Charles Coleman Sellers Collection


Date: Circa 1940-1978 | Size: 19.5 Linear feet


The collection of Charles Coleman Sellers (1903-1980) contains copious and detailed documentation of the art of Charles Willson Peale and his family. It consists of working files for Sellers's numerous publications, including his Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale (1952); Charles Willson Peale with Patron and Populace (1969); C. W. Peale's Portraits of Washington (1951); Benjamin Franklin in Portraiture (1962); Mr. Peale's Museum (1980). Most files include photographs of the art work, notes on the piece, and correspondence with authorities or owners. Other series include one relating to the paintings of various other Peales, including Anna C., James, Mary Jane, Raphaelle, Rembrandt, Rubens, and Sarah Miriam, and a miscellaneous artist file, which includes the same type of material and information on many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century artists, including Thomas Eakins, George Healy, Robert Edge Pine, William Rush, Thomas Sully, Benjamin West, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, etc. There is a separate Sellers collection at Dickinson College, primarily personal in nature.

Background note

Charles Coleman Sellers (1903-1980) was a noted historian of early America, best known for his numerous works on the life and artistic production of the family of his own great-grandfather, Charles Willson Peale. Born in Overbrook, Pa., in 1903, Sellers attended Haverford College (1925) and Harvard (MA 1926), before taking a position as librarian at Wesleyan College (1937-1949) and, later, Dickinson College (1956-1968). For several years in the late 1940s, Sellers worked at the American Philosophical Society as Research Associate.

Sellers's numerous books and articles focused largely on the voluminous artistic output of the Peale family and on the Peale Museum, an important site in the early Republic for presenting natural history to the general public. Sellers also conducted research on Benjamin Franklin and others among the Peales' contemporaries. He was awarded the Bancroft Prize in 1970 for his work on Peale and was elected to membership in the APS in 1979. He died in 1980 while on a visit to Australia.

Scope and content

The Sellers Collection consists of the working file of the historian, Charles Coleman Sellers, pertaining to his research on the artistic oevre of Charles Willson Peale and his family. The Collection is organized in seven series, corresponding roughly to Sellers's publications on the subject, plus a series containing general notes on other contemporary artists and a small miscellaneous correspondence file.

Series I Charles Willson Peale Portraits and Miniatures 7 linear feet
Series II Mr. Peale's Museum 3 linear feet
Series III Benjamin Franklin in Portraiture 0.5 linear feet
Series IV Washington Portraits 1 linear foot
Series V Paintings by the Peales 4 linear feet
Series VI Artist File 1 linear foot
Series VII Correspondence 1 linear foot
Series VIII Miscellaneous materials 19 items; 2.5 linear feet

Native American Images Note : Reprinted black and white photographs from the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard of Native American artifacts once held by Charles Willson Peale's Philadelphia Museum. Some of the items include Plains and Northwestern Indian utensils, clothes and canoes of the early 1800s. Of note, Thomas Jefferson's Indian collection including a peace pipe, a painted buffalo robe, Cree Indian dresses and an Indian hunting shirt worn by Captain Cook. Some later dated images, ca. 1840s, depict native Hawaiian and Caribbean objects. Primarily housed in Series II.

Digital objects note

This collection contains digital materials that are available in the APS Digital Library. Links to these materials are provided with context in the inventory of this finding aid. A general listing of digital objects may also be found here.

Collection Information


Restrictions on Use:

Photographs of portraits owned privately or owned by other institutions can not be reproduced.


Gift of the estate of Charles Coleman Sellers, 1980 (accession number 1980-276ms).

Preferred citation

Cite as: Charles Coleman Sellers Collection, American Philosophical Society.

Related material

Several collections of papers pertaining to the Peale Family are housed at the APS, and these have been issued as a microfiche set, Lillian B. Miller, ed., The Collected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family (Millwood, N.Y.: Kraus Microform, 1980).

There is a Sellers collection at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., primarily personal in nature.


Sellers, Charles Coleman, "Charles Willson Peale's Portraits of Washington," Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (February 1951). Call no.: 920 Pam. 133.

Sellers, Charles Coleman, Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale, APS Transactions 42 (1952). Call no.: 506.73 Am4t

Sellers, Charles Coleman, Benjamin Franklin in Portraiture (New Haven: Yale, 1962). Call no.: B F85se.

Sellers, Charles Coleman, Charles Willson Peale with Patron and Populace, APS Transactions 59 (1969). Call no.: 506.73 Am4t

Sellers, Charles Coleman, Mr. Peale's Museum (N.Y.: Norton, 1980). Call no.: B P31se

Indexing Terms

Family Name(s)

  • Peale family


  • Gelatin silver prints
  • Photographs

Personal Name(s)

  • Eakins, Thomas, 1844-1916
  • Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790
  • Healy, George Peter Alexander, 1813-1894
  • Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826
  • Peale, Anna Claypoole, 1791-1878
  • Peale, Charles Willson, 1741-1827
  • Peale, James,1749-1831.
  • Peale, Mary Jane, 1827-1902
  • Peale, Raphaelle, 1774-1825
  • Peale, Rembrandt, 1778-1860
  • Peale, Rubens, 1784-1865
  • Peale, Sarah Miriam, 1800-1885
  • Pine, Robert Edge, 1730?-1788
  • Rush, William, 1756-1833
  • Sellers, Charles Coleman, 1903-1980
  • Sully, Thomas, 1783-1872
  • West, Benjamin, 1738-1820
  • Whistler, James McNeill, 1834-1903


  • Anishinaabe
  • Art
  • Artists
  • Comanche Indians
  • Cree Indians
  • Crow Indians
  • Dakota Indians
  • Indians of North America -- Great Lakes (North America)
  • Indians of North America -- Oklahoma
  • Indians of North America -- Pacific Coast
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806)
  • Mandan Indians
  • Northwest Coast Indians
  • Ojibwa Indians
  • Ojibwe people
  • Painters -- United States
  • Plains Indians
  • Tlingit Indians
  • Washington, George, 1732-1799 -- Portraits, caricatures, etc

Detailed Inventory

 Series I. Charles Willson Peale Portraits & Miniatures
  Box 1-14
 Abercrombie, Mrs. James. (Minature)
 Adams, John
 Aitken, Robert, and wife
 Adlum, John
 Arbuckle, James, family
 Armand, Gen. Armstrong, William
 Bailey, Francis, and wife
 Baker, Hilary
 Baldwin, William
 Baltimore, Lord
 Barlow, Joel
 Barney, Joshua
 Barry, John (James Peale?)
 Barton, Benjamin Smith
 Barton, William
 Barton, Sarah Benezet
 Bartram, John
 Bartram, William
 Bassett, Col. Burwell
 Bayard, John, and wife
 Baylor, George
 Bedford, Gunning
 Belestre, François Marie
 Bendiner minatures
 Benezet, Elizabeth. See: Horsfield, Elizabeth Benezet
 Benezet, Mary [Wood-Pitmore]
 Benjamin, Col. Eyres
 Bentalou, Paul
 Berrett, Robert, and Lydia
 Berryhill, John, and Elizabeth
 Beveridge, David, and Mary Emlen
 Biddle, Clement
 Biddle, James
 Biddle, Nicholas
 Bingham, William
 Birchall, James [C.W.Peale?]
 Blake, Robert
 Bland, Theodorick
 Blaney, (Sully?)
 Bloomfield, Joseph, and Mary McIlvaine
 Blount, John Gray
 Blount, William
 Bogert, Cornelius J
 Boller, Catharine
 Bonapartes in Bordentown, New Jersey
 Bordley, Elizabeth
 Bordley, Henrietta Maria
 Bordley, John Beale
 Bordley, John Beale, artile, Pharos
 Bordley, John Beale, Frederick Moore materials
 Bordley, John Beale, landscape
 Bordley, Thomas, and Matthias
 Boudinot, Elias
 Bourne, Sylvanus
 Boy in kilts
 Boy with flute - pastel
 Bradford, Richard H
 Bradford, William
 Brent, Daniel Carroll (?)
 Brewer, [baby]
 Brewer, Mrs. Eleanor Maccubin
 Brewer, Nicholas
 Brewer, Nicholas (Sutherland)
 Brice, Mrs.John
 Brodhead, Daniel
 Brown, Jacob
 Brunot, Felix, and daughter, Louisa
 Buckland, William
 Buckley, Daniel
 Burd, Edward
 Burns, Mrs. G
 Butler, Anthony
 Cadwalader, John
 Cadwalader, Lambert
 Caldwell, Susanna (Mrs. McCutcheon)
 Calhoun, John C
 Callahan, John
 Calvert, Charles
 Cambray-Digny, Louis Antoine Jean Baptiste
 Carré, Charles, and Jean-Thomas Carré
 (Carroll, Charles?) - unknown
 Carroll children
 Carroll, Charles (barrister)
 Carroll, Mrs. Charles
 Carroll, James
 Carroll, Nicholas
 Carson, John
 Carter children
 Carey, Richard
 Caton, Richard (?)
 Charlton, Mrs. Francis M
 Charlton, Richard
 Chase, Mrs. Jeremiah Townley (Hester Baldwin)
 Chase, Samuel
 Chase, Mrs. Anne Baldwin
 Clark, William
 Clarke, Elijah (Wren)
 Clarkson, Mrs. Catherine Floyd
 Clarkson, Joseph (Du Simitiere?)
 Clay, Henry
 Claypoole, James
 Claypoole, Mary Chambers
 Clerc, Laurent
 Clymer, George
 Cochran, John
 Cockey, John
 Coddington, Elizabeth Fitz-Randolph

(see: Fitz-Randolph, Elizabeth)

 Columbus, Christopher
 Cooper, Thomas
 Cooper, Virginia
 Corbin, Mrs. Richard
 Court of Death (copy)
 Courtenay, Edward
 Covington, Leonard
 Cox, John, and Esther
 Coxe, John R
 Craig, Mrs. Margaret M
 Craik, James
 Crawford, James, family
 Crawford, William H
  Crayon (Magazine)
 Cropper, John
 Cunningham, James
 Custis, J P
 Daffin, Mrs. Elinor Ennalls
 Dagworthy, Mrs. Martha Cadwalader
 Dalzell, Jane Loudon
 Davie, William Richardson
 Dean, Joseph
 Dearborn, Henry
 DeButts, John
 Decatur, Stephen
 De Haas, John Philip
 Delozier, Daniel
 Dent, John, and Sarah Marshall Dent, and Ann Herbert Dent
 De Peyster,
 De Peyster, Abraham B
 De Peyster, Anna
 De Peyster, James, and Anna
 De Peyster, John
 De Peyster, John, and Elizabeth Haring De Peyster
 De Peyster, Mrs.Margaret
 De Peyster, William, Sr., and Margareta Roosevelt De Peyster (copies)
 De Peyster, William, Jr., and Christiana Dally De Peyster
 De Peyster, William, Jr. (minature)
 De Peyster family
 Dickinson, John
 Dickinson, John, and Mary Norris Dickinson
 Dixon, John, and Mrs. Rosanna Dixon and daughter
 Donaldson, Andrew
 Donaldson, Joseph
 Dorsey, Nathan
 Annapolis from tower 1788 - Creek and trees.
 Belfield sketches
 Blackberry tour sketch book
  Columbian Magazine
  Columbian Magazine 1789 frontispiece
 Diary sketches
c. 1785-1795 
 Ferry 3 miles below Bristol
 Hudson River
 in letters
 Lewis and Clark items
c. 1803 
 Page monument
Nov.-Dec. 1809 
 1813 sketch book
 Skull of bison?
 Skulls. Published
 Universal Asylum vignette.
 Duer, Lady Catherine
 Duffield, Benjamin
 Dunlop, John (Rembrandt Peale)
 Duportail, Louis Lebeque
 Eakin, Samuel
 Early still life
 Eden, Robert
 Edwards, Jonathan
 Elisha restoring to life the Shunammite's son, after Benjamin West
 Ellicott, Louisa McFadden
 Elliott, Thomas
 Accident in Lombard Street
 Ewing, John
 Ewing, Maskell, and Jane Hunter Ewing
 Falls of Schuylkill
 Family (early painting?)
 Febiger, Christian
 Fell, William
 Ferguson, Thomas Ladsom
 Findley, William (Rembrandt Peale)
 First paintings
 Fishbourne, Benjamin
 Fitzgerald, Thomas
 Fitzhugh, William
 Fitz-Randolph, Elizabeth [Mrs. Coddington?]
 Fitzsimmons, Christopher, and Catherine Pritchard Fitzsimmons
 Flower, Benjamin
 Floyd, Miss
 Forman, David, and wife, Elizabeth Lee
 Forrest, Thomas
 Forsyth, Robert
 Fox, George
 Francis, Emma (James Peale "Household")
 Francis, Katherine

See also: Francis, Emma [no Emma Francis exists]

 Francis, Mrs. Anne Willing
 Franklin, Benjamin
 Franks, David Salisbury
 Frisby, Mr. and Mrs.
 Fullerton, Robert, and wife Mary Hall
 Fulton, Robert (Rembrandt Peale)
 Gadsden, Christopher (Rembrandt Peale)
 Galbraith, Mrs.
 Gano, Stephen
 Gano miscellany
 Gassaway, John
 Gates, Horatio
 Gelston, David, and wife
 Gerard de Rayneval, Conrad Alexandre
 Gibbs, Caleb
 Gibbs, Richard and wife, Margery Harrison
 Gignilliant, James, and wife, Charlotte Pepper
 Gilmor, Robert, and wife
 Girl with toy horse
 Gist, Mordicai, and wife
 Gittings, James, and wife, Elizabeth Buchanan
 Glenn, James
 Glentworth, George
 Goldsborough, Mrs. Henrietta Maria Tilghman
 Goldsborough, Mary Ann Turbot
 Goldsborough, Robert, and family
 Goldsborough, William
 Goldsbury (Goldsborough), Samuel
 Gorham, Nathaniel
 Graeme, Thomas
 De Grasse,
 Green, Ashbel
 Green, Mrs. Anne Catherine
 Green, Mrs. Anne Catherine Hoof
 Green, Jonas, and wife
 Greene, Nathanael

See also: Washington

 Grubb, Sarah
 Grundy, Mrs.Mary Carr
 Habersham, Joseph
 Hackett, (not C.W.Peale)
 Hake, Mrs. Eva Margareta Elizabeth De Peyster
 Haley, Nathan (Vanderlyn)
 Hall, Elihu, and wife Catherine Orrick
 Hall, Mrs. Josias
 Hall, Elizabeth and Catherine
 Hallam, Nancy (Sarah)
 Hamilton, Alexander
 Hampton, Wade
 Hancock, George, and wife, Margaret Strother
 Hancock, John
 Hanson, Alexander Contee
 Hanson, John
 Hare, Robert (Rembrandt Peale)
 Harleston, John
 Harris, David (Pine)
 Harris, Thomas, and wife, Eleanor Davidson
 Harrison, Benjamin, of Berkeley, and wife, Elizabeth Page
 Harrison, Benjamin, Jr.
 Harvey, Miss
 Harwood, Mrs. Thomas (Margaret Strachan)
 Haskins, Mrs. Sarah Barclay
 Hay, George
 Hazlehurst, Robert
 Head of a child
 Head of a man (C.C.S.)
 Heston, Mrs. John
 Hewes, Joseph
 Heyward, Thomas, Jr.
 Hiester, Daniel
 Hiester, Joseph
 Hindman, Charles, and Mrs. Maria Campbell Ridgely
 History of sources for C.W.Peale items
 Hopkinson, Francis, and wife
 Horsfield, Elizabeth Benezet
 Howard, Charles
 Howard, Hannah Few
 Howard, John Eager
 Howard, Mrs. Peggy Oswald Chew
 Howell, Asher Mott (Rembrandt Peale?)
 Howell, Joseph, Jr.
 Hughes, Christopher
 Humboldt, Alexander von
 Hunt, Memucan, and wife (not C.W.Peale)
 Huntington, Samuel
 Hutchinson, James
 Hutson, Richard
 Hutton, John Strangeways
 Independent Club
 Ingersoll, Jared
 Inglis, John
 Innis, Mrs. Rebecca Lewis
 Innskeep, John (Rembrandt Peale)
 Irvine, James
 Irwin, Charles C (Benjamin Trott)
 Jackson, Andrew
 Jackson, Mrs. Hannah Tracy
 Jackson, William
 James, Charles C
 Jay, John
 Jay, John (James Peale?)
 Jay, Peter Augustus
 Jefferson, Thomas
 Jenings, Edmund, III
 Jennings, Thomas
 Jessup, August E
 Johnson, John, and brother
 Johnson, Rinaldo
 Johnson, Thomas, family
 Johnson, Thomas (minature)
 Johnson, Thomas, and wife
 Jones, Gabriel (C.W.Peale?)
 Jones, John Paul
 Jones, Noble Wimberly
 Josiah, James
 Kalb, Baron de
 Kauffman, Angelica
 Keener, Melchior
 Kerr, David, and wife, Mrs. Rachel Leeds Bozeman
 Key, Philip, II
 Key, Francis Scott
 Kilby, William (Rembrandt Peale)
 King, Rufus
 King, William (C.W.Peale?)
 Knox, Henry
 Knox, Robert, and wife, Mrs. Sarah Hollingshead
 Krebs, George Michael
 Lady (Allis)
 Lady (minature) John Elwyn Stone. (James Mease)
 Laming, Benjamin, and wife, Mrs. Eleanor Ridgely
 Lansdale, William Moylan (Bass Otis)
 Belfield (Parkinson-Levin
 Moore House
 Wayne (drawing)
 "White House" Wilmer
 Latimer, George
 Latimer, James
 Latrobe, Benjamin Henry
 Laurens, Henry
 Laurens, John
 Lear, Tobias
 Lee, Arthur
 Lee, Billy

See: Yarrow Mamout

 Lee, Henry
 Lee, Henry (Rembrandt Peale)
 Lee,Richard Bland
 Lee, Richard Henry
 Legeré, Solomon (C.W.Peale?)
 Lehman, Mrs. W E (J. Peale?)
 Leiper, Mrs. Elizabeth Coultas Gray
 Lesueur, Charles Alexandre
 Levy, Moses and wife, Mrs. Mary Pearce Levy
 Lewis, Addison
 Lewis, John
 Lewis, Meriwether
 Lincoln, Benjamin
 Linn, William (Jarvis)
 List of portraits
 List of portraits
 Livingston, Philip (??) Not C.W.Peale. (Del Drago)
 Livingston, Robert
 Livingston, Robert R
 Lloyd, Edward
 Lloyd, Richard
 Lloyd, Richard Bennett
 Lloyd family portraits (article)
 Logan, Mrs. Deboarh Norris
 Long, Stephen Harriman
 Longueuil, Joseph Dominique Emmanuel Le Moyne de
 Lotbiniere, Eustache Gaspard, sieur de
 Lovett notes
 Lowell, John
 Lowndes, Christopher, and Mrs. Elizabeth Tasker
 Lukens, Isaiah
 Luzerne, Anne César de la
 Lynn, David, and wife Mrs. Mary Galloway
 McAllister, Mrs. John, Jr.
 McClenachan, Blair
 McComb, Eleazer
 McElderry, Mr. and Mrs. (Eichholtz?)
 McHenry, James, and wife Mrs. Margaret Caldwell
 McIlvaine, Ferguson
 McIntosh, Lachlan
 Mackall, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin
 McKean, Thomas
 Mackenzie, Thomas
 Mackubbin, Charles Carroll
 Mackubbin, Mrs. Charles Carroll
 Mackubin, Mrs. James
 McLane, Allan
 Macpherson, Capt. and Mrs. John
 Madison, James
 Magellan, Fernando
(c. 1470-1521) 
 Maitland, Mrs. Susanna Poythress
 Mamout, Yarrow

See: Billy Lee

 Man. American Art Association


 Man. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
 Man with a cane
 Man with cane
 Marshall, John (Ball Hughes)
 Maryland Lady and man
 Mason, George (Hesselius
 Matlack, Timothy
 Maynard, Miss (James Peale)
 Meade, George
 Mease, James (Rembrandt Peale?)
 Medford, Marmaduke
 Meigs, Return Jonathan
 Metropolitan Museum of Art. Unidentified portrait
 Mifflin, Samuel, and wife Mrs. Rebecca Edghill
 Mifflin, Thomas (not C.W.Peale)
 Miles, Samuel
 Milledollar, Philip (James Peale and C.W.Peale?) and wife Mrs. Susan Benson
 Miller, Elizabeth
 Milligan, Mrs.
 Monroe, James
 Montgomery, Mrs. James
 Montgomery, Richard
 Moore, Mrs. David (Rembrandt Peale?)
 Moore, Frederick

See: John Beale Bordley-Frederick Moore materials

 Moore, Philip or James
 Moore, Richard
 Moore, William
 Morgen, Daniel
 Morris, Anthony
 Morris, Gouverneur, and Robert
 Morris, Mrs. Mary White
 Morris, Olivia Simes (James Peale)
 Morris, Phoebe Pemberton
 Morris, Mrs. Rachel
 Morris, Robert
 Mosloy, Comte de
 Moultrie, William
 Muhlenberg, Frederick Augustus Conrad
 Muhlenberg, Gotthilf Henry Ernest
 Muhlenberg, Henry Melchior
 Murray, Misses
 Murray, William L
 The Muse
 The Muse
 Music - Black box
 Music illustrations
 Music -"Lass of Richmond Hill" "Hush Ev'ry Breeze"
 Music - Tobacco box
 National Portrait Gallery Project
 Nelson, Judith Page: Mrs. Hugh Nelson: and, Jane B. Nelson
 Nevins, David (Rembrandt Peale)
 Newell, Elisha
 Nicholas, Samuel
 Nichols, Francis
 Nicholson, John
 Nicholson, Joseph
 Nicholson, Thomas
 Nixon, John
1819 Oct. 25-Dec. 11