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William Ordway Partridge Papers

Identifier: SC 01075

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Scope and Contents

Letters, 1894-1905, of the sculptor William Ordway Partridge to [?] Allen, [?] Hardy, Edward W. Bok, and the Society of American Sculptors. Letters discuss his book, desire to write an article for Ladies Home Journal on the history of women's clothing, attending social gatherings, and Society of American Sculptors affairs.

4 items.


  • Creation: 1894-1905

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

William Ordway Partridge (1861-1930) was an American sculptor whose public commissions can be found in New York City and other locations; including his life-size statue of the Native American Indian princess, Pocahontas, unveiled at Jamestown, Virginia in 1922.

William Partridge was born in Paris to American parents descended from the Pilgrims in Massachusetts; his father was a representative of A. T. Stewart. At the end of the reign of Napoleon III, Partridge travelled to America to attend Adelphi Academy in Brooklyn and Columbia University (graduated 1883) in New York. After a year of experimentation in theater, he went abroad to study sculpture. During a brief stint in the Paris studio of William-Adolphe Bouguereau, he formed a close friendship with the neo-Gothic architect Ralph Adams Cram on his 1887 trip. He knew the young Bernard Berenson in Florence, where he studied in the studio of Galli, and Rome, in the studio of Pio Welonski (1883-85).

His published work includes articles on aesthetics and several art history books including Art For America (1894), The Song Life of a Sculptor (1894), and The Technique of Sculpture (1895). He also wrote poems and published the verse novels Angel of Clay (1900) and The Czar's Gift (1906).

Aside from his public commissions, his work consisted mostly of portrait busts. In 1893 eleven of his works were displayed at the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, according to the official catalog of the Fine Arts Building at the fair, where he exhibited sculptures of Alexander Hamilton and William Shakespeare as well as portraits. In this same catalog Partridge was listed as living in Milton, Massachusetts. He maintained homes and studios in both Milton and New York. Among his studio assistants on West 38th Street in New York was Lee Lawrie.

Partridge went on to lecture at Stanford University in California, and assumed a professorship at Columbian University, now George Washington University, in Washington, D.C.

His life-size statue of the Native American Indian princess, Pocahontas, was unveiled in Jamestown, Virginia in 1922. Queen Elizabeth II viewed this statue on May 4, 2007, while visiting Jamestown on the 400th anniversary of the founding of the first English colonial settlement in America. On October 5, 1958, a replica of the Pocahontas statue by Partridge was dedicated as a memorial to the princess at the location of her burial in 1617 at St. George's Church in Gravesend, England. The Governor of Virginia presented the statue as a gift to the British people.

Partridge died in New York in 1930. Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki: .


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Acquisition Information:


Related Materials:

See WorldCat for information about two additional archival collections containing the papers of W. O. Partridge.

Processing Information:

Processed by Cynthia B. Brown in 1983.

Guide to the William Ordway Partridge Papers
Finding Aid Authors: Cynthia B. Brown.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository