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Charles Keck Scrapbook

Identifier: MSS-024

Collection Description

The Charles Keck Scrapbook, dated 1902-1939, contains clippings outlining some of Keck’s earlier artistic accomplishments; a portrait of Keck and photographs of colleagues and statues and monuments he created; and other ephemera that trace Keck’s career.


  • Creation: 1902-1939

Conditions on Access

This collection is open for research. Appointments are necessary for the use of manuscript and archival collections.

Conditions on Use

These records are the property of the Nelson Gallery Foundation and it retains all rights, including possible copyright, which they may contain. Notification of intent to publish, quote, or cite archival materials is required. Contact the archives via

Administrative/Biographical Sketch

Charles Keck was an American sculptor, born September 9, 1875, in New York City. He is most known for his statuary and relief sculpture, including military and presidential statues, busts, and memorials, medal relief sculpture, and memorial tablets.

Keck studied at the National Academy of Design and at the Art Students League of New York with Philip Martiny, a French American sculptor. From 1893-1898, he was an assistant to Augustus Saint-Gaudens, an American sculptor known for his monuments commemorating figures in the American Civil War. It was during his time with Saint-Gaudens that Keck created his monument to James Garfield, the 20th U.S. president, in 1895. After winning the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts’ Rinehart Scholarship, Keck traveled to Rome, Italy, where he attended the American Academy from 1899-1905. His best-known works include the life-sized bronze of Father Duffy in Times Square and his earlier figure of “America” at the Allegheny County Soldiers’ Memorial, in Pittsburgh. His statues of governors Charles B. Aycock and Huey P. Long are in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol.

Charles Keck was responsible for much of the architectural sculpture found on the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art building, which opened in 1933. He created a series of 23 limestone panels depicting westward expansion and the attendant conquest of indigenous peoples on the exterior of the museum’s east façade. The panels include scenes of trappers, traders, scouts, and wagon trains heading west from Westport Landing in Missouri. The 24 panels of the museum’s bronze east side doors--which Keck’s brother, architect Max Keck, was also involved with--show passages from Longfellow’s poem, Hiawatha. The grillwork around the south and east doors incorporates the zodiac signs of museum benefactors William Rockhill Nelson, Ida Nelson, Laura Nelson Kirkwood, and Irwin Kirkwood, with oak-leaf motifs added in memory of William Rockhill Nelson’s home Oak Hall, which formerly stood on the site of the museum. Other works by Keck in Kansas City include historical friezes on the Jackson County courthouse and the equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson located there.

Keck died April 23, 1951.


1 Volume (in 11 folders)

Language of Materials



This scrapbook, spanning 1902-1939, contains clippings, photographs, and other ephemera that trace sculptor Charles Keck’s career.

Note on Collection Organization

Since the original scrapbook was disbound, the collection has been arranged in two groups: intact scrapbook pages and loose items removed from scrapbook pages.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transfer from vertical file, 2018. Originally in Spencer Art Reference Library (SARL). Previous source unknown.


Additions to the collection are not anticipated.

Related Archival Materials

Department of Decorative Arts Records, RG 04; Ephemera Collection, RG 70; Scrapbooks, RG 72; and Scott Erbes Files, RG 100.

Processing Information

The scrapbook has been disbound and its cover and loose items were removed from their physical locations in the scrapbook for housing and preservation purposes. Markers in the scrapbook refer to the removed items’ new folder location.

Finding Aid of the Charles Keck Scrapbook, MSS 024
Finding aid prepared by Tara Laver and Miranda Mahoney
2022 November
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Archives Repository

4525 Oak St.
Kansas City MO 64111 United States