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Frederic and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: JMB
Date: Sep 1978

Biographical History

Frederic Whitaker (1891-1980) was an award-winning American artist and writer on painting and art. Whitaker began his artistic career as a metalsmith, working for Gorham Manufacturing Company and Tiffany & Co. and later founding two companies of his own. However, it was as a watercolorist that he became most famous and when he retired in 1949 he devoted himself full-time to painting. He was also active in the promotion of the arts, particularly painting; he was a member of the National Academy of Design, a Fellow of Britain's Royal Society of Arts, served seven years as president of the American Watercolor Society, and founded Audubon Artists. He received numerous awards and recognitions for his work, and was the author of two books and numerous articles and essays on painting, art, and political topics of the day.

Whitaker's wife Eileen Monaghan (1911-2005) was also a painter of watercolors; though less widely known than her husband, she was an important artist in her own right. The couple married in 1943 and often exhibited their work in joint shows. Eileen was a member of the American Watercolor Society, the recipient of many awards, and in 1978 she became only the second woman to be elected to the National Academy of Design's watercolor division.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Frederic and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Papers is divided into seven series: American Watercolor Society material, Artwork, Correspondence, Eileen Whitaker material, Memorabilia, Printed material, and Writings.

American Watercolor Society (AWS) material contains correspondence, committee information, publications such as newsletters and publicity, the AWS constitution and revisions, meeting minutes, reports, material on special projects undertaken by the AWS, and more. Much of this material dates from Frederic's tenure as president of the Society.

Artwork contains both original artwork and reproductions. Works include sketches, drawings, pencil tracings, and of course watercolors. Included here are some examples of Whitaker's work used in publications, as for example the Prudential Company's annual report.

Correspondence includes both incoming and outgoing correspondence with artists, galleries, publishers,art schools, art organizations, family and friends. Correspondents of note include Walt Disney, Clara Fasano, Boyland Fitzgerald, William Gropper, Jimmy Hatlo, Anna Hyatt Huntington, Janice Lovoos (Whitaker biographer), Edmondo Quattrocchi, and more.

Eileen Whitaker material consists of a small amount of material related solely to Frederic's wife Eileen. This includes awards, biographical material, clippings, and other items.

Memorabilia contains a wide range of items, from address books to souvenir paintbrushes. The bulk of this series consists of photographs taken by the Whitakers both in the United States and other countries, and scrapbooks.

Printed material includes articles, clippings and exhibit catalogs. The majority of the clippings related to either Frederic or Frederic and Eileen, but there is also one folder of clippings related solely to Eileen.

Whitaker's Writings include articles, drafts of his autobiography and an assortment of biographical sketches, essays on a variety of topics (art, beauty, charity, equality, free enterprise, illegal aliens, tolerance, taxes, prostitution, and many more), and a few other items such as a poem.

Arrangement of the Collection

Within each series, material is arranged alphabetically with the exception of clippings and articles, which are arranged chronologically.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

A large number of published books and monographs by and about the Whitakers have been removed from the collection and transferred to Rare Books for cataloging. To locate these items, please refer to the Classic Catalog and search for "Gift of Frederic Whitaker".

Special Collections Research Center has the papers of many notable painters, sculptors and cartoonists. Additional Whitaker material may be found in the papers of Anna Hyatt Huntington, Eliot Candee Clark, Moissaye Marans and Norman Kent, among others.

Subject Headings


Kent, Norman, 1903-1972.
Lovoos, Janice.
Whitaker, Eileen Monaghan, 1911-
Whitaker, Frederic.

Corporate Bodies

American Artists Professional League.
American Watercolor Society.
Audubon Artists.
Frederick and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Foundation.


Art, American -- 20th century.
Art, American.
Painters -- United States.
Painting, American -- 20th century.

Genres and Forms

Address books.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Exhibition catalogs.
Line drawings.
Manuscripts for publication.
Watercolors (paintings)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Frederic Whitaker Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents

American Watercolor Society



Eileen Whitaker


Printed material