Emma Cheves Wilkins letters, photographs, and clippings
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Emma Cheves Wilkins letters, photographs, and clippings

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Wilkins, Emma Cheves, 1870-1956.
Title: Emma Cheves Wilkins letters, photographs, and clippings
Dates: 1877-1957
Extent: 1.05 cubic feet (2 boxes, 1 oversize folder)
Identification: MS 0868

Biographical/Historical Note

Emma Cheves Wilkins, 1870-1956, was born in Savannah, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert A. Wilkins. She received her early education in Savannah then went to a boarding school in Baltimore, MD. She first studied art with Carl Brandt, director of the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences in Savannah, then spent several summers in Paris studying with Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel, with Gustave Courtois, and at Colorossis' Atelier (atelier is French for studio). She pursued her art career in Savannah painting portraits, still life (especially flowers), and landscapes. She also restored paintings and was a successful art teacher. Her award winning paintings were exhibited in several cities in the United States and many of them are in permanent collections in museums, homes, and other institutions.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of letters to and from Emma Cheves Wilkins about her paintings. Additionally this collection contains photographs and newspaper clippings about Ms. Wilkins art as it was displayed in museums around the country. Finally this collection contains a Resolution of thanks from the Savannah Benevolent Society to Gilbert A. Wilkins for his work during the yellow fever epidemic in Savannah, January 11, 1877.

Index Terms

Boutet de Monvel, Louis-Maurice, 1851-1913.
Courtois, Gustave, 1852-1923.
Letters (correspondence)
Wilkins, Emma Cheves, 1870-1956.
Wilkins, Gilbert A.
Yellow fever--Georgia--Savannah.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Material was acquired from family of the creator.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Emma Cheves Wilkins letters, photographs, and clippings, MS 868, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Minna C. Wilkins, 1957.


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.


Encoding funded by a 2012 Documenting Democracy grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container List




11School letters ( 15.0 items. )
Written to her family when she was about 16, while attending school in Baltimore and living with her grandmother, uncle and aunt. Not dated; some are incomplete.
2-4Letters to her family, 1895-1910 ( 90.0 items. )
Written from Paris and other places in Europe during her trips to study art at Courtois and Colorossis' Atelier. As these letters are undated it is impossible to arrange them. in chronological order or to separate the various trips. They are in the same arrangement as when given to the Georgia Historical Society. Many are incomplete.
5Letters to her family, 1895-1910 ( 13.0 items. )
Unmatched pages of letters.
6Letters to her mother and father from Lexington, Ky., (2) and letters to her sister Mame, undated; February 6-December 15 ( 14.0 items. )
some Incomplete (12).
7Letters from Dora Freeman, 1905-1911
8Letters from Dora Freeman, 1912 and undated
9Letters to E. C. Wilkins regarding her paintings, 1898-1928 ( 26.0 items. )
10Letters to E.C. Wilkins regarding her paintings, 1929-1931 ( 22.0 items. )
11Letters to E.C. Wilkins regarding her paintings, 1932-1939 ( 27.0 items. )
12Letters to E.C. Wilkins regarding her paintings, 1941-1954 ( 20.0 items. )
13Frick Art Reference Library, 1951-1954 ( 5.0 items. )
Letters to E.C. Wilkins re the photographing of paintings in Savannah; catalog of the paintings photographed by the Frick in Savannah, compiled by E. C. Wilkins.
14Personal, 1936-1954 ( 14.0 items. )
Invitation to membership in Georgia Society, Colonial Dames of America; letter to the Legatees under the will of Judge Bennett T. Gordon; letters from Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences acknowledging her help on committees and gifts; letters from H. and D. Minnick re her collection of fashion prints (now at the Telfair); Miss Wilkins' outline of her career, n.d.
15Miscellaneous ( 17.0 items. )
Reports of the membership committee of Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1936, 1943; notes on color in Miss Wilkins' hand; letters to the Editor of Savannah newspapers re saving trees and squares, some with the clippings; notes on the Lanier family; ribbons for awards in art exhibitions; label for "Oh? See the orange Ma-Ma laid".
16Photographs. Mostly of Miss Wilkins ( 16.0 items. )



217Clippings regarding her work, exhibitions, etc., 1912-1952 ( 79.0 items. )
Many relate to the correspondence in this collection. Included are the programs of Savannah Art Club Seventh Annual Exhibition and Dogwood Festival Exhibition, High Musuem of Art., Atlanta, 1936.
18-19Photographs of her paintings ( 55.0 items. )
Includes photos of Theus portraits she restored; catalog of her show at Telfair Academy..., n.d.; negatives of her one-man show at Telfair Academy; two bookplates she designed. Divided into two folders: Portraits; Still life and landscapes. There are some well known Savannahians among the portraits: Gordon Saussy, Thomas Hilton, Ellen McAlpin, Judge Walter G. Charlton, John Macpherson Berrien, Thomas Gamble.
19Photograph album, 1860s ( 1.0 items. )
Carte-de-visites: members of the family, prominent South Carolinians, and others. Those identified are Lt. J.R. Hamilton, Gen. Means, Gen. A.R. Lawton, Judge Wardlaw, J. McAllister, Gen. T.H. Smith, Pinckney Huger, Russell McCord, Col. Jamison, James L. Petigue, Alice Wardlaw, Allen GJardlaw, Langdon Cheves, Jr., Gulie Reilley, Oscar Lieber, Judge Chesnut, Judge Withers, Capt. Hartstene, Gen. Bee, Langdon C. VJest and Charles W. West, J.W. Lyell, F.S. Stockdale, Prof. Tucker. There is a table of contents with all names in front of the album.


19Resolution of thanks by the Savannah Benevolent Society to Gilbert A. Wilkins, for his work during the yellow fever epidemic in Savannah, 1877 January 11 ( 1.0 items. )