William Wilson Corcoran

ID: SIA2011-1430 and SA-410

Creator: Unknown

Form/Genre: Portraits

Date: c. 1850

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 6, Folder: 17

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William Wilson Corcoran (1798-1888) banker, philanthropist and art collector, built in 1859 a building at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue to house his art collection. The building was seized by the government in 1861 and used as a warehouse and office space for Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs during the Civil War. The building was eventually returned to Corcoran, and opened as his art gallery in 1872. When his collection outgrew the space, he built a new gallery nearby. The building was then used as the US Court of Claims Building until 1965, when it was transferred to the Smithsonian for use as the Renwick Gallery, devoted to American crafts and decorative arts.


  • Corcoran, W. W (William Wilson) 1798-1888
  • Renwick Gallery
  • Corcoran Gallery of Art


Historic Images of the Smithsonian

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 6, Folder: 17

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


  • c. 1850
  • Civil War, 1861-1865

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Art
  • Art museums
  • Collectors and collecting
  • Portraits
  • Philanthropists
  • Bankers
  • History
  • Private collections
  • Drawing
  • Art--Private collections
  • Art--Collectors and collecting


United States


  • Portraits
  • Card photograph

ID Number

SIA2011-1430 and SA-410

Physical description

Number of Images: 1 ; Color: Sepia ; Size: 3.5w x 4.5h ; Type of Image: Portrait ; Medium: Card photograph

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