Folsom, Samuel W. and Arthur H. Folsom
Diaries, Account and Memorandum Books, Correspondence, and Ephemera of businessman Samuel W. Folsom, of Cleveland, Ohio, and his son art dealer Arthur H. Folsom of "Folsom Galleries," an important modern art gallery of New York City, New York, 1867-1927

58 volumes of diaries of Samuel W. Folsom, over 7,000 manuscript pages, dated 1867-1927, lacking years 1891, 1906, and 1921; 44 account books of Samuel W. Folsom, various paginations, 68, 72, or 120 pages per book (earlier volumes have less pages), with the majority of the entries dated 1880-1927, lacking volumes for 1883, 1926; 6 volumes of memorandum books/diaries, approx. 1500 pages, kept by Arthur H. Folsom, dealing with his Folsom Galleries, dated 1908, 1911-1913, 1915, 1919-1920; plus 95 letters, 134 pp. for the Folsom Galleries and Samuel W. Folsom, dated 1908-1921, and over 900 pieces of paper ephemera related to Folsom Galleries, dated 1904-1921.

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Samuel W. Folsom (1844- 1929)

          Samuel W. Folsom for many years was a trusted official and worker in some of Cleveland's largest business concerns. Folsom was a member of a pioneer family of Cleveland. He was born at the corner of Vermont and Hanover streets in Cleveland on 16 December 1844.  His father, Gillman Folsom, Jr., was born at Dorchester, New Hampshire, in 1798, and died March 10, 1870, was a pioneer in two of the largest cities in the Middle West. He grew up and was educated in his native town, and when a young man he rode horseback to Buffalo, New York, which was then hardly more than a village. He purchased about 300 acres of land in what is now the heart of the city. In 1836 Gillman Folsom removed to Ohio City, now part of Cleveland. In Cleveland he formed a partnership with a Mr. Tyler in a general merchandise business.

           Gillman Folsom & Tyler's store was at the corner of Detroit Avenue and Pearl Street. This partnership was subsequently dissolved, and Gillman Folsom continued a general store on Detroit Avenue for a number of years. Later he removed to Euclid, Ohio, and resumed farming, but in the 1860s returned to Cleveland and was superintendent of the West Side Market until his death in March, 1870. At one time he was a member of the council of Ohio City and was one of the group of thirteen men who purchased Whiskey Island and subdivided it. In 1836 Gillman Folsom built what was then the finest brick house in the City of Cleveland.

          Gillman Folsom, Jr., married first a Miss Marvin, and they had two children, Nathan M., who died January 1, 1894, in Jacksonville, Florida, and Charles, who died in Milwaukee Wisconsin March 3, 1887. Mr. Folsom married secondly Hadassa Ballard. They were married in Mayville at the head of Lake Chautauqua, New York. Her father, Gilbert Ballard, was an early day operator of stage coaches between Mayville and Jamestown, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Gillman Folsom had three children: G. B., who died January 15, 1903; Mrs. Hadassa B. Van Tine, who lived in Cleveland and died November 5, 1895 and our diary writer Samuel W. Folsom.

          Samuel W. Folsom grew up at Cleveland and until the age of seventeen attended the grammar schools and the West High School. On leaving school he became an accountant with the old Cleveland and Mahoning Railway Company, which became part of the Erie Railway system, while at a later time he served as paymaster of that road, and was later secretary to the president of that road at Meadville, Pennsylvania. For some years he was accountant and bookkeeper with the firm of Sheldon & Sons, lumber dealers at Cleveland, Ohio, but in 1876 became accountant and cashier of Rhodes & Company, coal and iron ore operators. In April, 1885, the name of this concern was changed to M. A. Hanna & Company. Mr. Folsom continued with this great Cleveland business for forty-one years (1876-1918), and for a large part of that time was at the head of the accounting department.

