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GLMS 110 - Vincent D. Nickerson Collection

Introduction

The Vincent D. Nickerson Collection consists of original perspective drawings, many in color, prepared to provide the details needed for the paintings Nickerson was commissioned to produce. These drawings often provide scale drawings as well as color schemes of Great Lakes vessels from the 1840’s to 1910. In many cases his drawings are the only known details available for a particular vessel. Only a small number of Nickerson’s finished paintings survive, adding more significance to this collection.
The Vincent D. Nickerson Collection was donated to the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes/Center for Archival Collections by Ellen Drouillard Boruff of Bloomington, IN on June 22, 2011.

Biographical Sketch

Nickerson was born into a maritime family in Euclid, Ohio October 7, 1843. His father David P. Nickerson was a vessel agent and captain and his mother was from the Laffrinier shipbuilding family of Cleveland. Vincent sailed with his father for several years before enlisting in the U. S. Navy in 1863. After the Civil War Vincent went to California and Idaho to mine gold. Eventually Vincent made his way back to the Great Lakes by 1869. He married Mary E. Laffrinnier, daughter of a well known Cleveland ship builder Louis R. Laffrinier. In the 1870’s Nickerson worked in his father-in-law’s shipyard office and also as a machinist for White Sewing Machine Co.
His career as an artist spanned the years from 1880 to 1910. Most of his clients were connected to the maritime industry (vessel owners, agents, captains, etc.) and expected accurate details. The collection consists of original perspective drawings, many in color, prepared to provide the details needed for the paintings Nickerson was commissioned to produce. These drawings often provide dimensions and scale as well as color schemes of Great Lakes vessels from the 1840’s to 1910. In many cases his drawings are the only known details available for a particular vessel. Only a small number of Nickerson’s finished paintings survive, adding more significance to this collection. He died June 13, 1910 in Cleveland, OH.

Note: More detailed biographical information is available in Drawer 1 of the collection.

Scope and Content

The Nickerson Collection includes more than three hundred original vessel drawings dating from 1880 to circa 1910 and is one of the most, if not the most, extensive body of work of a Great Lakes marine artist in a public institution.

An item-level inventory is attached.

Files

GLMS 110 Inventory.pdf