Finding Aid to the Raymond Perry Rodgers Neilson Papers, circa 1930-1950s MS.06

Summary Information

The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives10 East 71st Street
New York, NY, 10021
 © 2010 The Frick Collection. All rights reserved.
Neilson, Raymond Perry Rodgers, 1881-1964.
Raymond P. R. Neilson Papers
circa 1930-1950s
0.5 Linear feet  (1 box)
Diaries, notebooks, and other notes regarding the work of New York City portraitist, still life painter, and art instructor, Raymond P. R. Neilson. Collection also includes some correspondence regarding portrait commissions.

Preferred Citation

Raymond P. R. Neilson Papers. The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives.

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Biographical Note

Raymond Perry Rodgers Neilson, a New York City portraitist, still life painter, and art instructor, was born in 1881 in New York and grew up in Far Rockaway, Long Island. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1905 and three years later resigned to pursue his art career; however, he was reinstated as a lieutenant during World War I and served overseas. Neilson married Mary Park (daughter of Pittsburgh steel manufacturer, William Gray Park) in 1906 and they had two children, Raymond Jr. and Elizabeth. Neilson was remarried in 1940 to Inglis Griswold.

Neilson studied with William Merritt Chase and at the Art Students League with George Bridgman and George Bellows. He continued his art education in Paris, studying at the Académie Julian, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Académie Colarossi, and the Academie Grande Chaumière.

Neilson was a well-known portraitist who painted many prominent figures, including Admiral William Halsey, Robert P. Patterson, and Dr. Francis Blake. Many civic organizations and corporations commissioned portraits to be presented at ceremonies honoring the subjects.

Neilson was widely exhibited and won many awards for his paintings, including those from the Paris Salon, National Academy of Design, Currier Gallery of Art, and Academic Artists Association. His works are in the collections of the Luxembourg Museum, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, and Yale and Princeton Universities, among other institutions.

Neilson was also an art instructor at the Art Students League from 1926-1927 and at the National Academy of Design from 1928-1938. He served as the recording secretary of the National Academy of Design council from 1937-1946 and as a council member for Allied Artists of America. Neilson died March 1st, 1964 in New York City at the age of 82.

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Scope and Content Note

This small collection consists mainly of various notebooks, diaries, and loose notes that record Neilson's career as a portrait painter. These "notes on paintings" are chronological entries that provide physical descriptions of Neilson's paintings and the sitters he painted. Some entries include anecdotal comments and exhibition and prize information. The collection also includes a small amount of correspondence regarding portrait commissions, an exhibition catalog, an index to his portraits, and some personal notes.

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This collection is arranged alphabetically by type of material.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

These records are open for research under the conditions of The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives access policy. Contact the Archives Department for further information at


Gift of Mrs. Carl A. Lewis (daughter), 1964.

Processing Information

Arranged and described by Shannon Yule, 2008.

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Related Materials

Related Materials

Photographs and reproductions removed to Photoarchive.

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Controlled Access Headings


  • Correspondence.
  • Journals (accounts)
  • Notes.

Personal Name(s)

  • Neilson, Raymond Perry Rodgers, 1881-1964.


  • Art, American.
  • Portrait painters.

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Collection Inventory

1 1

Biographical Material

Contains Who's Who questionnaire, and notes about his activities from 1907 through the 1940s.

1956, undated

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1 2

Clippings - miscellaneous

1939, 1955, 1965

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1 3

Correspondence - Grand Central Art Galleries (Claude Barber, Ruth Raile)

Regarding commissioned portraits for American Bureau of Shipping and City Service Company.


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1 4

Correspondence - Strassburger, Ralph Beaver

Naval Academy classmate of Neilson. Contains photographs and other materials regarding racehorse, Worden.


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1 5

Correspondence regarding portrait commissions

Correspondents include:

Fair Department Store re: Thelma Thorkelson

Mathey, Dean re: General T. Coleman DuPont

Munsun Gallery (Emerson L. Munsun) re: Charles Costello

Myers, Clarence J.

National War College re: Mr. Stimson (includes photographs)

Schaefer, Rudolph

Spaugh, R. Arthur re: Arthur Spaugh

Steinhilber, Fred G. (Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons) re: H. Lloyd Jones


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1 6

Exhibition catalog - American Valiant and Glorious: The Flying Tigers

Exhibition of portraits of the Flying Tigers by Neilson.


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1 7

Index to photographs of portraits

Titled "Index to photographs of portraits painted by Raymond P. R. Neilson N.A. with # of film on file and # of book of photographs"


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1 8

Notes on paintings - 1915-1940

Loose notes of chronological entries providing physical descriptions of Neilson's paintings.


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1 9

Notes on paintings - 1940-1948

Chronologically ordered entries regarding Neilson's painting career, including physical descriptions of his paintings, anecdotal information, and exhibition and prize information. Diary was removed from a binder and was written by someone other than Neilson, likely his wife.


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1 10

Notes on paintings - circa 1940s

Draft notes for diary above.


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1 11

Notes on paintings - 1949-1953

Small notebook and loose pages containing information about commissioned portraits such as the portrait size and physical descriptions of the subjects.


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1 12

Notes on paintings - circa 1950s

Titled "Data on portraits to be painted." Contains information such as portrait size, physical description of subjects, and shipping addresses for commissioned portraits. Notebook contains many similar enclosures and an index in the back.

circa 1950s

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