           Samuel was also a director and member of the executive committee of the Forest City Savings and Trust Company, a director in the West Cleveland Banking Company, and an official and director in many other large companies. He was a member of the Chamber of Industry, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Clifton Club. He was a republican voter and belonged to the Congregational Church.

           Mr. Folsom enlisted in the 100-days service in the One Hundred and Fiftieth Regiment, Company B, Ohio National Guard, Colonel Hayard and Capt. William Nevins. Mark A. Hanna was a private in this guard company.

           On 2 October 1875, Mr. Folsom married Mary E. Hanna, a cousin of the late Senator Mark Hanna. Mary was born on 16 January 1846 and died July 21, 1916 at the age of 70 years old. She was the daughter of Benjamin Jones Hanna (1823-1881) and Catherine McCook (1822-1904). She was the oldest of the Hanna's four children.

           Mrs. Folsom's cousin was Marcus Alonzo "Mark" Hanna (1837-1904), an American businessman and Republican politician, who served as a United States Senator from Ohio. He was a friend and political ally of U.S. President William McKinley and used his wealth and business skills to successfully manage McKinley's presidential campaigns in 1896 and 1900.

           Mark Hanna married Charlotte Rhodes the daughter of Daniel Rhodes. Daniel Rhodes took Mark A. Hanna into his business with him and Hanna was soon a partner in the firm, which grew to have interests in many areas, especially coal and iron. The company came to be called "M. A. Hanna Co." and was one of Cleveland's major iron-ore houses. Hanna Mining evolved from Rhodes & Co., a firm established in the 1840s by Daniel Rhodes to mine coal in the Mahoning Valley area. It expanded into iron ore mining in the Lake Superior region in the mid-1860s, when Hanna married Rhodes's daughter and joined the firm. Hanna and his brothers took over the partnership in 1885 and renamed it M.A. Hanna & Co. Mark Hanna died in 1904. It was for this "M. A. Hanna & Company" that Samuel W. Folsom worked for forty-one years.

          Samuel W. Folsom died on 9 May 1929. Samuel & Mary Hanna Folsom had only one son, Arthur Hanna Folsom.  

          Arthur H. Folsom (1877-1944) and Folsom Galleries

           Arthur Hanna Folsom was born 26 November 1877. He was the son of Samuel Winthrop Folsom (1844-1929) and Mary Emma Hanna (1846-1916). His parents married on 12 October 1875. Arthur graduated from the West High School of Cleveland, Adelbert College - Western Reserve University.  In 1900, Arthur was living with his parents in Cleveland. He was 22 years old. By 1906 he had moved to New York City to become a Fifth Avenue art dealer.

           In June of 1906, the New York Times reported on an exhibition of the artist Guy Wiggins. The paper mentioned that Arthur H. Folsom had "taken over" the "Modern Gallery" on East 33rd Street where the Wiggins exhibit was taking place. An earlier article, written in April 1906 in the New York Times, reported that the Modern Gallery was a "new hall" at 11 East 33rd Street; thus presumably only recently opened. This appears to be Arthur H. Folsom's start in the New York art world. He would have been 29 years old.

           From at least 1907-1909, Folsom appears to have been in partnership with an Otto Hudson Bauer (1870-1963), decorator, operating the "Bauer-Folsom Galleries" at 396 5th Avenue in New York City. Bauer had previously been listed in New York City directories as an artist in partnership with decorator Anson Dudley Bramhall in Bramhall & Company at 1133 Broadway. Bramhall & Company filed for bankruptcy in 1902 after Bramhall disappeared. Bramhall & Co. was said to be a leading decorating firm that had "large dealings with the most prominent architects for the highest style in decorative work." They defaulted on over $30,000 in debt after Bramhall's disappearance and went out of business.

          By 1907 Bauer had become partners with Arthur H. Folsom. The cash account books of Samuel W. Folsom included in this archive show Samuel Folsom giving money to his son Arthur on several occasions in early 1907, to the A. H. Folsom Gallery. However in May of 1907, he gives $4000 to the Bauer-Folsom Galleries, which would appear to be the start-up money for Arthur to become partners in this gallery.

          In May 1909, the New York papers again announced that Folsom has taken over a gallery (Bauer-Folsom) and the gallery will now be known as "Folsom Galleries," but it was still located at the same address, "opposite Tiffany's."  Samuel Folsom’s account books show that he sent money to his son for "Folsom Galleries" in July 1909. Bauer appears to have stayed in New York City working as a decorator contractor. Folsom would be listed at first as the president, treasurer, and director of Folsom Galleries, with his home at 14 E. 28th Street. Arthur's father Samuel, who lived in Cleveland, was later listed as one of the directors along with his son of the gallery. At one point "Hy. S. Cook" was listed as secretary for the Folsom Galleries.

          The Folsom Galleries was considered an important gallery for American art in the early Twentieth Century, especially with American impressionist painters and the various other "schools" of art that were emerging in New York City. The gallery offered a place for artists to meet and discuss the nascent avant-garde scene. The gallery was in business at from at least 1909 to 1924 (listed in New York City papers and directories), possibly longer. Evidence in this collection shows it being open during this time period as well. In 1922 the gallery was listed at 104 W. 57th Street. Arthur H. Folsom was listed as an art dealer until at least to 1930, when he was listed as an art dealer on a passenger ship manifest.

           Folsom offered exhibitions of American impressionist painters from as early as 1910. The gallery loaned paintings of American impressionist Emil Carlsen (1853-1932) to the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy in that year. They conducted an exhibition of the works of American modernist painter Alfred H. Maurer (1868-1932) in January 1913; landscape painter Allen Tucker (1866-1939) in November 1913; painter Roswell Morse Shurtleff (1838-1915) in January 1914; portraitist Howard Logan Hildebrandt (1872-1958) in March of 1915; painter Nathaniel Cobb (1879-1932) in March of 1916; American impressionist painters William H. Singer (1868-1943) and Louis Ritman (1889-1963) in Feb - March 1918; Boston School painter William McGregor Paxton (1869-1941)  in February 1919; American impressionist landscaper painter Daniel Garber (1880-1958) in March 1919; and then another exhibit of William H. Singer in March-April 1921. Singer is seen regularly in weekly business statements in this collection as receiving payments from Folsom Galleries, among other artists', but not as often as Singer.

          The gallery offered many other exhibits of painters, sculptors, as well as exhibits of ancient and medieval art, which they apparently also sold. The gallery in 1920 offered the first solo exhibition of modernist sculptor John Henry Bradley Storrs (1885-1956), who had studied with and befriended Auguste Rodin. The gallery also offered an exhibition of "cowboy artist" Charles M. Russell in April of 1911. There is a receipt in the ephemera collection made out to Mrs. C.M. Russell for casting a sculpture, as well as his name appearing receiving payments from the gallery in the weekly statements.

           In addition to the American impressionists, the Folsom Galleries was also instrumental in exhibiting various schools of art of New York City's art scene. They also offered the first and third exhibitions of "The Eclectics" in 1915 and 1918 respectfully. Organized by James Britton "The Eclectics," was an exhibiting group of painters and sculptors that at various times included Theresa Bernstein, Guy Pene du Bois, Walter Griffin, Philip L. Hale, Eugene Higgins, George Luks, Jane Peterson, Maurice Prendergast, Mahonri Young, and others.

           The first two exhibitions of "The Pastellists" were held at the Folsom Galleries. The Pastellists was an organization of artists that formed in New York at the end of 1910 for the purpose of exhibiting artwork produced in the medium of pastel. The group helped organize four exhibitions in New York between 1910 and 1914 before disbanding in 1915. Some Pastellist members are credited with the initial idea for the exhibition that later became the 1913 Armory Show, the first major exhibition of European modernism in America. Some of the artists in this group were: Robert Henri, Mary Cassatt, Leon Dabo, Jerome Myers, Everett Shinn, Arthur Bowen Davies, Walt Kuhn, Juliet Thompson, and others. Leon Dabo (1864-1960) was considered the leader of this group. The first two exhibitions met with good reviews and high attendance. The New York Times said the second show "surpasses in interest its predecessor, which certainly was sufficiently charming." A "striking and important" work was L'enfant a l'orange by Mary Cassatt; Big Wave Design by Arthur Bowen Davies had "vigor and free handling, with the addition of a feeling for great rhythms".

