This collection contains 53 letters that Henry Lewis wrote to his brother George about the Civil War and about his artistic career, finances, and life in Düsseldorf, Germany, in the mid-19th century. Five additional items include a letter, 3 lists, and an advertisement.
From July 11, -October 20, 1851, Henry Lewis described his experiences traveling in the United States and Canada displaying his large panorama painting of the Mississippi River. He mentioned a cholera epidemic in Cincinnati, Ohio, and described Washington, D.C., as well as several states in New England and the Midwest. While in Canada, he visited Montréal, Hamilton, and other cities, particularly in Ontario. During his North American tour, Lewis often discussed his finances and occasionally reported his receipts from exhibitions. His letter of October 10, 1851, contains two drawings of Montmorency Falls in Québec.
After a four-year gap, Lewis wrote a second group of letters about his life in Düsseldorf, Germany. He responded to family news and provided information about his financial affairs. His letters from the mid-1850s often contain comments on political developments in the United States, his letters from 1861-1863 discuss aspects of the Civil War, often at length. Lewis wrote less frequently after 1865, and in his later correspondence mentioned subjects such as the Franco-Prussian War (December 12, 1870) and the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (April 16, 1876). The collection has one letter from Maria Lewis to George Lewis and three lists of paintings by Henry Lewis. A printed French advertisement for a published book on painters is located at the end of the collection.