awards and was a
founding member of the Marblehead Arts Association. He died in Marblehead in
Narcissa Gellatly Chamberlain was born on December
21, 1899 in New York City, the daughter of William B. Gellatly and Narcissa Barton
Gellatly and educated at Dana Hall School in Wellesley. She later studied at the
École Cordon Bleu in Paris. After World War I, she served as a volunteer with the
American Committee for Devastated France. After marrying Samuel Chamberlain in 1923,
she studied painting in Paris and Boston. Narcissa painted throughout her life and
exhibited at the Childs Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts. When Sam began making
photographic books, she often traveled with him, doing research, caption writing,
and the lighting for photographs of room interiors. For the Bouquet books she translated, tested, and adapted the recipes. She
co-authored many of her husband's books. She is the author of Old Rooms for New Living (1954), Southern Interiors of Charleston, S.C. (1956), The Omelette Book (1956) and The
Prints of Samuel Chamberlain (1984) and the editor of A Vintage Food Sampler. She was active in the Marblehead
Historical Society and was one of a group who helped save the King Hooper Mansion as
an historical site in the late 1930s. She died on July 2, 1988 in Beverly,
This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons,
or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Calder, Alexander, 1898-1976
Chamberlain, Narcissa Gellatly, 1899-1988
Chamberlain, Narcisse, 1924-2008
Chamberlain, Samuel V., 1895-1975
Chamberlain, Stephanie, 1931-1993
England--Description and travel
France--Description and travel
Italy--Description and travel
Williamsburg (Va.)--Description and travel
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research use.
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in
writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex
Samuel V. Chamberlain (1895-1975) Papers, MSS 369, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex
Museum, Salem, Mass.
This material was donated by Narcisse Chamberlain in 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1991 (acc
#87008, 88001, 88004, 88021, 89016, 89049, and 91026).
Collection processed by Tamara Gaydos, January 2009. Updated by October 2014.
Chamberlain, Narcissa Gellatly and Kingsland, Jane Field, The
Prints of Samuel Chamberlain N.A.; Drypoints, Etchings, Lithographs,
Boston, Boston Public Library, 1984.
Chamberlain, Samuel, Etched in Sunlight; Fifty Years in
the Graphic Arts, Boston, Boston Public Library, 1968.
"Samuel Chamberlain (1895-1975)". Escapes North.
North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. November 21, 2007. http://bit.ly/1e5pEig
Thurston-Lighty, Kathleen. "Centennial Works by Samuel V. Chamberlain 1918 at
MIT Museum." Arts at MIT. MIT Office of the Arts. November 21, 2007.
Papers of Narcisse Chamberlain (1924-2008) are at the Schlesinger Library,
Cambridge, Massachusetts (collection number MC 545)
For additional Samuel V. Chamberlain material, including books and 57
engagements calendars, please visit Philcat, our online catalog.
The American Decorative Arts department of the Peabody Essex Museum also owns
the following Chamberlain items (accession #89-049):
Copper printing plates
Pirated prints of Yale University series
Sketches for Yale University series
1 bundle of tracings
86 prints (object IDs 137350.1-86)
1 etching of New York skyline at night (object ID 137992)
Six original works of art (Copies of these can be found in Box 74 Folder 6):
Etchings: "In the Marketplace, Poiters"(object ID 138715), "Another Corner Café,
Vendome" (object ID 138716)
Watercolors: tudor style building (object ID 138717), unnamed tree (object
ID138718), "A Lane at Wez" (object ID138719), and "The Dungeon Loghes" (object ID
138720), small unnamed watercolor (object ID 138722)
Drawing: "An Academy of Medicine" (object ID 138721)