           In 1915, Folsom Galleries offered an exhibition of a group called "The American Salon of Humorists" organized by Louis Baury. The exhibition included the work of Robert Henri, John Sloan, William Glackens, George Bellows, Arthur Young, Stuart Davis, and others, including a number of artists who were regular contributors to The Masses, a New York City graphically innovative magazine of socialist politics published from 1911 until 1917.

           Arthur Hanna Folsom was listed as retired when he filed his WWII draft registration in 1942. He died soon after on 30 October 1944 at New York City. His remains were taken back to Cleveland, Ohio to be buried at Riverside Cemetery.

           Description of Collection


           The 58 volumes of diaries were written by Samuel W. Folsom, of Cleveland, Ohio. Incredibly, almost every entry space for every day has been written in, also a number of the cash account and memorandum sections at the rear were used. Some entries are short, others long. The diary manufacturers vary: Pocket Diaries, Centennial Diaries, and Excelsior Diaries. The diaries for 1867-1876, 1878-1887, 1892-1893, 1895-1905, 1907-1920, 1922-1927 are three days entries per page format. The diary for 1877 is two days per page format, the diary for 1888-1890 being four days per page format. The diary for 1894 is seven days per page format with facing cash account pages. The diaries are bound in limp leather (26) or limp cloth (32), and mostly measure 3 ¼" x 7 ¼", except for the diaries for 1920, 1922-1927, which measure 2" x 5". All of the diaries are written in ink, in a legible hand, and are in more or less in good condition.

           The diaries beside giving the day to day life of a prominent Cleveland businessman over the course of an amazing sixty years, also provide insight into the founding of Folsom Galleries, one of America's important galleries for introducing the world to American Impression and early modern   art. For the diary of 1907 we see this:

          "Feb 26, 1907 ...wrote letter to Arthur sent him dft for1500..."

          "Feb 28, 1907 Left on 5 pm...train for New York..."

           "March 1, 1907 Arrv'd in N.Y. 3 hours later. Arthur met me at train then to Hotel Tatham. PM to Gallery & to Dessar & Dearth studios. Arthur & I to Bramhalls for dinner..."

           "March 2, 1907 AM to look at Singer Bldg for gallery. Visited other galleries. A & I lunch with Dessar at Lotus Club. Visited Dr. Humphries home & [Enquier] Club. Dinner at Lotus Club with Dearth, Dessar, Bramhall & Arthur. Arthur left 9 o'clock..."

"March 3, 1907 Am visited with Arthur in his room. PM called Mr. Bramhall & he met with me to depot Arthur was invited to Martin for dinner, train left 5:30 took dinner on train."

           "March 4, 1907 Arrived home about an hour late..."

           "March 31, 1907 Very cool, a letter from Arthur and Bramhall...."

           "April 20, 1907 Mr. Bramhall & Mr. Bauer arrived from N.Y...talked business..."

           "April 21, 190...I decided today to incorporate Arthur business. Mr. Bramhall & Mr. Bauer left for n.  York 6 p.m. train..."

            "April 24, 1907 ...Wrote letter to Mr. Bramhall..."

           "April 28, 1907 AM rec'd letter from Arthur..."

            "April 29, 1907 Signed incorporation papers for "The Bauer-Folsom Co." today..."

