VAULT A45, Wheeler, Unit 2a
EXTENT: 10 items (1 container)
ORGANIZATION: Two series: I. Material relating to acquisition of Men of Concord paintings by Concord Free Public Library, 1944–1947; II. Men of Concord materials not related to the acquisition, n.d., 1970.
BIOGRAPHY/HISTORY: Artist and illustrator N.C. Wyeth (1882–1945) was an admirer of Henry D. Thoreau (1817–1862). Inspired by Thoreau's life and work, he conceived the idea for and illustrated Men of Concord and Some Others as Portrayed in the Journal of Henry David Thoreau, edited by Francis H. Allen (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1936)
Ruth R. Wheeler (1890–1973), a Concord historian and author, lost her son, Caleb Kendall Wheeler (1922–1944), in action over Hungary on July 2, 1944. To make an appropriate memorial to her son, she wrote to N.C. Wyeth and requested one of his original Men of Concord paintings. It was to be kept in the Concord Free Public Library. Wyeth responded positively, but before the painting was handed over, he died in an accident on October 19, 1945. Mrs. Wheeler corresponded with his son, Andrew Wyeth, and son-in-law, John McCoy II, and eventually obtained the painting she had chosen, The Carpenters Repairing Hubbard’s Bridge. The Library also bought two other Men of Concord paintings by Wyeth. All three paintings hang permanently in the Thoreau Room on the first floor of the Concord Free Public Library.
SCOPE AND CONTENT: Papers (1944–1970, bulk 1944-1947), include correspondence between Ruth R. Wheeler, N.C. Wyeth, and Wyeth’s heirs pertaining to the Concord Free Public Library’s acquisition of Men of Concord paintings by N.C. Wyeth, and an engraved memorial card for and photograph of Caleb Kendall Wheeler. Also included are other materials relating to Men of Concord: typescript of excerpts from Thoreau's journal (printed on p. 209 in Men of Concord); and letter from Amanda K. Berls regarding identification of figures in one of the Men of Concord paintings. One letter in Series I is misdated.
SOURCE OF ACQUISITION: Gift of Henry Wheeler, March 1999.
NOTES/COMMENTS: Accessioned in March 1999. AMC 030.
PUBLICATION BASED ON USE OF CORRESPONDENCE: Wilson, Leslie Perrin, "N.C. Wyeth, Thoreau, and Men of Concord." The Concord Saunterer, Vol. 8, New Series, 2000, p. -92.
PROCESSED BY: Ásdís Káradóttir; finding aid prepared in February 2000; edited by LPW and RCWH, 2001 Apr. 21.
Letter from N.C. Wyeth to Ruth R. Wheeler, May 3, 1945
Letter from N.C. Wyeth to Ruth R. Wheeler, May 15, 1945
Letter from N.C. Wyeth to Ruth R. Wheeler, July 29, 1945
Draft of letter from Ruth R. Wheeler to Andrew Wyeth, [late October/early November], 1945 [originally undated, later dated July, and changed to August, but could not have been written before N.C. Wyeth’s death on October 19, 1945]
Letter from John McCoy II to Ruth R. Wheeler, November 18, 
Letter from Andrew Wyeth to Ruth R. Wheeler, May 29, 1947
Letter from Francis Allen to Ruth R. Wheeler, August 21, 1947
Engraved memorial card for Caleb Kendall Wheeler (1922–1944), n.d.
Photograph of Caleb Kendall Wheeler, n.d.
Typescript of excerpts from Thoreau's journal, n.d.
Letter from Amanda K. Berls to Ruth R. Wheeler, October 7, 1970