Manuscript Collections

The manuscript collections of the Helen Farr Sloan Library focus on three major collecting areas, each complementary to the strengths of the Museum’s permanent art collection. These collections, in conjunction with the book and Museum art collections, contribute to a unique research opportunity at the Delaware Art Museum.


Waterwillow-webSamuel Bancroft Jr., a successful Wilmington textile manufacturer, did not begin collecting the art of the Pre-Raphaelites until the last half of his life. Bancroft’s passion and resolve quickly made up for his late start. From 1890 to his death in 1915, Bancroft amassed one of the most important collections of Pre-Raphaelite art in America, with special emphasis on the works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Bancroft was an impassioned collector of Pre-Raphaelite art, but he also strove to understand all aspects of the Pre-Raphaelites’ lives.

His collection soon included published books, handwritten manuscripts, exhibition catalogues, and even personal letters of the artists. With the donation of Bancroft’s entire collection to the Delaware Art Museum in 1935, the Library and Manuscript collections were formed.


Howard-pyle-webThe Howard Pyle Manuscript Collection documents the life and work of one of the most influential American illustrators of all time. Howard Pyle’s work and teachings ushered in the golden age of American illustration, and influenced generations of illustrators in the United States. The manuscript collection includes Pyle’s correspondence, lectures, photographs, newspaper clippings, as well as scrapbooks of his book and magazine illustrations.

Complementary to the Pyle collection, the Library also collects manuscript materials of Pyle’s students. Important collections exist for artist/illustrators such as Gayle Porter Hoskins, Bertha Corson Day Bates, Elizabeth Shippen Green, N.C. Wyeth, Stanley Arthurs, Harvey Dunn, Katherine Pyle, and Maxfield Parrish. The Library is fortunate to have an extensive manuscript collection devoted to Howard Pyle’s student, Frank Schoonover. The Schoonover Manuscript Collection includes biographical materials, the artist’s personal record keeping, correspondence, photographs, picture files of models, and memorabilia.



John Sloan was one of the most important American painters and printmakers of the first half of the 20th century. As a member of “The Eight”, John Sloan became known for his gritty realism in the early years of the 20th century, and is considered seminal to the Ashcan School of Art.Helen Farr Sloan, widow of John Sloan and benefactor to the Museum, formally donated Sloan’s extensive library as well as the materials that would form the manuscript collection in the Spring of 1978.


Click collections highlighted for finding aid.

Stanley Massey Arthurs Manuscript Collection
Clifford W. Ashley Papers
Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Pre-Raphaelite Manuscript Collection
Bertha Corson Day Bates Manuscript Collection
Max Beerbohm Caricatures
Jefferson David Chalfant Papers
Cham (Amédée Charles Henri, Comte de Noé) Papers
James Ormsbee Chapin Papers
Chic Illustration Collection, 1880-1881
Arthur B. Davies Papers
Arthur B. Davies Printing Plates
Virginia M. Davies Correspondence, 1891-1935
Harvey Dunn Files
Elizabeth Shippen Green Elliott Files
Elizabeth Shippen Green Elliott Photographs
Huger Elliott Papers, 1943-1948
William Glackens Illustration Collection
Robert Goodnough – Stuart B. Young Files
Scott Heiser Papers
William Innes Homer Research Papers on Thomas Pollock Anshutz
William Innes Homer Research Papers on Robert Henri
Gayle Porter Hoskins Manuscript Collection
Hoskins Family Scrapbook, 185x-1953
Judge Illustration Collection
Brenda Kuhn Correspondence, 1962-1968 and undated
Albert Mumford Lindsay Papers
George Benjamin Luks Papers, 1920-1994
Reginald Marsh Negatives from Art Discovers America
Jerome Myers Papers
Howes Norris, Jr. Autograph Collection
Thornton Oakley Papers
Violet Oakley Papers
Oral History Interviews
Walter Pach Papers
Maxfield Parrish Illustrated Letters to Henry Bancroft, 1884-1909
Orville Peets Correspondence, 1944-1958
Bennard Perlman – Robert Henri Papers
Puck Illustration Collection, 1876-c.1901
Howard Pyle Manuscript Collection
Katharine Pyle Manuscript Collection
Lucille Feiden Rabin Papers
Records of Art in Wilmington
Norman Rockwell Collection of Saturday Evening Post Covers, 1919-1976
Frank E. Schoonover Manuscript Collection
Frank E. Schoonover Catalogue Raisonné Collection
Everett Shinn Papers
Helen Farr Sloan Autograph Collection, 1886-1964
John Sloan Manuscript Collection
John Sloan Correspondence to Will and Selma Shuster
Small Manuscript Collection
Albert Sterner Correspondence, 1927-1946 and undated
Studio Group Archive
Students of Howard Pyle Files
Sir Leslie Ward (Spy) Papers
Charles and Alice Beach Winter Papers
Katharine Richardson Wireman Archive
World’s Fair Memorabilia
N.C. Wyeth Papers