          The above diary entries document the incorporation of Bauer-Folsom Galleries and the beginnings of this important American gallery. It also shows that the Folsoms visited the studios of Dessar and Derth. The painters Louis Paul Dessar (1867-1952) and Henry Golden Derth (1864-1918), were two painters that would show their work at the gallery. The man named Bramhall who is mentioned above is Anson Dudley Bramhall, who had been in business with Otto H. Bauer earlier. Their company went bankrupt and it appears that Arthur H. Folsom came in and resurrected it under his own name.

          Samuel W. Folsom immediately paid another visit to New York City the following month in May of 1907 to finalize everything with Bramhall, Bauer, his son Arthur, and their bank. There are other entries connected to the Folsom Galleries spread throughout Samuel's diaries. He was one of the directors of the gallery and received regular weekly statements of the business, some of which are included in the correspondence and ephemera sections of this collection.


          95 letters, 134 pp., dated 1908-1921. Of the 95 letters, 2 are not dated. Of these 95 letters: 42 are from Folsom Galleries to Samuel W. Folsom, a director of Folsom Galleries; 21 letters are from Folsom Galleries to Arthur H. Folsom, President of Folsom Galleries, when he was visiting home in Cleveland, Ohio; 24 are letters written by Folsom Galleries to customers and/or vendors; with the rest being letters written to Folsom Galleries from both customers and/or vendors.

           Some of the more interesting letters include: a letter written by the landscape painter Robert Strong Woodward (1885-1957). Woodward, paralyzed from the waist down since college, writes to Folsom Galleries asking for the return of a painting they have of his, as he might have a buyer, while offering another for sale; a letter from the Bauer-Folsom Galleries to Julius Oehme. Oehme purchased a H.G. Dearth painting from the gallery. Henry Golden Dearth (1863-1918) was an American landscape painter; a letter to Folsom Galleries signed S.S. Dustin. S.S. Dustin (1855-1940) was an American painter. He asks for the gallery to give one of his paintings to the bearer of this letter; most of the letters written by Folsom Galleries to Samuel W. Folsom, as they contain with them a one page summary statement of the gallery business operations for that particular week. These statements include information about how the art gallery operated, as they include: amounts of salaries paid out, rent paid, monies spent on advertising, merchandise, or for entertaining, as well as petty cash spent, or traveling expenses, or monies paid to artists' accounts. For example there seems to be regular weekly payments to American impressionist Wm. H. Singer for paintings that the gallery was apparently selling (there is record of Singer having several exhibits at Folsom). Also included in these statements are the beginning and ending balances in the company's account, and any deposits made to the account to support it when the funds were low. Not every weekly statement has all of these types of entries; it depended upon what was paid out or purchased that particular week. In any case, one gets great insight how this important American art gallery was operated. Besides the statements attached to Samuel W. Folsom, there are additional statements within the ephemera section for a total of 52 weeks spread over three years. This correspondence of the Folsom Galleries is supplemented by the over 900 pieces of ephemera included in this collection.

           Account Books of Samuel W. Folsom, 1880-1927

          44 books, various paginations, 68, 72, or 120 pages per book (earlier volumes have less pages) the majority of the pages have entries, dated 1880-1927, lacking books for 1883, 1926. Some  year's entries carry over to the next year's volumes, most of the account books measure 2 ½" x 4 ½", with books for 1880s measure 2 ¼" x 5 ½", all books bound in limp leather, most with gold edges, some wear to bindings at tips, corners, some scuffing/rubbing to boards, one volume has boards detached, all are written in pencil in a legible hand. All books are kept in double-entry bookkeeping style. The account books appear to be the personal expense accounts of Samuel W. Folsom. They offer a daily record over 47 years of what Folsom spent and took in. They do not appear to be business related, but do list his personal financial records of everything from what he spent on food, getting a haircut, buying train tickets, going fishing, club fees, petty cash for the house, insurance payments, utilities payments, telegrams, purchases of stocks, etc., as well as the money he took in such as his salary from M.A. Hanna & Co., as well as interest or dividends from investments and bank accounts, or monies from the various directorships he held from other companies. The account books also show what looks like a $2,500 loan to the Bauer-Folsom Galleries in June of 1908, perhaps Samuel's financing of his son Arthur's venture into New York City's art world. This is around the same time frame Arthur H. Folsom became partners in the gallery with Otto H. Bauer. The money was returned in July of the same year. There is also an entry for Samuel loaning money to Otto H. Bauer. Samuel became a director of the gallery and the account books show other entries with loans to the gallery. Earlier entries in 1907 show him giving money to the "A.H. Folsom Gallery" and by May of 1907 to the Bauer-Folsom Galleries. Later books show the father supporting his son's gallery, loaning it money, or simply sending money to his son. Some of the account book entries appear to line up with dates of known exhibitions of emerging American impressionists exhibits at the gallery, thus Samuel is financing these shows.

