Finding Aids to Official Records of the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 550
National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director
Collection Records, 1895-1975
The John Gellatly Collection was amassed by wealthy collector John Gellatly and his first wife, Edith Rogers Gellatly, in New York City during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Mrs. Gellatly died in 1913, and in 1929 Gellatly gave the Collection to the National Gallery of Art of the Smithsonian Institution. The Collection was moved to Washington and opened to the public in 1933 at the renamed National Collection of Fine Arts (NCFA), then housed in the Natural History Building.
Gellatly married Charlayne Whiteley Plummer in 1930. After his death in 1931, she initiated legal proceedings to regain the Collection. Litigation continued until 1947, when the courts decided in favor of the Smithsonian Institution.
The Collection itself consists of some 1640 items, ranging from paintings to jewelry to sculpture, from around the world and from the United States.
These records consist of archival items purchased from Miss Mary P. Plummer in 1969, as well as correspondence and other material from NCFA files. The records were maintained by the Director until 1972, when they were deposited in the NCFA Library.
This record unit consists of photographs of Mr. and Mrs. Gellatly, reprints of several journal articles concerning the Collection, several pieces of correspondence, notes describing various Collection objects, a manuscript called "A Summary of the Gellatly Collection," and a letter of artist Childe Hassam to John Gellatly.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Gellatly, John, 1853-1931
- Plummer, Mary P.
- Hassam, Childe, 1859-1935
- Gellatly, Edith Rogers
- Plummer, Charlayne Whiteley
- Natural History Building (Washington, D.C.)
- A Summary of the Gellatly Collection
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 550, National Collection of Fine Arts. Office of the Director, Collection Records