GEORGE ELBERT BURR PAPERS & ARTWORK
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The George Elbert Burr Papers span the years 1881 to 1985 with the bulk of the material dating between 1925 and 1945. The collection includes correspondence, manuscripts and articles on Burr, exhibit catalogs, pamphlets and photographs. A majority of the correspondence consists of the letters Burr wrote to Cyrus Boutwell, a friend and colleague who managed a gallery in Denver, Colorado that exhibited Burr's work. The correspondence sent to Boutwell provides insight into Burr's personal life, philosophy and views on his artwork.
The publications on Burr and his artwork consist of numerous articles and drafts by A. Reynolds Morse. As well as the pieces written by Morse, articles by individuals in the art field are included. The collection also includes a large selection of original drawings, illustrations, paintings, prints (etchings, wood blocks), and watercolors generated by Burr as well as photographic prints, negatives and transparencies.
The series consists of correspondence written by Burr to Cyrus Boutwell. Burr wrote many of the letters on index cards. Correspondence includes ink sketches by Burr that depicted himself, places he visited or other people he met. The sketches portray Burr's humorous view of himself. Often Burr would mail several cards at once, even though the dates in which he originally wrote or sketched them might vary by a month or two. Therefore, although the correspondence is in chronological order, at times, the dates may vary by a couple of months.
Personal material includes correspondence sent and received by Burr and his wife, Elizabeth, an art publication, Art and Artists Curious Facts and Characteristic Sketches by W. P. Nimmo and notes. Burr and his wife joined the Monday Literary Club of Denver. The series contains several versions of notes for a talk that they gave to the Club.
A. Reynolds Morse wrote several manuscripts on Burr. The series includes the notes, research, drafts and final versions of the following manuscripts: The Life and Work of George Elbert Burr; George Elbert Burr and the Western Landscape - The Case for the Post-Victorian Realists; George Elbert Burr, Etcher of the American West and Spring in the Foothills.
The pamphlets and exhibit catalogs include lists of Burr's etchings. The lists vary in the type of information but usually the following is included: the title, size, price, method and edition number.
The articles on Burr are arranged by publication title in alphabetical order. Numerous articles contain information on the subject matter of Burr's work, his method and style, exhibitions or biographical.
Photographs of Burr working in his studio and scenic views from his studio form a portion of the series. Transparencies and photographic negatives of Burr's artwork, and illustrations from A. Reynolds Morse's The Life and Works of George Elbert Burr are also included
Series contains example of artwork: drawings, illustrations, paintings, prints, and watercolors, as well as some original printing plates generated by the artist, George Elbert Burr. Etchings included in this series are arranged using the numbering system developed by Louise Combes Seeber for her book: George Elbert Burr, 1850-1939, Catalogue Raisonne and Guide to the Etched Works with Biographcal and Critical Notes.
The George Elbert Burr Papers are the physical property of the Denver Public Library.
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.
George Elbert Burr (1859-1939) was born in Munroe Falls, Ohio on April 14, 1859. During 1869, the Burr family moved to Cameron, Montana where George Elbert attended school. In 1879, Burr began his studies at the Chicago Academy of Design (later renamed the Art Institute of Chicago). By April 1879, Burr terminated his brief art studies in Chicago and returned to Cameron. Burr worked in his father's store. During his free time, he roamed the countryside sketching.
On May 1, 1884, Burr married Elizabeth Rogers. In 1885, Burr began teaching a drawing class and submitted some of his drawings to Harper Brothers. During 1888-1889, Burr again submitted work to Harper's, in addition to Scribner's, Cosmopolitan and Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. In 1888, Burr moved to New York City to illustrate a catalog of jade carvings collected by Heber R. Bishop. During the same time, Burr traveled as staff artist for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper to Chicago, Dallas, Virginia and on special assignment with President Benjamin Harrison through the South, Southwest and the Pacific coast. In 1893, Burr completed the catalog of jade carvings and began another catalog for Bishop's extensive art collection.
From 1896 to 1900, while Burr and his wife traveled throughout Europe, he continued to paint and sketch. They returned to the United States. and resided in Toms River, New Jersey. During 1906, they moved to Denver, Colorado because of Burr's failing health. In 1909, Burr designed and built a studio-home at 1325 Logan Street, Denver. He continued exhibiting watercolors and etchings and became the first president of the Denver Art Association. Beginning in 1920, the Burrs embarked on extended trips to Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona. In 1924, they sold their home in Denver and moved to Phoenix.
The Phoenix Fine Arts Association appointed Burr to the Committee on Constitution and Bylaws and elected him to the Board of Governors on April 4, 1925. Burr still experienced health problems but continued producing etchings and exhibiting his artwork. By 1929, Burr became president of the Phoenix Art Association.
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Burr's work exhibited in numerous museums including the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution and the Corcoran Gallery of Art all in Washington D.C.; the Brooklyn Museum in New York; the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Bibliotheque Nationale in France. Burr died on November 17, 1939 at the age of eighty. His wife, Elizabeth, died in 1943.
20 boxes (12.75 linear feet)
1 photo box (.25 linear feet)
Language of Materials
Other Finding Aids
The George Elbert Burr Papers are comprised of papers, prints and artwork donated by Albert Reynolds Morse and purchased by the Denver Public Library. The donations and purchases span the years 1940 to the 1980s. Additional prints were acquired by donation in 2019, 2023.
Number of Boxes: 20 (12.75 linear feet)
PhotoBoxes: 1 (.25 linear feet)
REVISED AND ENCODED BY:
Cynthia Rand December 2004 Dennis Hagen October 2008 Martin Leuthauser December 2020
- Artists -- Arizona Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Artists -- Colorado Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Boutwell, Cyrus, -- Mrs., 1889-1984
- Boutwell, Cyrus, 1876-1955 -- Correspondence
- Burr, Elizabeth G., 1860-1943 -- Archives
- Burr, George Elbert, -- 1859-1939 -- Archives.
- Correspondence Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Etchings Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Photographs Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Printing plates Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Printmakers -- Arizona Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Printmakers -- Colorado Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Works of art Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- GEORGE ELBERT BURR PAPERS
- Revised October 2008
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
Part of the Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Repository
10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy
Denver CO 80204 United States