          Memorandum Books of Arthur H. Folsom of Folsom Galleries

           6 volumes of memorandum books/diaries, approximately 1500 pages, kept by Arthur H. Folsom, dealing with his Folsom Galleries, 3 volumes bound in leather, 3 volumes bound in cloth, various sizes, entries written in ink and pencil, in a legible hand, dated 1908, 1911-1913, 1915, 1919-1920. While the volumes are printed in the diary format (one in address book format), they are kept more like memorandum books with some diary entries. The volumes contain jottings throughout, things that happened, reminders, lists of people's names that came to the gallery, receptions, exhibitions, etc. It appears that Arthur may have kept these volumes for his gallery, as there are many mentions of names, perhaps people who visited the gallery, or attended an opening, or his clients, including artists like Juliet Thompson, C. M. Russell, L. Dabo, or prominent people like William Randolph Hearst. There are some entries written in French as well. In January of 1913 there are a number of days in this month where there are lists of names filling the pages. It is known that Folsom Galleries conducted an exhibition of the works of American modernist painter Alfred H. Maurer (1868-1932) in January 1913, thus this list of names would seem to indicate those attending the opening and/or visited the gallery while this work was hung.  Once in awhile Arthur will write that certain people were "in the gallery today" or attended the reception. In the spring of 1915, Folsom Galleries offered an exhibition of a group called "The American Salon of Humorists" organized by Louis Baury. The account book for April and May is filled with entries.


          While the diaries are the writings of Samuel W. Folsom in Cleveland, the 900 plus pieces of ephemera and correspondence in this collection appear to deal directly with the Folsom Galleries, in New York City.  Arthur Hanna Folsom was the president of the company, while his father acted as one of the directors, and was likely one of the original financiers of the gallery. Regular weekly statements (52 weeks from the years 1919-1921) of the operations of the gallery were sent back to the father with a letter from the gallery (not signed by Arthur, but likely typed up by him, or his staff). These weekly statements give great insight to the day to day running of the gallery, especially when coupled with the letters and other ephemera in this collection. The ephemera includes these weekly statements,  plus 29 telegrams (1914-1924), 15 telegraph receipts (1910-1916), 2 postcards (1910 and 1921), and a host of receipts, such as 166 advertisement and printing receipts, 30 delivery receipts, 6 Folsom Galleries letterhead receipts (includes one to wife of artist Charles M. Russell), 34 laundry service receipts, 26 legal services receipts (attorneys who helped set up the corporation of Folsom Galleries, and drew up contracts for the artists they worked with), 52 packaging and movers receipts (mostly for "Artists' Packing & Shipping Co." who were specialists in shipping art work), 45 sign company receipts, 31 tax and insurance receipts, 118 utility receipts, 41 bottled water receipts, as well as approximately 278 various printed letterhead receipts for services performed by artists, carpenters, picture framers, photographers, upholsterers, art restorers, carpet cleaners, and the other services that might be rendered to an art gallery, or decorator, or a business (hardware, ice, etc), as well as receipts from other art dealers, art importers, etc., including cancelled checks. There are also 30 mss receipts and mss memorandum notes on slips of paper, and several printed/mss documents. Overall, the ephemeral materials provide considerable detail of the business of the Folsom Galleries.