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William Homer Papers Related to Albert Pinkham Ryder

Identifier: MSS 0479

Scope and Contents

The William Homer Papers related to Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847-1917) consist of six linear feet of material including correspondence, photocopies, photographs, notes, reviews, and miscellaneous research materials. The collection spans the years 1883 until 1999, with the bulk of the material dating from 1980 to 1989. It was during this time that Homer conducted the majority of his research related to Ryder. This research led Homer to collaborate with Lloyd Goodrich of the Whitney Museum of American Art on the publication of Albert Pinkham Ryder: Painter of Dreams in 1989. The collection is organized into five series: I. Research Materials, 1957-1999; II. Ryder Archive; III. Albert Pinkham Ryder: Painter of Dreams; IV. Albert Pinkham Ryder Exhibition, 1990; and V. Other Projects.

Series I consists of materials Homer accumulated during the course of his research on Ryder. The largest sub-series consists of material related to every aspect of Ryder’s life and art, such as family, friends, colleagues, patrons, museums, and institutions. Also included are materials related directly to Ryder and his paintings such as birth and death information, exhibitions of his work, forgeries of his paintings, an analysis of Ryder’s handwriting, and notes on his health. This series also contains the earliest documents in the collection, which consist of photocopies of correspondence to and from Ryder and correspondence between Ryder’s associates referring to his life and work. Also included in this series are a number of sub-series which include materials such as letters from museums related to exhibitions of his paintings, photocopies of letters included in Albert Pinkham Ryder: Painter of Dreams by William Homer and Lloyd Goodrich, and photocopies of other unpublished studies of Ryder and his paintings. Information related to Lloyd Goodrich and his research is also found in this series, including copies of his notes, manuscripts and correspondence, materials related to the acquisition and analysis of x-rays of paintings, and materials related to museums that owned Ryder paintings.

Series II includes material related to the Lloyd Goodrich and Edith Haven Goodrich Papers Relating to Albert Pinkham Ryder housed at the University of Delaware, including inventories of the collection, correspondence, and material related to a catalogue raisonné of Ryder’s works.

Series III contains material associated with the publication of Albert Pinkham Ryder: Painter of Dreams by William Homer and Lloyd Goodrich. This material consists of project statements, a copy of Lloyd Goodrich’s portion of the manuscript, a copy of Sheldon Keck’s manuscript, literary permissions, illustrations and images used in the publication, permission for the use of illustrations and images, and publicity and reviews for the work.

Series IV includes material related to the Albert Pinkham Ryder Exhibition curated by Elizabeth Broun in 1990 for the National Museum of American Art.

The final series, Series V consists of other projects completed by Homer that were related to Albert P. Ryder. These include various articles and reviews on Ryder and his art.

Note: Due to the nature of the material comprising this collection, all requests will be referred to the creator of the collection.


  • Creation: 1883-1999
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1980-1989

Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Information

In order to access this collection, please contact Manuscripts Librarian.

Conditions Governing Use

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Albert Pinkham Ryder

Albert Pinkham Ryder was born on March 19, 1847, in New Bedford, Massachusetts. One of fours sons born to Elizabeth (Cobb) and Alexander Gage, Ryder began painting in his teens. In 1868, the family relocated to New York City, where Ryder began to study art under William E. Marshall. Ryder entered the National Academy of Design in 1871. Throughout his life, Ryder lived in the city in a small apartment which he used as a studio. Never married, he lived a simple life deeply absorbed in his work. His most productive years were between 1873 and 1898. These were also the years during which he produced his best work. Ryder’s work has been characterized as utilizing dreamy, romantic subjects while incorporating literary and narrative themes. Ryder’s paintings tended toward abstraction and pastoral scenes. After 1915, declining health forced Ryder to move to Elmhurst, Long Island, where he resided with friends in near seclusion until his death on March 28, 1917.

Broun, Elizabeth. Albert Pinkham Ryder. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.Homer, William Innes and Lloyd Goodrich. Albert Pinkham Ryder: Painter of Dreams. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1989.

William Innes Homer

William Innes Homer was born on November 8, 1929, in Merion, Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. from Princeton University in 1951. From Harvard University, Homer received his M.A. in 1954 and his Ph.D. in 1961. In 1961, Homer was hired as an assistant professor in the Art and Archaeology Department at Princeton. In 1964, he became an associate professor of Art History at Cornell University. In 1966, Homer came to the University of Delaware where he served as Chairman of the Art History Department from 1966 until 1981 and again from 1986 until 1993. He retired from the department in January 2000. Homer is the author of numerous books and articles, including Alfred Stieglitz and the American Avant-Garde, Albert Pinkham Ryder: Painter of Dreams, and Thomas Eakins: His Life and Art. He has also served as a consultant for various exhibitions and film projects.


6 linear foot (6 boxes)


The William Homer papers related to Albert Pinkham Ryder contains research material about American painter Albert Pinkham Ryder collected by William Homer, the scholar, Art History professor, and author of Albert Pinkham Ryder: Painter of Dreams.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of William Homer 1998-1999

Related Materials in this Repository

MSS 0106, Lloyd Goodrich and Edith Havens Goodrich papers relating to Albert Pinkham Ryder

Shelving Summary

Boxes 1-6: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections staff, 2000. Revised by Theresa Hessey, August 2003. Encoded by Jaime Margalotti, November 2019.

Finding aid for William Homer Papers Related to Albert Pinkham Ryder
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2019 November
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA