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 
North, William
Norvell, John
Nutz, Margaretha Keyser