Charles Lang Freer

Portrait of Charles Lang Freer by Edward Steichen.

Museum founder Charles Lang Freer was an American industrialist well known as a collector of Asian art. Among his personal papers are correspondence, diaries, art inventories, press clippings, purchase records, architectural drawings, and photographs relating to his life, travels, and art collecting.

Freer’s Correspondence includes letters with friends, artists, dealers, collectors, museums, and public figures. Inventories and purchase vouchers describe his acquisitions of American, European, and Asian art and provide provenance information, prices, and scholarly assessments. Other documents relate to Freer’s gift and bequest to the Smithsonian Institution.

Charles Lang Freer Papers in NMAA Archives

Charles Lang Freer’s life in photographs

Travel: Photographs, documents, and letters from Freer’s extensive travels in Europe and Asia, 1890s–1911

Art collections

Whistlerania: Records and ephemera relating to Freer’s friendship with and patronage of the American painter James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903)

Smithsonian Bequest: Records relating to Freer’s gift of his collections to the Smithsonian Institution